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Advice: constructing a latex/foam hybrid mattress 03 Apr 2014 08:41 #1

I have run in to an issue in my mattress search that seems to be a common occurrence for many members of this forum - I am not comfortable with the lack of product knowledge coming from many of the people I have dealt with at the majority of retailers I have contacted or visited. I have a fairly high comfort level in the overall quality of the products that I am considering purchasing, but I am not confident in the advice coming from the sales associates about which is best for me. This "problem" seems to have been exasperated even further while exploring the option of designing a mattress to my specs or building one from a variety of components.

I have found a foam wholesaler and mattress manufacturer within a reasonable driving distance from my home that is able to build me a custom mattress from a wide range of components at a very reasonable cost. I am looking for some advice as to whether or not anything about the layering/construction of the configuration below that stands out as something that could be problematic for two people, both under 200 lbs, who are primarily side sleepers and prefer a medium-soft support factor:

3" 100% dunlop natural latex, ILD 24
2" of 2 lb HD foam, 26 ILD
4" of 2 lb HD foam, 32 ILD
And 3" border of 2lb HD foam, 38 ILD for added edge support

The 32 ILD bottom layer is available in 38 ILD if that makes more sense in the 'progressive' approach to building a mattress. The thickness of the foam layers can also also be adjusted to be 3" each. For example, I am sure there is some validity to consider 3" of 26 ILD and 3" of 38 ILD.... I just don't know what configuration makes the most sense for us, and neither does the manufacturer.
**for reference: I tried 2" of this latex on top of 5" of the 26 ILD foam (with another identical 2" latex layer on the bottom; flippable model) and found it to be slightly too firm**

Lastly, any opinions on the firm border? In theory it seems like it makes sense, but I don't know if there's validity to this or if it's merely a gimmick. Elimination the option would reduce the cost. Please advise if you feel there's value to addressing this last question as a new topic/thread altogether.

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Last edit: by Matt ress.

Advice: constructing a latex/foam hybrid mattress 03 Apr 2014 09:19 #2

Matt ress wrote: **for reference: I tried 2" of this latex on top of 5" of the 26 ILD foam (with another identical 2" latex layer on the bottom; flippable model) and found it to be slightly too firm**


Your discomfort on this arrangement makes sense to me as you are a side sleeper and need more depth in your natural latex to sink in to. 3" would be a better topper height and give you more space to let the deeper pressure points of a side sleeper sink in.

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Advice: constructing a latex/foam hybrid mattress 03 Apr 2014 09:27 #3

diynaturalbedding wrote:

Matt ress wrote: **for reference: I tried 2" of this latex on top of 5" of the 26 ILD foam (with another identical 2" latex layer on the bottom; flippable model) and found it to be slightly too firm**


Your discomfort on this arrangement makes sense to me as you are a side sleeper and need more depth in your natural latex to sink in to. 3" would be a better topper height and give you more space to let the deeper pressure points of a side sleeper sink in.


Thanks for responding. I have found the 3" layer seems to be the general consensus for side sleepers so I am set on that for my comfort layer. Would you be able to offer any insight as to the suitability of the base layers I outlined above in this construction?

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Last edit: by Matt ress.

Advice: constructing a latex/foam hybrid mattress 03 Apr 2014 14:51 #4

Hi Matt ress,

I have run in to an issue in my mattress search that seems to be a common occurrence for many members of this forum - I am not comfortable with the lack of product knowledge coming from many of the people I have dealt with at the majority of retailers I have contacted or visited. I have a fairly high comfort level in the overall quality of the products that I am considering purchasing, but I am not confident in the advice coming from the sales associates about which is best for me. This "problem" seems to have been exasperated even further while exploring the option of designing a mattress to my specs or building one from a variety of components.


Outside of the general lack of knowledge in the mainstream part of the industry, part of the problem is that only you can know for certain which mattress or design is best for you. Nobody else can feel what you feel on a mattress. Post #2 here has some links to some generic information on the site that may be helpful but this is only generic and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved to use a formula, specs (either of a person or a mattress) or "theory at a distance" to choose a design that will work best for a specific person with any certainty.

Like diynaturalbedding mentioned ... a 2" comfort layer would often be a little on the thin side for a side sleeper although this isn't a "rule" ... only based on averages.

Lastly, any opinions on the firm border? In theory it seems like it makes sense, but I don't know if there's validity to this or if it's merely a gimmick. Elimination the option would reduce the cost. Please advise if you feel there's value to addressing this last question as a new topic/thread altogether.


You can read a little more about edge support in a foam mattress in post #33 here . If the support core is firm enough it normally wouldn't be necessary but for those who tend to sleep with more concentrated weight on the very edge or their mattress or who prefer a firmer edge for sitting or who have a softer support layer or thicker/softer comfort layers then it can be a worthwhile option as long as your testing confirms that the edge support is "in balance" with the rest of the mattress and that it uses good quality and durable materials (especially if you use the edge of the mattress for sitting). 2 lb density polyfoam would be a good quality material for edge support and it's slightly firmer than the inside of the mattress so it would probably be "in balance" with the rest of the mattress but your own testing and knowledge of your own sleeping habits will be the best way to decide whether it's necessary.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Advice: constructing a latex/foam hybrid mattress 04 Apr 2014 06:08 #5

Phoenix wrote: Hi Matt ress,

Outside of the general lack of knowledge in the mainstream part of the industry, part of the problem is that only you can know for certain which mattress or design is best for you. Nobody else can feel what you feel on a mattress. Post #2 here has some links to some generic information on the site that may be helpful but this is only generic and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved to use a formula, specs (either of a person or a mattress) or "theory at a distance" to choose a design that will work best for a specific person with any certainty.


