Leather Types

CouchGuard® has put together this page to help you identify the different leather types that are on the market. You will notice a fair bit of difference in the appearance and the feel of each leather type. With the images shown, you will notice the difference between each leather finish.

Leather comes from animal skins mainly cattle, goat, sheep and pigskins. Although there is a great variety of leather types, leather can usually be put into one of three categories;

Category 1
  • Aniline (waxed or oiled)
Category 2
  • Semi-aniline
Category 3
  • Finished or Pigmented (top grain),
  • Corrected Grain and,
  • Bi-Cast.

A hide can be split down 4 or 5 times with the better, softer split being the top surface. The lower splits are used for the corrected grain and bi-cast leathers.

You then have your synthetic or man made "Leathers"

  • Bonded Leather,
  • Vinyl

Aniline Leather

aniline leather

Aniline leather is the most natural looking leather with the unique surface characteristics of the hide remaining visible such as scars, tic marks, fat wrinkles, growth marks etc. Only the best hides are used. Aniline leather is coloured only with dye and not with a pigment coating but is less resistant to soiling. Not for ever day use as spillages and body oils add "character" to its appearance giving it that worn / aged look.

Waxed or oiled aniline leathers have just that, a wax or oil buffed into the surface which over time lightens in colour when stretched during normal wear to produce a unique worn-in effect with time.

Aniline leather will darken when a mist of water is sprayed onto its surface

Semi Aniline Leather

semi aniline leather

Semi-aniline leather is more durable than aniline whilst still retaining its natural appearance scars, tic or bite marks etc. The increased durability is provided by the application of a light surface coating which contains a small amount of pigment and protective coating. This ensures consistent colour and some stain resistance.

Recommended for everyday use.

You will find this on alot of King Furniture.

Finished Leather

finished leather

Finished or Pigmented (top grain) leather is the most durable having all marks sanded and buffed than a pigment and protective coating applied. These finishes will conceal natural markings like which are found in aniline leathers. Most lounge manufactures will use this in the wear areas such as seating and arm rests then use a corrected grain on the backs and sides.

Recommended for everyday use.

This type of leather is the most commonlly used on furniture and almost all vehicle interiors today.

Corrected Leather

corrected grain leather

Corrected grain leather is the bottom part of the hide, with an even grain embossed into the top surface covered with a pigment and protective coating applied. Most lounge manufactures will use this on the sides and backs of sofas to cut the costs down.

Not recommended for everyday use.

This type of leather is the most commonlly used on the none wear areas furniture today such as backs and sides.

Bi-Cast Leather

aniline leather

Bi-Cast leathers are less natural in appearance and are made from the under layers of the hide with a almost smooth grain embossed into it and polyurethane finish. This is a lower grade leather and is generally used on the dining room chairs, bar stools and some "affordable" lounges. Its life spain is very short and will break down, peel the polyurethane finish layer and crack.

Not recommended.

Bonded Leather / Vinyl

bonded leather

Bonded Leather is vinyl. Don't be fooled into this being leather. Its make up is generally 87% PVC with a material backing. It has its place in the market but is not a high end or long lasting product and will peel the top layer very quickly.

You will find that "Bonded Leather" sofas have a very even, light grain and looks and feels like plastic.

Not recommended for high usage areas.