The thing that allures you into buying leather is its classy appearance and expected longevity. But it might be hard to know what kind of leather will last the longest.
You may have wondered why some of your leathery items go well for years but some can’t go further than a single use. Well, that’s what we’re about to decode here, along with factors affecting its durability and lifespan. So, let’s just dive into the details of this exciting guide!
Types of Leather
Even the types of leather have different types. People categorize them based on quality, grade, cut, finish, texture, and animals. However, we’ll discuss the most common category here. Mainly there are four types of it:
Durability of Different Types of Leather
1. Full-Grain Leather
Eyeing for the highest, toughest, strongest, and best quality leather? Look no further than full-grain. With all the grains of hide and no processing other than hair removal make a strong case for its out of world toughness. Handbags from this type will last for at least two decade even with mediocre care.
2. Top-Grain Leather
The second to the best is top-grain that has its grain sanded for proper finishing. It does come at a compromise on toughness, but still is strong enough to withstand harsh conditions. You can again expect longevity of a decade with pretty decent care.
3. Corrected Leather
Corrected leather is obtained from any hide part and adequately treated (sanded and buffed). So, its durability depends on the methods of tanning and manufacturing. It can still be durable depending on the quality of processing and range from a couple of years to 8 or 10 years.
4. Bonded Leather
The bonded leather (aka faux leather) is the least quality one. Considered as leather-like fabric, it is made up of hide scraps mixed with polyurethane. That’s why it purity ranges from only 10-15%. Hence, it is the weakest and typically lasts just for couple of years.
Longevity by Different Animal Hides
1. Goat Skin
This one is premium due to the softness and exquisite appearance. It is also among the most costly ones for luxurious items. So, for the sake of the elite class, it lasts up to 5-6 years (sometimes more with great care).
Quite opposite to goatskin is cowhide that is not only affordable but is perfect for rough use too. It weighs heavier than former and naturally suits winter jackets, shoes, and furniture more. So, it will last for a decade or more, even if the handler is careless.
Just like the animal, buffalo leathers are also heavy-duty ones; being the strongest, thickest, and sturdiest. Resultantly, they find their place in combat shoes, rugs, weapon handles, or other heavy-duty items. Careful or careless, these will last for up to 100 years.
Though largely under-rated, pigskin is among the fourth most produced leather after goat, cow, and sheep. It is known for the softer and thinner than cowhide, yet also more durable. However, its production isn’t conducted on a large scale. Anyways, the pigskin leathers can last up to several years.
The most expensive to buy is crocodile or alligator leather which is also kind of rare. This stunning and exquisite leather actually cost quite a fortune. Not to forget its durability that merely falls behind from buffalo. Loosely, it should last up to 50-60 years, or a few more with proper care.
Factors That Effect Longevity
1. Hide Type
First is the hide type that we’ve already discussed. Since different animals have spent their life differently, their leather’s durability depends on that. Those with a harsh life facing wild challenges have the most durable, while smaller ones usually have less durable but softer ones.
Then comes the thickness of the hide. You have probably gotten an idea by reading the buffalo section. The thicker the leather, the stronger it will be, and the longer it will last.
As initially discussed, grain significantly affects the leather’s longevity. Full-grain is the most long-lasting since it is made from the outer surface, which survives all the world’s cruelty. The bonded leather is the least lasting. Simply, the higher the number of grains, the longer the product will last.
Another essential factor is how the hide is treated while tanning and afterward, manufacturing. If the manufacturer uses harsh chemicals for dye and polish, the product is less likely to last longer. Additionally, even though the making is flawless, your maintenance also counts in the leather treatment.
And lastly, the finishing or edges also affect its longevity. If it is continuously rubbed against a surface or the edges have started to tear off, the leather is more prone to degrade earlier.
1. What is the most durable leather?
Full-grain leather is the most durable one as it is from the part that faces the world. It has all the essential grains to resist scratch and looks more realistic.
2. How long does leather last?
It depends on many factors, including quality, grade, animal, and care. With proper maintenance, it can last for a lifetime. But rough handling may force you to buy a new item every year. However, typically normal leather lasts for a decade or two.
3. How long does faux leather last?
Faux leather is the weakest kind, as it is not leather at all. It is a collection of hide scraps adhered to by polyurethane, latex, plastic, or other polymers. Although highly affordable, these can last for only a year or two.
4. Which leather lasts the least?
The faux or bonded leather lasts the least, ranging from several months to a couple of years. But if we talk about the real deals, genuine leather could be the least durable as it can wear off in 5-6 years.
The Bottom Line
Leathers are among the tough and long-lasting materials that can last for years or decades. But it all depends on many factors. Now you’ve known how long different types can last; you can select the best according to your requirement. But remember, in the end, its life only depends on how much you take care of it. Otherwise, be ready to spend regularly as this is a pricier interest.