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normal DIY Latex Configuration Help

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10 Nov 2011 19:32 #1 by laterno

Hi there Phoenix. First off, thank you for all of the info you have put together on this site. It has been such a help for me in trying to configure my DIY latex mattress. I'm getting close to pulling the trigger but had a couple of questions.

I'll start by saying that I am 5' 11" 165 lbs, wife is 5' 7" 110 lbs, both side sleepers for the most part. I sometimes sleep on my back. We have a king mattress (spring) that has to be 15 years + old. I have lower back pains when I sleep, usually they start to occur around 4 AM after having slept for a while. I also wake up at times with an arm being asleep or a shoulder hurting. The bottom line is when I wake up, I never feel like I had a good night's sleep. I'm hoping switching to a customized latex mattress will really help solve this problem.

Now onto what I have tested. There is really only one brand, Pure Latex Bliss, that I have tested (several times). Here is what I feel with the different models.

Pamper - Too hard by itself but when a 2" topper was added, it felt extremely comfortable. With the 3" topper, it started to feel a little too soft but still very close to the 2" feel.

Nature - By itself it felt a little too soft but felt close to being just right

Nutrition - By itself it felt very good, but when the 2" topper was added it felt too soft

I have been looking at two different DIY options to try and replicate the feel of the Pamper with a 2" topper. One being Foam By Mail and the second being SleepEZ. Do you happen to know the specific ILD's of pure bliss models? I didn't feel like the salesman really knew the details. He told me the 6" base core was a 28" ILD on all of the PB modes. That seemed very, very soft to me so I didn't really trust what he was telling me.

Cost is a big factor for me. I'd really like to stay in the $1,500-$2,000 range (foundation included). In reading some of your posts I realize that you are not a big fan of FBM but their cost makes them so tempting.

I would really like to hear any thoughts you may have.

Thank you,
Lee

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11 Nov 2011 00:48 - 17 Feb 2014 17:40 #2 by Phoenix

Hi Lee,

You're right that I do have some "issues" with FBM (Foam by Mail) based on many things I have seen with people who have ordered from them over the years and from research on their website and other places online and offline. As food for thought ... here are some of the reasons why.

I don't believe that what they are selling as Talalay most of the time is actually Talalay. Their specs on the site are wrong (for Talalay) first of all and the latex that they picture on their site and that people have received certainly in most cases doesn't look like Radium Talalay. Because most people can't tell the difference ... they seem to get away with it (see post #2 here )

I don't believe that the rated ILD they are selling is correct. They appear to believe that if you cut a piece of firmer latex in half that it somehow turns into a softer ILD. Here again ... most people can't tell the difference when they look at it or press on it but it performs very differently when it is used in a layering scheme and then people wonder why it isn't "working" the way its supposed to and sometimes begin an endless round of adjustments trying to work around "unknown foam". They have no frame of reference to really know what they received or what it really should feel like.

They are very evasive about what they sell and refuse to let people know exactly what they are selling. Their reps are constantly changing their stories. If they were legitimate and were actually selling a high quality talalay like Radium ... they would let the world know about it because what they said could be confirmed. They thrive in uncertainty ... and their customers knowingly or unknowingly pay the price.

I believe they are operating illegally by skirting the fire regulations and I seriously doubt that they have prototyped the mattresses they are selling. While they (and others) try to skirt the regulations by claiming they are only selling parts of a mattress ... the way they are doing this (by "de facto" selling mattresses) is also against the law. While I am not a fan of the fire regulations ... I also don't advocate a company who operates illegally as they do damage to the entire legitimate industry and those who put the law aside for the sake of short term gain or greed are short sighted at best.

The information on their site about their polyurethane foam is also very misleading. One example of this is that they seem to think that all polyfoam of all grades has a support factor of 1.9 (they are all listed as this). This makes no sense as the support factor is higher for higher quality foams. While they carry a very limited range of polyfoam which has questionable specs ... this is the only thing I would consider buying from them if the actual quality of the foam didn't matter much.

Either their knowledge of foams is limited or they are purposely being evasive and they just don't give straight answers to direct questions.

If you do some google searches using some of their specs and wording ... you will come across other sites (other than their own sites) with similar foam names and specs (who are also very evasive about what they are selling) but some give a little more information about what they are really selling such as this 80% SBR/ 20% NR Dunlop .

