How to Fix Cracked Leather Armrest?

How to Fix Cracked Leather Armrest?

Leather armrests can add a touch of luxury to any car. However, if they become cracked and damaged, they can quickly lose their appeal. If you’re faced with this problem, don’t worry – we have the solution! In this comprehensive guide, we will answer all of your questions about how to fix cracked leather armrests. We’ll provide useful tips and advice on the best ways to restore your armrests to their former glory. So read on for all the information you need to get the job done right!

Why Does Leather Crack?

So, you got yourself a beautiful leather armrest, but it’s started to show cracks and you’re wondering how to fix them. Leather is a natural material that dries out over time, causing it to become brittle and crack. There are main potential causes for that.

From being too dry

First and foremost, if your leather armrest is too dry, it will become cracked. Lack of moisture makes the fibers in the leather contract and causes them to break. The best way to combat this is by regularly moisturizing your armrest with a quality leather conditioner. We will discuss this process later on.

From being too dry

From being pulled too tight

Leather is a skin and, like our own skin, it can stretch and sag over time from being pulled too tight. This usually happens with armrests that are used frequently, such as those on chairs or sofas. The stretching causes the leather to become thinner and weaker, making it more susceptible to cracking.

From exposure to sunlight or heat

Leather dries out quickly when exposed to direct sunlight or heat, causing it to become brittle and crack. If your armrest is in a sunny spot, try moving it to a different location. If that’s not possible, consider using a UV-resistant spray or cover to protect it from the sun.

Naturally with age

Being a natural material, it’s obvious that leather will suffer some wear and tear. If the leather is properly cared for, it can last a lifetime; however, if it’s not, then it will start to show signs of age much sooner.

Another potential cause for cracks is due to dirt and grime that has built up on the surface of the leather over time. This can cause the leather to dry out and become brittle, making it more susceptible to cracking.

If your armrest has already developed cracks, there are still several things you can do to fix it. In the next section we will overgo through the methods for fixing both small and big, deep cracks. [1]

Fixing Minor Cracks

Now, the first question you may want to ask is what is considered a small crack?

First, take a close look at the cracks. Are they small and surface level, or are they deep and go all the way through the leather? If they are small and only superficial, then you can try to fix them yourself. If the cracks are deep or go all the way through the leather, then fixing them may require some extra time and effort.

Surface level cracks are usually caused by dried out leather. The best way to fix these cracks is to hydrate the leather.

Try applying leather conditioner

Get a good quality leather conditioner and apply it to the armrest. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label. Cover the surface of the armrest evenly and let it sit for at least a day before wiping off the excess conditioner. The way leather conditioner works is that it replenishes the natural oils in the leather, making it more pliable and less prone to cracking.

Try applying leather conditioner

Conditioning not only adds moisture back into the leather, but it also helps to soften and protect it from future damage. You should condition your armrest every few months, or as needed if you live in a particularly dry climate. Just be sure to use a small amount of conditioner and rub it evenly into the surface of the leather until it’s absorbed.

After a day has gone by, check the armrest to see if the cracks have disappeared. If they are still there, then you can try repeating the process a few more times until the cracks are gone. If the cracks are still there after trying to condition the leather, then you may need to take some extra steps. [2]

Fixing Harsher Cracks

If the cracks on your armrest are visibly deeper then getting rid of them will require some extra effort from your side. Luckily for you, there are plenty of options to solve this problem.

Using Leather Filler

One method you can use is to fill the cracks with a leather filler. This will require some time and effort but it will produce great results if done correctly.

Leather filler is a putty-like substance that can be used to fill in cracks and holes in leather. It is available in different colors so you can choose one that closely matches the color of your armrest.

Clean the area first

Before you start applying the leather filler, it is important to clean the area around the cracks. This will help the filler adhere to the leather better.

The first step is to clean the area around the crack. Use a leather cleaner or saddle soap and water solution on a damp cloth to remove any dirt, debris, or oils that may be clogging up the cracks. Once the area is clean, dry it off completely with a soft towel.

Smoothen the cracks with a sand paper

Next, you will need to smoothen out the cracks with sandpaper. Be sure to use a fine-grit sandpaper so you don’t damage the leather any further. A 600-grit sandpaper should do the trick. Move the sandpaper in circular motions over the cracks until they are smooth to the touch, be sure to not apply too much pressure!

Once the cracks are smoothed out, use a vacuum to remove any dust that may have been generated from sanding.

Mix the tints of leather filler to get similar color

Now it’s time to mix the leather filler. In order to get a color that closely resembles the armrest, you will need to mix two or more tints together. Start by mixing small amounts of each tint together until you get a desired color.

Fill the cracks with leather filler

Fill the cracks with leather filler

Now that you have the leather filler mixed, it’s time to fill in the cracks! Spread the filler over cracks completely with a palette knife and then smooth out the surface. Allow the filler to dry for 24 hours before proceeding to the next step.

