Taped edge vs zipper?

What are the pros and cons of a taped edge (“finished”) latex mattress vs a zippered cover (“component”) latex mattress?

I realize with a zippered cover you can have the flexibility of altering layers to change the support and comfort of the mattress, and you can revive a mattress without having to completely replace it by replacing just the layers that have broken down or otherwise worn out. But I don’t know much beyond that. Those seem like pretty big “pros”… so why wouldn’t every latex manufacturer use zippered covers? I would think they’d all do zippered/component latex mattresses because it would be easier for them to deal with comfort issues/returns during the trial period. Yet some only do “finished” latex mattresses (like my first choice so far, The Mattress Factory in Ft. Worth).

The only “pro” for a finished latex mattress that I was able to find in the forum is that it’s better for two-sided mattress (since a zippered latex mattresses with unglued layers could be problematic when flipping).


Hi JoelD,

Mattress covers, the fabric they use, the quilting inside them, and their design are an important part of the design and feel of a mattress. There is a much wider range of covers or ticks available to manufacturers that they may wish to use in their mattress for various reasons (including using specific side panels, fabrics, and cosmetic features) that require finishing with a tape edge than there are zip covers. Tape edged covers can be made stronger or reinforced in various ways and can make a tighter fitting cover that can help a mattress keep its shape.

In the case of a one sided component latex mattress with loose layers that “stick” to each other without shifting and are designed to be easily rearranged or exchanged then an appropriate zip cover that matches the design goals of the mattress and has been tested to pass the fire regulations with the interior layers they use have an obvious advantage in terms of the options they provide after a purchase to fine tune the mattress by unzipping the cover and rearranging or exchanging layers.

With more complex designs that aren’t designed for the layers to be rearranged or require glued layers or tape edging for strength or stability, in cases where the type of fabric, reinforcement, or quilting that a manufacturer prefers to use isn’t available or practical in a zip version, or with innerspring mattresses which use flanged covers or other components which are attached to the spring to help keep the shape of the mattress and prevent the cover materials and padding from shifting, then a tape edged cover can be a more suitable choice than a zip cover.

A cover that is washable can also benefit from being removable.

Like everything connected to mattresses … there is rarely one design or component that is inherently “better” than another because it depends on the specific application, components, and design goals of the mattress.

Having said that … there does seem to be a gradual trend towards the use of more zip cover or zip compartment designs or other consumer customizable options in the industry with more covers of this type being used because of the advantages of a consumer being able to access and replace individual layers.


Thanks for the great explaination Pheonix. Makes sense.

I want to confirm that the loose covers are loose fitting? I was on the verge of placying an order for a latex bed and I noticed that the cover appeared very flat and loose. I expected the latex to “fill” the cover where you would notice a slight bulge/crest in the middle.

My worry is that the cover will get looser over time and; We will start rolling into each other meeting at the center of the bed where the layers meet, The looseness will give the layers room to shift.

Hi Km,

I don’t know which mattress you are looking at so you would probably be in a better position to tell than I would by looking at it or lying on it.

Most of these types of questions will have a “range” of answers that aren’t black and white depending on the specifics of the mattress. In very general terms though a loose fitting, thin, or stretchy cover would “allow” the latex layers underneath it to conform to the body shape more closely. The latex layers underneath the cover have much more to do with support and whether you “roll together” in the middle than the cover itself.

Tighter fitting covers that don’t stretch (or mattress protectors or sheets for that matter) that fit too tightly can create a “drum” effect that can also restrict the ability of the latex to compress. On the other hand … a cover that is very loose fitting can stretch and there may be some wrinkles on the sleeping surface which is more of a cosmetic issue than a performance issue.

If you have split layers (a separate layer on each side of the mattress) then it’s usually a good idea to have a quilted cover or a thin layer of material over the “split” top layer to even out the different firmness levels on each side and prevent you from feeling the split itself (see post #2 here).

While a very loose cover can increase the chance of any shifting … latex is a very “sticky” material so it’s not likely to be an issue even with a loose cover and if they do shift then it’s easy to unzip the cover and “wave” them back into position (see post #2 here).


I was looking at Sleep EZ and Flobeds

Hi KM,

They both use good quality covers that would be very suitable for the mattress that uses them and neither would be “too loose” :slight_smile:


[quote=“Phoenix” post=33725]Hi KM,

They both use good quality covers that would be very suitable for the mattress that uses them and neither would be “too loose” :slight_smile:


Regrettably without seeing one in person and based off the videos I’ve seen detailing the assembly of these types of mattresses I just can’t bring myself to purchase. Cosmetic wrinkling for one maybe another’s “defect”. A cover which conforms to the mattress as it flex and stretches is one thing. A cover that is loose fitting when not carrying any weight is another. I guess I’m spoiled by the hard foam edging around my old S&F.

