A mattress glossary
Below you’ll find a number of specific mattress terms we use as we construct our unique product line of mattresses.
A vinyl or rubber mattress core filled with air. May be upholstered and covered with cushioning and ticking and sold with a foundation.
Bed Frame or Bed Base/Frame
Refers to the frame or type of platform the bed will be resting on. Usually, a metal or wooden frame with legs used to raise, suspend or support a bed above the floor, headboards can be attached to the frame. All queen and king size sets require a frame that is either metal with a center support bar and vertical center leg, or on a headboard/footboard system with a minimum of five slats (1″ x 4″) with a vertical center support.
Metal or wood frames that connect the headboard and footboard together and also support the mattress set. Most commonly in a hook-on or bolt-on style.
The normal compression of upholstery layers as they lose resilience over time. Often mistaken for sagging. Usually in the center of the bed, body impressions can be minimized by rotating and flipping the mattress. These are considered normal but should not exceed 1-1/2″ on each side.
An hourglass-shaped mattress coil usually with five turns; cylindrical at the top and bottom and tapered in the center. Mostly used in promotional- and lower-priced bedding.
A heavy wire placed around the perimeter (top and bottom) of a mattress and/or box spring. The border wire is attached to the outermost coils, providing shape and form for the mattress and/or foundation.
A foundation designed to support an innerspring mattress. Better mattresses use heavy coils. Mattress coils are absorbed by the box spring, prolonging the life of your mattress. A box spring and mattress together are referred to as a set.
Usually a twin-size mattress used on bunk beds. Sometimes a mattress and wooden frame are combined so a bunkie board is not necessary.
A platform base or a board usually covered with material or fabric. Used under a bunkie mattress.
A bed that measures 72″ x 84″ as opposed to the more common 76″ x 80″ king size bed. Widths and lengths can vary +/- 1/2″ due to upholstery thickness. Sometimes referred to as a Cal-King or Western King.
Non-woven cloth that covers the bottom of the box spring unit. Also called a “dust cover.”
A support beam running head to foot down the middle of a foundation or frame for added support.
Stitching in lines parallel to the length or width of the fabric.
Clipped Border Rod
A border rod attached to coils by a steel clip as opposed to a small spun wire known as a helical wire.
The specific number of coils in a mattress or box spring. The standard count is based on the coils within full size units. A high coil count does not necessarily indicate better quality. Rather, it is the design of a coil, the gauge of wire used and the way the coil is engineered that determines the comfort, support and durability that it will provide.
The individual wire springs that is the major components of an innerspring unit.
The layers of material in a mattress that provide the comfortable surface feel, generally multiple layers on both sides of the innerspring unit.
Used in box springs. These coils are wide at the top and pointed at the base. The special cone-shaped design allows even compression over the entire coil.
A mattress configuration in which each row of coils is made using a single, continuous wire.
Multi-needle quilting featuring a continuous pattern. The tighter (closer together) the pattern is, the firmer feel the top will have.
Also known as ticking. The finished covering of a mattress.
A convex surface, higher in the middle than in the sides. Some mattresses have a crown.
Materials that are between the insulator and ticking in an innerspring mattress, normally latex, polyurethane foam, cotton felt, polyester silk, wool and other materials.
Usually a tone on tone colored heavy fabric woven on a loom. Usually featuring designs and patterns woven into the fabric against a flat background used to cover mattresses.
A measure of weight per cubic volume. Usually expressed in pounds per cubic foot. An important quality of foam, independent of firmness. Greater density in foam means more durability. Density can also mean number of coils per given area or wire surface coverage.
Refers to a bed that is 54″ by 74″. Formerly the standard or most popular size bed. Sometimes referred to as a full, double or standard.
Double Extra Long
A bed that measures 54″ by 80″.
A loss of load-bearing capacity in a mattress.
A product for cushioning, produced from cotton fibers combined and laced together by a “garnet” machine.
A natural or synthetic substance, which may be separated into thread-like filaments that can be spun, woven or matted. Heavier polyester fibers are bonded and compressed into pads used as insulators and to add firmness to the comfort of a mattress. Softer synthetic or natural fibers, like batting are used to create surface plushness in the quilt.
The cushioning material in quilting between the fabric and the backing.
A sought-after quality, usually interpreted to mean support. Firmness for some is a comfort term synonymous with hardness, for others it is a structural term associated with the support of the innerspring unit.
The process of sewing a fabric to the cover edge and attaching it to the border rod of the innerspring unit. It secures the cover and reduces the possibility of shifting.
Refers to the turning over of the mattress so that the top becomes the bottom. Mattresses should be rotated and flipped at the same time.
Padding material used in mattresses. Types include latex, polyurethane and Viscoelastic (“Memory Foam”).
The bottom part of the mattress set that gives mattress support and durability.
Full Extra Long
A bed that measures approximately 54″ x 80″. It is the width of a full size mattress and the length of a queen or king.
A production process where short cotton fibers are combed into a specific orientation and formed into layers.
The measure of the diameter of wire used in a mattress and/or foundation. The lower the gauge, the heavier/thicker the wire.
The steel wire assembly that forms the top surface of a box spring. Usually welded into a lattice to which box spring coils are affixed.
Thin wire spirals that hold adjacent rows of coils together and may be used to hold coils to the border rods. They may run horizontally or vertically. Not present in mattresses with individually pocketed coils.
