Caught in the loop - Restored

NOTE: This is a thread that was accidentally deleted and manually restored from a backup. The posts are all shown under Phoenix but I have indicated who they were originally from in each post:

Caught in the loop 13 Dec 2012 13:50 #1

From: TD-Max

Some time back in the late 90’s I hurt my back. Nothing that I ever had treated, I just deal with it. Initially it was pure hell as it was tweaking my ciatic nerve. I could not get confortable in any position. It got to the point where I a grown man started to cry. Went shopping for a bed, wanted a Sterans and Foster, but bought a Restonic Wool Splendor dual sided that I could afford. Taking out the old hand me down King Coil it was obvious that it was junk. First night on the Restonic I actually giggled. That Restonic served me well for a few years, but as mattresses do it started to crap out. Restonic’s policy was to REPAIR not replace. I asked what I was supposed to do in the mean time and they suggested that maybe my dealer could loan me one. My dealer is an hour from our house and I was not going to play that game so I bought a Therapedic and sent the Restonic off for repair. This one still exists in our spare bedroom. So the Therapedic served us for 3-4 years and it crapped out. Under warranty so we go to look at replacements and of course our model is discontinued so I decided that I would pay the $400 to upgrade to the best that they had. I never liked that one so I sold it to mother-in-law for the $400 extra that I had paid and bought a Stearns and Foster. 3-4 years and the stearns is junk. Dealer approved warranty based on pictures that I sent. Shopped hard this time and decided Latex foam was the way to go. Sealy Beachside Latex was the replacement, swapped and it was OK. I never really fell in love with it like the old Restonic, but it was decent. 3 years almost to the day and it’s junk. Pics easily show the sags. Dealer says no problem come start trying out while we fwd pics to Sealy

I’m 6’1" and 220# I carry a good bit around the middle. I am a back sleeper and when things are going good I stay in one spot which may be part of why I am hard on matresses. I just don’t know where to turn. Do I try the Latest Sealy Smart Latex or go back to inner spring? Do I stay in the same loop (warranty with no cost) or do I take my warranty bed and hand it down and buy something else? In our area there are not a lot of high end mattresses to try out. I think the only Sealy latex is the exact same model we have on closeout. I’ve been pretty patient through all of this, but my patience is wearing thin.

I do have to say that through the last warranty a slaesperson at Verlo has been exceptionally helpful knowing full well that I was getting warranted elsewhere. I’m leaning heavily towards having one built at Verlo. At least then if/when it goes bad they can open it up identify the problem and fix it…

I should add that I have 3 known beds that I sleep well on:

  1. Serta portable air bed. Yes the cheap portable bed in a bag

  2. Flexsteel Majestic Air 2 sofa sleeper. This is a 3" “prison mattress” with a 3" air top

  3. The old restonic-it’s decent, but has a much firmer center where it does not get used. Apparently restonic did not replace the foundation, only some layers.

Both of the air beds I use at the cabin and I hit the ground running in the morning. The Sealy I wake up in pain and need to roll on my side and arch my back to get mobile.

Re: Caught in the loop 13 Dec 2012 18:26 #2

From: Phoenix

Hi TD-Max,

Unfortunately your story is not uncommon.The saddest part of all is that what you were sold as a latex mattress probably had more polyfoam in the comfort layers (the weak link of a mattress) than there was latex and this is the reason it failed or softened beyond the point where it could continue to meet your needs and preferences. This is the most likely reason that the sides are softer than the middle in your Restonic (they have softened under weight and compression).

This is the norm with most major brands who in almost all cases use way to much lower quality polyfoam in the comfort or quilting layers and while it may have some latex in the mattress, you are usually sleeping on fairly thick layers of lower quality/durability polyfoam with latex underneath it.

This is the reason it’s so important to know every layer of your mattress so that if someone is selling what they say is a latex mattress that you know the type of latex (there are different types), what is in every layer besides the latex, the thickness of the latex layers, and where the latex layers are located in the mattress.

