Eden Furniture Blog
Real Leather, Bonded Leather, Faux Leather - Help! What's the difference?
When deciding whether or not to purchase a genuine leather chair or sofa versus a faux leather one, how do you decide? It's easier to make that decision when you know what exactly each is comprised of and how they vary. Below, we've outlined what each are and the differences between them to help you make an informed buying decision.
First off, starting at the top and the highest quality is Full Grain Leather.
Full grain leather comes from the top layer of the hide. It includes all the grain with it - hence the name full grain leather. This type of leather retains the inherent toughness, as well as the imperfections because there are no surface alterations or splitting.
It is the highest quality leather and thus, it is also the most expensive. Working with this leather material is challenging. It absorbs body oils and develops a patina over time - a characteristic that attributes to its popularity.
Coming in a close second is Top Grain Leather.
Top grain leather is the most common type of leather used in higher-end leather upholstered items. It has had the 'split' part of the hide removed - the layer that would show any natural imperfections or hide marks which is left on in Full Grain Leathers. The resulting hide is sanded to create an even, smooth texture. Next dyes are added and then a finish coat is applied that helps it resist stains. This premium cover material offers the best feel and comfort along with the best colour depth.
Next up is Genuine Leather often known as Corrected Grain / Split Leather
Split leather is made from the layer of hide that is left once the top-grain portion has been separated off. Hides are split horizontally into different layers, so a tannery gets several sheets of leather product from just one hide. The split portion of the hide has an artificial layer applied to it which is then embossed with a 'grain' to simulate the look of Top Grain. It's still leather, made from a real hide, however its cost drops even further, so it also is often found on very affordably-priced items that say 'real leather' or 'genuine leather'.
Finally for 'Real Leathers' we have Bonded Leather
Although this is represented as 'Genuine Leather' it really is not leather as most people would imagine and understand leather to be. Many customers who insist on having 'real leather' or 'genuine leather' upholstered furniture end up with bonded leather. Is it leather? You decide!
Bonded leather is made up of leftovers of the hide. This includes the dust and shavings. These are bonded together using polyurethane or latex on top of a fibre sheet. It is often spray-painted to look like full or top grain leather. Bonded leather is the lowest (and the cheapest) grade of leather.
These ground leather bits make the back of the material feel like suede, and this backing can also have an effect on how the material "feels" and upholsters. When a bonded leather is made with a good PU material, it can be difficult to tell the difference between it and real leather.
Bonded Leather is far less expensive than real leather but because of its real leather content, marketers can use the word "leather" in their descriptive materials. Some call it recycled leather or eco-friendly leather because the manufacturing process is more environmentally-friendly than leather production, which uses several harsh chemicals. But is it leather or not? You decide.
And the Man Made Contribution comes in the form of Faux Leather
These have been in production since the 1940's and have been improved considerably over time. Faux leather, or Polyurethane (PU), is a man-made material and represents the look and feel of genuine leather. It can be embossed with any texture, is water resistant, and easily cleaned and maintained. It offers a great value for lower priced items. Very nice quality PU can feel very soft and look like real leather. It can really fool you sometimes. To tell the difference, you look at the back of the material: if you see a woven fabric backing, it's PU (or vinyl). Some call PU "synthetic leather". At Eden Furniture, we use the term faux leather when the material is PU.
Many of the terms are not used consistently and can lead to confusion. The most common mistake is the understanding and use of the term "genuine leather". Genuine leather is most frequently used to describe low quality split leather or bonded leather, but many customers have made the very easy mistake of assuming that the word "genuine" means the opposite of "fake."
A number of companies use the term "genuine" in their product descriptions, in an attempt to convey the fact that they are not using faux leather. Although this is true, it can often be harsher, less comfortable and not as hard wearing as the real man made equivalent!!!
Winter Checks & Tips for Furniture
With summer now behind us, autumn is an important time of year to ensure that your outdoor furniture is cleaned and protected from the elements before winter hits. This will ensure that it is in tip top condition and ready to use when the sum returns.
Even furniture that is treated to be weather-resistant or is under a patio cover needs to be cared for and maintained. Spend a bit of time now, and you will be able to enjoy your outdoor living area when spring rolls around - and your furniture will be in top shape.
Teak and Hardwood Furniture
Teak is a tropical hardwood from South East Asia (commonly Indonesia). It is chosen as a premier hardwood as its properties include being a strong, resilient, oil rich wood which is selected due to its grain density. It is a very stable wood that does not warp or rot. Hardwood is a generic term for many woods with similar colour and characteristics, again mainly from South East Asia. These woods include Keruing, Balau, Shorea, Meranti and Eucalyptus. Compared to soft woods (such as pine) these woods have fairly dense grains, although not nearly as dense as teak.
