If you read our Types of Leather article earlier, you’ll know that we at Signature Leather feel that Bicast Leather is inferior in quality for everyday use. Bicast Leather is sometimes referred to as 100% leather or genuine leather, but that simply isn’t the truth. So, what is Bicast leather in actuality?
Bicast leather (also known as bi-cast leather, bycast leather, or PU leather, sometimes described as split leather) is a material made with a split leather backing covered with a layer of polyurethane that is applied to the surface and then embossed. Bicast was originally made for the apparel industry for glossy shoes, and recently was adopted by the furniture industry. The resulting product has an artificially consistent texture that is easier to clean and maintain, as is the case with most plastic materials. With natural leather, the strength and durability comes from the outer layer of the hide. Because bi-cast is a polyurethane-coated split (inner layer), it cannot be considered equal to conventional leather as it lacks the strength and durability of the natural product.
Peeling of Bycast Leather after a short period of time is a common occurance
The use of terms like "genuine leather" or "100% leather" in relation to bicast treatment is considered a misrepresentation and therefore not permitted in some countries, including the UK, Denmark, and New Zealand. Furniture made with bicast exhibits none of the characteristics associated with aniline leather; it will not develop a patina or suppleness nor otherwise "improve with age". With constant use, the polyurethane layer may crack and split free of its backing, and abrasion may cause large unsightly marks, which end up being practically unrepairable.
Bicast leather has the visual aesthetics of natural top-grain leather, but at much less cost; so it appears very attractive to the consumer. Bicast leather simply does not have the life expectancy of natural leather. Its structural integrity can be shockingly short-lived especially when compared to natural leather.
We at Signature Leather do not sell Bicast Leather for all the reasons above. We only sell quality leather furniture from quality manufacturers that will last you for many years to come.