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"Two-sided mattress."

21 Jan 2012 12:14 #1 by swami
"Two-sided mattress." was created by swami
I've noticed this term coming up during my initial search for a new mattress. I assume this means a mattress that you flip and/or turn every months or so to keep the wear patterns somewhat even. Am I right about that?
Another thing--when we visited the local Sleepy's last week we were told by the hyperventilating sales person that "ahh, nobody does that(turn the mattress) any more. That's old technology."
I assume we were being fed a line of bull.

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21 Jan 2012 13:45 #2 by SleeplessinDallas
Hi Swami,

Yes, you are right about what it means. Usually coils in the middle and equal amount of comfort layer on each side so you can sleep on either side of the bed & flip it-- most older mattresses are this way and frankly IMO they held up much better.

You were not entirely fed a lot of bull- it's true that "most" mattresses today are not flippable- at least not the ones from the "S" brands that you will find in the big mattress retailers. They are mostly built from the ground up if that makes sense. Again, IMO I think they do this partially for 'planned obsolescence'. They just dont last as long, and have you coming back to buy another one sooner. But- also all the hype and demand for pillow tops in the past ten years also contibuted to the one sided mattress popularity. Phoenix can elaborate I am sure!

Long story short- the best mattresses we own are still old two sided flippable ones and you can certainly still get them from smaller local manufacturers! But, from a place like Sleepy's and the major "S" brands- mostly all one sided mattresses these days.

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21 Jan 2012 20:33 - 21 Jan 2012 20:42 #3 by Phoenix
Replied by Phoenix on topic "Two-sided mattress."
Hi Swami and Sleepless,

The first major manufacturer to make a one sided mattress was Simmons @ the year 2000 and this was followed by Spring Air and then the other major manufacturers. At first it was viewed with skepticism by other manufacturers and few believed it would catch on because with the obvious disadvantage of having only one sleeping side which would be used twice as much and never have a chance to rest and recover, it would only last half as long. While this was true to a point ... it was also true that many consumers never flipped their mattress anyway so the advantage of having a two sided mattress was never realized. In addition to this ... one sided construction allowed for different designs and thicker comfort layers in a similar price range so consumers were able to buy mattresses that seemed more comfortable in a showroom.

Another obvious advantage of course was a larger profit margin for the manufacturers (prices weren't reduced as much as the reduction in cost of the materials or in many cases weren't reduced at all). As consumers "bought in" to thicker comfort layers and not having to flip a mattress which in many cases they didn't do anyway ... more and more larger manufacturers started to follow suit (as they saw the potential for larger profit margins and that consumers were actually buying this new design) until they became pretty much the only type of mattress that most consumers would see in the larger stores that carried mainly national brands. Because of the dominance of these major brands ... most consumers weren't even aware that there were dozens of smaller manufacturers who still made two sided mattresses that could be flipped and would last much longer than their one sided counterparts. This trend was further enhanced in 2007 with the introduction of the new fire laws because it was cheaper to pass the new regulations (as misguided as they were IMO) with a one sided mattress than with a thicker two sided mattress.

This transition along with the increasing use of thicker softer foam layers resulted in the problems with foam softening and deteriorating much faster than before that have become so common today. These mattresses now contained more material which could degrade and break down without having a chance to rest and recover. Even the use of higher quality polyfoams didn't offset the fact that these "better" foams were not twice as durable and the era of "normal" foam body impressions began. This selling of the idea that it was "normal" was a distortion and a takeoff from the days when mattresses used mostly natural fibers which do show "normal" body impressions which is a part of their design and breakin period and doesn't affect the durability of the mattress. Fibers will compress over time but this isn't a sign that they are breaking down like polyfoam. Polyfoam on the other hand would soften and deteriorate which may be "normal" for the material but is not part of improving the performance of the mattress and actually detracts from its performance over time. Because they had little choice, because mattresses with thicker comfort layers felt better in the store (regardless of how appropriate they were for long term use), and because they came to believe that the stories they were hearing about the "benefits" of one sided mattresses were true ... most consumers eventually accepted one sided mattresses and stopped looking for better alternatives. Those that did were told the "old technology" story.

There are still many local manufacturers who build two sided mattresses which will last much longer than the one sided versions if you flip them. They are also more conservative in their design because they understand that if they make the layers too thick on both sides that the thicker comfort layers can detract from support (there is a softer comfort layer on the bottom) and longevity. They are better designed for durability because any foam that is used on one side will last longer when used on two sides ... even the most durable foams like latex.

So in the end ... there is less need for a two sided mattress with the very best and most durable materials like latex or the highest quality polyfoams or memory foams but even here they will last longer if they are well designed and finished on both sides ... and if a consumer actually takes the time to flip them. Mattresses that use lower density softer polyfoams or lower quality memory foams in the comfort layers will have a much shorter lifetime without a two sided construction.

