Finished vs. Unfinished Leather Furniture

Finished vs. Unfinished Leather Furniture
July 12, 2017 Type of Leather

Leather furniture can be expensive but it’s a great investment. Shopping for quality furnishings for your home means getting your money’s worth. If you are looking for quality home furnishings, leather furniture should be one of your top choices.

There is a lot of jargon associated with buying leather furniture so you need to know what exactly you are looking for. We are here to give you some ideas on what finished and unfinished leather furniture are all about.

What is finished leather?

Finished leather has been treated with a top coating. That is, the leather has a protective layer that prevents wear and tear, and it makes it waterproof. Due to this layer of protection, finished leather is easier to clean and condition compared to natural or unfinished leather. The extra layer in finished leather also protects the leather’s colour as it does not stain as easily and will resist liquids. The protective layer also provides the finished leather with its texture.

The process of making finished leather usually involves dipping in aniline dye, coating with pigmented resin, and then applying a clear coat. This process leaves the leather’s colour without much depth unlike the very rich colour of unfinished leather.

Maintaining finished leather furniture

Cleaning and maintaining finished leather furniture is easy. Just softly rub with leather cleaner on a clean cloth and let it dry, then you can apply leather conditioner to replenish its natural oils. However, some finished leather furniture has a thick clear coating which makes it difficult to absorb leather conditioners. If your finished leather furniture has an extra thick coating, a damp cloth and warm, soapy, water are your tools to clean it.

What is unfinished leather?

Unfinished leather is what we call natural leather. Unlike finished leather, unfinished leather doesn’t go through treatment. It is richer in colour and softer than finished leather. However, because it doesn’t have any protective coating, it is highly absorbent making it more vulnerable to wear and tear, stains, and other damage.

Unfinished leather does not go through the same processes as finished leather. After the leather is dipped in an aniline dye solution, it is not applied with pigmented resin so it maintains its rich colour. The disadvantage to this is that it tends to absorb liquids. Because unfinished leather furniture does not have a protective coating, it is soft and warmer to touch.

Taking care of unfinished leather furniture

Cleaning unfinished leather furniture is not as easy as cleaning finished leather furniture. The cleaning and maintenance of unfinished leather requires a different technique. Do not use a leather cleaner unless you really need to. A soft dry brush or a soft dry cloth are all you need to clean your unfinished leather furniture.

There are a lot of people who prefer unfinished leather furniture because it develops nice honey or amber coloured patina over time. This develops because the leather absorbs oils from your skin with daily contact.

Which is the better choice?

The better choice depends on your personal taste and lifestyle. These two types of leather each have pros and cons. If you want low maintenance and something that’s not quite as vulnerable to damage, go for finished leather furniture. If you have the time or resources to maintain unfinished leather furniture, then go for it.

Caring for leather furniture isn’t hard as long as you know the type of leather furniture that you have. If you do not know if your furniture has finished or unfinished leather, contact a good leather cleaning service so you don’t ruin your beautiful furniture. Leather furniture, whether finished or unfinished, is a great investment – make sure that you clean and maintain it properly.

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