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Latex is a PAIN! Need Advice, Please 27 Feb 2014 08:57 #1

Hi. I posted on this site when we were first shopping for a latex bed. The information was extremely helpful and kindly appreciated.

Not wanting to make a purchase of this magnitude sight unseen, we decided to go with a local mattress store. We spent 2 hours swapping out layers of latex with a patient and informative store owner. We took turns standing behind each other, checking for neck and lumbar alignment. What we bought is the following, all talalay, Latex International:

Me: 5'4", 120 lbs
36-28-28

Him: 5'11", 180 lbs
36-36-28

The demo mattress had a Tencil case and we upgraded to an organic cotton/wool.

The first night we thought the bed firm, and in the morning had aches :blink:. We know to give our bodies time to adjust, so we waited 2 weeks. No better. We both have spine issues and we're both side sleepers. The store has a 60 day swap-out comfort guarantee, but we were wary of going with a lower ILD for 2 reasons: 1.) we didn't want to compromise spinal alignment, and 2.) we read that lower ILD's can form depressions sooner.

We decided a topper was the way to go and purchased an 3" all-wool topper in cotton casing. It felt GREAT for about 3 months, until it packed down. Now we've got neck/back pain from sleeping in a well :pinch:. In the meantime, our exchange period has expired. Enter the idea for a latex topper!

Ok, so we know we prefer talalay, and we've read a cotton/wool case can firm up a mattress, so the only question left is What ILD?

The store owner told us anything less than 24 would be prone to forming depressions and we'd probably sink right through it. Assuming we opt for a more flexible cover, will a 24 feel much differently than a 28? Is it enough of a difference to justify $400 on top of the $2300 we've already spent? "Difference", I know, is subjective: so, would "most" people be able to tell a 24 from a 28?

I've found a 22-24, and a 19-22. Both are reasonable priced and neither is returnable. Any advice? Anyone??

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Latex is a PAIN! Need Advice, Please 27 Feb 2014 09:43 #2

Hi madinsomniaz,

The first night we thought the bed firm, and in the morning had aches :blink:. We know to give our bodies time to adjust, so we waited 2 weeks. No better. We both have spine issues and we're both side sleepers. The store has a 60 day swap-out comfort guarantee, but we were wary of going with a lower ILD for 2 reasons: 1.) we didn't want to compromise spinal alignment, and 2.) we read that lower ILD's can form depressions sooner.


Using thicker/softer comfort layers can actually help alignment and improve support for side sleeping especially (it can fill in the gaps in the sleeping profile). Firmer certainly isn't always better (and it also depends to some degree on the layers involved because the upper layers are "comfort" layers and the deeper layers are "support" layers).

While it's true that softer ILD's are less durable than firmer ILD's if the material you are comparing it to is exactly the same ... latex is more durable in any ILD than it's equivalent in other types of foam (such as polyfoam) so durability is always relative to what you are comparing it to. There is little "value" in having a mattress that would last you 20 years but is too firm to sleep on.

We decided a topper was the way to go and purchased an 3" all-wool topper in cotton casing. It felt GREAT for about 3 months, until it packed down. Now we've got neck/back pain from sleeping in a well :pinch:. In the meantime, our exchange period has expired. Enter the idea for a latex topper!


You can "fluff up" a wool topper to some degree by shaking it out or airing it out in the sun but wool does get firmer when it packs down. Neck pain (and possibly even upper back pain) can be a pillow issue as much as a mattress issue and it may be worth experimenting with this to see if it helps.

Ok, so we know we prefer talalay, and we've read a cotton/wool case can firm up a mattress, so the only question left is What ILD?


There are many variables involved in choosing the type, thickness, and ILD (where applicable) of a topper and it depends on the body type of the person along with their sleeping positions, their preferences, and the specifics of the mattress or sleeping system it's being used on (the same topper will feel and perform differently for the same person on different mattresses). Choosing a topper can involve some trial and error but the topper guidelines in post #2 here and the posts it links to are based on your assessment of the mattress (or sleeping system) that the topper will be added to and your "best assessment" of how much more pressure relief you believe you need and may be helpful as a starting point (and hopefully an ending point :))

would "most" people be able to tell a 24 from a 28?