Teak furniture is highly durable and will last for many years without preservatives or treatments. If untreated teak furniture will gradually fade to a silvery grey colour. Over time, natural weathering occurs and small crack (called crazing) may appear. This is perfectly normal and is caused by the expansion and contraction of the wood.
To clean teak & hardwood furniture either lightly sand the furniture or use warm soapy water and a soft brush. Sugar soap, bought from any local diy store will also help. Once clean wash the furniture down with clean water from either a bucket or hose. We do not recommend using a power washer as the force used can damage to furniture.
If you wish the furniture to maintain the original honey colour, the furniture should be treated annually with teak oil or a similar product. Prior to oiling the furniture should be cleaned as above and left to dry thoroughly. If an oil or preserver is applied when the furniture is wet or damp, then black mildew will grow underneath the oil and look very unsightly.
If you are leaving your furniture outside during the winter months, it is recommended that you cover it either with a purpose made cover or a tarpaulin. Make sure it is clean and bone dry before you cover it up and there is ventilation for air to circulate so that if moisture gets in it can also more easily get out on a dry day. Tilting furniture and keeping the feet off wet ground can help prevent rotting.
Resin & Plastic Furniture
Our Evolutif Resin furniture truly is a market leader. It is manufactured with a high chalk content which adds stability to the colours ensuring that the white resin stays white and the colours do not fade. Evolutif furniture is UV resistant and is anti static. It should be cleaned with a soft (non abrasive) cloth and mild soapy water. NEVER use chemicals or any abrasive items to clean your resin furniture. A tip to remove difficult dirt / stains is to spray with a furniture polish and allow that to soak into the stain.
Our Alfresco range of resin furniture is a budget priced range, but has been chosen by us as it offers tremendous value for money. Simply clean this furniture in exactly the same way as for the Evolutif resin furniture.
Resin & Plastic furniture that is left out over winter or exposed to strong sunshine can become brittle over time.
Stainless Steel Furniture
Our Stainless Steel furniture is manufactured from 304 grade stainless steel. This ensures that our products are suitable for outdoor use. Similar to the cleaning of the woods above, warm soapy should be used to remove marks and dirt. Many DIY outlets sell Stainless Steel cleaner which can help restore the original polished look. If you are leaving your furniture outside during the winter months, it is recommended that you cover it either with a purpose made cover or a tarpaulin. Make sure it is clean and bone dry before you cover it up and there is ventilation for air to circulate so that if moisture gets in it can also more easily get out on a dry day.
Our Wicker furniture is manufactured from a from polyethylene synthetic wicker which is suitable for all types of outdoor use. The wicker is UV resistant and in many of the models (i.e. Atlantic Chair) have a steel wire running through the centre of the wicker to add strength and stability. Clean with a power washer on a low setting or a hose pipe with a soft brush to remove the dirt. If you are leaving your furniture outside during the winter months, it is recommended that you cover it either with a purpose made cover or a tarpaulin. Make sure it is clean and bone dry before you cover it up and there is ventilation for air to circulate so that if moisture gets in it can also more easily get out on a dry day.
Make Me A Millionaire To Be Screened In The New Year...1st August 2013
Sky's take on the BBC's Dragons Den, Make Me A Millionaire is set to be screened in the UK in the New Year. This has special significance for us here at Eden Towers as Director Gary Vale was invited to appear as a judge and critic on one of the programs. The episode focussed on Outdoor Furniture and Gary was chosen because of his knowledge and experience within the industry.
Prior to its UK debut, Sky have sold the factual entertainment series to broadcaster throughout the world including broadcasters including UR in Sweden, Sky HD in South Korea, 365 Media in Iceland and pan regional Arabic satellite channel Al Rayan. Viasat has also picked up the series for its channels across Scandinavia, the Baltics and Eastern Europe.
The series was produced by Kalel Productions for Sky TV and comprises eight 60 minutes shows.
Make Me A Millionaire is described as 'a new business series with a feel-good factor'. It delves into the UK patent archives in search of some of the many brilliant inventions that didn't make it off the drawing board. Every episode sees two specialist presenters pick a forgotten invention each. They pay a surprise visit to the original inventors to find out where it went wrong and re-ignite their old passion. Tailor-made support from a team of experts then helps our inventors structure a business plan, produce and market-test a prototype and coaches them how to pitch. Finally, the moment of truth arrives, in front of potential investors and industry buyers, who are ready to fund production and hit the high street. Do they have what it takes to finally realise their dream?
As soon as the dates are confirmed, we will let you know.