Good stores to purchase a Mattress in College Station, TX

Hi,

I saw the thread about good mattress stores in Houston, but I was wondering if there were any good places closer to College Station, zip 77845.

Thanks

Hi djag67,

The closest lists to you are post #3 here for Waco, post #2 here for Austin, and post #2 here for Houston (which you’ve already found).

Since all of these are a fairly long distance away from you and College Station is one of the few areas where there isn’t a list on the forum … over the course of the next couple of days I’ll talk a look in the area and see if there are any reasonable options that may be closer to you and list them here.

Phoenix

Hi djag67,

I did some preliminary research into the area around College Station (about a 50 mile radius) and there aren’t a lot of great options in the area. Out of about 18 stores and chains in the area … the better options and possibilities I would include in my research (subject to a phone call along the lines of this article to confirm that they are willing and able to disclose the specifics of the materials in their mattresses) and the brands they carry I would consider (based on their website information since I didn’t have the chance to talk with them) include …

Denver Mattress® - The Easiest Way to Get the Right Mattress Bryan, TX. Regional factory direct manufacturer that makes a range of innerspring, latex, and memory foam mattresses. They use mostly higher quality materials and have relatively good value. I would focus on the mattresses they manufacture and avoid the mainstream brands they also carry.

The Sleep Station | Mattress & Bedding Products for Sale | Bryan/College Station, Texas College Station, TX. Pure Talalay Bliss (Talalay latex mattresses)

http://www.mattresssleepcenters.net/ College Station, TX. Mainstream, Restonic

http://www.amsleep.net/ Bryan, TX. Golden, Royal. There may be some relatively good value here as both of these brands tend to use good quality materials and have good value although I don’t know the specific mattresses they carry and it’s always important to make sure you know the specifics of a mattress you are considering rather than going by brand.

http://hermannfurniture.com/ Brenham, TX. Restonic

Hope that helps :slight_smile:

Phoenix

Thanks Phoenix, I appreciate you taking the time to help me. I’ll take a look at the places you have mentioned.

Before I found your website I checked out some name brands at a major chain. I’ve had some good nights sleep on a tempurpedic at my parents house so I tried some memory foam options.

I know they’re overpriced but can you comment on the quality of the tempurpedic contour select and/or the rhapsody breeze? Do you have any idea if the breeze actually sleeps any cooler? I’ve seen mixed reviews. I also liked the comforpedic Active Rest (I think it may also be called the Alive). Does the comforpedic have the quality of tempurpedic? The specs of these mattresses are at the end of this post (as best as I could find them).

Any opinions or comments (especially about the quality) you have on these mattresses would be helpful. If you can recommend something comparable that might be available at one of your recommended stores that would really be great.

I need & prefer something firm for my lower back. I was thinking memory foam but I might also be interested in latex because I tend to sleep hot. I’m 6’ ft ~190 lbs, primarily a back sleeper. I’d rather overspend to insure that I get a quality mattress.

Thanks again for the help.

Contour Select:
• Feel: Firm
• Profile: 10" (high)
• Comfort Layer: 1.2" of TEMPUR material
• Support Layer: 2.8" of TEMPUR material
• Base Layer: 6" AirFlow System

Rhapsody Breeze:
Comfort Layer - TEMPUR-HD® Breeze material comfort layer
Support Layer - TEMPUR-Climate™ material support layer
Base Layer - Dual-core base layer
Cover Fabric - TEMPUR-Breeze cooling material

Couldn’t find the actual thicknesses of the layers, but for the regular Rhapsody they are in order 1.2", 2.8", and 8"

Comforpedic Active Rest/Alive:
1st: 1" 4.0 Aircool memory foam with TruTemp gel
2nd: 1" Firm Comfort Foam
3rd: 2" 4.5 lb AirCool Memory Foam
Core Top: 2" Independent Support Technology
Core Base: 3.5" AirCool Transflexion Core
Edge Support: 1.65 lb 45ILD Aircool EdgeSupport

Hi djag67,

The quality of memory foam and polyfoam in terms of durability is directly related to its density so Tempurpedic tends to use good quality materials in their mattresses for the most part. 4 lb memory foam is usually the minimum density of memory foam I would consider and as density goes up then durability increases as well. In terms of quality/value comparisons with other mattresses I would use density and design (layer thickness and amount of memory foam) as the main basis for a comparison. there is more about the many factors that can affect durability in post #4 here.