It would depend on the specifics of what else was in the mattress, the thickness of the topper, and on the sensitivity of the person but I think that "most" people would be able to tell the difference in most cases yes. You aren't in a weight range that I would be concerned with going a little bit lower than 24 ILD and once again ... no matter what you choose if it's too firm for you then it would have little value to you no matter how long it lasted.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Latex is a PAIN! Need Advice, Please 28 Feb 2014 11:36 #3

all-wool topper in cotton casing. It felt GREAT for about 3 months, until it packed down. Now we've got neck/back pain from sleeping in a well


Your wool topper is not done for. Besides shaking it out as Phoenix said or sending it back to the Mill to be relofted, it simply needs to be evenly compressed. I'm copying in the sheet we send out with our wool toppers to give an idea of how to do so.

"To keep your topper from becoming mountains with a valley, you need to sleep on it in different spots. Sleep toward one side for a week and then the other side for a while. Flip it over the next week and sleep sideways on it, one side and then the other. Rotate the topper, again sleeping on it sideways. Your body weight is your tool here. Even try climbing into bed from different sides of the topper or if you are in the habit of sitting on your bed, sit in different spots.

If you have taken care to use your body to apply pressure all over, the topper will compress all over. You will find that after about 2-4 months of care, your topper will retain its comfort, but will have lost some of its loft."

A wool topper is certainly not a pillowtop, though it is a favorite of some sleepers.

Good luck figuring out what to do with it,
Deborah

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Last edit: by diynaturalbedding. Reason: typo

Latex is a PAIN! Need Advice, Please 19 Jun 2014 13:26 #4

Hi All,

This is an update from (I can't believe it's been 4 months already-where is the time going?!) February. We still haven't purchased a topper. It's hard to shell out more money when we're still paying off the bed :S .

We're still shopping online and in the meantime, layered 2 standard foam eggcrates to make a comfort layer. Just the cheap lightweight yellow foam ones you find in one of the Marts. It was GREAT, I mean super-comfy, for about 6 wks when our hips had made permanent depressions in the foam. Then began the lower back aches in the mornings. Ah well.... didn't expect much from them in the first place.

So here's my question: does anyone have an idea what talalay ILD would be comparable to two eggcrates? I've found an affordable 19, and also a 22-24. The 22-24 seller terms this her "soft" topper while it seems most other sellers would classify this ILD as a soft-medium.

Going back to what we have on the bed, the top layer of 28 is too firm for me (I'm the smaller sleeper :) ). The second question is this: Since spinal alignment is very important to us, and as I want a softer top layer, would I be better off with 2" or 3" for the topper? I want more cushioning than the 28, but I don't want to sink right through OR compromise alignment.

Picky, picky, picky. And sore, sore, sore. SO ready to order, as soon as I can figure out what it is I'm after! :silly:

Help? please?

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Latex is a PAIN! Need Advice, Please 19 Jun 2014 13:50 #5

Hi madinsomniax,

Unfortunately there really isn't any way to compare your convoluted toppers to something else (especially if it's a different material completely) outside of side by side testing on the same mattress because I don't have any information about it.

Typically though ... it would be in a "soft" range although softness is very subjective and one person's (or manufacturer's) definition of soft can be very different from another.

In terms of Talalay latex ... 24 ILD is generally considered to be soft (you can see Latex International's "word ratings" for different ILD's here ) although once again this will vary between different manufacturers. ILD is also only one of several factors that affects how soft or firm a material feels and by itself can be somewhat misleading (see post #6 here ).

Going back to what we have on the bed, the top layer of 28 is too firm for me (I'm the smaller sleeper :) ). The second question is this: Since spinal alignment is very important to us, and as I want a softer top layer, would I be better off with 2" or 3" for the topper? I want more cushioning than the 28, but I don't want to sink right through OR compromise alignment.


While there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved between different people to use a formula or specs (either yours or for a mattress or topper) or "theory at a distance" to choose a topper that can be particularly effective ... post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to may be helpful and will give you a way to use your actual sleeping experience as a guideline to help you choose the thickness and softness of a topper that may work best for you on your mattress.

Phoenix
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Latex is a PAIN! Need Advice, Please 19 Jun 2014 18:47 #6

I just spent 20 months on a $2,300 king size latex mattress that was medium-firm. Do not let the chit-chat fool you...they are NOT similar to a good memory foam mattress as far as supporting the spine goes. Latex is a different animal completely. Yes they sleep cooler, offer some pressure relief, and are anti-mite/bacterial/etc. but when it comes down to it, if you have back/neck issues, your best option is a high quality memory foam mattress. You don't have to spend $4k on a Tempurpedic...you can get a really nice one for half that.

I just made the switch, and mine will be here in a couple of weeks (made to order).