Sealy “smart latex” is mostly synthetic Dunlop latex which is about the lowest quality (and least costly) latex you can buy even though the Sealy prices are not exactly cheap. You can see here an example of a top of the line Stearns and Foster (owned by Sealy) “luxury latex” mattress which has a “smart latex” core but if you look at the upper layers over the core you will see that out of the upper 6 3/4" of the mattress that only 1 3/4" is latex (intuisoft is latex with a slightly higher natural latex content than smart latex) and the other 4" is polyfoam. In this case you are sleeping directly on 2.5" of lower density and durability polyfoam even before you reach a thin layer of latex.

This is one of the many reasons to avoid major brands completely (you can see some mattress shopping guidelines here) and as you can see … #1 is to avoid the major brands completely.

The most effective way to find the most suitable mattress for you with the best quality and value is to follow the steps in post #1 here.

Verlo is one of the regional factory direct manufacturers that is well worth connecting with for better quality and value and if you let me know the city or zip you live in I’d be happy to let you know of the better options or possibilities I know of in your area.

The steps basically boil down to … gather some information about mattresses and materials, eliminate your worst choices, find the local experts, test mattresses and different materials, then make your final choices between “good and good”. Your final option is to order online using your testing experiences as a guideline if you happen to be in an area where there is little in the way of good quality and value available locally.

If you only shop with merchants that can tell you the details of every layer of a mattress you are considering … you will avoid mattresses with the same weak links and avoid the durability issues you have been facing.

I’m guessing that your air mattresses are pumped up fairly firm and this along with your weight would be a clue that a firm support layer (to keep you in good alignment) along with “just enough” of a softer comfort layer (and not as thick and soft as would be suitable for a side sleeper) so that you are not too far away from the support layers would be your best choice. If the materials are all high quality instead of lower quality comfort layers that are probably in your previous mattresses … you will have a mattress that is much more durable and keeps its comfort and support for much longer.


Re: Caught in the loop 14 Dec 2012 05:15 #3

From: TD-Max

Thanks for the reply. I’m in central WI and dealing primarily in Wausau 54403 but am willing to travel a bit to say the Milwaukee, Eau Claire, Appleton, or Madison area or even the Minneapolis/St Paul if necessary.

I’m financially capable of moving on and purchasing outright provided I can morally justify it. Personally, I think that would be letting Sealy off the hook, but I guess if that’s what it takes we’ll just have one heck of a nice name brand guest bed. It would seem that this would be a good use of it, but I’d never get the satisfaction of making them warranty it again.

The Restonic is a plush. It was “repaired” by Restonic and is quite nice again although a bit bouncy by design. There is a perceptible ridge in the center, but relatively minor. My thought is that they replaced layers and not teh springs. Somehow I got swept up in the pillow top notion and I think this is the wrong way for me UNLESS the comfort layers are firm. I believe your notion of needing firm is correct. I do need to make consideration to my partner. She is much lighter than I and of course much more curvy. Add to that she is a side sleeper. To date she’s been a real trooper simply stating: just buy something that works for you and I’ll deal with it.

I’ve given serious consideration to air beds, but they seem to be as much or even more of a racket than conventional. What I see as a solid approach to any bed involves a zip open top so that the comfort layers can be easily accessed and changed or replaced.

My lean is towards Verlo and having them do a latex bed with multi layers of quality foam. Possibly do a no flip/no spin setup where her side is a bit softer up top.

Re: Caught in the loop 14 Dec 2012 16:15 #4

From: Phoenix

Hi TD-Max,

If I was in Wasau, I would also be leaning towards Verlo which is the only local retailer/manufacturer where I would buy a mattress. They are certainly better quality/value than any of the other options you have in the immediate area and they also offer the ability for a comfort adjustment within the first year.

Some of the better “possibilities” in the Eau Claire area are in post #3 here but I’m doubtful that I would go to any of these over Verlo (a few phone calls about the specific construction of the mattresses they offer would confirm this).

The better possibilities in the Green Bay / Appleton area are in post #2 here and if I was going to travel outside of Wasau, this is the direction I would probably go (after a few phone calls of course).

