Accurate information regarding latex mattresses, hybrid mattresses, adjustable bases, latex pillows, etc. Industry professional of over 40 years expertise in the mattress field currently using suppliers Talalay Global, Latexco, Radium Foam, Latex Green and Leggett & Platt.
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Trying to figure out what latex to buy for a DIY build on Serta coils. 21 Sep 2020 16:50 #1

Hello! Our king-size Serta, which we've had for a bit over four years, has dents in the pillow top and is no longer acceptable. My little amount of research led us to try Purple, which we are returning, partly because I am too lightweight so it's too firm, and partly because I worry about its longevity.

After more reading, I want to try the DIY route. We want to save the coils of the Serta and get latex to put over it plus a cover.

But one 3” latex? Two 2” latex of different firmnesses? Which firmnesses? Help!

The coils seem to be in good shape, and the divots decreased a lot even by the time I got to the second layer of foam (btw can the foam be used in any way? even for something un-mattress-related?). There is an inch-high layer of some kind of stiff, white foam-like material glued to the coil layer, and the coils are surrounded on the sides with softer yellow foam. I assume I'd leave all that in place? Coils seem to be about 7" high alone, 8" with that white stuff.

Stats for choosing firmness:
- I am ~110lb side sleeper. I like to feel enveloped by my bed, but am worried about lack of support as I age. I understand "soft" doesn't necessarily mean "lack of support" but I'm worried anyway. I am willing to accept something flatter-feeling after some time with Purple got me accustomed to it.
- Husband is ~200lb and sleeps in various positions, but mostly back. He likes a fairly firm bed and is fine with the Purple Original. He basically told me to get whatever works for me, but he doesn’t like something overly soft.

I would like a non-split mattress, partly because I worry my taste will change and I'll wish I had the other side (I'm just like this in life) and partly because I am worried about a potential noticeable gap. I am willing to accept something not so body conforming. So is there a firmness situation with latex that would be a functional compromise? I'm thinking of simply getting 3" medium Dunlop with a memory foam topper but idk what I'm doing.

One more complication: testing mattresses is not a thing I want to do right now. Our local testing options are gross even for non-pandemic circumstances. We are taking latex as a concept on faith. I believe we will adjust to weirdness if the firmness/support is suitable.

My husband did build a wooden slat foundation to use with the Purple, so we shouldn't be using the weird pseudo-box springs that came with the Serta (which someone said could be an issue in another post). Spacing between the slats is about 3", but it's not precision-built and so the spaces are larger or smaller in some spots. I don't know if that would be an issue. The foundation does have eight legs under it in the middle area for support.

Thank you!

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Last edit: by rbe.

Trying to figure out what latex to buy for a DIY build on Serta coils. 24 Sep 2020 20:14 #2

Hi rbe.

Welcome to our Mattress Forum. :)

Sorry to hear of the foam breakdowns on your Serta after only 4 years of use, and that the Purple ultimately was too firm for your needs. A DIY can be a great solution for salvaging some of the mattress components in good working condition (and turning it into something exceptional!) As what you’re doing is creating a DIY mattress out of separate components that are purchased from one or several different sources, I would refer you to Post 15 ~ DIY mattress design and choosing layers on your own 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).

But one 3” latex? Two 2” latex of different firmnesses? Which firmnesses? Help!


Deciding on latex firmness/thickness is a pretty multi-faceted process. I’ll get to that below :)
Generally, the thickness of a mattress is only one of many variables that can affect the feel and performance of a mattress but in higher weight ranges (or a higher BMI) the odds are higher that you may do better with a mattress that is thicker than lower weight ranges or a lower BMI (see post #14 here for more about the effect of thickness) but even this depends more on the specific design and combination of materials in the mattress and on how well your testing or personal experience indicates the mattress "as a whole" matches your specific needs and preferences in terms of PPP than it does on just the thickness itself. It will also depend on your body type and sleeping positions as well because side sleepers may need more softness and contouring than back or side sleepers.

The coils seem to be in good shape, and the divots decreased a lot even by the time I got to the second layer of foam (btw can the foam be used in any way? even for something un-mattress-related?).


The innerspring is rarely the weak link in a mattress so it doesn’t surprise me that only the materials in the comfort layer are experiencing a breakdown after only four years of use. It’s encouraging to have environmentally aware people on the forum looking into creative solutions to reuse mattress components. … Some repurposing ideas include pet beds, seat cushions for patio furniture, beam bags, pillow for neck support, under the knee or body pillow to relieve pressure on the knees and hips, draft stoppers, noise reduction studio padding, wall insulation (providing that there is no humidity), toy stuffing, nursery flooring, car seat pads, cushion stuffing, garden knee pad, Halloween costumes. I even heard of compost pile covering. If time does not permit to take on yet another project then finding a recycling center in your area that has a foam shredder machine may be a good way to go.

