If you have leather-style stock furniture in your RV, chances are you may have experienced the dreaded cracking, peeling or flaking issue that has unfortunately become a common occurrence for many RV owners.
Let’s start by discussing why couches start to peel in the first place.
There are two common reasons why the materials begin to fail:
1 – WEAR AND TEAR
The first is simply a result of friction and pressure over time due to heavy and prolonged usage. This is typically referred to as wear and tear and generally occurs in localized sections of the material that see the most friction, such as the seat cushions or leg rests.
2 – HYDROLYSIS
Instead of a mechanical breakdown of the material due to pressure and friction, this is a chemical breakdown caused by long term exposure to humidity and heat. Hydrolysis failures typically manifest all at once across the entire surface, even on sections that rarely see any friction or pressure.
Over the years I’d seen many people ranting about the fabric from their stock couches starting to peel away within a very short period of time, but as full-time RVers we’d been using our stock Thomas Payne couch for 3 years and it seemed to be holding up great.
Because of this, I initially assumed all of the premature peeling complaints were from people with rough pets or children, or maybe they use harsh cleaners or keep their rigs extremely hot and humid.
I pride myself on keeping the temperature and humidity very stable in our rig 24/7, so I was proud of the fact that we weren’t having any problems.
But sure enough, on one seemingly random day, our couch started to rapidly disintegrate, sending small bits of pleather all throughout the camper. We were suddenly having to sweep multiple times a day just to keep up with the tiny fragments which would stick to our skin and clothing and spread like wildfire
Nothing about our routine had changed. We didn’t clean with any chemicals or do anything out of the ordinary. It just seemed to happen out of nowhere, similar to the accounts I’d heard from others.
It was at this point I realized there must be something to all of these complaints, so I decided to dive in and see what options there were for resolving this very annoying problem.
What can you do to fix your peeling issues?
For localized failures due to wear and tear, you may want to simply cover the problem areas with a leather repair patch, which you can find on Amazon for around twenty bucks. Wandering Weekends has a good video showing how to do this, but you essentially just cut the material to size, clean the affected area, stick the patch on, and that’s it.
But if your material has started to fail due to Hydrolysis, it’s pretty much a runaway train at that point. You can definitely find slip on cushion covers or even have the entire couch reupholstered, but for us, we decided we wanted a complete upgrade.
What are the upgrade options?
Since Lippert made our original couch, I first reached out to them to see if they had any thoughts on the matter. They advised me they were well aware of the issue and had actually taken steps over the past few years to address and eliminate any further premature failures due to hydrolysis.
During my research, I also discovered another popular option from a company called RecPro. They offer a ton of different aftermarket RV parts and accessories, including their very own line of luxury RV furniture.
Since we liked most of the features of our stock couch, I looked for the closest match to a direct replacement for our stock seats from both companies. The closest matches for us looked to be the Thomas Payne Seismic Series in Millbrae from Lippert and the Charles Ultrafabrics (67-inch) Brisa in Coffee Bean from RecPro.
Realizing that most consumers would end up exactly where I was, trying to decide between the two, I asked both companies if they’d like to participate in a head-to-head showdown. We all agreed this comparison could be very beneficial for any RVer looking to make a decision, and therefore both RecPro and Lippert offered to fully sponsor the YouTube video above, where you can see a direct comparisons of both couches we chose.
What warranties do they offer?
– WEAR AND TEAR WARRANTY (mechanical and structural)
RecPro’s Charles in Ultrafabrics Brisa comes with a 3-year “wear and tear” warranty while Lippert’s Thomas Payne only comes with a 1-year.
– HYDROLYSIS WARRANTY (chemical breakdown, cracking and peeling)
RecPro offers an industry leading 7-year warranty on hydrolysis, while Lippert offers a respectable 5-year.
How much do they cost?
This will fluctuate depending on season, sales and inflation, but at the time of making this video:
Our RecPro set cost $2,229.95 with free shipping.*
Our Lippert set cost $1,994.85 plus shipping (which I’ve seen range between $100–$300 depending on your location).
*DISCOUNT CODE: If you do decide on a RecPro set, make sure to use code AROUNDTHESUN at checkout for an additional 5% discount, which will get you down to around $2,118 with free shipping.
If these are a bit too pricey, both Lippert and RecPro offer additional budget-friendly options for each of their couches…
If you’re okay with manual recline, less cup holders, no electronics and a little less space, you can save over $500 with Lippert’s Heritage series. It starts around $1,462 plus shipping and still includes the same 5-year PolyHyde fabric and warranty.
RecPro also offers a savings of $580 on their powered couch with the only difference being the Suprima Cloth or 5-year Suprima leather being used instead of the 7-year Ultrafabrics Brisa. These powered Suprima models start at around $1649 with free shipping and still include the same 3-year structural warranty.
And finally, RecPro also offers an even cheaper version of their Suprima cloth or leather couch, which has manual recline, no power and less cupholders, for only $1319 and free shipping. This one also includes the same warranty.
So if you’re looking for the absolute cheapest option, RecPro’s manual sofa in Suprima leather or cloth is your best bet.
Additional Deals and Discounts:
– LIPPERT’S RESOLUTION PROGRAM
If you already have an older Thomas Payne couch with premature peeling, cracking or flaking due to Hydrolysis and you’re the original owner, you’re probably eligible for a discount on your new purchase through Lippert’s resolution program.
If you’re within 1-3 years of the original warranty expiration date of your current couch, Lippert will provide 50% off your new purchase and if you’re within 4-5 years, you can still get 20% off.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of this program, simply give Lippert’s Care Center a call at 432-LIPPERT and let them know Chris Dow from Around The Sun We Go sent you.
– RECPRO DISCOUNT CODE
Use code AROUNDTHESUN at checkout for an additional 5% discount.
Drop a comment below or on YouTube and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
My name is Chris Dow, this is Around the Sun We Go, and remember… make every trip count.