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A Complete List on the Different Types of Leather Available

Different Types of Leather
Leather is the end product of the processing done on the skin or hide of animals. There are number of types of leather available these days, which this article briefs you about.
Mayuri Kulkarni
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
The skin of cattle like cow and sheep are mainly used for production of leather. Leather has a wide range of uses and is used for making clothes, upholstery. and shoes.
Different types of leather can be classified on the basis of the part of hide used as raw material for making them. Grain, with respect to leather, is the part of hide that is obtained by removing the hair. Grain can be split into two layers: top grain and split. Split has no content of the natural grain and is the lower layer of the natural grain obtained.
Find some of the most common types of leather in the following section.
Full-grain Leather
Full-grain leather is formed just by removing the hair present on the epidermis of the hide. It is the most natural form of leather since no polishing and finishing is done to the grain obtained. There are two methods of giving a finished touch to full-grain leather, they are aniline and semi-aniline. In aniline finish the leather is dipped in a transparent dye that colors the leather uniformly, without making it lose its natural effect. When an extra coating is given to prevent stain, it is called semi-aniline finish. By virtue of its strength and durability, full-grain leather remains a popular choice of high end leather products which also makes it expensive from other types.
Top-grain Leather
Top-grain leather is the second most popular type of leather that is obtained from the outer portion of the hide. The only difference that sets full-grain leather apart from top-grain leather is that of the removal of imperfections using sanding and buffing of surfaces in the top-grain type. It is also imprinted with artificial grain to cover the scars, scrapes, and imperfections as well as to give it an unbroken finish. While this type of leather is equally strong, it is, however, not as durable as the full-grain variety.
Split Leather
This type is made from the remaining part of the hide after the removal of the top grain. This type is harder and cheaper than the full-grain leather. It is comparatively more fragile and gets easily damaged, if not handled properly. Split leathers are often used to produce suede leather.
Corrected grain Leather
Full-grain leather, polished to remove or correct the scratches present on the grain, is referred to as corrected grain. The hides used in the corrected grain leather are of inferior quality. Semi-aniline and pigmented can be the two types of finishing techniques used for corrected grain leather. Most of the time, pigmented leather is preferred as it is better at correcting the scratches.
Nubuck/Buffed/Suede Leather
It is formed by splitting the layer between the grain and the hide. The surface of this leather is buffed to create a soft layer. It is cheaper as compared to full-grain leather. However, it is fragile in nature as it quickly gets damaged when it comes in contact with any liquid. Suede is not a good option to be used for upholstery. The surface of this type of leather has a velvet-like feeling.
Bicast or Coated Leather
It is a synthetic type of split leather that is made by applying a layer of polyurethane to the surface. It is more durable as compared to other types of leather. Initially, it was used only in the shoe industry, but owing to its high durability and affordability, it is also used in upholstery and furniture.
Faux Leather
It is man-made and durable because of the synthetic materials used. It is widely used in commercial places for the furniture because it is the cheapest type of leather and does not get damaged soon, and looks original.
All the different types of leather have their own characteristic look and feel; thus, they are used for different purposes. This material has always been in fashion as it looks classic and is durable.