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How Long Should A Leather Sofa Last?

When you buy a leather sofa, one of the first things that can come to mind is how long should a leather sofa last?

According to furniture experts, a leather sofa will last between 5 and 30 years depending on how much its used, the type of leather its made from and many more factors.

In the rest of this article, we’ll explore the factors that can drastically affect how long your leather sofa will last, as well as the steps you can take to make your leather sofa last longer.

Let’s jump right in.

Factors That Affect The Lifespan Of A Leather Sofa

There’s a lot of things to consider when it comes to judging how long a leather sofa will last, some of which you’ve probably not considered.

Maintenance

If you maintain a leather sofa with regular cleaning this can greatly improve how long it will last.

Surface scratches and marks won’t cause too much damage, but spillages that are left to sit can sometimes seep into the sofa which can create long term problems. This is why you need to maintain the sofa properly to prevent any unnecessary damage to it.

Other maintenance considerations are keeping the sofa away from radiators where possible, and making sure the legs of the sofa are protected from moisture or wet carpets after they have been cleaned.

How Much Is It Used

Another key consideration is how much your leather sofa is going to be used.

If you have a leather sofa in your office, for example, as more of a decoration than an actual sofa to be sat on it will last much longer than a leather sofa in a family kitchen. The more a sofa is used the less likely it is to last for a very long time before needed at least a repair to the padding inside.

A leather sofa can still last for a long time if it is used often, however, you just need to be prepared for it to change shape and become less comfortable over time. You don’t really have to replace a sofa even if the padding inside has become worn, it’s up to you if you decide to put up with this or not.

Pets

Pets such as cats and dogs can damage leather sofas quite quickly with their claws, but this damage is usually only very minor and to the surface of the leather.

To be more precise, we actually compared leather to other sofa materials and found that it is the best for dogs, and one of the best for cats that you can use. So, pets can definitely play a role in damaging the surface of the leather but if you don’t mind the look of this then it won’t have much effect on the lifespan of your sofa.

Type And Quality Of Leather

The type and therefore quality of leather that you have is one of the most important factors that will affect the lifespan of your leather sofa.

There are lots of types of leather out there, ranging from full-grain to top-grain to bi-cast, but what does this mean for your sofa?

The highest quality of leather you can get is full-grain. Full-grain leather is only treated with a hair removal process followed by a natural soak to dye it and that’s it.

Because of the high quality of full-grain leather, it lasts for a very long time. The general rule of thumb is that the worse quality of leather you have, the less time it will last before you need to replace it. Full-grain leather is not commonly used in sofas, however, due to its very high price.

In leather sofas, however, there are three main types of leather that are used more commonly than full-grain:

  • Pigmented Leather – Pigmented leather is the best for durability out of all leathers used to make sofas. A pigment is added using a surface coating which provides durability against spills, fading and any scratches.
  • Semi-Aniline Leather – Semi-aniline leather has a natural appearance whilst also having a light coating applied to the surface to make it more resistant to damage.
  • Aniline Leather – Analine leather is the most similar looking to full-grain leather in that it looks very natural and unmodified. It does not contain any coating, and usually is only dyed to colour, but this means it is not as resistant as the other options. It is also susceptible to sunlight and can absorb moisture easily.

Lower quality leathers, or even artificial leathers such as faux, will therefore have a lower lifespan than genuine high-quality leathers.

How to Make Your Leather Sofa Last for Longer

The basics of making your sofa last longer are mainly found in basic maintenance and cleaning.

If you have any spills on the sofa, make sure to clean them up quickly and correctly. It also makes sense to use a leather conditioner every once in a while to keep the quality of the leather over a long period.

Aside from that, keeping the padding beneath in good condition is a result of not overusing the sofa. You should always check the legs of your sofa as well to check for any mechanical or water damage.

What Type Of Leather Lasts The Longest?

We hinted at this beforehand but full-grain leather is the most durable of all leather.

This is because it is only treated to one process and retains the quality and durability of genuine leather. Despite this, full-grain leather is not actually used in furniture very often because it is so expensive.

The leather that lasts the longest and is used for sofas regularly is pigmented leather, which contains a polymer coating for added durability.

How Can You Tell If A Leather Sofa Is Good Quality?

The key to identifying if a leather sofa is worth buying is in the texture and smell.

The grain of the leather should not be uniform at all, and it should have a distinct leather smell all around. Faux leather (artificial) has the smell of chemicals rather than genuine leather, so it should be easy to tell them apart.

The leather itself should be quite soft to the touch and not feel similar to plastic at all. You should also ask for a certificate of authenticity if you are buying from a reputable sofa dealer.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Leather?

Although most leather is really durable and (usually) quite easy to maintain, it does have a couple of key disadvantages that are worth thinking about.

Expensive

Most leather sofas are going to cost quite a lot, as leather is a lot more expensive than alternative sofa materials such as polyester or linen.

The cost comes from the difficulty in manufacturing leather and also the treatment process that it has to undergo before it can be used. It is also a natural material unlike a lot of other sofa materials which results in a higher price.

You do get what you pay for though and a genuine leather sofa will last you a good time with the right maintenance. It can actually save you more money down the line due to how long some leather sofas can last – in the time you own one leather sofa you might end up going through two or more fabric ones!

Some Leathers Can Be Difficult To Maintain

I know, we said that most leather sofas are easy to maintain, but there are certain types that are actually more work than other materials.

The main culprit for this is aniline leather, which is meant to appear as natural as possible. This type of leather is not very waterproof, so any spillages you have will need to be dealt with immediately.

It’s also not resistant to UV and will fade if you put it in the wrong place. For this leather to work you’ll need to regularly condition the leather to maintain the natural appearance.

Final Thoughts

Leather sofas make for great investments if you maintain them well.

Please let us know if you have any other questions by contacting us here!