Dunlop Toppers as a core?

I am wondering if it is alright to use Dunlop toppers as a core and if so what would be best for the type of setup I am going for? I am 5’7" 140 lbs and primarily a side sleeper. I tend to shift from side to side. I was thinking of going with 2, 3" Dunlop toppers for a total of 6" and a 3" 4lb Aerus or 4lbEcoSleep(from Arizona Mattresses) memory foam topper. I am torn between the latex toppers, Sleep Warehouse has Latex Green 3" toppers with Med-Firm 5.2 lb density 28-30 ILD and Rocky Mountain has Med-Firm 5.2 lb density w/26ifd. Is this a good setup for me and if so which toppers would be best? Thanks for any help…

Hi marcusinct,

I would bear in mind that there are no specific ILD’s with Dunlop and that there is a fairly wide range of ILD’s in different “spots” across the surface of the layer. Most ILD’s that are listed for Dunlop are “estimates” and will vary aross the surface of the same layer so it’s best thought of as a “range” of ILD’s which will vary. Dunlop will also have a different ILD on the bottom of a layer than on the top. In other words … because the density of each is similar … the actual range of ILD’s in both materials will likely also be similar.

The only way to know for certain if something will work for you is to actually test it because it will depend on how all the layers interact with your body type and sleeping styles and there is no way to really accurately predict how any particular combination will feel and perform for any particular individual.

Having said that … because of your lower weight I would tend to choose core layers that are softer than someone that was higher weight. Medium would be my choice or in some cases (with thinner comfort layers) I may even go softer yet. This is because a softer Dunlop core can “help” the comfort layers but then will get firmer fairly fast as you compress it more so it can also be supportive.

Again though … these are just ideas to consider and only your own personal testing can know for sure. I would also ask each outlet how they think the toppers they are selling compare in terms of “feel” or about any feedback from their lighter customers. Not knowing for certain how it will feel to you is part of the “risk” of an online purchase but the good news is that asking good questions to the outlet can modify this to some degree. I would also consider buying one topper at a time so you can “rate” the layer according to your own perceptions. They may be a bit firmer than you are expecting.


Thanks so much for your help! I spoke to Greg at Arizona and he suggested a 6" soft 100% natural Talalay core with the topper of my choice. That’s what he sleeps on and he weighs more than I do. He said it is plenty supportive I was leaning towards a medium 28 ild but he said that might be too firm but I could always soften that up. Do you think a 6" soft Talalay core would be supportive enough with a 2" soft topper or would I be better off going with a medium Talalay with a soft Talalay topper? if that was too firm I would get a 2" piece of memory foam.

Hi marcusinct,

There is really no way to know this for sure without a reference point of a mattresses you have laid on and liked and provided feedback about. There are too many variables involved in each persons body types and sleeping positions (even with a specific weight and general sleeping positions) to predict this for sure except going by averages or using your own experiences on a specific mattress.

Generally a support layer in the range of 28 wold be considered “soft” for a support core but would be “firm” for a comfort layer. I’m not sure if he was suggesting softer than that for the 6" core or for the comfort layer but since he is the “expert” on the mattresses that they make and how all the layers interact with people that are similar to you … I would always go by recommendation that come from the more detailed conversations you have had with a manufacturer. An 8" mattress can work very well for very light people as well as very heavy people depending on the combination of softness and firmness of the comfort and support layers that are used and while a softer ILD than 28 would work for some people … I would hesitate to go below 28 ILD in a talalay latex core (again depending on other factors that would require a more detailed conversaton and specific feedback from testing mattresses). All natural talalay though will be a little denser, firmer, and more supportive in a core than the same ILD in blended Talalay although it is also more costly.

So overall … the “best” recommendations will always come from more detailed conversations with the manufacturers themselves who know every detail about the specifics of the mattresses they make and how they interact with others that are similar to you. In the absence of specific reference points from your testing … I am limited to making more “generic” general comments which of course I’m always happy to do.

You are in good hands :slight_smile:


Hey Phoenix,
He was talking about a 28 ild core I guess they call it soft and the 22ild pieces they call super soft, in 100% natural talalay.
Considering my height, weight and sleeping pattern, would I be better off with a 3" 22 top, or be better off getting it with the 2" and if I need more cushioning get another lower ild to add to the top? Also I was wondering about Blended latex. I know its oeko-tex certified to be free of anything harmful ,but if it’s made out of petro chemicals just like memory foam how come it’s safer than memory foam? I’m guessing memory foam has some other chemicals in it to make it"memory foam" but that is just a guess. Once again thanks for your help.

Hi marcusinct,

That makes more sense to me (28 as a “soft” support core).

