What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
User avatar
PrettyCoolWorkshop
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:44 pm

What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by PrettyCoolWorkshop » Wed May 16, 2018 12:04 pm

Hello forum folks.

I recently went through the gauntlet of researching and purchasing a mattress for the wife and I. Especially with the new online bed-in-a-box companies that are everywhere nowadays, and the referral-based distributed marketing ecosystem that has sprung up, misinformation is everywhere!

I ended up going with a firm queen size Haugesund mattress from Ikea for the following reasons:
-It is the most popular mattress they sell
-Good price
-The foam padding layer is minimal in thickness
-Easy to transport home

The mattress seems fine to sleep on (I feel like negative reviews for mattresses are dominated by people with much more discriminating tastes than mine). I am left wondering about durability. Exactly what causes a spring mattress to wear out?

In my engineering opinion, the springs would not be a wear component of the mattress. As long as a steel spring is not stressed to fatigue or yield, and it does not rust, it has an infinite lifetime. I imagine that none of these factors are an issue for a typical spring mattress. So the only wear component left is the padding. This I can imagine to wear out as the foam degrades, and from sweat/oil/dirt generally gumming it up.

Part of my reasoning for going with a firmer mattress is the idea that if/when it does wear out, it doesn't develop lots of sag, because it doesn't sag a lot to begin with. And if my foam padding layer is to begin with, even if it went completely flat it would hardly be noticeable.

Anybody have a well-informed technical opinion on this? I'm hoping to see that my mattress investment will last, like, forever!
Be greedy and fearful. All the time.

livesoft
Posts: 62909
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by livesoft » Wed May 16, 2018 12:06 pm

Overweight sleepers.

I've never had a mattress wear out. And we don't turn our mattresses that often.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 6015
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by Pajamas » Wed May 16, 2018 12:20 pm

You're correct that the polyurethane foam will probably be what wears out first.

You can extend the useful life of the mattress by rotating it every three or six months. (That mattress is not designed to be flipped.)

User avatar
PrettyCoolWorkshop
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:44 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by PrettyCoolWorkshop » Wed May 16, 2018 1:23 pm

Thanks for the replies guys. Being "educated" by all the marketing information is fairly neuroticism-inducing.
Be greedy and fearful. All the time.

-buzz-
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:43 pm
Location: USA

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by -buzz- » Wed May 16, 2018 4:00 pm

Here is what we've found with mattresses.

Pillow top mattresses wear out because the pillow top breaks down. What you are left with is a lumpy surface that is uncomfortable.

We went to buying a very simple firm or extra firm mattress with no padding. We then add a memory foam mattress topper. When the mattress topper wears, we can replace it inexpensively. The mattress underneath is usually fine.

User avatar
gasdoc
Posts: 1571
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:26 am

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by gasdoc » Wed May 16, 2018 4:58 pm

Probably "heavy" sleepers. We are small people and have never really had a mattress actually wear out. We just eventually replace it just for the heck of it. We buy plain, no pillow pad, spring mattresses.

gasdoc

NextMil
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:33 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by NextMil » Thu May 17, 2018 6:14 am

FWIW - I have used the warranty on two mattresses that started to sag within the 10 year warranty time frame from a mattress store. Both times they sent a tech, he checked out the mattress, saw the indent, and told the store the bed failed. Both times we received full purchase price credit to purchase something new. After the second time, I threw a few thousand extra at it and purchased a tempurpedic - the kind that does not get hot, and I can tell you hands down its a much better sleep, and I am convinced there will never a be a sag.

nexesn
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:15 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by nexesn » Thu May 17, 2018 7:48 am

No one should ever buy a "spring" mattress because it will loose it's usefulness by "winter" :happy

Sorry, obviously completely unhelpful post. But, I saw the heading of the post, and this just popped into my head. Good luck with having the mattress for many years! As others have said, rotating mattresses does help extend the usefulness.

