Our Flexsteel couch is about 20 years old. We need to replace it. Can you recommend a company near our zip code that could recover with a new quality fabric and replace the cushions with firmer foam? They no longer feel supportive. I am curious as to whether that would be cheaper than buying a new sofa.
(Originally Asked April 15, 2020)
1) The Flexsteel sofas made 20 years ago in Dubuque are far better made than their current products.
Flexsteel closed most of their U.S. factories. The one in Dubuque is still there, but the overall quality is far below what you currently have. Most Flexsteel furniture is now made in Asia and Mexico.
The average lifespan for a U.S. made Flexsteel sofa is currently 3 – 5 years before the cushions will need replacement. This includes their optional upgraded cushions that come with a “lifetime warranty.”
2) I don’t personally know any custom upholsterers or reupholsterers I can recommend in your area, but there is a small shop in Lomax, Farmer’s Wife Antiques (217) 659-3898.
From the limited information available to me, I don’t think they do the type of reupholstery you need, but they should be able to recommend someone good in the area. They should also know good local sources for fabric.
If you check Google there are several discount fabric websites that will send you samples. Your reupholsterer will let you know how much yardage is required.
(As an estimate most three seat Flexsteel sofas require approximately 18 – 20 yards for plain, non-patterned fabrics. If there is a stripe or pattern that requires matching, add 6 – 10 yards.)
3) When replacing cushions, “firmness” has nothing to do with either durability or comfort. The lifespan of foam cushions is dependent on the foam density.
Standard mass produced couches usually have 1.8 density foam cushion cores. These generally last 3 – 5 years before losing their resiliency and comfort.
(Flexsteel’s current standard cushion is a composite which uses a central core of 2.0 foam with layers of 1.2 foam above and below. Although these cushions have not been around long enough to know how long they will last, my guess is that they will fail even sooner than 1.8 density foam cushions.)
2.5 density foam cores will last more than twice as long (at least 10 years for most people.)
When brand new, most people can’t tell the difference between 1.8 density and 2.5 density cushions with the same ILD (firmness) rating.
The difference is that within one year the 1.8 density cushion will be noticeably softer. 5 years or even 10 years later the 2.5 density cushion will still look and feel brand new.
Denser cushions cost more. Increasing a cushion’s firmness does not impact the price. You can get cheap cushions that are very firm, but they will quickly lose their firmness, shape and comfort as they are used.
Your reupholsterer may also suggest spring down or spring fiber cushion cores. Well made coil spring cushions will cost a bit more, but will last 15 years or more years for most people.
Standard foam cushions usually have a dacron polyester fiber wrap that goes around the foam core. Upgrading from the fiber to a memory foam wrap can greatly increase the long term comfort at a slight increase in cost.
Whichever construction you choose, a good cushion will have the core enclosed inside a downproof fabric jacket. This helps maintain the shape (and also helps the cover slide off more easily when removing for cleaning.)
The cushion covers (which go over the fabric enclosed core) should have sturdy zippers that run all the way across the back and part way up the sides. Otherwise, it can be very difficult to remove and replace the covers for cleaning.
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