Temporarily repairing an old synthetic leather sofa

A sofa made of synthetic leather has a limited lifespan, which is due to the specific structure of the cover. However, by repairing some damage patterns, the usability can be extended. In the advanced stage of damage, the basic construction with cover can be used as a substructure for a new cover.

Only limited intervention and repair options

Depending on the quality and frequency of use, a synthetic leather sofa can be damaged. Signs of use such as scratches and stains can be visually removed by intensive gentle cleaning and re-coloring. Substantial changes in the synthetic leather cover can be "intercepted" in the initial stage.

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The seams of the synthetic leather sofa can be repaired by sewing as well as by gluing. Three typical symptoms of the surfaces of an "aging" sofa made of artificial leather can only be repaired temporarily:

  • The artificial leather is peeling off
  • The synthetic leather breaks and crumbles
  • The artificial leather dissolves

If one or more of these damage patterns occur, the end of the durability of the synthetic leather sofa is approaching. A real permanent repair is not possible because the plastic cover layer has irreversibly lost the necessary plasticizers. Adhesives help to reupholster the sofa. In the early stages, the artificial leather then serves as a carrier for the new upholstery fabric.

Possible repair measures

Patch peeled or crumbly areas

Textile adhesives hold the unstable surfaces together. Despite individual patches, the loss of plasticizer continues, so that a complete new cover should be considered at this stage.

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Depending on the type of construction of the synthetic leather couch, the synthetic leather has seams that, for example, fasten the backrest edges or create a quilted shape. The question therefore arises whether the old cover should be removed or used as a finished base. First of all, the structure of the upholstery must be checked.

There are nailed and sewn fastening types. Both types of seam must be dismantled individually. Nails are pulled individually with pliers, sewn seams are cut into short pieces of thread with a cutter and peeled off. The artificial leather can be drawn onto an underlayer, which forms the "roof " of the upholstery. It must not be damaged under any circumstances.

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Gluing a new cover over the surface is simpler and independent of the substructure. The old cover must be freed from loose parts with a brush. Special adhesives or paints serve as binding paint. They close brittle surfaces by forming their own hardened protective layer. This process is usually ideal with acrylic-based paints.

Depending on the cover material, a suitable adhesive is applied to the surface according to the manufacturer's instructions and the new cover is attached following the instructions. For fastening and shaping, removing fastening nails or sewn seams can provide space for new nailing or sewing.

Tips & Tricks When choosing adhesives and primers, take into account that synthetic leather is made of plastic. Solvent-based substances are not suitable.