Is Leather Match the Same as Bonded Leather? Is it Better?

by | Sep 24, 2017 | Furniture Construction, Furniture Costs, Furniture FAQs, Furniture Sales Tactics, Furniture Warranties, Leather Furniture | 0 comments

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. Typically this would be a very inexpensive protected or corrected leather.

  • These are lower quality hides that are sanded down to remove scratches, bug bites, brands and other flaws. This sanding also removes the hide’s natural grain. An artificial grain is embossed into the hide and a heavy dye is added. 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.” Even extended warranties, which customers purchase thinking that they cover everything that can go wrong, will not cover fabric problems in most cases. There are thousands of complaints and dozens of law suits 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 are becoming closer and closer to the look and feel of high quality genuine leathers.

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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. 

 

 

 

 Shopping for furniture can be complex and frustrating. Salespeople have limited knowledge & experience about the products they sell. If you’re looking for real answers before spending hundreds or thousands of dollars, check out our furniture buyer consulting.

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