Welcome to the Mattress Underground ! Thanks for your question.
[quote]My wife and I are beginning to research how best to put together a DIY mattress. Here is some background.
I am 5’10" 175lbs . My wife is 5’4" 120lbs. We both are combo sleepers, back and mostly side. We both like mattresses on the firmer side, and seem to sleep better on firm mattresses. When we are at hotels with firm beds we both seem to sleep well… We currently have a firm temper-pedic bed that has served well for 10 years and now needs to be replaced. I now wake up with a sore back. If I sleep on our leather couch, which is very firm, back is not sore. So I think we want to start with a firmer mattress.[/quote]
Congrats on your new DIY mattress journey ! It sounds like both you and your wife have a good understanding of your personal preferences in terms of firmness, you should be in good shape to begin narrowing down choices for materials/ construction consideration.
[quote]We were thinking hybrid with a Combi-Zone Pocket Coil by Leggett and Platt and 3" of medium/firm natural latex OR just straight latex with three 3" layers of natural latex ( i.e. one soft, one medium and one firm). We liked the hybrid idea with a little more traditional bounce in mattress along with a comfortable latex layer. But the latex ONLY approach gives us much more flexibility to sleep on and evaluate at home, with the option of switching the layer order (i.e. firm->medium->soft, or firm->soft->medium, or soft->firm->medium, etc). Allowing us to easily sleep on the different configurations and compare after a few nights of sleep on each.
Either of these builds would work well for your BMI and preferences, ed_mcm. Both a natural latex + L&P pocket coil hybrid or all latex mattress are available with separate comfort layers, allowing you to rearrange them for comparison. In terms of traditional “bounce” in a mattress, you could also achieve a springy, more lively feel in the comfort layers using Talalay latex above the support layer in an all natural latex mattress.
quote Am I accurate in saying that it would be easier to “configure” and dial-in the latex only approach, since we will have all the latex layers here and would just have to reconfigure the order of how the layers are placed. Or is it possible to do the same with the hybrid approach (maybe coils with three 1" inch layers of latex)?
Generally speaking, only the upper/ comfort layers of the mattress can be rearraigned within a separate zippered cover. The latex support/ core is generally a single solid piece which serves as the mattress base; there would be no rearranging options for its purpose. You can learn more about latex as a support core in Phoenix’s article, “Mattress Support Cores: Latex”.
quote Does the reconfiguring of the latex layers that I’ve described, really have a type of change in overall support/comfort that one might imagine it would?
Indeed, it would. Variables to consider are the type latex used in the layers, as well as the thickness and density/ ILD. Given your preference for a “firmer” feel, you may find the qualities of Dunlop latex to your liking, it is a denser, heavier product offering a firmer feel in any of its firmnesses than Talalay latex. Talalay latex is a more open-cell latex, known for its springy, lively responsive feel and wide range of firmnesses. You can learn more about these two foams in Phoenix articles, “Mattress Comfort Layers: Latex Foam” and “Latex: Pros and Cons”.
You may consider a TMU site search of the topic “DIY” as it is a hot topic of much consumer discussion. Good luck on your project and let us know how things go .