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DIY Latex Mattress Stackup

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10 Aug 2017 22:29 - 11 Aug 2017 07:36 #1 by unclecrystal
After further research we've decided that we want to go for a latex mattress. After looking for affordable latex mattresses that look like they would be soft enough for us I've decided to go the DIY route for cost savings but I am struggling with the stack-up. I've read through some of the forums here and looked at the ILD configuration different companies sell and suggest. I currently have an excel spreadsheet with all the different configurations of Latex mattresses we've considered as well as all the individual topper layer thicknesses/ILDs/Materials/Prices/companies. At this point my husband thinks I've lost it and I'm starting to think he might be right. Any wisdom from Phoenix or anyone else who has tried this would be greatly appreciated.

We are side sleepers who hate firm feeling mattresses. Because of this I'd like to do an extra-soft 3'' Natural Talalay comfort layer on top it is 14-18 ILD. I would say we are probably more concerned with comfort than support, which is why I am worried. I still want it to be supportive enough for proper spinal alignment but I've seen such a bizarre variation in layer arrangements by company I don't know what to try. I'm 5'8 160 pounds and husband is 6'1 165 pounds, my husband is very lean but I have wide shoulders and hips. Since neither of us are super heavy I'm not sure how soft of a layer stackup I can get away with here.

I've considered doing 12'' of latex but i keep ending up around $1800-$1900 so I would like to stick to 9'' of latex if possible. The following is what I was thinking of doing if I had the budget. Phoenix or anyone here who has experience doing this- If you knew you wanted a super soft comfort layer but still wanted to maintain spinal alignment (considering our weight/height/preferences) which layer would you suggest removing? I'm open to all feedback here!

Stretch cotton cover $169.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
Layer 1- 3'' Natural Talalay 14-18 ILD $545.00 From Sleep Organic
Layer 2- 3'' Natural Dunlop 19 ILD $339.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
Layer 3- 3'' Natural Dunlop 28 ILD $379.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
Layer 4- 3'' Natural Dunlop 38 ILD $439.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
=$1,871.00


Thank you for your help!

Edit: I found a few other discussions regarding DIY stackup here and based off of this discussion I think that removing the 19 ILD may be the way to go.
So the stack would be:

Stretch cotton cover $169.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
Layer 1- 3'' Natural Talalay 14-18 ILD $545.00 From Sleep Organic
Layer 2- 3'' Natural Dunlop 28 ILD $379.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
Layer 3- 3'' Natural Dunlop 38 ILD $439.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
=$1,532.00
Does this sounds like a reasonable starting point? I have no idea what 14 ILD Talalay feels like but I am 99% sure we need the softest thing possible for our comfort layer (I don't want to feel any pressure points on my shoulder or hips) and I'm hoping a medium core and firm base will provide enough support for spinal alignment. I believe both of these companies allow you to return toppers within 30 days (you pay return shipping) so if one of these layers is way off I am hoping to pay return shipping and swap it out.

Now that I'm looking at it I am wondering if we just sink through the top layer and hit the medium will it create pressure points?
Last edit: 11 Aug 2017 07:36 by unclecrystal. Reason: Added info

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11 Aug 2017 12:12 - 08 Oct 2018 08:22 #2 by Phoenix
Replied by Phoenix on topic DIY Latex Mattress Stackup
Hi unclecrystal,

After further research we've decided that we want to go for a latex mattress. After looking for affordable latex mattresses that look like they would be soft enough for us I've decided to go the DIY route for cost savings but I am struggling with the stack-up


As you are attracted to the idea of designing and building your own DIY mattress out of separate components that are purchased from one or several different sources, then the first place I would start is by reading option 3 in post #15 here and the posts it links to (and option #1 and #2 as well) so that you have more realistic expectations and that you are comfortable with the learning curve, uncertainty, trial and error, or in some cases the higher costs that may be involved in the DIY process. While it can certainly be a rewarding project, the best approach to a DIY mattress is a "spirit of adventure" where what you learn and the satisfaction that comes from the process itself is more important than any cost savings you may realize (which may or may not happen).