Hi Km,

I’m not sure what pictures or video you’re looking at but neither SleepEz or Flobeds has a cover that is anything like the type of cover we’ve been discussing. They both have a tight fitting cover quilted with wool not a loose fitting unquilted cover like we’ve been discussing. Neither one is the type of cover I was mentioning that would “wrinkle”.


I believe what I was seeing were covers which had some stretch to them due to that fact by how easily they could be zippered closed and lay completly flat. I looked at a pure LatexBliss Beautiful and the tapped cover actually had a rise/rounding to it. I had mentioned a rigid poly foam border on my current S&F and I guess i was expecting that with latex zippered covers that the sides of the cover would be inherently more rigid. Now I did notice that the location of the zipper differs between the online retailers. Some are located at the top edge (ex, Sleep EZ) and others are located about half way up the side (Flobeds?).

Hi Km,

The Beautiful doesn’t have a tape edge and the cover is removable. The sides of any cover wouldn’t be “stiff” like the rigid polyfoam in the S&F but I don’t think any of the covers you are mentioning would have an issue with becoming loose or wrinkled over time (possibly the Bliss more than the other two because they are a stretch material and aren’t quilted).


I’m curious how often people actually prolong the life of their mattresses through a new layer…it’s sold as a benefit but does it wind up happening in real life? My understanding is that mattresses last 7-10 years but then component beds are sold as 20 because you can upgrade broken down layers…but at a certain point…wouldn’t all the layers be broken down and it would be the same thing as getting a whole new mattress?

Plus…doesn’t it get kind of gross in there after awhile? Even with a cover it seems like sweat and skin flakes would accumulate over time, and there’s no way to really clean the latex (right?)

I’m just wondering how this works out in real life…I like the idea but wonder if it’s something I’d really use. In my case, my bed would be softer, so I guess the layers might break down faster, but I’m also 135, so not sure I’m stressing them as much.

I could also see spilling something on the cover and needing to wash it, although I never take liquid anywhere near my bed except water.

Hey sweetandsourski,

Toppers are added to a new mattress for a variety of reasons; changing needs of sleepers, aging, softening a guest room mattress, and also prolonging the life of a mattress. I have seen some consulting data, that shows the millions and millions of topper units sold through Costco, Bedbath Beyond, WalMart, Target, etc etc. The specific reasons people purchase and how many fall in each category is relatively unknown.

Adding a layer to an existing mattress within a zipper cover is really a small niche of people, but on the TMU we hear from many of these people because some of our more loyal members have specialized in this.

Any bedding, including pillows, can get kind of gross after a while from sweat, skin, dust mites, etc., If the cover is a zipper cover, most of these can be washed, and latex can be washed by hand and air dried, but very few people ever do this. Also, most people put the layer/topper under a mattress pad, so it is protected somewhat.


Sensei, can you provide more information about the latex washing process?

I have a spare topper that’s been out unprotected for three weeks while I’ve been messing with my build, and would potentially want to wash it before putting it into a mattress bag for long term storage.

Do I need to use distilled water - I would imagine the mineral deposits and chlorine from tap water would be a no no?

For that matter, is there any truth to latex failing from “drying out” and if so what could someone do to prevent this.

Hey savantstrike,

Regarding washing latex I will refer to a couple of things. The law tag for the Talalay latex pillows, which consumers generally ask about more often than topper/mattress, here is one version of wash/care instructions I found:

“This pillow is made of a sterile hygienic material that does not require washing. It can be spot cleaned with warm water and mild soap. Rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly at room temperature away from heat and light. Never place in a machine washer or dryer.”

I personally do not have any information about distilled water, my instinct says that this is not a big deal, as its used for wiping, and then air dry, cant see a light cleaning with minimal chlorine would make a huge difference.

Most data of “latex failing” from what some people may refer to as “drying out” would be from Thermal Oxidative Degradation of Rubber… I dont actually know what that means I just wanted to write it to sound smart…just kidding…rubber exposed to heat, light and oxygen. I do sometimes refer to the polymer websites for my rubber chemical stuff…polymer database link here.


So as long as it’s out of direct sunlight and isn’t subjected to abrasion, there isn’t much one can do to prolong it’s life. That makes sense to me.

Hey savantstrike,

Again just letting you know message received, you have the general best practice for latex foam…out of sunlight, but also out of direct home UV lights, not just sunlight. Again thank you for your participation in these forums.

Sleep well,