cracked leather Tag
Most car interior leather and motorcycle seats are fully finished, and there are a couple of reasons why it cracks. Cracking usually occurs when the protective coating on fully finished leather is worn down or when there has been a manufacturer problem.
1. Body oil and dirt can cause leather to crack -
It is very easy for dirt and oils to collect on the surface of leather. Together, these act like a fine sand paper, breaking down the protective layer on fully finished leather over time, eventually leading to visible cracks at the surface. Once the protective layer is broken down, the leather underneath, which is incredibly porous, soaks up the dirt and oil sitting on its surface causing further abrasion and damage.
2. A manufacturer problem can cause leather to crack -
Tanneries put a layer of dye and a protective top coating on cow hide (almost like paint on drywall) to make fully finished leather. Leather has a lot of give and will stretch and move as people sit and slide around on it, so the manufacturer needs to stretch it properly before they put on the dye and protective top coating. If they don’t stretch it well, the leather will quickly stretch more than the dye can handle, and the coating will crack.
Once leather is cracked, a leather repair professional can typically fix it, however, it is much cheaper and easier to clean and take care of your leather seats from the start than to deal with cracking after it happens.
We’d be happy to answer any additional questions you have. Please post questions in the comments below, and, if you want to show us a photo of a specific piece of leather, either post it on our Facebook page or contact your local franchisee.
Leather furniture and upholstery will inevitably face some wear and tear throughout its life, and there are many types of damage you can’t avoid. However, sun damage is one problem that can definitely be prevented. Too much sunlight and heat will fade and/or dry out your leather.
Fading is commonly seen in semi-aniline and aniline leathers, and it is less common in fully-finished leathers that have a protective topcoat. It’s a problem people frequently face, and, if you put your leather furniture next to a window that gets a lot of sunlight, you can see fading in as little as 4 to 6 months.
Drying will occur with any type of leather. The sun’s heat slowly causes the moisture and natural oil in leather to evaporate. Over time, if you don’t care for your leather properly, it will dry out and crack.
How to Prevent Sun Damage
One crucial step to preventing fading and cracking is to, if possible, keep your leather furniture out of direct sunlight. You can do all the right things to protect your sofa, but, if it’s directly in front of a sunny window, it is only a matter of time before the heat takes its toll. If you do need to place furniture in front of a window (we know, most people do), invest in some blinds to shade your furniture from the sun during the hottest, sunniest parts of the day. Those blinds will be a lot cheaper than taking your leather upholstery to a professional for patching and re-dying later on down the road.
Another important precaution to take is to clean and protect your furniture 3-4 times a year with a leather conditioning kit. For tips, check out our post on how to clean and protect your leather.
On a final note, do not try to treat your leather with olive oil or any other type of oil—it will end up causing major damage in the long run.
Questions? Comments? We’d love to hear from you!
One of the most common problems with leather furniture is scratching. Fortunately, surface scratches on leather are pretty easy to take care of.
What you need to know:
Most leather furniture is made of fully-finished leather that does not scratch easily. It has a surface coating that prevents the type of minor surface scratches that are so often a problem on less durable types of leather, like semi-aniline or aniline. If you experience minor scratching on your aniline leather, use the following information to remedy the problem. If your fully-finished or semi-aniline leather has been scratched, it is likely scratched too deeply for this method to be effective, and you may need to call a professional.
To be totally honest, if aniline or semi-aniline upholstery leather cracks, it’s often too far gone to be worth repairing. Now, this is not always the case, but when these leathers crack, it’s usually the result of problems that have been neglected or unnoticed for a long, long time. Fully-finished leather is different, though. Check out another of our blog posts for explanations of the most common types of upholstery leather.
Cracking of fully-finished leather is actually a very common problem that leather restoration experts can easily fix, but like most things with leather furniture, it’s easier (and cheaper) to take care of the problem before it really becomes a problem.
Why does leather crack?
Our estimate is that 95% of cracking in fully-finished leather starts with one of these two culprits: