Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Bonded Leather Furniture? Think Twice Before You Buy!

We all know how expensive real leather furniture can be. But you should be careful about the cheaper bonded leather alternative.

Bonded leather and genuine leather aren’t necessarily the same thing.

Both may look the same, but over time — sometimes over a very short period of time — you’ll immediately begin seeing the difference.

I made the mistake of buying bonded leather living room furniture years ago from a discount department store. It looked like leather and it felt like leather.

It just didn’t hold up like leather would have.

Why would anyone buy this stuff? A real leather couch will likely set you back more than $1,000. Depending on where you shop, it’ll probably cost a lot more than that.

A bonded leather couch, on the other hand, might sell for as low as $300.

If you can’t see the appeal, your wallet sure can.

But as the saying goes, in this case, you definitely get what you pay for.

Bonded leather is leather…sort of.

If you read this short passage from Wikipedia’s explanation of the material, you’ll probably be able to imagine the problem:

Bonded leather is made by shredding leather scraps and leather fiber, then mixing it with bonding materials. The mixture is next extruded onto a fiber cloth, or paper backing, and the surface is usually embossed with a leather-like texture or grain. Color and patterning, if any, are a surface treatment that does not penetrate like a dyeing process would. The natural leather fiber content of bonded leather varies.

The problem is, unlike leather, which is strong and sturdy, you’re relying on a layer of mashed up leather that’s then affixed to a totally different type of material.

It looks strong and sturdy like real leather, of course. But over time, it just doesn’t hold up.

The first indication that you’re dealing with something other than the genuine article is flaking.

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“Quality” furniture.

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Bits and pieces — and occasionally large pieces — begin flaking off. It generally starts wherever there might be a crease or fold in the material. That’s where you’ll likely first see it.

And in no time, that flaking turns into huge areas of missing leather exposing the fabric underneath.

But don’t take my word for it: do a Google image search for “bonded leather” and just have a look at what you find!

Never again!

I bought the couch because of the dog I had at the time. She was a golden retriever-border collie mix and she was a shedder. 

I figured a leather surface — or at least a leather-like surface — would be easier to keep clean and hair-free. I was right about that much.

But once the flaking began, all bets were off. Two dogs later, the hair was sticking especially well to the fabric layer to which the bonded leather had been applied.

So after more and more vacuuming and less and less leather in evidence, I finally had to buy a new couch.

This time, I went with a cloth surface. It was the heaviest, thickest cloth I could find. So far, dog hair isn’t sticking to it near as much as I originally feared it would.

And believe me, my collie is more than happy to claim the couch as his own!

But I learned my lesson about bonded leather.

You can save yourself some money temporarily…but in the long run, you’ll be replacing that furniture a lot more often . Or you’ll be living with a bigger and bigger mess as more and more flakes off.

It’s just not worth it.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.