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Construction of Sherwood Stafford Luxury Firm 16 Jun 2013 20:10 #1

Hi,
This is a great site -- very helpful. I'm trying to absorb all the information. I wondered if you could help with a specific question. I tested several mattresses at Urban Mattress and liked the Sherwood Stafford Luxury Firm the best. I'll go back next weekend armed with your specific steps for testing it more thoroughly. But your information about durability sent me to Sherwood's site for details about the layers. What they have isn't very helpful -- while they do show the layers, they have vague names like "A Layer of Super-Soft Soy--Based Quilt Foam" that don't seem to line up with anything you mention. They also don't show the thickness of each layer. From top to bottom, the layers are: ticking, chemical-free fire barrier, two layers of "Super-Soft Soy--Based Quilt Foam," one layer of "H.D. Super-Soft Soy-Based Comfort Foam," one layer of "Gel-Infused Memory Foam," then the innersprings.

What I'm looking for is a mattress I can sink into, as you describe, without sinking down. (The gold standard for me is the Westin Heavenly Bed, but I felt pretty nicely cradled in the Stafford.) I sleep on my side and back but usually wake up in the morning on my back. I definitely want an innerspring mattress with non-chemical fire protection, and I don't want to spend more than $1,000. I hate hate hate memory foam -- way too hot, and it prevents me from rolling over during the night. I like the spring of an innerspring and probably latex, though I'm not sure if I've ever slept on a latex surface.

I was concerned about the memory foam in the Stafford, but it's pretty far down in the layers, and the guy at Urban Mattress assured me that the cooling gel prevented heat build-up. He said I should get 7-8 years out of the mattress before the foam compressed too much. One reason I hesitated, somewhat counterintuitively, is that the mattress seemed too inexpensive. It's a couple hundred dollars less than comparable conventional mattresses I've looked at. I've been looking for a chemical-free mattress for a while now, and all the ones I've seen are much more expensive. I'm just not sure why this one is so affordable.

My specific questions are:
--Do you think the memory foam layer, given that it has cooling gel and it's a couple layers away from the surface, will avoid being hot and constraining?
--Is there any way for me to tell if the foam Sherwood is using is high quality and will hold up for a reasonable amount of time? Is their soy-based foam the same thing as the polyfoam you talk about?
--I know you say that price isn't necessarily a determinant of quality, but should the low price be a red flag? From what I've seen on your mattress forum, Sherwood seems to be a good company, but I can't help being concerned. I would love to spend less money but not if I have to buy a new mattress in a couple years.
--I also thought about buying the firmer version of the Stafford and then buying a plush topper. I thought this might be a better option because I could easily switch out the topper if it gets compressed in a few years, and I wouldn't have to buy a whole new mattress. Any opinion/advice on this option? Would that help me get more life out of my mattress, as opposed to a plusher mattress where I might have to get rid of the entire mattress earlier because the foam compresses? If I buy the plusher mattress, and the foam compresses, would a topper do me any good?

I appreciate any help you can give. Thanks again for all the information on this site!

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Construction of Sherwood Stafford Luxury Firm 16 Jun 2013 21:19 #2

Hi sleepmonkey,

I was concerned about the memory foam in the Stafford, but it's pretty far down in the layers, and the guy at Urban Mattress assured me that the cooling gel prevented heat build-up.


Gel memory foam does have some temporary effect on sleeping temperatures (for a period of time when you first lie on the mattress) until the temperatures equalize at which point the memory foam becomes an insulator (like all foam to different degrees depending on it's breathability). How long the cooling effect will last will depend on the type of gel and on the percentage of gel in the foam. I don't know the thickness of the layers above the gel memory foam but the gel foam is probably too far down to have any real effect on the temperature of the mattress and is there as more of a transition layer in between the softer comfort and quilting foams and the firmer support system. Gel can make memory foam a little bit more "supportive" (it imcreases the compression modulus which determines how quickly a material gets firmer with deeper compression) which is why it is also used in deeper transition layers in a mattress even though it will have little effect on temperature being that far away from your body.

One reason I hesitated, somewhat counterintuitively, is that the mattress seemed too inexpensive. It's a couple hundred dollars less than comparable conventional mattresses I've looked at. I've been looking for a chemical-free mattress for a while now, and all the ones I've seen are much more expensive. I'm just not sure why this one is so affordable.


