In short, bi-cast leather is neither fully genuine nor completely fake. It strictly maintains a fine line between these two distinct categories by taking things from both sides.
The embossing process asserts a leather-like grainy appearance on it and takes it to the brotherhood of cheaper faux leather alternatives. You can certainly sense a stiffer surface in comparison to top grain leather surfaces, marked with a consistent texture all along.
The finished goods apparently do not show any leather components whatsoever. A bunch of industries such as furniture, footwear, etc heavily relies on it.
So let’s check out what bi-cast leather is, its identification methods and care issues in this article.
What is bi-cast leather?
Basically, bi-cast leather contains two layers of components, namely backing and topping. A rawhide is basically split into two layers which are grain side and flesh side leathers.
While the uppermost layer or top grain is the priciest and enjoys the biggest demand, the lower layers could not capture the popular imagination as much.
The lower level or flesh side of split leather functions as the backing of bi-cast and its surface gets coated with polyurethane (PU) or low density polyethylene (LDPE). This coated surface is then embossed to lay down a grainy look that gives it a real-leather feel from afar. Without the coating, this layer of leather actually means little in terms of practical usefulness.
Initially, the footwear industry tapped into the benefits of bi-cast leather which was later reimagined by the furniture industry. Now, we see all kinds of products made of it.
What are the other names of bi-cast leather?
As it contains neither 100% natural leather nor completely artificial components, there are a number of other names indicating bi-cast leather.
Knowing these names clearly gets you ahead in differentiating genuine leather from bi-cast leather.
- Bycast leather
- Split leather
- PU leather
- Laminated leather
- Reconstituted leather
- Genuine leather
What is the quality of bi-cast leather?
Bi-cast leather introduces features of both natural and artificial components and sides closer to the bonded leather quality.
Basically, you get real leather inside a layer of polyurethane sheathing. So we should not expect thorough durability and patina from it. It is not breathable either, contrary to natural leather.
You will obviously find it lacking in strength over a period of time. Daily wear and tear pretty quickly leads to cracks and splits across its surface that could be genuine concern for all of us.
“If we pit genuine leather against bi-cast, we get a clear picture of the whole scenario.”
Whereas real leather lasts for several decades, bi-cast products may sustain for only a few years. In terms of quality, one must not blindly bet on it.
But many people opt for it essentially because of its slashed down prices, an attractive deal that runs in conjunction with the compromised quality.
How to identify bi-cast leather?
Looks can be deceiving and you know that. Well, nothing could reach as close to this maxim as bi-cast leather in this respect.
Anyone might fall for its trickery, considering its close resemblance to budget friendly genuine leather. We are divulging some of the top leather industry secrets for you to differentiate them from one another..
Real leather never goes cheap no matter what. If the price is too enticing to be true, perhaps it is. Take a note on price differences in the same kind of products and a significant variation should ring a bell in your mind. Enquire deep into this issue and your seller would probably respond to it truthfully by mentioning a chasm in leather quality in them.
Label check: For all kinds of artificial leather items, mentioning the percentage of real leather is mandatory. You can check out the label for this vital piece of information.
Genuine leather introduces extreme suppleness all along. Bundle it in your grip and let go. It will immediately retrieve its original position as well as appearance. For even a second, you cannot restrict it to a certain formation, leaving room for free movement.
The texture of bi-cast leather takes on an eye catching and shiny plastic look. Moreover, it is, in no way, as thick as genuine leather. Additionally, the grainy texture is evenly distributed across its outer surface with a noticeably consistent spatial distance.
Of course, lighting a fire is the easiest way to demarcate them. Bi-cast leather instantly catches on fire and brings forth a smothering plastic smell. Contrarily, genuine leather produces a distinctly repulsive odor.
Patina and durability:
Bi-cast leather never develops patina and lasts far less than real leather products.
Splits and cracks are normal outcomes of non-resilient leather grades. Over time, bi-cast leather shows these signs of weaknesses unlike its genuine counterpart.
What is bi-cast leather controversy?
The names of bi-cast leather very often puts a rookie customer off guard. One may legally use a ‘genuine leather’ label if the finished product contains elements of real leather.
In this context, bi-cast leather possesses all the rights to be called genuine leather. Many crooked leather manufacturers and sellers utilize this window of opportunity towards a total misrepresentation of the intended meaning.