The suitability of a particular layer or layering pattern would depend on a lot of variables that are more specific than just the general details of body type and sleeping position. For example … I am 6’5" and 195 lbs and a side sleeper and have a 28 ILD latex core and a 3" (@ 22 ILD) comfort layer on both sides in my mattress but I also tend to sink into a mattress more evenly than most and my “tolerance range” for alignment is probably wider than most (I have fairly good flexibility and am tall and thin) so I would hesitate and even “warn against” others that are similar to me in basic statistics or sleeping styles using this as a guideline and being “disappointed”. It was only extensive personal testing … particularly with the needs and preferences of my DH who was the primary “target” for the mattress that led to these choices which would not be good for most people.

Because you are also quite slim and co-incidentally have similar specs to my DH you may also do well on these layers. The flexibility and feel of a waterbed may also point to the use of soft latex layering as well (it would have a “somewhat” similar feel bearing in mind that water and latex are inherently very different).

One other thing I should mention is that with your lighter weight and the softness of the support layer that the odds are greater than you will be OK with 2" … especially if you have a rather thin “flat” body profile with less “curves” (my DH is quite “curvy” thus the thicker comfort layer). It may be “safer” to go in this direction because it’s easier to add some softness than it is to remove an inch to improve support.

Synthetic latex can use both petrochemical or non petroleum sources to make the styrene and butadiene that are the primary compounds used. Either way though … the finished product is co-polymerized or bound together very tightly and in the same way that sodium and chloride can be safe together but harmful by themselves … synthetic latex is very safe when it is fully “reacted”. Natural latex (from the tree) is primarily polyisoprene (with other proteins, fatty acids, and smaller amounts of other compounds included). Synthetic latex can be many different compounds (including polyisoprene) but in mattresses is usually SBR (Styrene Butadiene).

Polyurethane and memory foam uses a much more complex and potentially “harmful” array of chemicals in it’s manufacture and they are also more toxic individually but when they are fully reacted (without left over unreacted chemicals) then for most people they are also quite safe. Memory foam is basically polyfoam with certain chemicals added to favor the gelling reaction rather than the urethane reaction when the foam is poured. There may still be some people however who are sensitive at levels below the testing threshhold (and some people believe that the testing threshhold should be lower). This type of sensitivity would be much more rare with synthetic latex which more closely mimics a natural compound and many people who have MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities) do very well with blended latex even if they are sensitive to polyfoam or memory foam. Of course this is a very simple version of an amazingly complex subject which would require a degree in chemistry and materials science to either do it justice or fully understand it.

In other words … “safe” is always relative to the person and the testing standards and limits that a material has been subjected to. It’s quite likely that synthetic latex has a wider “safety margin” and passes the tests with more “room to spare” with certain compounds or VOC’s either because they are not used in the formulation of the latex at all or are present in smaller quantities.


Hey Phoenix,
thanks so much for the explanation about the makeup of blended latex. it’s a route I may go. Speaking of routes, I have been on the phone with a few different online latex sellers and while they don’t all seem to agree with types of latex, firmness etc… They all seem to agree that because of my height and weight, I am basically only using 6" of the mattress. So I was thinking about getting 2, 3" pieces of latex to start with and then build the rest of the mattress depending upon my needs after I sleep on the 6" for a while. So all things considered do you think this is a wise route and if so, in your estimation what would be the best configuration of latex types and firmness to start with. I was thinking 3" of medium dunlop under 3" of soft talalay or 3" of medium talalay under the 3" of soft talalay or 3" of firm talalay under the 3" of soft talalay. I’m guessing I want the best combination that will give me the most room to go softer or firmer with the 3rd layer. I have tried some Pure Latex Bliss mattresses and they were all pretty comfortable, some were more firm but not too uncomfortable so that’s why I’m leaning towards a firmer bottom layer. Again any guidance is much appreciated, you really know your stuff much more than alot of the big store mattress salesmen around my area. In fact, because of you and this site I’m starting to know more than them, lol.

Hey marcusinct;

I’m in the same boat as you; looking to build a latex mattress out of 2 toppers. Perhaps Phoenix will be able to help both of us out :slight_smile:

A little history first; I’m 5’9 145lbs. Bought a memory foam mattress a few years back but I ended up giving it to my parents because it made me too hot; been sleeping on an old innerspring mattress ever since. I’ve been reading that 100% all natural latex mattress with wool/cotton cover is the way to go for breath-ability and cooler sleep.

My plan right now is 1 medium soft 3" 100% natural 22-24 ILD Talalay on top and debating on getting another 3" Talalay, or 3" or 6" 100% natural medium ILD 23-27 Dunlop core.

Phoenix; do you think it’s better to go all Talalay for the sake of breath-ability? I’ve been reading that Talalay is better than Dunlop for this.

