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About to call in the order - now with review... 08 May 2012 18:36 #1

Have been researching mattresses for awhile now and stumbled upon this gem of a site which helped me get back on track. Wife and I finally went to a local store which had some latex mattresses, only two, but it did confirm that we liked it.

Just to give some background on us...

My stats: 6' 175-185 gym rat, back/side sleeper and like a plush feel with support
Her stats: 5'-7" 160-175 rollercoaster ride, side/back/stomach sleeper and tends to like a firmer mattress

What we tested...

Plush: 4" 24ILD topper (2 x 2) on top of 6" 36ILD core (all natural talalay)
Medium Firm: 2" 24ILD natural talalay topper on top of 6" 36ILD dunlop core.

The plush bed was freaking fantastic! Wasn't expecting a mattress to be that comfortable, it cradled me perfectly it seemed while lying on my back which resulted in 0 pressure points whats so ever. Laying on my side was also extremely nice. Conversely, my wife felt it was too soft which I expected.

So we tried the medium-firm bed which my wife liked better but was no where near the ecstasy of the plush version for myself. The bed wasn't bad at all and could be something I could easily sleep on but it would be like eating a hamburger vs a steak. I also had her try out another bed which was a soy foam and was rated "cushion-firm" and didn't have the plushness on top as the med-firm latex. She said she liked the firmer feel but may prefer the slightly more forgiving top layer of the latex.

Overall though we are pretty easy when it comes to sleeping on mattresses, so she would be fine with fairly anything that wasn't too soft. Since the store doesn't do custom layering we will be ordering from Greg at Mattresses.net. Just wanted to get a non-biased configuration opinion before doing so.

My side: 3" 19ILD topper over 5.5" 36ILD - all talalay blend
Her side 1: 3" 28ILD topper over 5.5" 42ILD - all talalay blend
Her side 2: 3" 25ILD dunlop topper over 5.5" 42ILD talalay blend
Her side 3: 3" 25ILD topper over 5.5" 36ILD - all natural dunlop

  1. Would "Her side 1" be closer to the medium-firm option we tested even though it's 3" of 28ILD?

  2. Would the dunlop topper be a safer bet than the talalay for more of a medium feel or soft-medium and should I just stick with a dunlop core if I go this route?

  3. I'm also guessing that the 42ILD talalay core would be close to firmness of the 36ILD dunlop core we tested.

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Last edit: by reverse.

Re: About to call in the order... 08 May 2012 20:20 #2

Hi reverse,

It's nice to see someone who has done their homework :)

In terms of her choices ...

Her side 1: 3" 28ILD topper over 5.5" 42ILD - all talalay blend


The latex here is slightly firmer than the 2" of 24 ILD you tested but the layer is also thicker which would act a little softer so the two competing influences would likely come close to balancing out in terms of pressure relief. This depends to some degree on body size and shape and how it interacts with the mattress and which part of the body influences each person's perception the most (some are more more sensitive to hip/pelvis feel, some to shoulder feel, some to support, and some to overall feel) but I think they would be roughly equivalent. There is a little more thickness for the generally heavier pelvis to "sink into" before being "stopped" by the firmer support layers but this would be partly offset by the fact that the foam is firmer.

Her side 2: 3" 25ILD dunlop topper over 5.5" 42ILD talalay blend


This would also be "roughly" equivalent but for different reasons. Dunlop as you probably know from your research tends to be a bit firmer than the same ILD in Talalay because the ILD is measured at 25 percent compression and Dunlop gets firmer faster than Talalay with deeper compression (which would definitely be the case with a comfort layer which is the layer that compresses the most). There would also be a difference in "feel" however because Dunlop is a more dense foam with a different cell structure and is not as lively or springy as talalay so this would also be something to take into account. It would "act" a little more like 2" of softer talalay over an inch of firmer talalay.

Her side 3: 3" 25ILD topper over 5.5" 36ILD - all natural dunlop


The comments about the comfort layer would apply here as well but this would also "feel" even more different because of the additional difference in feel between Dunlop and Talalay in the support core. While the support levels would be roughly equivalent (the Dunlop would start off a little softer than the 42 ILD talalay but would quickly "catch up" ... the different "feels" between Dunlop and Talalay would be even more apparent with an all Dunlop mattress with Dunlop not being as "lively" or "springy" feeling as the Talalay.