There is more but I think you catch my drift. I won't support a business which I believe follows less than ethical (by my standards) business practices and they have a long way to go and a lost reputation to make up for before I would consider buying any of the latex foam they sell or suggesting anyone else does. There are many who "love" them ... but I believe that is only because they don't really know what they actually purchased. There are also many more who don't ... and with good reason.

On to your layering questions :)

The specs on the PLB mattresses you tried are as follows ...

Specifications Nutrition

Latex BLISS uses 450-480 Gram Weight fabric
Latex BLISS Milliken's Paladin Fire Resistant Barrier
2" Natural Talalay Latex 19 ILD
2" Natural Talalay Latex 28 ILD
6" Natural Talalay Latex 36 ILD

Specifications Nature

Latex BLISS uses 450-480 Gram Weight fabric
Latex BLISS Milliken's Paladin Fire Resistant Barrier
2" Natural Talalay Latex 19 ILD
1" Natural Talalay Latex 28 ILD
6" Natural Talalay Latex 36 ILD
1" Support Stabilization Base Foam 1.8oz

Specifications Pamper

Latex BLISS uses 450-480 Gram Weight fabric
Latex BLISS Milliken's Paladin Fire Resistant Barrier
1" Natural Talalay Latex 19 ILD
6" Natural Talalay Latex 40 ILD
1" Support Stabilization Base Foam 1.8oz

The base foam on all of these now uses high ILD latex rather than polyfoam.

The topper is 14 ILD Talalay.

So in effect your "best" fit was 2" of 14 ILD over 1" of 19 ILD over 6" of 40 ILD Talalay. Because a DIY doesn't have the option of having 2 ILD layers in the top ... I would recommend 3" of 19 ILD (confirmed by the Nature being "close") as I tend towards slightly firmer when in doubt. The base underneath this could be ... firm/X firm in 2 x 3" layers ... or firm Dunlop (which is a denser and less "active" feel than Talalay but also gets firmer faster than Talalay as you sink in to it more). All of these would be similar in terms of pressure relief and support.

Bear in mind too that the ticking makes a difference and with the PLB it is a stretchy knit which is unquilted so I would tend to use the same in a DIY ... even if it had to be specially requested. This means that a fire barrier would be needed instead of the wool being used for fire retardancy purposes. This would let you sleep more on top of the latex without the wool changing the feel of your mattress. Having said that ... the wool is nice to sleep on even if it does slightly change the feel of the mattress.

Because a 3 x 3" SleepEz in king size would be just under $2000 without foundation less your 5% member discount, if you choose to go with a 6" + 2" SleepEz special for the sake of cost, then a softer Dunlop under 2" of 19 - 20 ILD talalay would add to the softness/thickness of the 2" talalay comfort layer and would also get firmer as you sank in further. A medium Dunlop under the 2" of Talalay would add less softness/thickness to the comfort layer but would be firmer and more "aligning" or supportive. This construction (soft Talalay over medium/firm Dunlop) would be similar to the Nutrition and Nature ... but closer to the Nature which "should" feel firmer to most people than the Nutrition. Medium Dunlop would be firmer and more supportive than 28 ILD talalay however. Of course you could do a side by side split with soft talalay over medium and firm dunlop on one side and over soft and firm dunlop on the other which would let you test the two configurations at home and give you a good idea of the difference if a layer exchange was needed. The soft Dunlop middle layer may work better for your wife who weighs less than you while the medium may work better on your side.

One other option worth considering is that if there is a local manufacturer near you ... you may be able to get the best of both worlds by actually being able to test a mattress locally at a local manufacturer and having the value available that it wouldn't need to be "duplicated". If you let me know the city you live in I'd be happy to take a look to see if I know of any if it hasn't already been mentioned on the forum.

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read this post first.
Last Edit: 17 Feb 2014 17:40 by Phoenix.

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11 Nov 2011 01:52 #3 by laterno

Thank you so much for the detailed response...very, very helpful. Your points about FBM are very eye opening! I did not realize they operated in this fashion.

Your info about SleepEZ was very helpful. I did not realize they have a monthly special!!! After looking at their specials I am very intrigued by their 8" "special" mattress (2 layers of 3" dunlop and 1 layer of 2" talalay) for $1,495 before foundation and discount. What type of setup would you recommend based on what I mentioned regarding PLB testing in my first post? Would it be best to go with bottom 3" dunlop at firm, 2nd 3" dunlop layer at medium, and top 2" talalay at soft? Do you feel that an 8" thick mattress is enough to ensure a good quality mattress or do you think 10" is a minimum?

