Fix or replace worn-out Simmons mattress

Hi Phoenix,

First off, I want to say that the Mattress Underground is simply an amazing website. I’ve spent hours pouring through the articles and forums and the amount of unbiased information on here is is unparalleled. My only wish is that I found it sooner!

My story is similar to many others who have found their way onto this website. Four and a half years ago, I was in need of a new bed and hit the local big box sleep store. The salesman greeted me and immediately sold me on the superiority of pocket coils for its conforming abilities so I was lead down the Simmons path right from the start. I flopped around on a few mattresses and eventually found their “plush firm” model to be the most comfortable for me. I noted down the model name and proceeded in an attempt to comparison shop, only to find that the model names varied from store to store. Determined not to let this stop me, I went back to the store and noted down some key specs (coil count, plushness ratings etc.) and tried to map the model names from one store to another, as well as to some online retailers. I mean, how many different mattress could one company possibly make? This was largely a success! and I was able to find the exact mattress I wanted online for more than 60% off the retail price of the big box store. At the time, I thought I found the deal of a lifetime!

Fast forward 4.5 years and the inevitable has happened. What was once a comfortable, plushy pillowtop now had two large, noticeable impressions, (but of course, not large enough to trigger the warranty). My wife and I both wake up with sore backs. We try to start the night on the ridges but eventually toss&turn and end up back in the divots. How could a product from a large, well-known company that had a 20+ year warranty fail in less than 5 years? I spent a few minutes on this website and it was apparent that we were victims of “S” brand marketing and their cheap polyfoam, which felt great in the showroom but just does did not last. It simply amazes me how so many manufacturers in the same industry can get away this. But I digress…

Armed with the information on this website, we started shopping for a replacement mattress a few weeks ago. We tried all different combinations of latex/memory foam and our top contenders so far are the all-latex mattresses from Arizona Premium Mattress Company, SleepEZ, and Brooklyn Bedding. In the midst of determining what ILD’s we wanted in the comfort/support layers, I started wondering what we were going to do with our old mattress. It would be such a shame to have to pay someone to come take it away. Was there any possible way to remove the cheap foam layers and replace them with quality latex layers? Much to my surprise, there were many people doing this exact thing. Just google “mattress surgery”.

Before starting down the daunting path of mattress surgery, I need to determine if the innerspring core still has any life left in it. Are your familiar with the durability of Simmons springs? How long do they typically last? How do I test the springs to see if they are still good?

Here are some specs/stats:
Me: 5’7" 155lbs
Wife: 5’3" 110lbs
Bed: Simmons BeautyRest World Class Lusaka Visco Plush Firm
Support Core: Super Pocketed Coil, 1" Bloc Foam Bottom Coil Support; 13.25 Coil Gauge (as per

I am not definitely not ruling out replacing the mattress entirely. But if the springs still have good life in them, placing a few inches of latex on top would be a great, cost-saving solution. Thanks in advance for any feedback.


Hi westcoaster,

As you now know your experience is far too common in the industry … but I’m glad that you are armed with some good information this time so that your next purchase can be just as successful initially … and for a little longer this time :slight_smile:

I think that the odds would be quite high that your innersprings are still fine. If you decide to go in the direction of mattress surgery then you can test the springs to make sure they are still evenly supportive by putting a weight (such as a bowling ball or something similar) in all the different areas of the springs to make sure there are no obvious soft areas or sagging. You are fortunate to have the thicker wire gauge springs (13.25 gauge) and you are quite light which would both increase the odds even more that they are still fine. There is no set time or formula that can be used to determine how long your springs will last because it really depends on many factors including weight, the amount of padding over them, and the design and use of the mattress but I would think that they should still have quite a number of years of useful life left in them and assuming that when you test them they appear to still be fine that it would be well worth a try if you are up for it. The springs are rarely the weak link of a mattress … particularly if there was this much foam above them.

The first step is to remove the top of the cover which you can do by using a seam ripper.

The next step is to remove the foam layers on top of the coils and then test the coils for even compression.

The layers inside appear to be …

Latex Details: 3/4" 28 ILD Talalay Ventilated Latex
Memory Foam Details: 5/8" Visco Memory Foam
Other Comfort Details: 3/4" PurFoam P50, 1 1/2" Convoluted Foam, 1 1/4 oz per square foot Celestra, 1 1/2" 11 ILD Furniture Grade Foam

Some of these will be in the quilted cover and some of these will be above the innersprings. I would keep the latex and the memory foam if possible and possibly even the 1.5" furniture grade foam if they appear to be in good condition and are not inside the quilted cover. You can lay them on the floor to check if they are showing any impressions and test them to see if they still have even compression throughout the layer (no soft spots). The layers you keep may be useful for fine tuning.

