Final advice before purchasing Latex Mattress

This forum has been very helpful in doing research for our upcoming mattress purchase. We dodged a bullet by not buying one of those national brand inner spring mattresses. I was hoping for some final advice before pulling the trigger no a King Latex mattress from Arizona Premium Mattress company. They seem to have the best mix of “value” for me. We decided to go with Latex because above all, we value durability. My current national brand inner spring mattress is no longer comfortable and didn’t even last 6 years. I am a little worried about ordering online but the price premium for something similar locally (twin cities, MN) is too great.

Here’s some more information about my wife and I. I am 6’, 153 lbs and skinny. I start the night on my back but usually turn to my side. Both of these sleep positions feel natural to me. I don’t have a big butt so when I am on my back, if the mattress is too soft, my hips sink too far pulling on my spine. I think for this reason, I prefer a firmer mattress. But since I have a skinny waist , if the mattress is not soft enough, my hips and shoulders don’t sink in enough and my side collapses into the mattress. I tend to sleep cold. My wife is 5’6 around 123 lbs. She’s has very wide hip bones, broad shoulders, and a narrow waist. She starts off the night on her side but she also sometimes turns onto her back. I’m not sure if the back and forth for both of us is due to an uncomfortable mattress. She has a bigger butt than I (good thing she is not going to read this), so she can tolerate a softer mattress when lying on her back. Her curvy shape and general preference is for a softer feel. She also sleeps hot.

We did try some local latex mattresses. Here’s a summary.

Original Mattress Factory #1:
6" core of 60/40 blended talalay 4.1 density 30-34 ILD

We both felt this was nice while laying on our backs. My wife wanted maybe a slightly softer feel. On our sides, we thought the mattress was not soft enough.

Original Matterss Factory #2:
6" core of 60/40 blended talalay 4.1 density 30-34 ILD
2" convoluted topper 3.2 density 17-21 ILD
1.25" convoluted 1.5 density 15 ILD + 0.25" 1.2 density 36ILD quilted polyfoam

This mattress was way too soft for both side and back sleeping positions.

RoomandBoard made by Restwell
6" 5.5 densitiy 34 ILD 100% Dunlop
1.5" 5 density 20 ILD 100% Dunlop
1.7 oz Joma wool quilted to cotton cover on soft side
1 oz Joma wool quilted to cotton cover on firm side

We thought the soft and firm side were both too firm for side sleeping. We would have liked something a little bit softer than the soft side. On our sides, my waist sunk down and my alignment was not straight. For back sleeping on the firm side, the spine alignment was good but we didn’t like the hard feel of the mattress.

Savvy Rest at Moss Envy
We both liked 3" Firm Dunlop + 3" Medium Dunlop + 3" Soft Talalay. My wife could have went softer (ST, SD, FD) on her side and I could have went firmer (MT, MD,FD) on my back. This isn’t as reliable though since we didn’t know much about what to look for when we tried it out.

I hope this is enough information to determine what the best fit mattress would be at Arizona Premium Mattress Factory. Currently leaning towards a medium 32 blended talalay core + a 2" 22 blended talalay topper. I don’t know if it would be worthwhile to do the 3" 19 topper upgrade. If we do 3", does that mean we go to a firmer core?

I also don’t know what mattress cover to get: bamboo or organic. They say the Bamboo is a free upgrade but what makes it better and more expensive? Is it more durable, sleeps cooler/warmer, etc? I never really understood why the feel of the cover material is important if you are putting sheets on top of it. I believe the bamboo cover feels firmer and the organic cover is thinner so you are closer to the feel of the latex? The bamboo cover will further compress as time goes on and become firmer, right?

I also wanted to confirm that the blended talalay latex is the best for price, durability, and for not sleeping on poisonous materials (chemical fire retardants and memory foam off gassing, etc).

I also wanted to know if there is a benefit to two sided flippable latex mattresses. Would it be worth the upgrade to do this?

Do you have any recommendations on pillows as well? Size, shredded vs contour vs standard solid? What about materials (latex, memory foam, polyester, down)?

Looking forward to hearing back before pulling the trigger. Thanks in advance.

I am also from the Twin Cities and have been endlessly researching a latex mattress purchase for weeks. I also tried the beds at O.M. Factory and Moss Envy but I found the best value going with the Natural Mattress Co. in Crystal. It is just a woman working out of her home, but you can try out different latex layers and see what combination works best. Her prices couldn’t be beat, even compared to the recommended outlets online mentioned here all the time. She deals with 100 % dunlop and the covering is made locally with cotton/wool. I ordered a king in S/M/F layers just last week so I’m eagerly waiting for it now.