Of course as Sleepless says ... planned obsolescence is part of the mattress industry today because this also increases sales and because consumers have little understanding of why their "new design" mattress didn't last as long. Because of the limited choices they are exposed to through the advertising of the major brands and chain stores ... years later they normally think that they just picked a "bad brand" or a "bad model" and that the newer models must be better. Because they don't really look at why their mattress didn't last, they just end up buying another one with a similar problem.

The drive for corporate profit at the expense of quality is what drives the industry even though there are literally dozens of smaller manufacturers who continue to build higher quality mattresses that cost less than their lower quality and less durable competition. They just don't advertise and they control so little of the market that they remain undiscovered by most consumers who literally don't know they exist, even if they are in the same city. Even if they did ... they have come to believe that the "brand names" and the "stories" that they hear advertised are somehow better than a local alternative even though the evidence completely contradicts this. This is a big part of the reason why so many smaller manufacturers have disappeared over the last decade.

Most people know less about what makes a good mattress than they do about cars or any other major purchase and the reputation of the industry as a whole is about on a par with used car sales. In spite of this the lack of real information about materials and alternatives means most people continue to believe that the "brands" that they hear advertised are the better or at least the "safer" way to go. This belief is of course carefully encouraged by the companies that control the majority of the market in their efforts to discourage real education about the materials they use and discourage meaningful comparisons between mattresses. Part of this is that people still believe that a warranty is an indication of how long a mattress will last until they discover that the problems that they believed would be covered by the warranty are considered "normal" and not covered at all.

So all in all ... one sided mattresses are not necessarily "bad" and they do create options in mattress design that add to the choices available. This means though that only the highest quality materials need to be used that can stand up to the constant strain of repeated compression without any resting period and without softening or wearing out to a degree that the mattress becomes unsuitable for sleeping on. This means that the comfort layers need to use latex, high quality memory foam, or high quality polyfoam ... and these materials are too expensive for the profit margin needs of the major manufacturers and the rest of the supply chain. The long supply chains of the larger manufacturers and the drive by each step of the supply chain for higher profit margins means that only the smaller manufacturers with less "mouths to feed" can really build a mattress like this that can truly last at a budget point that an average consumer can afford.

There's much more to this story of course but this is the "bare bones" version :)


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Last edit: 21 Jan 2012 20:42 by Phoenix.

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13 Jan 2013 11:51 #4 by swaylang
Replied by swaylang on topic "Two-sided mattress."
i don't quite understand how the comfort layer of a 2-sided mattress can ''rest and recover'' since it's now at the bottom and all the weight of the mattress and sleepers are placed on the bottom comfort layer ?

wouldn't the bottom layer get even more compressed now that it's between the flat surface of the bed and the innersprings ?

the comfort layer that's now on top would be subjected to compression for 1/3 of the time since sleepers spend around 8hrs on it so it can rest for 2/3 of the time ?

what about a 2-sided mattress, very firm tight-top with just high density PU foam ? i'm worried that the PU foam will break down and i end up with a mattress that's hard like a wooden plank !

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13 Jan 2013 23:45 - 30 Apr 2014 20:41 #5 by Phoenix
Replied by Phoenix on topic "Two-sided mattress."
Hi swaylang,

i don't quite understand how the comfort layer of a 2-sided mattress can ''rest and recover'' since it's now at the bottom and all the weight of the mattress and sleepers are placed on the bottom comfort layer ?

The weight is distributed evenly on the bottom layer rather than concentrated in certain spots or one place like the top layer. This means that the bottom layer is only minimally compressed rather than more deeply compressed like the top layers. It's the uneven softening that comes from deeper compression that leads to issues not the even more gradual softening of an entire layer. When foam is compressed more deeply in a more humid environment this is when it softens the most (and this is actually a test that is used to simulate the aging of a mattress over short periods of time) so the upper layers would be subject to these conditions while the lower layers aren't (the layers above it absorb most of the compression forces) and it has a chance to recover. This is also why some mattresses that have been compressed for shipping or in a warehouse for too long don't fully recover because they have been more deeply compressed for too long.

what about a 2-sided mattress, very firm tight-top with just high density PU foam ? i'm worried that the PU foam will break down and i end up with a mattress that's hard like a wooden plank !

This would depend on the density and thickness of the foam. All foam will soften and break down over time (which means you would feel the firmness of the layers below it more easily) but if it's two sided and regularly flipped then each layer would soften more gradually and evenly which is why the mattress itself would have a longer useable lifespan compared to the same type of materials that were one sided only.


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Last edit: 30 Apr 2014 20:41 by Phoenix.

