Every waterbed will have a safety liner.
Safety liners for waterbeds
As the name suggests, a PVC membrane between the waterbed mattress and the waterbed heater. On average the mattress contains almost half a metric tonne of water. If as a result of age, a manufacturing fault or accidental damage the mattress were to leak. Imagine the damage that amount of water would cause. That is the reason that regardless of which type of waterbed you have, it will always have a safety liner.
There are two basic types of waterbed. Hardside and softside . In the early days, every waterbed had a solid frame which contained the mattress. Showing my age now but I remember installing waterbeds in California in 1986 (Year of the Mexico world cup) and having to nail a plastic extrusion all around the top edge of the hardside frame. Then tuck the vinyl sheet safety liner into the flap in the extrusion. This was ingeniously named the ‘tuck-a-liner’. The disadvantage of this type of hardside safety liner was that it was very time consuming to install. Over a period of time the plastic extrusion would become brittle and crack, nails would work loose, this not ideal when in contact with a waterbed mattress. Since those carefree days of being a bum, I have grown up (a little) and safety liners have improved. The safety liner is welded to incorporate a stiff cardboard edge which stands vertically up to the height of the top of the waterbed mattress. Again ingeniously named the ‘Stand up safety liner’
As you can see from the picture,
the stand up safety liner is generously cut to ensure the welded corners fit snug in to the corners of the waterbed frame. Cheaper quality waterbed liners are available. These are a false economy and can even be a costly mistake. They are made with thinner vinyl and thinner cardboard in the edges. When fitting the washable top on a hardsided waterbed it is easy to catch the cardboard edge of the safety liner. If the hardside safety liner has thin cardboard, it will get crushed down below the level of the water. If you do have a leak, the liner will be as much use as a chocolate tea pot.
To put your mind at ease. All waterbeds have an electric heat pad for temperature control. The heater is situated under the safety liner so water can not come in contact with the heater. In the unlikely event that the waterbed heater did get wet, it would still not be a problem as the heater is tested to cope with that too.
Soft Sided Waterbed Liners
Because softside waterbeds have a foam frame to give the mattress it’s shape, the safety liner does not need a stand up edge. Instead the softside liner goes over the foam and tucks in under the outside of the foam. There are two types of softside safety liners. At risk of getting grief from competitors I will explain the obvious and you decide. Putting a welded seam in the corner of a softside waterbed safety liner is a bad idea. A good marketing tool because it looks tidy, but it is the weak spot of the liner. Why deliberately build in a fault!
Simpler, cheaper, equally as pretty and considerably more reliable which is what you need considering it is for safety.
The Picture shows the flexible flat PVC sheet with one side textured which should be facing the waterbed mattress to reduce friction between the safety liner and the waterbed mattress. This reduces the effect of the safety liner being pulled up over the foam. You should still reposition the safety liner each time you wash the cover or more frequently.
To see how to tuck this type of safety liner in watch our video