Is Kincaid and Smith Bros of Berne Produce Sofas of the Same Quality?

by | Aug 12, 2021 | Ask the Expert | 0 comments

Question:

I’m about to purchase a sectional sofa and have narrowed down the choices to Kincaid or Smith Bros of Berne. Both appear to offer the same solid wood build quality, suspension system and warranty on frame and cushions.

I’d appreciate your comments and advice in making my final purchasing decision.

Terry.

Oct. 9, 2020

Answer:

Between these two companies I would rate Smith Brothers a solid step up from Kincaid. Both companies have been in business for about 75 years.

Kincaid is now a LaZBoy company. It is considered the top quality of all the LaZBoy companies, but it is still in the mid-level range of upholstered furniture quality. Smith Brothers is at the entry level to high end furniture quality.

Kincaid is known for its solid wood furniture.  But its sofa frames are not solid wood. They are unitized plywood and engineered wood. Although these frames will still last at least 10 years and probably 20, they are not at the same quality level as Smith Brothers’ genuine solid maple, double dowelled, corner blocked, glued and screwed frames which should last 20 – 50 years.

Kincaid offers two different types of seat support foundations.

  • They do offer a top of the line 8 way hand tied foundation option, but the great majority of what they actually sell are sinuous wire foundations.
  • Sinuous wire seat support foundations are very durable and very cheap. They can last for 20 years but are cheap enough to be found in sofas selling for $399.

Smith Brothers offers a coil spring seat support.

  • They no longer offer the 8 way hand-tied option, but in my opinion the non-hand-tied coil springs are superior.
  • 8 way hand tied coils require several hours of labor by highly experienced (and highly paid) upholsterers. That adds significantly to the cost of the furniture.
  • The cost of a good drop-in coil unit is more than the springs used for the 8 way hand tied, but the reduced installation time (and the fact that they can be installed by less skilled (lower paid) workers can save about $200 in the cost of making the sofa.
  • Drop-in coil springs should last longer than the 8 way hand-tied. (The twine used on the 8-way tends to rot after about 20 years. Repairs are expensive.)
  •  Most importantly, very few people, including furniture professionals, can tell the difference in comfort between the 8 way hand tied and a good quality drop-in coil spring.

Kincaid offers 4 different cushion options, beginning with an industry standard 1.8 density foam that has an average lifespan of about 5 years.

  • If you choose to buy from Kincaid pay the extra for their top of the line Qualux 2.3 density foam. This will last twice as long as the standard cushion (and also feel noticeably more comfortable.)

Smith Brothers has a 2.5 density Qualux cushion last I checked. It will last even longer than Kincaid’s 2.3 density. The difference in comfort is probably negligible.

  • Smith Brothers may also offer a spring down cushion option. That is an excellent cushion that will last just as long (or longer) than the 2.5 density Qualux and give you a softer feel.

Smith Brothers also has a couple of other quality features not found on Kincaid.

  • Spring edge construction. This feature used to be standard on high end upholstery but is rapidly disappearing.
    • Spring edge construction produces a comfortable soft upholstered front edge with the tops of the springs positioned above the top rail of the frame.
    • This forms a firm but flexible floating edge which adds to the seating comfort.
  • Self-decking is another high end feature that is rarely found on today’s furniture. This is the addition of the same fabric used on the rest of the sofa for the seat deck underneath the cushions (where it can’t be seen.)
    • Self-decking is strictly a luxury frill. It has no functional benefit.
    • Since sel-decking requires an additional 2 yards of fabric and some extra labor time, it does add to the cost of the sofa, especially if you are using an expensive decorator fabric.

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Jeff Frank

Jeff Frank

Furniture Consultant

Jeff Frank is a 45 year  furniture industry veteran. He created this blog to provide detailed facts, inside information & advice for furniture shoppers. 

 

 

 

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