Coated fabrics describe how the upholstery is manufactured. The coatings are layered on or impregnated in a fabric substrate to create upholsteries that are extremely durable, cleanable and moisture proof.
Coated fabrics made their debut in the upholstery industry as a substitute for leather in the automotive industry in the 1920’s. Since that time these coated fabric faux leathers have become so much more.
The versatility of coated fabrics is enhanced by a variety of finishes and embossings. They can be matte, shiny or metallic. They can not only mimic leather, but they can also simulate a woven textile with a variety of prints and textures.
The anatomy of the typical coated fabric is shown below. The base shown layered on the fabric substrate can be polyurethane (PU), vinyl or silicone. The topcoat or skin can be polyurethane or vinyl. A resin base of silicone does not require a skin or topcoat. An impregnated construction on a matrix non-woven fabric substrate does not require a base layer.
Faux leathers or coated fabrics can be divided into three basic categories: PVC (vinyl), Polyurethane (PU, PVC-free) and Silicone.