Hardside Waterbed Mattress
Waterbed mattresses come in two basic forms - the hardside and softside waterbed mattress types. Despite what the designations seem to imply, whether a mattress is one or the other depends on the bed's foundation rather than the mattress itself. In other words, mattresses are made to work with two different types of foundations.
The hardside system consists of a platform resting on some sort of foundation beneath. A box is created on top of the platform by screwing wooden boards to the outer edge. Inside this wooden box is where the hardside waterbed mattress goes. The boards keep the mattress in place and support it against the weight and pressure of the water. Even when the bed is occupied the hard sides do their job.
Advantages of Hardside Waterbed Mattresses
One of the biggest benefits to the hardside mattress and foundation is longer mattress life. By nature, waterbed mattresses are much softer and less structurally sound than inner spring models. Weight on the mattress will cause the sides to bulge as the water experiences displacement. With the hardside, the mattress experiences less stress, meaning less stretching of the vinyl and longer mattress life.
Another advantage is added leak protection, as long as the mattress is enclosed in a water-proof safety liner. In such a circumstance the box acts like a bathtub of sorts, preventing the mattress from collapsing as all the water leaks out. Of course, if a safety liner isn't used, your hardside foundation becomes nothing but a pile of wet wood.
The Downside of Hardside Waterbed Mattresses
On the downside, the main drawback to the hardside system is the discomfort and inconvenience of climbing in and out of bed. For the hardside structure to be most effective, the side walls of the box must be slightly higher than the level of the full mattress. This poses a problem when getting in or out of bed, should your hip catch the edge in just the right way. It's also sometimes difficult to hoist oneself over the edge when getting up in the morning. The latter issue is made worse if you prefer a softer mattress.
Hardside mattresses can be single or dual models as well. The dual model is actually just two smaller mattresses side by side. Modern manufactures cut dual models straight and flat in order to eliminate feeling the two meeting edges. However, unless both bladders are at equal firmness, you will never completely resolve the issue of feeling the seam.
Hardside mattresses were the original technology in the waterbed industry. They continue to survive in a market that is facing more and more competition every year. If you're a fan of waterbeds, and can live with a few minor inconveniences, you can't go wrong with a hardside waterbed mattress.