A: You might be surprised how well most leather upholstery can be restored to health. The experts at Leather Solutions (6612 W. Irving Park Rd., 773-685-2162, leathersolutions.com) will pick up your sofa and bring it back to the shop, where they will clean it and repair rips, punctures, and scratches. (They can also repair the framework, if necessary.) To restore leather to its original color, they find an area that hasn’t been exposed to light and formulate a dye to match the color. They use a chemical process to open the pores so the leather absorbs the dye better, then cure it at 300 degrees to set the dye. The sofa then gets a clear topcoat to protect it against wear. The job takes a week or two and costs from $550 to $1,200 for a three-cushion sofa.
Another company, Technique Leather Repair (630-830-1616, technique-leather-repair.com), does all the work in your home. Owner Steve Honan cleans the leather and repairs scratches, rips, and punctures. He will re-color your whole sofa, and everything will be dry and ready for use by the time he leaves. Cleaning and restoration on a three-cushion sofa in an average state of disrepair usually takes about half a day and costs about $400. A sofa that has suffered extreme trauma can cost up to $1,200. (Technique’s excellent Web site is filled with information about leather restoration.)
Color Glo Quality Leather Restoration (847-719-2934, qualityleatherrestoration.com) also does repairs on site. The pros come to your home, give your sofa a thorough cleaning, repair rips and scratches, re-dye, and finish with a protective conditioner. A full restoration costs about $600 to $800 for a three-cushion couch.
Weber Furniture (5915 N. Ravenswood Ave., 773-275-9061, weberfurniture.com) does leather restoration, too, both on site and in the shop, depending on how damaged the piece is. They clean, repair, color, and seal. Service manager JoAnn Schneidau says it’s an involved process, but with leather costing $500 to $600 a hide (an average sofa needs about six) and labor costs to consider, reupholstering is much more expensive than cleaning and restoring a sofa. A complete restoration on a three-cushion sofa costs about $450 to $550.