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Leather Restoration Shouldn't Be Attempted By Homeowners

Leather restoration is essential to preserving the feel and look of the furniture, as this material can quickly deteriorate if it is not taken care of properly. Over time, the material will dry out, possibly cracking or discoloring. If it ever reaches this point, it will be difficult to bring it back to its original state. However, professionals can either maintain the appearance and texture of the material, or repair it should it sustain damage or too much wear if done before it has deteriorated too much. This alone can save a homeowner hundreds of dollars in unnecessary replacement, and it can usually be done rather quickly.

What are the concepts of leather restoration?

This material is perhaps more reliant on maintenance than any other form of upholstery or fabric. Ideally, you want the furniture to appear weathered, but remain pliable and feel smooth to the touch. Dehydration is the enemy of the material, and something that upholstery and other fabrics don’t have to contend with. And this material is highly susceptible to abrasions and cuts, so it requires a little more care during treatment.

During maintenance, it is essential to remove all dirt, grit, and solid debris, as they can scratch the material. Much of the effort during treatment involves rubbing in cleaners and moisturizers, and all debris needs to be out of the way before this step. Vacuuming is the most effective way to get rid of dirt. At this point, every technician uses their own collection of special cleansing agents and oils to clean the material and infuse it with moisture. This is where the real work is done during treatment, as it will improve the color and pliability of the material, making it more resistant to age, wear and pressure. A regular application of conditioner will maximize the life of the material, but it needs to be handled by a professional because a homeowner may inadvertently damage the furniture if the wrong conditioner is used. This can make the furniture feel greasy or sticky.

Sometimes, leather restoration is what’s needed, such as when a homeowner picks up a chair from an estate sale, or when a sofa is exposed to excess sunlight through a window. Punctures, tears, scratches and discolored spots are all reasons for extensive repair, and it takes expert assistance to perform it correctly. The real difficulty in repairing the material is ensuring the color is preserved following repair. Until recently, even professionals had to patch up damage with upholstery, which was usually unsightly. Now, certified technicians can take even badly damaged furniture, find material that matches the original color, and integrate it into the furniture without leaving behind obvious seams. Every repair job offers unique challenges, so it should only be managed by a professional.

Only a small handful of technicians can perform leather restoration, and thorough training under an expert is essential. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) can help a professional attain this training and perform highly complex repair jobs.

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