Trying to decide between new dECOLeather™ recycled leather veneer, faux leather, or 100% leather? dECOLeather™ has many attributes that make it a great choice for leather surfacing.

Take a look at these pros and cons and make an educated decision about this unique new product by Formica Corporation.

1. Easier fabrication
• dECOLeather™ recycled leather veneer is offered in a sheet size of 4 feet by 8 feet. It is all manufactured to the same thickness, making 32 square feet available for easy fabrication purposes. For planning purposes, this gives designers the upper hand in determining panel sizes and/or accent wall coverage.  
• There are many variables in determining square footage for 100% leather. Since it is an all-natural product, it mostly depends on the size of the animal.  An average cow hide renders approximately 26 square feet. Often, there is a lot of waste because of the odd shaped hides. 100 percent real leather stretches when applied to a panel, and if not applied correctly, it can puddle and stretch over time. dECOLeather™ veneer will not stretch and can be cut and applied to fit exact panel sizes.
• Faux leather can be ordered by the yard, so waste is not a big concern. Wrapping a panel surface, however, is still a challenge. Like 100 percent leather, faux leather is difficult to pull and stretch across a hard surface. Over the life of the installation, this can lead to sagging and pooling if done incorrectly.

2. More durable and resilient

• Multiple layers of water-based protective coating are applied to the dECOLeather™ surface. This makes it a highly cleanable surface while maintaining the look and feel of the real leather. This recycled leather veneer is designed for both light duty horizontal and many vertical applications. The durability comes from the density of the recycled sheet, resilience of the added latex rubber, and the multiple layers of protective coating combined.
• There are many variations and grades of 100 percent leather. Even the best 100 percent leather is often not water and stain resistant. Third-party stain resistant finishes are offered, but they can change the feel and the appearance of the leather. These finishes also usually need to be reapplied since they wear over time.
• Like 100 percent leather, the grades and durability of faux leather vary greatly. The soft, pliable surface of faux leather cannot be well-protected in any high-traffic area.

3. Suitable for light-duty horizontal applications

• The water-based protective coating makes dECOLeather™ ideal for light use horizontal surfaces. It keeps stains from penetrating the surface, and blemishes like water rings are no longer a concern.
• Without extra coatings, 100 percent leather is not ideal for horizontal applications.  The soft surface is easy to mar with water. Other food and beverages can also easily tarnish the surface.
• Typically not recommended for horizontal surfaces, vinyl and polyurethanes can easily crack and split.

4. Sustainable, renewable materials

• dECOLeather™ recycled leather veneer is made from 70 percent pulverized leather fibers recycled from shoe and car seat manufacturers, and leather tanneries. The natural rubber is also rapidly renewable. Since dECOLeather™ recycled leather veneer is comprised of a large percentage of real leather, it inherits the same soothing leather aroma and enticing feel of leather. 
• 100 percent leather, while renewable. has a significant amount of waste per hide. This drives up the cost and limits the usability. 
• Many faux leathers are made from vinyl and polyurethane. While they closely imitate the look of real leather, the authentic smell and soft leather touch cannot be duplicated. 

There are many differences between dECOLeather™ recycled leather veneer and 100 percent real leather and faux leather. The above factors, as well as price and availability, will ultimately help guide every designer to the perfect solution. To learn more about dECOLeather™ by Formica Group, see the data sheet here