Question

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.

Debra S.

(Originally Asked April 15, 2020)

Answer

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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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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7 Comments

  1. Jeanne C Majerus

    Great information Jeff, thank you! My Flexsteel sofa is just over 20 years old, and I’ve been thinking about either replacing it or the cushions. It has gotten very “hard” to sit on…

    I think I’ll focus on the cushions after reading your blog.

    Reply
  2. Jerry Bolyard

    Where can I get the replacement cushions for the two recliners on my Flex Steel sofa have had around 10 years paid $2,300 for the sofa and $700 each two matching power recliners

    Reply
    • Jeff Frank

      Thank you for your question.
      Have you tried contacting a local Flexsteel dealer? You can also contact Flexsteel’s Dubuque, IA headquarters, but they will first instruct you to go through your local dealer.
      If you are unsuccessful at having the cushions replaced by the retailer or manufacturer, any local reupholsterer or custom upholsterer should be able to make this repair for you.

  3. Elaine Prete

    So my flex steel 3 seat sofa an loveseat is sagging canthe flex steel be replaced ? Pillows will be replaced .

    Reply
    • Jeff Frank

      I am assuming that your Flexsteel sofa is non-reclining and has removable seat cushions.

      It is extremely rare for Flexsteel’s blue flat steel suspension to break.
      The most common cause for sagging cushions is the foam wearing out.

      Your Flexsteel retailer should be able to replace the cushion cores, but I recommend that you have the cores replaced by a local upholstery shop.

      Flexsteel’s standard cushions currently have a 5 year average lifespan before losing resiliency (ability to bounce back) and comfort.

      If your Flexsteel sofa was purchased prior to 2010, the cushions should have lasted far longer.

      When having the cushion cores replaced, try to get a foam that is better quality than the standard 1.8 density.
      Those have an average lifespan of about 5 years and will feel noticeably softer within one year.

      Higher density foams cost more.

      2.5 density foam cores may add $100 to the cost of replacing 3 cushions, but should last more than twice as long.
      In addition, there will be very little loss of firmness or comfort for at least 5 years.

      If you use an intermediate 2.2 or 2.3 density foam, the lifespan should be in the 6 – 10 year range.

      Replacing your cushion cores with spring down construction will cost more than 2.5 density foam, but you will get 15+ years of use, with very little softening during the cushion’s lifespan.

      I am curious about how long you have owned your Flexsteel sofa.

      Flexsteel changed their cushion construction in 2010 and again about 2 years ago.
      I am trying to find out whether the newer cushions are already beginning to wear out.

      Jeff Frank

  4. Rose

    I purchased a Flexsteel sofa with zippered backs rests. Does Flexsteel have replacement cushions ?

    Reply
    • Jeff Frank

      If you have a sofa with removable back cushions, the inside of the cushion is probably polyester fiber, not foam.

      The fiber is usually sewn into a bag, but it will compress after a couple of years. This makes the back cushions look worn out and wrinkled.

      Adding additional fiber will make the back cushions look better.

      You can go to a local re-upholstery shop and get fiber (or crushed foam) added to the bagged fiber you already have.
      It’s not expensive but you can save even more by buying the fiber yourself and just stuffing it into the corners of the cushions.

      You can buy bags of polyester fiber fill in many different stores.

      If your Flexsteel is a reclining sofa with a non-removable back, you have a completely different situation.

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