4 Leather Furniture Restoration Ideas
- May 26, 2017
- Guardsman Furniture Repair
Leather is particularly susceptible to many of our day-to-day accidents and routines that tend to wear down furniture. Most families’ leather couches sport some sort of apparent flaw, and while jarring at first, is eventually accepted as the cost of having leather furniture. A lot of these flaws even have good stories behind them (like the time the dog punctured the leftmost cushion), but nonetheless you’d probably prefer they weren’t there in the first place.
Although leather furniture restoration gets a really bad rap, there are a few tips and tricks that can make it much more manageable. And luckily for you, we’ve compiled the best ones right here!
Fixing Holes, Punctures and Tears
Let’s revisit the dog for a second. Yes, you love your family pet. No, you do not love their sharp nails and teeth. It’s fairly common to have a hole or some sort of puncture on your leather couch—and if you don’t catch them soon enough they often turn into bigger tears. But what most people don’t realize is there’s a fix you can try, usually with something already in your home: super glue. Now this trick generally works if the puncture/tear is fairly small (less than 1 inch), larger tears and rips are trickier. But if the hole/tear is small enough, try applying super glue (or leather glue if you have it) to the sides of the tear. Immediately press together the two sides so that the leather is joined back with itself, and you can no longer see the inside of the furniture. Be sure to wipe away any visible super glue or leather glue before it dries. Don’t let anyone sit down (especially the dog!) for at least an hour so the tear has time to bond. For larger tears and rips, we recommend a professional take a look first.
Reverse Color Fading
Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and high temperatures are catastrophic to leather upholstery. Sometimes only years later do people start to notice some of their leather furniture’s color has begun to fade. The fix for this is a little more time-consuming, and much trickier since no two leather colors are exactly alike. But with a little patience a solid remedy can be achieved. First use leather cleaner to remove any dirt on the affected area. Next reach for a bottle of leather conditioner which will add moisture back into the leather. By conditioning and moisturizing the affected area, you are effectively re-darkening the faded leather, which allows it to blend in better. If this doesn’t work, then it’s time to try leather dye. Although we recommend using a professional for this process as well, you can first try finding the right color of leather dye to match your leather couch. Remember this is much harder than it looks and can result in a two-toned couch if you’re not careful. Using a leather dye applicator sponge, carefully spread the leather dye evenly across the affected area and let dry. Make sure you don’t sit back down for at least 48 hours after the application.
Reverse Color Darkening
Yes, now you have to worry about both fading and darkening! Some leather will darken over time if exposed to a lot of body oils or if you are a little too liberal with leather conditioner. Remember when we said UV light from the sun was catastrophic to leather furniture? This may be the only case where it can come in handy. Since UV light fades the color of leather, exposing your darkened leather to the sun can actually reverse the damage. Just be sure to watch it very carefully and don’t overdo it!
Smoothing Flaky Leather
Sometimes the finish on old leather couches will begin to flake away from use and age. If you have a bonded leather couch there’s really no quick fix; it makes more sense just to reupholster the piece with something else. If this is finish that is chipping away, however, first try sanding away the flakes you see with a piece of sand paper. Be sure not to place too much pressure while doing this, just enough to remove the pieces that are flaking already. Next try applying leather dye to the uncolored surface using a leather dye applicator, being careful to not spread the dye on unaffected areas.
You’ll probably notice after reading this article that leather furniture restoration is no walk in the park. There are lots of things that can go wrong with leather and even more ways to mess it up when trying to repair it. When in doubt, always consult first with a furniture repair specialist who can give detailed advice specific to the piece in your home. And next time make sure the dog doesn’t jump on the couch!