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Frequently Asked Questions

What Everybody Ought To Know About Leather.............

Types of Leather

It is amazing the different types of leather or imitation leather that are used to upholster sofas. Here is a quick run down on the various different types of leather and what their main qualities are. This page goes from full grain leather which is the highest quality leather to faux or match leather which is a man made synthetic material.

Leather is used for various purposes including clothing, bookbinding, and as a furniture covering. It is produced in a wide variety of types and styles and is decorated by a wide range of techniques.

 Full-grain & Top-grain leather  - We Use This & And We Use Lots Of It

Refers to hides that have not been sanded, buffed, or snuffed (as opposed corrected leather) to remove natural marks on the surface of the hide. The grain remains allowing the fibre strength and durability. The grain also has breathability, resulting in less moisture from prolonged contact. Rather than wearing out, it will develop a patina over time. High quality leather furniture like ours is often made from full-grain leather. Full-grain leathers are typically available in two types of finish: aniline and semi-aniline.

 Corrected-grain leather  - We Use This

Is any leather that has had an artificial grain applied to its surface. The hides used to create corrected leather do not meet the standards for use in creating vegetable-tanned or aniline leather. The imperfections are corrected or sanded off. Most corrected-grain leather is used to make pigmented leather as the solid pigment helps hide the corrections or imperfections. Corrected grain leathers can mainly be bought as two finish types: semi-aniline and pigmented.

 Split leatherWe Would Never Dream of Using This – Although it is very commonly used in the furniture industry

Is leather created from the fibrous part of the hide left once the top-grain of the rawhide has been separated from the hide. During the splitting operation, the top-grain and drop split are separated. The drop split can be further split (thickness allowing) into a middle split and a flesh split. In very thick hides, the middle split can be separated into multiple layers until the thickness prevents further splitting. Split leather then has an artificial layer applied to the surface of the split and is embossed with a leather grain (bycast leather).

The following are not "true" organic leathers, but are materials that contain leather fibre. Depending on jurisdiction, they may still be labelled as "Genuine Leather", even though the consumer generally can only see the outer layer of the material and can't actually see any of the leather content and this is why some companies leathers feel cold to the touch:-

 Bonded leather, Bycast leather & Reconstituted leather - We Would Never Dream of Using This – Although it is very commonly used in the furniture industry

Is an economical type that uses leftovers of organic leather (often from leather tanneries or leather workshops) which are shredded and then bonded together with polyurethane binders or latex on top of a fibre sheet. The varying degree of organic leather in the mix (between 10% and 90%) affects the smell and the texture of such product. Due to its reduced cost it is becoming a popular choice for furniture upholstery, especially for commercial use, where durability is needed; however durability can vary widely, depending on the formulation.

 Faux Leather & Match Leathers - We Would Never Dream of Using This On Our Quality Sofas.

It can be hard to tell the difference between real leather and a man-made faux leather (faux is french for false) as they have similar textures and qualities. However, because it is made from synthetic materials, faux or match leather is more durable making it ideally suited for bar stools and dining chairs etc, used in the commercial market.

Click Here To Order Your Free Full Grain Leather Samples

How do I care for my new leather sofa ?

It is important to condition and protect any leather product and in particular upholstery. 

In addition, we have created a 'Four Seasons Leather Care Plan'. The plan recommends cleaning and protecting your upholstery at the start of each of the four seasons. This will prolong the life of your product and reduce the chances of fading, splitting and general wear and tear.

The Cleaning and Protecting process should be adopted from the day you take delivery of your new leather sofa. The process allows the following benefits :

Clean : if a leather sofa gets dirty, the dirt particles can hold the grain open and create cracks and creases. These can result in the sofa looking old and worn.

Condition : leather is a natural material and, just like our own skin, benefits from being moisturised regularly. Without conditioning it can become dry and crack.

Protection : using protective cream helps it last longer, repel stains, dirt and sunlight. All of which can damage your sofa.

We recommend using the sofaitalia.co.uk leather care kits, which can be purchased from us online.

We pride ourselves in using only the finest quality leather in our sofas. To enhance our beautiful sofas and to extend their life we recommend that you follow our Four Seasons Leather Care Plan.


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