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Latex is a PAIN! Need Advice, Please 19 Jun 2014 19:09 #7

Hi CDFinch,

I just spent 20 months on a $2,300 king size latex mattress that was medium-firm. Do not let the chit-chat fool you...they are NOT similar to a good memory foam mattress as far as supporting the spine goes. Latex is a different animal completely.


You're certainly correct about latex and memory foam being completely different animals ... they are about as different as two foam materials can be (see post #2 here ).

Yes they sleep cooler, offer some pressure relief, and are anti-mite/bacterial/etc. but when it comes down to it, if you have back/neck issues, your best option is a high quality memory foam mattress. You don't have to spend $4k on a Tempurpedic...you can get a really nice one for half that.


There are many people who prefer memory foam vs latex or vice versa but it certainly isn't accurate to call one more "supportive" than the other or a "better" option than the other since this would depend entirely on the person, the specific design of the mattress (one mattress doesn't represent an entire category of mattresses) and on each person's individual needs and preferences. A mattress that keeps one person in perfect alignment (which is what support really means) may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on regardless of which type of material is in the mattress.

In technical terms latex has a higher support factor than memory foam (also called compression modulus) so if anything latex would be a more "supportive" material and it's the only one of the two materials that is suitable for use in support layers (memory foam is too soft to be used in the support layers of a mattress which is why all memory foam mattresses use a more supportive material or component underneath the memory foam layers) but in practical terms either one can work well as a comfort or transition layer and in the right design and combination of materials for a specific person can result in a mattress that works well in terms of PPP.

I think what you have discovered is that you prefer the memory foam mattress you purchased to the latex mattress it replaced and that for you it may be a better "match" in terms of PPP .... but of course what works well for you (or any other person) has little to do with what will work well for the next.

Most of all though ... congratulations on your new mattress. It's good to see that you are happy with your choice :).

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Latex is a PAIN! Need Advice, Please 24 Jun 2014 12:21 #8

Thanks for the responses, everyone. Phoenix, thanks for the quick links to related posts. The ILD terms are now in my files: very helpful. Post #6 was like trying to digest college biochemistry for me: aka, had to read it several times over, but now I think I've got the gist :P

CDFinch, so sorry to hear your latex adventure was an expensive bust. We prefer latex to memory foam for a number of reasons, but we have friends who swear by their memfoam beds. If we weren't such warm sleepers, I'd be all in for trying a topper. Good luck with your new bed: I sincerely hope you get the best sleep of your life :) .

Has anyone here used Brooklyn Bedding? I like that they offer a comfort exchange policy for toppers. I've spoken with both of the reps there, Mario and Jacob. The customer service pre-sale seems exceptional: anyone have experience with returns or post-sale support?

Our budget for the topper is $450 max. These are the options I've narrowed it down to:

www.brooklynbedding.com/latex-mattress-toppers/3-inch-talalay-latex-topper (cover incl. but is sewn on; no zipper.
Exchange policy)

www.mattresses.net/rejuvenite-king-latex-mattress-topper.html (Cotton/bamboo cover addt'l $69. no returns)

www.mattresses.net/rejuvenite-king-latex-mattress-topper.html (bamboo cover addt'l $100. Return/refund allowed)

www.ebay.com/itm/Latex-Mattress-Topper-EAST-KING-3-Inch-Talalay-SOFT-22-24-ILD-Stretch-Cover-/281200255607?pt=US_Mattress_Pads_and_Feather_Beds&hash=item4178d76277 (Sewn-on cotton/spandex cover. Return policy)

If anyone's had any experience with any of these sellers, I'd love to hear about it. I know Ariz. Mattress is a good seller but there are no returns and they're the priciest option. Brooklyn Bedding initially told me there's no such thing as density/lb. regarding latex, but then called Latex International and did get the numbers for me. SleepOnLatex says his latex is made in America, but his density numbers don't match Latex International's. LI says they're the only latex made in America, so now I'm wondering about SleepOnLatex. As to the ebay seller, she's been very good about providing info on her product and her ratings are 100%. The worry there is that the cover is sewn on. BB's is sewn on as well, come to think of it. I read several Amazon reviews where people opened the cover seam and the latex didn't look to be what it was advertised as. BB says a sewn-on cover is cheaper to make, so the savings are passed on to the customer. I've also read that ebay and Amazon toppers are usually used/returned toppers.

It's all very confusing and this is a large purchase for us. Really.... if anyone here has any info to offer, it'd be very helpful. Trying to figure this out is making me a little crazy :unsure: !!

