Faux leather, what is that? Well I do not know if any of us completely know. Here are some of the experiences we have had with faux leather. Also, it has been called bonded leather, synthetic leather and a host of jazzed up other names. It is called by many names by different manufacturers. Buyer beware. This is not exactly what you think it is. It is a cover used to upholstered furniture.
What is this
Faux leather is a name given to a material that may or may not be made with real leather. It has the look of leather; it has the texture of leather and some even have a suede backside. It is pretending to be leather. The way faux leather has been explained to us is it constructed of the scrape pieces of leather that have been ground down and then glued together on top of some type of backing. It is stamped with a leather grain and then has a protective coating applied to it.
Why is it used
This synthetic leather is used to reduce the cost of upholstered furniture while still giving the customer the perceived value of leather. This is only a perceived value. It does look nice. It does have the look of leather, but it is not. We do not offer these types of materials on our floor. If a customer wants to use it, they have chosen it from our manufacturer’s fabric samples and we try to persuade them to either spend a little more and get leather or find them a fabric that is giving them a similar look.
Why beware? This is not real leather, nor has it been tanned like real leather. This product can be sensitive to skin oils, hair products, heat, ultra violet rays and other items it may come in contact with. When a reaction happens usually the product seems to blister. It looks similar to a burn blister. Once the blister is broken the material starts to delaminate. After this is just starts to peel or flack away leaving the sub surface, usually a fabric back showing. The other reason consumers should beware of this product is, in our experience, the blisters and delamination occur about 18 months after it has been in your home. Most cover warranties are for only 12 months. Unfortunately, the cover is out of warranty with the problem arises. Now you have fully operational furniture that looks worn out.
If you must purchase this type of material, get the extended warranty as it should cover the product for 5 years from purchase date. Be sure to make sure this would be covered under that warranty before just purchasing it blindly. Another recommendation would be to look at performance fabrics. Many of them are made with polyurethane. They do give a leather look, but do not seem to have the same flaws as the bonded leather materials. We have been selling this type of material for more than four years now and have not had the first customer contact us with an issue with their performance fabric. Stop by and we will be happy to help you special order your new furniture in a performance fabric.