Milwaukee also has some good possibilities listed in post #2 here

The Minneapolis list is in post #2 here and there are also some good possibilities here but of course they are further away.

I think it’s likely that no matter what you choose with Sealy/Stearns & Foster that if the mattress by itself is the basis of your choice that you will end up with the same issues in about the same amount of time because they will all have the same weak links . The best option for an exchange would be to choose a mattress with a good quality support layer/component and the best quality and firmest comfort layers possible with the least amount of polyfoam and then add a topper for the comfort/pressure relief you need. This would extend the life of the foams on top of the mattress and the topper would be replaceable if it wore out faster than the rest of the mattress. This type of “component” sleeping system takes advantage of the fact that the top layers wear out faster than the deeper layers and makes the least durable layers replaceable … and the least durable layers are also higher quality and will last longer. A good example of this type of “base” mattress would be here which only has 1" of polyfoam in the upper layers. while it’s still not ideal (in terms of the value of the materials because the latex is still synthetic) … it is much better than any option where all of the comfort layers are built into the mattress itself.

Yes … they are certainly a better options than any of the mainstream brands IMO. There may be better value in some of the smaller manufacturers but all of these make better choices than what you have already experienced.

Hope this helps.


Re: Caught in the loop 16 Dec 2012 16:07 #5

From: TD-Max

So it looks to me like I shop Sealy/Stearns for what feels best and then look to break free from the loop. Found our last recept from 3 yrs ago and it says 5-1/2 yrs left on warranty so looks like the next one will fall outside the warranty. Not sure, but my guess is that I have a 25yr warranty with a 10 yr full then 15 prorate?

So I try to shop Sealy/Stearns online but when I go to Sealy it always takes me to I see Sealy proback series etc but it looks to me that this may be a Canada model?

Re: Caught in the loop 16 Dec 2012 16:45 #6

From: Phoenix

Hi TD-Max,

The Sealy website is here but it has very little information about the specifics of any of their mattresses.

In general … warranties have exclusions for impressions which means that if the materials soften but the permanent impression isn’t deep enough then this is considered to be “normal” and not a warranty issue. You are fortunate to have managed to get a warranty exchange because most warranty claims are denied (the impressions aren’t deep enough without any weight on the mattress or because of stains or other warranty exclusions).

As you know … the length of a warranty has little relationship to how long a mattress will last or the ability to do a warranty exchange for a mattress that has lost its comfort or support.

The Sealy Proback is Canadian and as you can see here … its goal is to "restore both retail prices and gross margins for retailers while reinforcing the value of product and the Sealy brand in the mind of the consumer. " In other words to have a story that justifies higher prices and margins. They are still very unlikely to provide any information about the quality of the materials they use except in the most generic type of way.

If you do exchange for a Sealy … with the intention of adding a topper … the key is to minimize the lower quality foam in the upper layers of the mattress to the degree possible.


Re: Caught in the loop 16 Dec 2012 17:14 #7

From: TD-Max

Stearns Romona Firm is what I am looking at right now, but I doubt that I’ll find one to try.

Re: Caught in the loop 16 Dec 2012 18:26 #8

From: Phoenix

Hi TD-Max,

It has some alternative names you can see here and there may be more as well. It shouldn’t be too hard to find under its various guises…

As you can see here … it has 5.5" of polyfoam and another 1/2" of fiber before you reach any latex or the innersprings.


Re: Caught in the loop 17 Dec 2012 07:21 #9

From: TD-Max

I’ll start looking at the gel series and see what they have to offer. I did call one store that I like and they have a floor model Quail Meadow that has both plush and firm sides to demo.

Any way to determine what warranty should have come with my Stearns and Foster Swanwick? It seems Stearns has a 25yr full on most models, but it’s looking like mine is only being treated as 10 yr.

Re: Caught in the loop 17 Dec 2012 11:59 #10

From: Phoenix

Hi TD-Max,

The warranty will be on the law tag as two numbers with a “/” between them. The number before the “/” is the non prorated period and the number after the “/” is the total warranty period.


