Leather is a popular material that combines different properties and is therefore used in many areas. It doesn’t matter whether you make yourself comfortable on your leather sofa or slip into your favorite shoes: the quality of the leather is decisive for durability and appearance. In order to be able to judge them, you need some background knowledge – and that’s exactly what awaits you in this article. To see wallpapers for the kitchen, please check listofledlights.
The miracle material leather: That’s why it’s so popular
Leather is a natural product that has been with people for 7,000 years. Even then, animal skins were processed into tarpaulins, clothing and jewelry. What makes leather so special to this day are the numerous properties that it combines. Although there are synthetic materials that outperform leather in certain respects, the sum of its properties makes leather of high quality almost unrivalled: it is tough and supple at the same time, impermeable to water and yet breathable, lightfast and easy to work with.
By the way: Depending on the intended use, different types of leather are used. The leather used for a sofa is of a different quality than the leather used for clothing. So there is not one type of leather, but rather different characteristics – depending on the nature and processing. Your new leather armchair can be wonderfully soft, while the leather suitcase is strong, stable and particularly hard-wearing.
How to recognize the quality of leather
Sometimes inferior materials are falsely advertised as leather in the trade. The better the quality of the fake “leather”, the more difficult it becomes for laypeople to tell the real product from the fake. The following points will help you to recognize genuine leather and judge the quality yourself:
- Leather seal: The “genuine leather” label, for example, is a common seal used to differentiate it from artificial leather. Other seals indicate, for example, chrome-free tanning or good tolerance for allergy sufferers.
- Structure and surface: Real leather has an irregular structure, each piece is unique. If the surface of the product in question is very uniform or all products are very similar to each other, they may be imitations.
- Fractures and Tears: Good quality leather should not show any tears or tears.
- Tear resistance : The better the quality of the leather, the more tear-resistant and stable it is.
- Seams, ends and cut edges:These are always rough with real leather. If several layers can be seen, this indicates an imitation.
- Odour: Last but not least, leather also has the typical leather odour, which can only be imitated to a limited extent.
How does animal husbandry affect the quality of the leather?
The starting material for leather is animal skins, usually by-products of meat production. Not the entire skin is used, but only the middle of the three skin layers, the so-called “dermis”. This in turn consists of two layers: the upper one gives the leather its typical appearance, while the lower one consists mainly of collagen and makes good quality leather so resistant.
Every leather is different. The end product is also determined by the breed of the animal, its age, sex and living conditions. The conditions in industrial animal husbandry have a negative effect on the quality of the leather: the animal’s skin becomes stronger the more stressed it is. Keeping animals in stables means that the protective function of the skin is insufficient. Skin diseases and a high fat content also reduce the quality of the leather.
It is therefore worthwhile to pay attention to the quality of the material when buying new leather furniture and to ask one or two questions about the origin of the animals.
This is how you judge the quality of leather furniture
Leather furniture such as sofas or stools are usually covered with cowhide, mainly with pigmented smooth leather. High-quality aniline leather is significantly more exclusive, but also requires a lot of care. Rough leather, buffalo leather and antique leather are also used. An indicator of the quality of the leather is definitely the price – there are clear differences here, but a larger investment usually pays off.
When it comes to furniture, you should pay particular attention to whether it is really completely covered with leather. Sometimes only the contact surfaces – such as the seat, the backrest and the armrests – are covered with real leather, but the remaining surfaces with imitation leather. So ask the manufacturer what exactly was sourced when assessing the quality of leather furniture.
Finally, a tip: regardless of its quality, furniture made from darker leather types is usually easier to clean and maintain. Not every stain immediately catches the eye – so dark leather furniture is better suited for households with children and pets. The most important thing is that you clean and care for your leather furniture properly .