Frustration with local latex mattress stores leaves me confused :(

After doing hours of “homework” reading info on this forum. I decided to check out two different stores to get a chance to “test” certain latex mattresses, but now I have more questions as the salespeople weren’t very helpful.

The first store (Ken Michaels furniture) had a 6" core of firm talalay (not sure because the sales guy wasn’t sure if talalay or blend) of possibly 36 ILD, with a 1" top layer of 28 ILD talalay. I loved the support of the bed, and the squishy feel of the surface with the stretch knitted cover, however the softness on top wasn’t thick enough for me (didn’t relieve the pressure points). The website says this mattress is reversible, but in the store there were only 2 total all-latex beds in the showroom to try out and like I said the sales guy didn’t know his stuff (new guy I believe) and the owner was out of town.

The second store was My green mattress/Quality Sleep Shop. They only had one Organic Dreams model on the floor and this one was made up of 3 layers of 3" 100% talalay. The middle layer had an ILD of 40 with the top and bottom layers having an ILD of 32. This bed was also supportive and quite springy (push back), yet it felt much too stiff on top, especially with the way the woven cotton/wool cover was made (no give to truly “feel” the squish of the latex). The saleslady had me test an innerspring mattress with the same ILD 32 latex topper on it and the surface did not feel anything similar, this one felt much softer on the surface but with the same stiff fabric feel. She was unsure on what ILD it was at first and the more I asked why the two surfaces feel so different if they are both an ILD of 32, she became more confident that they were in fact the same ILDs. Her answer to my question was that latex is firmer when stacked on top of other latex vs on top of an innerspring mattress. I guess may be the case when laying on the bed, but clearly just poking my finger to a 1" depth, I could tell these were not the same 3" top layers, so I don’t know if the one was softer or the other was firmer than a 32ILD. I mentioned wanting a softer 3" layer on top and keeping the firmer 40ILD in the middle and the saleslady said that I wouldn’t like it and it would be better to get all 3 layers in a 32ILD. How would that make me “squish” into the mattress more if the 32ILD over 40ILD didn’t squish at all to begin with?

So all that to say I didn’t have confidence that what the salespeople were telling me where the actual facts of the products I was testing. Even so, I do have a pretty good idea on what I think I want in a bed. I like to feel almost like I’m sinking in or “hugged” like a memory foam bed, yet I like the firm feel of support since I’m a side sleeper. My thought so far based on this sketchy info at best, would be to get something like this:

King size 100% talalay
comfort layer to be about 3" in an ILD of somewhere between 24-28
support core to be somewhere between 36-40ILD.
Knitted stretch cover with least amount of thickness to allow the latex to mould to my body.

This is the part where I’m not sure what is better?
Is a flippable mattress really necessary and if so how much longer would that extend the life of the mattress? (I’m lazy haha!)
Wouldn’t the soft side underneath the flip kind allow the support core to sag somewhat?
Would I get the same “life” out of a split mattress if I could just pay to replace/ switch out the layers vs a flip mattress that I may not like long term?
Would a split mattress behave differently if the hubby and I slept on the seam in the middle?
How bad would the layers shift over time, and is there a greater chance of damaging the latex trying to adjust the layers vs just getting a solid made bed?

Lastly, does anyone know of a mattress company that carries or can make a bed to my preferences listed above? I either find beds with customizable layers but thick, woven covers or vice versa.

Thanks in advance and so sorry for the novel! Just very tired of driving hours away only to find unhelpful salespeople and extremely limited floor models.

Hi Barra,

When you are testing a mattress locally I wouldn’t pay any attention to the ILD of the layers and I would use the results of your testing to decide on whether a mattress is a good match for you in terms of PPP. While it’s always important to know the type and quality of the materials so you can identify any potential weak links in a mattress and make more meaningful comparisons , the “comfort specs” such as ILD are really not important.

It’s not “necessary” no but it can extend the useable life of any mattress for those who flip it regularly even with materials that are as durable as latex. There is more about the pros and cons of a two sided mattress in posts #2 and #3 here and the other posts it links to.

The deepest layers of the mattress don’t compress as much as the upper layers because most of the pressure is absorbed and “spread out” by the layers above them before it reaches the bottom layer but if the comfort layer on the bottom is too thick and soft then this could have an effect yes. Making sure that the comfort layers aren’t too thick and soft is one of the limitations of a two sided design. Once again your own personal testing will be the best way to know whether a mattress is a good match for you in terms of PPP whether it is one or two sided.

This is one of the advantages of a component mattress where you can replace the individual layers if one layer softens before the rest or if your needs and preferences change. It would also be an advantage of dealing with a manufacturer that can open up a mattress and then replace an individual layer and then close it up again if that becomes necessary. While it would be more costly because you would still need to buy the replacement layer, it would still be less costly than replacing the entire mattress. All of these can be good options depending on the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

Regardless of the individual options … all the mattresses you are looking at use good quality materials and have no weak links in their design.

I’m not sure if you mean a mattress where the internal layers are split with different layers on each side or if you mean two twin XL mattresses that are put together and used as a king size.

Post #2 here has more about the pros and cons of split layering and post #2 here and the post it links to has more about the pros and cons of loose layers and the risk of shifting in a component mattress vs a mattress where the layers are glued.

If you mean a split mattress where you are using two separate mattresses together then there would be a more noticeable “gap” in between the two mattresses.

Have you asked the two manufacturers you have been working with?

There is also a list of some of the members here that sell online in post #21 here and some of these also make a mattress that would be similar to the design you described.


Okay thanks so much for clarifying for me.

I did ask the two stores and I’m not sure they can match all the specifics that I want/prefer.
One issue is with a zippered cover. I really liked the knitted stretch cotton cover in one store, but they don’t make a zippered version.
Do you know of any places that would sell a stretch-knit zipper cover without having to buy the mattress? So far Cozypure said no and I have an email in to PlushBeds…

Hi Barra,

Post #4 here has a list of sources for many mattress components including covers :).


Thanks again Phoenix!

We have decided to go with the SleepEZ Organic 10,000 mattress (Shawn found us local places that carry very similar products to test out, like Savy Rest and Pure latex bliss) along with their 4 way stretch cotton cover, as well as the St. Dormeir mattress protector… but, before we pull the trigger on ordering we need to buy the bed, since our current mattress and box spring are on the floor. Shawn said I could leave the mattresses in the boxes for up to a month, but I’d feel better waiting until the bed is here first.

I did look into all the places you sited for recommendations on platform beds and cannot find what I’m looking for, so we have a guy we use for custom woodworking and are looking into having one made. Can you tell me what you’d personally want to see in an ideal platform bed for a king size 10" latex mattress? (great support and ventilation vs overkill)

I did see the posts from someone else about having the slats wider and spaced closer together for better support, but wanted your thoughts on specifics.

I understand that the mattress needs to breathe, but would it interfere if we had storage drawers just on the very end of the bed (built into the footboard, opening in front of the bed instead of the sides), since just our feet will be near that end?

Thanks again for all of your help!

Hi Barra,

Strong non flexing slats (at least 1 x 3) which are about 2" apart (less than 3" as a maximum) with a center beam that has good center support to the floor (preferably with two or more legs). I would suggest that the slats should be at least 50% of the support surface.

I don’t think this would be an issue for ventilation or be an additional risk factor for mold, mildew, or dust mites (which is the main reason for ventilation under a mattress) no.