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The Best Foundations or Base for a Latex or All Foam Mattress

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01 Aug 2019 19:21 #801 by ADF
Hi Phoenix,

Here's my inspiration for a bed (it's in the UK...).

The last photo is actually a video.

www.bensonsforbeds.co.uk/harlow-upholstered-bed-frame/

ADF

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04 Aug 2019 21:56 #802 by Phoenix
Hi ADF,

Good find! You are certainly doing good research ... across the world! :cheer:

Thanks for sharing the UK Harlow upholstered bed frame "inspiration". I am including the image rather than the link of the mattress for those that are interested in under bed storage solution and I will be moving this post to its own thread so that it is easier to find. I am sure that many DIYers would follow this with great interest especially if you'd have some time to document this and provide some pictlures.

On Bensons & Beds site, there's also a more detailed assembly video here to better see its components. They don't list the weight capacity but it seems like a good design with its electric side lift. The image and their site description show clearly what you were trying to accomplish with your "system"

I hope you can follow up on this on our Mattress Forum.
Thanks again for taking the time to share and I'm looking forward to your next update.
Phoenix

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13 Aug 2019 15:26 - 13 Aug 2019 17:51 #803 by bobkbed
I'm shopping for a new latex mattress for the first time since 2001.

Here at TMU and at European Sleepworks in Berkeley, I learned that there are two problems with my existing Queen size bed frame (also purchased in 2001 - see photo).

1. It needs a center support. Per Sleepworks' recommenation, I bought a 1x4 fir board and attached three legs made of 2 x 3 fir.

After purchasing the frame in 2001, I called the manufacturer, Vermont Tubbs. The guy at the factory said that a center support was not necessary, but could be easily added later. He was wrong. (I'm curious how they implemented a center support, but sadly they went out of business in 2003, after more than 170 years.)

2. The slats are too far apart - about 4 to 4 1/2".

Surprisingly, the slats are, like the frame, solid oak. For consistency, I bought an oak board, had it cut into six more slats the same size as the existing ones (60 1/4" x 2 1/8" x 3/4"), and sanded them.

With all 18 slats evenly spaced at 3", this will provide 50 percent coverage (which was recommended by the Foam Store of Marin).

But here's the [possible] problem: After 18 years of use without a center support, the old slats have bowed, as shown in the attached photos.

In "Slats 1", I pushed them together at the center. In "Slats 2", I pushed them together at the left end. Clearly, some are much more bowed than others.

I actually noticed this a week or so ago and flipped them over. I noticed the difference immediately when I slept - the mattress sagged less.

A few days later, I added the center support. Since then, I've been waking up with a sore back, and it's clear that the mattress needs to be replaced now (or 3-5 years ago :-)).

My theory is that when I flipped the slats, my body weight (I'm 195 lbs, 5'11") not only counteracted the upward bowing, but maybe even bowed them slightly downward again. To some degree, this masked the fact that the mattress (an old Ikea all-latex mattress, one layer, 5 or 6 inches thick) is worn out (compacted).

Adding the center support prevents the downward bowing, making it more obvious that the mattress is completely shot.

So I'm wondering:

Will the bowing be an issue with a new mattress (which I expect will be 9" of latex)?

Should I put the most-bent slats in a particular location (like in the middle or the ends)?

I could certainly buy a new set of slats if necessary, but I hope to use what I have.

EDIT: After posting this, I thought of a crude way to asses the stiffness of the slats. I used a 31-lb. PA speaker (I'm a musician) to hold down one end of the slat and measured how high the other end was above the floor. The most bent one I've measured so far is 1.5"
Then I placed two 1-gallon jugs of water (about 16 lbs total) on the raised end. That brought it down to the floor. I'm guessing that between a latex mattress and my body weight, I have nothing to worry about.

But I'd still love to hear any expert opinions.

By the way, the slats at either end are prevented from sliding towards the center by dowel stops set into the rail (visible in the photo if you look closely). The center slat is secured by a long rivet that you drop through a hole in the slat into a hole in the rail. I mention this because when I explained it to a salesman, he said he hadn't seen this type of design before and thought it was clever.

Thanks!

Bob

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Last edit: 13 Aug 2019 17:51 by bobkbed.

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13 Aug 2019 16:29 #804 by CBHWoodFurniture
Hi bobkbed,
thinking that I am qualified to give input on this since our bed design involves slats and latex, I have a few comments and these come from the almost 40 years of experience that we have collected and inherited.

