Top grain leather or corrected grain leather basically points to the outermost segment of the cowhide that undergoes light alterations before making it to the market.
The changes or customizations such as sanding or buffing are designed to shield the smaller imperfections. These changes are meant to make it look smooth and to mask natural markings.
Top grain leather craftily differs from the best full grain leather which is actually the costliest and most appealing part of the hide.
What is top grain leather?
Let’s analyze the issue to the fullest. The uppermost section of the hide gives forth two layers of nearly unidentifiable leathers. The natural exterior part is called full grain and top grain lies right beneath that part. If a hide is relatively blemish free, full grain is the way recommended by the experts.
Top grain means the second highest leather quality after shaving off the top layer. It is actually the top cut of a cowhide with the outermost layer of the skin removed or corrected to bury the bruises and imperfections. While top grain leather is the same cut from the hide just as full grain, it requires adjustments such as sanding or buffing beyond the removal of hair.
Which features differentiate full grain and top grain leather?
These two types of leathers are intricately attached to each other. There are several marks of clear distinction in case we discuss top grain vs full grain leather. Now, we are going to light up a few obvious lines of demarcation between them.
- Quality: Full grain is the highest quality leather and top grain trails it from right behind. All other grades technically lag far behind including genuine leather materials, etc
- Cost: Naturally, full grain costs big bucks as it is incredibly difficult for the manufacturers to work with because it calls for greater care and expertise. Contrarily, top grain brings in a thinner and modified layer which is easily workable and accordingly, the price dips a little.
- Outlook: Full grain leather promises stellar appearance with its natural fibers and marks poking out of the hide. Extreme breathability and diverse surface of these products also takes out many hearts. On the opposite, the top grain exterior sands away all the imperfections. It gives a kind of monotonous, uniform or consistent look.
- Durability: Full grain leather is fascinatingly robust and way more durable than any of its counterparts. Top grain outperforms all other leather types such as almost artificial bonded leather, except for only full grain.
- Fading and aging: Amazing things happen to a full grain product as it matures. It takes on a unique look and feel with a character of its own. Many leather admirers resort to full grain products only because it will patina. Noticeably, top grain leather loses touch with its finish coat and it does not develop a natural patina, a gradual change in color over time.
- Maintenance: Both types of leathers give in to stains pretty easily and require a lot of care and constant alertness. But if the finish coat is any weaker on the top grain, it may spell a disaster on its longevity. For full grain, cleaning is preferred with a damp piece of cloth, a mild hand soap and lukewarm water. Top grain products accept simple cleanups together with high quality leather conditioners and solutions.
What is top grain leather used for?
A bunch of high-end leather products including purses, satchels, handbags, wallets, briefcases and keychains are made of top grain leather.
It performs the best when the exposure to the exterior section goes low and rough use is mostly out of question.
Top grain leather: good or bad for you?
It really depends on what you are looking for in it. We have sorted out several reasons for you to select top grain leather on top of other choices. You can make an informed decision from this list of advantages and disadvantages.
- Cost effective: If you are looking for budget friendly leather products and unwilling to compromise with the quality to some degree, top grain is the way to go.
- Workability: Manufacturers clearly have an edge in terms of maneuverability and workability with it.
- Durability: It stands a better chance of enduring a long time use than other types of leathers apart from full grain. If the finish coating is up to the mark, it may even outlast any other alternative out there.
- Variation in styles: Wide range of dying and patterns can give the taste of exotic designs thanks to its great utility.
There are a range of issues that may deter you from using top grain leather as well.
- Qualitative compromise: Sanding and buffing inevitably leads to less breathability and endurance. Brittles and cracks appear on it and thus shorten the life of the product. But with proper care, it may even last 10 to 15 years.
- No individuality: Full grain leather products show up with one of a kind personality and appearance which is conspicuously absent in top grain items. Due to lack of breathability and patina, it does not tell an exclusive story about its life long journey.
What color does top grain leather offer?
Top grain leather comes in all imaginable colors as there lies a distinct difference in dyeing and coating. Dyeing is usually done in a uniform color whereas the shiny protective coating may incorporate several colors or distinguishable layers of the same color.
The coating envelops the dye underneath it. But you can have a glance at the original dye by taking a look at the inner part of the leather.
How to waterproof top grain leather?
Take it in, real leather is astonishingly porous. Obviously, top grain leather is made from the strongest segment of the hide.
However keeping leather characteristics in mind, admirers treat it with beeswax cream or spray protectant coating to enhance its waterproof properties. Even then, complete waterproofness is often a far fetched dream.
On a note of caution, leather experts suggest that you spray the protective patch on a rather low-key area of the product before going all over it.
So, any mishap stays within the range of tolerance. There are prior cases of color or texture alterations that you may find repulsive with its darkening effect. This small precaution will help you in that regard.
Top grain leather comes from the best part of the hide and performs just below that of full grain leather.
In short, it is superior to all other leather types except for full grain. To speak frankly, the removal of imperfections slightly mars its natural beauty.
However, one can easily rely on its excellent quality. It avails you almost all the amenities of full grain, barring the look. Amazingly, it costs you a little less with all those privileges.
So, less expenses team up with greater stain resistance and this unique combination seals its fate with ever growing demand among the leather lovers.
You already know full well that sanding and buffing takes out some of its longevity and it does not give an individual vibe.
These light alterations and lack of uniqueness should not break your heart as your wallet does not feel excessive pressure as well. With a little care and maintenance, it will still last longer than any of its rival leather grades.
This is essentially a strong type of leather that ages far better than its split and artificial counterparts. If you need a top performing leather product in a limited budget, there is barely a competitor to top grain leather.