This is another area that can be confusing for the average consumer. Most folks don’t even know that some leather sofas don’t have steel springs in the base, and that even those that do are not necessarily of quality. There are 3 basic suspension systems utilized by 99% of the furniture industry. They are, in no particular order of quality, synthetic webbing, sinuous steel spring, and 8 way hand-tied steel springs.
Today we’ll take a look at synthetic webbing, which we’ll refer to as “webbing.” These webbing constructions will most commonly be found in Italian made leather furniture, and sometimes in Chinese furniture. I guess the best analogy that I can make for webbing suspensions would be to have you imagine lawn furniture with it’s interwoven webbing strips. In the manufacturing of leather sofas this webbing is typically stapled to the wooden frame creating a trampoline of sorts. The pro to this type of suspension is that it is inexpensive to manufacture. The cons start with the webbing stretching out over time, just like a rubberband would. As the webbing stretches it creates a “hammock-like” effect in your seating where everything tends to sag to the middle. Not a great prospect when you’re sitting toward the arm sinking toward the middle. The loss of support will wear out the seat cushions prematurely. Also, over time the webbing strips can tear from those spots where it is stapled to the frame.
For those reasons noted above, webbing suspension in a sofa is generally a sign of inferior quality. To verify it, just take a look at the manufacturers warranty in regard to the suspension system; it will typically be five years or less.
Next entry we’ll take a look at the steel spring type suspension.
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