Keep a record of the order of the layers you’ve removed (what was directly above the innerspring up to the top).

Once you get to this point (and have listed the layers you find) then it’s time to decide whether to proceed and what to use to rebuild your mattress.

You have little to lose if the only alternative is replacing the mattress and it can certainly be an interesting project.

It would also be great to take some pictures if you decide to take on the challenge :slight_smile:


Hi Phoenix,

Thanks for your quick and detailed reply. I finally found some time and decided to take the plunge!

This is the “before” picture of our Simmons Beautyrest World Class Lusaka Visco Plush Firm mattress:

I started out with your suggestion of using a seam ripper but found that it was taking too long. I opted for a utility knife instead :slight_smile:

This is the “after” picture with 3-sides cut open.

This is a close-up of the qulting layer.

I then removed some of the stitching in the quilting layer to free up the individual components. It looks like 3/4" poly foam (or memory foam) followed by 1.5" of eggcrate poly foam.

Here is a pic of the cover rolled halfway back to expose the comfort layers.

Here is a cross-section of the comfort layers - 1.5" of polyfoam glued to another 1/2" of polyfoam.

In summary, these are the layers from top to bottom:
3/4" polyfoam (or memory foam)
1.5" eggcrate poly foam
1.5" polyfoam
0.5" polyfoam (spring barrier)
Note: I did NOT find any latex inside, so I question the accuracy of the specs in my prevous post.

The first thing I did was remove the 1.5" of polyfoam in the comfort layer. The next 1/2" of polyfoam was essentially the barrier to the springs below, so I left that in place. I then proceeded to test the springs by placing a dumbell on different sections of the bed as you suggested. Everything checked out. In fact, I did some further testing by lying down directly on the springs. I didn’t notice any significant soft spots. So it looks like the springs are still good!

My plan now is to replace all the cheap polyfoam (aside from the 0.5" barrier) with a latex topper. This will involve completely removing the top since there is a significant amount of foam in the quliting layer. I am leaning towards a 3" 19ILD Blended Talalay topper from Brooklyn Bedding. They seem to have the best price. Given our stats (5’7", 155lbs side/back sleeper and 5’3", 110lbs side/back sleeper), do you see any obvious red flags with this choice?

In the meantime, I’ve permanently removed the 1.5" polyfoam in the comfort layer and rolled the top back in place. I put the mattress protector and sheets back, and the mattress already feels more supportive than before. I can’t wait to add the latex topper.

Thanks again Phoenix for your advice!


Hi westcoaster,

You’ve done a great job and I’m grateful for the pictures you shared with the forum.

I completely understand and had to laugh at this. It reminded me of opening Christmas presents. At first some people carefully take off all the tape and try to preserve the wrapping and then at some point they go “to heck with it” and just rip off the wrapping. The times I’ve done this I used a seam ripper like this and once the first few stitches were cut I could mostly slide the seam ripper along the tape edging holding it out and tight and not have to go stitch by stitch but it’s easy to get stuck and have to go stitch by stitch. The most important part is to get the darn thing off and a seam ripper is really only necessary if you want to save the quilted top of the cover for some reason … but then we wouldn’t have been able to see what was inside it so I’m glad you used the knife.

The build of the Lusaka may vary from store to store (see here) but it appears that yours is the same as here.

Your layers appear to consist of …

3/4" of P50 which is 1.5 lbs
1.5" of convoluted P50 which is 1.5 lbs but would be less durable because of the convoluting
1.5" of “furniture grade foam” which is 1.95 lbs (fairly good quality) and very soft @ 11 ILD
5/8" of 5 lb memory foam (good quality).

The weak link of the mattress is clearly in the quilting layers which has 2.25" of 1.5 lb foam … most of it convoluted although there would probably be some foam softening in the “furniture grade foam” as well.

As you have done … I would keep the memory foam on the bottom to even out the springs and then add the latex over top of this. the 1.95 lb foam may still be in reasonably good condition as well and may be worth keeping for fine tuning or other uses.

This is in the range that I would be leaning towards as well.

Once you are happy with your end results you can either use a mattress protector or pad to cover the top of the mattress or you could buy a new zip cover to replace the one you have opened.

Thanks again for sharing your mattress surgery adventure :slight_smile:


Hi Phoenix,

Thanks again for your quick reply.

Thanks for pointing me to the correct specs of my bed. It’s nice to be able to correlate specs with reality.

