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Advice on latex mattress - 2 sided single layer vs. 1 sided multilayer 27 Jun 2013 06:25 #1

My husband and I are looking for a new mattress, upgrading from a full size to a queen size bed. We currently have a very old hand-me-down 2-sided innerspring (we have had it 10 years and have no idea how old it actually is), which my husband says feels fine to him, but hurts my shoulders when I sleep on my side, and there are body impressions on his side when we don't flip it regularly. My husband is 5'11" and 180-190 lbs, side sleeper the whole night. I am 5'3", 115 lbs and start on my side but end up on my back. Neither of us has back issues (yet!). I've been doing our mattress search on and off for a couple of years now and have some questions as I try to finalize a purchase. We plan to use our new mattress on a DWR Matera platform bed, which has 20 0.5" solid oak slats about 1" apart (i.e. this will be a firm foundation).

1) Because of our different weights I feel that a 2 sided mattress will be a better choice in terms of durability since we can both rotate and flip it - is this a good assumption? Or am I blowing what I perceive as a large weight differential between us out of proportion in terms of mattress durability?

2) Initially, I was looking for an innerspring without any polyurethane foam (for durability) since for the most part we like the feel of the current innerspring. My understanding from reading extensively on your mattress forum is that latex will be more durable than an innerspring, and thus I have now targeted my search in that direction. However, I am having a hard time finding a 2-sided latex mattress below 2k in price. Since I liked the WJ Southerad Cazenovian latex mattress which is dunlop, I'm thinking I should narrow my search to latex mattresses with dunlop instead of talalay. Do you have any recommendations? We are in NYC and my husband has never tried out a latex mattress so I need to find a store where he can try out latex.

3) I tested out the WJ Southerad Cazenovian latex mattress (and their innerspring) and liked the feel of that on my side. When on my back, this latex mattress felt softer than our current innerspring or the WJS innerspring but I was fine with it, and this mattress felt pretty much perfect to me without a topper. WJS' Cazenovian is a single 6" layer of dunlop latex with wool batting for a total of about 7" thick. Unfortunately my husband wasn't with me when I tried out the WJS mattresses (although I did have another person who weighs less that my husband get on the beds at the same times as me to test motion transfer). In general my husband is less picky, and he liked the feel of the DWR Sonno memory foam/polyfoam mattress so I think the softer top feel of the WJS latex would be ok with him. I worry though that if the WJS latex feels perfect right now and especially given my husband's heavier weight, it may get too soft over time - is this a legitimate concern for a single-layer latex mattress construction? Do you recommend that if we go with the WJS latex mattress we immediately get a topper for durability since most latex mattresses on your member sites are 8" of latex (6" core plus 2" comfort layer)? Or are toppers only a matter of comfort? Getting a topper immediately would push us over our 2k max budget.

4) From perusing the member sites on your list, it seems that any multilayer (core plus comfort layer(s)) 2-sided flippable latex mattress are over 2k, often 2.5k or more, and thus out of our price range. Have I missed a lower-cost alternative?

5) Given our 2k max budget, would getting a 1-sided multilayer latex mattress, say for example from the AZ Premium Mattress Company, where we can replace the top comfort layer(s) be about the same durability-wise given our weight differential as a 2-sided single-layer flippable latex mattress (since these are price-equivalent)? If the comfort layers were the same for the 1-sided mattress, we can still rotate it but not flip. Do you know of anywhere in NYC where we can try out a multilayer latex mattress, most of the member manufacturers that do the layered configurations seems to be online only?

6) Or if we go with a 1-sided latex mattress, should we customize the comfort layers so that my side has a softer comfort layer for my side sleeping given my lighter weight? How much of an impact would this kind of extensive customization have on durability since we would not be able to rotate or flip the mattress, although we would probably be able to replace the comfort layer(s) on each side at different times?

Thanks for any help!