Be sure to not overfill the cracks, you just want enough filler to level off with the surface of the armrest. Also, make sure to smooth out the filler as you go so it looks as seamless as possible.

Once all of the cracks are filled, allow the filler to dry for 24 hours. After the filler dries, check on it to see if it needs any touch-ups. If the filler is not smooth or has shrunken down in certain areas, simply add more and repeat the process.

Applying leather dye

Even after the filler has dried, it still might be visible in certain areas. In order to make the filler completely disappear, you will need to apply a leather dye.

Leather dyes are available in different colors so be sure to choose one that closely resembles the color of your armrest. To apply the dye, simply use a sponge or brush and work it into the cracks. Allow the dye to completely air dry before using the armrest again. [1], [2], [3], [4]

Using Leather Repair Kit

Harsher cracks can be mended by using a leather repair kit. These kits come with everything you need to fill in and patch up the cracks in your armrest. This is a more heavy-duty solution that will take care of bigger cracks and holes in your armrest.

Leather repair kits come with a variety of tools that you can use to fix cracks, holes, and other damage. But most importantly, this kit comes with a patch that can be cut to size and applied over the hole or crack. It also has a special type of glue that will hold the patch in place while it dries. Once dry, the patch will be nearly invisible and will provide structural support to the area so it doesn’t continue to crack.

They usually come with instructions on how to use the various tools. Follow the instructions carefully and take your time while fixing the armrest. If done correctly, you should be able to get rid of the cracks completely.

That’s it! You have now successfully fixed the cracks in your leather armrest. Once you’re done, it’s important to protect it from future damage. [2]

Preventing Leather Cracks

As you can see, leather cracks are not too difficult to fix. But it’s always better to prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are a few tips that will help you keep your armrests looking new for years to come!

Preventing Leather Cracks

Avoid exposing leather armrests to heat or direct sunlight

As we mentioned already, one of the main reasons why leather cracks is because it dries out. The leather will dry out and become brittle when exposed to heat or full sunshine, which eventually leads to cracks.

Apply a protection cream

A great preventive measure is to apply a protection cream. This will create a barrier between your armrest and the elements that can cause it to crack. Apply the cream liberally and make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Reapply the protection cream every few months or as needed. This will help keep your armrests looking new and prolong their lifespan.

Use leather covers

As an alternative or extra measure, you can also use leather covers. These are essentially like slipcovers for your armrests and will protect them from dirt, spills, and other damage. Leather covers are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. You can even find them in different colors to match your décor!

Apply leather conditioner regularly

Another great way to prevent leather drying out and cracking is to apply a conditioner regularly. This will help keep the leather pliable and soft. Apply the conditioner according to the manufacturer’s instructions and you’ll be good to go! [5]

FAQ

How do you repair a cracked leather armrest?

There are a few ways that you can repair a cracked leather armrest, and the best method will depend on the severity of the damage. For minor cracks, you can use a leather conditioner to help fill in the cracks and restore some of the flexibility to the leather. If the cracks are more severe, you may need to use a patching kit or replace the armrest entirely.

Whatever method you choose, be sure to clean and prep the area before beginning any repairs. This will help ensure that your repairs last longer and look better. Once you’ve completed your repairs, be sure to apply a leather protectant to help keep your armrest looking good for years to come.

Can cracked leather furniture be restored?

In most cases, yes. However, it is important to note that the success of the repair will depend on the severity of the damage. If the cracks are deep or if the leather is flaking, it may not be possible to fully restore the piece.

How do you repair cracked leather upholstery?

There are a few ways that you can go about repairing cracked leather upholstery, and the method that you choose will depend on the severity of the damage. For small cracks and chips, you can use a leather repair kit to fill in the damaged area and then blend it with the surrounding material. If the damage is more extensive, you may need to replace the entire piece of upholstery.

Does JB Weld work on leather?

JB Weld works great on leather! You will want to use the JB Weld Leather Repair Kit for best results. This kit comes with everything you need to make a permanent repair on your leather armrest.

Useful Video: HOW TO: Repair cracked vinyl on your cars interior

Conclusion

If you’ve been ignoring your leather armrests because of the little cracks that have been slowly developing, don’t worry! There is a way to fix them without having to replace the entire piece. All you need is a leather conditioner (which can be picked up at any hardware store). If the cracks are more severe, you might need to use a leather filler or repair kit – but those can also be easily purchased. With a little bit of work, your old armrests can look as good as new. So go ahead and give those old leather armrests a facelift!

References:

  1. https://www.home-dzine.co.za/Lifestyle/life-crackedleather.htm
  2. https://suggesthow.com/how-to-fix-cracked-leather-armrest/
  3. https://getjerry.com/questions/how-do-i-fix-cracked-leather-on-a-car-armrest
  4. https://oureverydaylife.com/should-i-sand-leather-before-refinishing-12568639.html
  5. https://www.fibrenew.com/blog/how-to-protect-cracked-leather/