If you’ve ever browsed for leather furniture, you know that there are many different kinds of leather available. Each has its own appearance, feel, and maintenance, and it’s important to know the difference, whether you’re still shopping for the perfect piece, or if you already have one and simply need to clean it. Below are a few of the most popular types of leather available today.
What is Leather?
Leather is a durable material made from animal hide, most often from cattle. Other types of animal hide can be used, such as ostrich or even stingray, and they can be used for anything from vehicle seat covers to fashion. However, not all leather-like material is made from genuine animal hide. Since the process of tanning and preparing genuine animal skin can be difficult, and the production does have an impact on the environment, alternatives to genuine leather can be attractive options.
As mentioned previously, genuine leather is made from animal hide, commonly from cattle. Genuine leather has been a popular material for a variety of items for centuries, and for good reason. Leather is considered a sturdy material that will last through years of wear and tear, while also remaining flexible and comfortable. The durability of leather is partly due to its natural resistance to the elements. Leather is partly waterproof, and can be treated to be fire resistant. In addition to its resistance, leather remains a material that breathes well, which helps prevent items made with leather from getting mildew.
UltraLeather is a synthetic material used as an alternative to genuine leather, while still maintaining its appearance and feel. The top side of UltraLeather is generally polyurethane, which makes the material easier to clean than genuine leather. UltraLeather is also considered a durable material. It is made to be especially resistant to nicks and tears, and is capable of handling extreme weather. One quality that is often appreciated in UltraLeather over genuine leather is its reaction to cold temperatures. While genuine leather stiffens in cold temperatures, UltraLeather is made to remain pliable.
Faux leather, like UltraLeather, is a material used as an alternative to genuine leather. Faux leather can refer to any type of material meant to mimic leather, but is commonly used to reference two specific types of alternate materials: polyurethane and polyvinyl chloride, more commonly known as vinyl. Of these two types, polyurethane is considered the most similar in appearance and feel to genuine leather. However, vinyl remains a popular choice because it is easier to care for and to maintain. Vinyl is simple to clean, and doesn’t require any conditioning as genuine leather and some alternatives do.
Which Material is Best?
The usefulness of the material depends on the needs of the consumer. Each has its own specific benefits. For those seeking an item with durability and timeless style that they intend to maintain into the future, genuine leather is an excellent choice. For those needing something similar to leather but treated to last well with less care, UltraLeather is a wonderful alternative. For anyone needing something attractive but able to take plenty of wear and tear with a simple clean up, vinyl is another fine option.
If you would like more information about the different types of leather, or if you would like to see a selection of our heirloom furniture, visit Amish Oak in Texas, in San Antonio, TX, and New Braunfels, TX.