Bi-cast products have the visual aesthetics of expensive, natural top-grain leather, but at substantially less cost, so it appears very attractive to the unsuspecting consumer. With natural leather, the strength and durability comes from the epidermis (outer layer) of the hide. Because bi-cast is a polyurethane-coated split (inner layer), this “leather wanna-be” does not have the strength or durability people normally associate with leather. Consequently, bi-cast products do not have the life expectancy of natural leather. Its structural integrity can be shockingly short-lived. We have seen occasions where the polyurethane coating peels, or the substrate material splits and tears in as little as 6-8 months. Much like particle board, when the bi-cast products' inherent weakness surfaces, it is time to replace the furniture as repair or restoration are not viable options with this material.
Here’s the truth. Bi-cast is to natural leather what particle board is to hardwood. The public is being duped. Bi-cast has slowed down lately after tremendous damage to the leather upholstery industry for last 5-6 years.
-Updated Feb 6, 2013