I should clarify that both polyfoam and memory foam (or gel memory foam) are not "chemical free" materials and are primarily made from petrochemicals ... although they would be CertiPur certified and would be considered "safe" by most people. Soy based foam is not actually soy based but is just polyfoam where a small percentage of one of the chemicals (the polyol) has been replaced with an alternative polyol which is chemically derived from soy oil. You can read a little more about "plant based foams" in post #2 here . They are close equivalents to conventional polyfoam and can be compared with them based on density. The only way to make meaningful comparisons between mattresses is to know the details and specs of the materials and components in the mattress and this could be the reason for the large difference in prices you have seen. Polyfoam is not an expensive material compared to specialty foams such as latex or memory foam.

--Do you think the memory foam layer, given that it has cooling gel and it's a couple layers away from the surface, will avoid being hot and constraining?


This would depend on the thickness of the layers above it but it's not likely that it will have much effect if any on sleeping temperature that deep in the mattress. You can read more about the many factors that can affect the temperature of a mattress in post #2 here .

--Is there any way for me to tell if the foam Sherwood is using is high quality and will hold up for a reasonable amount of time? Is their soy-based foam the same thing as the polyfoam you talk about?


No. To make any kind of meaningful assessment of a mattress you would need to know the thickness and the density of all the polyfoam and memory foam layers in a mattress (along with the type and blend of any latex). without this there is no way to make any kind of quality or value comparisons with other mattresses or to identify any potential "weak links" in the mattress in terms of durability. This is the job of the retailer you are dealing with to provide this to you. Sherwood tends to have better quality/value than larger manufacturers but no matter who makes a mattress it's always important to know the quality of the materials they use so that you don't have to make any assumptions or make a blind purchase. I would begin to be cautious with polyfoam that is less than 1.8 lbs or memory foam that is under 4 lbs in layers that are 2" or thicker in total in a one sided mattress. This is especially true if the very top layers are lower density (foams that are deeper in a mattress will generally be more durable because they are less subject to compression forces). Lower budget mattresses of course will generally use lower quality and less durable foams and materials than the higher budget mattresses made by the same manufacturer.

--I know you say that price isn't necessarily a determinant of quality, but should the low price be a red flag? From what I've seen on your mattress forum, Sherwood seems to be a good company, but I can't help being concerned. I would love to spend less money but not if I have to buy a new mattress in a couple years.


Price is always a factor of course and usually lower prices are an indicator of lower quality materials but regardless of price (unless you are looking at a "throwaway mattress") I would want to know the quality of all the layers because this will tell you much more than price.

--I also thought about buying the firmer version of the Stafford and then buying a plush topper. I thought this might be a better option because I could easily switch out the topper if it gets compressed in a few years, and I wouldn't have to buy a whole new mattress. Any opinion/advice on this option?


This can be a good option yes because the topper will increase the durability of the foams below it and can be replaced. If possible ... it's always a good idea to test the specific combination together for PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) because choosing the most suitable topper is like choosing a mattress (it will completely change the feel and performance of the mattress) but if that's not possible then you can use the topper information in post #2 here using your experience on the mattress as a general guideline.

The other thing to consider though is that a topper can be more costly than using the same material as the top layer of the mattress in the first place. It's a more flexible options but it's more difficult to choose the most suitable combination unless you can specifically test the combination together.

Would that help me get more life out of my mattress, as opposed to a plusher mattress where I might have to get rid of the entire mattress earlier because the foam compresses?


Yes ... the topper will add to the durability of the mattress ... particularly if you use it right from the beginning before any lower quality foam in the upper layers of the mattress has a chance to soften.

If I buy the plusher mattress, and the foam compresses, would a topper do me any good?


Generally no. A topper (even if it's firmer) will "follow" any dips or soft spots in the mattress and is really only suitable for softening up a mattress that is too firm but otherwise is still in good condition with no soft spots or dips. To make a mattress firmer or to correct any soft spots or dips in a mattress usually involves removing the foam and replacing it.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Construction of Sherwood Stafford Luxury Firm 17 Jun 2013 19:37 #3

Thank you so much for the help! I really appreciate the detailed answers.

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