Picking the right furniture product can be a challenge for facility managers, architects, interior designers, purchasing agents and other professionals involved with intensive-use spaces such as healthcare facilities, correctional environments and shelters — places where a steady stream of users provide extreme wear and tear on furnishings.

Mattresses are no exception to this rule. In fact, this product may be at higher risk since they are made of softer materials — nylon, polyurethane and fabrics — that ensure comfort and usability for those in your facility.

It is an understatement to say that not all durable mattresses are made alike. There are many mattress products on the market that claim to be highly durable and suitable for intensive-use environments where continuous wear and tear is a constant challenge. However, if a facility is looking for superior products, look for mattresses with the four following attributes:

Sealed seam

In healthcare, correctional and shelter environments, sealed seam mattresses are no longer optional – they are a necessity. Sealed seams are a significant improvement over stitched seams which allow for tears, punctures and the entrance of bodily fluids, bed bugs and other intrusions into the mattress core.

The most effective sealed seam mattresses are fused together by radio frequency welding – a method where high frequency waves are used to heat and connect two pieces of material in order to create a completely sealed interior seam that provides consistent strength and safeguards around the entirety of the mattress.

Additionally, stitched seams can be torn apart, allowing the user to hide contraband and other items inside the mattresses. Properly manufactured sealed seams, however, are extremely difficult to pull apart, making your facility a safer place for all of those within your walls.

Durable, hygienic cover

When considering your mattress, be sure to pick a product made with a polyurethane-coated cover. The cover should be proven to be fluid, crack, peel, abrasion and bed bug resistant, anti-microbial and anti-fungal. It also should protect against blood borne pathogens for enhanced hygiene, security and durability.

For additional security, look for covers with rip-stop technology, which provides extra security by weaving heavy duty fabric into the cover’s material in a cross hatch pattern. If a puncture does occur, the additional woven fabric prevents the tear from spreading or tearing any further do to the reinforced material – making it even more secure and less likely to be ruined.

Densified fiber, polyurethane foam core

In many facilities, mattresses are put under a lot of strain due to constant sitting, laying down, jumping upon and other stresses than can cause breakdown. For that reason, look for mattresses with a strong, densified fiber or polyurethane foam core that the manufacturer has tested to ensure durability.

Densified fiber or polyurethane foam cores are preferable due to the fact that they provide comfort, while preventing sagging and other damage due to years of years. Additionally, the cores are made of one piece and do not include any innersprings.

GREEGUARD Certified, tested

And with all purchases, it’s always wise to be nice to Mother Nature and buy products that are recyclable and GREENGUARD certified. Recognized throughout the world, UL Environment’s GREENGUARD Certification recognizes products with low chemical emissions, which can contribute to healthier indoor environments.

Representative samples of products that have achieved certifications through this program have been tested and certified to meet some of the world’s most rigorous, third-party chemical emissions standards—helping reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure.

Additionally, Sarah Wilson, Marketing Manager for UL Environment’s Furniture business division, says “GREENGUARD Gold certified products can contribute up to three points for furniture and furnishings within LEED version 4, as well as up to four points within LEED v3.  And, all GREENGUARD Certified products have publically accessible certificates that make submittal for LEED projects easy.”

Lastly, inquire as to whether the mattresses have met the following flammability standards: 16 CFR Part 1633, 16 CFR Part 1632, California Technical Bulletin 129. These three are industry standard tests that ensure the mattresses are resistant to cigarette and lighter burns, and are also self-exhausting and will not contribute to a fire if one is started in the facility.