So there would really be two differences for her to consider with these options. One of these is the pressure relief equivalent (and they would all be in the "range" of medium firm with medium comfort layers and firm support layers) and the other would be a preference of feel between the two different types of latex. My personal tendency would be to stick with the layering that was closest to what you tested and liked (talalay) rather than being surprised by the difference in the feel of Dunlop (not because it's "worse" but because it's somewhat different). All of them would provide good support.

I hope this covers all the different "influences" between your choices but if I've missed anything that you need to make your "best" decision just let me know.

Phoenix
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Re: About to call in the order... 10 May 2012 10:24 #3

Thanks for the feedback Phoenix.

Talked with Greg and placed my order yesterday, apparently they have some inconsistencies between their two sites (mattresses.net and latexmattresscompany.com). They only carry 3 options for the blended talalay cores; 28-soft, 33-medium, and 36-firm. So it looks like the mattresses.net site is more up to date than the other where I was basing my choices originally.

With that in mind, I've ordered the following...

My side: 3" 19ILD on top of 6" 33ILD core - all talalay blend
Her side: 3" 28ILD on top of 6" 36ILD core - all talalay blend

We'll have to see if the 36 talalay will be firm enough for the wife, so we may need to swap it out for a 36 dunlop in case she feels it isn't firm enough in the talalay or just place the core on top and place the topper at the bottom to see if she likes that setup better.

Although I doubt it makes a difference, the actual invoice indicates her core will be 38ILD even though Greg indicated firm was 36ILD and that's what is listed on the site (may just be an error). The 38 would make more sense since it would be a greater difference from their 33-medium.

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Last edit: by reverse. Reason: :..: .::. .. :.:::.

Re: About to call in the order... 10 May 2012 15:46 #4

Hi reverse,

In my experience, their mattresses.net site is usually the most up to date although I noticed that the latexmattresscompany.com site is the one that has the information about the talalay GL product.

ILD is never exact and there are differences between the same manufacturer (ILD is an average of 9 measurements in the case of LI talalay) as well as between different manufacturers (Radium and LI) so "averages" rather than "exact" tends to prevent constant changes in description or having to go to the degree of specificity that really has no effect on the product. For example you could order a talalay layer that was "rated" at 36 ILD (which is one of the LI blended talalay "ratings" as you can see here ) and it could average out either a little higher or lower and the difference would not be noticeable.

The Dunlop though would definitely be firmer (if it was needed) in addition to the difference in feel between the two types of latex.

Congratulations on your new mattress ... and I'm looking forward to your feedback when you've had the chance to sleep on it :)

Phoenix
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Re: About to call in the order... 14 Jun 2012 05:08 #5

I'm having a bit of trouble reconciling the ILD ratings on Mattresses.net with the ILD options found on the Latex International Website here: www.latexfoam.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=71

LI - Natural Talalay Cores: 32/38 ILD
LI - Blended Talalay Cores: 36/40/44 ILD
LI - Natural Talalay Toppers: 17, 22, 27, 32, 38 ILD
LI - Blended Talalay Toppers: 14, 19, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44 ILD

In particular, I was told that the Adjustable Ultra-Plush Natural Talalay mattress is sourced from Latex International.

www.mattresses.net/1-selling-latex-mattress--adjustable-ultra-plush.html - The blended version is said to be offered in 28/33/38 ILD core + 2" 22 ILD topper. The info I was given did not provide any firmness distinctions between the blended and natural offerings.

Unfortunately, I cannot conclude that mattresses.net has given me the correct information unless they are custom-ordering from LI - is this what happens? From this I gather that LI supplies ILDs and thicknesses (5.6" core seemed strange) not shown on their site?

I'm guessing that I was simply given inexact specs, but I'm really not sure what product I'm getting when I order the 33 ILD natural core.

I'm also thinking that perhaps the provided ILDs are for their Radium-sourced latex, and then that this was a mixup. I have no info on Radium ILDs.