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14 Jan 2013 02:46 #6 by swaylang
Replied by swaylang on topic "Two-sided mattress."
many thanks for your expert advice, i've asked the same questions at several other ''mattress expert'' websites and the replies have been similar to yours.............

i'll be getting a 2-sided mattress then, i can always get a topper for it if it gets too hard in future.

just hope the company has enough sense to not store the mattresses horizontally, stacked like pancakes !

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21 Apr 2013 16:32 - 21 Apr 2013 16:43 #7 by bertiebus
Replied by bertiebus on topic "Two-sided mattress."
Hi Phoenix,

Ok, so if ask our local manufacturer to build a two sided mattress for me (and assuming he agrees), in your opinion what are the minimum specs that would be required? What gauge, coil and foam density would be the least that you'd want to see in a two sided mattress, and in a one sided for that matter, for a side sleeper? Yesterday the owner told me he uses 13 gauge Bonnell coils, and although mostly uses 1.5 foam density in his lower cost mattresses, he will use 1.8 for the comfort layer (will use 2 inches, not less) if I request it. If asked about pocket coils and he is willing to use them (I didn't get to ask about offset coils to make a more equal comparison to the DM Dr. Choice Plus--my current choice while I save for the latex to buy later--because I hadn't submitted my question to you on another thread). He uses a cotton type of covering and would use bamboo if I wanted. I Of course, the cost goes up depending on what I request and the cost might as well make it be too high to even buy if I intend to save for a latex anyay, but I'm wondering what's the minimum I should go with if I decide to go the local manufacturer route. Since I only need to keep it for about 1-2 years, one sided would be more cost effective, but I'd still like to know your opinion on what's the minimum I should request for both two sided and one sided. My 91 year old father and 86 year old mother could use another mattress so when I have them try some out locally, if they like the feel of latex, I'd have to save for theirs too, however, until then, we all need interim mattresses for now, so I don't want to buy anything too expensive but yet comfortable enough for at least 2 years. However, if my parents don't care for latex, theirs would have to last longer. My father is 5'7" 167 lbs and my mother is 5'1'' 124 lbs. Both are side sleepers. Our beds would be queen size. Thanks again.
Last edit: 21 Apr 2013 16:43 by bertiebus. Reason: left out word

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21 Apr 2013 17:44 - 21 Apr 2013 17:59 #8 by bertiebus
Replied by bertiebus on topic "Two-sided mattress."
Hi Phoenix,

Well, now I've come up with another mattress I'd like to ask about in addition to my previous post....A year ago I slept on a very comfortable bed for 3 nights at a hotel that I didn't even want to get up so I asked what it was and I was told it was the Serta Presidential Suite Diamond Plush mattress, but after searching extensively online I finally discovered it's no longer made. I found the specs for it and they are identical to what appears to be its replacement, the Serta Presidential Suite Plush. It is only available online through Sam's Club and US It's a hotel double sided mattress but It's made to order so it's not able to be tried anywhere. Sams's Club only sells these mattresses in pairs or sets of 3-6, so a set of 2 would cost $1159 with free shipping, making each set $580 (It's $1039 for one set at!). I've read what you've posted about the S mattresses, but was wondering if this mattress would hold up for 2 years.So here are my many questions:

Would this Serta be okay while building the latex fund? Or is it just better to go with the Denver Mattress Dr. Choice Plush for $549 (will give me a $50 discount from $599) or should I go with the local manufacturrer (cost to be determined).

From what I've learned, the Serta weakness would be the foam since Serta uses 1.5 lb, right? I wonder if hotel mattresses use a higher grade, perhaps 1.8lb foam? The gauge is a bit lower than the Dr. Choice but it is a continuous coil, which I understand, while it causes more movement, does provide more support evenly. Am I correct? So would that mean the a 1.5 lb foam would last longer on a continuous coil than it would on any of the other type of coils?

Also, it states it has a perimeter foam encasement (which the Dr. Choice does too and I forgot to mention in my earlier post, the local manufacturer uses the foam encasement as well) but also has a center third which the local guy uses too. So is this helpful? And is the 9 gauge border wire in this Serta what is typically used when there is no foam encasement? I'm confused about this feature. I assumed only the non-foam encased mattresses had this or is this 9 gauge border wire something else? I know that buying a Serta isn't the best way to go, but this is a hotel two sided mattress, so does that make it better than what is sold in retail stores? I guess what I want to know is, is this particular Serta a bit better because it's a hotel mattress? The more I learn about mattresses, the more I learn that I must take more time before buying anything! Since I don't yet know the exact specs that I could get from the local manufacturer other than that he would use 13 gauge, 1.8 lb, bonnell or pocket coil (and I'm assuming he'd be willing to use continuous or offset if I requested), then for now, which of the two, Denver Mattress Dr. Choice Plush or Serta Presidential Plush, would be better in terms of specs and price? I'm thinking it's the Dr. Choice Plush, but it's not two sided. Would this be a case where the Serta edges out the Dr. Choice? Thanks again for your input.

