Mattress Industry Terms ;
Source: ISPA, International Sleep Products Association.
Adjustable bed: An electro-mechanical bed frame construction that permits the raising and lowering of the he ad and/or foot portions of the mattress.
Airbed: A vinyl mattress filled with air. Some are covered with cushioning and ticking and sold with a foundation.
Anti-microbial fiber and foam: Treatment that inhibits the growth of microbial contaminates.
ASTM: American Society of Testing Materials. An organization dedicated to establishing standard methods and procedures for testing materials.
Backing: Any fabric or sheeting material that is used during quilting to anchor the stitches.
Ball rebound test me thod: See Resilience .
Barrier materials: Generic term referring to woven, non-woven or other materials that are placed between
two materials to reduce he at and oxygen transfer from the material outside the barrier to the material under the barrier. For example , a barrier material may be wrapped a round the foam cushioning beneath the surface of a mattress to protect the foam from being ignited by burning materials a bove the barrier material.
Batting: See Cotton flt.
Bed: Generally refers to a mattress and foundation set. Also called “bed set.”
Bed frame:A metal or wood frame with le gs use d to support a ma ttre ss and foundation. Conventional height is 7-1/4 inche s (18.41 cm) a nd the low-profile ve rsion is 5-3/4 inche s (14.60 cm) when me a sure d from the floor to the bottom of the foundation. Gene ra lly a he adboard can be attached. Metal frames are sometimes known a s a “Hollywood” frame.
Bed frame components: Ge ne ra lly refers to wooden boards used to make the inte rna l frame of a founda tion or box spring to which springs a re attached. Boards are usually attached toge the r by na ils, staple s or glue . Also called “bed frame lumber,” “slats” or “ra ils,” but doe s not re fe r to the be d frame itse lf.
Bed clothes: Top-of-the -ma ttre ss acce ssory items such a s blanke ts, she e ts, pillows, comforte rs, ma ttre ss pa ds, e tc.
Bedding: Commonly used as a generic te rm for a ma ttre ss and founda tion se t, but may a lso include bedclothe s items such as blankets, sheets, pillows, comforte rs, ma ttre ss pa ds, e tc.
Bedding ensemble: A complete sleep support system, consisting of a bed frame a nd he a d/foot boa rd, mattre ssa nd founda tion a nd be dclothe s.
Bedsprings: Open-spring or wire fabric box springs without upholste ry mate ria ls or cove r.
Binding tape: Fabric tape used to bind and close the ma ttre ss or founda tion where the ve rtica l a nd horizonta l panels of outer ticking come together, providing the e dge trimming for the mattress or foundation. See Tape and Ta pe e dge .
Board foot: A unit of me a sureme nt equa l to one squa re foot of ma te ria l one inch (2.54 cm) thick. Often used to expre ss quantitie s of wood and foam.
Boardy: Use d to de scribe a ma te ria l or finishe d product having a rigid or stiff fe e l.
Body impressions: Inde nta tions occurring on the surface of a mattress due to the compre ssion of ma te ria ls by the human body.
Bonnell: A knotte d, round-top, hourgla ss-sha pe d ste e l wire coil. Whe n la ce d toge the r with cross wire helicals, these coils form the simplest innerspring unit, also referred to as a Bonne ll.
Border: The ve rtica l side or e dge of a ma ttre ss or founda tion. Pre -built borde rs a re constructe d by stitching toge the r the ticking, foam or othe r filling ma te ria ls a nd a ba cking material. Commonly quilted or verticalstitched.
Border rod: A he a vy ga uge wire rod a ttached to the pe rime te r of the inne rspring unit (top a nd bottom) by means of a helical wire or metal clips.
Boric acid: A chemical additive applied during the garneting of cotton and/or other fibers to provide fire resistance.
Box spring: Also re fe rre d to a s a “foundation.” A base for a mattress, consisting of coils or othe r forms of springs mounted on a wood or me ta l frame a nd se cure d with a wire – inte rla ce d or welde d-wire grid, typica lly topped with upholste ry and insulating materials (felt, urethane or other resilient materials), and covered on the top and sides with ticking and on the bottom with a dust cove r.
Bunk bed: A two-tiered wood or metal frame designed to accommodate two mattre sse s, typica lly twin-size , one above the other. Some models allow the uppe r and lowe r units to be detached and used as separate beds.
