How Long Can I Expect Top Grain Leather Furniture to Last? How Can I Make it Last Longer?

by | Aug 1, 2020 | Furniture Construction, Furniture Costs, Furniture Cushions, Furniture FAQs, Furniture Maintenance & Repairs, Furniture Warranties, Leather Furniture, Reclining Furniture | 0 comments

Regardless of how much you spend, your new leather sofa, including its top grain leather, will last only as long as the weakest component part.

  • High quality leather (made from hides) can last 50 years or more with proper care. These hides may be either full grain or top grain leather.
    • Lower quality “corrected” top grain leather should still last at least 10 years.
  • High quality frames will last 20+ years.
    • Not-so-high-quality frames can still last 10 years or more.

    The problem is the cushions.

    • Your brand new $3000+ leather sofa (or $5000+ leather reclining sofa) is probably made with seat cushions that will wear out in 3 – 5 years.
      • The cushions may begin to wear out within 1 year.

      Most mass produced seat cushions will need replacement within 3 – 5 years.

      • Replacing seat cushions can be expensive and complicated.
        • Getting a cushion replaced under warranty is nearly impossible.
          • Regardless of the warranty period specified in bold print at the top of the warranty, there will also be exclusionary clauses further down where most people don’t read.
          • These exclusions void the warranty when the cushions have worn out due to either “normal use” or “abuse.”
          • Those two exclusions cover almost everything that can cause a cushion to lose its shape or comfort and need replacement.
        • Most manufacturers and retailers are reluctant (or will refuse) to supply replacement cushions or cushion cores, even for customers willing to pay for them.
        • Worn out removable cushions can be fixed.
          • Custom upholsterers can replace worn out foam, but good quality foam or coil spring core replacements (that will last longer than 3 – 5 years) can be expensive.

Reclining furniture generally wears out more quickly than stationary seating, especially large reclining sofas and sectionals.

  • Reclining furniture weighs considerably more than non-reclining pieces.
  • Frames are weaker. Many of the extra foundation supports found on non-reclining sofas cannot be used in combination with the mechanism.
  • Most mass produced reclining furniture is made with non-removable cushions. These wear out just as quickly as removable cushions, but cannot be easily replaced if they become worn out or damaged.
  • It may not be possible to repair a non-removable cushion at all, unless there is additional (matching) leather available.

A leather recliner with a non-removable cushion is shown in the photo above.

Important Note – Do not purchase furniture made with bonded leather!
It is an extremely fragile material that cannot be repaired.

          • Bonded leather can disintegrate even before your cushions wear out, sometimes within one year or less.
          • Once bonded leather begins to peel (delaminate) it cannot be repaired.
          • Warranties (including extended warranties) almost never cover bonded leather problems.
          • There are thousands of complaints each year from consumers whose “almost new” sofas have been ruined by peeling bonded leather.
            • Manufacturers and retailers are fully aware of the huge number of problems and complaints associated with bonded leather.
            • Despite numerous attempts within the furniture industry to voluntarily eliminate this defective material, competitive pressures to supply “cheap” leather furniture are overwhelming.

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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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