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Last edit: by ss1130. Reason: typo

Advice on latex mattress - 2 sided single layer vs. 1 sided multilayer 27 Jun 2013 12:22 #2

Hi ss1130,

1) Because of our different weights I feel that a 2 sided mattress will be a better choice in terms of durability since we can both rotate and flip it - is this a good assumption? Or am I blowing what I perceive as a large weight differential between us out of proportion in terms of mattress durability?


Neither of you are particularly heavy so a one sided mattress that uses good quality materials can certainly be very durable. When there is a weight differential between you ... then the suitability of the mattress for both of you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, pressure relief, and Personal preferences) becomes an issue that could be important but the fact that you have different weights doesn't directly relate to the durability of a mattress (if it's durable enough for you then it would likely be durable enough for her as well). There is more about choosing a mattress for a couple that has different needs and preferences in the first part of post #2 here but your personal testing will be a better test than going by "theory". In my own case for example I'm 6'5" and weigh about 195 and my DH is about 5'7" and about 130 and both of us do very well on the same mattress because we both tend to sink in evenly in spite of the differences in our weight and body shape.

2) Initially, I was looking for an innerspring without any polyurethane foam (for durability) since for the most part we like the feel of the current innerspring. My understanding from reading extensively on your mattress forum is that latex will be more durable than an innerspring, and thus I have now targeted my search in that direction. However, I am having a hard time finding a 2-sided latex mattress below 2k in price. Since I liked the WJ Southerad Cazenovian latex mattress which is dunlop, I'm thinking I should narrow my search to latex mattresses with dunlop instead of talalay. Do you have any recommendations? We are in NYC and my husband has never tried out a latex mattress so I need to find a store where he can try out latex.


All materials and mattress components have more or less durable versions and designs so I would focus more on the quality of the material rather than the type. You are correct that latex is the most durable type of foam but even here if you choose a very soft latex it will be less durable than a firmer latex. you can read more about the many factors that will affect the relative durability of a mattress in post #4 here and the posts it links to. It's important to remember that durability is relative to the person and closely related to the suitability of a mattress. If you choose a mattress that is "on the edge" of being too soft for example then even a slight amount of softening may put you over the edge and the mattress may no longer be suitable for you even though the materials themselves haven't "worn out" and the same mattress would be fine for someone else with different needs and preferences.

No matter which type of material or component you prefer ... there are more and less durable versions. The type of material or mattress design is a preference issue but choosing the quality of the component or material that is used is a durability issue. If you do decide to go in the direction of latex then the choice between Dunlop and Talalay would be based on preference not so much on durability (they are rough equivalents in terms of durability). You can read more about the different types of latex in post #6 here .

Some of the better options I'm aware of in the New York City area are listed in post #2 here and there is a more categorized list with more detailed descriptions of some of them in post #7 here .

2 sided latex mattresses are more costly than a similar one sided version because they have comfort layers and are "finished" so they are suitable for sleeping on both sides. The tradeoff for a 2 sided construction is higher cost and a little less flexibility in the layering of the mattress. A latex mattress where you can choose the individual layers is also very durable and if the top layer softens or breaks down before the deeper layers (or if your needs and preferences change over time) then it's an easy matter to replace a single layer instead of the whole mattress and for many people the design flexibility and the ability to replace a layer is more important than having a two sided construction and both can be great "value". one of the members of the site here makes some two sided latex mattresses that would be a good "value reference". Other latex options of many types are listed in post #21 here which includes the members of the site that sell online.

I worry though that if the WJS latex feels perfect right now and especially given my husband's heavier weight, it may get too soft over time - is this a legitimate concern for a single-layer latex mattress construction?


While all materials will soften over time ... latex will soften less and take longer than other types of foam. A single layer construction is inerently no more or less durable than a multi-layer construction. In this article you can see a video of a single layer latex mattress that is almost 50 years old. Many multi-layer constructions use softer latex in the comfort layers which are less durable than firmer latex regardless of the number of layers in the mattress. The biggest concern with a single layer construction would normally be whether it was suitable for the needs and preferences of the person (a single layer has less "room" to design in separate comfort and support layers). Careful and objective testing for PPP would be the best way to know how suitable a mattress is for any particular person.