There is an inch-high layer of some kind of stiff, white foam-like material glued to the coil layer, and the coils are surrounded on the sides with softer yellow foam. I assume I'd leave all that in place?


This is a stabilizing layer for the coils and coil perimeter padding, so yes I would agree with you to “leave it in place” if a short inspection shows it to be in still in good enough condition.

Stats for choosing firmness:
- I am ~110lb side sleeper. I like to feel enveloped by my bed, but am worried about lack of support as I age. I understand "soft" doesn't necessarily mean "lack of support" but I'm worried anyway. I am willing to accept something flatter-feeling after some time with Purple got me accustomed to it.
- Husband is ~200lb and sleeps in various positions, but mostly back. He likes a fairly firm bed and is fine with the Purple Original. He basically told me to get whatever works for me, but he doesn’t like something overly soft.


You did not mention your height and your partner’s to calculate your BMI, but thank you for sharing the other stats! Knowing this would make it easier to give any guidance and also to make sure that whatever you select meets the mattress durability guidelines here for your specific BMI. Even though you’d prefer not to do a side by side split because of “buyer’s remorse” with regards to your side, and also because you’re worried about a gap … here is just something to consider.

A split left/right configuration would certainly have the best odds of success in meeting both partners comfort and support needs. The mattress can be built so that the total thickness of the mattress is the same for each side, which means that there would be no difference in elevation, and with a suitable tight fitted quilted cover, the “split” transition area between sides is usually unnoticeable for most people. You can read more here about side by side layering in post #2 …and, if you ultimately decided you liked your husband’s side of the bed better…you could reopen the mattress and replace the layers.

Depending on your BMI and a few other factors it may just as well be that with your willingness to give up a little of the side sleeping comfort cradle (now that you got used with a firmer surface :)) you may be able to “bridge the gap” between a large partner weight differential and get layering that would be a good fit for both you and your husband. He would need thicker firmer layers so that his spine is

So is there a firmness situation with latex that would be a functional compromise? I'm thinking of simply getting 3" medium Dunlop with a memory foam topper but idk what I'm doing.


“idk what I'm doing “can be a recipe for disaster especially when it comes to a DIY …. . A 3” latex is a perfectly good thickness to start with – very common for comfort layers but selecting the adequate latex ILD (firmness) plays an important role in the comfort/support equation and it should be based on your body weight, shape, weight distribution, and preferences .

The lower ILD ... the softer the latex is. ILD can range from 14 (very soft) to 44 (very firm). Many of our Trusted Members have 3” latex layers for DIY projects and they are all extremely knowledgeable. They would also be able to help you make a decision based on your stats and comfort preferences. As mattress testing is not something, you’re currently able to do, the next best thing is to have a detailed phone conversation with a knowledgeable and experienced retailer/manufacture that have your best interests at heart. They can help "talk you through" the specifics of their mattresses and the properties and "feel" of the materials they are using. When choosing something online, it’s important to deal with experienced, educated, and helpful manufacturers who have the knowledge to guide you through the DIY process and find something that they honestly think will fit your specific sleeping positions, somatotype, BMI, and individual needs.
On top of my head, I’d recommend you reach out to DIY Natural Bedding or Arizona Premium trusted members to get advice on what has the chances to work best for both you and your husband. But you may want to peruse through our Trusted Member directory I linked above for more options

My husband did build a wooden slat foundation to use with the Purple, so we shouldn't be using the weird pseudo-box springs that came with the Serta (which someone said could be an issue in another post). Spacing between the slats is about 3", but it's not precision-built and so the spaces are larger or smaller in some spots. I don't know if that would be an issue.


3' gap between slats is quite adequate for your type of DIY. The thing you most want to consider is whether the wooden slat foundation has a good center support and it does not bend under the weight of the mattress and the people sleeping on it.

Hopefully, this is a good start-up on your DIY journey. Please keep us posted with updates.

Phoenix
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Trying to figure out what latex to buy for a DIY build on Serta coils. 25 Sep 2020 13:06 #3

Thank you for the very detailed reply!

We are both average height so it didn't even cross my mind to mention it: about 5'4"/5'5" for me and 5"10 for him.

