First, Phoenix, just like everyone else, I need to say THANK YOU for this amazing resource. We were on the verge of buying from a big box retailer when we decided to look into things a little bit more. Of course, that lead to TONS of research on this site and has helped us pretty much decide on a latex mattress from Brooklyn Bedding, but we still have some confusion over the ILDs.
We’ve e-mailed a bit with Jacob over at BB about the Bamboo Bliss and Aloe Alexis. We tried the Therapedic “Romantic Elegance” latex mattress at a store and really liked the general feel, but knew that 6" of latex would run us more than our budget. Even so, after some initial emails with Jacob, it seems that it’s worth it to splurge on the Aloe Alexis, and that’s currently our plan. But, we’re a little confused about what firmness to go with. The Therapedic had 3 layers of 2" each of 19 ILD, 24 ILD, 28 ILD natural talalay (and then foam). Jacob recommended to get a similar feel and that we go with a 24 ILD/28 ILD for the two 3" layers of the Aloe Alexis.
Given that the one we tried had 19 ILD on top, we’re curious on why we wouldn’t want to do 19 ILD on top. Are the 19 and 24 really not that far apart in terms of how ‘soft’ they are? We know we can switch out either layer easily with BB, but we still really want to get it right the first time. We’d love any advice here.
I would first of all caution you that I would personally never make a mattress choice based on the much more “limited” communication that is possible with emails and I would strongly encourage you to talk with them instead. You will get much more meaningful information on a more “interactive” phone call.
While I don’t know all the information you exchanged between you or the specific thought process behind his suggestion … I can say I do agree with it. There are many factors that contribute to how a mattress feels besides just the ILD of the layers and one of the most important of these is layer thickness. Their mattresses also have a thin layer of softer quilting foam and their layers are thicker so if you were to use a 3" layer of 19 ILD then for most people it would likely be softer than the one you tested which only had 2" of 19 ILD on top.
Translating one design into another that is different is a matter of “educated guesswork”, and “best judgement” and is not an exact science by any means. The closest equivalent can also vary based on body type and sleeping style which can determine how deeply you sink into the layers and which layers you would feel more. If there are two choices that are roughly equivalent then it’s always best to “err” slightly on the side of firmness rather than softness so 3" of 19 ILD along with the quilting foam would probably be softer than the one you tested and 3" of 24 ILD would probably be closer or perhaps just slightly firmer.