Hi rapscalli0n,

You seem to be down to final choices between “good and good” which means there is nothing to “exclude” because it’s a poor choice that any final decisions will be based on the objective, subjective, and intangible factors that are most important to you rather than the more typical “better worse” or in many cases “worse worse” choices that most consumers end up with.

Just as “point of interest” … OMF usually has their matresses on an “active” box spring which can change the feel and performance of the mattress compared to the same mattress on a solid non flexing foundation. When you test the latex mattresses here it’s usually a good idea to test it on a solid foundation such as an adjustable bed to make sure you can feel the mattress itself and not the combination of mattress/box spring which will give you a more meaningful guideline about the type of layering they use.

These are Dunlop latex which is typically firmer than Talalay in the same ILD but I would also question the accuracy of the ILD rating for the 1.5" comfort layer. 5 lb density Dunlop is typically much firmer than 20 ILD so I would think that either thedensity or the ILD was incorrect and it’s not surprising that you found it firmer if the density was correct. The thickness of the comfort layer is also thinner so you would feel more of the even firmer Dunlop below it.

This could also provide a good guideline and when you are looking at a different design then I would put more weight on the top two layers than on the bottom layer in terms of 'approximating" it.

I would of course share your experiences with Ken when you talk with him about the design you plan to choose because they could be helpful when you are deciding on the specific design and layering that you prefer.

It may be worthwhile re-testing the OMF mattresses on a solid surface to see if you notice any difference because it has a similar design to one of the options they carry (6" base with a 3" top layer). Again … these kinds of questions that relate to a specific mattress you plan to order are always better as part of a conversation with the manufacturer themselves who knows more about their designs than anyone else. There is much more generic information about body type, sleeping positions, and different types of layering in the mattresses section of the site which can give you some insights into the theory and ideas behind different designs but because of the many variables of different body types, sleeping styles, and preferences involved, these are not specific suggestions for any particular person but just information that can help you better understand some of the ideas behind the different types of choices. Rather than becoming the expert though … I would work directly with them on the phone because they already know what you would otherwise need to learn and are the best source of guidance about their own mattresses and designs.

there really is no “best for the price” because different people have different preferences for different reasons and this would depend on the individual preferences of each person. Both types of Talalay have the same Oeko-Tex certification (level 1 safe for babies) and in the lower ILD’s blended would likely be more durable than 100% natural Talalay. You can see more about this in post #6 here but I think (and I know that Ken would probably agree) that for most people the blended would be better overall value.

Any two sided mattress would be more durable than the same mattress in a one sided version (if you flip it regularly) but it also changes the design possibilities because you now have a different material on the bottom (softer latex) so you can’t use layers that are too thick in a two sided design or it may affect support. If the mattress matches your needs and preferences … then a two sided mattress is a value bonus because of the extra cost of finishing or quilting the mattress on both sides and because it will improve durability even with an already very durable material like latex. One other consideration is that many one sided layered designs have removable layers which can be replaced without replacing the whole mattress so even if the top layers are a little less durable because they are softer and closer to the top of the mattress (more subject to stress) they provide flexibility to make comfort changes down the road and to replace a single layer which would also be much more cost effective than replacing a whole mattress which in its own way is a durability or at least a “value bonus” as well.

Pillows have some “needs” connected to them just like mattresses because different body types and sleeping positions need different types of pillows but personal preferences plays a much larger role with pillows than it does even with mattresses. There is lots more information and links and feedback about various pillows in the pillow thread here.

Hope this helps … and I think the most important part of any final choices is to make sure you take all the things that are connected with any mattress purchase into account which of course includes the “raw value” of mattress and its design but also all the other options and benefits that come from dealing with a particular retailer or manufacturer which can be just as important a part of your personal value equation.


Hi rapscalli0n,

I was also impressed in my conversation with Deborah (which is why they are in the Minneapolis list) and they are certainly making some good quality and value mattresses. They are actually a little more than some of the online members here but when you take into account the lower risk of actually being able to test a mattress before you buy it and use a 20% difference as being comparable local value compared to an online purchase (which is in the range that I would suggest using) then they are definitely good value as well and I would certainly include them in my research and give them strong consideration if I was in the Minneapolis area.


Thanks for all the replies.

I just spoke with Deborah at the Natural Mattress Co. They seem to be an interesting little company but I came away with some questions.

  1. They supply the parts for the mattress but don’t have the fire barrier certification to sell the mattresses whole. I assume the materials are pretty much the same as other manufacturers with the certification so that they should perform similarly. Is the difference only the paper that says they are fire test certified? Is it even important to have a special fire barrier in the mattress for the consumer if I don’t plan on smoking in bed or using a heating pad?