Bunkie: A mattress, usually twin-size, and platform base used on bunk beds.
Cal 117: Refers to California Technical Bulle tin 117 (a lso ca lle d “TB 117”), which specifies a vertical flame testing procedure for and furniture component mate ria ls. Foa m re fe rre d to a s “Ca l 117 foam” ha s pa sse d this te st. Curre ntly unde r re vision by the California Bureau of Home Furnishings.
Cal 129: Refers to California Technical Bulle tin 129 (a lso ca lle d “TB129”), which spe cifie s a te st protocol for mattre sse s use d in institutiona l occupancie s.
Cal 603: Refers to California Technical Bulle tin 603 (a lso ca lle d “TB603”), which is re quire d by Ca lifornia Assembly Bill 603 a nd will spe cify product pe rformance and te st procedure s for ma ttre sse s and foundations sold in California. Currently unde r de ve lopme nt by the CBHF.
Cal 604: Refers to California Technical Bulle tin 604 (a lso ca lle d “TB604”), which is re quire d by Ca lifornia Assembly Bill 603 a nd will spe cify product pe rformance and te st procedures for certain filled bedclothes sold in Ca lifornia . Currently unde r deve lopment by the CBHF.
California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation (BHFTI): Ca lifornia gove rnme nt a ge ncy tha t issues and enforces California Technical Bulle tins tha t se t flamma bility pe rformance standa rds for va rious products, including ma ttre sse s and founda tions sold in Ca lifornia .
California king: Conventional bedding product with finishe d ma ttre ss dimensions of 72 by 83-1/2 inche s (1.83 by 2.12 m).
Carbon: The principa l ha rde ning e lement in ste e l. The highe r the ca rbon conte nt, the ha rde r the me ta l and the more temper it will take, thus giving longer shape “memory.” Steel use d in inne r spring a nd box springs usua lly is high ca rbon ste e l.
Cellulose a cetatepad: Woody fibe r compacted into a pad and used as an insulator. May be glued or sandwiched be twe en pla stic ne tting to he lp hold it toge the r.
Coil count: The numbe r of coils in a n innerspring unit. Though the count can effect weight distribution, it is not the de te rmining fa ctor for firmne ss. The count is usually based on the number of coils in a full- or que en-size unit.
Coils: The individual wire springs that form a n inne rspring unit. Se e Hourglass, Continuous and Offset coils.
Coirpad: An insula tor pa d usua lly made from coconut husk fibe r, ga rne te d, ne e dle d, bonde d and pre – cut to size .
Combustion modified: Re fe rs to mate ria ls (such a s foa m, cushioning, ticking, e tc.) tha t have unde rgone chemica l tre a tme nts or othe r manufacturing processes to make them more re sista nt to ignition.
Comfort system: Re fe rs to the upholstery laye rs of the ma ttre ss, generally consisting of a combination of materials (cover, cushioning, topper pa d, insula tors, e tc.).
Compression modulus:Me a sure s the degree to which a cushioning material can provide support. Measured as the ratio be twe e n the indentation force deflection (IDF) at a 65% compression to the IDF for the same sample a t a 25% compression. The higher the ratio, the gre a te r the ability of the cushioning material to provide support. Also ca lle d “support fa ctor.”
Compression set: A me a sure of the permanent loss of original cushioning he ight re sulting from use , usua lly expre ssed a s pe rcentage of origina l he ight of cushioning.
Conjugate polyester fiber: Spira lly crimped fiber that is crimped chemically ra the r tha n the rma lly.
Continuous coils: An inne rspring configuration in which the rows of coils are formed from a single piece of wire.
Conventional bedding products: Mattresses a nd founda tions in the conventional adult sizes of twin, twin extra long, full, full extra long, queen and king.
Convertible sofa : A sofa with a bed folded be ne a th the se a ting surfa ce , gene ra lly consisting of a ma ttre ss re sting on a me ta l me cha nism. Also called “sleep sofa” or “sofa sleeper.”
Convoluted foam: Foam cut in variety of pa tte rns to produce surfa ce characterized by “hills” and “valleys,” giving gentle softne ss and more surfa ce comfort. Also ca lled “eggcrate ” foam.
