Using natural materials to upgrade a space can make for a big impression. And no other choice provides an experience quite like leather. Here’s a crash course including everything you’ll want to know about them before getting started.
Leather tiles are made from cow hide, known as full-grain leather. The hides are selected for superior quality to make sure that they are free of blemishes, scarring, hair follicles, and other imperfections. This makes sure the leather is as close to its natural state as possible.
The leather is typically then tanned using the vegetable tanning process. This is considered the most natural and environmentally friendly way to preserve the leather and its unique characteristics. And it uses a vegetable tanning agent. The leather is then dyed to give it a handsome finish.
In recent years recycled leather tiles have also become very popular. These are considered a “green,” building product because they re-use leather which would otherwise be discarded and end up in landfills.
Recycled leather tiles are not made from individual hides but instead comprised of pulverized leather fibers that come from sources such as used car seats. They also often come from furniture and the excess material from the clothing manufacturing process.
Tiles made from leather offer many advantages. In addition to their warm look, leather also provides warm flooring. This is in stark contrast to many other tile materials such as natural stone which are cold under your feet. For this leather was actually used to cover the stone floors of ancient castles.
A very distinct benefit is that leather tiles also appeal to the senses. They are not just attractive but actually have their own natural and welcoming aroma. And the texture of leather is one which you’ll want to reach out and touch.
As a natural material each tile is different and totally unique, like a piece of art work created by Mother Nature. Another exclusive trait is that similar to a fine wine, leather tile is often at its best with age.
That’s because as the leather interacts with air over time, the tiles will begin to develop a patina giving each one even more character. There are a few extra benefits too. Leather options are naturally fire retardant and will help to absorb sound.
And because leather is a flexible material it can be used on curved surfaces. For this reason leather wall tiles are often installed on reception desks, bars, and of course curved walls where other tiles simply wouldn’t work.
Best Uses And Spaces
Leather can be used to create highly luxurious spaces. While leather tiles are timeless in appearance they will work best in areas that are classic or contemporary in style. And they always complement other natural materials such as wood and stone amazingly well.
Their looks and sound absorbing quality makes them a classy wall and floor alternative in meeting rooms, high-end offices, home theatres, living and dining rooms, dens, and bedrooms. In fact in the bedroom they are especially popular for use on headboards.
They can draw a lot of attention and even make your bed become the focal point of the room. If you don’t have an actual headboard that’s not a problem, leather headboard tiles can also be attached to the wall directly behind the bed to create the look of one.
Because they make such a big first impression leather tiles are also often installed in reception areas, hotels, retail businesses, and showrooms where they can wow clients and guests.
Not For These Places
While they are durable they are still considered to be one of the most fragile tile types so they shouldn’t be used in areas with high traffic. And although leather tiles may have a special water-resistant finish they aren’t really recommended for areas with a lot of water or moisture.
So for example you wouldn’t want to install leather floor tiles in the bathroom or close to the front or back door. Exceptionally low humidity levels can also affect leather.
Therefore you won’t want to add tiles in spaces where the humidity is less than twenty percent. Exposure to direct sunlight should also be avoided to prevent unwanted fading.
A Range Of Possibilities
When it comes to appearance really anything is fair game. Tiles may come in natural brown shades or just about any color of the rainbow. They are available in a wide range of tile patterns and can be made to look similar to other natural materials.
Some leather tiles are designed to look like choices such as wood flooring planks and even natural stone. The hides of other animals can also be mimicked so when shopping you may see tiles that look like snakeskin, crocodile, ostrich, and more.
Many of these options will come with a texture that makes them seem like the real thing as well. And for adding extra interest to wall spaces, 3d leather tiles which have been padded to make them stick out are very popular too.
When you want something that is truly unique to your specifications, many retailers offer the choice of having tiles custom-made. This can allow you to get the exact pattern, size, color, finish, and texture you need.
More care does need to be taken with leather tiles than most other options. You’ll need to keep in mind that they can be damaged by both sharp and also rough objects. These could potentially tear, cut, or scratch them.
That being said tiles often will have a special finish to protect against abrasions and also water. Of course you’ll want to follow the specific directions from the manufacturer when cleaning, but in general leather floor tiles should be swept daily with a soft-bristled broom, and not mopped.
A few times per year depending on the amount of use they get they should also be waxed and buffed. If there are spills on your floor instead of scrubbing or wiping them, they should be blotted immediately with a soft damp towel to prevent staining.
If your tiles get scratched, these can usually be taken care of with a bit of quality shoe polish. Leather wall tiles should be wiped as needed to keep them free of dust. And they will need to be waxed and buffed about once a year.
Should You Go Faux?
While real leather tiles can be stunning they do cost more than other options. This can put them outside of many people’s budget. Other consumers may simply want the appearance of leather in area where the real thing isn’t convenient.
Or they might not want to deal with maintaining authentic leather. For these situations, there are options that are made to look very similar. These are known as leather effect tiles, leather look tiles, and also faux leather tiles.
While they won’t have the exact look, or feel, and definitely not the smell of leather, they can mimic the appearance very well. Tiles are typically made from materials such as porcelain, ceramic, and vinyl. And many 3d faux leather wall tiles along with ceiling tiles are made from Polyurethane.
For the discerning consumer who wants a unique, high-end, and all-natural option leather tiles are a must have choice. But don’t worry, if you simply want the look, you can always go faux!
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