Maybe I am going about this the wrong way. I fully understand that only I am able to make a decision about what's right for me, and I do have a good idea of what that is. What I am trying to get a sense of is what NOT to do.

I think we can agree that there is a wrong way to build a mattress.
I also think that we can agree that there are ways to build a mattress, with certain components, that are better than others.
And I don't think anyone would argue that a mattress constructed in a way that could be prone to problems (ie: middle layer bottoming out against the support core because it's too thin) is not the best mattress choice for me or anyone else for that matter.

What I am seeking here is advice from the experts on whether or not any components in the mattress could be adjusted to better reflect an optimal design, not whether or not this mattress is best for me. By providing information about myself I hoped that it might be easier for you to make a recommendation based on some narrowed down info about who's sleeping on the mattress. Most of the people I've dealt with are sales people; not experts. People that can speak-to what they've been trained to say about "x" product, but look at me with a blank stare when I ask their about whether the 2nd layer of 2.0 lb 26 IFD HD foam should be 2" or 3" thick.

My biggest concerns are these:
Am I asking for trouble by choosing an 4" HD base at 32 IFD... Is this too "soft" to provide proper support in the base of my proposed design? Would increasing the density to 38 IFD create a propensity for the top layers to bottom at this point? Is there an argument to be made that there would be greater life expectancy, less tendency to bottom out, or any other positive attributes by designing it this way:
3" latex topper
3" 26 IFD HD foam
3" of 32 IFD or 38 IFD HD foam

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Advice: constructing a latex/foam hybrid mattress 04 Apr 2014 09:35 #6

Hi Matt ress,

Maybe I am going about this the wrong way. I fully understand that only I am able to make a decision about what's right for me, and I do have a good idea of what that is. What I am trying to get a sense of is what NOT to do.


This is a very open ended question that would really be impossible to answer. In very general terns though ... I wouldn't use low quality materials that are likely to soften and break down too quickly, I wouldn't choose a design that your testing and experience indicates isn't likely to be suitable for you, and I wouldn't use materials that your testing and experience indicates that you don't prefer over the other alternatives that are available.

I think we can agree that there is a wrong way to build a mattress.
I also think that we can agree that there are ways to build a mattress, with certain components, that are better than others.
And I don't think anyone would argue that a mattress constructed in a way that could be prone to problems (ie: middle layer bottoming out against the support core because it's too thin) is not the best mattress choice for me or anyone else for that matter.


If by "better" you mean more suitable for your specific needs and preferences in terms of PPP ... then the only way to know this would be based on your own personal experience. Everyone is different and what works well for one may not be suitable at all for another. If by better you mean more durable materials then you can use the guidelines here or post # here which talks about all the variables that are involved in durability and the useful life of a mattress relative to each person. The mattresses section ) of the site also talks about the different materials that are generally used in the comfort or support layers of a mattress and some of the generic concepts that are involved in mattress design and theory. Which material you choose is a preference issue not a "better/worse" issue.

What I am seeking here is advice from the experts on whether or not any components in the mattress could be adjusted to better reflect an optimal design, not whether or not this mattress is best for me. By providing information about myself I hoped that it might be easier for you to make a recommendation based on some narrowed down info about who's sleeping on the mattress


There is no such thing as an optimal design ... only a design that is the best "match" for a specific person based on their own personal experience and preferences. There is no formula or "theory at a distance" that can predict this on an individual level.

People that can speak-to what they've been trained to say about "x" product, but look at me with a blank stare when I ask their about whether the 2nd layer of 2.0 lb 26 IFD HD foam should be 2" or 3" thick.


This is a question that only you can answer based on your experience and the differences you notice when you compare both mattresses in side by side testing. If you lie on a mattress that has a 2nd layer that is 2" thick then someone that understands mattresses can tell you the theoretical effect of using a 3" layer of exactly the same material instead but you will still need to decide whether that effect is better or worse for you (or if you can even feel the difference) in terms of PPP.

Am I asking for trouble by choosing an 4" HD base at 32 IFD... Is this too "soft" to provide proper support in the base of my proposed design?


Again ... only you can know this. It's not inherently "too soft" but it may be too soft for you in combination with the other layers or components of your mattress. 32 ILD support layers are fairly "standard" but every layer of a mattress will affect the feel and performance of every other layer to some degree.

Would increasing the density to 38 IFD create a propensity for the top layers to bottom at this point?


IFD is a firmness measurement not a density measurement. Any density of polyfoam can be made in a wide range of firmness levels. Density is about quality/durability. IFD is one of several variables that affects firmness and softness.

The layers above a firmer support core won't bottom out (if the mattress as a whole is thick enough) ... they will just feel a little firmer although how much you would notice the additional firmness would depend on the other layers above the firmer support core. A firmer bottom layer will also result in the heavier parts of your body sinking down a little less so it can improve support and alignment if a softer support core doesn't keep you in good alignment in all your sleeping positions.

If you are intent on designing your own mattress then I would make sure you also read post #15 here so that you have realistic expectations about the process and what is and isn't possible for someone to know.

Many of the questions you are asking have answers that only you can tell someone else (whether they are an expert or not) rather than questions that someone else (expert or otherwise) can answer for you.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

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