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Back from the shop and need help! 25 Nov 2011 01:34 #1

Thanks Phoenix for answering my other post-awesome stuff.

I have been to a few shops now and have loads of questions!

Am I correct in thinking that to reduce partner disturbance and minimise heat for my husband, that a pocket spring bed is best>and one with no pillow top?

I asked about what the comfort layer is on various beds and was told a layer of latex, foam and a wool cover. Is this next step to ask exactly what materials and the measurements?

One matress had layers of latex, wool and bamboo with no foam at all-thoughts?

Another bed had gel coils on top of the pocket springs-these looked like they'd degrade easily but he swore not.

One had micro-coils so double the number of pocket coils-rubbish or good science?!

Others had 3 zones or 5 zones of pocket springs-good/bad/who cares?!

The beds although the big brand names are all made locally-is that usual that this happens?

OK, that is a lot of questions, I appreicate your help so much.

GSL

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Re: Back from the shop and need help! 25 Nov 2011 05:57 #2

This is the bed with the bamboo stuff

www.sleepys.com.au/store/Luxury.html

This is one of the gel beds

www.sleepys.com.au/store/Ortho-Heaven.html

This is one of the normal beds I liked

www.sleepys.com.au/store/Spine-Align-300-Mattress-Medium.html

Thanks!

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Re: Back from the shop and need help! 25 Nov 2011 06:08 #3

And one more I just found, that I saw in the store but it was on the spendy side.

www.simplythebest.com.au/product.php?id=6

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Re: Back from the shop and need help! 25 Nov 2011 08:48 #4

Hi great southern land,

There is a description of the most common types of materials used in support cores here and used in comfort layers here .

Am I correct in thinking that to reduce partner disturbance and minimise heat for my husband, that a pocket spring bed is best


In terms of motion transference, polyfoam, latex foam, or pocket coils as a support layer can all work well. Motion transference is really only an issue with mattresses that have innersprings that are "attached together" (are not pocket coils). In the comfort layers ... memory foam, latex foam, high quality polyfoam (rarely used in major brands) or microcoils are good here as well. There will be slightly different degrees of motion transference with different combinations of these but none of them would be an issue for most people. Your own experience in lying and moving on a mattress together is the best guide here.

In terms of heat ... the more breathable the materials in the mattress and the ticking and the the more air circulation there is on the top part of your mattress especially the better. By this standard, natural fibers are the best comfort layers followed by talalay latex, then dunlop latex, polyfoam, and memory foam. Microcoil springs are also very breathable when used as part of a comfort layer. With foam in general there is some overlap ... especially with memory foams ... which have a range of different levels of breathability in the many different versions. Ticking and quilting that uses natural fibers are also cooler in general than synthetics.

>and one with no pillow top?


There is nothing "wrong" with a pillow top itself. The biggest issue is what is in the pillowtop. If they include a lot of low density foam or unknown polyfoam ... I would stay away from them. If more durable materials are used ... then a pillowtop is fine.

I asked about what the comfort layer is on various beds and was told a layer of latex, foam and a wool cover. Is this next step to ask exactly what materials and the measurements?


Yes. Any reputable store will have a spec sheet which shows what is in your mattress layer by layer. In a comfort layer (and any quilting in the ticking) ... the most important thing is to avoid materials that will soften or break down too quickly because it is the "weak link" in most mattresses. It's important to know what is in the mattress so you can tell if the materials used are durable and will not soften or break down too quickly. I would avoid most polyfoam unless you are buying it from an outlet or factory direct manufacturer who knows exactly how to tell the difference between "good" polyfoam (rarely used in major brands) and "bad" polyfoam (what you will normally find in mass market outlets and major brands). Memory foam also has different "grades" or densities and once you start going below 5 lbs you are generally looking at a shorter lifespan.

So the issue in this "general" description is the "foam" not the latex or the wool. In general I would avoid any mattress sold by a major manufacturer or major brand which has more than an inch of polyfoam.

One matress had layers of latex, wool and bamboo with no foam at all-thoughts?


There are three types of foam ... latex, memory foam, and polyfoam. All foams will be one of these three no matter what name is used to describe it. Of the 3, latex is the most durable (if it is good quality). The wool is often used in the quilting in these mattresses (they allow for air circulation and temperature regulation) and the bamboo is part of the material used in the ticking (likely a cotton/bamboo blend). This is a typical construction for an all latex mattress (if all the layers are latex) which is usually very high quality and very durable. Latex has many benefits and is usually considered to have the best overall combination of breathability, pressure relief, support, and durability of all the different materials ... but it is also among the most expensive of materials. Be cautious about using lower quality latex such as synthetic Dunlop latex.

Another bed had gel coils on top of the pocket springs-these looked like they'd degrade easily but he swore not.