Here are it's specs for a queen for both Serta and Denver Mattress:

Serta Perfect Sleeper Presidential Suite Plush

Approximate Height 14”
800 14 3/4 Gauge
Continuous Wire Unit
9 Gauge Border Wire
Posturized Center Third
Perimeter Edge™ Foam Encasement
Head-to-toe Helicals
Quilted Panel
(1) Layer of Pillo Fill Plus
7/8” Zoned Convoluted Foam
1” Quilting Foam
Patented Advanced Comfort Quilt Construction
1” Poly Foam
1 3/8” Zoned Convoluted Foam
Fireblocker™ Insulator Pad
Designer Damask
Turn Labels
10 Year Non-Prorated against manufacturer’s defects.
Presidential Suite
Advanced Comfort Quilt®
Serta’s Patented Quilt. The Key to Comfort.
Continuous Supportt® Innerspring
Continuous coils for correct balance and support.
Foam Encasement
Exclusive edge support for luxury mattresses.

Twin 38x75
Twin XL 38x80
Full 53x75
Full XL 53x80
Queen 60x80
Eastern King 76x80
California King 72x84
Hotel King 72x80
Final measurements for clothing
should be done by linen
Dimensions are +/- 1/2.”

Mattress Coil Density

Full 660
Full XL 748
Queen 800
King 992

Denver Mattress Dr.'s Choice Plush

Quilt layers:
Micro Denier Jacquard Ticking
1 1/2" of 1.8lb Density Convoluted Foam
1" BioFlex™ Soy Based Foam
Natural Rayon Fire Barrier
Comfort Layers:
1¼" of 1.8lb Density Convoluted Foam
1¼" of 1.8lb Density Convoluted Foam
1 Flex Net Insulator
Support System:
Coil Density: 750* Foam Encased
Pressure Response Zoned Coils
14.5 Gauge Twice Tempered Steel

*All coil counts based on Queen size. Ask your salesperson for details.
Last edit: 21 Apr 2013 17:59 by bertiebus. Reason: Left out some words.

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21 Apr 2013 18:51 - 26 Oct 2013 15:15 #9 by Phoenix
Replied by Phoenix on topic "Two-sided mattress."
Hi beertiebus,

Serta doesn't provide any meaningful information about their mattresses in terms of the quality and/or density of the materials they use so there is no way to make any meaningful assessment about them.

I would also be very hesitant about making an online purchase where there is no way for you to know for certain if this is the same mattress you slept on or how well it matches your needs and preferences in terms of PPP.

Because of all this and the many variables that are involved in the durability of a mattress ... there is no way to know how long it will last for you (regardless of how long it lasts for anyone else). You can read more about the relative durability of mattresses in post #4 here . In some cases a mattress may only last someone a few months before they develop "symptoms" on the mattress connected with foam softening that makes it unsuitable for them to sleep on and these would not be covered by a warranty.

The Durango uses higher quality foam than you would find in the Serta and Denver Mattress is a regional manufacturer that is open and transparent about what is inside their mattresses. Many of the Serta comfort layers (which are the weak link of a mattress) are lower density and quality than 1.5 lb foam you are referring to.

Hotel mattresses are often lower quality and worse value than the rough equivalent in the store because they often use a topper or plush mattress pad or bedding package which can be replaced (and helps with the durability of the materials under it), the mattresses aren't slept on every night so they don't need to be the same quality/durability, and they replace them much more often than most consumers so their durability isn't as important.

I personally would never buy a mattress where I didn't know the quality of the materials inside it ... especially from major brands who tend to be less responsive to the needs and requirements of consumers if there are ever any issues.

Hope this helps.


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Last edit: 26 Oct 2013 15:15 by Phoenix.

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30 Apr 2013 20:08 - 30 Apr 2013 20:10 #10 by bertiebus
Replied by bertiebus on topic "Two-sided mattress."
Hi Phoenix,

Wow, it never occurred to me that a hotel mattress would contain an even lower quality foam. But it makes sense how you explain it, that a hotel mattress isn't going to get the same wear that a home mattress would. Well, that eliminates the hotel mattress and leaves me with the Denver Mattress Plush for now while my mattress piggy fattens. Heck I've been out of town lately and slept on my Coleman air mattress and it was comfy! I just might even buy a queen Coleman and use that instead! But definitely, I'm just going to save toward the latex. Thanks again for your expertise Phoenix. You're awesome! And I will keep learning more about's pretty cool info! :)
Last edit: 30 Apr 2013 20:10 by bertiebus. Reason: left out word

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