4) From perusing the member sites on your list, it seems that any multilayer (core plus comfort layer(s)) 2-sided flippable latex mattress are over 2k, often 2.5k or more, and thus out of our price range. Have I missed a lower-cost alternative?


This would depend on the size of the mattress you are considering. There is one member on the list that sells two sided latex mattresses (linked earlier) and one of these is well under $2000 in king size.

Latex is a more costly material than other foams but of course a mattress that contains less latex will also be less costly than one that uses more. Once you start adding individual comfort layers or a two sided construction then the price goes up. It's not uncommon to see latex mattresses (significantly overpriced IMO mind you) that are in the range of 8" to 12" that are well over $5000 - $6000 and even higher or mattresses that only contain a few inches of latex sold by larger manufacturers selling for the same price as an all latex mattress made by some of the members here and other smaller manufacturers across the country.

5) Given our 2k max budget, would getting a 1-sided multilayer latex mattress, say for example from the AZ Premium Mattress Company, where we can replace the top comfort layer(s) be about the same durability-wise given our weight differential as a 2-sided single-layer flippable latex mattress (since these are price-equivalent)? If the comfort layers were the same for the 1-sided mattress, we can still rotate it but not flip. Do you know of anywhere in NYC where we can try out a multilayer latex mattress, most of the member manufacturers that do the layered configurations seems to be online only?


Again ... your weight differential has little to do with the durability of a mattress. Having a comfort layer that can be replaced is certainly a good alternative to a two sided mattress IMO but each person has a different personal value equation and options and tradeoffs that may be important to one person may be less important to another. A two sided design vs a layered design is different and can't really be compared except in preference or more subjective terms. Rotating a mattress has less benefit than flipping because either way the middle third is what is supporting the most weight. With individual layers the mattress can be zipped open and layers themselves can also be flipped individually for those that wanted a slight edge in durability although I don't think most people would bother unless there was a specific reason to do so because you would still be using the same layers in the same order.

I don't know the specific models or designs each store on the NY list carries (other than what is on their sites) but I think a few phone calls will certainly turn up some multi layered latex mattresses.

6) Or if we go with a 1-sided latex mattress, should we customize the comfort layers so that my side has a softer comfort layer for my side sleeping given my lighter weight? How much of an impact would this kind of extensive customization have on durability since we would not be able to rotate or flip the mattress, although we would probably be able to replace the comfort layer(s) on each side at different times?


Your comfort choices would depend on what your local testing indicates is most suitable for each of you. As you can see in post #2 here ... there are too many variables and unknowns for me to know this or make comfort choices for people based on "theory at a distance" that can possibly be more accurate than your own personal testing. If you are unsure or you aren't able to narrow down your individual comfort needs based on local testing then more detailed conversations with each manufacturer you are considering is the next best way to make your comfort choices (or decide whether you need split layering) because they know more about their own mattresses and how they fit different body types and sleeping styles than anyone else based on their experience and the "averages" of their customer base.

A split layer has no effect on durability except to the degree that softer latex (or any material) is less durable than firmer latex but the other side of this is that lighter weights that would typically use softer layers would also result in a material lasting longer in most cases than the same material used by someone that was heavier. It may also be beneficial to choose split layering just because it allows you to customize or fine tune each side individually after a purchase and also allows you to exchange a half layer instead of a full one if that is necessary. While a two sided design is more durable than the same materials in a similar one sided design ... a layered approach where individual layers can be exchanged or replaced has advantages of its own that a two sided design doesn't have and latex is a very durable material in any design. which one is "best for you" depends on all the objective, subjective, and even intangible factors that are the most important parts of your personal value equation. i would think in terms of "pros and cons" rather than in terms of "better and worse"

Phoenix
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