  2. There was a mention that 100% natural Talalay from Latex International had silica in it which dramatically shorten its lifespan. Is there truth to this? They seem to like Dunlop better than Talalay (especially the blended variety). It’s hard to decide when everybody has contradicting opinions on matters depending on what they sell.

  3. What are the merits of a 3" + 3" + 3" design versus a 6" + 3" design? Is it mainly patents or does one work better than the other. Each manufacturer of each type always touts that theirs is the best. For example, the 3+3+3 supposedly can be more configurable but proponents of the 6+3 design say that we shouldn’t put a softer layer under a firmer layer. Again, it’s always tough to know who to believe. So for our weights, only 6" of the mattress matter for either design since we won’t be bottoming it out?

  4. There seems to be even more choices with this company. How do I know how much wool I want in the cover? How do I choose whether I get a quilted (two sided fabric with wool in between) or raw batting+case? Do people usually wash their removable covers or will a mattress cover pretty much protect the case? What type of quilting pattern should I choose and how will each affect the feel of the mattress? I think sometimes more choices make the decision harder.

  5. Since they just sell the parts, what stops the public from just buying latex directly from a wholesaler or from the manufacturer?

Hi rapscalli0n,

As you mention … these are not mattresses but component parts that you put together yourself at home and they have not passed the 1632 or 1633 fire code.

As far as a fire barrier goes … some people may consider a fire barrier to be important and some would be very happy not to have it and avoid the the chemicals that some of them contain (although some fire barriers such as wool that are used in more “natural” mattresses to pass the test this would not be a concern). The actual materials they are selling use the same latex as many other manufacturers yes. You can read more about fire barriers and the complex and controversial issues surrounding mattress “safety” and chemicals in a mattress in post #2 here. People who are sensitive to the chemicals used in some fire barriers can also get a prescription for a chemical free mattress which allows a manufacturer to sell a mattress without a fire barrier.

I know the blended Talalay contains filler (a form of silicate material is used) but I’ve never asked them about their 100% natural formulation although I would imagine it contains them as well. Fillers can shorten the life of a foam or reduce its cost or they can add various desirable properties to the foam including durability as well. It’s never as simple as just “fillers are bad” and it all depends on the specific formulation and chemistry of the foam and the type and amount of fillers used. There is more about the different types of latex in this article and post #6 here

I usually don’t buy into any “best worst” arguments. Everything usually has a tradeoff of some kind and what is “best” is up to each person to decide based on their preferences. 3 layer mattresses have the advantage of being able to re-arrange or exchange more layers to adjust the feel and performance of the mattress in more ways than a 2 layer mattress. Even a 1 layer mattress that matches someone’s needs and preferences would be fine for the person that prefers it and in that case there would be no reason for more. Sometimes simpler or less complex can be easier to predict in terms of changes and there can also be cost advantages to layers that don’t need to be cut from the original 6" core.

There is nothing intrinsically “wrong” with putting softer latex under firmer latex to a point. I would tend to avoid thick layers of any soft material on the bottom of a mattress (although thinner layers such as those in a two sided mattress are usually fine as well) because it could affect alignment and support but other than that the sky is the limit and each person can decide for themselves which type of layering they prefer or best matches their needs and preferences.

A firmer layer over a softer layer in certain types of mattress designs is called a “dominant layer” and some people even prefer its feel and performance although it’s typically done with relatively thinner layers of firmer foam over thicker layers of softer foam or in quilting layers. If 6" of latex matches your needs and preferences then there is nothing wrong with that either although thinner mattresses will tend to be firmer than thicker mattresses with the same layers on top of it and may not be as adaptable to different body types and sleeping positions as thicker layering. At your weight you certainly wouldn’t bottom out on 6" of latex but only you can decide if it matches your needs and preferences in terms of PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences).

Again … I would avoid the type of thinking or assessment that thinks in terms of “better or worse” and find out where in the range you may be with any choice you have. The best way to answer these types of questions is to talk with them so they can explain the advantages and disadvantages of the different options they offer and then make a choice based on the benefits and tradeoffs that are most important to you. The more wool you have on top of the latex the more it will affect the feel of the latex and its ability to compress and take your shape under your weight and the more you would feel the properties of the wool. Wool is also very good at controlling temperature and humidity in a mattress. Some people even have a thick wool topper on top of their mattress because they love the feel of sleeping on thicker layers of wool and others have as little wool as possible or no wool at all so that they can feel more of the latex comfort layers. All of this is personal preference.

