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Mattress manufacturers - do it yourself online


The final category of manufacturers are the "do it yourself" manufacturers. Most of these are found online however some brick and mortar outlets make these available as well. They are growing in popularity and are very representative of the spirit of The Mattress Underground. These are a newer category of manufacturers and are often either smaller local and regional manufacturers who wish to broaden their market and have developed effective ways to custom build and ship their mattresses, or mattress manufacturers who are primarily online and more exclusively specialized in these mattresses. The online version in particular is growing in popularity as they can be ordered and easily shipped from any area of North America to any other.

They usually have several layers of material ... often latex or memory foam ... that can be put together in varying combinations and enclosed inside a zippered cover. They will often include wool quilting to comply with fire regulations or use more natural alternate methods. These layers and the cover can usually be shipped through UPS, Fedex, or other courier companies at a much lower cost than it would cost to ship a complete mattress with truck freight. They also usually offer the ability to make a "layer exchange" after a purchase where a single layer can be returned and exchanged for another to adjust the feel and qualities of the mattress and make it perfect for your needs. The length of time allowed and the costs involved in doing this vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but are almost always far less than more typical "comfort exchanges" with their restrictive conditions and higher costs that are available through larger mass market outlets.

There are genuine advantages to this approach including quality of materials and the ability to custom build your mattress to a greater degree than a finished mattress from a store.  They are typically very transparent in describing the exact materials that are in your mattress in terms of both the materials themselves and the specific qualities and "feel" of the materials you have chosen. They are usually very helpful and knowledgeable on the phone as well and offer differing ... but usually higher levels of service than many larger outlets since most of their customer interaction is online or on the phone.

The concept of layer exchanges can significantly reduce the cost of "making a mistake" whether it is from a store with restrictive exchange policies which represent a profit center for them or from a local manufacturer of a "complete mattress" purchased from out of your area where the entire mattress would need to be returned. These "do it yourself" constructions are particularly suitable for those who have done some reading and research in materials, quality, and methods of construction as well as some "field testing" in local stores, to get a clear sense of the mattress style and layer combinations that are appropriate for their needs. In these cases any "mistakes" in a choice of mattress will generally be small and easily addressed with a single layer exchange.

There are however a few disadvantages as well that you should be aware of all of which can easily be overcome with a little knowledge and field testing. The first of these is connected to their more "standardized" layering and in the lack of knowledge or understanding of many consumers who purchase them.  Their slightly more limited choices of layer thickness and ILD can sometimes mean that these mattresses cannot be customized quite as well as a local manufacturer who has access to any thickness, ILD,  and type of layering and may use different methods of construction, quilting, and ticking to produce a finished mattress that can be "customized" more accurately than a more standardized approach. Of course this is only a limitation in cases where the standardized approach, in combination with toppers and different types of quilting, do not include options that may be either important or necessary for a particular person.

A second difficulty with this approach is in the lack of information and knowledge of some consumers who purchase them in the belief that they are "easy to fix if I get it wrong". While this may often be true if you have done some research and field testing and know exactly what to change and which layer to change, there is sometimes so much confusion surrounding the effect of changing different layers and the effect it will have on the rest of the mattress that some consumers end up with a never ending search for the perfect layering pattern and never quite "get it right". While these circumstances are also more rare, they are common enough that it is well worth understanding exactly what you need both through some reading and research on this site or others, and through some field testing, before you decide to go in this direction. With the appropriate knowledge and testing though, they can represent tremendous value and have the ability to closely "duplicate" the feel of many if not most of the commercial mattresses that are sold in the "bricks and mortar" stores.

These outlets can make very good high value choices for anyone and are particularly helpful for those who may not have or know of a smaller manufacturer in their local area as they combine many of the benefits of local manufacturers with the benefits of online purchases.

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Psychmedic replied the topic: #2 05 Sep 2017 06:58
I feel i've done so much research that i could just make my own mattress. But one thing the DIY method lacks is adhering the layers together. I cannot "hand tuft" the layers at home, for example. Would this affect the comfort of the finished product if the springs and latex are just lying on top of each other?
Phoenix's Avatar
Phoenix replied the topic: #3 05 Sep 2017 11:00
Hi Psychmedic,

I feel i've done so much research that i could just make my own mattress. But one thing the DIY method lacks is adhering the layers together. I cannot "hand tuft" the layers at home, for example. Would this affect the comfort of the finished product if the springs and latex are just lying on top of each other?

Yes, I think many people reading here on the site feel as if they have done so much research that thy deserve a PhD in mattresses after a while! B)

In most component systems, the layers are held together through the integrity of the mattress encasement surrounding the completed mattress, along with the coefficient of friction of the materials (latex itself tends t be quite "sticky"), and these layers are not glued. The benefit of such a system for most people is the ability to rearrange and exchange layers.

If you do want to create a finished product, you can purchase tufting needles, tufting twine and buttons from craft and upholstery shops, as well as some of the DIY mattress companies discussed here previously on the forum.

