What Is Top Grain Leather (Full Grain Vs Top Grain Vs Genuine)

If you are considering to buy a leather product for your apartment, it is crucial to understand the different leather types available. The type of leather is dependent on where it is got, the process of manufacturing, and the overall quality. Some of the most common types of leather are top-grain, split-grain, and bonded leather. In this article, we will discuss on what is top grain leather.

Top grain leather helps in the manufacture of quality products. This type of leather has a consistent appearance due to the way it is made. Let us discuss how it is made, what products it makes, and how to take care and maintain the leather. We shall also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of top grain leather. This information will help you to decide on the type of leather to choose for your furniture.

How is Top Grain Leather Made?

Top grain is the second-best grade of leather from full-grain leather. This type of leather is made through the removal of the outermost layer of animal hide through sanding and buffing.

This process makes the leather much finer and thinner, which is suitable for tooling and working by a manufacturer. Top grain leather is cheaper compared to full-grain leather. It also removes any defects, blemishes, scars, and wrinkles that may be in the leather’s outer surface.


Top grain leather does not have the outermost layer of the hide, which has the toughest natural fiber. This, therefore, results in discolorations and defects essential in every animal hide been processed. It also gives the leather a consistent pattern and color.

However, the process reduces the breathability of leather. It also prevents the leather from absorbing body oils and other types of impurities. This is one thing that makes full-grain leather more preferred than top grain leather.


Once the top layer of the hide has gone through sanding, the leather that remains is imprinted with imitation grain, which gives it a uniform and consistent look. The leather may then be stamped with patterns that resemble alligator skin, ostrich, and snakeskin, among others.

What It Can Make

Top grain leather is used to make a wide range of products since it is much easier to work with due to its consistent appearance and flexibility. It may not have the feel or the look of the original leather, but it can resemble any animal hide one desire.

This type of leather is used to make key chains, wallets, briefcases, satchels, handbags, and purses, among other products. Since it is not as solid as full-grain leather, it is advisable not to use it in rough environments.

Taking Care of Top Grain Leather

The secret of prolonging the life of a product made of top grain leather is through maintenance. You are advised to always store your leather products in a cool and dry place. In case you have some water or liquid spilled on a leather product, wipe it off immediately with a soft and clean cloth.

After washing your leather jacket, bag, or any other product, leave it to dry in a cool and dry place. Never dry the leather using heat since this might make it to over dry, thus resulting in cracking. To maintain the quality of your leather products, it will be prudent to condition them using high-quality leather conditioners in the market.

When cleaning leather products, also ensure you wash them with high-quality leather soaps. On top of this, it is recommendable not to store leather products in plastic covers since this may lead to the growth of molds.

In case you notice some molds growing on leather, use a soft cloth to clean off the mold. Dip the soft cloth in a mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol and pipe the mold off. The alcohol and water should be mixed in equal proportions.

Pros of Top Gain Leather

Top grain leather has several advantages beyond those offered by other types of leather. It is the second-best leather you will get in the market. This is the benefits of top grain leather:

  • Easy to work with
  • Provides a consistent finish
  • Easy to maintain
  • Lasts longer than some other types of leather
  • Less expensive compared to full-grain leather
  • Can be patterned and dyes to mimic other exotic leathers

Cons of Top Grain Leather

During the processing procedure, the top layer of the hide is removed through buffing and sanding. This causes the downside of the top grain leather since it:

  • Decreases durability as compared to full-grain leather
  • Reduces breathability making it hot during the hot season and cold in the cold season
  • It is not able to oils from the body
  • Does not develop a patina
  • Can crack or brittle without proper care
  • Does not have individuality and personality of full-grain leather

ULTIMATE Guide To Leather! Full Grain Vs Top Grain Vs Genuine Types & Grades ( YouTube Video)

Frequently Asked Questions of Top Grain Leather

Q. What Is the Difference Between Top Grain Leather and Genuine Leather?

Genuine leather does not necessarily mean that the products are made with real leather. It means that there is some amount of leather in the material. This type of leather is also called split leather. Genuine leather is the lowest quality of the products made of real leather. It can come from intermediate layers between suede and top grain.

Top grain leather, on the other hand, is the second-best type of leather from the full-grain leather. It is among the best types of leather for furniture. Top grain leather is made with the process of sanding away natural rain from the leather surface. It is then stamped with imitation grain to give it a much uniform look.

Q. Is Top Grain Leather Good for Sofas?

Yes. Top grain leather is one of the best materials for making high-quality furniture due to its durability. Top grain leather is good for sofas due to its resistance to stains and proper top coating. If you take good care of the top grain leather sofa, it can last for more than 15 years. Leather sofas are four times much more durable than those made of fabric. It is an ideal material for pet owners and parents because it is durable, strong, and good looking. They are also cheaper compared to full grain leather sofas.

Q. Does Top Grain Leather Peel?

Top grain leather is the second-best leather from full-grain leather. However, it is more resistant to stains. But, does top grain leather peel? When top grain leather is pigmented, it maintains an even tone with no patina. Leather by itself does not peel or crack under normal conditions. However, it may peel if a colorant or finish is applied on its surface. Top grain leather is stiffer and thus making it a perfect choice for belts and shoes. In case it peels, it can be easily fixed with a leather repair kit.

Q. How Long Will Top Grain Leather Last?

When the top grain leather is well maintained and taken care of, it will serve you for ten to fifteen years. Top grain leather products are much more durable than those made with fabric. It is durable, strong, and easy to clean and maintain. It is, therefore, a perfect choice for people with pets and parents. Since top grain leather is among the best types of leather, it is also a little bit expensive.

Q. How Do You Maintain Top Grain Leather?

For leather to serve you for a long time, you need to take it through the right maintenance. Below are tips on how to take care of your leather products:

  1. Clean leather with a nubuck cleaning cloth and high-quality leather soap. When selecting a leather soap, ensure that it does not leave any residues since it will be harmful to the leather.
  2. Condition your leather products at least two times in a year to prevent it from cracking or drying out. Always use a clean cloth and a high-quality leather conditioner in the process.
  3. After washing the leather, keep it in a cool and dry place to dry up. Never cover leather products in plastic since it may cause mold to grow on the leather.
  4. In case of any spills on the leather, wipe then off immediately using a soft cloth to prevent damages. After wiping the leather, but it is a cool and dry place for it to dry.
  5. In case molds grow on leather, wipe it off with an equal mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol. Deep a soft and clean cloth in the mixture and wipe off the mold from the leather.


As we have seen, on what is top grain leather, how it is processed and its pros and cons. This is leather that has been got from the top part of the hide. This type of leather goes through the process of sanding to give it a smooth and even consistency. Top grain leather is suitable for a wide variety of luxury and premium goods. It is less expensive compared to full grain but more expensive than other types of leather.  It is also easier to clean than other types of leather. The leather is quite durable, but you need to take special care to keep it away from damages.

Learn More:


I am an Architect Engineer by profession with great interest in web and content creation. I have used leather products for a long time, which has increased my enthusiasm, knowledge, and understanding of leather. I am here to shed light on the leather and guide you on choosing the best leather products.

Recent Posts