I actually tried calling Arizona Premium after people on r/mattress on Reddit suggested it, but the first time I left a voicemail and never got called again, and the second time I was told to email through the site and I'd get called back, but I never did...and then someone on Reddit said to post under their forum on MU, so here I am.

I don't want to have to become a mattress expert just to sleep well and I am frustrated with the whole process. I do plan to try calling one of the other trusted experts from here to see if they'll talk me through it, and I also plan to read through the link you sent about DIY.

Side note: our Purple return pickup is tomorrow, so I just stripped the bed, only to find that we've been on a Purple 2 this entire time! I guess they sent the wrong one. When I tried a 2 at a mattress store recently, I seriously thought about trading in our "original" for a 2 because I thought it might be better. So me doing a mattress store test is wildly unreliable.

Again, thank you!! The direction is very helpful.

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Trying to figure out what latex to buy for a DIY build on Serta coils. 26 Sep 2020 18:42 #4

Wow so you bought a purple premier (4") and they sent you the purple hybrid (2")?!? That's why I always check labels or tags as soon as any products arrive. Mistakes are made & that's a big one from a comfort aspect as well as price point! Are you going to have them send you a purple 4 so you can at least try the mattress you initially wanted/ paid for?

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Trying to figure out what latex to buy for a DIY build on Serta coils. 27 Sep 2020 13:17 #5

No, we bought a Purple Original and they sent a Purple 2. I haven't read any huge firmness difference between those two. If I'd ordered the 4 and received a 2, that'd be a rather different matter, and I think (hope) I would have noticed.

When the people came to pick up the return, the paper noted that it was a hybrid, so Purple knew what they had sent us. I've started to wonder if my husband really did order the 2 by accident.

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Trying to figure out what latex to buy for a DIY build on Serta coils. 28 Sep 2020 10:22 #6

Two years ago I rebuilt a Serta mattress reusing the pocket coils and adding a layer of latex with a new cover. My experience is detailed here: www.themattressunderground.com/talk-to-the-experts/arizona-premium-mattress/22660-serta-rebuild-update?start=0
Ken Hightower of APM was very helpful with the project. If you have not watched his videos on DIY mattress rebuilds, check them out. Good luck with your project!

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Trying to figure out what latex to buy for a DIY build on Serta coils. 28 Sep 2020 11:02 #7

Sorry for the non response. Our phones have been experiencing an unusually high volume of calls. I try to get to as many as I can each day but some do slip through the cracks. Please send me your contact info again and I will get back to you.

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Trying to figure out what latex to buy for a DIY build on Serta coils. 04 Oct 2020 19:10 #8

Update + This thread may need to move since it ended up not being specific to APM.

Went to see DIY Natural Bedding today since I live near one location and was able to try some latex, since it's much cleaner and less trafficked than the likes of ordinary mattress showrooms. And, to no one's real surprise, we are trying a split king after all. I got a soft over medium for my side, and husband got medium over firm (their firmness levels; idk what that translates to exactly on the number scale). The soft on medium (on their firm base) was a dream for me. Latex is apparently exactly what I want a bed to feel like now, and I noticed no smell, so I can relax on those matters.

Two things:

1) We could not try them over coils, and I am concerned about how coils will affect the feel. It is possible to pay shipping to trade out latex slabs if necessary, though. She hasn't had much experience with coil rebuilds, so we'll see what happens!
2) Haven't ordered a cover yet. The one we liked is typically not recommended for anything over a foot high, and 8" coil assembly + 6" latex = 14" total. Also, concerned about slipping, concerned the coils will need to be replaced with latex later, etc. They do make covers that can go two inches higher if needed due to a second zipper that hides a fabric extension, so that's a thought (if we would go from 14" coils to 6" + 6" latex, but not if we would go to 6" + 3" latex). Or I could try APM for a cover since they talk about theirs being tight enough to prevent slippage, though we would have to totally replace it if we move on from the coils at some point. I have heard of people just using a fitted sheet/protector for a bit until they're sure they want to buy the mattress cover, but I worry about slippage.

Thanks for y'all's help. I will try to keep updating. Advice is always welcome.

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Trying to figure out what latex to buy for a DIY build on Serta coils. 13 Oct 2020 13:18 #9

APM: I'm interested in your covers/ticking, but I see this text on your site: "By placing this order I agree that I have read and understand that the approved use for these replacement mattress covers is on all 100% latex mattress designs..." What do you suggest for coil/latex hybrids? Did I miss an option somewhere?

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