Re: Caught in the loop 18 Dec 2012 07:10 #11

From: TD-Max

Thanks for the info.

The Swanwick is long gone 3yrs ago. almost to the day.

As for my saga it’s looking like I’ll pick out something from Sealy/Stearns for starters and then shop Verlo for either latex, dual sided spring core, or air.

Alternatively I may try Beloit mattress and see how their Latex line feels. Looks like they have reasonable prices and high quality with the key drawback being the 4 or so hrs travel time

Re: Caught in the loop 18 Dec 2012 11:25 #12

From: Phoenix

Hi TD-Max,

Outside of the travel time … Beloit would make a great choice and they are among the best quality/value in the country.

I know that 4 hours is a long way but it may be worthwhile testing Verlo mattresses and then talking to them on the phone to see if they may have something comparable to the mattresses you liked the best and then deciding if it’s worth a trip.

It may also be worth reading this article before considering an airbed.


Re: Caught in the loop 18 Dec 2012 15:59 #13

From: TD-Max

Well an evening of mattress shopping reminded me that no doubt the Stearns feel better than the Sealys by far. The firm units felt nice, plush felt better and pillow better yet. I keep getting sucked into the pillow tops. In the end we found 2 that stood out:

  1. Stearns luxury Latex “French Vanilla” which is a inner spring with latex in the comfort layer somewhere. Old model, priced right

  2. Stearns Luxury Estate Marilyn in a plush pillow top

The Marilyn felt really nice and a bit more solid/firm than another pilow that they had. Either the Caress Flex foam or the dual coils seemed to firm it up a bit even though it’s rated as being soft

Re: Caught in the loop 18 Dec 2012 18:23 #14

From: Phoenix

Hi TD-Max,

I think that the direction you are going will lead to an endless loop of similar experiences (mattresses with short lifetimes) in about the same length of time or sooner (in the case of pillowtops) as has already happened for you.

I’m guessing you are looking at these as replacements ? (because I certainly wouldn’t buy them).

If that’s the case … I would make sure you avoid polyfoam in the upper layers as much as possible (which means no pillowtops which will be an even bigger issue than tight tops).

I would always make sure you know the layers of any mattresses you are looking at (even if they don’t list the foam quality) and this includes any replacement mattresses you are considering.

I would then make a choice that is much firmer than you prefer and has the least possible amount of polyfoam in the upper layers.

Then I would add a high quality topper as your comfort layer.

This way you will have a much more durable sleeping system and you will be able to replace just a topper if this becomes necessary.

I’m not sure why you are looking at mattresses that have the same weak link as mattresses that have failed for you so many times in the past.

The price of a mattress, especially when you are talking about major brands with thick layers of lower quality materials, has little to do with its quality, suitability, or durability.


Re: Caught in the loop 19 Dec 2012 04:45 #15

From: TD-Max

What can I say I’m a glutton…

No seriously, if you said that for $10k I could buy the last bed that I’d ever have to buy and it would be perfect for 30+ years I’d probably do it.

At this point Sealy/Stearns needs to be held accountable and replace what I have. This is step one. From there I can look to move on. Hopefully I can do some convincing to move the new Stearns downstairs and find a new home for my old refurbished Restonic full size set.

So that said I need to choose the best pile of over priced junk that I can.

Why do you say that a pillow will fail worse than a tight top? My good man Glenn at Verlo made the suggestion that we look to a Firm pillow so that I as a back/coffin sleeper can get the support I need and she a side sleeper can get a bit of comfort.

FWIW The Stearns Felisha appears to have mostly latex and memory foams in it although I cannot find a spec on the composition of their caress flex foam. The Caress flex is a pretty firm density foam as it is segmented like a waffle iron and holds shape relatively well. This may or may not be the weak link.