Your questions and uncertainty also reinforces the argument mentioned in the two or 3 latex layer question that sometimes less options are “better” because they can help alleviate uncertainty and make choices easier :slight_smile:

Some covers are washable and some aren’t. Again these are questions that should go to the retailer or manufacturer themselves so they can give you the answers that apply to the materials and components they sell.

Nothing stops it. In general manufacturers and wholesalers don’t sell to the public in small quantities but many people buy component parts to make their own DIY mattresses. You can see some examples of where you can buy these in post #4 here. If you go in this direction and decide to work outside the guidance of a mattress manufacturer, most people will find that mattress layering and design and the selection of components can be more complex and takes more skill and knowledge than they were prepared for and often end up spending more than they would have if they had worked with a mattress manufacturer who sells mattresses with exchangeable layering that could have helped them avoid all the mistakes they made.


Your responses are very helpful although I feel as I get more information, I continue to torment myself with all the variables. I agree there is no universal “best” for everybody but given the info on our needs/preferences, we I almost need an authority to vindicate the final decisions or I’ll continually second guess myself. I almost want to become an expert in the foam layer and quilting interactions since I always find it hard to trust the opinions of someone trying to sell me something. Even two salesmen from the same company can try to push me towards two different directions. That’s why I respect your opinion so much since you have nothing to gain/lose from what you tell me.

How thick is too thick? Is 3" too thick? If I were to upgrade to a 3" topper and it was too soft for me, would it be a viable option to put a 6" 32 ILD talalay core on top of the 3" 19 ILD topper?

Also, with all the stories of latex mattresses from the 50’s/60’s lasting until now, what were those made of? Talalay or Dunlop? Blended or 100% Natural?

Hi rapscalli0n,

The Dunlop process was invented in 1929 and the Sears mattresses sold in the 40’s, 50’s and later were natural Dunlop often in firmer layers that were often only 4" thick. The Talalay process was invented in the late 1930’s and was refined and made commercially viable in the late 1940’s. It gained in market share and by the late 1960’s it had captured about 40% of the US latex market share. At that time the Talalay being produced was blended so when you hear stories about latex from that time lasting decades it would typically be either a single layer of natural Dunlop like the Sears mattresses or blended Talalay. The focus on natural products didn’t really exist at the time and many of the stories you hear don’t differentiate the type of latex. Latex International introduced their 100% natural Talalay in North America less than 10 years ago mainly to attract the growing market for natural products.

I would think that there are more Dunlop stories about latex mattresses lasting decades that are documented than there are Talalay (you can see one example here) but I have talked with manufacturers that have worked with and have personal experience with both types lasting decades.


Thanks Phoenix. It’s good to know that Dunlop and blended Talalay have such a good track record. Maybe my next mattress in 30 years will be natural Talalay depending on how it proves itself in the field. It makes me more comfortable going with the blended Talalay as long as the SBR in the blend doesn’t cause health concerns. Can’t be as bad as memory foam, right?

I can’t remember if I read it on this site, but is there truth to the claim that the Dunlop cellular structure is like a snowflake and the Talalay cellular structure is more spherical? Therefore, when forces apply, the snowflake structure tends to crush and break while spheres are more resilient?

Also, any thoughts on post #7?

I appreciate all the help!

Hi rapscalli0n,

You probably read it on the Pure Latex Bliss > How is Talalay Latex different than Dunlop Latex? who just happen to sell Talalay latex mattresses. The part about the different cell structure is correct … but I don’t share their thoughts about Dunlop being less durable because it also has a higher density than Talalay. Post #6 here also talks about the different cell structures between the two types of latex and has more information about SBR vs NR latex as well.

[quote]Also, any thoughts on post #7?

Your responses are very helpful although I feel as I get more information, I continue to torment myself with all the variables. I agree there is no universal “best” for everybody but given the info on our needs/preferences, we I almost need an authority to vindicate the final decisions or I’ll continually second guess myself. I almost want to become an expert in the foam layer and quilting interactions since I always find it hard to trust the opinions of someone trying to sell me something. Even two salesmen from the same company can try to push me towards two different directions. That’s why I respect your opinion so much since you have nothing to gain/lose from what you tell me.[/quote]

In general most people have a choice between either becoming an expert or connecting with experts who already know what they would otherwise need to learn. In many cases … information about mattress materials and construction is so complex and such a combination of intuitive and technical knowledge that you will not even find consensus between different people who have been making mattresses for many years. In other cases there are multiple pathways to a similar outcome and each one may be more familiar with or prefer a different one. I’ve mentioned on many occasions that one of the “triggers” that has spurred some of the most detailed research I have done is when two people whose opinions I both respect hold completely different views about the same topic so I try to find out how each person’s experience and beliefs can be correct in spite of the fact that they are so different. In most cases … the resolution to how they can both be right is in different applications and a different set of variables. In other cases it’s just a matter of different people having different preferences and experiences. When you are at the level of fine details there are often no “black and white” answers and it usually depends on the specific circumstances and the other influences that are involved. when there are no “absolute answers” you have to connect many dots and then go by “preponderance of the evidence” rather than by absolute fact alone. Learning curves also are very steep and never seem to end as more information becomes available and thoughts and ideas change as new information or new materials, components, or designs become available.

