Usually found on high-end furnishings, full-grain and top-grain leathers are the best of the best. Generally, the better quality the hide, the fewer "treatments" it requires in order to produce a workable upholstery leather.
"Top-grain" indicates that the best part of the hide is used - the outer or topmost surface - which is stronger, softer, more pliable, and more attractive than the lower layers.
These leathers retain all the character and uniqueness of the hide itself, which can often include natural "imperfections" such as insect bites, scars, and horn scrapes.
While full-grain leathers are left unfinished, with top-grain hides, the more noticeable imperfections are often gently buffed out and a protective finish coat is added, increasing stain resistance.
Full- and top-grain leathers can be used on all parts of the sofa or chair, most often on the parts of the seating where our bodies normally make contact with the furniture, i.e. back cushions, armrests, leg rests, and seat cushions. The sides and back of the leather furniture are sometimes - but not always! - finished in a lower grade leather hide in order to save on costs without sacrificing quality.
Split leather is made from the lower layers of the hide. Due to its cellular structure, splits tend to be naturally weaker and subject to stretching.
In order to increase strength, durability, and moisture resistance, split leather is reinforced in multiple layers and its surface is treated. (It’s important to note that split leather is real full hide leather — as opposed to vinyl or “pleather,” which is simply inorganic plastic glued to a fabric backing.)
Split leather is not to be confused with bonded leather, which is not considered full hide leather since it is made by bonding together smaller scraps of leather. If you’re looking at a piece of furniture covered with bonded leather, keep in mind how the piece will be used. For light wear, bonded leather is often an attractive, cost-effective alternative to full grain or top grain hides.
Within the past few years, new products such as leather gel have been developed which blend real raw leather material with a gel to produce a uniform leather-like covering with the look and feel of high-end Italian leather.
This leather gel is then seamlessly fused to a high-performance, breathable fabric backing, which allows value-priced leather gel to mimic the look and feel of much costlier hides.
Because we have relationships with many of the world’s top tanneries, we can buy high-end leather hides in bulk at closeout prices, then design and produce limited edition collections of high quality, low price leather furniture.
Since the majority of the cost of a leather sofa is in the leather itself, this brings the cost down substantially on premium goods. The Dump also buys leather furniture overstocks and closeouts from famous name manufacturers at pennies on the dollar, then offers them to our customers at a fraction of their original price.
Sometimes these overstocks happen simply due to changing which grade of hide is matched with a particular sofa frame, or if the furniture manufacturer changes leather suppliers.
Sometimes a big-name leather furniture store accidentally keys in a different color for an item in a particular living room collection, resulting in one piece of furniture that doesn’t quite match the others.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the item, other than the mismatched hue. So The Dump buys these and other pristine “oops” pieces and offers them to the public at amazing prices every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Come into The Dump and check out our leather selection for yourself. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the styles, the colors, and the selection — but most of all by the savings!