To decide whether or not I liked Latex, I demo'ed beds featuring the LI-latex (SavvyRest and others). Although I'm guessing Radium would be much the same, I had not demo'ed that product. I'm a bit worried that the firmness would not be consistent across the two manufacturers.

I'll talk to them on the phone tomorrow to try to clear this up, but any information supplied here would be greatly appreciated as well.

Thanks!

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Re: About to call in the order... 14 Jun 2012 15:43 #6

Hi Archmage,

ILD ratings (including the ratings on the Latex International website) are approximations at best. LI manufactures their talalay cores to density not ILD and then they test the ILD in 9 locations and take an average of these measurements (which can vary about 4 ILD in the same core). If you order a load of "24 ILD cores from latex international ... you could end up with a range that varied on average by several ILD on each side of the "rated" average.

Radium cores are the same and will also "average out" to certain ILD's.

Because of the variability of talalay (and Dunlop has an even larger variance across the surface of the core) and because they use latex from various suuppliers ... the website listings are also approximations. Most people would not feel a difference of 4 ILD in a blind side by side test.

They can "source" the adjustable ultra plush line from any manufacturer and their source can vary depending on the type of latex and on the supplier that they believe is currently supplying the best quality latex.

So if you were told that the source is LI ... then that's what it would be but their website listing will still be an "approximation" (like other manufacturers who deal with latex) to take into account possible changes in supplier or specs from time to time.

Unfortunately, I cannot conclude that mattresses.net has given me the correct information unless they are custom-ordering from LI - is this what happens? From this I gather that LI supplies ILDs and thicknesses (5.6" core seemed strange) not shown on their site?
I'm guessing that I was simply given inexact specs, but I'm really not sure what product I'm getting when I order the 33 ILD natural core.


When it comes to latex ... all the specs will be inexact because as I mentioned latex doesn't have "exact" specs. Even polyfoam comes in "ranges" with different tolerances of density and ILD on each side. If you call them ... they will be happy to tell you which material they are using ... and why (if you ask). There are also different thickness molds which make different thickness cores. When LI bought Dunlopillo's molds when they went bankrupt, they were 5.6" and they also have 6" cores. The "all natural" are mostly 6" cores while the blended are mostly 5.6" cores but this can also vary and can change as new equipment is purchased or processes and procedures are revised. In general ... 5.6" cores are often listed as 6" again because exact specs are not really an issue or even possible.

Most of the better manufacturers know the difference between the "important" specs (the ones that are about the type or quality of material or the ones that have to do with "value") but are less precise about the fine details of "comfort" specs because these are never exact anyway and are best thought of and chosen in terms of "ranges" or "approximations" rather than exact numbers which can lead to over analysis and an inaccurate sense of the importance of certain "exact" numbers which don't exist or have little bearing on the feel or performance of a mattress. They will usually have a "feel" for when their customers are analyzing specs to the degree which has little relevance to the performance or feel of a mattress or within the ability of a customer to be able to tell the difference.

To decide whether or not I liked Latex, I demo'ed beds featuring the LI-latex (SavvyRest and others). Although I'm guessing Radium would be much the same, I had not demo'ed that product. I'm a bit worried that the firmness would not be consistent across the two manufacturers.


These too would be within "ranges" and would not have specific specs. 24 ILD for example could have an actual range in a specific mattress of several ILD on either side of any "listed" ILD (regardless of manufacturer). It would also be a mistake IMO to put a "preference" on the talalay from either of the two companies that produce it because they are both high quality and in many cases the choice that a manufacturer will make at any particular time will be a better choice for their customer than any "brand" loyalty their customers may have. They can act as the "screen" in other words that can ensure a customer receives the best quality materials and this may change from time to time depending on the differences between particular batches of materials or the production consistency of the company that is pouring the latex at a particular time.

I'll talk to them on the phone tomorrow to try to clear this up, but any information supplied here would be greatly appreciated as well.


I hope this has helped and I would encourage you to speak with them as well :)

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Re: About to call in the order... 14 Jun 2012 17:16 #7

Wow, thanks for that information Phoenix. You've allayed my fears quite a bit.