There comes a time of diminishing returns where more information will only increase “paralysis by analysis” and by this time you are usually looking at such fine details that the differences between them in real life experience are probably not as important as you may think at the time. Most people who tend towards the more analytical side of their mind will never reach a point of absolute certainty. When you feel yourself second guessing everything then it’s usually a good indication that you are becoming overly analytical and not working with the feedback from your body or trusting the “educated intuition” side of your mind enough. Too little information can be “dangerous” and lead to poor decisions but too much information … especially when it’s more technical and there are no absolute answers available and every question has an “it depends” in the answer … can be just as frustrating and lead to no decisions at all. It also carries the danger that a decision will be based more on “theory” than on what your body tells you and the experiences of your body are “real life” and not theoretical. Very few questions about mattresses can be answered without considering the context and the influences of many other variables that are part of the answer.

In terms of “how thick is too thick” it would depend on the specific layering of the mattress, the type of construction used, the experience of the manufacturer who sells it, the variables connected with you, and many others as well. I have talked with manufacturers that at one point used 3" layers on each side that didn’t work well in terms of durability and then changed the design or type of construction and now sell a mattress that still has 3" layers on each side that work very well. Sometimes an answer can only come from long term experience because there is no mathematical formula that can take every variable into account. In general terms though I would become very cautious when you go past the 3" mark.

In terms of putting a 6" layer of 32 ILD on top of 3" of 19 ILD … I would ask why you even wanted to consider it. It would certainly increase the probability of having issues either immediately or down the road and I don’t see the benefit that would offset the potential risk. If a 3" topper doesn’t work then I would “fix” the topper … not put it on the bottom of the mattress unless there was a specific and compelling reason to do so and the probability of success was very high (or your own experience confirmed that the specific issue you were trying to resolve was resolved).


In addition to the post above, I have been trying to do some research regarding the mattress cover materials. Could you confirm if some of the information I learned below is a bit of misinformation from the internet or mistaken salesmen?

I’ve seen that two environmental factors can degrade the latex: oxygen and UV light.

To prevent damage from oxygen, I heard from a salesman that Latex manufacturers add antioxidants to the material. Are you familiar with the additives for each of the manufacturers? Along this line, are there materials in the cover that also protect from oxygen? I’ve heard that the fact that the mattress is enclosed in the ticking provides protection but it seems counter intuitive when they also say that the mattress breathes to keep you cool. Doesn’t that mean that the air flows through the bed and uniformly degrades the latex throughout? Is wool, cotton, or bamboo better for oxygen protection?

For UV protection, I read that the bamboo covers are a viscose rayon and that it has minimal UV protection. Additionally, processed bamboo has none of the natural bamboo’s anti-bacterial properties. It does have superior breaking tenacity, moisture wicking, and moisture absorption. The Joma wool used does have good UV protection but I assume this material is not placed on the sides of the mattress. Does that mean this is the weak area with regards to UV protection? I also read that Joma wool provides good thermal regulation, and is breatheable and resilient. Apparently the Joma wool has an additional crimp applied that makes each hair act like a spring. This allows air circulation and provides an air cushion under the body. The more wool, the greater the water vapor and temperature diffusion. The other option for mattress cover is the organic cotton covers. The link below is a study of how naturally pigmented cotton provides good UV protection while bleached cotton provides poor UV protection. The fabric sample I got from Savvyrest seems to be a naturally pigmented cotton but the pictures of the Arizona Premium Mattress Cover looks like it is bleached. Does organic cotton usually mean no bleaching? Also, does the organic wool mean that they don’t add the extra crimp in the wool fiber like Joma wool and therefore performs less efficiently?

Hi rapscalli0n,

[quote]I’ve seen that two environmental factors can degrade the latex: oxygen and UV light.

