Levels of Leather Grades
- Full-Grain Leather
- Top-Grain Leather
- Corrected Leather
- Genuine Leather (Split Grain)
- Bonded Leather
What is Full-Grain Leather?
Its natural markings and flaws have not been polished, sanded, or rubbed off of the surface. Because the grain has not been removed, the fibers are stable and strong. Due to the grain's ability to breathe, leather that has been in contact for a long time retains less moisture. This kind of leather does not easily deteriorate. Instead, a thin layer called a patina forms, which not only gives the leather a beautiful appearance but also shields it from wear and corrosion. High-end furniture and footwear are made using it.
- The highest quality leather available
- Made from the top layer of the animal's hide, which is the strongest and most durable part
- Has natural imperfections such as scars, wrinkles, and grain variation, giving it a unique and rustic look
- Retains its natural oils and develops a beautiful patina over time
Full-Grain Leather by Wilfred's Leather Co.
What is Top-Grain Leather?
The second-highest leather quality is top-grain leather. The top layer of this leather is peeled away, becoming more flexible and thinner. Its surface is sanded, and a finish layer is added to make it feel smooth, but less breathable, giving the impression that it is less warm. When it ages a patina also forms which shields it from deterioration and damage, extending its lifespan. It is less expensive than full-grain leather and more stain-resistant. Due to its durability and accessibility, this kind of leather is preferred by many individuals.
- Second-highest quality leather
- Made from the top layer of the animal's hide, but with the imperfections removed through sanding or buffing
- More uniform in appearance than full-grain leather
- Can still develop a patina over time, but not as pronounced as full-grain leather
What is Corrected Grain?
Leather from the top of the hide, where the surface has been cleaned or buffed, is known as corrected grain. Top grain leather also refers to corrected grain. An illustration of corrected grain is nubuck.
Who would do this for a reason? Money. A cheap hide with several faults can be resurfaced to make it look uniform.
- Lower quality leather
- Made from the lower layers of the animal's hide, which are weaker and less durable
- Has an artificial grain applied to it to create a more uniform appearance
- Doesn't develop a patina like full-grain or top-grain leather
What is Genuine Leather?
Although it is technically leather, it is regarded by industry professionals as a very low-quality product because it isn't as strong or attractive as high-quality leather.
Genuine leather is produced with only the smallest possible cut. It has undergone extensive processing and is devoid of the inherent grain of the original hide.
- Genuine leather is a term used to describe real leather made from animal hide.
- It is typically the third or fourth quality grade of leather.
- Genuine leather can vary in quality and durability depending on the animal it comes from and how it is processed.
- It is often treated with a protective coating to enhance its durability and appearance.
- Despite its lower quality, genuine leather can still be a good option for those on a budget or for certain types of products.
What is Bonded Leather?
Technically speaking, bonded leather is not leather at all. Instead, it is a mixture of glue, vinyl, leather dust, leather scraps, and plastic that has been joined by a difficult method. It's a reasonably inexpensive commodity that doesn't endure the test of time, much like genuine leather.
Bonded leather is frequently used to make inexpensive upholstered furniture, as well as cheap purses, apparel, and other leather goods.
- Lowest quality leather
- Made from leather scraps and bonded together with polyurethane or latex
- Has a plastic-like feel and is not durable
- Often used in furniture or low-quality leather goods