How to determine if your furniture is worth restoring

damaged furnitureTo get started on your furniture repair journey, ask yourself a few questions:

  1. What’s the furniture worth – both in dollars and cents and sentimental value?
  2. What would replacement cost be vs. restoring?
  3. What type of material is it exactly?

Questions 1 & 2 will be easy to answer. Question 3 can be mysterious at times and it may be the key to whether or not it’s worth repairing at all. Let’s explore…

First, determine what type of material you actually have on the furniture: Is it genuine leather or is it bonded leather? If the top layer of the furniture is flaking and peeling away like sunburnt skin, chances are likely that you have bonded leather, which actually isn’t leather. If you’ve got bonded leather, here’s the black and white answer to question #3 above: it can’t be repaired.

couch flaking and peeling

Why? Bonded leather is like the hotdog of leathers. It’s made of tiny bits of shredded leftover leather that’s sprayed onto the back of a piece of vinyl. The top side of the vinyl is then stamped and colored to have a leather-like look, but it’s far from actual leather. The complex manufacturing process of bonded leather can’t be replicated as a repair process, therefore, once bonded leather starts peeling, you’re generally out of luck when it comes to repair options.

On the other hand, if you have genuine leather furniture that looks tired, dirty, or has stains, you do have some DIY options. There are many furniture cleaners and protectors on the market that home-owners can try themselves, Fibrenew’s Professional-Grade Care Kits being one of them.

Using a two-part cleaning and protection kit will always produce better results than an all in one solution. It’s worth the extra step. Oftentimes, a good thorough cleaning and conditioning can make a leather couch look a lot better. Just like mom used to tell you, always follow the kit’s directions and do your best.

leather couch cleaned and protected

If you have rips, tears, pet damage or fading on your leather furniture, that’s where DIY becomes more difficult. There are repair kits on the market that promise ‘like-new results’ in restoring color or covering blemishes and damage. Again, we turn to mom’s advice to never take candy from a stranger – that is, don’t take the bait with these repair kits. Matching color, texture, and grain of a piece of leather is akin to cosmetic surgery of your leather couch. There is both an art and a science to this and it’s best to call a trained professional for help.

leather couch restored

In summary; take pen to paper and sketch out the pros and cons of whether your furniture can be repaired based on its value, your available time, what type of damage it is as well as it’s material, then make a call from there. When it doubt, reach out to a Fibrenew restoration professional for guidance.


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5 Stars
“We contacted Terry to do some leather repair for a customer of ours at the dealership.  He ended up corresponding with the customer directly, and setting a time to meet with her to repair the leather in her vehicle.  I saw before and after pictures, and was amazed at the work. Terry and Fibrenew will be my GO TO now for all future leather work.  Thanks for the great work and for being professional. Steve Lewey Internet Sales Manager Wright Automotive, Hillsboro, IL”
- Steve L. - Hillsboro, IL


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