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Constructing Our Own Mattress - Advice on Layers? 31 Jan 2016 11:00 #1

OK, it's time for a new mattress. I've read many of the very helpful articles and FAQs here, and have also visited 5 different stores/local retailer-builders. Being in the Bay Area is useful in that respect. :D

Both my spouse and I have had spinal surgery, and I'm likely to need another within the next few years. But the hot spot/pressure points now for me makes it necessary to get a new mattress. We're interested in the "build your own" approach, since we may need to tweak it within the next 3-5 years. Luckily, a local shop will do exactly that. However, we need some advice.

The local shop is a recommended one here on TMU; they have foam, memory foam, and latex layers. While spending 90 minutes with them last week, one big appeal is that they will allow a "split queen" design, which helps enormously - I have broad hips, DH has broad shoulders, and we're both side sleepers. I take Phoenix's point of "I cannot recommend a specific mattress for you, as ultimately comfort is individual" very much to heart. Our problem is that we BOTH liked a mattress that is, as he says, less that transparent in their material specifications, and we'd like to suggest to the local manufacturer a sample build.

The mattress that we both LOVED is made by Aireloom - the Platinum Preferred Sequoia Firm Euro Top. Its construction is 8" of pocket oils for support, and then another 5-6" of various foams. The very top tufted layers are Tencel and wool and cotton. However, since Aireloom was bought out ~ 6 years ago, the reviews of the mattress' longevity, quality and long-term satisfaction are abysmal. We're hoping we can approximate the construction of it with good quality materials from the local guy, Select Sleep Mattress in Union City. But we need to know the terminology, I think.

The most detailed description we can find is this:

Features:
Ultra conforming Tencel Knit Top panel
Silk & Wool fibers
Convoluted Plush foam
Super Soft foam backed with 100 percent cotton True-Stretch Tricot
Plush AZS foam
Reflex foam
Lumbar support
Visco Elastic Memory foam
Heavy duty foam edge support
8 inch tempered Support-flex 13 3/4 gauge individually wrapped coil system
830 coils

The note on Lumbar Support makes us think that there is additional support zone across the bed to support the hips and lower back. We also liked the foam edge support quite a lot, since we both tend to scoot out to the edge of the bed while sleeping.

Can anyone offer more detail on exactly what (and how much?) is likely to exist in each of the foam layers? A basic definition of each, so we can talk to the local manufacturer? The salesperson was less than useful. :D

What is Convoluted Plush foam? How about Super Soft foam backed with 100 percent cotton True-Stretch Tricot OR Plush AZS foam OR Reflex foam OR Visco Elastic Memory foam? What would likely be on the bottom layer, and then what order is likely for the others? (I'm assuming memory foam as the top layer)... Is one of these AKA latex?

Any assistance you can provide would be great; thank you!

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Constructing Our Own Mattress - Advice on Layers? 31 Jan 2016 11:38 #2

Hi sandi_k,

Can anyone offer more detail on exactly what (and how much?) is likely to exist in each of the foam layers? A basic definition of each, so we can talk to the local manufacturer? The salesperson was less than useful. :D


I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but what you are trying to do would be much like trying to prepare a meal that is just like a meal you liked based on taste and texture alone without knowing the recipe or even the ingredients. The only reliable source of information about the specifics of the materials and components in a mattress would be the manufacturer of the mattress or a retailer that sells it (and this would come from the manufacturer as well) and if they are unable or unwilling to provide it to you then there is no other way to find out.

There is more information in post #9 here about the different ways that one mattress can "match" or "approximate" another one. Every layer and component in a mattress (including the cover and any quilting materials) will affect the feel and performance of every other layer and component and the mattress "as a whole" so unless you are able to find another mattress that uses exactly the same type of materials, components, cover, layer thicknesses, layer firmnesses, and overall design (which would be very unlikely) then there really isn't a way to match one mattress to another one in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP based on the specifications of the mattresses (even assuming that you can find out all the specifications you would need for both mattresses you are comparing).