I am located 20 miles west of St. Louis if you have any recommendations.

Lee

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11 Nov 2011 04:26 - 11 Nov 2011 04:29 #4 by Phoenix

Hi Laterno,

The SleepEz special has been ongoing for a long time but its easy to miss on their site :)

With the sleepez 8" special ... I would lean towards the suggestions in the second to last paragraph of the last post ...

2" of 19 ILD soft Talalay (this would need to be requested as their normal soft is 22-24) over medium dunlop on one side (yours) and soft dunlop on the other (your wifes) over firm dunlop both sides. The rationale for the different middle layers is that your wife is lighter and this would give her some extra softness on the top of the mattress while the medium for you would still give some extra softness but better support. You could also each try the opposite side of the mattress to see which you liked best in case you wanted to do a layer exchange. With a 2" comfort layer ... you would likely want a little extra softness in the middle layer to make up for the slightly thinner comfort layer so it would be thinner on top than the Pamper plus topper with the 3" of soft latex and slightly less firm with initial compression underneath than the Pamper (which has 40 ILD talalay underneath) but the dunlop would "catch up" quickly to the firmness of the 40 ILD talalay in the Pamper because it gets firmer faster than talalay. I believe he may offer the same mattress in Talalay support layers as well in which case I would likely go with medium talalay in the middle on both sides and firm on the bottom.

Another option would be to order the 6" special with firm layers and then put a 3" 19 ILD talalay topper on top. Ken at Arizona premium has a good price on a 3" topper made by Latex International . This would put you very close to the Pamper plus topper construction (3" soft over a firm 6" core).

Arizona premium also offers 6" + 2" latex mattresses in either Talalay or Dunlop but they come with 6" cores (also side to side split) rather than 2 x 3" cores and you would also need to specify a stretch knit ticking rather than the wool quilted ticking if you wanted to go in that direction.

Some of the manufacturers near you include ...

www.maplewoodcustombedding.com/ Local factory direct manufacturer in Maplewood. They may only carry the 11" two sided Dunlop latex mattress that is on their site so I would call them first to see what they carry.

www.verlo.com/ziplookup?zip=63102&radius=60&x=0&y=0 Regional factory direct manufacturer which also carries a range of latex mattresses with good value including a mattress with 2" of Talalay over a firmer poly core which would give you a chance to try a 2" comfort layer.

All in all ... you have some great choices no matter which way you decide to go :)

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read this post first.
Last Edit: 11 Nov 2011 04:29 by Phoenix.

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11 Nov 2011 16:28 #5 by gkmaya

hi--we just got a 6" latex international 100% natural talalay core with an ild of 40 and a 3" latex international 100% talalay soft topper..i do not know the ild..we got them from dixie foam in nyc..we have had it two weeks and are uncomfortable, but can't figure out why..it seems like we sink too much...the core and the topper are individually wrapped in a thin cotton cover, they are not wrapped together...we have tried sleeping on the latex core with an old 2.5" memory foam topper and it seems better, but not great...when we were using the latex topper we sank in too much and woke up with weak backs

we are both side sleepers, thin and tall, 6'4" 165 lbs and 5'9" 145 lbs..our lower backs have been bothering us with this new mattress..in the past we slept on firm carbomate foam with a memory foam topper and even an airmattress with a memory foam topper...

dixie foam has a 6"blended dunlop,(60% natural, 40% synthetic) tr-zone 34-36 ild...they have been great and will work with us, but we don't know whether to change the core or the topper or both.

please advise ASAP..thanks

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11 Nov 2011 17:05 #6 by Phoenix

Hi Gkmaya,

It seems to me that the issue here is likely the ILD of the 3" topper. This would be especially important with your tall thin frames. With men ... the shoulders are often wider than with women and even though most men are broader in the shoulders ... the hips weigh much more. With women ... they will usually carry more weight in the hip area and have relatively narrower and lighter shoulders (although they are still wider than the hips) so they too tend to need soft enough comfort layers to allow the shoulders to sink in enough for pressure relief and alignment. It is very common in women and men that an ILD in a comfort layer (and even in the layers below) that allows the hips to sink in may not also be soft enough to allow the shoulders to sink in enough. This of course is most common in side sleepers. This can lead to misalignment and in more extreme cases a "shifting" of part of the body which can also twist the spine and lead to back issues.

