The Camp and Dorm Mattress Buyer’s Survival Guide – Part II of III

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Buying mattresses for group living facilities is a big task.  Furnishing mattresses for hundreds of sleepers is an intimidating prospect. So how do you decide which type of mattress to buy? Why do the prices span such a wide spectrum from suspiciously cheap to crazy expensive?  In Part I of this three part blog series, we compared buying mattresses from what turns out to be a pretty extensive menu.  It starts with the mattress core. Next is the mattress cover. 

Exploring Mattress Cover Basics

Here are a few basics of mattress covers for commercial and group living environments:

There are several standard cover options including nylon, cloth and vinyl.  Nylon and cloth are relatively straight forward options.  Both have varying degrees of quality but they are pretty standard textiles. Vinyl, on the other hand, has many more technical qualities that result in a wider variety of features and benefits.

  • Nylon for mattress covers is referred to as either as generic “nylon” or by brand name like SoFlux. Nylon has many advantages including stain, bacteria, fungus and fluid resistance. It has a soft touch and feels pretty much like a residential mattress under bed sheets. Nylon allows for more “breathing” which results in a cooler night’s sleep.
  • Cloth covers are typically a pinstripe cover usually comprised of cotton or a ploy-cotton blend.  Cloth covers are the least popular cover type for commercial installations due to its susceptibility to stains, bacteria and fungus. Residential mattresses typically have cloth covers because it is highly breathable and comfortable but cloth is not recommended for commercial applications.
  • Vinyl is a multi-ply laminated textile with a coated surface. As a mattress cover, vinyl is a highly durable due to its highly fluid, bacteria and fungal resistance. There are a wide variety of vinyls that differ in stretchability, softness and comfort. Due to its ability to stretch, vinyl is resistant to tearing and punctures. Newer technology in vinyl has given rise to premium brands like Correct Tick, a very soft and pliable vinyl that is far more comfortable for sleeping than traditional vinyls that tend to be stiff and hot during sleeping.  That being said, traditional vinyls are still a cost-effective and durable solution for both group living and healthcare applications.

All credible commercial and contract manufacturers and suppliers will have flammability information available for all mattress products. Flammability standards for mattresses are well-defined by the Consumer Product Safety Administration. Cloth and nylon covered mattresses requires a fire-proof barrier but vinyl is inherently fire proof and do not require any additional measures to be certified. Make sure flammability compliance is clearly stated on any mattresses you buy.

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No matter how many beds or bunks you need to supply with mattresses, there is a mattress to meet your needs and budget. While shopping for commercial or contract mattresses you may feel slightly overwhelmed by the litany of terminology, price ranges and technical information available. Ask questions of your supplier to help you fully understand what you are getting for the money and if it seems to good (or too inexpensive) to be true then it probably is.  

Topics: Adolescent Treatment CentersFlammability StandardsTough StuffCamp Mattressesdurable furniture

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