Marcusinct; how much do the 3" toppers that you’re looking at cost? The first link below is my talalay @ $420 and the other is the 6" dunlop @ $600.

Please let me know what you guys think; thanks!

Hi marcusinct,

The choice between Dunlop and Talalay is really one of preference rather than one being better than another. talalay has a more lively or "springy’ feel while Dunlop is (for lack of a better description) “heavy” both in weight and in feel. To exaggerate it a bit think angel food cake and pound cake.

I would agree that you are in the weight range where 6" would probably be enough but if you did have a thicker mattress it would still affect the feel to some degree even for a lighter person (although less). All the layers of a mattress compress simultaneously and a thicker mattress … all else being equal … will create a deeper cradle and feel “softer” than a thinner one of the same ILD. You certainly wouldn’t bottom out on 6" though and there is enough “room” in the mattress to combine your pressure relief and support needs. Because a thinner mattress will be firmer with the same amount of compression (it would be compressing to a greater percentage of it’s thickness) … it would make sense to go a little softer with a thinner mattress because it will firm up a bit faster.

So I’ll leave the choice of Talalay or Dunlop to you (it’s a preference but bear in mind that in same ILD’s Dunlop will be a bit firmer and less lively but you may not have the exact right selection to get that exact a comparison anyway) but I’d probably go in the range of soft (low 20’s) over medium (low 30’s). Of course this may have nothing to do with how you will actually feel about it because I don’t have a frame of reference to go by (you didn’t give a clear preference of the PLB mattresses and they are very different from each other) but it “should” be fine and leaves some room for some softening on the top if you need it (if the 24 is a little on the firm side with only 3" underneath it). Bear in mind too that the cover you choose (a good cover is a necessity) will also make some difference in the performance and feel.

Bear in mind too that you may be better off in terms of cost by buying a mattress from one of our online manufacturers that has either a 6" core or two 3" layers that already comes with the good quality cover you will need than you are in buying all the pieces separately and it may give you exchange possibilities that you wouldn’t otherwise have.


Hi Lude,

I think that post #4 here will give you some better sources for your latex.

Talalay has the edge over Dunlop in terms of breathability but bear in mind that the sleeping microclimate and temperature regulation is affected by the foam, the quilting and ticking materials (a good cover is a necessity), your choice of mattress protector, and the sheets you use so the foam is just one piece of the ventilation and coolness puzzle.

Bear in mind too that it may be less expensive to buy a mattress with the components that you are considering (either a 6" core or two 3" layers) with a good quality cover (which you will need anyway) than to put all the pieces together on your own and it may also give you more flexibility if you need to do any exchanges.

Other than that … my comments in the previous post will hopefully be helpful as well.


Hey Phoenix,
I think I understand. 2, 3" medium dunlop pieces would be a little bit softer, as a core, than 1 piece of medium because there is more cushioning, correct? I was also wondering about foundations. I am going to be using a platform base so is it better to go with a solid slatted foundation or a flexible one? I was thinking of going with this: Products - IKEA. Do you know if this goes on top of a platform(it looks like it should because it seems to have it’s own frame) or does it need to go inside a foundation? I’m guessing because it has a little bit of give it would make the mattress a little more lively? If not I can always get one of those Coconut fiber mats to put the mattress on I believe the mattress should be ventilated at the bottom too. Thanks again for any insight. It’s coming down to the wire. I must be crazy, after all of this information gathering I am getting excited to put it all together, lol.

Hey Lude,
you should check out Rocky Mountain Mattress. They are members of this site. I know Phoenix speaks very highly of them.
They don’t have Talalay pieces listed on the site but I have spoken with Dave and he says they will custom order them at pretty competitive prices. They also have Latex Green Dunlop pieces on their site at killer prices too!

Hi Lude:

I would be cautious of the eBay vendor you posted; see this link for my experience with MemoryFoamProducts aka Latex USA (same phone # in the shipping description):

Latex USA aka MemoryFoamProducts

I ended up going with Mattresses 24/7:
Matresses 24/7

Here is what they have in Queens:
Matresses 24/7 Queens

Good luck

Hi Marcusinct,

If you are comparing two 3" layers with a single 6" core, if the ILD’s and the materials were the same then the two 3" pieces would be very slightly softer because split layers act slightly softer than a single layer but it would not really be that noticeable with 6" of latex. If you are comparing a single 3" layer with 6" of the same material, then the 6" would be softer and if you were using the 3" layer by itself it would probably be very firm because it would be compressed to a much larger percentage of its thickness (and possibly bottoming out by itself meaning it has compressed to its maximum). In most cases though … two 3" pieces would be different ILD’s and a single 6" core would be a single ILD so the double layer (of firm/medium vs all medium for example) could be firmer because it would get firmer faster as the firmer lower layer took up the compression. Which was “better” would depend on the person and the amount of flexibility you wanted (in terms of re-arranging or exchanging layers), on the overall design of the mattress (any other layers), the price of a single layer vs separate layers, and how the complete mattress interacted with a particular person.

