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When shopping for furniture, particularly leather chairs and storage ottomans, you may encounter the term, “bicast leather” or sometimes referred to as “by-cast leather”, “PU leather”, or “split leather”. So what does bi-cast leather mean? Is it real leather? Is it a good buy? Read on.

What is Bi-cast Leather?

Initially, bi-cast material was made for the shoe industry to produce glossy shoes. However, the furniture industry later on adopted the concept and created a man-made synthetic upholstery product with smooth, glossy texture that is easy to clean and maintain.

Bi-cast leather can be manufactured in two ways:

  1. By bonding a thick layer of polyurethane coating to split-hide leather and then embossed the front surface with grain patterns to make it appear more leather-like.
  2. By starting with a layer of reconstituted leather material and bonding a layer of polyurethane coating to it.
Is Bi-cast Leather 100% Leather?

Techincally, Bi-cast leather is not 100% leather. It probably won’t outshine the durability of real leather since it does not develop a patina or softness over time. But although you can’t get some of the characteristics associated with natural leather, bicast leather definitely gives the luster, elegance and plush look of real leather.

Advantages of Bi-cast Leather

o   If you are purchasing furniture with taut seat cushions and throw pillows, bi-cast leather furniture is aesthetically appealing. It may look like authentic leather at first glance. The glossy finish, usually due to polyurethane (PU) top layer, provides texture, color and resiliency.

o   Many homeowners prefer bi-cast leather because it is easy clean with a damp cloth. Bi-cast leather furniture is also available in different patterns and color choices, although most bicast have dark colors.

o   Lastly, bi-cast furniture is a lot cheaper than real leather. Well obviously, full grain leather is an ideal choice for buyers with huge budget, but if money is tight at the moment then well-constructed bicast leather is the next best thing.

Is Bi-cast Leather Worth Buying?

If there are money issues, quality bicast leather furniture would be right up your alley. It boasts a luxurious look, luster and texture of natural leather at a cheaper price. Bi-cast leather does repair fairly well too.

Bi-cast Leather Upkeep and Repair

Like real leather, Bi-cast upholstered furniture suffers wear and tear. It may develop scratches, scuffs and stains. It’s also possible that the polyurethane layer will crack and split free of its backing or peels into its individual layers. But the good thing about Bi-cast leather is that you can prolong its life with proper care, and may do easy repair once damaged.

Removing Scuff Marks – Using a soft cloth, rub the scuff marks with a conditioner protector that is specifically made for bicast leather. Continue rubbing until heat is generated.  But if the scuff marks remain, use a bicast leather reseal kit. Read the label and instructions carefully.

Removing Ink/Stain – Moisten a soft cloth in soapy water and blot the ink or stain from the bicast. If the stain still won’t come off, spray non-oily hairspray to the ink or stain. Allow it to sit for a couple of seconds then blot the area (do not rub in) with a paper towel. If there are still traces of ink, blot the spot with cotton ball soaked in alcohol.