Kothea samples of faux leather in colours zinc, ash, lilac and ginger. Suitable for contract upholstery with <200,000 Martindale rubs. Inspired by a chic Christmas wreath dressing this beautiful weathered door. We love the brass fox door knocker
Kothea faux leather samples in colours red dragon, meadow and apple. Supplied with crib5 FR, with a Martindale rub test >200,000. Samples are inspired by this stunning collection of succulents found at Sissinghurst Castle garden. . .
KOTHEA was asked if Faux Leather could be used as flooring. We have experience of putting faux leather just about on any surface: in yachts, in hotels, in villas, on doors, on walls, on bars and of course on furniture. But sadly no experience with floors.
Some of the faux leathers/faux skins we sell have a Martindale / Rub test of over 100,000. This is suitable for HEAVY/CONTRACT upholstery. However to extrapolate that to even light use flooring is risky. The rub test mimics more the action of sitting rather than being walked upon. The forces exerted by walking, running and carrying things on faux leather would be much more than in seating areas. This would be further complicated by the adhesive which would have to be both perfectly bonded throughout the entire area in contact with the floor (possible) and the adhesive would have to be strong (possible).
Having said that I have a sneaky feeling that it is possible in reasonably low traffic areas. After all it is possible to buy leather tiles. Perhaps also the covering applied after laying can improve stability and durability. If you would like me to give a more definitive response on this issue please leave a comment.
Faux (or fake) Leather offers a great alterantive to leather. With Martindale rubs of over 100,000 this is a very safe choice for high use contract areas. It’s usually made of a pure cotton basecloth with a poly-cotton visible coating. There are many other animal skins that are mimiced in the same way and in many cases the finishes are convincing.
But why not just use leather?
Much leather production has now moved away from the West to areas with less stringent environmental laws and lower wage rates. This is where the problem lies.
Chromium based compounds are used in the tanning and curing process of real leather. They are thought to be carcinogenic as, in some European tanning factories, cancer rates were found to be up to 50% higher in workers than in the population as a whole. Furthermore there were higher incidences of Leukemia in children living in areas near the tanneries. Environmental problems are exacerbated by the siting of factories next to rivers; the significant amounts of discharge that are produced are fed into the water courses and then dispersed over wide areas. In more lowly regulated economies it is not unreasonable to believe that the situation is probably worse.
Moving towards a better leather requires that chromium use is stopped completely and that the water used in production is cleaned and re-used in the factory. Any tanins and dyes uses would preferably be plant based.
Food for thought: If you wear leather clothing on sweaty skin then chromium residues in the leather can rub off and enter the skin.
KOTHEA had two recent projects where we had to adhere Faux Leather vertically. This poses a more serious challenge than paper-based wall coverings due to both the weight of the fabric (nearly 1kg per linear metre) and the wear and tear when adhered to a door. Both installations were more involved than domestic ones as we had to consider firstly the use on a yacht in a marine environment and secondly the high levels of usage of a hotel.
So the adhesive needs to be strong.
A further set of issues to overcome are related to how the fabric might react to any chemicals in the adhesive. In both instances our fabric had a 100% cotton back coat with a vinyl mix visible layer. Superfically a conclusion could be drawn that most adhesives would be OK with the surfaces they are fastening to in these instances ie a natural wooden door and inert stone wall combined with the natural cotton back cloth. However the adhesive will almost certainly penetrate the back cloth. Becuase of this the use of a solvent based adhesive, such as Asceton, is most definately not recommended.
So the adhesive needs to be strong and water based.
After performing suitability tests in these instances we chose to use Mapei’sAdheselix VS45 . VS45 is an acrylic adhesive in water dispersion and has been used extensively by Mapei’s customers for PVC/foam wallcoverings and rubber flooring. An alternative of Adesilex G19 was also suggested for areas with more moisture but that was not necessary in these cases.
Many of these fabric companies sell a wide range of products including: chenille, contract fabric, faux / fake leather, mohair velvet, linen velvet, cotton velvet, wool, hand woven products, natural silk, cashmere and damask for upholstery, curtains and cushions.
Some fabrics can be too fragile for use as upholstery unless knit backed. Knit backing is a process whereby, for example, a cotton polyester backing is applied to a lighter weight chenille, silk or cotton.
Essentially the fabric‘s life is increased with better durability and resilience. The handling characteristics of the fabric can be improved; and knit backing also helps prevent seam slippage.
The same principle applies for the fabric whether or not it is to be used for either upholstery or wall covering. There will certainly be other requirements for contract usage, say, in hotels and aviation and also other treatments like fire retardancy or stain protection would be required for contract upholstery.
We are often asked to recommend farbic treatment companies for flame retarding in contract installations. Most treatment comapanies offer other services such as; back coating fabric for walls, and stain resistance/repellency. There are several such companies in the UK and at various times we have used all of the following:
Just click the company name to take you to their web site. Please feel free to add comments to this posting recommending any suppliers you have used but any negative comments about other companies are not permitted on this site. Thank you.