Your leather couch is peeling because it is made from fake leather, or it has been neglected. If the material used to make your leather sofa is genuine, high quality, and is taken care of, leather should never peel. If it peels, it’s because it’s a bonded substance with some synthetic coating on the surface, or you are exposing it to harsh weather elements.
Environmental conditions like low humidity and sunlight cause your leather to crack after prolonged exposure. Also, using the wrong products to clean leather can cause peeling. Nonetheless, poor-quality leather, especially the bonded kind, is more likely to crack.
Bonded leather is an alternative to genuine leather. It is cheaper but of low quality. Such leather is used in upholstery. The leather is made from scraps of unwanted or unused leather, and it is glued together with strong adhesive, then an overlay of polyurethane is applied to it. They don’t have the elasticity of authentic genuine leather, so when it stretches to its maximum, the synthetic overlay cracks, and the peeling starts.
On the other hand, high-quality leather should never crack at any point as long as it is in reasonable conditions. But, you should do regular maintenance and moisturizing to ensure your sofa stays in good shape.
However, in the event your leather couch cracks, it is repairable. It is not the leather itself cracking but the sealant on its surface in most cases. Below we give you the main reasons your leather couch is peeling and how to fix it.
Why Is My Leather Couch Peeling?
There are various reasons your leather couch has started to peel. Some of these include;
1. Your Couch Is Made Of Bonded Leather
Genuine leather is expensive, and many people do not want to spend as much on just a couch. Bonded or fake leather comes in terms of affordability; it looks and feels like genuine leather, but it is cheap and of lower quality.
When you purchase genuine leather couches, they will not crack if taken care of. The bonded leather sofas will start peeling off at some point, even if you take care of and maintain them.
2. The Leather Has Been Exposed To Extreme Weather Conditions For A While
Genuine leather can survive without cracking or peeling for many years, but it can still get damaged. Extreme sunlight and humidity can be very toxic to leather. Since it is made of animal skin, it needs to be moisturized and maintained to stay soft and elastic. Sunlight dries it up and makes it rigid, and extreme moisture makes it too soft and predisposed to tearing.
3. Your Couch Is Made With Faux Leather.
Faux means artificial, meaning that the leather is a synthetic leathery material like vinyl, PVC, or polyurethane. Such leather is worse than bonded leather since it contains zero actual leather and hence does not have the same resilience as genuine or bonded leather.
What Are The Different Qualities Of Leather Available?
The quality of leather differs with how it is made and what other materials are incorporated.
There are mainly five different qualities of leather available.
Bonded leather is mixed and processed with synthetic fibers that make it look leather. It is the cheapest of the available leathers.
This leather has about 10 to 20 percent animal hide, and the remaining percentage is filled with other materials.
2. Bi-cast Leather
With the bi-cast leather, you are offered more real leather than bonded type, which is more plastic than leather. The hide used to make this is cut below prime top layer hide found in high-end leather.
3. Split Grain Leather
Split grain leather offers 100% leather, but the manufacturing process is so intense that it loses its natural attributes. However, the manufacturers do not use high-quality hides; they settle for lower quality to lessen the overall production cost.
4. Top Grain Leather
As the name suggests, this is leather made from the most desirable animal hide. It offers superior quality, more natural aroma, and durability, unlike the other qualities of leather.
Purchasing a couch made of top grain leather is not cheap. The hides used to make the material are not random; the manufacturer ensures that you get what you pay for.
5. Full-Grain Leather
Among the available leather qualities in the market, this is the most exclusive and premium of them all. The leather maintains the quality of the animal hide and its prints, which can be visibly seen and felt.
A couch made from this leather is guaranteed to serve for many years with zero damage and maintains its upscale feel and smell.
Can You Repair Cracking Or Peeling Leather?
Yes, you can repair cracking leather. Below are a few steps to follow:
Step 1: Clean Your Sofa
To repair your worn-out leather couch, you start by prepping it and removing the peeled parts. Use rubbing alcohol and an abrasive pad. After that, let it dry.
Step 2: Leather Recoloring Cream
leather recoloring balm or cream is used on small cracks and small areas. The cream comes in different colors, so you can choose the color that best suits your couch.
Step 3: Purchase A Peeling Leather Sofa Repair Kit.
The recoloring cream is only a temporary fix for small areas; it does not work well for big patches. A leather repair kit is a more permanent way of fixing your leather couch.
An excellent example of a repair kit is the Fortivo leather repair kit. The kit contains leather filler that helps to cover damaged areas. It has high-quality repair adhesive that dries up fast and hides the cracks and torn areas.
The kit comes in many colors, and you have to mix them to get the color that suits your couch correctly. After that, follow the instructions that come with your kit. You can practice in a small part first before fixing your entire couch.
Can Leather Be Stopped From Peeling And Cracking?
Yes, it is possible to prevent your couch from peeling through proper maintenance and repair. Apply a good amount of leather conditioner to moisturize your sofa at least twice a year. The conditioner helps maintain the leather’s natural oils that keep it leathery and stretchy. The type of conditioner you use is not relevant as long as it is suitable for genuine leather and it does not contain chemicals that will dry it out.
Bonded or faux leather should also be moisturized to prevent premature cracking and peeling.
How Long Should A Genuine Leather Couch Last?
A low-end leather couch made of bonded or faux leather gives you 2 to 5 years of service, but it can last a bit longer with good care. On the other hand, Genuine leather lasts for over 25 years if well maintained.
How To Tell If Your Couch Is Made Of Genuine Leather?
No one wants to buy a fake leather couch when they intend to purchase a genuine one. Below are a few ways to check if your newly purchased sofa is made of genuine leather or not:
1. Check The Appearance And Feel Of The Material
Genuine leather is made from animal skin, meaning it has a naturally rough or grainy appearance. It is common to see natural hide markings on your couch, particularly with full-grain leather, which is considered the best. The sofa should also feel bumpy to the touch. Fake leather is smooth all around because it is artificial. Animals have fat deposits on their skins, and this causes bumps.
2. Rough Or Uneven Edges
It is common to see the edges of your couch being uneven and rough; this symbolizes the joining of two or more hides. Smooth and even edges indicate that the leather is not made of natural animal skin. No animal hide is big enough to sit an entire couch.
3. Rich Natural Leather Aroma
Fake leather cannot have the same scent as actual leather. Being that bonded and faux leather is made using many chemicals, they do not have the natural leather scent that animal skins produce.
Tips Of Maintaining Genuine Leather
Here are three tips you can continuously implement to ensure that your leather sofa gives you enough service:
1. Buff Out The Scratches. It is natural for your couch to get scratches over time. Buffing out the scratches with a soft cloth and using moisturizer ensures peeling and cracking do not happen.
2. Position Your Couch In A Favorable Spot. Sunlight is not always suitable for leather. It can dry it up and cause damage. Placing your sofa away from direct sunlight, heaters, and fireplaces can help maintain it.
3. Regular Conditioning. Using protection creams to keep your leather soft and elastic is a practice you should never tire off.
Genuine, faux, or bonded leather can all crack when neglected. Moisturizing your leather couch no matter its quality ensures that you at least enjoy using it for a while without it cracking and peeling off. Damaged leather is repairable, so there is no need to buy a new couch when your current one gets damaged.