In addition to this different types of memory foams have different properties (see post #9 here) and some people may like some types of memory foam more than others but this is a matter of preference rather than quality.

In addition to this there is some clear evidence that Tempurpedic has changed its support foam layers from about 2.2 lb density to 1.5 lb density and they have been removing their specs from the internet to make it much more difficult for consumers to make meaningful quality/value comparisons based on the quality of the materials in their mattresses.

You can see my thoughts about their Breeze models in post #6 here.

Some of their newer mattresses such as the Simplicity use 2.5 lb memory foam which is a very poor quality/density memory foam and they are using the “reputation” of their brand name to imply that these mattresses are high quality but this is not reflected in the quality of the materials inside it.

There are many mattresses that use the same or better quality materials in their mattresses that have much better value and for the most part I would categorize Tempurpedic as being good quality (with some exceptions including the Simplicity line which uses low quality/density materials) but poor value compared to other similar mattresses. You can see more of my overall thoughts about Tempurpedic in post #10 here and in post #2 in this thread.

In terms of any direct comparison between the Tempurpedic and the Comforpedic mattresses both of them are not in the best value range and they are too different in terms of design to make any direct or specific comparisons in terms of either quality or value so it would need to be based more on intuitive judgement than a specific direct comparison. There are also some unknowns in terms of the specific quality of some of the layers in each that aren’t included in the specs. Value would also depend on the prices of each of course.

Some of the “gaps” that would need to be filled in is the density of the Rhapsody Breeze layers (the Tempur-Breeze material would likely be 7 lb similar to the Tempur Rhapsody top layer and the Tempur-Climate would likely be similar density to the 5.3 lb Tempur material but these would be assumptions because tempurpedic doesn’t disclose this. They also don’t disclose the quality of their base layers although I would probably assume they are 1.5 lbs. With the Comforpedic they don’t disclose the density of the 1" “firm comfort foam” although this is within the “around 1” or so" guideline I would normally consider to be acceptable for the use of lower quality foam in comfort layers. It is likely 1.5 lb and probably less and will soften over time faster than higher quality materials but because it is only 1" the softening will have less effect than it would if thelayer was thicker. It would slightly add to the risk of foam softening of the upper layers as a whole. The “Independent support technology” is a generic term that can apply to any material and in some cases it can refer to slow response latex but in others to something else and they don’t disclose the specifics in this case. They also don’t include the density/quality of the Aircool polyfoam layer.

So overall … in terms of quality/durability the Rhapsody would likely have the edge because the comfort layers use the highest density memory foam. This would be followed by the Contour Select and then the Comforpedic which has the lowest density foams in the upper layers and would be most closely comparable to the Tempurpedic Cloud Series which use 4 lb memory foam.

In terms of suitability which of course is also a major part of value this would depend on how well each mattress matched the needs and preferences of each person in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) based on their testing experiences.

In terms of materials value the Rhapsody uses the most costly memory foam materials (4" of 7 lb memory foam and 5.3 lb memory foam which are more costly than lower density memory foams). The Contour Select would be next with 4" of 5.3 lb memory foam and the Comforpedic would trail with 3" of memory foam in the 4 lb range but if it also uses 2" of slow response latex then this is also a more costly premium foam as well so it now has 5" of premium foam so this would put it’s overall material value in a higher range. The support layers would have less to do with durability becuase they are deeper in the mattress but the Comforpedic probably has slightly higher quality polyfoam if the information I have about the support foam of the Tempurpedics is correct and applies to these specific models.

The price of course between them would also play a significant role in any value comparisons as well as all the other options that go with each mattress purchase that are mentioned in the post about all the other objective, subjective, and intangible factors that are part of a mattress purchase and can play an important role in each person’s “personal value equation”.

