Do we always follow the good rule of buying a living room to know the features, performance and comparison of different proposals before making a purchase?
Not always! We often hear about "impulse buying". What does it mean? It means that once seen and tried, the sofa is purchased!
Obviously a sofa must be mainly nice and comfortable, but in addition to these 2 basic requirements there is much more to know!
Everyone knows that the quality of any product is essential! Whether a car or a household appliance is crucial for durability, for continuous use, for performance. So a doubt arises spontaneously; Is it possible that aesthetics and comfort are so important to obscure quality? Or maybe it all comes from the fact that we rely on perceived quality because we do not know what to ask and how to evaluate the real quality?
To help everyone who is not in the industry, to help those who are making their first purchase to make the right choice, to help those who are renewing their old sofa and prevent them from regretting the old one, or simply for those who want to read some more information, we give these useful indications.
So the fundamental question is this: how do you know if a sofa is of quality or not? Or rather. Thinking about my needs, the use I will make of it, which proposals do most for me and which ones I really do not have to consider as correct proposals?
There are by law 2 tags attached to the sofa: the product card and the cladding card!
On these tags are shown all the characteristics of the components of the sofa and all the characteristics of the fabric or skin.
Let's not worry about all the components, let's just evaluate:
These 3 components will then need to be cross-referenced with this data:
- your own weight
- one's stature
- frequency of use
- cleaning and maintenance needs
- expectations of durability over time
We begin to understand how to evaluate the quality of the coating and therefore of a fabric or a skin. What technical data should you look at? when a fabric is good and when not? when a skin is quality and when not? Let's see it together!
Clearly I'm not here to say if it's better the fabric or the skin, in Italy you sell both the fabric and the skin depending on the tastes of each one. In the world, Made in Italy stands out more for the skin, but it does not mean anything, it is just a matter of habits and markets.
The fabrics have many characteristics and technical terminologies. As far as we're concerned, we need 2 simple technical data,
- The wear test
- The washing system
can be easily found from both the coating board and the manufacturer's general sample. Of course, check that it is there, but it is mandatory by law and therefore must be there, maybe it is under the pillow sitting or behind the back or guarded in the office.
The tissues are tested. Tests of various kinds. The test that provides the most important data is the wear test.
It is called Martindale and generates a number (from about 10,000 to 100,000 and sometimes even more) that corresponds to the number of "rubbings" (pass me the term) that the tissue endures before showing signs of subsidence.
It goes without saying that 10,000 or 100,000 means 10 times more resistant to wear ! between 25,000 and 50,000 we talk about a wear resistance equal to twice the number!
Other parameters such as weight per sqm or resistance to light (to discoloration) are important data but not so decisive for the final choice. If you want to read them, take note of them of course, but the Martindale test has already told you a lot about the fabric.
Now we come to the washing characteristics, often referred to only with symbols. They are VERY important if you want to wash the fabric in the house. You have to make sure that it is really possible to wash the fabric in water and that this thing has been verified and guaranteed by the manufacturer of the sofa.
Why do I say that? Because the fabric manufacturer has parameters, but they are not directly related to the sofa in question. In the field of furniture fabrics, a narrowing of 1-2 % due to a wash in water is normal, so it can be declared "washable in water".
But let's get to us. If the sofa has a back on the back of about 2 meters and we go to wash it, with a narrowing of 1.5% we find ourselves with a coating that after washing measures 197 cm.! Think you can put the lining of the structure so easily with 3 cm. less??? It's like having a size 48 dress and after washing the dress becomes a 46. So if you decide for a water washable fabric, be guaranteed that with your new sofa you can:
- Remove the coating
- Wash the coating in water at the indicated temperature
- Dry and iron the lining in the house
- Easily re-sign the sofa!
The shrinkage must be null! Or almost.
We also evaluate well the various treatments such as the anti-maze to understand if the treatment is guaranteed over time or if it lasts only a few washes and then fades.
Let's now evaluate the skin. The skin is also subjected to several endurance tests, but here the deception is around the corner. In the sense that from the point of view of maintenance, (listen well: only from this point of view) we unfortunately have to admit that the less valuable skin is more resistant to stains and the cleaning is simpler than the finest skin. This is because the skin undergoes treatment. This treatment also involves covering the outer surface of the skin with special paints that actually protect it from wear, discoloration and stains. Clearly they make it less natural and so do not expect a skin of great value, soft, good-looking, which responds to the famous saying the older and the more beautiful it becomes. That kind of skin is definitely of superior quality!
So for the skin my opinion is this. If you want easy maintenance choose a protected skin, that is, pigmented.
If you want fine leather you have to be a little more careful in everyday use.
They do NOT last (indeed, they are real crap) some synthetic fabrics called with various names similar to the skin, Such as the "regenerated skin" or "fake skin" or the "skin-like" but what kind of names are! Call it synthetic fabric, don't you?
So make sure it's real skin. Beef just, not other animals. That there is Vera Skin all over the sofa and not only on one part (often a part of the sofa is made with the crust combined with the skin) and above all that the skin has a certain thickness at least greater than 1.2 mm. Be wary of very thin skins, they have little drag on traction and therefore tend to "get out" especially if you are of a sturdy build or if you use the sofa a lot.
Let's now come to the padding.
There are different types of padding and if anyone wants to delve into the topic here is the link to the full topic "sofa padding".
For our purpose we define only the most important parameters to be required during the purchase. An important parameter is lift.
This data provides you with the ability to support and bear a person's weight.
Several factors affect this feature.
For example, the thickness of the seat cushion. If the person weighs a lot do not choose a sofa with a very thin seat, consider a pillow with a certain thickness.
Combined with thickness we have to evaluate the weight of polyurethane that is declared in density. 15-20-25-30-35-40 etc. The polyurethane of the sitting that gives a certain guarantee should be considered only from 30 and up. If it's thin a 35. For the back is the same, it depends on the thickness. Clearly it does not have to bear the weight of the person as the seat but only a weight in support, so evaluate in the case of polyurethane also an 18-20. The back can also be of other materials that do not have a precise density such as polyurethane bow or feather mixture, I suggest not to buy a product with seat or back too soft because 'will tend to crush again with the going of time and therefore to lose support.
If you don't weigh much or don't stay on the couch for hours, you can overlook this detail.
There is a special seat padding, old-fashioned, but newly conceived. It is a special seat of great quality, very comfortable, that keeps the sofa in shape over time.
This particular type of padding is made with steel springs, bafted in a single shell and then all together enclosed in an additional "bag", this spring system is then coated with a polyurethane structure with high lift and in the upper part covered with soft acrylic ovatta or with a layer of memory foam.
This seat construction system provides comfort, beauty and durability. It's a bit more expensive than generally proposed but it's worth it.
These as I said the main parameters, but also look how a sofa comes out. Do not take this detail lightly, the upholsterers do only what they do by trade, when it will be up to you to re-place the sofa after washing must be an easy operation, to put it better! no upholsterer will come to your house to put the sofa back on, you'll have to do it yourself! See if there are hinges, how long they are, how much they facilitate your future work.
Look also at the seams, better if they are not present in the seat, because they can blacken and above all you can wear them with the use of jeans.
For the rest try to understand us a little by turning and listening to the various sellers of the shops.
And please, look for the Made in Italy, best of all if 100% Made in Italy certified!