Types of Leather by Wellington


Is all leather furniture protected against stains, scratches, and spills?

The answer is no.  There are three different types of top grain leathers that are used by quality leather furniture brands.  They are full aniline, semi-aniline and finished leathers. Leather sofas and sectionals built by the better brands will be upholstered using one of these types of genuine leather.  Here is a brief overview of each of them.

Pure aniline leathers -These are leather hides that only dye has been applied.  There are no other additives added during the tanning process other than the color dye.  These are usually hides of premium quality that are considered the cream of the crop and are the most desired by true leather connoisseurs.  These hides will always be full grain hides, not a corrected grain.

These hides are placed in large steel drums and aniline dyes are added as the hides are rotated and tumbled for color and softness.  The dyes soak through the leather keeping the color the same from the top of the hide down to the suede.  Other products that can be added are waxes or petroleum-based products.  If these are added, you will have as a result a wax pull up leather.

Unlike just a pure aniline hide a wax pull-up leather hide will give you movement through your leather furniture.  These hides will change with use over the years unlike a protected leather that will remain the same.  As you sit, if you spill on, or animals jump from cushion to cushion the marks will show.  Then as your body oils work back through the hide, the color will come back.  These leathers will price in the upper price point but are well worth the cost if you love the natural look and feel only a pure aniline leather has.

Semi-Aniline or Aniline Plus Leathers – These are hides that have a good degree of protection and still reflect a natural look and feel.  These hides can be a consistent color or be offered with shade variations much like a pure aniline. Although with greater protection and at a lower price point.  These hides may also be of a matte finish or exhibit a shine or slight patina look. Unlike a pure aniline leather these hides will not have waxes on the surface, therefore the surface has been locked in place and will remain the same throughout the life of the piece.

These hides are a great in between choice for using on a leather sofa or chair.  Giving you a soft natural look, durable wear and a lower price point.  These are offered in both full and corrected grain leathers.

Finished Leathers – These hides are the most protected against water and oil-based spills.  They will not change with use over the life of your leather furniture.  These hides will also offer the best degree of protection from the sun.  These leathers are finished with a clear finish topcoat that helps repel liquids and helps resist scratches.  Often finished leathers also have a corrected grain instead of a full grain due to the condition of the hides.  Often scars, range marks, tick marks and even urine burns can remain. By correcting the surface grain these will be less visible in your furniture. Although finished leathers cost less, they are very family friendly for those that want easy wipe up and no worries.