Cornell test: Product performance test developed by Cornell University School of Hote l/Mote l Administra tion to mea sure cosmetic pe rformance of bedding sets, such as body impression or support firmness. Two round surfaces are pushed under controlled pressure onto the surface of the finished product 100,000 time s a nd checke d periodically for failure or change s. This a nd similar processes are ca lled “dynamic fa tigue .”
Corner guards: Molded plastic or metal (some time s upholste re d) fittings se cured to founda tion corne rs to prevent material damage from the bed frame .
Cotton felt: Produce d by a Ga rne tt machine which combs cotton and other fibe r binde rs into a continuous we b or layer. Several such layers combined a re ca lled cotton “ba tt.” For compressed cotton felt, thick layers of garneted cotton fiber are mechanically compressed and used as a fiber layer in ma ttre sse s to re duce body impre ssions.
Cotton linters: The short fibe rs adhe ring to the seed a fte r the long staple fiber has been removed in the ginning process. Used in making cotton fe lt.
Cotton pickers: “Fall out” from ginning or garneting. The se shorter staple cotton fibers are blended with linters
to produce cotton fe lt.
Crown: A convex surface on a mattress. Mattresses with a half-inch (1.27 cm) crown a re a ha lf-inch thicke r a t the ce nte r tha n a t the e dge s.
Cushioning: Ma te ria ls tha t lie a bove the insula tor and be low the fabric cove ring in a n inne rspring ma ttre ss. The se ma te ria ls a re typica lly combina tions of polyure tha ne foam, cotton fe lt, a nd/or othe r na tura l or man-made fibe rs.
Damask: Woven ticking produced on a loom. The design is woven into the fa bric ra the r tha n printe d on the surfa ce .
Density: A measure of weight per cubic volume, usua lly e xpre sse d in pounds per cubic foot. Often referred to when discussing foam.
Double tempering:He a ting of inne rspring units, usua lly in a n ove n, after they have been assembled. See Tempe ring.
Dua l-purpose : A broa d te rm use d to include a ll sle e p pie ce s, tha t ca n be conve rte d to othe r use s, including convertible sofas, high-risers, daybeds, futons, e tc. Se e Conve rtible sofa .
Dust cover: A wove n or non-wove n fa bric a tta che d to the unde rside of a founda tion to pre ve nt the colle ction of dust inside . Also known a s “she e ting” or “cambric.”
Dynamic fatigue : La bora tory te st mea surement to simula te e xte nde d wear cycles. See also Cornell test and Rolla tor te st.
Edgeguard: Ge ne ra lly a n e xtra compone nt a dde d inte rna lly to the edge of a mattress and/or box spring to give support on the side s.
Egg crate foam: See Convoluted foam. Engine e re d e dge support: A de sign where the coils on the oute r e dge of an inne rspring unit a re actua lly positione d unde r the borde r rod.
Fabric cover: Cloth or textile material wove n, knitte d or fe lte d of a ny fibe r or mixture of fibers. Often referred to a s “ticking.”
False pad: Compressed cotton felt that is stitche d toge the r to re ta in compre ssion.
Fatigue : Re fe rs ge ne ra lly to degradation of product resulting from use a nd wea r. See Dynamic fatigue, Flex fatigue and Sta tic fa tigue .
Fiber pad: Usually refers to man-made or natural fibers (cotton, coir, polyester, etc.) that are garneted, needled, carded and/or bonded together. Normally used as insulators in mattresses and foundations.
Filler cloth: Refers to a plain fabric used on the top of a foundation instead of ticking. Commonly offers non-skid characteristics.
Flanging: The process whereby a strip of fabric is sewn to the edge of the mattress cover and, in the assembly process, secured to the perimeter of the innerspring unit to prevent the cover and filling materials from shifting.
Flex fatigue: Laboratory test measurement of cushioning material (usually foam) firmness loss following predetermined number of flexing cycles.
Flotation mattress: See Waterbed.
Foam foundation: Consists of a builtup wood slat frame covered with a sheet of cardboard or similar material, topped with foam and covered with ticking.
Footboard: An upright unit of wood, metal, plastic, or upholstered material, attached at the foot of a bed, usually to the bed frame.
