About Leather and why it goes bad - Learn more here!
To Order a Custom Color, please order custom color and send us a sample of your leather. We are color specialists. To guarantee an accurate color match, you MUST provide a leather or vinyl sample 1 INCH SQUARE OR LARGER. Samples smaller than 1 inch square will delay the completion of your order. Carpet samples, cloth samples and metal samples are unacceptable. Your sample can be obtained from beneath the seats, behind a door panel, or under a headrest. Two-tone, metallic, or Pearle scent finishes cannot be matched.
It is important that your sample swatch be exactly the color you want. If you send a faded sample, you will get a faded color. If you send a sample that has not been exposed to light and is different from the rest of the interior, you will get that color. If you are doing touch-ups you may want the faded color to blend in with the rest of your interior. If you are re-doing the entire interior, you may choose to go back to the original color.
Simpler Yet: Get a selection of color cards similar to the car’s interior color from a local paint store. Take them home, place them in the car in daylight, at twilight and in the garage with the lights on. Choose the color that looks the best in all these light situations. We usually get a 98% or better accuracy to these paint samples.
Why does leather crack?
If you’re saying there are “cracks in your leather”, then the first thing you need to do is condition the leather with SOFFENER Leather Conditioner. Here is what’s causing those “cracks” in your leather. The interior layer of the leather is a bunch of omni-directional fibers. These fibers hold residual oil and moisture. Over time, this residual oil and moisture evaporates through the pores of the leather. As the leather hide loses moisture, it begins to shrink and stiffen. This leaves a miniscule gap between the leather hide and the color coating on top of it. The color coating is no longer supported by the hide. Without proper support, it starts to crack. The cracking you see on your seats starts in the color coating. Without treatment, the cracks can become severe enough to affect the hide. Before you apply the SURFLEX Colorant to restore worn or abraded color, and in order to diminish the cracking, you first have to condition the leather with SOFFENER Leather Conditioner. Now, with it’s natural moisture restored, the re-hydrated hide underneath can once again support the color coating. If your leather is very dry, it may take several applications of the SOFFENER Leather Conditioner to restore enough moisture to the leather hide so that it can again provide enough support for the color coating to prevent further cracking. The edges of the cracks are microscopically lifting off the surface of the leather. After you have applied the SOFFENER™ Leather Conditioner, you can use 400 or 600 grit sandpaper to go LIGHTLY over the cracks to smooth the lifted edges. This technique usually does not affect either the color or the grain pattern of the leather – however, it is important that you test this technique first in an area that doesn’t show to make sure it will not affect either on your leather. You can repeat this condition/lightly sand process until the leather has absorbed as much of the SOFFENER as it needs and the cracks have been minimized as much as possible. Then you can use SURFLEX Colorant to restore color to the leather surface
How Many Soffener Applications Do I Need?
It depends on how dry the leather is to begin with. Generally, apply the SOFFENER as many times as you wish until no residue is left on the leather after waiting the 24 hours to let SOFFENER absorb. If the SOFFENER does not absorb completely into the leather, wipe it off with a damp cloth wrung out in warm water. Sand the surface of the leather lightly with fine sandpaper, to open the pores. DO NOT sand vigorously . You do not want a suede effect. Then reapply SOFFENER.
How should Flex-Fill be applied?
Use FLEX-FILL like spackle. After the leather has been cleaned and conditioned, apply FLEX-FILL into the crack. Tip it in with your finger, a small spatula, or even a toothpick. Try to keep it from coating the surface of the leather. FLEX-FILL is a cosmetic filling compound, NOT a surface prep. Wipe over the surface with a damp sponge wrung out to almost dry to remove excess FLEX-FILL. Clean the edges of the crack with a paper towel. Let FLEX-FILL dry for 24 hours or at least overnight. Repeat the steps above until you have filled the crack up to the surface level of the leather. If needed, you can sand (350 or 400 grit) to even out the surface of the repair. Let it dry overnight. Apply SURFLEX.
*** You may add a small amount of the SURFLEX Colorant into the FLEX-FILL to tint it. Mix well to insure uniform color. DO NOT add more than 20 or 30 drops of SURFLEX into a 4 oz. FLEX-FILL. DO NOT overload the FLEX-FILL with the SURFLEX.
*** Condition your leather regularly with SOFFENER Original Formula Leather Conditioner to insure extended wear from the filled crack
How much SURFLEX will I need to complete my project?
From the restoration shops that regularly use SURFLEX, the “rule of thumb” quantities are: •1 Quart for the entire interior of a car. The exception to this would be a very large car such as a Rolls or Bentley. In that case you may need 1-1/2 to 2 quarts of SURFLEX. •1 Pint for the front seat(s). •1/2 Pint (8 ounces) is enough for touch-ups, visors or door panels.
Can I save SURFLEX?
Because the pigments used in SURFLEX are water-borne and organic, they are subject to deterioration when exposed to air over an extended period of time. If you have any SURFLEX left over, fill the air space between the left over colorant and the top of the can with crumpled plastic wrap and replace the lid on the can tightly. Store at 65° – 75° F. Over time the SURFLEX may thicken. Since it is water-base, add water to thin to proper consistency. Always test any left over SURFLEX in an inconspicuous area first before applying to overall surface.
Will the color crack or peel off?
A properly prepared surface is essential for good adhesion of color. The main reasons why the color would crack or peel off after application are:
If the leather is too wet, poor adhesion of color will result. It is recommended that the leather dry thoroughly-AT LEAST 24 HOURS-after cleaning. CLEAN and DRY cannot be over emphasized.
If the leather is too cold, poor adhesion of color will result. The ideal temperature range in which to work is 65° – 82° F. If you live in a cold climate, and do not have access to a heated garage, it is advisable to remove the seats from the car and work on them in a heated basement or workroom.
If any silicone base product has been applied to the surface of the leather, poor adhesion of color will result. Silicone clogs the pores of the leather and evaporates from the surface forever. Repeated cleaning of the leather with our SUPER-CLEANER or with quick-dry lacquer thinner is necessary before enough silicone will be removed to attempt re-coloring. After cleaning and light sanding of the surface of the leather SURFLEX may be applied. Even after all of this preparation, SURFLEX may not adhere properly because of the nature of silicone.
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT WITH RESPECT TO PROPER ADHESION. For maximum flexibility, SURFLEX should be applied in two or three light coats-NOT IN ONE THICK COAT. One heavy application could result in cracking or flaking. To achieve complete color coverage with maximum flexibility, always apply 2 or more light coats of SURFLEX. Your first coat could look rather unfinished with areas not completely covered. A second, or third coat, if necessary, will accomplish the job. Some bright red colors or very light colors may require additional applications. Please read about Brush Application & Spray Application pages 14 & 15 in our free booklet “About Leather.”
Can I cover a darker color with a lighter color?
SURFLEX in a light color will not have any problem covering a darker color.
Do I need to use Clear-Cote?
Originally developed to protect vinyl tops from oxidation and embedded dirt build-up, CLEAR-COTE is also recommended as a protective top coat in exceptionally warm and/or humid climates. It is also recommended for use over bright red colors, white, or very light colors. CLEAR-COTE provides an extra layer of molecules over the surface protecting these colors from soiling.