Re: Caught in the loop 19 Dec 2012 05:43 #16

From: TD-Max

We tried the Graciella aka Jacalyn aka Rosita in plush EPT and it felt good. We also tried Nadine/Marilyn and it was notably better. Yes it had more comfort layers, but it also felt to be much firmer beneath. We did apparently try the Felisha aka Patti at Slumberland but did not make note of names at this point. I do recall that the pillows kept drawing me in though. All of the Stearns felt decent and the Sealy a bit firm yet unsupportive of my lower back.

All that we tested were plush pillows though and not firm pillows which I have pasted below:

Graciella Firm EPT: Comfort Layers: 2" HD Foam, Versare, 1"HD Foam, 1" Memory Foam
Graciella Plush EPT: Comfort Layers: 2" HD SuperSoft Foam, Versare, 1" HD Foam, 1 " Memory Foam

Felisha Firm EPT: Comfort Layers: 1.57" Smart Latex ; 1" Memory Foam, Versare, 2" CaressFlex Marvelux
Felisha plush EPT: Comfort Layers: 1.5 " IntuiSoft Smart Latex ; 1" Memory Foam, Versare, 2" CaressFlex High Performance

Nadine Firm EPT: Comfort Layers: 2" HD Foam; .79" Sense-Align Smart Latex, Versare, 1" HD Performance Foam, .79" Sense-Align Smart Latex, Eco Cotton + Wool, 2" CaressFlex HD
Nadine Plush EPT: Comfort Layers: 2" HD SuperSoft Foam; .79" Sense-Align Smart Latex, Versare, 1" HD SuperSoft Foam, .79" Sense-Align Smart Latex, Eco Cotton + Wool, 2" CaressFlex HD

So given the construction of the above would a guy be better trying the middle of the road for less “HD foam” ?

Re: Caught in the loop 19 Dec 2012 06:45 #17

From: Phoenix

Hi TD-Max,

Besides the layers that you’ve listed … all of them also contain even more polyfoam in the quilting layers (which are part of the comfort layers).

Quilt: FlameGuard™ Fiber, 1" Ultra Soft, .5 oz Fiber, 1" Hypersoft®

This by itself (2" of soft polyfoam and some synthetic fiber) would generally be enough for me to exclude a mattress (unless I knew the quality/density of the polyfoam was higher) much less with the additional polyfoam or memory foam that is in the layers you listed (everything listed as HD foam, Supersoft foam, CaressFlex, Marvelux, memory foam).

I wouldn’t consider buying any of these but if I was forced to consider one of the Stearns & Foster Estate series because of an exchange I would reluctantly look at one of the Ultra firm models (Twila or Felisha or one of the other names they use) which have less and firmer polyfoam in the upper layers (comfort layers and quilting layers combined) and then add a good quality topper to it.

I would probably choose the Felisha over the Twila because it only has 2" of polyfoam before you reach a synthetic latex layer while the Twila has 4" of polyfoam before you reach a very thin layer of synthetic latex.


Re: Caught in the loop 19 Dec 2012 06:53 #18

From: TD-Max

I did try one of the Ultra Firm models and was intrigued, but there’s no way on god’s green earth that my partner could stand one of these. I literally could feel the “edges” of the heavy foam as it conformed to my body. It’s hard to describe, but I’d say it felt like an ultra firm memory foam that allowed little to no compression. Truth be told I don’t know if even I could stand it as I need the comfort layers to come up and support my lower back.

Re: Caught in the loop 19 Dec 2012 08:37 #19

From: Phoenix

Hi TD-Max,

I think you may be missing most of the information in my posts.

The idea is to add your own higher quality comfort layer with a topper. In this case … the mattress by itself is not supposed to be “comfortable” … it would be the base mattress for a topper.

If you are looking for a “comfortable” version of a Stearns & Foster … it will have thick layers of “suspect polyfoam” and you will almost certainly have a repeat of the same issues you have already experienced … possibly even sooner if you go with a pillow top or eurotop.


Re: Caught in the loop 19 Dec 2012 09:12 #20

From: TD-Max

I’ve followed the topper thing and have definitely given it some thought. Problem is now we are in a gussing game again and looks like about $250 per attempt plus frt.

Why do you say the stearns pillow tops will fail more quickly?