Welcome to our site! Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.
It is possible to solder both sides when IC sockets are used. I use the machined-pin type, and this board was completely soldered on the top. Those pins that stick through could have been soldered on the back layer too.
Edit: If you use the machined-pin carriers without the plastic, it is even easier to solder both sides and still have a socketed IC.
You just need a real thin tip. I have also done other top side soldering by heating the wire/pin from the bottom and feeding the solder from the top. Pre-tinning of the pad helps, but is not required, particularly when the wire is heavy. I used that technique for some larger bridge rectifiers on an otherwise SMD board.