Upholstery Tips - Finding A Good Upholsterer
Recommendation is often the best source. Look for a recognized trade association mark, such as "The Association of Master Upholsters & Soft Furnishers" which is not a 'bought' badge but ensures that the upholstery work and business is regularly vetted by experts in the trade.
What you must do before you get your furniture re-upholstered or re-covered:
- Get at least two written quotations from qualified upholsters.
- Make sure the quotes detail all the work to be undertaken.
- That they list all the materials to be used.
- Ensure you compare like for like.
- What is the difference between re-covering and re-upholstering
To re-upholster a piece of furniture is to completely strip the piece down to the frame and rebuild it, webbing, springing, right up to its top cover.
• To Re-cover Is To Change The Top Fabric.
There are times when a job can combine both re-covering and re-upholstering depending on the condition or make up of the piece. However, do be sure that your chosen upholsterer makes it clear exactly what he is intending to do in order that your quotations can be compared like for like.
Bear in mind that if you intend to sell-on your piece it should comply fully with the "Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations 1988." This means that if you were to sell via auction you would have to prove the piece fully compiles and that suitable labels are fixed. Where pieces are 'part re-upholstered' it is often impossible to make such a declaration.
• A Cheap Job!
There is no such thing as a cheap upholstery job. There is however, a job that is good value for the money. It is false economy for you to pay for something that is purely top show. Although you would obviously like your furniture to look good it must also be functional and should give you many years of service.
• Fabric - The "Top Cover"
It is not always the most expensive fabric that lasts the longest. Ask your upholsterer for information on the fabric being offered to you. He should be able to advise you as to the suitability both in wear and fire safety standards of your fabric. Check what the rub test is on the fabric, just because a fabric looks and feels thick it doesn't mean it's the toughest.
Proper fixed upholstery fabric should carry the results of a Martindale Test. This test is carried out by machine on a small area of fabric using a circular rubbing motion. The resulting number, is the number of cycles completed before the fabric shows signs of wear.
Make sure you take a sample of the fabric into the room or area in which your furniture will be used, check that it still looks right in both artificial and natural light. The light in a showroom can give a totally different effect to that of your home. The surrounding colors on walls, floors and other fabrics will reflect their color and so influence its final shade or pattern. Don't forget - the pattern book is a representative sample ONLY and shade and textural differences often occur. If required, request a stock cutting sample from the supplier.
• What Is The Difference Between Traditional & Modern Upholstery?
Traditional upholstery is not available from all upholsters some only hold skills in the 'modern' trade. Make sure the upholsterer you choose is competent in the type of restoration skill you require.
To traditionally upholster a chair means to re-upholster it in its original style and materials. Generally this term is used where the upholstery is formed with hair or hair substitute (fiber), either by hand sewing it into shaped pads or forming shallow hair pads. The term is generally used when referring to antique or maybe just older types of seating. Sometimes hair is applied in rubberized sheeting and this can also be referred to as traditional upholstery.
Modern upholstery normally describes upholstery made in foam or other more recently developed materials. However, don't be fooled into thinking this is a skill that can be undertaken by anyone. Applied correctly modern methods can produce good products that give years of excellent service. Furthermore, much of today's modern upholstery is engineered with large stitched on piece covers capped on to padded frames. A great deal of skill is required to undertake such work.
Whichever method is used remember that neither will be much good without it being applied to a well-made frame.
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