If the leather you’re using is real, meaning that it’s not bonded or faux leather, then it should not peel. This sentence alone should answer your question “does Italian leather peel?”. However, there is a little more to know before we could actually make such bold statements. There are special situations and places where even the real full grain leather could peel. Does it mean it’s fake? Nope. Let’s try to answer the question in greater detail below.
[Good Read: What is Italian Leather?]
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The Quality of Italian Leather
Italian leather has proved to be one of the best in the global leather market. One of the earliest demands for Italian leather was in horse saddles. Farmers and ranchers in Italy needed a comfortable, yet dependable way to get around and the leather in the region proved to be the best. Italian leather was designed and continues to be made to withstand daily use. The abovementioned article “What is Italian Leather?” will explain more about Italian history and heritage in leather making.
The problem rather arises during the making of a final product, and not what type of leather one is using. Whether it’s full grain, top grain or even lower quality split leather, if it’s not bonded (or glued) from leather scraps, there is nothing that could peel. The photos you see of coaches and other pieces of furniture with holes in the middle are the perfect example of bonded leather peeling.
Real leather is integral piece of material that can be scratched and maybe even torn, but nothing like in many horrible pictures you could find online where it’s clearly the small pieces of leather coming off little by little making the hole bigger every day.
What Causes the Peeling?
Peeling can be caused by a few reasons. First and by far the most common one – the use of poor quality bonded leather. As mentioned above, bonded leather is first scratched, exposed to high heat or worn down by simple wear and tear at a certain part where it looses its integrity. Then just like a puzzle that is being torn, it will be break down piece by piece. Don’t forget that bonded leather is made of numerous leather scraps that were glued and mixed together with a special plastic-like material. Therefore it’s not an integral piece of leather, but rather many small pieces held together by “glue”.
Then there is a more delicate situation regarding the real leather, where real and solid pieces of leather are glued to make the final product, such as belts and very expensive real leather furniture for example. Some manufacturers don’t want the stitches to show (for design, style or any other reason), and thus they opt to glue those parts. Usually the glue tends to hold them for even decades, however, if the part at which several different pieces of leather were glued is heavily used or exposed to high heat, it might start coming off. However, it won’t peel like human skin after a bad sunburn (like bonded leather), but it will simply start coming off in it’s entirety, hanging longer and longer.
Unlike bonded leather, real leather can be simply re-glued extending the lifespan of your product for many more years. Bonded leather, on the other hand, can be thrown out.
Can I Extend the Lifespan of Leather?
Yes, you can. You will simply need to take a better care of it. While real leather will serve you for many years (unless it’s been heavily damaged by a metal scrap or something alike) no matter what you do, bonded leather needs more attention in order to prolong it’s lifespan.
There are specific creams that have been designed for cleaning, nourishing and protecting leather, be it real or bonded. These leather creams help to moisturize the leather and remove any dust or dirt from the surface of the product. It’s especially relevant for bonded leather products, because such creams tend to reinforce integrity of leather scraps and keep them together longer.
Real leather will survive for many years regardless of what you do. However, if you care about how it looks, our leather cream balsam will certainly hide those new scratches and bring the shininess back to life.
So, does Italian leather peel? As you can see, yep. However, the peeling and the damage to your product brought by it is completely different depending on the quality of leather used in the making of it. When the real leather starts peeling, there is usually no damage done to the fibrous structure of leather, and therefore it can be repaired and its life extended. Bonded leather, on another hand, once catches the peeling virus, it is doomed to die. Therefore, you need to choose wisely before engaging yourself in the search of your next leather article.
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