I guess I was over-analyzing the situation.

I was mostly paranoid that the mattress would come in too soft.

I think I'll just trust their (and your) experience on this one.

Thanks for the quick reply.

Edit: And just as a follow-up: I e-mailed Latex International themselves, and they confirmed that Arizona Mattress Company uses both their blended and natural latex. They said they were "confident" in Arizona MC.

Yep - the discussions on a different forum (WTBM forum) worried me enough to ask the sources. Now I know, and I'll eventually go post my findings back over there...I guess those were speculative fears, and they didn't really know any more than I did.

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Last edit: by Archmage. Reason: follow-up

Re: About to call in the order... 14 Jun 2012 20:51 #8

Hi Archmage,

Yep - the discussions on a different forum (WTBM forum) worried me enough to ask the sources. Now I know, and I'll eventually go post my findings back over there...I guess those were speculative fears, and they didn't really know any more than I did.


There are some informed and knowledgeable members on WTB and some who as you mentioned likely know less than you do but portray themselves as "experts" in either "tone" or substance. It can be a valuable source of information but it can also be very misleading or confusing when so many members don't really understand the difference between opinions and fact and the "grey areas" in between can be particularly confusing.

Like all things ... it sometimes pays to know the people or the reasons (or the facts) behind what is being said :)

Phoenix
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Re: About to call in the order... 04 Jul 2012 12:21 #9

Now that I have received my order, here is my experience...

Mattresses.net experience
Ordered the mattress on May 9 with Greg and indicated that the mattress should arrive in 3.5 weeks. Wait time was understandable since it seems they order it from LI. After having waited 4 weeks and no indication of it shipping, I emailed them wondering how much longer it would take. Ken replied fairly quickly indicating they had been waiting for a topper that was back ordered and had just arrived, so the order would ship out that day.

The order was packaged well and everything was correct in terms of ILDs. All latex was sourced from LI for my order and looked very good, very minor cosmetic imperfections. The only problem is that my order didn't arrive with the latex pillows, but these arrived shortly after as they were also on back order apparently.

Even though the order took longer than expected and Mattresses.net isn't pro-active in informing you of delays, I wouldn't hesitate from ordering from them again (unless time isn't on your side). They do respond to inquires quickly in my experience and are generally easy to get a hold of.

My latex experience
My order consisted of the 6" core and an upgrade to a 3" topper instead of the standard 2". So naturally my mattress cover was also increased to accommodate the extra inch and now they include their nice bamboo cover instead of the cotton cover they used to provide.

I decided against a box spring in favor of a metal bed frame that gives you more storage space under the bed. I bought the Handy Living bed frame which had good reviews and people claimed it didn't squeak like the collapsible ones do.

The setup:
My side: 3" 19ILD on top of 6" 33ILD core - all talalay blend
Her side: 3" 28ILD on top of 6" 36ILD core - all talalay blend
* Handy Living bed frame (no box spring)
* Luna mattress protector - not sure I like this

After setting everything up the first night, I was looking forward to experiencing the cloud-like feeling I experienced at the mattress store with their latex bed. So imagine my disappointment when I finally went to bed and the bed felt more like a medium firmness instead of plush even though my setup was very close to the latex bed I tested.

The main difference would be the extra 1" of topper the other bed had in addition to a very flexible/stretch cotton cover. So the next day I wanted to see if the bamboo cover was to blame for not stretching as much thus causing the latex to feel firmer. So I unzipped the cover on my side and laid directly on the latex, definitely had that awesome plush but supportive feeling I experienced when testing the other latex mattress with 4" topper.

After my experiment I decided to order the 4-way stretch cotton cover from Sleep-EZ. Like another member here indicated, the cover is MUCH nicer than what is pictured on their site and much easier to zip up due to the stretch. So now with this cover, which should be the closest you can get to laying directly on the latex, I should experience the latex ecstasy I was originally expecting. My first night on this seemed very similar to before with the bamboo cover, so it didn't really change much or enough to say it's better. Although I like the Sleep-EZ cover, it isn't enough to make me abandon the bamboo cover mine came with so I will stick with the bamboo cover and send the other back.

