Shopping for sofas and sectionals, most people want to jump right to the style and the color they prefer. To ensure you get a well-made sofa that will last you 20 years or more, don’t forget to also select one with the right frame and support.
The frame is the most important part of the sofa. If the wrong materials are used, or the manufacturing processes are not high quality, it is unlikely your sofa or sectional will last even a few short years.
Well-made frames use kiln-dried hardwood and/or high-quality engineered wood. This assures quality, strength and durability. Be wary of any sofas or sectionals made with particle board. Well-made items also have good interlocking joinery reinforced with glue and/or staples.
You know you are buying from a good manufacturer if they design and engineer their frames using an upholstered furniture test method developed by Purdue University’s Wood Research Lab. This test ensures proper joint construction and materials so that your sofa is designed and built to last.
Another test that good manufacturers use is called the drop test. This test is one prescribed by BIFMA (Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association). A 300-pound weight is dropped on the seating area from a specified height to ensure the frame withstands impact.
When it comes to suspension, most mid-price-range sofas use springs or webbing. If your sofa has springs, make sure they are a minimum of 8-gauge and that the springs are sinuous so that there is good seat suspension. Webbing is interwoven strips of synthetic material with rubber attached to the wood frame. Both springs and webbing are key because they ensure you will not fall through to the floor.
Almost all upholstered furniture uses foam. Good foam for seating should be at least 1.8-pound high resiliency. This foam gives improved comfort without loss of support. The seating will feel soft when you first sit. It will also give the feel of deep support without bottoming out, as would happen with softer foams. Conventional foams lose their support over time and use. High-resiliency foam is the way you ensure your upholstery will look and feel good for years to come. High-resiliency foam is also environmentally friendly.
In addition to foam, a well-made piece will also be padded. Padding takes the hard, sharp corners of the foam and helps give the sofa or sectional its rounded, smooth edges. Some have resins and hardeners so that they can be used on outdoor upholstered items. Others have resins and hardeners removed so that they are softer and smoother, but used mainly for indoor. Dacron, one type of padding, resists mold, mildew and parasites. This, along with a performance fabric for a cover, will make the perfect sofa or sectional for your home in Mexico.
Sheryl Novak is an expat Canadian who has owned a home in Mexico for over 10 years. She is the owner of SOLutions Mexico — the online furniture store for your home in Mexico. She is considered the expert on sourcing all styles of furniture, for all sizes of budgets, in Mexico. Email the author at email@example.com for a free newsletter on how to get good value on furniture in Mexico.