To prevent damage from oxygen, I heard from a salesman that Latex manufacturers add antioxidants to the material. Are you familiar with the additives for each of the manufacturers? Along this line, are there materials in the cover that also protect from oxygen? I’ve heard that the fact that the mattress is enclosed in the ticking provides protection but it seems counter intuitive when they also say that the mattress breathes to keep you cool. Doesn’t that mean that the air flows through the bed and uniformly degrades the latex throughout? Is wool, cotton, or bamboo better for oxygen protection?[/quote]

There are other factors as well but these are the two main ones. Don’t forget that it is not exposure to air as much as exposure to sources of ozone (more specifically ground level ozone) and ultraviolet light that causes the degradation and thicker covers can help with exposure to both. You can see more about both in these in articles articles such as this.

You can also read a much more about the antioxidants that could be added to latex in more detailed articles like this or subscribing to studies like this or with google searches for terms like “rubber antioxidant” but the specifics of each manufacturers latex formulations are a closely guarded secret. Antioxidents are also depleted over time as they are used up.

I don’t know about any specific detailed studies that have compared specific cover materials or fabrics with their specific effects on different types of latex. I doubt they exist. I would personally consider the experience of manufacturers and others that have worked with latex for decades though as being reliable and it clearly indicates that better quality and thicker covers that protect the latex from light and ozone and other factors that can degrade it through abrasion or chemistry will clearly extend the life and reduce the oxidation of latex. More than this (or information that is available with more detailed google searching and reading many lengthy and often contradictory articles) you would probably need to enroll in a course in rubber chemistry.

This is probably true IMO as well.

If wool is used as a fire barrier then it is used on the sides as well.

You can find some more information about bamboo and wool in the links in post #11 here which may help you decide what to believe (or not) or the level of detail and time you wish to take with your research.

I think that the rest of your questions with the level of fine detail and certainty you are looking for could involve many months or perhaps years of research with the law of diminishing returns being the rule rather than the exception if the links I’ve provided, your own research and google searching, or conversations with each manufacturer are not detailed enough and you need more “absolute” answers (which may not even exist).


The manufacturers tout their layered designs as “adjustable” and claim the numerous combinations to help fine tune the feel of the mattress without exchanging layers. With the 6" + 3" design, the only adjustability then would be to put the 6" on top of the 3" latex. I am trying to think through the combinations that provide useable flexibility without exchanging just in case I get it wrong. If putting the 3" 19 ILD layer on the bottom, to get a feel closer to the 32 ILD, isn’t feasible then the only option is to replace it with the 19ILD with a 28 ILD top layer. Otherwise, if it were a 6" + 2" design, the options are to put the 22 ILD 2" piece on the bottom or replace the 6" core piece with a 28 ILD or 36 ILD. I’m not sure (6+3 or 6+2) provides better options for getting the right fit with the least amount of money to ship.

On a similar note, do you have an opinion on a one piece top latex layer versus a two piece split top layer?

I’ve also been researching pillows. I know pillows are highly subjective to each person so I’ll just have to try each type in person. However, if I buy a solid latex standard or contoured pillow, and it didn’t work well enough for me, is it easy to convert it into a shredded latex pillow to have a feel similar to down pillows? I’ve tried looking up if anybody has done this themselves but couldn’t find anything. I’d assume you could just pinch off pieces but I also don’t know if there’s more filling in the ones you buy pre-shredded than the materials in a solid pillow.

I just naturally have a very curious mind and really like knowing how things work. Let me know if these questions start getting annoying and I’ll dial it back.

Since the cover pretty much protects the latex, would it do more harm than good to open the mattress cover and flip the latex pieces to even out the wearing pattern? Even if the mattress isn’t ever opened, is the zipper itself a weak spot for environmental intrusion?

Hi rapscalli0n,

The adjustability of a two layered mattress would be limited to turning the base layer upside down (some types of latex are firmer or softer on each side) or using it upside down (which would be a compelling reason if it accomplished what you were looking for). Beyond this they are also adjustable by exchanging layers to change the feel and performance of the mattress. Both of these are more “adjustable” and provide more options than a typical mattress but are not are not as adjustable as a mattress that has more layers.

The specific layering you choose would be a matter of your own personal testing on mattresses in combination with conversations with each manufacturer you are considering (and each may have different suggestions based on their own design, beliefs, and differences in their materials or components).

This would be based on personal preference. There is more about the pros and cons of split layering in post #2 here. Splitting the top would make a bigger difference in the pressure relief and secondary support (that fills in the gaps in the sleeping profile) on each side while splitting the bottom would have more of an effect on the support on each side although every layer affects every other layer in a mattress to differing degrees.