I normally don’t go into this type of detail because of all the unknowns involved and I would normally just suggest passing all of them by when there are so many better quality/value options available but I thought I’d go into a little more detail to give an example about some of the objective, subjective, intangible, and intuitive factors that can be involved in making comparisons between mattresses that are very different.

I personally wouldn’t consider any of these in terms of quality/value. In the case of Tempurpedic it would be more about the doubts I have about what is really in the mattress and in the best case their poor value and in the case of the Comforpedic it would be because there are too many unknowns to make any really meaningful assessment but if I was forced to make a choice between them based on the regular selling prices and excluding any factors that have to do with the comfort, support, and suitability of each mattress (which varies with each individual) then I would probably lean towards the Comforpedic in terms of overall “value” (although I would have to grit my teeth and swallow very hard to make this kind or purchase) unless I was in a higher weight range where the odds were higher that the lower density of the foams would soften and break down too quickly in which case I may go with the even worse value of the Tempurpedic Rhapsody or Contour Select (although in this case I would be seriously questioning why I was considering any of them at all).

Phoenix

Phoenix,

Thank you for the response/information. I really do appreciate you taking the time to write such a lengthy reply especially given I asked about mainstream mattresses even though one of your major themes here is to stay away from the big brand names.

Given your preference against the big brands, you may be amused (or not) to hear that when I went to Denver Mattresses today and asked to try Denver Mattress brand memory foam mattresses, the guy told me that they didn’t carry any of the Denver Mattress memory foam options because they didn’t sell as well relative to the big brand name memory foams.

I did try the Dr. Choice Firm and the Ichoice Latex from Denver Mattress, which are nothing alike, but each actually felt pretty good.

Hopefully I’ll be able to transfer all the great information you’ve given me into a quality purchase.

Thanks again.

Hi djag67,

This may have been a blessing in disguise because they actually don’t make their Green Choice memory foam mattresses and import them from China (see post #13 here and the post it links to). They use lower quality memory foam than I would be comfortable with (3 lb) and I wouldn’t consider them anyway.

A couple of their stores that I talked with when they first came out and before they were listed on the site didn’t think very highly of them and considered them to be more of a choice for a guest bedroom or a good choice for more short term use.

I’m looking forward to finding out what you end up with and of course if you have more questions along the way don’t hesitate to post them :slight_smile:

Phoenix

Phoenix,

An update and a few other questions.

I think what I’ve decided is that it will be worth my time to just drive outside of college station to check out some of factory direct outlets in the larger area. I’m probably going to go to Houston and check out angelbeds/tranquility, the houston mattress factory, and the texas mattress makers. If I’m going to drive that far I figure I might as well check out multiple places. The only hesitation there is that you gave a pretty favorable review of sleepworld in Austin. Houston & Austin are similar distances from College Station, but I’m not going to do both. Is sleepworld that great that I would be missing something by checking out multiple factory direct outlets in Houston instead?

Also, there is a lot of discussion about different layering options and strategies with mattresses. How do you feel about mattresses that just have a single layer, for example the Tranquility Mattress Serenity: http://www.tranquilitymattress.com/prod/Shop-Mattresses_56/9--Serenity_38.aspx

The mattress is simply 9" of Talalay Latex.

Something funny about this mattress is on the website, the mattress is labeled as firm (their firmest mattress). But, when I initially looked at the text description yesterday the 2nd sentence read, “The 9” Serenity Talalay latex mattress is one of Tranquility Mattress’ softest models, made for sleepers who desire nothing less than the sensation of floating on a cloud.”

So I emailed them and the response was that the Serenity used to be their softest but they changed it so it is firm now, though they still have both versions available. Since then they have updated their website. The text description on the website now reads, " The 9” Serenity Talalay latex mattress is one of Tranquility Mattress’ firmest models, made for sleepers who desire nothing less than the sensation of floating on a cloud."

I suppose I should wait to judge their mattress in person rather than based on their website proof-reading.

So three questions:

  1. Multiple Factory Direct outlets in Houston vs. Sleepworld in Austin?
  2. Mattresses with a single foam layer vs. multiple layers providing different functions?
  3. Any specific thoughts you have on the tranquility Serenity mattress?

