Genuine vs Artificial Leather: How To Identify Artificial Leather Sofa

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So you’ve spotted a gorgeous leather sofa set, but you’re left wondering if the leather is artificial or genuine? It’s definitely a cause for concern, especially if you want to purchase a genuine leather sofa and not be duped into purchasing an artificial leather sofa.

This article will help you distinguish genuine leather from artificial ones and cover some genuine leather processes. Knowing these can help you understand better what to look for when purchasing a full leather sofa.

3 Ways To Identify Artificial & Genuine Leather

Leather sofas are lucrative investments for your homes. Not only do they add considerable pride and personality to your living space, but they also offer lasting comfort. However, with various types of leather upholstery making their way into the market, you don’t want to invest a generous sum on the wrong leather.

To help you make a safe purchase, we’ve put together a list of three methods to help you identify and distinguish artificial leather from genuine leather – read on to make the right choice!

Method #1: Do a touch test

Among the things you can do to determine if the leather sofa you’re considering is genuine is to perform a “touch test.” This involves running your hands over the surface of the leather to feel its texture.

Artificial leather has a smooth and almost plastic-like feel, whereas genuine leather feels flexible and soft yet has a grainy texture. Additionally, genuine leather can be stretched, but artificial leather cannot. In terms of warmth, genuine leather has a warmer surface than artificial leather, which will feel cool to the touch.

Method #2: Do a smell test

Performing a smell test helps a great deal in identifying genuine and artificial leather.

Usually, genuine leather emits an oaky scent, almost like fresh hay, while artificial leather does not. To identify the scent of genuine leather, first, smell an item you certainly know is not made of artificial leather, like a genuine leather wallet, handbag or belt.

This can help to alert you if you smell a leather sofa that emits a scent too distant from genuine leather.

Method #3: Look for the pores

If you want a leather sofa, pay attention to the pores. Since leather is made from animal hides, there should be visible pores on the hides used to make sofas.

So, if you notice numerous, inconsistent tiny pores scattered throughout the surface of a leather sofa, that signifies the leather is genuine. If the pores are absent, then there are chances for the leather to be artificial.

However, the con of this method is that it can be challenging to spot the pores on the leather sofa since animal hide goes through various processes before being upholstered on furniture. This may alter the appearance of the pores, making it difficult to be seen with the naked eye.

Instead, you can try pouring a little water on the leather sofa to check for the presence of pores. Genuine leather can dissipate moisture, as the pores absorb water, while an artificial one does not.

Genuine Leather Processes

Genuine Leather

If you’re thinking of buying a genuine leather sofa, it’s important to understand the production process. This will help you in making an informed decision and give you a clearer picture of what to expect when you buy a leather sofa.

These are the steps that are typically involved in leather-making:

  • Step 1: The skins will go through thorough cleaning, unhairing, fleshing, soaking (rehydration), and bating, which soften them to get ready for tanning.
  • Step 2: The skins will then be converted into rot-proof leather (i.e., leather that cannot decompose), hot water-resistant, low water content leather, using tannins, substances comprising vegetable or mineral salts, or a combination of them.
  • Step 3: The skins will be wet-dyed and fat-liquored to make them supple and more robust.
  • Step 4: The dyed leather will be stretched out and dried before being graded for quality. Nubuck leather can be created by buffing leather at this point. Nubuck leather is a top-grain leather that resembles a velvet-like surface.
  • Step 5: The leather will be coloured at this stage to give it its final appearance with different techniques that will affect the final product’s quality:
    • Aniline leather has a lovely natural finish and is coloured by immersion in a dye bath. This leather is not subjected to any surface treatment. 
    • Semi-aniline leather has a more harmonised colour and flaws masked with two layers: translucent material and slightly opaque pigment.
    • Leather that comes with a pigment finish has pigment sprayed into it. This makes the leather water-resistant and easy to maintain.
    • In ‘corrected grain leather’ cases, pigment is applied to skins that have been sanded. This is a method to re-create a grain finish.

What is the difference between Nappa Grain Leather and Corrected Grain Leather?

Nappa Grain Leather

The main difference between Nappa leather and other types of leather is the tanning process. Chromium or aluminium sulphate, known for its softness and durability, is used in tanning Nappa leather hides. Additionally, this type of leather is usually dyed with water-soluble colourants to make it more fade-resistant and makes Nappa leather easier to clean.

Nappa leather is typically made of full-grain, unsplit animal skin. Full-grain skin has a surface that has not been altered other than to remove hair. And since it retains all of the texture of the original hide, full-grain leather is regarded as the most authentic type of leather.

This is why, on Nappa leather, many of the leather’s original textures and markings are preserved. It is also subjected to a finishing process that increases its durability and is well-known for being incredibly soft and pliable.

Nappa leather is widely used in high-end furniture and automobile seats. It’s stylish and elegant, not to mention long-lasting. Nappa leather seats and furniture have a significantly luxurious appearance and feel; most importantly, it is hypoallergenic.

Corrected-Grain Leather

On the other hand, corrected-grain leather is buffed and sanded to remove surface imperfections such as scars. The leather can then be imprinted with an artificial grain.

Corrected-grain, top-grain, and full-grain are all terms for leather made from animal hide, with only the production methods differing. In the case of corrected grain, the scarring and visible defects on the hides are removed by buffing after the hides are tanned. This process, like sanding wood smooth, changes the grain on the surface of the leather.

The grain of the leather is then restored by embossing or stamping it with artificial grain. This grain is more uniform in appearance, and the leather is often dyed with a semi-aniline or pigmented dye. Corrected grain leather is any leather altered to change its appearance in a manner that is unnatural to the original hide.

There is quite a quality variation when it comes to corrected grain. The degree of buffing, sanding and correction required on the surface of the hides determines the grade of corrected leather. The lower the amount of correction, the higher the grade.

Corrected-grain leather is as durable as full-grain leather, but the surface buffing removes its natural softness. Furthermore, the beautiful patina that characterises full-grain leather will not appear on corrected-grain leather.

Corrected grain leather is common and available in almost any style. When choosing a sofa made of corrected grain leather, remember that it is durable and has a uniform appearance, but it will not have a patina or feel as pleasant as Nappa grain leather.

Are you looking for genuine leather sofas in Malaysia? Visit Chesters Collection today!

There is nothing that can beat genuine leather when it comes to lasting quality, comfort, and luxury. If you have doubts or concerns about the authenticity of the leather of a sofa, feel free to consult with expert suppliers and furniture stores! Chesters Collection is one such place that provides genuine leather sofas that come in various styles.

If you are looking for genuine leather sofas in Malaysia, Chesters Collection is the place to go! We have been in business since 2003, offering a prestigious selection of leather sofas in Malaysia to suit anyone’s taste. WhatsApp us at +60129330759 now for more information.