With some time and effort you could probably do this although most shredded latex is made with an actual shredder so I don’t know the most effective way of shredding the latex on your own or make the size of particles you thought would be most effective. You would probably also need to make sure the cover didn’t allow latex particles or dust to come through depending on how you did the shredding. Particle size and shape, the softness of the latex, the amount of filling in the cover, and the cover material itself will all make a difference in the texture and feel of the pillow but I’ve never tried this myself either.


I finally ordered a king size blended talalay mattress from Arizona Premium Mattresses with the Bamboo cover. I think the blended talalay and bamboo cover is the best combination for durability and price.

To reduce risk, I am having the cover and half of the mattress shipped first. The extra shipping was marginal ( ~$8 ). I also opted for the 3" topper upgrade which gives flexibility between the 19 ILD and 28 ILD options. This way, we get to try out the 32 ILD core with 19 ILD topper first and make adjustments with the second shipment. For example, to get the mattress firmer, I would have them send a 28 ILD topper or a 36 ILD core. If I wanted a softer mattress, I could get a 28 ILD core.

Hi rapscalli0n,

Good thinking … and I like your “risk management” approach!

Thanks for your feedback as well and most of all … congratulations on your new mattress :slight_smile:

I’m looking forward to your comments once you’ve received it.


Hey Phoenix,

Here’s a quick review of my thoughts and experiences so far with Arizona Premium Mattresses.

We purchased half of the mattress, a 32 ILD 6" blended Talalay core with a 19 ILD 3" blended Talalay topper. It did take the full 4 weeks to arrive, which I don’t know how that compares to other companies. My wife and I took turns trying out the bed over the course of two weeks. I thought that the mattress was a little soft for back sleeping but too firm for side sleeping. My wife and I are both light and skinny, so our sides dipped down. We decided to have Ken send a 28 ILD core only so that we could try both a firmer and softer configuration before ordering the topper. Ken ended up sending a 28 ILD topper and a 32 ILD core. I contacted them via email and Ken owned up to the mistake. He said he would send out a 28 ILD core. With all the combinations, I could choose the best one and then we could return the rest with a prepaid shipping label. In the meantime, we tried the 28 ILD topper with 32 ILD core and found that it was way too firm even for back sleeping. At that point, we decided to have Ken send the 19 ILD topper with the 28 ILD core at the same time.

Overall, I am very impressed so far with the integrity that Ken runs this business and would definitely recommend them to friends and family. At some point, I will post higher quality pictures of the two types of mattress cover materials they sent me as samples. I couldn’t find them before I ordered and I think it will help others who are thinking about Arizona Premium Mattresses.

At this point, I need a little bit of advice. I’ve now had a chance to try out the 28 ILD core + 19 ILD topper. One thing that I don’t like is that the 28 ILD core is not the same height as the 32 ILD core. Therefore, I see the divide very clearly through the sheets. Also, when you roll to the soft side of the bed, it feels like you are rolling down a hill. My wife also likes it a little softer as well.

If Ken hadn’t accidentally sent the 32 ILD core, I could have lived with the 28 ILD core and my wife could have lived with the 32 core. However, I am now contemplating keeping the 32 ILD core instead. I had mentioned above that the 32 ILD core was too soft for back sleeping but since then, I found that the platform bed slats had too much flex. I put dowels underneath to support it and now, back sleeping is fairly comfortable. I sometimes still wake up to numb body parts though. Part of this I think is that the cover is only 8 inches high. The 3 inch topper compresses a little to make it feel firmer than a 19 ILD. Having the 32 ILD core on both sides should eliminate the above problems with the divide. If I were to go this route, I was thinking about ordering a King 2" 22 ILD topper to replace the 19 ILD 3" toppers in the bed. No compression means that it would be a true 22 ILD. I would then put the 19 ILD toppers in a topper cover on top of the bed. I was reading another thread where you were helping a lady that was also light and skinny. From the advice there, I think we need additional thickness of soft stuff but a firm enough core to stop our hips from sinking too deep. The 28 core acts as part of the comfort layer for us, but does not offer enough support to stop the hips from sinking in too much or enough softness for the shoulders to sink in more. What do you think about adding the 22 ILD 2" topper in the bed and moving the 3" ILD toppers on top?

Hi rapscalli0n,

Thanks for the feedback and sharing your experiences with Arizona Premium … I appreciate it :slight_smile:

I am having a little bit of difficulty translating or gaining clarity about some of your specific experiences though and am not quite clear on which of your configurations produced which results and “symptoms”. There are so many complexities in the design of a mattress and how it interacts with each person and there are so many subjective elements to perceptions of softness and firmness (which can vary widely from person to person) that personal experience and your own perceptions are always more important than any theory but very detailed and specific descriptions of each combination and the “symptoms” it produces are the only way for me to have any insights about any changes that have the best odds of producing your “ideal” design.