I don't know what he meant by "gel coils", do you have a link? There are "gel memory foams" of various types but they are not "coils" which usually refers to an innerspring. I suspect he may have been talking about gel memory foam or [url=http://]buckling column gel[/url] (such as the orthogel) on top of innersprings (coils). The spec sheet should clarify this. The gel that is used is very durable but it comes either in combination with or infused in other types of materials (such as memory foam) which may not be as durable as the gel. Buckling column gel only contains the gel itself and would be very durable (if this is what he was referring to).

One had micro-coils so double the number of pocket coils-rubbish or good science?!


Microcoils usually have a thin layer of foam on top of them and are similar to an innerspring except they are pliant and have a higher coil count than the coils used in innersprings. Used in the comfort layers they can be quite comfortable and durable.

Others had 3 zones or 5 zones of pocket springs-good/bad/who cares?!


Zoning is a way to help keep you in alignment and can be beneficial for those whose hips tend to sink in too far in unzoned layers or whose shoulders don't sink in far enough. More than 3 zones is usually "overkill". More about zoning is here .

The beds although the big brand names are all made locally-is that usual that this happens?


The big brands have many factories and licensees all around the world so they are often made locally even though in most cases the specs and materials used are set by the brand owner. Major brands tend to use much lower quality materials and/or cost more for higher quality materials than smaller local brands that are family or privately owned and have made mattresses for many years. There are also many smaller national or regional brands that are often better value than most of the major brands.

In the end ... a mattress has two major functions which is pressure relief and spinal alignment and everything after that is preference (heat retention, motion transfer, overall feel, durability of the mattress etc). While any material can be used to feel great in a showroom in certain combinations ... higher quality materials will perform the way they did when they are new for much longer.

Phoenix

PS: I just saw your last two posts with your links so I'll comment on them tomorrow ... after I've had some sleep :)
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Re: Back from the shop and need help! 25 Nov 2011 11:11 #5

Great help, thank you. Please do sleep-I guess you just had Thanksgiving!

What I see from your other posts is perhaps more local independent manufacturers than we have here. I have googled a little and can't seem to find more than one local company. He is the last link I gave. I just don't know if the type of independence you descrive even exists here-let alone the 'build your own' concept!

Yes that gel bed is a buckling column gel. I am surprised and pleased to hear it wears well. The price...$4500 for a king size ensemble-ouch.

The first link I gave is the all natural fibre bed, which I can now see has advantages for my poor hot DH. I will need to find out its innards next.

I now have more information and can contact the stores again, so thank you.

Slumber well!

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Re: Back from the shop and need help! 25 Nov 2011 17:51 #6

Hi great southern land,

The buckling column gel material ... like all "pure gel" material (rather than gel infused material) is very expensive and it's benefits over other types of premium comfort layers like latex are questionable. While it is certainly durable and pressure relieving ... I doubt I would go there unless there was a clear benefit for using it that justified its expense.

Mattresses that are made of all natural fibers over innersprings (such as cotton, wool, and horsehair over innersprings without any foam at all) are also quite expensive. They require specialized knowledge and construction methods to make correctly which adds considerably to their expense in addition to the fact that these materials are also more expensive than most foam. They are also generally much firmer than mattresses that use foam and in the "reasonably priced" versions are usually not as pressure relieving as mattresses that use high quality foam. They can be excellent quality and very durable but are not as popular because of the difficulty of giving them good pressure relieving qualities and their price.

Once you start looking at mattresses with foam in them ... then latex becomes the material of choice for the criteria you have mentioned (temperature and durability). Your choices would involve latex foam in an appropriate softness level and thickness to provide good pressure relief. This would be over a polyfoam, innerspring, or firmer latex support core. Latex over a pocket coil would be the closest to a "traditional" feel, latex over latex would be the most "premium" version, and latex over high quality polyfoam would be a "budget" choice which would provide much of the benefits of a latex comfort layer at a lower price.

All of these sould have a thick stretch knit ticking to best enhance the natural pressure relieving abilities of latex or a thinner wool quilting in the ticking to add the breathability of wool to the latex (with the tradeoff that the wool may slightly reduce the pressure relieving abilities of latex as it compresses over time). The ticking material should be a natural or semi natural breathable fiber rather than a synthetic.

While an inch or so of polyfoam in the quilting would normally be acceptable ... and would feel softer than wool ... it is a lower cost and quality material and would not be my first choice. I would prefer the use of softer latex or wool quilting rather than having an inch of polyfoam in the quilting but again this would add to the cost of the mattress.

So to recap ... I would be looking for a latex comfort layer ... over an innerspring, latex, or polyfoam support core (depending on your budget and overall preferred feel) with either a quilted cover using wool quilting and a natural or "semi natural" blend (organic cotton or a cotton/bamboo blend are the most common), or a thick stretch knit cover without any quilting.

