Bi-cast Leather: Beware of this Cheaper Alternative

If you are looking at buying some high quality furniture, beware of “bi-cast” leather. Harris Furnishings gives an overview of what bi-cast leather is, and why consumers should be aware of this seemingly cheaper product.


To cut costs and present to the consumer a “leather” product at a low price, many in the leather furniture industry have turned to an inexpensive material known as bi-cast. Over the last few years there has been an explosion of bi-cast (often spelt bycast) “leather” made in China and sold worldwide in furniture stores. Many of these stores have no idea they are actually selling an inferior product to an unwary public. If there was ever a time to use the phrase BUYER BEWARE, this is it.



The facts speak for themselves. Bi-cast products are manufactured by bonding a thick polyurethane coating to a split-hide leather or composite leather substrate. Split hide and composite leather are both significantly inferior to top-grain leather. Bi-cast (sometimes referred to as PU Leather) is fundamentally a man-made synthetic upholstery product, and as such some countries, (for example, the United Kingdom and New Zealand) have legislation mandating that it cannot be marketed as leather. Spain has no such legislation, so an unsuspecting public is being led to believe they are purchasing natural leather, when in fact they are getting essentially faux leather.


Here’s the truth. Bi-cast is to natural leather what chipboard is to hardwood or a chicken nugget is to a chicken breast. The public is being duped.



Bi-cast products have the visual aesthetics of expensive, natural top-grain leather, but at a slightly lower cost; so it appears more attractive to the unsuspecting consumer. With natural leather, the strength and durability comes from the epidermis (outer layer) of the hide. Because bi-cast is a polyurethane-coated split (inner layer), this “leather wannabe” does not have the strength or durability people normally associate with leather. Consequently, bi-cast products do not have the life expectancy of natural leather. Its structural integrity can be shockingly short-lived.


As a leather furniture repair and restoration expert David Harris of Harris Furnishings said “I have seen countless examples of the problems associated with this type of leather, I use the word “leather” loosely, where the polyurethane coating peels, or the substrate material splits and tears, and it can be in as little as 3-6 months. At Harris Furnishings we do not, and never would, sell this product.”


Much like chipboard, when the bi-cast product’s inherent weakness surfaces, it is time to replace the furniture as repair or restoration are not viable options with this material. So, in that regard, bi-cast upholstered furniture should be considered a throw-away item.


At Harris Furnishings you can only buy the best top-grain Italian leather furniture which comes with a comprehensive 3-year guarantee as well as a leather protection kit. Within that 3-year period, they also offer a 30% discount off any cleaning/conditioning of your furniture, and beyond the 3-year guarantee, 30% off any cleaning or repairs in their in-house complete upholstery business, Sofa Medico.


Visit the Harris Furnishings showroom to find these and other products. Do not miss their exquisite sofas! The store is located on the Industrial Estate Les Galgues, calle de la Marroquinería 1, Pedreguer. Open 9 am – 6 pm Monday to Friday and 10 am – 1 pm Saturday.


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