How To Repair Peeling Leather Couch

We all know that real leather does not peel. It does not also flake nor chip. But in some instances, the peeling might be due to other factors such as bad finish or could also be that the chemical treatment to it is now rubbing off due to age. Having one of this happen to your couch is daunting so how do you repair a peeling leather couch? 

In this post, we will give you a rundown of the repairing methods for a peeling leather couch as well as some notable FAQs that will help you in avoiding leather peeling and in maintaining leather furniture. 

Related: 52 Different Types and Styles Of Sofas and Couches

Why is my leather couch peeling?

This is quite a loaded question, but the answer starts at being sure if your couch is indeed made of pure leather. Chances are your couch is peeling because it might be made of faux leather or bonded leather. In the furniture world, bonded leather is equated to cheap particle board with a service life of just 18months. 

But real leather can dry out and peel too. Because it is made of animal hides, it needs moisture and proper maintenance. Most of the time, it might not be the leather that is peeling but the finish that was used for it to have a shiny surface. The best intervention to prevent this is to check the humidity level of the room. 

3 methods to repair peeling leather couch

So what step by step methods can you do to repair your peeling leather couch? Here are three things that you can do to bring back its pristine look. Before going into the steps, you must first gather the following materials: 

  • Vinyl or fabric adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Plastic wrap
  • Leather paint
  • Leather filler
  • Leather conditioner
  • Razor blades
  • Putty knife
  • Smoothing card

Method 1: Using recoloring balm

  1. This follows an easy buffing process for small cracks and peels. First, wipe the leather couch with microfiber cloth. This takes away the excess oils and chemical compounds in the leather. 
  2. After wiping, get a new microfiber cloth and spray it with recoloring balm. Just wipe the couch with the cloth. The downside of this is that it will not fix the cracks but at least, it will bring back the original color of the leather couch and will conceal the cracks in the leather. 
  3. Leave it untouched for at least 20mins. 

Method 2: Using leather paint

  1. The first thing to do is to inspect the entire couch. Remove all the chipping or peeling pieces of the leather couch. Never pull of those that are still attached to the couch. You can pull of the larger bits by hand but for those in between the cushions and seams, use a damp microfiber cloth. 
  2. Next, slightly shake the paint for the components to blend. Take a small paintbrush and dip it in the paint can. Start painting the peeled areas. Preferably, start at the back of the couch, then to the sides. The seating area should be painted last. 
  3. If you cannot buy a paint that is 100% like the color of your sofa, you have to mix and match two leather paints to get the same hue. 
  4. Make sure that every area is painted evenly. Give attention to the areas in between the cushions and the seams. 
  5. Let the paint dry for at least 40-minutes. If you applied two coats of paint, make sure that the interval of coating is at least 30-minutes. You would know when to coat if the painted area no longer gets sticky with your touch.
  6. If the paint has completely dried, apply your leather finish. You may use the same paintbrush but to be sure, just use a new one. Make sure that you are coating the couch at even strokes. Give the couch some 30mins to dry. 
  7. The last step is to apply additional finishing if needed as long as it does not exceed to three. This prevents future peeling for your couch. 

Method 3: Using leather filler

  1. Using a pair of scissors and razor, carefully cut all the peeling materials. After this, use a damp microfiber to remove the smaller bits away from the couch. Do not forcefully remove all the intact leather flakes. 
  2. Next, apply the leather filler on the couch. Use a putty knife to apply the filler. The filler should not be more than one tablespoon at a time for you to cover the small sections well. 
  3. Again, start applying the leather filler in the back and then on the sides (from left to right) and then the seating area. Make sure that you have a damp cloth nearby just in case smearing cannot be avoided. 
  4. Check the back of the sofa and in the seat cushions. Most often than not, you will need to apply more filler in these areas. For an even application, you may use a smoothing card. Smoothen the surface again with putty knife. 
  5. Let the leather filler cure for 30mins. Never touch it for that duration. Make sure that no kids or pets are around. Apply additional leather filler if needed.
  6. This step is optional. If you want an additional layer to your leather couch, you can wrap it in plastic wrap before the filler completely dries. This is also an intervention that you can do to avoid peeling in the future. 

Related: How to Restore Faded Leather Couch – Leather Restoration Tips

How do you stop the leather from peeling?

Aside from using non-abrasive cloth and cleaning materials, you can also stop leather from peeling by regularly using leather conditioners or softeners. Through this, you can maintain the moisture in your leather couch. Preventing it from being dry and stiff also stop the leather from peeling. 

Do all leather couches peel?

No. Quality, real leather can survive for decades. But then again, we must understand that not all real leathers are created the same. Some can peel after a few years, some even peels after a few uses. You must research about the brand and build of your leather couch to make sure that it stays with you for long and so that you would know how to properly maintain it. 

