The frame of the sofa and the degree of quality with which it's constructed will determine the longevity of your next living room set. The upholstery is important as well. If you purchase the highest-grade leather available, but the frame is not constructed correctly, it won't last very long. The wood used to build a sofa goes a long way in determining its quality.
The frame of your sofa or living room set is the lifeblood of its design, as well as its ability to hold up over the years. If you're not planning on using the sofa every day or you see it as a temporary solution, possibly the frame won't factor much into your decision. However, if you have children and pets that will be jumping on and off the sofa, you need to consider the type of wood used in its construction. Cheaper grades of wood and materials used on a sofa will not hold up to the wear and tear of everyday use for very long.
Most wood used on quality sofas is kiln-dried. The wood gets dried in a kiln, which is a high-temperature device used to cure pottery. When the wood is dried in a kiln, all the moisture is removed from the wood. This prevents the wood from warping and bowing over time, which can contribute to cracking. Wood has moisture inside its grains, and if it's not kiln-dried, that moisture will eventually evaporate, changing the shape of the wood and adding unnecessary stress to the grain.
Hardwoods Are Best
Most hardwoods used for a sofa that are kiln-dried are acceptable as a measure of quality for your sofa. Some popular and reliable hardwoods are oak and maple, due to their ability to age well with strong durability. It's extremely difficult to crack hardwoods such as maple and oak when used on a sofa. Metal frames can also be used on sofas, but they are not as common. Occasionally, manufacturers will use a hardwood and metal combination to save on costs while providing a sturdier sofa than one built with less expensive wood. These woods are usually assembled with dowels and wood glue, and sometimes with screws.
Woods to Avoid
Pine and spruce are used on less expensive sofas. These woods, however, are softer in nature and can crack much easier than oak or maple. If your budget allows it, avoid these types of wood if you are concerned with longevity and durability. Particleboard is the cheapest option for a couch and does not stand up very well. This cheaper wood is often held together with nails or staples, which also do not bond very well to the wood. Over time, this type of construction can also contribute to cracking of the frame.
Living in New York City, Nicholas Briano has been a professional journalist since 2002. He writes for "The Wave," a community weekly covering the borough of Queens. Briano holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brooklyn College.