Foundation: Any base or support for a mattress, though typically used as a generic term for box springs. See Box spring and Foam foundation.
FPF: Acronym for flexible polyurethane foam.
Full: Conventional bedding product with finished mattress dimensions of 53 by 74-1/2 inches (1.35 by 1.89 m).
Full extralong: Conventional bedding product with finished mattress dimensions of 53 by 79-1/2 inches (1.35 by 2.02 m).
Futon: A Japanese-style mattress construction, consisting of a cover and filling material, which is typically cotton but can be innerspring and/or foam.
Garneting: A mechanical process whereby short cotton fibers and/or other fibers are combed into a specific orientation and formed into a thin web, which are then layered to create a batting used as an upholstery material. See Cotton felt.
Gauge: A measurement of the diameter of the steel wire used in coil construction. Wire gauge for innerspring coils range from 12.5 to 17. The higher the gauge, the thinner the wire.
Hair pads: Horse tail or mane, cattle tail or hog hair, which has been processed and curled for use as a mattress or upholstery filler.
Hammocking: An undesirable characteristic sometimes associated with worn out or low-end mattresses. When weight is placed in the center, the corners tend to rise and bow in response to deep compression much like a hammock. Terms “dish” and “sagging” also used to describe this phenomenon.
Hand: Term used to describe the touch or feel of fabrics (e.g., soft, smooth, springy, etc.) or a finished mattress
Hand-tied: The process of hand-lacing the coils in a box spring together with twine.
Hangtag: See Sleep Products Safety Council hangtag.
Headboard: An upright unit of wood, metal, plastic or upholstered material, to be attached at the head of a bed, usually with the bed frame.
Helical: A tightly-coiled, elongated wire used in the manufacture of innerspring units to join individual coils to each other and to the border rod.
High contour mattress: Mattresses over 9 inches (22.86 cm) thick. A mattress under 9 inches thick is considered “standard.”
High riser: Usually a frame or sofa with two mattresses of equal size without a backrest. The frame slides out with the lower bed and rises to form a full bed or two single beds. See also Trundle bed.
Hogring: Metal ring used to secure the insulator and flange material to the innerspring unit. Takes its name from its similarity to the metal ring in a hog’s nose.
Hourglass coils: Coils that taper inward from top to middle and outward from middle to bottom, thus resembling an hourglass in shape. Employed in Bonnell and offset coil designs.
Hybrid: A flotation mattress consisting of vinyl components (bladder and liner) typically encased in foam and made to look like a conventional mattress, usually paired with a regular upholstered foundation. Also called a “softside” waterbed.
Indentation force deflection (IFD): A measure of cushioning (usually foam) firmness expressed as the pounds of force required to indent a 4-inch (10.16 cm) sample by 25%. IFD is measured independently of cushioning density. Also called “surface firmness.”
Innerspring unit construction: The spring construction used as the main support system inside an innerspring mattress. Some common types are pocketed (see Marshall) and all metal (i.e., Bonnell, offset and continuous wire).
Insulator:Any material used on top and bottom of an innerspring unit to prevent the upholstery layers from cupping down into the coils. Some common types are fiber pad, non-woven fabric, netting, wire grid, wire mesh or foam pad.
King: Conventional bedding product with finished mattress dimensions of 76 by 79-1/2 inches (1.93 by 2.02 m).
Knit fabric: A ticking fabric produced through a knitting process rather than weaving. Designs are printed onto the surface.
Lacing wire: Finer gauges of wire used to form helicals.
Latex: A flexible foam developed from a water dispersion of rubber obtained from a rubber tree or a man-made product.
Law label: Generally refers to a tag of a specific dimension and color required by many states that is stitched onto a mattress to identify the contents of the product.
LFK: An unknotted offset coil with a cylindrical or columnar shape.
Link fabric: A wire foundation for bedsprings, cots, studio sofas, sofabed mechanisms and gliders. So called because the fabric is a succession of metal links.
Marshall: A type of innerspring construction in which thin gauge, barrelshaped, knotless coils are encased in fabric pockets. Also known as “pocketed coils.”
Mattress: A manufactured product to sleep on, consisting of various resilient materials usually covered with an outer ticking.
Mega joule: Measurement of total energy produced in a fire during a predetermined elapsed time period, commonly the first 10 minutes of a product flammability performance test.