As you noted … the firmness of the base under the mattress can make a difference in how a mattress feels and performs so it’s always important to make sure that this is not playing a role in your experiences (which you’ve already identified). If there is ever any question about the effect a foundation or base may be having on a mattress then it can be tested by trying the mattress on the floor for a few days. A non flexing foundation that provides even support (with appropriate gaps between the slats) will be the same as the floor in terms of how it affect the firmness or feel of the mattress. I am also not quite clear on which parts of your feedback happened before you changed the foundation to make sure it had no flex and which happened after.

I’m not sure why there may be a difference in the thickness of your mattress cores and this is something I would talk with Ken about. There are some latex molds that are 5.6" thick and some that are 6" thick so this may be part of it.

I would check with Ken to confirm the thickness of the cover you received (I don’t know if they have both an 8" and a 9" cover or if all their designs come with an 8" cover). If a material is pre-compressed then it will be a little firmer than if it isn’t as you mentioned. Most people wouldn’t notice much difference with a mattress cover that stretches enough to accommodate small differences in thickness and it would be hard to quantify the amount of any difference when there are also different ILD’s involved but each person has different levels of sensitivity to smaller differences in a mattress and may be in a different part of what I call the “I can sleep on anything” to “princess and the pea” range of sensitivity. Thicker toppers will also feel softer than thinner toppers of the same ILD as well but this is only true if they are not pre-compressed.

As you also mentioned layer thickness and layer softness in all the layers work together to create the feel and performance of a mattress. A 2" comfort layer over a softer core for example can come close to approximating a 3" comfort layer over a firmer core although any changes in design will can have a different affect on how the mattress feels and performs for different body types or sleeping positions.

If I’m understanding you correctly you currently have a 19 ILD top layer, a 28 top layer (both 3") and a 28 core and a 32 core as the options you have available to put together various combinations.

You have also said that you are both “light and skinny” although there may be many versions of this with different weight distributions and individual preferences as well which can make a difference. People who are tall and skinny are often on more extreme sides of the firmness softness range with some preferring much firmer surfaces for more freedom of movement and others preferring a much softer surface that they can sink into more easily.

It also appears that both of you are both back and side sleepers? Do you have a clear sense of which position you each spend the most time in?

When you are trying to make adjustments to a mattress then theory is much less important than your actual experience on a mattress and any relative differences you perceive with different combinations. Theory can be a good starting point and can also act as a guideline for predicting the effect of any changes that may need to be made but your actual experience and specific descriptions of what you are experiencing on each combination is always the most important part of deciding on any layering changes regardless of what any theory may say.

So you currently have 4 different possibilities or combinations available …

  1. 32 ILD under 19 ILD
  2. 32 ILD under 28 ILD
  3. 28 ILD under 19 ILD
  4. 28 ILD under 28 ILD.

From your comments it appears that the 28 ILD is too firm over the 32 ILD core and this has been ruled out … is this correct? Have you tried the 28 ILD topper over the 28 ILD core you have so you can rule this in or out as well?

If both combinations with the 28 ILD top layer are ruled out then you have two options left so I’m trying to get a clear sense of your experiences and actual symptoms on each of these two options and how they compare since you made sure that the base had no flex to it (and feels the same as the floor if you need a reference point)

So throwing out any of your experiences that happened on the more flexible base and based on your feedback the only feedback I can find in your post that mentions specific symptoms is for you with 32 ILD under 19 ILD where you mentioned:

Can you confirm that this is your experience on the 19/32?

The only comment I can find since the foundation change for the 19 ILD over the 28 ILD is …

Unfortunately this doesn’t have any specifics in terms of your actual experience described in terms of pressure relief and alignment or the degree of difference in any symptoms compared to the 19/32 combination.

Before you consider ordering anything else there are several options I would try first (including testing various combinations with an unzipped cover to test the “theory” about the compression of the layers) but first I would need more specific feedback and clarification about the details of your experiences so far (for each of you) on all of the 3 combinations that are possibilities (ruling out the 28/32).

If you could put a heading in bold for each of the specific combinations you have tested since the foundation change (and I would also confirm that there is no flex at all in your current foundation and that any gaps are less than 3") and describe the specifics of each of your experiences and your actual symptoms (including type and area of the body where you experienced any symptoms) on each combination it would be helpful as a starting point and then it would be easier for me to make some meaningful suggestions that would be worth testing before you start making any other changes or adding any other layers or toppers.