I currently have an excel spreadsheet with all the different configurations of Latex mattresses we've considered as well as all the individual topper layer thicknesses/ILDs/Materials/Prices/companies. At this point my husband thinks I've lost it and I'm starting to think he might be right.


You may very well be well “down the rabbit hole” and overloading yourself into analysis paralysis, and unless you are extremely experienced with mattress componentry and design (which would be an incredible small number of people) or have a wide range of products that you’ve tested that you can use as a “baseline” of reference, then I would tend to either use the specs (if they are available) of a mattress that you have tested and confirmed is a good match for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP as a reference point or blueprint and try and "match" every layer and component in your reference mattress as closely as possible or alternatively use a "bottom up" approach (see post #2 here ).

In the end, the only way to know whether any specific mattress design or combination of layers and components is a good "match" for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) with any certainty will be based on your own careful testing and/or your own personal experience when you sleep on it.

I would say we are probably more concerned with comfort than support, which is why I am worried. I still want it to be supportive enough for proper spinal alignment but I've seen such a bizarre variation in layer arrangements by company I don't know what to try.


I would also be worried if you are putting comfort before support, as I would recommend beginning with support first and then surface comfort second in your priority. Just because a mattress has good support doesn’t mean that it will necessarily feel hard on top. There is more about primary or "deep" support and secondary or "surface" support and their relationship to firmness and pressure relief and the "roles" of different layers in a mattress in post #2 here and in post #4 here that may also be helpful in clarifying the difference between "support" and "pressure relief" and "feel" that may be useful as well.

There is also some great information in this PHD thesis by Vincent+Verhaer (who is one of a group of researchers that I greatly respect) about the importance of good spinal alignment that clearly indicates that for healthy individuals it has the single biggest effect on the depth and quality of sleep, versus surface plushness. Of course, the ideal is to have both comfort and alignment.

I've considered doing 12'' of latex but i keep ending up around $1800-$1900 so I would like to stick to 9'' of latex if possible. The following is what I was thinking of doing if I had the budget.


There’s certainly no reason that you couldn’t achieve good results with a 3x3” layering system of latex that you’re considering for your BMI and somatotypes.

Phoenix or anyone here who has experience doing this- If you knew you wanted a super soft comfort layer but still wanted to maintain spinal alignment (considering our weight/height/preferences) which layer would you suggest removing? I'm open to all feedback here!
Stretch cotton cover $169.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
Layer 1- 3'' Natural Talalay 14-18 ILD $545.00 From Sleep Organic
Layer 2- 3'' Natural Dunlop 19 ILD $339.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
Layer 3- 3'' Natural Dunlop 28 ILD $379.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
Layer 4- 3'' Natural Dunlop 38 ILD $439.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
=$1,871.00


Refer back to my link to the DIY post earlier in this thread for help in designing your own DIY mattress. It’s really not possible for someone here on the forum to predict what might work for you, or what you consider “super soft” yet would still maintain your overall alignment. As I mentioned earlier in this post, my first recommendation would be to mimic a configuration that is already in production from a manufacturer or one that you’ve been able to test in person, or being with a “bottom up” approach.

In the “progressive configuration” you’ve presented, you have a total of 6” of quite soft material, and then you transition to some much firmer material, so the initial concern I would have would be the overall amount of plushness. Again, I can’t say if this would or wouldn’t work for you, but over the years my experience has been that people tend to skew too far toward plushness in DIY projects. Only your personal testing would tell for sure.

I found a few other discussions regarding DIY stackup here and based off of this discussion I think that removing the 19 ILD may be the way to go.
So the stack would be:
Stretch cotton cover $169.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
Layer 1- 3'' Natural Talalay 14-18 ILD $545.00 From Sleep Organic
Layer 2- 3'' Natural Dunlop 28 ILD $379.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
Layer 3- 3'' Natural Dunlop 38 ILD $439.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
=$1,532.00


While reading through the site can be a useful tool, I would advise caution against using anyone else’s specific configuration as an accurate predictor of what may or may not work for you, as there are entirely too many personal variables involved to be able to do so.

