Leather furniture can be constructed in several ways, and the fabrics and materials used to make it will greatly affect how well pieces hold up over time. Materials will also affect how furniture can be repaired. One common complaint with leather furniture is that, at some point, it may start to sag and puddle up around the seating area. What causes this? And more importantly, how do you fix it? We've looked into this issue to answer these questions for you.
Over time leather furniture, depending on its quality and usage, is known to sag, stretch, or puddle. The puddling is caused when the leather is stretched beyond its elasticity point or is no longer being supported. The commonly sagging areas include the seat cushions and the backs of sofas, recliners, and chairs. Leather ottomans can also sag overtime with frequent usage.
More often than not, the sagging is caused by one of the following reasons:
- Broken or damaged springs
- A lack of support
- Worn upholstery webbing
- Low-quality cushioning
- Uneven weight distribution
- Broken frame
- Leather and cushions are stretched from being slept on
Before you can repair your sagging leather furniture, you will first need to determine the cause. Continue reading to learn about DIY methods that you can use to repair your leather furniture right at home.
Broken or damaged springs
Over time, the springs supporting your couch or sofa can become weak. When the springs become too weak, they will allow the leather to stretch beyond its normal range. This can result in sagging and puddling at the back and seat cushions. To repair the broken spring, you will need to flip your couch over and manually adjust the springs with a pair of needle-nose pliers.
If you are repairing a chair or ottoman, you may want to look at your care guide to see how to access the springs and if this is possible. If you can't access the springs, you may need to simply replace the furniture. You can also contact a local furniture repair store to see if they can offer repair services.
A lack of support
One of the main causes of sagging leather furniture is that the back and seats are not getting the support that they need from filling material. Leather furniture can be filled with various materials, including foam, down and feathers, cotton, and polyblends. It's normal for leather to stretch naturally over time. However, the filling material base will need to remain firm to a certain extent to prevent the leather from sagging.
When it doesn't, you will find that your leather furniture will begin to puddle in the seats and back areas rather quickly. If this is the cause of your sagging furniture, one of the quickest ways to remedy the issue is to place a piece of plywood beneath the seat cushion to help support it. You can purchase a 2' x 5' piece of plywood online or from any local hardware store for about $5 to $7. Make sure that the plywood is cut to the appropriate dimensions so that it does not stick out from the furniture. (If repairing a chair ottoman, take a look at your care tag before using this method.)
Worn Upholstery Webbing
Upholstery webbing, also known as jute webbing, is a strong closely-woven fabric commonly used to support the backs and seats of furniture, including couches, chairs, ottomans, and recliners. The springs of leather furniture press down on this webbing to prevent the leather from overstretching.
However, regular usage can cause the jute webbing of your leather furniture to become worn, resulting in sagging or puddling. Luckily for you, this is one of the easiest things to fix. This may require an expert to repair but is usually fairly inexpensive compared to other furniture repairs. You may be able to repair the webbing on an office chair if you are a bit handy.
All leather furniture is not created equal. The leather's quality is the biggest factor when it comes to how much or how soon (if at all) the furniture will begin to sag. A high-density filling material, such as foam, will remain firm longer than cheaper cushion materials. So to say, if you purchase low-quality leather furniture, the chances are that it will need repair to fix sagging issues at some point.
Higher-quality leather furniture tends to stand up better to everyday wear and tear and overall will last longer. But that doesn't mean it's unsusceptible to sagging. The good news is that there are a few steps that you can take to remedy this issue.
To replace the cushion on your leather furniture, you will need to access the cushion opening. This is usually a zipper or button on the side or bottom of the furniture. Once you access the opening, remove the current foam and batting (the wrapping around the foam) from the furniture and replace it with a higher density foam. Next, zip up the access opening and return the furniture to its original position.
Uneven weight distribution
Sitting on a specific section of your leather furniture can cause sagging and puddling over time. If you notice that your furniture only has certain sagging spots, while other areas seem to be perfectly taut, this could be the issue. To avoid this (with couches), try repositioning the seat cushions every few months.
The only way to remedy this issue is by simply purchasing a new insert for the furniture or re-filling it (if it's accessible) with new filling materials such as fiberfill or foam. Before replacing the filling material, be sure to do a quick check of the furniture's frame to ensure that the springs and frame under sagging areas are not damaged.
No matter what type of leather furniture you have, the frame will serve as the backbone to support the furniture's weight and any additional weight placed on it. Leather furniture will begin to sag or puddle in various places if the furniture frame breaks or becomes worn. This is something common with wood-framed leather furniture.
Repairing the frame can be pretty involved. If your furniture's frame is broken, it's best to have a professional come to repair it, unless you have furniture repair experience. In this case, the best thing to do is to find a local furniture repair shop or contact the retailer or manufacturer from whom you purchased the furniture.
Leather cushions are stretched from being slept on
If you or anyone else in your home makes a habit of sleeping on your leather couch or in your leather chair, this could be the reason that it's sagging as well. Quality leather furniture is built to last for several years. However, continuous stress can cause the furniture's springs to become weak, resulting in puddling and sagging.
It can also cause the filling material to flatten out prematurely. One of the best ways to remedy this is to repair the furniture's springs and/or re-fill the furniture with a dense foam. You can also have a leather furniture repair expert come in to fix both of these issues for you.
How long should a leather sofa last?
The length of time that a leather sofa will last largely depends on the leather and building materials' quality. A high-quality leather sofa can last anywhere from 20 to 25 years or more. Low-quality sofas can last a little as three to five years. If you are concerned about your leather sofa's quality deteriorating prematurely, it's best to do your due diligence when shopping for the sofa.
When shopping, ask retailers about any included warranties, the grade of leather used, and how the cushions and frames are constructed. Asking the right questions before purchasing a leather sofa can ensure that you will buy the quality that you're looking for.
What is the best filling for a leather sofa?
The best filling materials for leather sofas are foam and batting, as they typically provide the most stable and firm cushion options. Let's discuss these in a bit more detail.
Foam is the most common fill material for various types of leather furniture, and it comes in various densities. High-density foam will be firmer (making it more resilient to sagging), while low-density foam will be on the softer side. It's usually made of polyurethane or memory foam.
Batting is another commonly used furniture filling material. It typically comes in two types of thicknesses, 25 ounces and 42 ounces. Batt filling is usually made from wool, cotton, or polyester--cotton being the most common fabric.
What is the most durable leather for furniture?
Top grain leather that is fully aniline-dyed is the most durable leather furniture to purchase. Top-grain is the second-highest grade of leather available. Once the leather is completely dyed with aniline (a finish that protects it against stains), it will have a superior layer of protection to prevent it from everyday scratches, stains, and nicks.
Wrapping Things Up
The main culprits that may cause leather furniture to sag are an inadequate frame, worn-out cushions or springs, and uneven weight distribution. The most common ways to remedy these issues are repairing any frame-related issues or re-filling the leather furniture with dense foam.
Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts: