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2 sided diy mattress, is it feasible? 13 Feb 2014 21:01 #1

Hi all, I tried searching but didn't find much info when it comes to the homebrewed mattress regarding 2 sided (flippable) options. One of the huge complaints is premature sagging due to not flipping. This seems to be a problem with diy versions as well since most are constructed from the base up. Obviously full latex cores are way too heavy to be flipping, but whether memory foam or latex over poly - has anyone attempted a sort of 'mirror image' setup with latex or mf topper on both sides of a poly core? Or are these type beds not feasible since they're not innerspring?

I also wonder how it would work, with say a 3" layer of latex sandwiched between an inch or two of memory foam (or vice versa) contained in its' own cover atop a poly base. then just the upper portion could be flipped. or poly base and upper contained portion flipped individually involving a little more effort but dividing say a 12" profile mattress to 2 6" manageable sections.

The concerns would be that a normal 2 sided innerspring, when flipped, places the sleep side on bottom against the platform to even out while the underside becomes used. I'm not sure if just a flippable upper portion would get a chance to truly even back out laying against a poly base vs a solid or slatted platform. Also the layers involved might create an odd 'feel' to the mattress much like too deep of a comfort layer. I've seen this done with a few lesser known brands of mattress that feature a full zippered 'pillowtop' than can be removed, flipped and reattached - usually with a reversible topper that's half convoluted and half mf, or 4lb mf on one side, a thin transition layer and 3lb mf on the reverse side to give the sleeper their choice of which density to sleep on. Along the idea of rearranging layers to get the optimum 'feel' by simply flipping an encased topper.

Some of the benefits to a diy mattress are specifically choosing higher density or better quality materials to avoid the pitfalls of less durable materials besides just seeking comfort, but I've never really seen anyone attempt a diy that was 2 sided. I'm wondering if part of the reason for early failures/sag in mf or latex hybrids aren't for the same reasons the no-flip innersprings are breaking down sooner. Any thoughts?

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2 sided diy mattress, is it feasible? 13 Feb 2014 23:14 #2

Hi brass,

There's nothing saying that a DIY 2 sided mattress cannot be done, but there are a couple tradeoffs with 2 sided mattresses, and some lesser requirements.

In terms of tradeoffs, you cannot use the full depth of the mattress to perform layering which limits what designs can be used, and that is further complicated if there is any zoning desired. Also, you need to actually flip the mattress for a 2 sided mattress to be of any particular value, which many people don't do. It can also make fine tuning the comfort layer more difficult if you are trying to do it on both sides of the mattress.

In terms of usefulness, many DIY mattresses have a zip cover, so individual layers within the mattress can usually be flipped, rotated, and replaced individually. Whereas pre-made mattresses get thrown out if the comfort layer is worn out, a DIY mattress may not need to be since individual layers can be replaced. Toppers, especially those that can be flipped and used on either side, also share similar benefits in terms of being able to be individually replaced.

As a problem, I'd think premature sagging is more a symptom of lower quality materials than a direct consequence of a 1 sided mattress.

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2 sided diy mattress, is it feasible? 14 Feb 2014 01:41 #3

Hi brass,

I would agree with dn's comments and there is also more information about the pros and cons of two sided mattresses in post #2 and #3 here and the posts it links to.

I would also read post #15 here and the posts it links to before considering any DIY mattress project to make sure that you have realistic expectations of success and cost.

Designing and building a one sided DIY mattress is generally difficult enough (unless you are using a proven design that you know is suitable for you and you have access to the same layers and components as your reference mattress) but building a two sided mattress would be a more specialized mattress design and construction with much more unpredictable results and I don't think it's a project I would take on without a great deal of experience and knowledge about mattress theory and construction and some extensive testing on different mattress designs as well. I think that a two sided design would also benefit from using a tape edge finish (rather than a zip cover) although this isn't something that could be done as part of a DIY project because it takes specialized equipment and I would also consider gluing the layers as well.

Phoenix
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2 sided diy mattress, is it feasible? 14 Feb 2014 11:34 #4

True, I wasn't even thinking of the complications of zoning. More or less just something I was curious about. Most mattresses that give out it sounds like it's due to body impressions and softening of the foam(s) that rotating can't really solve since the forces are still being applied in the same direction. When it comes to pillowtop innersprings especially I keep reading that they're prone to soften because of low quality foam cushioning that wears out coupled with the no-flip design. In my quest (it didn't begin as a quest really) to replace my own aging pillowtop I started looking to see what else was available and found myself looking at foam mattresses. Trying to sort through user reviews for tons of brands available on walmart, overstock, amazon I'm seeing a lot of generally good reviews initially. Setting aside complaints of odor for offgassing and compressed items that don't recover properly out of the box, it really doesn't seem to matter the brand. The general consensus is "it got too soft", "there's a trough where I sleep", "sags after a few months" etc. Just to myself I'm thinking ok - these are all the same complaints about no flip innersprings and the similarity is, these mattresses can't be flipped either. Obviously the flood of cheaper mattresses out there aren't using the best quality materials either. (low density foams). Besides the pros of mf's ability to relieve pressure a lot of the advertising info says that in "general" foam beds are supposed to well outlast their innerspring counterparts but user reviews don't seem to show this.

My own reasons for even considering the trials and tribulations of a diy mattress are to overcome the flaws that lead to a bed wearing out so fast. I know a lot of people are looking for custom comfort unavailable to them for chronic back issues and medical reasons, neither of which I have. I guess I'm just mulling things over and weighing out the options. Obviously just buying a ready to go mattress would be so much easier. The thought of grabbing any mattress thats comfy enough, whether traditional or mf just to have it soften, sag and end up in the same boat i'm in now irks me. Obviously $300-$500 isn't going to buy me 20yrs worth of mattress that's just unrealistic. I'd like to think it would provide at least a couple of years of service rather than just a year or less. There's nothing wrong with a lot of the ready to go ones out there, I'm sure they're better engineered than something I could put together with my limited know how - but if they're cutting corners with 1.5lb density poly and 2.5 to 3lb density mf then my diy considerations were to essentially recreate something similar with better quality foams.

I'm not sure what 'tape edge' is, I'm guessing that's the process of seaming together the top of an innerspring ticking to the side wall creating a defined 'corner' - so as to have a more solid piece to flip rather than multiple layers slip sliding around in a stretchy sock type cover. I just don't want to be stuck with something like i am now. I'm not sure if my actual innersprings are done for although they can't be in the best of shape after 10yrs. The pillowtop is done for and since it isn't serviceable the entire mattress is toast. If I get a ready to go mf, everything will be laminated so even if the poly 'base' is ok and a top layer wears out I'm left tossing the whole thing and replacing it just for a worn out layer. Other than getting better 'value' doing diy being able to replace individual layers as they wear or getting higher density foams, I'm definitely not saving any money and factoring in the work of doing it myself.
There would likely be more benefit if I had special needs for custom zoning but that's not the case for me.

Disregarding any potential quality issues from someplace like fbm (using them as an example since they have some of the lowest prices), building a 12" mf mattress - using a similar configuration to many retail models of 6" poly core, 2.5-3" convoluted transition and 3" mf on top, with thin zippered cover - I'm looking at roughly $400. That's with the intention of going from what's available retail (1.5-1.8 density poly, 3lbs mf) to 2.8 density poly and 4lbs mf. No zoning, nothing special just straightforward layering. Tons of retail compressed in a box mattresses can be had for $290-$350, so it's not like doing my own would net me an $800 mattress for $250. If it's too much hassle and the end result won't net me a mattress that lasts a year or two longer - then for my situation I may as well just grab a mattress in a box and ride it out til it's done for and replace it. But then I'm wondering other than the feel of a mf or latex layer what if any upside there is in my situation considering one of these vs just grabbing another innerspring. Just from looking at it realistically, seems from the reviews I've read that whether innerspring or mf, a low cost mattress is doomed to about a year or two of use.

Hopefully this doesn't come across as disregarding foam style mattresses. For anyone reading, please keep in mind the options considered for my situation aren't referring to mid to upper range quality like sleepEZ, SLAB, or any of the better quality typically mentioned here. I'm more or less referring to entry level stuff that's within my limited budget; spa sensations, lucid, sleep innovations, dynasty etc.

As always, I appreciate everyone's input. You folks have a ton of knowledge and hands on experience that's really invaluable to those of us otherwise depending solely on input from other customers like "this bed's terrible" and "the foam stinks". I agree with dn, a lot depends on the end user's willingness to actually perform any maintenance steps. Knowing what a sagging mess a bed can feel like I'd be happy to maintain my bed if it was an option. I've rotated my current no-flip plenty but further limited by 180 rotations (rather than 90 degree rotations) since it's not a king size.

In your experiences, is it worth venturing into mf or latex hybrid given my budget of around $500, maybe $600 tops? Or is this likely to end up right in the same boat, sagging/wearing heavily within just a couple years same as a pillowtop innerspring like the simmons beautyrest recharge? I know it's about personal preference, but in terms of lifespan. Not sure if at this price point it's more of "it doesn't matter" or more definitive like "$500 worth of foam mattress will easily outlast your innerspring options by a good couple of years generally". Thanks.

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2 sided diy mattress, is it feasible? 14 Feb 2014 14:15 #5

Hi brass,

When it comes to pillowtop innersprings especially I keep reading that they're prone to soften because of low quality foam cushioning that wears out coupled with the no-flip design.


Yes ... this is very common with the major brands and is the reason it's so important to make sure that any mattress (pilowtop or otherwise) uses high quality more durable materials in the upper layers of the mattress.

Trying to sort through user reviews for tons of brands available on walmart, overstock, amazon I'm seeing a lot of generally good reviews initially.


You can read my thoughts about mattress reviews and why I believe they are can be very misleading and not an effective or useful way to research or choose a mattress in post #13 here .

Hopefully you've read the tutorial post which has all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choices, learn how to avoid the worst ones, and avoid most if not all of the issues you've mentioned and answers most of the questions in your post.

In your experiences, is it worth venturing into mf or latex hybrid given my budget of around $500, maybe $600 tops? Or is this likely to end up right in the same boat, sagging/wearing heavily within just a couple years same as a pillowtop innerspring like the simmons beautyrest recharge?


The quality of the materials in the top 3" - 6" or so of a mattress will have the biggest effect on durability but durability will also depend on your weight and the other factors involved in the relative durability and useful life of a mattress (see post #4 here and the posts it links to). Latex is generally the most durable of all the foam types although it is also a more costly material and depending on the size you are looking at and whether you are adding a foundation to your mattress it may be difficult to find in your budget range in a mattress that is also suitable for you in terms of PPP.

The choice between materials is a personal preference but there are higher quality and more durable and lower quality less durable versions of all materials so the "trick" is to make sure that you know the specifics of all the layers in any mattress you purchase so you can identify any weak links in the mattress and make sure that it uses the highest quality materials that are available in your budget range. The information you would need to identify any weak links and make meaningful comparisons between mattresses in terms of durability is in post #4 here .

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

2 sided diy mattress, is it feasible? 14 Feb 2014 15:03 #6

Phoenix,

I couldn't agree more on reviews. I take them with a huge grain of salt and only browse through them to see what's being said. Seeing 90/100 people gave this item '5 stars' doesn't mean much. It's funny to see people leave bad reviews with general non information like 'don't buy this item, it's crap'. Nothing further, no explanation why. Or to see a good 'star rating' just to read the review and see that it didn't work for them, was uncomfortable etc. wondering why then they rated it so well. The huge grain of salt again is that people fail to mention if they used an adequate foundation etc. Knowing full well these are mostly 'blind consumers' with no real knowledge.

My line of know-how relates to cars. I know what you mean, I see people comparing cars all the time using things like what stereo does it have, or buying one over the other because it has 'perks and features' knowing that particular model has specific issues that should be avoided. Not saying creature comforts aren't important, but it's kinda like choosing a bed for the design on the cover over what's inside and it makes you just cringe. When it comes to beds, I fall into the 'unknowing consumer' category so it's important to have resources like this forum to rely on when we're out of our realm.

That's what I enjoy about this forum, you and others have different perspectives and have more knowledge on things. And all things are considered and evaluated about as fairly as possible. Not skewed because you're selling anything, pushing a brand or defining a 'camp' like latex is perfection and all else is horrible. I'm glad you haven't let it become simply a review site, it adds nice balance.

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2 sided diy mattress, is it feasible? 14 Feb 2014 15:31 #7

Hi brass,

I'm glad you haven't let it become simply a review site, it adds nice balance.


Thanks ... I think there are more than enough review sites already (some more legitimate than others) and this was never intended to be just "one more" of them :).

I think that there are many products that are less "subjective" in nature, easier to define "quality" or performance without "pulling teeth" to get specifications, or perform more or less in the same way for different people where a large group of people's thoughts and feedback can be much more helpful. Unfortunately mattresses aren't one of them because the "best" mattress can vary so widely between different people and what works well even for a large group of people (or for the short term) may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on.

Phoenix
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2 sided diy mattress, is it feasible? 17 Feb 2014 21:43 #8

I have a few DIY latex and foam mattress builds in my house. Speaking specifically about the one I sleep on:

1) SleepMaster platform metal bed frame from Amazon
2) base foam is 6" of Lux foam from thefoamfactory.com
3) 2 - 3" Dunlop latex toppers made by Latexco from mattresses.net (about 25ild)
3) between the two latex layers is 4" HD foam from thefoamfactory.com

My hubby and I have been sleeping on it for about 4 months. He is 6'1" about 205 and I'm 5'7" 260. I find that my hips probably sink in too much because my lower back bothers me unless I put a pillow between my legs. He says he likes it just fine. I chose the latex layers from mattresess.net based on the price and the fact that they were supposedly roughly a 25ild softness. I did not want layers that were too soft, these seemed to fit the bill. As a side note, I have 5 different samples of both dunlop and talalay latex from Sleepez and I am confident that the 3" latex layers that I received feel the same as the soft dunlop or medium talalay samples.

The Lux foam from foamfactory is very very firm and i initially tried to just use the 6" of that followed by the 4" HD foam and then one layer of 3" latex topper. It was too firm to sleep on and we were going for a firm bed. I like the HD foam much better as far as a base foam. My 3 1/2 year old has a full size regular boxspring with 6" HD foam and one 3" latex topper (the same one) and her bed feels wonderful. I've taken a nap on it and I don't have back soreness. I've concluded that by having a 2 sided mattress I would benefit more from removing the second latex layer and maybe adding a medium firm layer instead perhaps.

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Last edit: by Phoenix. Reason: rotated image

2 sided diy mattress, is it feasible? 17 Feb 2014 22:08 #9

Hi DCaffrey,

Welcome back and thanks for letting us know the results of your DIY design :)

I appreciate your comments and insights ... and the picture as well.

Phoenix

PS: I flipped the image so it was the other way around.
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