Auto Upholstery: Vinyl vs Leather


When many of us think about vinyl, we think about the shiny costumes from the movie Greece, or a diner from that era. Vinyl has come a long way, so much so that upholstery vinyl in Melbourne is an incredibly popular choice for the auto industry. In fact, some vinyl these days is difficult to distinguish from leather. Whilst leather is a superior product, there are benefits of vinyl, especially cost.

There’s two ways of looking at cost associated with auto upholstery. Up front or over a long period. If you plan to keep your car or truck for a long time, well maintained leather will likely cost you less as you will save on reupholstery costs. This is because vinyl is more prone to cracks than good quality leather. However, this won’t apply if you buy a cheaper leather, as they will fade, crack and wear. Leather used for upholstery should be thick, have a nice suede finish on the back, have very little imperfections and feel soft to the touch.

Vinyl upholstery offers a similar look, however with a wider range of colours to choose from, and less maintenance than leather, meaning less time spent caring for it versus leather. Where leather requires special conditioners and products to care for it, vinyl can be taken care of using basic household cleaners you probably already have in the cupboard.

Considering leather for a boat interior or motorbike seat? Leather is a great choice for auto interiors however should be avoided on boat interiors and motorbike seats considering the exposure to the elements. Vinyl really sings in these situations and performs extremely well.

Repairing worn spots or tears in vinyl upholstery is much easier than leather. Repair of upholstery leather is harder to match versus vinyl simply because vinyl does not fade nearly as quickly as leather will.  Leather changes in colour over time and will take on a darker hue. Typically repairs will be made years after the original upholstery was installed so trying to match the colour for repairs is much more difficult than with leather.

It’s always good to answer a few questions prior to selecting leather or vinyl upholstery, such as:

  • What do you use the vehicle for? If this is a work vehicle or a vehicle where you might put dirty or heavy items on the seats, then vinyl is for you.
  • Pets? Vinyl.
  • Want hassle free care and maintenance? Not have to stress if you spill something? Vinyl.
  • Is it going to be garage-kept or will it be out in the elements? If set to be out in the sun, go with vinyl.

As specialists in upholstery vinyl in Melbourne, Rae-Line has been manufacturing boat seats for over 30 years and prides itself on the ability to continue to upgrade their range with new and innovative products. Rae-Line are confident that they will have a seat combination to suit any budget, boat and taste.

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