Although I didn't get to experience the super plush feeling of the original latex bed I tested, I still get a good night sleep and don't regret the purchase. My latex setup definitely is capable of a plush feel by itself, so it may be that the combination of adding a mattress protector and sheets would cause the original latex bed I tested to feel firmer also.

* Things to note
The Handy Living bed frame didn't support the latex as well as I would have liked, it tends to sag maybe 1/2" at worst when laying down on the bed. Since this was occurring, I bought two sheets of 13-ply blondewood to place on top of the frame. I cut four pieces and sized them so that each piece had about 2" space between them to allow for airflow. The issue we ran into with adding the wood is that the metal support wire things would rattle against it so we had to place an old flannel bed sheet in-between the wood and frame.

The Luna mattress protector isn't as nice as I was hoping. It has a thin terry top but the bottom is like a plastic membrane. So the bottom of the protector has a plasticy sound/feel when moving around on it, although you can't hear it that much overall. Even though they claim it's breathable, it still causes me to sleep hotter than I would with a feather topper. Will probably get rid of this and go back to a feather cover instead since we live in the south.

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Re: About to call in the order... 04 Jul 2012 15:12 #10

Hi reverse,

Thanks for a great and "accurate" review :)

Your comments also give me a chance to make a few extra comments about some of the points you mentioned.

The main difference would be the extra 1" of topper the other bed had in addition to a very flexible/stretch cotton cover. So the next day I wanted to see if the bamboo cover was to blame for not stretching as much thus causing the latex to feel firmer. So I unzipped the cover on my side and laid directly on the latex, definitely had that awesome plush but supportive feeling I experienced when testing the other latex mattress with 4" topper.


Layer thickness can play just as big a role in the "softness" of a comfort layer as the actual ILD. Layer thickness and ILD work together and are both part of how a comfort layer performs and feels. Even an extra inch can make a significant difference for some body types depending on what I call the "critical zone" (the depth that someone sinks into a mattress). If your critical zone is more than 3" for example ... you would feel more of the core below than if it was less than 3". In addition to this, multiple layers (2 x 2" for example) will also feel slightly softer than a single 4" layer.

As you mentioned the cover and quilting will also play a role. Woven covers are less stretchy than knit covers and any fibers or foam in a quilting will also have an effect on the layers below them. Fibers will tend to reduce the compression of the comfort layers as they compress and become firmer (or if they are already densified and firmer) while softer foam will add some "plushness" to the surface and will soften over time. In some cases it can take a while for a new cover to stretch with initial use.

A mattress protector and sheets can also change the feel of a mattress in several ways. If they are tight and create somewhat of a "drum" effect they will make the soft latex firmer and reduce the amount you sink in.

The "membrane" types of protectors are a compromise between breathability and waterproofness. Some are also more noisy than others although washing may reduce this. Because the membrane is not as breathable as other protectors ... it can increase sleeping temperature and some people are more affected by this than others. There have also been several comments on the forum that the Luna sleeps hot although some don't seem to be as affected. There is also a difference between different versions of this style and some seem to be more stretchy than others.

As a protector ... I would question the use of feathers or down. They are not so good with moisture or protecting against it. A featherbed does have a nice and "cushy" feel and they can be great as a duvet but it's not a great choice for a mattress protector IMO.

A thin stretchy wool protector is also a very common choice because its thin and much more breathable and the better ones like the Dormeir are stretchy enough that the wool will affect the feel of the mattress less. They are also water resistant (not waterproof) and for most people this is fine.

A stretch knit cotton protector is also very breathable and stretchy and is also a great choice if absorbing body oils and some moisture is enough because they are not as water resistent as wool but they feel great and have little affect on the mattress. There are many of these but this is a high quality example .

I am also not a big fan of the Handy Living foundation because I don't believe it is as durable or "solid" as a foundation could be. For those who want storage under their mattress a frame like this would be much stronger (2500 lbs capacity vs 600) the legs are also re-inforced for stability and it has 11 longitudinal wires (a smaller grid) and others that are similar have less (wider spaces between the wires).

Thanks again for writing an excellent review!

Phoenix
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