Memory: The ability of tempered steel, foam and some fabrics to return to their original state after being compressed or stretched.
Mesh: Plastic netting generally stretched across the face of an innerspring unit as an insulator.
Molded foam core: A core made in molds of flexible foam and used as the main support system in a foam mattress (as opposed to the innerspring unit that provides support in an innerspring mattress).
Mounting: Attachment of a box spring to a bed frame.
Needlepunched fabric: A manufacturing process for which high strength, lightweight, non-woven construction fabrics are produced. These fabrics are produced by garneting fibers, entangling or inter-locking these fibers together by a series of barbed needles and then mechanically bonding or fusing them together via heat to produce a fabric without glue or binders.
Needlepunched pad: A manufacturing process used to produce insulator pads and non-woven fabrics whereby loose, garneted fibers are interlocked by a series of barbed needles.
Non-woven fabric: Textile structure produced by bonding or interlocking fibers resulting from mechanical, chemical, thermal or solvent processes, or combinations thereof.
Offset coils: An hourglass type coil on which portions of the top and bottom convolutions have been flattened. In assembling the innerspring unit, these flat segments of wire are hinged together with helicals.
Orthopedic: General term that implies a bed set will promote proper postural alignment and support. Does not necessarily mean hard or boardy feeling.
Panel: The part of the ticking that constitutes the horizontal surfaces (top or bottom) of a mattress.
Peak heat release rate: Measurement of the maximum rate of energy being released during a predetermined test period, usually expressed in kilowatts or kW. Also called the “rate of peak heat release” or “maximum rate of heat release.”
Pedestal-type metal or wood bed frame: A low-profile bed frame with a solid pedestal base underneath each side of the frame, instead of legs.
Pillow-top mattress: A mattress featuring a surface finishing treatment where a separate encasement of soft materials is attached to the entire surface on top of existing cover and upholstery.
Pocketed coil: See Marshall.
Polyurethane foam: Synthetic flexible polyurethane used for mattress cores and as a cushioning material. As a core, it is the main support system. Generic term covering both polyester and polyether foams.
Print: A ticking fabric, which can be a woven or non-woven sheeting, commonly of synthetic fiber composition, on which a design has been printed.
Queen: Conventional bedding product with finished mattress dimensions of 60 by 79-1/2 inches (1.52 by 2.02 m).
Quilting: The surface treatment in which the cover, foam and/or other fibers are sewn together, using various stitch patterns on quilting machinery, including scroll or panel quilters (single needle) and multi-needle quilters.
Recovery: Measure of a cushioning material’s ability to return to its original dimensions after force is removed.
Renovated mattress: A used mattress that has been recovered with new ticking and possibly cushioning and other materials, and sometimes subjected to chemical or heat sanitization processes, prior to resale to the consumer.
Resilience: A measure of the surface elasticity of foam or other cushioning material. ASTM D3574 specifies a test method for measuring resilience as the percentage by which a steel ball of defined mass rebounds from the surface of the cushioning material after having been dropped from a specified height.
Rolla tor test: An a pproxima te ly 230 lb. (104 kg), six-side d rolle r is repeatedly passed across a sleep set to simula te extended product we a r and to estimate the structural strengths or we akne sse s of the se t and components (i.e., foam or quilt failure, bre aking of he lica ls and coils) ove r time .
Rollaway bed/cot: A porta ble me ta l bed/cot with a frame that folds in half with the mattress when not in use so it ca n be rolle d into a close t (or e lsewhe re ) for storage .
Siderail: A me ta l or wood ra il of a be d frame , which hooks into the outside edges of a headboard and/or footboard to provide the support base for a founda tion a nd ma ttre ss.
Single-side mattress: A mattress that is inte nde d for sle e ping on only one side of the product.
Sisal: A product of the henequen plant formed into a pad and used as an insula tor.
Slats:Na rrow strips of wood use d inside a founda tion to support the coils. Se e Be d frame compone nts. Also can refer to boards used in a bed frame to provide e xte rna l support for the founda tion.