Redfactor
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:40 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by Redfactor » Thu May 17, 2018 8:58 am

Besides the obvious manufacturing defect on a spring causing it to break, I think another way that innerspring mattress fail is that the coils are not adequately supported and/or glued, become dislodged, and fall on their side within the mattress.

I think this is more of a risk with super cheap mattresses.

User avatar
Alexa9
Posts: 1730
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:41 am

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by Alexa9 » Thu May 17, 2018 9:07 am

Well when a man and a woman love each other very much...

iskey
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:24 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by iskey » Thu May 17, 2018 9:16 am

I have heard that it is not that the actual spring wears out or breaks, but rather the springs are wrapped in a type of fabric that always keeps them slightly compressed. It is the fabric that wraps the spring that wears out or breaks, causing the spring to be, well, sprung, more than the others and creating the infamous lump.

I'm no expert in the matter this is just what I've heard.

boglegirl
Posts: 276
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:41 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by boglegirl » Thu May 17, 2018 9:22 am

livesoft wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 12:06 pm
Overweight sleepers.

I've never had a mattress wear out. And we don't turn our mattresses that often.
gasdoc wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 4:58 pm
Probably "heavy" sleepers. We are small people and have never really had a mattress actually wear out. We just eventually replace it just for the heck of it. We buy plain, no pillow pad, spring mattresses.
It's not always the size of the sleepers. My husband and I are not big people (average height, and height-weight proportionate) and we had a pretty expensive pillow-top mattress that had deep indentations after only 3 or 4 years. Costco said we could go through the manufacturer and make a warranty claim, or they'd accept the return. (we returned it to them...or should I say, they sent some guys out with a truck to take our return).

User avatar
unclescrooge
Posts: 2686
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by unclescrooge » Thu May 17, 2018 9:44 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 9:07 am
Well when a man and a woman love each other very much...
LOL. Good one!

takeshi
Posts: 1175
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:02 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by takeshi » Thu May 17, 2018 1:51 pm

PrettyCoolWorkshop wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 12:04 pm
Exactly what causes a spring mattress to wear out?

In my engineering opinion, the springs would not be a wear component of the mattress. As long as a steel spring is not stressed to fatigue or yield, and it does not rust, it has an infinite lifetime.
No idea on your question but Vispring mattresses have lifetime warranties. However, they do come with very high price tags.

alfaspider
Posts: 1616
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by alfaspider » Thu May 17, 2018 1:57 pm

Springs do have finite lives. Metal will eventually fatigue from repeated flexion. How soon that happens will vary based on the spring loading, metal type, stiffness, etc. Foam also can break down with age or from chemical exposure.

That being said, the idea that mattresses regularly wear out is mostly peddled by the mattress industry. Buy a new one only if the old one has become uncomfortable.

Spring mattresses (or spring-only) mattresses are starting to fall a bit out of favor as foam mattresses have gotten better. I much prefer the foam mattress I am on now than my old spring mattress.

User avatar
PrettyCoolWorkshop
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:44 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by PrettyCoolWorkshop » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:42 am

As an update to my mattress purchase-

With the new mattress, I've been sleeping better than before. But I was still curious if it could be better, especially after having done all the mattress research. After still having some (minor) discomfort with the mattress being a little too much on the firm side, I went ahead and bought a 2" thick memory foam mattress topper, with the intent of returning it to amazon if I didn't like it. This is on the thin side compared to most mattress toppers you can find shopping around, most are 3" to 4". I put it on the bed and have been sleeping absolutely wonderfully since. It feels real real good. It is just a tad bit on the too soft side now, if I could specify an ideal thickness of memory foam I would probably say 1.5".

This ended up following the process that -buzz- recommended above. Get a firm mattress and use a topper. The mattress won't wear out on you. IKEA firm Haugesund mattresses are a quality product, are cheap, and are easy to transport home. Although I'm not a "mattress scientist" (aka snake oil salesman), I would say that this results in optimizing all the right things!

