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Is Leather Match the Same as Bonded Leather?

By Jeff Frank


Is leather match the same as leather?

Is it better?


Leather match and Bonded leather are two very different types of products.

Leather match uses a genuine leather made from hides on the seats, inside backs, inside arms and anywhere you would normally touch. 

The rest of the sofa (outside arms, outside backs, base) is a matching vinyl.

The “real leather” is a very inexpensive corrected leather.

Corrected leathers use lower-quality hides that are sanded down to remove scratches, bug bites, brands and other flaws.

This sanding removes the hide’s natural grain.

An artificial grain is embossed into the hide, and covered with a heavy coating of dye.

A clear polyurethane protective coating is added.

A matched vinyl is then used for the parts of the sofa that are not usually touched.

This includes outside backs and arms.

Substituting a matched vinyl for half the leather on the sofa can substantially reduce the retail price for leather match compared with a sofa that is 100% leather.

Watch out for bonded leather! Bonded leather is sometimes used as a substitute for vinyl.

Bonded leather is an abortion of a product that should be banned.

The only reason for bonded leather’s existence is to fool uneducated shoppers.

Salespeople trick consumers into thinking they are buying genuine leather furniture at low prices.

Salespeople may point out that bonded leather is made with 10% – 20% “genuine” leather.

They imply this makes material better than vinyl or other 100% faux leathers. It does not!

This “genuine” leather consists of leftover scraps from hides that are crushed into tiny particles, mixed with glue and other chemicals and then rolled flat.

The reconstituted particles are then used as the backing for thin vinyl or polyurethane facings.

The “leather” part of this fabric cannot be seen or touched.

Customers who purchase bonded leather furniture think that they are purchasing a very durable fabric.

That is not the case.

This is a very delicate material that may literally fall apart under normal use within 1-3 years after purchase.

Furniture warranties are written with specific exclusions for “fabric wear.”

They will also have specific exclusions for “peeling” bonded leather.

Customers purchase extended warranties, thinking that they cover everything that can go wrong.

Extended warranties will not cover bonded leather or fabric problems in most cases.

There have been thousands of complaints and dozens of lawsuits about “peeling” bonded leather furniture.

Shoppers searching for lower priced furniture that looks and feels similar to genuine leather should look at the many excellent faux leathers made from 100% polyurethane or vinyl.

These are extremely durable and becoming closer and closer to the look and feel of high quality genuine leathers.

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