Sleep Products Safety Council hangtag: Used voluntarily by bedding producers since 1987, the sa fe ty hangtag program provide s critica l consume r informa tion a bout the sa fe use of sleep products. Manufacturers certify tha t they use the tag only on mattre sse s tha t mee t the Fe de ra l Mattress Flammability Standard. The tag is available for purchase from SPSC in a ha ngta g or pe rma ne nt la be l in English or bilingua l Spa nish/English and French/English ve rsions.
Smooth top: A plain surfaced mattress, neither tufted nor quilted. Also called button-fre e .
Spring wire : Wire ma de from high carbon steel, characterized by toughne ss, strength and ductility. Typica lly furnishe d in 8 to 18 ga uge for be dding industry a pplica tions.
Staticfatigue : Laboratory test measurement of cushioning material load bearing ability loss resulting from constant predetermined compression.
Steel unit construction: The spring construction used as the main support system inside a founda tion.
Stitch bonded pad: See Fales pad.
Straightlinedeflection: Pe rta ins to mattress innerspring construction and re fe rs to the consta nt ra tio be twe e n stre ss and stra in, we ight and movement.
Support factor: Se e Compre ssion modulus.
Surface firmness: See Indentation force de fle ction.
Tape : Narrow fabric material that closes over the rough-sewn edge where the top and bottom panels are joine d to the borde r of a mattre ss or box spring. Also called “binding tape.”
Tape edge: A specified type of sewing ma chine de signe d to stitch ta pe a round the top and bottom edge s of the ma ttre ss, joining the pane ls with the borde r a nd closing the ma ttre ss.
TB 117: Se e Ca l 117.
TB 129: Se e Ca l 129.
TB 603: Se e Ca l 603.
TB 604: Se e Ca l 604.
Tempering: He a t tre a tme nt of wire to reduce stresses in steel introduced during wire forming process. Accomplished by electric charge, oven he a t or both. Also known a s “stress relie ving.”
Ticking: Fabric for covering mattresses and founda tions. Common type s include dama sk, knit, print, wove n stripe a nd non-wove n.
Torsion bars: A type of spring system use d in box springs cha ra cte rize d by wire forms.
Trundle bed: A low bed that is rolled unde r a la rge r be d. In some constructions, the lowe r be d springs up to form a full be d or two single be ds a s in a high rise r.
Tufting: Consists of pa ssing twine , cords or ta pe ve rtica lly through the mattress from top to bottom, knotting and se curing the loops thus formed with tufts, buttons or la cing. The purpose is to hold the mattress filling in pla ce .
Twin: Conve ntiona l be dding product with finishe d ma ttre ss dime nsions of38 by 74-1/2 inche s (0.97 by 1.89 m).
Twin extralong: Conve ntiona l be dding product with finishe dmattress dimensions of 38 by 79-1/2 inche s (0.97 by 2.02 m).
Ure thane foam: Se e Polyure tha ne foam.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): A fe de ra l gove rnment a gency tha t issue s and enforce s na tiona l sa fe ty standa rds for consume r products. With re ga rd to ma ttre sse s, the CPSC ha s focused on flammability, air vent pull outs and bunk be d strangula tion risks.
Ventilator: Me ta l or pla stic scre e ns attached to the sides and sometimes the ends of ma ttre sse s to pe rmit increased passage of air. Often used with hospita l type ma ttre sse s with wet-proof cove rs.
Visco-elastic foam: Also known a s “memory foam.” Slow re cove ry urethane foams that are temperature sensitive. They conform to the body and distribute pressure according to body he a t and dynamics.
Waterbed: A sleep system employing a wa te r-filled vinyl bladde r a s its prima ry support system. When used with rigid framing to conta in the vinyl components, is known a s a “ha rdside .” Se e Hybrid. Often has cushioning and ticking outer covering. All versions are sometimes re fe rre d to a s “flota tion be ds.”
Welded grid top: Basic wire welded into a lattice to which box spring coils, formed wire or modules are fastened. Offe rs even we ight distribution, ye t a llows some flex and give .
Wood frame : The wood frame in a founda tion on which the spring construction is mounte d.
Woven fabric: A ticking fa bric produce d by we aving. De signs may be printed onto the surface or woven into the product.
Woven stripe : A wove n ticking with colored stripes. Sometimes referred to a s “ACA,” the traditiona l de signa tion for an 8 oz. blue – and white -stripe d ticking.