Hopefully this story may be of use to someone.
Be greedy and fearful. All the time.

User avatar
dwickenh
Posts: 1449
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:45 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by dwickenh » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:46 am

-buzz- wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 4:00 pm
Here is what we've found with mattresses.

Pillow top mattresses wear out because the pillow top breaks down. What you are left with is a lumpy surface that is uncomfortable.

We went to buying a very simple firm or extra firm mattress with no padding. We then add a memory foam mattress topper. When the mattress topper wears, we can replace it inexpensively. The mattress underneath is usually fine.
Thanks buzz- my mattress is the same and thought I may need a mattress. I may try a new memory foam topper instead. Mine is the same age as the mattress(10 years)
The market is the most efficient mechanism anywhere in the world for transferring wealth from impatient people to patient people.” | — Warren Buffett

cantos
Posts: 255
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:25 am

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by cantos » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:04 am

Go to https://www.themattressunderground.com

The owner Phoenix posts there and is extremely knowledgeable.

Agree re your analysis of springs staying good and padding deteriorating.

I bought organix latex and am extremely satisfied. More expensive. Will never do anything else.

PFInterest
Posts: 2684
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by PFInterest » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:09 am

PrettyCoolWorkshop wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 12:04 pm
Hello forum folks.

I recently went through the gauntlet of researching and purchasing a mattress for the wife and I. Especially with the new online bed-in-a-box companies that are everywhere nowadays, and the referral-based distributed marketing ecosystem that has sprung up, misinformation is everywhere!

I ended up going with a firm queen size Haugesund mattress from Ikea for the following reasons:
-It is the most popular mattress they sell
-Good price
-The foam padding layer is minimal in thickness
-Easy to transport home

The mattress seems fine to sleep on (I feel like negative reviews for mattresses are dominated by people with much more discriminating tastes than mine). I am left wondering about durability. Exactly what causes a spring mattress to wear out?

In my engineering opinion, the springs would not be a wear component of the mattress. As long as a steel spring is not stressed to fatigue or yield, and it does not rust, it has an infinite lifetime. I imagine that none of these factors are an issue for a typical spring mattress. So the only wear component left is the padding. This I can imagine to wear out as the foam degrades, and from sweat/oil/dirt generally gumming it up.

Part of my reasoning for going with a firmer mattress is the idea that if/when it does wear out, it doesn't develop lots of sag, because it doesn't sag a lot to begin with. And if my foam padding layer is to begin with, even if it went completely flat it would hardly be noticeable.

Anybody have a well-informed technical opinion on this? I'm hoping to see that my mattress investment will last, like, forever!
even if it doesnt wear out, i dont think keeping your mattress for forever is a good idea as well.....technology evolves, skin/sweat builds up, etc.
try not to tax harvest it as well!

User avatar
flossy21
Posts: 435
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 2:04 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by flossy21 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:27 am

The textile components of your mattress are a great breeding ground for dust mites which feed off of the skin that you shed. The mites pile up to the point that the mattress is more mites than textile. I think you feel this as the mattress begins to degrade.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_drift/20 ... _over.html

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 6015
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by Pajamas » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:45 am

flossy21 wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:27 am
The mites pile up to the point that the mattress is more mites than textile.
Mattresses do accumulate a significant amount of dead skin cells and thus the dust mites that eat them, but the mattress weight doubling because of this is an urban myth.

The vast majority of people aren't allergic to dust mites, anyway.

frugalmama
Posts: 122
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:53 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by frugalmama » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:02 am

-buzz- wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 4:00 pm
Here is what we've found with mattresses.

Pillow top mattresses wear out because the pillow top breaks down. What you are left with is a lumpy surface that is uncomfortable.