I have no idea what 14 ILD Talalay feels like but I am 99% sure we need the softest thing possible for our comfort layer (I don't want to feel any pressure points on my shoulder or hips) and I'm hoping a medium core and firm base will provide enough support for spinal alignment… Now that I'm looking at it I am wondering if we just sink through the top layer and hit the medium will it create pressure points?


This is part of the discovery of creating your own DIY mattress without any testing, because as you mention you’re not aware what 14 ILD Talalay feels like. Additionally, all of the layers of a mattress work together, and while you are certainly using very plush materials in the uppermost layers, you may end of “feeling through” these layers (as is your concern) and then experiencing more of the firmer deeper layers (which at your BMIs should be adequate for appropriate alignment), so sometimes a mattress using very plush (14 ILD) upper layers can actually end up feeling “firmer” than a similar product using slightly firmer (for example 19 ILD) upper layers. I know, it can be counterintuitive, which is why your own personal testing will provide the most appropriate and accurate feedback. The good news is that everything you’re considering is using good quality and durable materials.

Phoenix

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Last edit: 08 Oct 2018 08:22 by Phoenix. Reason: Updating link to https: status

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19 Aug 2017 12:06 - 19 Aug 2017 12:07 #3 by unclecrystal
Phoenix,
Thanks for the reply, it took some time but we did find an all latex mattress company nearby and we were able to test out an 8'' all latex mattress that was a 38 ILD 6'' Dunlop core with a 2'' 14 ILD Talalay comfort layer. We both really liked the feel of the 14 ILD Talalay and did not feel like we were really hitting the 38 ILD below.

We finally decided on 3x3'' latex layers (purchased the Dunlop layers and 9'' cotton cover from Latex Matress Factory and the Talalay comfort layer from Sleep organic.)

3'' 14 ILD Talalay on top
3'' 28 ILD Dunlop Middle
3'' 38 ILD Dunlop Base

I called Latex Mattress Factory with some questions about the Dunlop support layers and doing 2x3'' layers vs 1x6'' core and during the conversation they told me that Talalay with a 14 ILD won't even last a year because it has such low density. In your experience how long would you anticipate this 3'' comfort layer last with two normal BMI sleepers on it?

I am now trying to find a cheap solution to properly supporting our new DIY latex mattress that should be arriving soon. I've looked through your post on best foundations for latex and foam mattresses and I'm considering the wooden box spring from mattresses.net (at this point it would probably be sitting on the floor for a while though.)

I have also run across this Zinus slatted bed on Amazon. I realize that this bed is not the same quality as the wooden box spring I am looking at but I am wondering if it would be sufficient as it has less than 3'' between slats. The bed has great reviews but I didn't see anyone using an all latex mattress on it. I was wondering what your thoughts are on using a latex mattress with it?
Last edit: 19 Aug 2017 12:07 by unclecrystal.

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19 Aug 2017 19:22 #4 by Phoenix
Replied by Phoenix on topic DIY Latex Mattress Stackup
Hi unclecrystal,

I’m glad you were able to find something locally to try out.

I called Latex Mattress Factory with some questions about the Dunlop support layers and doing 2x3'' layers vs 1x6'' core and during the conversation they told me that Talalay with a 14 ILD won't even last a year because it has such low density. In your experience how long would you anticipate this 3'' comfort layer last with two normal BMI sleepers on it?


There are some manufacturers that don't completely trust latex that soft (14 ILD) because it would be less durable or sometimes more "risky" (depending on the thickness of the layer) than firmer latex.

Determining the durability of a particular layer of foam depends upon many factors, discussed in more detail in post #2 here . A 19 ILD upper latex layer is a popular ultra-plush offering that some manufactures are more comfortable recommending. The good news is that in a component-style system, you do have the ability to change out layers in the future.