I think you will have to get extremely lucky to design a proper slat foundations (where the slats serve as more than simply a solid base foundation, since you are talking about bowed slats and where to best put them). The reason I say this is that once upon a time a company (backed with a lot of money) tried to copy a system similar to ours but without any of the background knowledge and produced a sub-par bed to say the least.
The are a few issues that come up - some of them are choosing the right type of wood with the right properties in terms of stability/bending and bowing/elasticity/etc., or also how the wood and latex work together.
In any case with your centre support (which you rightly installed and 3 legs under that are more than sufficient as well) the slats will most likely simply flatten and lay there fairly straight (that is if you have a queen bed or smaller, king may still give you issues with the slat bending down below you)

All that to say here is what I suggest if you are thinking about a DIY option. Space the slats as closely as possible leaving very little space between them, so that some air can come through. Only providing 50% coverage is not enough and will hurt your latex mattress in the long run, because too much of it will push through the cracks between the slats.
Otherwise you can also buy a solid sheet of wood/plywood/etc., cut it to fit your frame and simply drill a few holes in it to help the mattress breathe.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions.
Best Regards,

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13 Aug 2019 17:21 - 13 Aug 2019 22:08 #805 by bobkbed
Thanks very much for the answer, CBH!

One more thing: After posting, I discovered that I mis-measured the original slats. They're 7/8" thick, not 3/4" (there are 13 of them). The six new slats are slightly under 3/4" (maybe 11/16"). I don't imagine this matters, but please let me know your thoughts. For now, I'm putting those under the foot of the bed.

EDIT: How about shims to raise the thinner slats?

I'll also look into getting more than 50% coverage. Adding a few more slats would be most cost-effective (I'm trying to watch my budget), but I could potentially buy a new set (not hardwood!).

Good to know that plywood (with holes) is an option, but I'd prefer the air circulation provided by slats.

Thanks again!

Bob
Last edit: 13 Aug 2019 22:08 by bobkbed.

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13 Aug 2019 17:34 #806 by ADF
Hi Bobkded,

I only have 3 months experience with 9" 100% latex and about 6 months extra research.

I absolutely support the answer before me!

You must have a platform, preferably with slats. Plywood slab/s is a solution too, but you'll have to drill many big holes.

Latex mattress + plywood = extremely heavy!!! The center support with 3-4 legs is a MUST.

You should know that home depot sells slats. So does IKEA. Slats must be VERY strong, yet flexible. I think yours have lost its strength and it would be a matter of undefined time till it bows the other way.

If home depot's slats spacing is to much, set them closer and attach with either Velcro or double sided tape to the frane, ensuring no skewing. If it creates space at the end (mostly king beds), buy 1-2 pcs of ¾x3 to complete.

Again, my Eastern king is ~200 lbs. It is HEAVY and yet, the best I've ever slept on!

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17 Aug 2019 09:01 - 17 Aug 2019 10:20 #807 by bobkbed
Regarding how much surface area of a latex mattress is supported by slats:

Foamorder.com (Foam Store of Marin) said it should be at least 50 percent

CBH said it should be MORE than 50 percent, but didn't specify a minimum.

European Sleepworks said percentage doesn't matter as long as slats are 2.5 - 3.5" apart.

With my four new slats (34" total), the spacing is now 2.5", but the slats are only 2 - 2 1/8" wide. So coverage is 42 percent.

These are all reputable sources, so I'm confused.

Any other manufacturers want to chime in here?
Last edit: 17 Aug 2019 10:20 by bobkbed.

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17 Aug 2019 10:10 #808 by CBHWoodFurniture
Hi bobkbed,
maybe my last message wasn't clear enough. We recommend that you leave almost no space between your slats (don't have more than a fingers width so that there is a bit of ventilation but not enough space for your mattress to squeeze into the gaps), since there is no reason to worry about slat spacing in your case. Your slats are not used to work dynamically with your mattress but rather their purpose is to form a solid foundation.

I hope this helps.

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17 Aug 2019 10:19 - 17 Aug 2019 10:25 #809 by bobkbed
Thanks, CBH. I understand your recommendation.

I asked for more opinions - sort of a mini-poll - because I got three very-different answers from three reputable sources! :-) (The other two aren't TMU members, but are recommended by Phoenix.)
Last edit: 17 Aug 2019 10:25 by bobkbed.

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18 Aug 2019 21:57 #810 by Phoenix
Hi bobkbed.

Thanks for the informative post about your slat foundation without center support, etc. You must be really quite handy and creative to rebuild/improve this unit.

As you already suspect, I think with the right 9" of latex, and your center support, you are not going to feel the effects of the bowed slats anywhere close to your old IKEA mattress which was probably 5.6 inches originally (Ikea used to purchase boatloads of 14cm cores from Latexco and Sapsa in Europe.)

As fas as the placement of the "more bowed slats", my instinct says it won't make much difference in terms of sleeper support. The standard wooden 1 x 3" slats with gaps and 2. 5" apart (no more than 3") are about 50% of the total support surface area. While it probably wouldn't be an issue in the shorter term ... the lower surface area in contact with the mattress would result in a greater risk that the latex would sag into the gaps in between the slats over the longer term although it's not really possible to quantify the higher risk except to say it would be "less supportive" for the latex.

While it may be an "abundance of caution" ... if you would like to reduce the risk then an inch or two of very firm polyfoam in between the mattress and the platform bed or adding a 1" rubberized coir bed rug like this  or even something like the  vinyl lattice here  would reduce the risk.

I look forward to any new updates and let us know if you have any other questions.

Phoenix

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