However, knowing the superior full grain items superior full grain items can literally extricate you from all deceptions.
The customer understands the gravity of his mistakes, once he starts using the product. The arbitrary quality cannot hide under the rug forever.
As a result, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in the USA, has provided a Leather Guide that outlines the marketing strategy of leather products.
Under this guidance, the manufacturer or marketer should adequately clarify the percentage of leather and non leather materials in the product on the label, much clearer for the consumer to see and understand it.
Bi-cast leather products:
Bi-cast leather contributes to the manufacturing of furniture such as counter stools, ottomans, couches, sofas and settees.
A number of accessories also come from it including handbags, men’s bags, belts, wallets, unisex toiletry bags, ashtray covers, camera case, phone casing, and glossy jackets.
In the footwear industry, they manufacture shoes, boots, sandals, moccasins, etc. Bookbinding, book covers, leather carving are some other utilities. Besides, cell phone holsters, gun holsters are a few things to consider.
What are the advantages of bi-cast leather?
There are several powerful conveniences fueling the demand of bi-cast leather. They are as follows.
- Price: Obviously, cutting down costs has always been a priority for customers and bi-cast leather offers just that privilege. Easy manufacturing process together with lower grade ingredients leads to a slashed down price.
- Water resistant: Water intrusion is a genuine concern for real leather materials. Contrarily, bi-cast leather actively guards against it, thanks to its artificial chemical layer on the surface.
- Stylistic variations: It allows grand diversity in both colors and styles which is quite difficult to copy on a genuine leather product.
- Consistent appearance: The surface texture gives a consistent look and is appreciated in office settings and public places.
- Simpler maintenance: Once in a while swipes with a cloth is plenty good for its upkeep.
What are the disadvantages of bi-cast leather?
We have to take the darker sides of bi-cast leather into account as well. Please, bear with us for a few more minutes.
- Low quality: Compromised standard of leather grade and chemical components do not give it longevity as it degrades rather quickly. Cracks and splits damage it very shortly. Fake leather term is often imposed upon bi-cast leather too.
- Poor look: The appearance of bi-cast leather erodes pretty rapidly as it does not develop patina. Therefore, the dull outlook pains you within a few years.
- Smell: Bi-cast leather produces chemical smells which have proved to be repugnant to many clients.
- Fixing difficulties: Repairing bi-cast leather poses a true challenge because of its deep scars and unnatural modes of tears. It easily gives in to pressures. So kids and pets are really harmful for its durability.
How to care for bi-cast leather?
Bi-cast leather maintenance is more about retaining the sheen and finish so that it gives a fresh and new vibe. We have laid down a clear roadmap for you in this regard.
Cleaner: Frequent dirt, oils and skin contact can tone down its vitality. So you may use a cleaner that is not based on waxes and oils and is specifically intended for bi-cast leather. Stay away from normal leather care products.
Cleaning cloth: For cleaning, a modestly damp lint free cloth performs the best for it. Otherwise, the leather might show cracks and stickiness.
Scratch treatment: Treating abrasions and scratches goes way more difficult and is most of the time, out of question. Hair dryer heating can remove the simpler ones. However, extra heat could damage the coating, literally anytime. But a cautious approach may bear unbelievably satisfying outcomes.
Bi-cast protector: Using a bi-cast protector is a simple hack that prevents stickiness.
Apply all tricks on hidden areas: Whatever fixation, technique or product you apply, do it in a less noticeable zone. So you can avoid doing it altogether, in case of things going out of control .
Bi-cast leather sells with several names and appearance. Therefore we have emphasized on identifying it. In this writeup, we have also disclosed the pros and cons associated with it.
Finally, our experts delivered a list of to-dos for you in order to ensure its longevity. You see, many products come off bi-cast leather and the market is inundated with them. If you can make an informed decision, you won’t lose the game.
There are several reasons for a person to buy a bi-cast leather item as everyone is not looking for utmost durability and premium grade all the time. You may have a reasonable ground for purchasing a bi-cast leather product.
We have got you covered on all these aspects so that you ultimately enjoy the upper hand against the seller. Despite lacking in longevity, flexibility and heavier use, it is popular because of low price, consistent texture and shiny outlook.
However, with a little bit of care, you can significantly increase its lifetime.