It is important that the shoulders and the hips sink in enough relative to each other. If the topper is firmer ... then the hips may sink in enough (and would be "stopped" by the 40 ILD underneath it) but that same firmness in the upper layers may be "holding up the shoulders" and not allowing them to sink in far enough. With lighter body weights ... then the ILD of the topper generally needs to be softer than with heavier body weights. If as well as being thin ... you are more of a straighter build (not so curvy), then a thinner topper may also be of benefit because the gaps that need to be filled in are not as deep. In this case the thinner layer would help "hold up" the hips more. The trick is to make sure that the comfort layer is BOTH thick and soft enough without making it so thick that it affects alignment.

The fact that the 2.5" of memory foam seems to "go in the right direction" seems to confirm this because memory foam is softer than most latex that is used in toppers. It may also be soft enough to go through it so you would be feeling some of the firmness of the support layer which may be why the memory foam isn't quite enough. This would depend to some degree on what type of memory foam you were using (what density).

So it is often not so much about how far you may be sinking in but how "equally" you are sinking in. I suspect that the latex on top may be too firm ... and possibly even a little too thick for your weight distribution. I doubt that the 40 ILD talalay is the issue (it is very firm).

The tri zone Dunlop may make a slight difference but the zoning is so "mild" that the difference if any would be very small. A zoning difference of only 2 ILD would be much less than even the natural ILD variance on the surface of a unizone layer of latex. Variances in the range of 4 ILD in Talalay and even more in Dunlop are normal and are not perceptible for most people.

One person's "soft" is another persons "medium" and another person's "firm". Commonly what is called a "soft" talalay latex topper is in the range of 24 ILD ... but this may be too firm to allow your shoulders to sink in enough. I would suspect that 19 ILD would be the maximum that may work for you with a support core that was that firm. It would be important to find out what the ILD of the talalay topper is though so that you have a frame of reference.

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read this post first.

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11 Nov 2011 17:58 #7 by gkmaya

hi Phoenix--we just called Dixie Foam in NYC where we got our latex and he said that the 3" topper has an ILD of 19...we did our measurements from shoulder to chest and hip to waist as suggested on the section of the site called tips and I have a difference of 2" and my wife of 1 and 3/4 inches..so maybe a 2" topper?

since we sleep in a queen sized bed we sleep on our sides, pretty straight,,,with both the latex topper and the memory foam over this 6" talalay core my hips go in further than my shoulders and my lower back and upper leg have not felt good. I thought that the core was too soft, and that i have been sinking in too far...my wife doesn't sink in as much but says that the 3" latex did not give enough pressure relief to her shoulders and has been tossing and turning and waking up with weak back and numbness...

also the 6" core is wrapped in very light thin cotton..should we have him wrap it in a firmer material?

should we try a different topper first on this core?

should we switch the core for the dunlop, we tired it out and int the store and it feels slightly "harder", and thought that we would not sink in so much..

we do need advice on our next step as Dixie Foam is willing to accommodate needs..thanks..

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11 Nov 2011 20:06 #8 by Phoenix

Hi Gkmaya,

we did our measurements from shoulder to chest and hip to waist as suggested on the section of the site called tips and I have a difference of 2" and my wife of 1 and 3/4 inches..so maybe a 2" topper?


Was this the difference between the 2 measurements or the largest of the two? I read the tip that you mentioned and realized it could have been misleading. I changed the last part to read ...

the largest of these two measurements may be a good starting point for the thickness of your comfort layer.


Your measurements were smaller than most which is what made me suspect they were the difference between the two measurements rather than the largest of the two.

The "tossing and turning" and the numbness (assuming it is in the shoulders/arms and correct me if I'm wrong here) of your wife points to a need for softer than what you have in the comfort layer (19 ILD). It seems to me that rather than "sinking down" too much (in the hips) that the problem may be that she may not be "sinking in" enough (in the shoulders). A slightly softer layer underneath could also accomplish some of this but not to the same degree as a softer comfort layer. Note that sinking in is about how deep someone sinks into the top layer of the mattress (the depth of the cradle) which is about pressure relief. "Sinking down" is about how far each part sinks into the mattress as a whole (which is about alignment).