Mattress manufacturers generally try to differentiate their mattress from the mattresses made by other manufacturers and don't normally try to "match" another mattress that is made by a different manufacturer so unless a manufacturer specifically says in their description of a mattress that one of their mattresses in the same general category is specifically designed to "match" or "approximate" another one in terms of firmness or "feel" and PPP and/or they are very familiar with both mattresses and can provide reliable guidance about how they compare based on the "averages" of a larger group of people that have compared them (different people may have very different opinions about how two mattresses compare) ... the only reliable way to know for certain how two mattresses would compare for you in terms of how they "feel" or in terms of firmness or PPP would be based on your own careful testing or actual sleeping experience on both of them.

The note on Lumbar Support makes us think that there is additional support zone across the bed to support the hips and lower back. We also liked the foam edge support quite a lot, since we both tend to scoot out to the edge of the bed while sleeping.


This would certainly make sense but there are no specifics about the type of zoning. It could be a belly band or zoning in specific layers and components or a combination of both.

What is Convoluted Plush foam?


You can read more about convoluted foam in post #2 here but they don't provide any information about the specifics of the convoluted foam they are using although it would most likely be some type of polyfoam.

Super Soft foam backed with 100 percent cotton True-Stretch Tricot


This would also be some type of polyfoam but again they don't provide any specifics. The backing would probably be the fabric that is on the inner part of the eurotop compartment.

Plush AZS foam


AZS is their acronym for "Advanced Zone Support". It means that the polyfoam layer would be zoned but again they don't provide any specific details.

Reflex foam


This is just polyfoam but again they don't provide any specifics.

Visco Elastic Memory foam?


Viscoelastic foam is just another name for memory foam (all memory foam is viscoelastic) but again they don't provide any specifics.

What would likely be on the bottom layer, and then what order is likely for the others? (I'm assuming memory foam as the top layer)


It looks like the order of the layers is the way you listed them (from top to bottom) but the only reliable way to confirm this would be by asking the retailer or manufacturer.

... Is one of these AKA latex?


No.

The "bottom line" is that you really don't have enough information about the mattress to use it as a blueprint for building a custom mattress that would be similar.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Administrator TMU. Reason: Updating link to https: status

Constructing Our Own Mattress - Advice on Layers? 31 Jan 2016 12:49 #3

Thanks, Phoenix, that's what we figured. I find it ironic that you can educate yourself, even get specs on layers and density and material, and you STILL cannot have any assurance that the "feel" will be the same between two similarly-constructed mattresses.

Gah!

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Last edit: by sandi_k.

Constructing Our Own Mattress - Advice on Layers? 31 Jan 2016 13:21 #4

Hi sandi_k,

I find it ironic that you can educate yourself, even get specs on layers and density and material, and you STILL cannot have any assurance that the "feel" will be the same between two similarly-constructed mattresses.


You're certainly right about that. Unless you have a great deal of knowledge and experience with different types of mattress materials and specs and different layering combinations and how they combine together and can translate them into your own "real life" experience that can be unique to you (which would only be a very small percentage of people) ... using individual "comfort specs" such as layer thicknesses or ILD numbers or compression modulus or other complex combinations of information or specifications to try and predict how a mattress will feel or perform for you or how it will compare to another mattress will never be as accurate as your own actual testing and/or personal experience.

Every layer and component in a mattress (including the cover) will have an effect on the feel and performance of every other layer and component above and below it and specs such as ILD are only one of several variables or "specs" that will determine how soft or firm an individual layer or a mattress "as a whole" will feel to different people (see post #4 here ). In addition to this the ILD of different materials or different types and blends of latex also aren't always directly comparable to each other (see post #6 here ) so using the ILD or other specifications of a particular layer or combination of layers as a reliable indication of how any mattress will "feel" or how firm it will feel to you compared to another mattress with a different combination of layers can be more misleading than helpful.

While knowing the specs that can affect the quality and durability of the layers and components in a mattress is always important ... when you try and choose specific layers or components based on complex combinations of "comfort" specs that you may not fully understand (or that may not be available in the first place) then the most common outcome can often be "information overload" and "paralysis by analysis". Even the best mattress designers in the industry are often surprised at what a mattress they design "should have felt like" when they design it and what it "actually feels like" when they test out their new design.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Administrator TMU. Reason: Updating link to https: status
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