I noticed that the coil guage is 15 (as opposed to the 13.25 that I had originally thought it was). In theory, is a 15-guage coil less durable than a 13.25-guage coil in the same way a 1.5lb polyfoam is less durable than a 2.17lb polyfoam? Also, are pocket coils symmetrical? The reason I ask is that, according to the spec, the coils sit on top of a 1.5" layer of fairly firm 1.85lb polyfoam. It would be nice to have the option to flip the mattress over if we found that we needed a firmer core to place the topper on. What do you think?

I also wanted to provide a quick surgery update. I went ahead and purchased the 3" 19ILD Blended Talalay topper from Brooklyn Bedding. I actually ordered it from Amazon because of their 30-day return policy, which from what I understand, is rare for toppers. I chatted with Mario before I ordered and confirmed that the topper from Amazon was identical to the one from Brooklyn Bedding (same price and both sourced from Latex International). The other advantage was Amazon’s 2-day shipping.

The topper arrived 2 days ago, so now it was time to cut off the 4th side of the pillowtop and remove the top completely. Here is the pictorial evidence - pillowtop mattress with pillowtop removed.

The only layer I kept was the 5/8" of memory foam. I’m not sure where the crease in the memory foam came from.

Here is the latex topper ready to be unwrapped:

And here is the latex topper in place!

The topper fits snuggly into what is left of the mattress cover. The bamboo cover is a nice touch! There was a slight odor from the latex but nothing close to the off-gassing of memory foam toppers. I don’t have a picture of the final product with the sheets and mattress protector on, but I am pretty sure no one would even guess that it just went through major transplant surgery :wink:

We’ve spent 2 nights on our “new” mattress and so far so good. We still have some residual back pain from the old mattress (and possibly from our bodies adjusting to the new sleeping surface) but I will wait a week or two before making a final decision on whether we need to make any adjustments.

For those of you sitting on the fence, if your only choices are to fix or dispose of your saggy mattress, I urge you in the direction of mattress surgery - you have nothing to lose! The first cut is a little unnerving but once you expose and remove all the low-quality foam that has caused you so much pain, that feeling quickly turns into satisfaction.


Hi westcoaster,

Thanks for the latest update and pictures in your mattress surgery adventure.

Your coil gauge would depend on whether your mattress was the plush firm or just the plush (which is the one I linked earlier). The extra firm and plush firm Simmons models used to use the 13.25 gauge coils and the luxury firm or plush models used to use the 15 gauge coils (I believe they were actually 15.5 gauge).

I think I linked the wrong model because you mentioned yours was the Plush Firm.

While the coils are not normally the weak link in a mattress and coil gauge is only one of many factors in the strength and durability of an innerspring system … all else being equal then higher gauge steel (thinner wire) would be less durable than lower gauge steel (thicker wire).

Not all pocket coils are symmetrical from top to bottom but the ones in your mattress are yes. The Bloc foam (polyfoam) used under the coils is much firmer and is meant to provide a very firm and evenly supportive surface under the mattress and on top of the foundation to provide some shock absorption and to make sure the coils sit and compress evenly on the foundation. They would stabilize the coils and make them feel firmer and less contouring but there is nothing that says you can’t use the other side if it feels better although I would put a very firm foam layer under the coils for the same reason that it’s there originally.

Thanks again for all your input. It’s fun to watch your “new” mattress take shape :).


Hi Phoenix,

It’s been about 3 weeks now since the resurrection of our mattress, and unfortunately, it hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. Shortly after my last post, my wife began noticing an impression on her side of the bed and it was causing her lower back pain. I decided to rotate the mattress 180 degrees but that didn’t solve the problem - the dip was still on her side of the bed. This led me to believe that it was a foundation issue, so I removed the metal bed frame such that the boxspring was sitting directly on the floor. This also didn’t solve the problem. The next step was to remove the boxspring. Still not solved. This was really weird. Could it be the floor underneath my wife’s side of the bed? To check this, we decided to sleep with our feet towards the headboard, i.e. head at the foot of the bed, and feet at the head of the bed. Magically, the dip was now on MY side of the bed! And when we rotated the mattress again in our new sleeping positions, the dip remained on my side. It’s a little hard to explain without any diagrams but, long story short, our conclusion was that the springs were shot in TWO locations such that any rotation kept putting the dip on my wife’s side of the bed! We even tried flipping the mattress over, but to no avail.

Anyway, whether our theory is correct or not, it doesn’t look like we are going to be able to reuse the springs after all. It’s time to revert to the original plan of replacing the mattress completely. Based on local testing and recommendations over the phone from several TMU members, I am targeting a 6" core around 32-36ILD to go along with our 3" 19ILD topper. I decided to go the route of constructing the core with two 3" king blended-talalay toppers (32ILD and 36ILD) as opposed to two 6" twin-XL blended-talalay cores (32ILD) side by side. The advantages of the topper construction are cost and the flexibility of being able to interchange the order of the 32&36ILD layers to modify the firmness of the core without incurring any shipping fees. The disadvantages are that my wife and I must share the same core firmness (unless we find a way to cut the king size toppers in half). I’ve also ordered a bamboo/wool mattress cover and KD wood foundation to finish off the mattress set.

