How to repair piping or welting on leather or vinyl upholstery?

Welting or piping, the cord trim on upholstery, can be a tricky repair due to the curves involved. The key is to avoid getting any filler in the seams, which, if allowed to cure, will obscure the shadow line and result in a solid, patched look.

Here’s how to repair damage to leather or vinyl piping / welting:

  1. If the damage exposes a cord over which the leather or vinyl floats freely, a subpatch is needed to close the hole, maintain separation between these elements and structural integrity. Insert the patch suede or fabric side up. Apply glue to the inside of the surrounding piping, contact firmly, and let cure. Note: if the interior cord is plastic and you are unable to subpatch, apply a thin layer of Dap Dynaflex 230 to act as a bridge between the plastic and the filler repair putty.
  2. Trim or remove any flappy, chafed bits. Apply a small blob of filler to the area. Smooth it around as evenly as you can using a palette knife or needle tool.
  3. Use a flexible business card to gently level the filler across (perpendicular to) the piping. Quickly remove any excess from seams, and feather the edges.
  4. Allow to cure.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until the gouged area feels even. You may find it’s best to alternate between smoothing along the piping in a parallel direction or perpendicularly across it. You can also used your gloved fingers to trace the piping.
  6. Use rubbing alcohol to feather or smooth any imperfections in the cured filler.
  7. Apply a thin texturizing coat, if necessary, and allow to cure.
  8. Apply color and clear finish.

This video demonstrates the general use of filler.

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  1. Hi folks….I have a vintage saxophone case made of leather which dates back at least 50 years to it’s manufacture in France. There are some missing, chafed leather spots where the leather has worn thin. More importantly is the vinyl trimming that has been stitched around the cases perimeter. It is now gone, with my having removed it, rather that allow it to remain in tatters.
    I am seeking suggestions as to how I can repair or replace the missing leather spots but particularly interested in knowing how to replace the vinyl trim . It doesn’t look as if stitching it back into place would be an option. Thanks for your consideration.

  2. What is piping or welting please? What does it look like and of course I will send photos when I can access the item again which is presently out of town. Thanks for your kind reply.

  3. Hello, I wonder if u can advise me. I just bought a used RV and the furniture looked brand new. That was only 2 months ago. Now the piping is seriously peeling but the cover’s themselves still look great despite 3 large dogs jumping up and down on them. Do you have any advice on repairing the piping since the rest still looks perfect? Thank you!🙏🏻

    • We’ve seen real leather upholstery with faux piping, but much of RV industry uses faux leather throughout. You’d have to call the manufacturer with the VIN to confirm this. If it’s faux leather, train the dogs not to use it. Best you can do for the piping is the same process described above. Just take care to peel away as much as you can of the existing material and try to not overlap the filler on what remains. Take a look at this article and video before investing too much time or money into peeling faux leather.

      The other issue is matching color. You do not want to change the color of faux leather. Will one of our standard colors be a perfect match? Probably not, and the matching fee is cost prohibitive for a small bit of piping. It would be worth it, however, if the rest of the upholstery is indeed genuine leather.

      • Thanks so much. I’m wondering too if the coverings are real leather because the dogs have put a scratch across the top of the couch but never has tried to peel and actually looks like a leather scratch. Very curious to me. Do you have a video of you repairing piping? I saw the article but it’s more about repairing a hole in the piping. Anything on repairing just peeling piping? Thank you! And for color match, would not matter if I can get the peeling off because piping is a lighter contrast color to the coverings.


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