How Long Will My Reclining Furniture Last?

How Long Will My Reclining Furniture Last?

Customer Question

How can I tell if a reclining sofa is high quality or garbage? Most product descriptions don’t say anything about foam thickness or density or firmness.

The salesperson I spoke with told me that good cushions should be "high density and "HR." What does that mean?

How can I tell whether the cushions on my new recliner will fall apart in two years like my last one or last 15 years like the one I used to have before that?

Seat cushions are the most important single factor in determining how long your new reclining furniture will last.

The standard foam used in mass produced reclining furniture is 1.8 density. For reclining furniture, a 1.8 density seat cushion can be expected to last 5 years or less before losing its resiliency (ability to bounce back) and comfort.

  • If the furniture is used frequently or by people who are larger than average, the cushions may lose resilience and comfort even sooner.

Assuming equal foam thickness, higher density foams will last longer.

  • 2.0 density foam lasts 1 - 2 years longer than 1.8 density.

  • 2.5 density foam can last 10 years or more.

  • Spring down cushions (with fabric covered steel coils inside a foam border with feather/down jackets above the coil springs) can also last 10 years or more.

  • 3.0 density (and higher) foams are used primarily for commercial and institutional seating.

Firmness is not the same as density, although there is a relationship.

  • A 1.8 density foam cushion will feel noticeably less firm after one year and significantly less firm within 3 - 5 years.

  • A 2.5 density foam cushion will feel just as firm as it did when new for at least 5 years and should not need replacement for at least 10 years.

Watch out for composite cushions. Manufacturers know that shoppers are becoming more aware of foam densities. Some are taking advantage of this by making cushions with multiple densities.

  • Composite cushions may use 2.0 or higher density foam in a central core, glued to layers of much lower density foam above and/or below.
  • Product descriptions may list only the highest foam density.
  • Because half the cushion is made with lower density foam, it costs less to make and won't last as long.
  • Lower density foams that are less than 1.8 will probably not be HR foams.

Reclining sofa, sectional and chair cushions have a shorter lifespan than stationary (non-reclining) furniture made by the same manufacturer. 

  • The friction created by the movement of your body against the cushion wears down the foam more quickly.

Many product descriptions for upholstered furniture will say only that the foam used is "high density."

  • When the term "high density" is used without a number, it almost always indicates a 1.8 density. 
  • Higher density foams will usually list the number of the foam density.

The vast majority of foams with densities of 1.8 or more will be HR. (High Resiliency.) The manufacturer's cost differential between HR and non-HR foams is minimal, so there is little reason not to use HR foams. (They are also more commonly available than non-HR foams.)

  • When composite (multi-density) cushions use foam layers that are less than 1.8, those foams are usually not HR.

Photo shown above: Reclining Sectional by Bradington Young


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