Faux leather is one of several names given to artificial or synthetic leather. . There are two primary types of faux leather construction: polyurethane (“PU”), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC – “Vinyl”).
PU is made by coating a backing fabric such as cotton, polyester or shredded leather with a flexible polymer and then treating it to look more like animal hide. Polyurethane upholstery is the most realistic imitation of genuine leather, with respect to hand, surface feel, and overall appearance. When stitched, gathered, or tufted it actually “breaks” or wrinkles like real leather. Because there are no plasticizers used in PU upholstery there is no cracking or peeling, and it remains soft and supple for the duration of time it remains on the furniture. They are also easier to decorate designs on them. Polyurethane is considered greener than Vinyl because it does not create dioxins. PU resins are made of a softer polymer and therefore don’t need additional plasticizers. Polyurethane costs less than real leather but it is more expensive to produce than Vinyl.