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Choosing The Right Topcoat

The job of a topcoat is to ‘seal’ and protect the colour coatings. Topcoats act as a physical barrier between the leather and damaging factors such as body oil, perspiration, soiling and abrasion. They have additional physical properties that lend rub resistance and thereby help to slow colour wear. They also provide a degree of water resistance.

Professional grade topcoats are beautiful to touch, soft and flexible. They deliver a desirable ‘finished’ look that resembles a tannery finish.

A satin topcoat was used to protect this soft, quilted aniline leather jacket

Topcoat Basics

PURPOSECOMPOSITIONCHARACTERISTICSUSABILITY
Seal & protect the colour
Protect the leather
ResinsSoft to touch
Flexible
Durable
Abrasion resistant
Transparent
Water-based
Sponge or spray on
Non-toxic
Fast drying
Self leveling
Variable gloss levels
Low to no odour
Can be tinted
Can be dulled

As wear and tear take their toll over time, the manufacturer’s original topcoat can wear thin or become compromised. Refreshing the colour coatings and replacing the worn topcoat can go a long way to extending the life of your leather whilst also making it look much, much better.

Leather Hero Topcoat (No.7) in Matte, Satin, Gloss and High Gloss finish

Level of Sheen

Topcoats can increase or decrease the level of gloss you see. It is best to match the sheen of your colourant to the sheen of your topcoat ( or vice versa). Leather Hero pigments (paints) can be ‘flattened’ using Dulling Agent (No.30).

Getting the right colour is important. Equally important is getting the right level of sheen for your topcoat. Here is an overview of Leather Hero’s 4 Topcoats

MATTESATINGLOSSHIGH GLOSS
SHEENExtra flatSoft & subtleModerate glossVery shiny
APPLYBest by spray.
Can also use
sponge or brush
Sponge, brush
or spray
Sponge, brush
or spray
Sponge, brush
or spray
USESModern cars,
some sofas
Most common
for all applications
Not often used
on cars or sofas
(except some Chesterfields)
Some handbags
& shoes. Rarely
used on furnishings
OPTICSCan make
colours seem lighter
Balanced Can highlight
textural features &
imperfections
Can highlight
textural features & imperfections

If in doubt, Satin Topcoat

is usually a safe choice

Not sure which topcoat is right for your job? Start with a small bottle to test first.

A glossy finish on this piece of leather helps to highlight the beautiful textural markings
Topcoats, from Matte to High Gloss, absorb and reflect light
Here, a glossy topcoat has been used to draw the eye to embossed features