Why do bonded leather crack and peel?

Unlike real leather, bonded leather crack and peel because the material used in it is not that stretchy. It could only take so much stretching and wearing due to frequent use. When it gets the maximum stretch that it can take, the material will pull away and break. 

How long does a leather couch last?

A leather couch could last for 5-25 years. Some even last for decades or a lifetime. There are a lot of things that you can do to prolong the lifespan of your leather couch. Make sure that you only buy top-grain leather couch, clean it with leather-friendly materials, soft cloth, and make sure that you place it in an area with low humidity. 

Related: How to Clean Faux Leather Couch

How do you keep a leather couch from cracking?

There are a handful of interventions that you can master to keep leather from cracking. Here are some things to consider: 

  • Humidity levels: Keep it away from high humidity areas. Excessive amount of sunlight or heat weakens the components of leather. Make sure that they are setup somewhere cool. 
  • Overexposure to moisture: At the same time, when leather is exposed to too much water or moisture, the particles weaken, causing it to crack and peel. 
  • Cleaners: Only use leather-friendly cleaners. If you have unwanted leather apparel at home, it might be best to try the cleaning agent first on them before using them on your leather couch. If you see no negative effects on the leather apparel, you can use it on your couch. 
  • Bleach: Never use bleach. No matter how big the stain is, never ever use bleach as it will weaken the structure of the leather. Bleach also dries the leather and will shorten the longevity of the leather. 
  • Abrasive cloths: Like bleach, never use abrasive cloths for cleaning your leather couch too. Scrubbing it with sponge or rough materials will crack up the surface entirely. 
  • Mild cleaning: After cleaning the leather with leather-friendly chemical cleaner, make sure that you clean up the surface with soap and detergent solution. Wipe it with soft cloth and let it dry. 

Can you fix a peeling leather couch?

It depends on the gravity of the peeling. If it is minor cracking or peeling, you can just use vinyl repair kits or liquid leather. If the peeling is large, you might need more advanced steps. If you are not sure where to begin you can follow this visual from These are the Days. You can also consult the nearest upholstery shops or leather repair professionals. 

How much does it cost to fix a peeling leather couch? 

If you are thinking of putting your peeling leather couch in a professional leather fixer, you must know that you are looking at $100-400 of repair costs. One peeling spot can cost up to $150. More peeling and scattered scratches can cost to up to $500

Is it worth to reupholster a peeling leather couch? 

Re-upholstering a peeling leather couch can cost more than replacing it entirely. As have been mentioned, your decision for this must depend on the gravity of the damage. If it can be fixed by leather fillers or balm, do not settle for upholstery immediately. 

Conclusion

To wrap things out, there are few things to remember about leather couches but a lot of steps to master in maintaining it especially if it starts cracking or peeling. Real leather does not easily peel but when they do, it is because of many reasons. One is due to it not being a real leather or because of the wear in the finish used in your leather couch. 

But the good thing is that leather couch peeling is fixable. You just must know where to start and what steps you should follow. Luckily, we have given you here the rundown of the easiest methods to use in repairing your peeling leather couch.

How To Repair Peeling Leather Couch (using leather paint)

How To Repair Peeling Leather Couch (using leather paint)

So what step by step methods can you do to repair your peeling leather couch? Here are three things that you can do to bring back its pristine look.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • Vinyl or fabric adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Plastic wrap
  • Leather paint

Instructions

  1. The first thing to do is to inspect the entire couch. Remove all the chipping or peeling pieces of the leather couch. Never pull of those that are still attached to the couch. You can pull of the larger bits by hand but for those in between the cushions and seams, use a damp microfiber cloth. 
  2. Next, slightly shake the paint for the components to blend. Take a small paintbrush and dip it in the paint can. Start painting the peeled areas. Preferably, start at the back of the couch, then to the sides. The seating area should be painted last. 
  3. If you cannot buy a paint that is 100% like the color of your sofa, you have to mix and match two leather paints to get the same hue. 
  4. Make sure that every area is painted evenly. Give attention to the areas in between the cushions and the seams. 
  5. Let the paint dry for at least 40-minutes. If you applied two coats of paint, make sure that the interval of coating is at least 30-minutes. You would know when to coat if the painted area no longer gets sticky with your touch.
  6. If the paint has completely dried, apply your leather finish. You may use the same paintbrush but to be sure, just use a new one. Make sure that you are coating the couch at even strokes. Give the couch some 30mins to dry. 
  7. The last step is to apply additional finishing if needed as long as it does not exceed to three. This prevents future peeling for your couch.

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