Thanks again Phoenix for all your input. I’ll chime in with an update when everything arrives…


Hi westcoaster,

That’s very interesting and fairly unusual that it would be the springs.

Were the impressions visible with no weight on the mattress or were they only apparent when there was weight on the mattress (virtual impressions)?

If they were unweighted impressions then it would be fairly easy to confirm this with a straight edge or tight string across the area of the dip which would clearly show the unweighted impressions on both sides.

From your description though it seems like they were virtual impressions or soft spots (only apparent with weight on the mattress). Your experience with sleeping reversed seems to point to the springs but you could also confirm this (just to make sure and rule out any other possibilities) by testing different parts of the mattress with a heavy object. If you remove everything except the 1/2" foam on top of the springs and put the mattress on the floor you could use a heavy bowling ball (15+ lbs) and put it on the mattress with straight edge beside it to mark the depth it sinks and then test it in different locations around the mattress to see if it is consistent. You could also use a 5 gallon bucket of water or something similar (hopefully with a lid or very carefully) which weighs about 42 lbs and do the same thing to test how evenly it sinks into different areas of the mattress.

If it’s clear that there is uneven compression in the places that normally hold the most weight then it would confirm that it was the springs in which case of course there would be little choice but to replace the mattress.

If in spite of your experiences it turns out that the spring compression is even then it would involve looking at other possibilities to explain your experience.

This would give you two options for your base layers (32 over 36 and 36 over 32 which would provide firmer support). If it turns out that each of you do best with a different order for the base layers then it would be easy to cut them in half with an electric knife which works very well to cut latex (with a straight edge as a guide).


Hi Phoenix,

Your last post peaked my curiosity so I decided to redo the spring compression test. On my previous attempt at testing the springs just after the mattress surgery, I placed a 20-lb dumbbell on different sections of the mattress but the problem was that I couldn’t get the dumbbell to balance long enough to get a proper measurement. Therefore, all I really checked for was very obvious soft spots, of which I found none.

The first thing i did was remove all the layers except for the 1/2" foam on the top of the springs and pulled a string across the top. There were no visible impressions.

I didn’t have a bowling ball handy so I did my best to mimic one. I used an 8" pyrex bowl (4" diameter at the bottom) and carefully placed a 40-lb dumbell on top of it to create the impression. Here is a table of the approximate compression at various points on the mattress:

[td] [/td]
[td]My side[/td]
[td]Wife’s side[/td]
[td]Head of Bed[/td]
[td]Hips (in reverse sleeping position)[/td]
[td]Foot of Bed[/td]


Amazingly, the results actually confirm what we were experiencing. In normal sleeping position, no matter which way we rotated the mattress, the impression at the hips was always on my wife’s side of the bed. And in reverse sleeping position (with head at foot of the bed and vice versa), the impression at the hips was always on my side of the bed. It’s definitely disappointing that we’ll no longer be able to reuse the springs, and even more so given that the springs are not usually the weak link, but it’s nice to have some closure. It makes throwing it away that much easier :wink:

I’ve never used an electric knife before. Could you provide a link to one that would be suitable?


Hi westcoaster,

That’s unfortunate both because your mattress surgery wouldn’t be worth it and because we don’t get to watch you build a new mattress that works for you. Thanks for sharing the results of your testing though.

Almost any electric carving knife would work (they make an easier and cleaner cut than a non electric knife). Any of these would be fine and you would just need to make sure the blade was thicker than the layer you were cutting (and all of them are).

If you buy it in time for Thanksgiving then you would also have a new electric carving knife for the turkey :slight_smile:

Of course there wouldn’t be any need to do this unless it was evident that you each did best with a different combination.


Hi Phoenix,

My 2 core latex layers (3" of 32ILD and 3" of 36ILD) arrived today. I’ll be combining them with my 3" 19ILD topper and trying out the new 36-32-19 setup tonight. I was hoping to receive my new wooden foundation in time, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Do you see any issues with placing the latex on top of my existing box springs in the meantime? Also, each of the latex layers I ordered came shipped with bamboo covers. Are there any issues with stacking covered latex layers versus raw latex layers?


Hi westcoaster,

In the short term it would probably be fine as long as there aren’t any large gaps that the latex would sink into. They need an evenly supportive surface underneath them.

This would be fine as well. Some latex mattress manufacturers actually use covered layers inside their mattresses by choice. There is more about the pros and cons of covered layers in post #2 here