A king size sleep set that features a mattress with divided border rod in the center to allow for slight bending or folding without damage.
A metal or staple used to secure the flange and insulators to the innerspring unit.
Initial Load Deflection. A measure for the firmness level of foam.
A true pillow top mattress will have an “inner quilt,” meaning the first several layers of upholstery are actually covered with a layer of fabric that is sewn to the tape edge. The pillow top would be a separate section of layers positioned on top of the inner quilt. Some pillow tops do not have inner quilts. The border panels around the perimeter have two tape edges to give the appearance of a pillow top.
An extremely durable method of attaching and combining layers of padding below the quilted cover of a mattress that prevents any shifting or settling of the padding layers. A process where twine, cord or threads are drawn tightly through the padding layers. Used rarely in mass-produced mattresses due to the labor-intensive process and craftsman-like skill needed. Allows almost infinite adjustability to the firmness level of a mattress.
The spring and wire unit made up primarily of coils, helicals and border wires, which is the inside of an innerspring mattress.
Separates mattress coils from cushioning. Usually a compressed polyester fiber pad, compressed cotton, or a polypropylene mesh screen used to separate and protect foam upholstery layers from the innerspring unit.
Kiln Dried Wood
Wood hat has been heated in a kiln to help prevent warping or splitting. The wood used in mattress foundations is typically kiln dried.
A bed that measures approximately 76″ by 80″. King size beds use two box springs.
A fabric used for mattress covers that is made from polyester or nylon. It is knitted as opposed to woven and is softer and more “stretchy” than other fabrics.
Helicals formed from finer gauges of wire.
A natural foam from the rubber tree or synthetic rubber, product used for some premium foam mattresses.
A term used broadly for products used for sleeping. Derived from the Arabic word “matrah,” meaning to throw down.
Cords or fabric that are usually sewn into the padding that aid in positioning the mattress on the foundation. Most are not intended to support the lifting of a mattress and ripping one could void your warranty. On superior mattresses, handles are attached to the innerspring and can be used to carry and lift the mattress.
Refers to the movement of the fiber quilt in the quilt of a mattress. Some fiber layers start moving away from the areas of usage. Good quality fibers and certain quilt patterns can reduce this effect.
The common quilting process where multiple needles are used to stitch upholstery layers together. The stitching can be sewn into simple or complex patterns but have the common characteristic of the continuous stitching across the entire surface of the mattress surface.
A metal hourglass-shaped coil evolved from the Bonnell coil. The top and bottom turns are flattened on opposite sides for a better “hinging” action when laced together with helical wires.
A wooden foundation with no metal wire. Usually covered with a layer of foam and fabric to look like a box spring.
A top finishing on a mattress where a “pillow” of soft materials is sewn over the entire surface. There are two tape edges or welts on each side of a mattress.
A sign of mattress wear where upholstery layers separate down through the surface of the innerspring coils.
A word created by the bedding industry to describe additional support in the center of a mattress or foundation unit.
Specific areas of the body where blood flow through the capillaries is restricted due to pressure against that area, causing discomfort and tossing and turning.
A bed that measures 60″ by 80″.
The top few layers of upholstery that are stitched together with a backing material. Simple quilting may consist of backing material, 1/4″ of foam, and the fabric cover. Upper-end quality mattress may have multiple layers of foam and various fibers, synthetic and/or natural.
Ability to spring back. A term used to describe the property of foam, fiber, fabric or spring unit to spring back to its original form.
The result of a worn out or defective mattress that sags in the center, causing your body to want to roll towards the center.
Turning your mattress so that the head of the bed becomes the foot.
Structural effects of wear causing loss of support and indentation of the surface of an innerspring mattress. Often confused with normal settling of upholstery layers defined as body impressions.
A wooden board used as the bottom structure to support box spring units within their frames. Also used in complete beds with wood rails and in bunk beds to support the mattress in place of a box spring.
Industry term used to describe a mattress cover that isn’t quilted.
Split Queen Box
Two queen size foundations, each measuring 30″ by 80″, designed to accommodate the passage of a single-piece foundation.
Tough, durable wire made from high carbon steel used to make innerspring mattress coils.
The ability to bear weight.
Tack and Jump
A relatively new quilting process where stitching is in specific spots and not connected as in multi-needle quilting. The result is a more tufted look that allows for upholstery layer to rise to a more fuller loft.
The cord-like seam that is stitched to connect border panels to the top quilt panels of a mattress.
Process using either heat or electric charge to realign the molecules in wire after it is formed into coils to create more strength, resiliency and durability. Tempering helps assure that the wires will return to their original shape after compression.
A special type of cotton batting used at Verlo Mattress Factory Stores. The cotton is blended with low-melt polyester fibers, then the batting is heated to the melting point of the polyester fibers which bonds the cotton into a densified, pre-compressed batting that is easier to work with, more durable, and more resistant to matting than conventional cotton batting.
Insulation and padding material on top of the spring assembly, usually a thinner layer of foam sandwiched between other layers.
A bed that measures 38″ by 74″.
Twin Extra Long
A bed that measures 38″ by 80″.
A process where twine, cord or threads are drawn tightly through a mattress to hold padding into place.
All the soft layers of a mattress, including insulators, quilts, and covers.
Screens of metal or plastic or eyelets that are attached to the sides of mattresses and allow air to pass through.
Heat sensitive, polyurethane foam. Often referred to as “memory foam.”