Some comments on the mattresses you mentioned.

www.simplythebest.com.au/product.php?id=6

I would want to know the layering of the comfort layers in this mattress.

* Natural Latex ... This is great ... as long as the latex is on the top with only the ticking and/or the quilting above it.

* High density hyper soft foam ... depends what they are calling high density. This is polyfoam and would generally be my last choice in a comfort layer unless the polyfoam was a very high quality HR grade or was an HD grade in a lower budget mattress but was firmer (not super soft) and used better construction techniques to make it last longer.

* The New Generation Visco Memory foam ... depends on the density of the memory foam. New generation generally means more breathable memory foam but this is still not as breathable as latex. While memory foam will soften and degrade more quickly than latex ... this is especially true with memory foams that are under 5 lbs. The tradeoff here is that some people like the unique feel of memory foam in a mattress. It is great for pressure relief (its main benefit), but so is softer latex and buckling column gel.

* Cashmere wool ... This is a great material to have in the quilting and/or the ticking as it will help sleep cooler and regulate moisture and temperature.

www.sleepys.com.au/store/Luxury.html

I would also want to know exactly what the layers are in this mattress as well. In particular

Quilt Layers
• Quilting layers of Cashmere Wool and Silk fibres, and Hypersoft foams combine for luxurious cradling comfort

I would want to make sure that the hypersoft foams (polyfoam) was no more than an inch. The cashmere and silk is great if that's all they use (no synthetic fibers).

I'd also make sure that the description isn't missing anything (descriptions will often "forget" to list less desirable materials which is why I would always want to see a spec sheet that describes every layer).

• Wool Blend, Conforma Soft and Pillofoam provides a supportive cushioning effect

Conforma and pillofoam are "words" used for memory foam and/or polyfoam, often zoned in different levels of firmness to match different parts of the body. Remember there are only 3 types of foam, memory foam, latex, and polyfoam. All foams are one of these.

www.sleepys.com.au/store/Spine-Align-300-Mattress-Medium.html

Same comments regarding pillofoam and memory foam used in the mattress.

www.simplythebest.com.au/product.php?id=6

See comments regarding buckling column gel. Used for pressure relief but questionable value compared to other materials which also offer superior pressure relief for most people unless there was a compelling reason to use it based on personal preference or unusual circumstances.

The most common challenges for most people is keeping the hips "up" (they are the heaviest area of the body and tend to sink down too deeply which can put the spine out of alignment) and allowing the shoulders to sink in enough (they are wider than the hips but there is not nearly as much weight in the upper area of the body so they tend to not sink in enough relative to the hips). 5 zoned mattresses are usually a form of what I call "reverse" zoning which puts softer material under the hips rather than firmer material under the hips which shifts the load bearing area of the mattress to the area under the lumbar curve. This can be both uncomfortable for some people and it can also aggravate the tendency of the hips to sink in too far (think of lying on a bar under the waist or the curve of the back while the upper and lower body are allowed to sink down). The theory is that it provides support for the lumbar curve (holds it up) while it provides pressure relief (softer areas) to the bony protrusions of the hips and shoulders. While it can have benefits in certain circumstances and weight distributions, in general having more than 3 zones (firmer under the hips) is not a good "off the shelf" choice unless you have personally confirmed with testing that it works for you.

While I know little about Australian mattress manufacturers, I did do a quick search and there does seem to be some independent factory direct manufacturers in Western Australia including simply the best which you linked to. While they often don't show up high in google searches, a search on "mattress manufacturers western australia" or similar terms (and a willingness to go past the first few pages of search results or to go through various lists which will show up and search the results one by one to see if they are really factory direct manufacturers) will usually result in a few hits.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Re: Back from the shop and need help! 28 Nov 2011 04:44 #7

Hi and huge thanks.

I will contact the store I went to and try and get the details from them about the thickness of the various layers.

What is your feeling about stores that offer a return on a bed if you don't like it?

And what is the truth about mattresses needing to be rotated and/or turned? Clearly pillow tops can't be turned, and neither can the beds that divide down the middle with different feels on each side.

Will get back to you after more googling and talking!

Thanks

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Re: Back from the shop and need help! 28 Nov 2011 05:11 #8

Ok have googled more and can only find companies locally who make entirely foam mattresses, apart from Simply The Best. Others I found seem to manufacture for the big companies rather than custom-made individual orders. Will keep loooking anyway.

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Re: Back from the shop and need help! 28 Nov 2011 18:00 #9

Hi great southern land,

What is your feeling about stores that offer a return on a bed if you don't like it?


