Hardsided Waterbed Information
by: Michael O'Brien
POSTED: February 5, 2009 10:18 am America/Chicago
The traditional hard sided or framed waterbed is more popular than ever. Once thought to be passe, hard sided waterbeds have maintained a loyal following among those folks who appreciate the style and function of a properly designed waterbed ensemble.
The design and reliability of waterbed mattresses has steadily improved over the years. As a result, the hard sided waterbed offers a greater level of comfort then ever before. Heating systems are more energy efficient and frame designs have gone well past the days of simple pine boards.
Having slept on a hard sided waterbed for well over twenty years, I have been very impressed with how these unique sleep systems have endured. When the new and improved motionless mattresses are combined with the ability to control the firmness of the bed the comfort level can rival more expensive, adjustable beds.
Before you decide to purchase a hard-sided waterbed mattress you need to know the facts. A hard sided waterbed has wood sides that form a frame. In contrast, soft-side waterbeds are the same size and look just like a traditional innerspring mattress.
First we need to define what a waterbed is. Waterbeds come in two basic varieties. Originally, hard sided waterbed frame were typically built from 2” X 10” lumber which served to contain a vinyl safety liner and the water-filled mattress. Hard sided waterbeds are dimensionally different from standard beds requiring special sheets and other bedding.
A hard sided waterbed has sides of dimensional lumber, usually 2 X 10 lumber, which is actually about 1 1/2" x 9 1/2". When measuring the size of a hard-sided waterbed, you measure the inside of the waterbed frame, not the outside. The California king or waterbed king size is 72" x 84" inside of the frame. The California queen or waterbed queen size is 60" x 84". The super single size is 48" x 84".
- King Size Waterbed Mattress: 72 in. X 84 in.
- Queen Size Waterbed Mattress: 60 in. X 84 in.
- Super-Single Waterbed Mattress: 48 in. X 84 in.
Hard-sided waterbed mattresses are available that offer several levels wave reduction. The original waterbed featured what is referred to as a full wave mattress. A full wave waterbed mattress is the least expensive option and essentially a large vinyl bladder. If you chose a full wave waterbed mattress, be prepared to rock and roll. Full wave waterbed mattresses are still a popular choice.
The wave motion of a waterbed mattress can be reduced in several ways. One way is to add fiber, in layers, inside the mattress. The fiber that we use in our mattresses is 1.2 oz. of 2 inch Dupont fiber per layer. You can choose how many layers you prefer, up to 7 layers, which renders the mattress wave free. You may wonder why someone would want a wave free waterbed but because the human body is mostly water, sleeping pressure points are greatly reduced along with almost no motion, a plus for some people. Every great idea has some drawbacks and I believe in being honest so here are the drawbacks on fiber waterbeds.
First of all, a good water conditioner should be used because fiber, by its nature, traps water and the conditioner has a harder time reaching every bit of water. The other drawback is they can be very difficult to drain. A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds so a few gallons of water can add up. Generally, the more layers of fiber, the more difficult it is to drain, though using a drain pump can make the job a little easier.
Another way to reduce the motion of the waterbed is through a baffle system. Depending upon the number and height of the vinyl baffles or chambers, you can reduce the wave motion to almost zero. We offer several choices of baffled mattresses that can fit any need. The downside to the baffled mattress is again they can be a bit hard to drain, but not nearly as difficult as the fiber mattress.
Another major problem with the baffled mattress is the baffles, if not attached, can move out of place when you drain the mattress. If this happens, the mattress is all but ruined. Our baffled waterbed mattresses are tethered, which means that they are attached to the waterbed on all four sides to greatly reduce this possibility.
When you decide to buy a waterbed mattress, I hope that you consider one of ours. Our waterbed mattresses are proudly built in the USA with top quality thick vinyl using state of the art designs and machinery.
Waterbed sheets can be hard to find locally and even if you do find them, the choices can be somewhat limited. Shopping this fairly rare commodity can best be accomplished by shopping online.
Soft sided waterbeds also referred to as hybrids, do not require a wooden frame. These types of waterbeds are designed to be the same size as standard beds so conventional bedding can be used. If you do need sheets for a soft sided waterbed, make sure the sheets have deep corner pockets.
Waterbed sheets need to be designed to stay put on a waterbed even though, by nature, a waterbed has some movement. The original waterbed sheet was designed with the top sheet and the bottom sheet sewn together to make one very, very long sheet. This design has the bottom sheet with four generous pockets and the top sheet sewn up side down at the foot of the bottom sheet. Many a customer thought that this was a mistake and tried to return the sheets as defective.
The positive aspects of this design are obvious. First, it is harder to make a mess of your waterbed sheets when they are sewn together at the foot. The second is that the sheet can look nice if you chose to fold it over the comforter.
A newer waterbed sheet manufacturing convention is to have the same deep pockets in the bottom sheet but to also deeply pocket the bottom of the top sheet. This way your sheets are not hugely long. Your waterbed sheets are not squishing toes and the bed is easier to make.
It is impossible to use standard sheets on a waterbed due to the difference in sizes from conventional bedding and hard sided waterbed sizes. Please don’t drive yourself crazy trying. Our waterbed sheets are reasonably priced and constructed with great quality and craftsmanship.
The urban legends of waterbeds falling through floors or flooding bedrooms have long since been dispelled. I have not been able to find a single documented case of a waterbed falling through the floor. No one is even sure how the rumor got started. The fact is that a properly assembled hard sided waterbed is safe, affordable and extremely comfortable.
Now the new fangled soft sided waterbeds have some advantages of their hard sided cousins. They weigh less and look like a traditional innerspring mattress. Soft sided waterbeds or hybrids as some folks call them can use standard sizes of sheets. There is no substitute for the plush feel of a nice, warm waterbed, filled to just the right firmness.
So if you have considered purchasing a hard sided waterbed there has never been a better time. Shopping online for your waterbed accessories like sheets, pillows, conditioners and chemicals makes owning and caring for your hard sided waterbed more convenient then ever.
About the AuthorMichael O'Brien is a writer for many popular websites.