What Is A Top Coat?
A top coat on a leather skin is a clear coating that’s applied to protect the binder painted layers from abrasions and wear and gives the leather hide a waterproof protective layer.
The top coat is a PU lacquer that’s clear and has several different sheen levels depending on the desired finish the tannery applies to the binder painted surface to protect it.
Smooth leather is given a coating of binder paints to give them a protective layer, this is then coated with a PU clear coating called a top coat. This provides a fully waterproof coating making the leather hides last longer and seals them. They have around a 1% breathability level when this is carried out.
All leathers that are painted with a pigmentation layer are dyed first of all with aniline dyes, then the pigmented coating is applied and then the top coat clear lacquer is applied making them very durable to scuffing and scrapes.
When this pigmentation layer is applied they are not as soft and supple as an Aniline Leather would feel and are also not as warm to the touch as aniline leather.
Leather that does not have this coating layers applied are called aniline leathers, those that have a coloured clear coating applied are called semi aniline leather. A semi aniline leather is dyed through with aniline dyes and then a fine clear coating is applied to the surface that has some pigment paint mixed in to even out the aniline dyed surface.
Any coating applied to leather must not be more than 0.15mm in thickness if it is then it can’t be classed as genuine leather.