Bi-cast leather is a relative new comer to the leather market. Most people do not even think twice when someone talks about bi-cast because it contains the work leather. Actually it is a product that definitely has manufactured component to it. It can be one of two types of processes. One process, using a split skin and gluing a sheet of polyurethane color to it. The other process starts with a layer of material composed of reconstituted leather and then gluing a layer of polyurethane color to it. Either way you have a material which is illegal to sell in the UK or New Zealand as leather.
My experience has been, in general, not good at all. Except that it does repair fairly well. Now mind you I only get called when there is a problem. I had one customer that bought a large sectional sofa covered in bi-cast. He purchased it at a major department store clearance center. They had a no return policy. After one week of 3 kids and a dog, the seat cushions were splitting. And I mean big splits. He called me in to repair the problem. I was able to repair the splits but assured him that he would probable see more problems in the near future
Most of the leather furniture that you find at major discount chains will be bi-cast. IF you don’t mind buying throw away furniture, buy it. Your best bet is to stay with top grain leather.
Body oils can dissolve the bi cast plastic coating so maintenance is essential on this type of material. Normally you will feel a sticky feeling / sensation on the surface coating. Body oils can break down the surface coating very quickly, in some cases within months of purchase.
It’s the same care processes as items like protected leathers, but it’s essential they are kept clean and protected at all times.
Surface color loss, scratches and sheen issues can be repaired reasonably well, more extreme damage is almost impossible to repair, blistering is common with bi-cast leathers and the surface coming away from the substrate below.
This type of leather if you can call it leather is very shiny and peoples perception is that its a high quality leather, its far from it as its leather content is so minimal, its more of a plastic surface coated product.
Restoration of this type of material is not easy to say the least, as its not the type of finish you would get on a pigmented leather, as the surface coating is plastic.
The best way to lengthen the life of this type of product is to have a special liquid ceramic coating applied to the surface to help stop body oils and fluids from breaking down the plastic coating. This Bi-Cast Leather Repairs and Conditioning will extend the life of the material.