I don’t have any personal experience with this Zinus frame, but in the responses on amazon, it is listed as having a 500 pound capacity, excluding the mattress, which doesn’t quite make sense to me, as I’d think a heavier mattress would diminish the overall load capacity for the product. The 3” spacing would meet with most latex manufacturer’s recommendations for a latex mattress, but I can’t speak to the overall quality of the product.

Phoenix

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06 Oct 2017 10:09 #5 by unclecrystal
So it has been over a month since we started sleeping on our DIY latex mattress. Today I once again woke up in the middle of the night with severe back pain and went and slept on the couch. I desperately need troubleshooting suggestions at this point and do not know where to start.

I purchased the Zinus platform bed in the link above. The slats themselves are almost 3'' in width with about 2.5'' in between each slat. I am not sure if it is possible that the platform bed could be part of the problem at this point. The slats are not super sturdy, there is a very slight bow across the slats when the mattress +people are on it, are platform bed slats supposed to be very rigid?

The configuration we slept on until last week was as follows:
Stretch cotton cover $169.00 From Latex Mattress Factory
Layer 1- 3'' Natural Talalay 14-19 ILD From Sleep Organic
Layer 2- 3'' Natural Dunlop 28 ILD From Latex Mattress Factory
Layer 3- 3'' Natural Dunlop 38 ILD From Latex Mattress Factory

During this time the mattress "felt" a little to firm to me, the first few nights I had shoulder/upper back pain and then it became severe lower back pain as well. I started waking up every morning feeling like I had been hit by a train. On our spring mattress when my husband started complaining about back pain, I never had any. I simply started having restless sleep and couldn't get comfortable. I have never had back pain in my life until now. My husband said he had some back pain with this configuration, but he actually saying this is an improvement for him over the old mattress.

We convinced ourselves that the mattress just might not be supportive/firm enough so we swapped the middle and top layers for a week.
Layer 1- 3'' Natural Dunlop 28 ILD From Latex Mattress Factory
Layer 2- 3'' Natural Talalay 14-19 ILD From Sleep Organic
Layer 3- 3'' Natural Dunlop 38 ILD From Latex Mattress Factory

This was much worse than before and we both wake up with severe back pain, my husband told me his body has been going numb with this configuration. I thought that I had the patience to troubleshoot a DIY latex mattress and that with all the different layers and options out there one of them would be right for us but I called off from my job this morning because I am sleep deprived and in pain all over. I'm not sure how much troubleshooting my body can endure before I throw in the towel on this.

I know that the issue cannot be identified just based off of what I am describing. However, since there is a lot of experience on this forum I would appreciate anyone's best guess as to the root cause of the issue as well as any logical first troubleshooting steps to getting this resolved.

Right now I am considering moving the mattress on to the floor in the first configuration soft-medium-firm. And just ruling out the bed not being supportive enough as the issue. I've also thought about adding another firm layer to the bottom for a more supportive core. At this point I have no confidence in my mattress building or troubleshooting abilities and any advice is greatly appreciated.

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06 Oct 2017 12:45 #6 by Phoenix
Replied by Phoenix on topic DIY Latex Mattress Stackup
Hi unclecrystal,

You’re correct that it’s not possible for me to diagnose your issues online, but there is some information about the many different symptoms that people may experience on a mattress and some of the most common causes behind them in post #2 here that may be helpful to you.

You stated before you’re more concerned with comfort than support, and if you slept worse with a firmer layer of latex on top and slept better on a couch (which usually allows you to sinking more deeply), then it may be an issue that you desire a deeper “comfort cradle” and perhaps a slightly softer “transition layer” or a bit more plush material added on top could make a difference.

It’s usually the case when someone complains of low back issues that there is a lack of “deep support”, but this may not be your case.

You certainly can place your mattress directly upon the floor to see if that makes any difference for you. Most latex manufacturers will recommend a flat and firm slat surface that doesn’t bow.

Also, be sure that you’ve reevaluated your pillow thickness with your new mattress, as this can often be the cause of lower cervical/upper thoracic pains.

Phoenix

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