If you are using a solid platform bed then you don’t really need a foundation at all. If the platform base is slatted then you will be fine in terms of ventilation and if it is a solid surface … I would consider adding a something like the bed rug here or one of the slat conversions here (which has no flex at all) or even one of the Ikea slatted bed bases here (which has some flex which may change how the mattress feels and performs) between your mattress and the platform to provide added ventilation. While this may not be absolutely “necessary” … I tend to prefer more ventilation because it can lower the risk of mold and mildew and dust mites by encouraging a less humid environment.

These only fit on an Ikea Bed that is designed for them. It would be nice if Ikea made a basic base that could be used with their various tension or position adjustable foundations but they don’t so they can only be used on one of their beds and they won’t fit or be stable on a metal frame or a bed that wasn’t designed for them (I had a conversation with them about this and suggested she make the suggestion to Ikea as an employee suggestion). Of course a base that could add these on top could be an interesting DIY project but would require a method of securely attaching the slatted foundation to the base. They use what they called “beehives” and drilled holes in the bed and slatted base to attach the foundation to the bed (you can see them in the last page of the Malm bed instructions here) so you may be able to make some alterations to a platform bed to accommodate them.

Yes it would make the mattress a little more lively and provide the ability to do some fine tuning for support and pressure relief or any possible “deficiencies” of a 6" mattress if necessary. Unfortunately though as I mentioned it would need the Ikea bed to go with it so your bed options would be limited to these (unless there was a way to make them fit). I see you were ahead of me with the Coconut fiber mat and I hadn’t read this far when I suggested them earlier in the post :slight_smile:

The anticipation and excitement (mixed with a little fear) when you get down to final choices can be the hardest part of all but once everything comes together and you have a sleeping system that works the way you wanted it to … then it’s all worth it :slight_smile:


Thanks for all of your reply’s; this mattress is now at the top of my list Latex Mattresses On Sale - Latex Mattress Toppers - Phoenix, AZ

I just have to go test some Talalay latex mattress’s locally in Vancouver BC before I make a final decision.

Phoenix; I also would like to know what you think of the mattress below. I have a friend who works at the store and can get it at staff pricing which is around $1500. I know that big brand names are frowned upon but I’d still like to get an opinion :slight_smile: Should I start a new thread on this bed from The Brick or would you like to reply here?

Use V4N 1T8 as a postal code:

Thanks again!

Hi Lude,

I certainly don’t mind answering a few “non related” questions in this thread as long as it doesn’t take on a life of its own and marcusinct is OK with it. If it becomes more involved or complicated then I can always switch your posts and my replies to a new thread.

The problem with the Stearns & Foster is that they don’t list all the materials in their mattress so there’s no way to know it’s quality or value or what the “weak link” in the mattress may be. The coil innersprings they use are good quality and the microcoils are also a good component but they are not nearly as expensive a component as a high quality foam (such as latex) and they don’t list what else is in the mattress besides the inch of unknown density gel memory foam. I wouldn’t pay $1500 for it (or any mattress) without knowing all the layers that were in it. I can tell you for certain that it’s not the same quality or value as the that you linked though. Just as a point of reference … also has two similar mattresses … one using blended talalay for less and one that has natural talalay and an upgraded cover for the same price. Both of these offer choices in the firmness of the support core and come with a zip cover if you need to exchange a layer (or replace a layer down the road).

Some of the better choices in the Vancouver area are listed in post #2 here. I would do some price comparing before purchasing anything locally though because there is a range of prices among the outlets and of course I would also use (with shipping and any costs involved across the border) as a reference as well.


Hey Phoenix,
Thanks for all your help. I’m pretty much set on the mattress but I have decided to buy a new platform frame. I was going to use my existing waterbed frame but I would have to buy the fiber mat and a large piece of plywood for the base, so I have opted to go for a new frame :slight_smile: I have found a nice hardwood platform. It comes with 12 slats that are 3 3/4" apart. I know that is too large for a latex mattress. They have the option of going with 16 or 24 slats as an upgrade. The 24 slats are 1/2" apart and the 16 slats are 1 1/2" apart. which would be best? Thanks again for your help!

Hi marcusinct,

Normally a 14 slat platform provides the bare minimum recommended 3" or less gap so the 12 slat version is just shy. Which of the alternatives you mentioned would be best would depend on the construction and strength of the slats because it’s important that the surface is flat and rigid and doesn’t “bend” with weight (unless you are using a type of foundation that is designed for this).

Considering your weight though and assuming that the slats are of normal strength and quality, I would think that the 16 slat version would be fine.