Why would you choose not to start with a bare frame?
You and your client deserve the best upholstery job you can give them.
Another frequently asked question we get when somebody’s upholstering a project is, “do I have to take everything underneath off the frame of my furniture? Can I just reupholster over the old materials?”. Can I reuse the old webbing and all the old padding? I’ve always gone by the rule that, I tear off all the old materials. I never wanted a piece to come back with an issue. Giving my clients and myself the best possible product I can. That didn’t only mean doing a great job upholstering. It also meant replacing the old with all new materials underneath and not taking shortcuts. Now you are giving them a brand new piece of furniture.
It’s your reputation and money you’re messing with if you do a poor job.
When you are reupholstering a piece for a client, you don’t know if the last upholster has torn it down to bare bones. So materials that you think are only 10 years old because the client told you was the last time they had it upholstered, could actually be much older. It could be that the person who upholstered this before you didn’t tear it down to bare bones, now those underneath materials could very well be 40 years old or even older. You just don’t know and it is not worth tainting your reputation to save someone a few dollars. In the end, neither of you gets what you want.
Do you want to get THAT call from a client, or have your chair bottom fall out when a friend sits down?
Now, like with anything, things get used over time, they dry out and weaken. As with your jute webbing, which is supporting your body weight, you want to be sure it’s strong and can last as long as the new fabrics you are putting on the piece. The padding in their furniture has become dirty. The particles of dust in the air have made their way through the fabric, into your padding. Not to mention the skin particles and pet dander… yuk! Would you eat off dirty dishes that had been sitting in the sink for a week? I think not.
How would you handle a call from a client in a few months telling you the bottom fell out of the furniture that YOU just reupholstered? You eat the cost and make the job right if you want to stay in business. That shortcut that you shouldn’t have taken, was it worth it?
Now, foam is another product that gets dried out. So even if it looks like it still has some resiliency to it, you don’t know that that foam is not going to start failing shortly after they take their newly upholstered piece into their home. If you were trying to save them money, they’re not going to remember that. What they are going to remember is that you did the project for them and they had an issue! So my advice to you is to not take shortcuts, charge what you’re worth so you can do the whole job, and do it right the first time. This way it doesn’t come back to haunt you and cost you money in the end.
The next time you start to ask yourself “Can I reupholster over the old materials?” I hope you’ll say I could but I won’t compromise my quality, NOPE!
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