TooTall513's Avatar
TooTall513 replied the topic: #4 21 Oct 2018 18:52
I have also done a fair amount for reading on this site and am beginning to think that the multilayer system makes the most sense. It seems that since the comfort layer is the first line of defense and one which would degrade first it would make sense that if you could simply replace that layer with a new one, that the system could sustain its self indefinitely if you were to able to replace the affected layer as needed.I am still trying to figure out the correct formula of Laytex layers for myself and girlfriend. I am 6'4" 175 lbs,BMI 21, hot sleeper, that likes a firmish mattress. I have a slim athletic built, like a basketball player. Lumbar gape is 2". My girlfriend is 5'8" 150 lbs, BMI 18, semi-athletic built like a swimmer and likes the firm support with a bit of sinking memory foam feel. Can anyone give me some guidance on ILB and thickness for a layer system?
Phoenix's Avatar
Phoenix replied the topic: #5 22 Oct 2018 16:11
Hi TooTall513,

I am glad that you did a fair amount of reading and that the site is helpful to you. :)

It seems that since the comfort layer is the first line of defense and one which would degrade first it would make sense that if you could simply replace that layer with a new one, that the system could sustain its self indefinitely if you were to able to replace the affected layer as needed. I am still trying to figure out the correct formula of Laytex layers for myself and girlfriend.

While you are correct that the upper layers in a mattress (the top 3" - 6" which are the most subject to wear and tear and contribute more to the overall "feel" of a mattress) and while I understand what you are trying to achieve, for those that may be reading this thread I’d make an adjustment to your “the first line of defense “ comment because in reality the primary concern should be ensuring good spinal support and proper alignment (see post #4 here for more about primary support, secondary support, and pressure relief and how they are related) because any attempt to "fix" support layers that are too soft by adding layers on top will often only be partially or temporarily successful and would be more of a "band-aid" than a solution because the top layers can still "bend into" the softer layers below them and lead to alignment issues.

I agree with you that latex is a good comfort layer choice for its temperature regulation, supporting and conforming qualities … latex is also certainly a very durable material and at your BMIs I would not be too concerned about having to replace it too soon. (I’d expect at least a 10 years of use), but you are correct that there may be also other factors involved in the durability or useful life of a mattress outside of just the material itself (see post #4 here )

Once primary support is ensured then the suitability and durability of the comfort layer will tell how well you will sleep and for how long you will sleep well. Your long-term approach of considering a bed where you can easily replace the comfort layer is very common as a solution to both fine-tune for a certain feel and also for accommodating any changes over time. (As we age we also usually prefer something a little plusher)

Can anyone give me some guidance on ILB and thickness for a layer system?

Based on the information you provided it is not possible to predict how well you will do with any mattress suggestion that I or anyone may have for you. Both thickness and softness are dependent and there can be numerous combinations that can work for you. Also, you can also find different categories of “multilayered systems” such as polyfoam/latex combos, all latex, pocket coil latex and you’d first need to decide on the type that would be best for you and your girlfriend. Each mattress category can also include hundreds of different mattresses with a very wide range of different designs, different "feels", different characteristics, and different firmness levels. Every individual layer and component in a mattress (including the cover, FR barrier, any quilting material, and of course all foam layers) will affect the feel and response of every other layer and component both above and below it and the mattress "as a whole" so each mattress category will generally include some mattresses that have a design that will be a good "match" for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP and others that use the same type of materials and components and are in the same category and may be just as durable but have a different design or firmness level that may be completely unsuitable for you to sleep on ... even if it uses the same general type of materials and components.

My first suggestion would be that you do some local testing which will give you a much better sense about the types of mattresses (see this article ) and general firmness levels you tend to prefer which can help you narrow down your choices regardless of whether you end up purchasing locally or online. Then some guidance from a knowledgeable and experienced retailer or manufacturer will usually result in a mattress choice that is well inside a suitable comfort/support range and will generally be "close enough" so that if any fine-tuning is necessary it would be relatively minor and involve different mattress pads, sheets, mattress protectors, or perhaps even a topper if a mattress is too firm (see post #4 here and post #10 here ).

Once you manage narrow down your research and have more specific questions then I or any of our Expert Members we'll be happy to assist you.

LisaL0115 replied the topic: #6 31 Oct 2018 11:24
I'm looking for some feedback on a DIY mattress. I am trying to build my own Sapira by Leesa. I've got the specs of the mattress and have been able to match things fairly well but I'm stuck on one specific layer and would like some advice on how to replicate.

Here are the Sapira layers and where/what I've found to match them. Any help is appreciated. The first layer is what I cannot figure out. Also, I've bumped all the 1.5 inch thickness to 2 inch because the 1.5 thickness isn't readily available and 1 inch seemed too thin.

1) 1.5" of 3.75 lb high performance "latex like" polyfoam (3.6 pcf density 20-26 ifd) They are calling this Avena Foam - made by Carter - the image looks like convoluted (egg crate).

*No equivalent found

2) 1.5" of 4 lb memory foam
Foam Factory 2 inches 4lb $113

3)Pocket spring innerspring unit Quantum Edge from Leggett and Platt
Arizona Mattress 8 inches coil unit L&P zoned pocket coil $395

4) 1” of 2 lb. poly foam on top and on the bottom of the innerspring unit.
Foam Factory 1" LUXR $31

I'm still undecided on a cover. Theirs is a poly/cotton blend and I'd like to have that or all cotton. A full zip and washable top is preferable. But this comes in at 13 inches and most covers only seem to go to 12.

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