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Latex is a PAIN! Need Advice, Please 24 Jun 2014 12:57 #9

Hi madinsomniax,

Has anyone here used Brooklyn Bedding? I like that they offer a comfort exchange policy for toppers. I've spoken with both of the reps there, Mario and Jacob. The customer service pre-sale seems exceptional: anyone have experience with returns or post-sale support?


There are probably dozens if not hundreds of members here who have purchased from Brooklyn Bedding and exchanged either a layer or their mattress or a topper and had a very good experience so hopefully some of them will see you post and share their experience.

Arizona Premium also carries other Talalay latex toppers that are in a lower price range than the Rejuvenite toppers that you linked. The Rejuvenite toppers come with a cover included in the price. With their bare latex toppers the cover is extra. Neither one or the toppers you linked allows returns.

Brooklyn Bedding initially told me there's no such thing as density/lb. regarding latex, but then called Latex International and did get the numbers for me.


Knowing the density of Talalay latex is really not important and doesn't provide any additional information that would be meaningful or useful that could be used to compare toppers (although all foam materials have a density which is their weight divided by the volume of the layer). With Talalay latex the ILD is the best indicator of firmness not the density.

I read several Amazon reviews where people opened the cover seam and the latex didn't look to be what it was advertised as. BB says a sewn-on cover is cheaper to make, so the savings are passed on to the customer. I've also read that ebay and Amazon toppers are usually used/returned toppers.


I would be very cautious about trusting some of the Amazon reviews I've read ... some of which are so obviously wrong that the only explanation I would have for them is that they are written by a competitor or perhaps by people who know little to nothing about latex. Brooklyn Bedding is one of the members here and they are reliable and trustworthy suppliers.

SleepOnLatex says his latex is made in America, but his density numbers don't match Latex International's.


SleepOnLatex will also provide you with accurate information about their products. There are three latex manufacturers that make latex cores or toppers in America. These are Latex International (Talalay latex), Mountain Top Foam (which makes continuous pour Dunlop latex in a range of different blends), and Latexco (which makes continuous pour blended Dunlop latex). Density comparisons are only relevant if you are comparing the firmness of the same type and blend of Dunlop latex.

Phoenix
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Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Latex is a PAIN! Need Advice, Please 24 Jun 2014 13:44 #10

madinsomniax,

Personally, I would go with a 14 ILD topper if you're looking for something anywhere near the softness of the convoluted/egg crate PU foam and I definitely wouldn't go with anything higher than 19 ILD. For reference, most of the soft PU foam that you'll find in the top couple of inches of most traditional innerspring mattress are slightly softer feeling than 14 ILD latex (and certainly no firmer). ~19 ILD is the firmest I would ever want to sleep directly on top of myself.

3" of 24 ILD is pretty firm for a topper at your weight and would be too firm for my taste at 155 lbs (side sleeper). Also note that 3" of a certain ILD is definitely firmer and more "solid" feeling than a 2" layer of that same ILD. Some comments you'll read here will say that thicker = softer, but that's not entirely true (it is and it isn't). In an apples to apples comparison, thicker layers feel firmer than thinner layers - no question. BUT...thicker layers also provide more "cushion" when they're on top of a firmer bed, keeping you further away from the firmness. This is why it is sometimes said that thicker layers feel softer when in fact they're firmer overall than thinner layers (all else being equal).

I currently use 3" of 19 ILD as my comfort layer, on top of a 3" 22-24 ILD transition layer, on top of a 6" 32 ILD base, on top of a 3" 19 ILD layer (this soft layer at the bottom completely alters the feel of the bed in a good way) and I think I've finally got my mattress "right" after several months of DIY configuration (and a LOT of latex purchases). I'll be posting full details of my set up and all of the things I've learned and mistakes I've made along the way in the coming days/weeks once I am 100% certain that I'm done making changes to the bed. I need to give my current configuration another week or two before I can say that I'm finally "done" with this mattress project though! Then I'll need to get a new hobby! :P

That said, all of my latex (with the exception of the 3" 19 ILD topper at the bottom of the bed which rests on my foundation) is inside a 12" zippered 4-way stretch cotton cover (no wool/quilting). Placing your topper on top of the mattress (outside of your encasement) will make it feel softer than if it were inside the mattress encasement (which could be a good thing or a bad thing).

Of the vendors you mentioned, I think BB is a smart choice since they allow exchanges if you don't get it right the first time.

Hope this helps a little!

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Last edit: by jkozlow3.
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