The Dunlop may a good alternative worth trying because it is slightly softer on top (which could add to the pressure relief) but it would get firmer as it was compressed which in combination with its very slight zoning may also lead to better alignment. Of course only testing can know that for certain.

As far as the wrapping around the core ... it should be thick enough to protect the latex from ozone and ultraviolet light which will degrade latex faster than normal. The latex itself though should have the support rather than the cover because the "support" of a tight cover will be temporary as the cover stretches while the support of the latex will be ongoing. A natural fiber such as wool can also be used in the ticking around the core to "firm it up" but I think focusing on getting the core layer right would be better than adjusting it using materials around it.

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read this post first.

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11 Nov 2011 20:59 #9 by gkmaya

okay--so we remeasured and it is 2 and 3/4 for my wife and 2 and 1/2 for me....the numbness has been in her legs..the talalay core does not seem firm to us, but we were sleeping on hi resilience carbomate for years and most recently on a blow up air mattress with memory foam..we were on the blow up aerobed with the memory foam for three months during apt painting etc and it was comfortable...so what's up with that? really, .the latex 3 inch latex topper seems to sink in all the way when we are cuddled together on the talaly and on the iar mattress and more under my hips than mywife's..thanks for all your help..

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11 Nov 2011 22:10 - 11 Nov 2011 22:14 #10 by Phoenix

Hi Gkmaya,

OK ... that is helpful but I think I should clarify a few of your previous comments first before we get mired in unclear information or understandings. This thread is also very interesting as it also goes to show the limitations of "theory at a distance" as the descriptions of the symptoms or perceptions people experience can be so easily misinterpreted or misunderstood and this of course can lead to completely opposing "solutions".

so we remeasured and it is 2 and 3/4 for my wife and 2 and 1/2 for me....the numbness has been in her legs.


Your measurements "point to" the comfort layer being thick enough. The numbness being in her legs also points to a different issue than numbness in the shoulders and arms which is usually a pressure and thickness of comfort layer issue. Numbness in the legs can easily come from misalignment as the nerves in the spine are compressed or "pinched" from the alignment rather than from surface pressure. Both of these "point to" the issue being in the support layer.

the talalay core does not seem firm to us, but we were sleeping on hi resilience carbomate for years


The fact that the carbamate was hi resilience would make it more like latex however it doesn't indicate its firmness as they offer the carbamate in both medium firm and super firm. Should I assume (perhaps wrongly again) that you were using the super firm version? I am also guessing that you werent sleeping on the carbamate itself but on something on top of it (perhaps the 2.5" memory foam?) This in combination with the fact that the 40 ILD talalay seems soft to you (and perhaps not 40 ILD which is quite firm) indicates that the zoned Dunlop may be better ... not so much because it is firmer with 25% compression (which it may be if the talalay is "misrated") but because it will get firmer with more than 25% compression than the Talalay.

and most recently on a blow up air mattress with memory foam..we were on the blow up aerobed with the memory foam for three months during apt painting etc and it was comfortable...so what's up with that?


I'm not sure whether "comfortable" means the pressure relief was good or the alignment was good but I will assume (there we go again :)) that the air mattress was inflated to firm and that this created good alignment. The only suitable setting for most air mattresses is as firm as they will go (no compression) as this is really the only way they will hold up the hips so with this setting at least (if that's what you used) then the memory foam on top seems to have provided adequate pressure relief. Most of the pressure relief in this layering would be coming from the memory foam layer with the air mattress under it being the equivalent of very very firm foam which allowed little compression. The fact that it was an air mattress means much less than how firm it was under the memory foam.

since we sleep in a queen sized bed we sleep on our sides, pretty straight,,,with both the latex topper and the memory foam over this 6" talalay core my hips go in further than my shoulders and my lower back and upper leg have not felt good.


I need to ask about this (from an earlier post) as well. Was this an every night thing or just something that you tried once. If this is your normal layering ... then your comfort layer is likely much too thick and it would explain the misalignment. Can you clarify if we are talking about issues with 2.5" of memory foam over 3" of 19 ILD latex over the 40 ILD latex core or if the issues we have been talking about are describing what happens with only the 19 ILD latex over the 40 ILD latex (without any memory foam).

I should probably wait with more comments until some of this can be clarified since the memory foam in combination with the latex could well be the issue.

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read this post first.
Last Edit: 11 Nov 2011 22:14 by Phoenix.

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