We went to buying a very simple firm or extra firm mattress with no padding. We then add a memory foam mattress topper. When the mattress topper wears, we can replace it inexpensively. The mattress underneath is usually fine.
Thank you for this and to the OPs review! We have been in the market for a mattress for a few years now and I have yet to purchase one. I think I will try adding memory foam to our current mattress and then if that doesn't make it better, I will purchase a hard mattress from or similar to IKEA's and add the foam to the top of it.

User avatar
PrettyCoolWorkshop
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:44 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by PrettyCoolWorkshop » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:13 am

frugalmama wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:02 am
-buzz- wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 4:00 pm
Here is what we've found with mattresses.

Pillow top mattresses wear out because the pillow top breaks down. What you are left with is a lumpy surface that is uncomfortable.

We went to buying a very simple firm or extra firm mattress with no padding. We then add a memory foam mattress topper. When the mattress topper wears, we can replace it inexpensively. The mattress underneath is usually fine.
Thank you for this and to the OPs review! We have been in the market for a mattress for a few years now and I have yet to purchase one. I think I will try adding memory foam to our current mattress and then if that doesn't make it better, I will purchase a hard mattress from or similar to IKEA's and add the foam to the top of it.
If you're buying a topper for your existing mattress, keep in mind that a topper can make a mattress feel softer, but can't really make a mattress feel harder. Mine was purchased with that intent and was only $55, did the job well.

For the nerds out there, think of the mattress and topper as "springs in series". The effective stiffness will decrease.
Be greedy and fearful. All the time.

BradJ
Posts: 216
Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:06 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by BradJ » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:17 am

This thread has been a great litmus test for the maturity of BHs.

User avatar
flossy21
Posts: 435
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 2:04 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by flossy21 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:22 am

Pajamas wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:45 am
flossy21 wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:27 am
The mites pile up to the point that the mattress is more mites than textile.
Mattresses do accumulate a significant amount of dead skin cells and thus the dust mites that eat them, but the mattress weight doubling because of this is an urban myth.

The vast majority of people aren't allergic to dust mites, anyway.
You are correct. The article I linked mentions that the weight thing is used as a scare tactic by the mattress industry. It doesn't change the fact that the fabrics essentially become home for these critters and their offal along with all the skin & dirt we put in there. Allergic or not...it's the reason a mattress wears out over time.

mmmodem
Posts: 1503
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 1:22 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by mmmodem » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:31 am

I don't know what the mechanism is for mattresses to sag or become lumpy. However, I do agree with you on getting a firmer mattress to mitigate this effect. I guess I have the ultimate firmness for a mattress. I sleep on the floor. It never wears out. I replace the carpet (call it the pillow top if you will) when it gets dirty and cannot be cleaned.

wrongfunds
Posts: 1908
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by wrongfunds » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:40 am

BradJ wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:17 am
This thread has been a great litmus test for the maturity of BHs.
I guess you missed the one where "man and woman love each other too much" reply.

User avatar
danielrhall
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:20 pm
Location: Raymond, NH USA

Re: What exactly causes a spring mattress to wear out?

Post by danielrhall » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:44 pm

flossy21 wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:27 am
The textile components of your mattress are a great breeding ground for dust mites which feed off of the skin that you shed. The mites pile up to the point that the mattress is more mites than textile. I think you feel this as the mattress begins to degrade.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_drift/20 ... _over.html
This is one of the advantages of a mattress comprised of sheets of latex inside a cover, usually cotton (that's the entire composition of the mattress): the cover is easily removed and washed.

Latex itself is a natural substance, is hypoallergenic except for the small percentage of people allergic to a protein in it, and it is resistant to dust mites.

My mattress is four sheets of 3" thick latex: firm, medium, soft and extra-soft (was a topper). The layers can be swapped around to change the firmness feeling of the bed (or exchanged out with firmer of softer layers). They are easily turned and flipped. The cover is easily replaced.

Best mattress on which I've ever slept. Not inexpensive at about $1400 for queen size, but will last a very long time.

Post Reply