To the degree that customers actually take advantage of this policy ... it will lower the profit margin of the store so the selling prices of stores that offer this policy needs to be increased. If they are selling mattresses that are more likely to be returned either because of the materials in the mattress itself or because of a sales staff that isn't as good at fitting a mattress to a customer and who tend to sell based on the profit margin of an individual mattress for the sake of their own commissions ... then the average profit margin of the store will need to be increased to compensate for the exchanges.

Some stores will use various tricks to turn comfort exchanges into a new profit center by only allowing exchanges for the same or a higher priced mattress. They may give you credit for the "sale price" of your first mattress but only allow this credit to be used towards a new mattress at it's "regular price" so their increased profit on the new mattress can compensate for their loss on the exchange. There may also be various fees, delivery charges, or restocking charges involved or "hurdles" you need to jump through to discourage an exchange.

Some stores that offer this ... especially chain stores ... often use it as a closing tool knowing that even if you buy the wrong mattress, that you are locked in to buying from them and any exchange is limited to what they have to offer (even if there is nothing really suitable for you in the store). The goal of outlets like this is to sell you anything before you can make any meaningful comparisons ... no matter how suitable ... and lock in a purchase of some type from that store. It will often encourage them to sell you an unsuitable mattress for the sake of a profit just to make sure that they get a sale. In other words ... you pay for this privilege in some way or another through an increased price. How much you pay for this or how it is paid for depends on the store itself. When offered by an outlet that rarely if ever needs to do an exchange because they know how to "get it right" the first time ... it can help with rare mistakes. When used as a closing tool by a salesperson who wants to lock in a sale ... it can be a sign that this is a store to avoid.

Like everything else ... the benefit has a tradeoff and the value of the tradeoff depends on the person. My personal belief is that a mattress should be purchased from an outlet that has no sales and offers value every day of the year (or perhaps occasional sales that are for legitimate reasons) and that the best buying attitude should be that you only have one chance at making a correct decision. This encourages the better research into both mattresses and the best places to buy them.

I am in favor of a legitimate and transparent fee attached to this service if it is offered so that the consumer knows the real cost of exchanging a mattress up front and puts more time and effort into buying a suitable mattress from a good outlet with real (no sales) pricing and is not penalized with higher prices on all mattresses. Many independent manufacturers will actually open up the mattress after the sale and make whatever adjustments you may need and others offer a "layer exchange" which can also make adjustments to the mattress after the sale at a low cost. These are more legitimate "comfort exchanges" IMO.

And what is the truth about mattresses needing to be rotated and/or turned? Clearly pillow tops can't be turned,


One sided mattresses that use materials that either break down or compress fairly quickly (like most lower density polyfoam or synthetic fibers used in quilting) have been one of the worst trends in the industry ... and the fact that it was promoted as a benefit when in fact it was a negative was even worse. Not only can a pillowtop not be turned ... but any mattress that isn't finished on both sides can't be turned because the comfort layers are only on one side with or without a pillowtop. The only time a one sided mattress is justified would be with exceptionally long lasting materials like latex. The real problem is that when the industry went to one sided mattresses ... the prices didn't reflect that they were using far less materials and that the mattresses were far lest costly to make. It was a profit grab by cheapening the cost of manufacture which was promoted as a benefit without a corresponding lowering of consumer prices.

and neither can the beds that divide down the middle with different feels on each side.


If these mattresses use long lasting materials then the benefit of a split construction can certainly be worthwhile for many people with different needs and preferences. This is also an argument for a more simple construction with a separate pillowtop which can be turned or replaced or for a zippered ticking where a top layer (the one most prone to softening or breakdown) can be replaced without replacing the whole mattress.

Ok have googled more and can only find companies locally who make entirely foam mattresses, apart from Simply The Best. Others I found seem to manufacture for the big companies rather than custom-made individual orders. Will keep loooking anyway.


When I have a chance later today I'll do some quick looking in the Western Australia area to see what I can find. While I don't know the Australian market or brands, it may give you an idea of the type of outlets that catch my initial attention and may be worth some further research.

Phoenix
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Re: Back from the shop and need help! 28 Nov 2011 23:53 #10

Hi again

At the moment I feel like with all the issues you raise that there is no suitable mattress anywhere! So much to consider.

I have a pdf to attch but when I click on 'add file' below this box nothing happens.

The email I got back from the bed guy also said this about the second mattress I enquired about:

Sleepmaker are not willing to supply measurements of the internal foams etc. of the Spine Align. They say it is confidential. But what I can tell you is



5 zone pocket spring bed

A layer of latex, and hyper density foams all treated with ultra fresh

Wool underlay

Poly cotton ticking

Foam edge support





The main advantage the Contempo range has over the Spine align is the pocket in pocket spring. It reduces partner disturbance further plus give that extra support feel. And also the ticking, the bamboo fabric is made from 40% bamboo fibre, which is somewhat antibacterial, so resists bed bugs dust mites and breathable in summer.

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