Thanks again

Hi djag67,

I’m not sure how to quantify “that great” but you would of course be missing the chance to test their specific mattresses which have different designs and materials. It would really depend on the specific criteria of your “personal value equation” that were most important to you and the specifics of the mattresses you were most interested in testing. I can tell you that I do think highly of Bob and the quality and value of the mattresses he makes but the only way to know whether it was “that much better” for you would be to compare specific mattresses along with all the other parts of a mattress purchase that were most important to you to see how they compare with the other options you have available and are interested in testing. I would certainly talk with them on the phone either before or after a Houston trip to see how the options they offer compare to what is available to you in Houston so you can include the conversation in your considerations and use your “best judgement” about which direction(s) to travel.

Talalay latex is made in molds that are betwen 5.6" and 6" so this mattress would have multiple layers (although they may be glued together).

Whether a mattress has one layer or many is really not as important as how well the mattress meets your criteria in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences). You can read a little more about the potential benefits of thicker layers and mattresses in post #14 here but it really depends on how the specific mattress design interacts with your body type and sleeping styles. For some people a single 6" layer of latex may be the “best” for them while for others a multilayered 12" mattress may work better. There is no inherent “better or worse” in terms of thickness outside of which one works best for each person and of course making sure that there are no weak links in a mattress (especially in the comfort layers) regardless of it’s thickness.

A mattress can be both soft and firm at the same time depending on the type of softness/firmness someone is referring to and whether the rating is referring to the comfort layers of the firmness layers of the subjective “feel’ of both together. This mattress would probably have a 3” softer comfort layer over a 6" firmer support layer and of course there is always the possibility that one of the descriptions are wrong. There is more about the different types of firmness and softness in post #15 here. Ultimately softness and firmness is subjective and relative to each person and their body type, sleeping positioins, and sensitivities so your own testing would tell you how soft or firm it feels to you.

I would always talk on the phone with any manufacturer or retailer I planned to visit as part of my preliminary research (whether they were local or further away) and I would base your decision on the results or your conversations.

Hopefully the links above have answered this and it ultimately depends on the “bottom line” performance of the mattress in terms of PPP (and of course this one has more than one layer).

It uses high quality materials (Talalay latex and cootton) so from a quality perspective it is good. The cover is organic cotton (it doesn’t say if it’s a stretch knit) and doesn’t have any wool so I would consider how you feel about the benefits of having wool in the quilting for temperature regulation and as a fire barrier as well because without it the mattress would need a different type of fire barrier … likely an inherent viscose/silica type which I would also consider to be “safe”.

I would also confirm whether the Talalay latex was “natural” (which is what Latex International calls their blended talalay) or “all natural” (which is what Latex International calls their 100% natural Talalay and which contains no synthetic latex). There are many manufacturers or re-sellers (Tranquility doesn’t make their own mattresses) who don’t fully understand or know (or in some cases disclose) the difference between the two and describe one as being the other.

Phoenix

So I’ve got some updates on my (ending) mattress search.

First, I’ll just pass along some information that I acquired about Tranquility Latex Mattresses.

  1. I think they use the 100% natural Talalay from Latex International. Attached are the certification letters they sent me from Latex Interational.

  2. “The fire retardant layer is made of wool and salt and it is on the back of the fabric.” (quoted from an email reply they sent me)

  3. The old, soft Serenity mattress is 2 layers of 100% NR talalay: 6" base layer, category N5 (ILD~35); 3" top layer cat. N1 (ILD 19-24). The top layer is “laminated” on to the base with a water base glue.

So back to my actual search:

I checked out the sleep better store and Houston Mattress Factory over the weekend. The sleep better store is just a retail outlet (but carries angelbeds and tranquility mattresses). The clerk was nice enough, tried to answer any questions I had, and for the most part just left me alone to test out the mattresses.

Houston Mattress Factory, is as the name suggests a factory/warehouse with a ‘showroom’ on the side. The owner showed me some mattresses and in typical Texan fashion clearly enjoyed to talk, but he had a few funny jokes so no big deal there. The only thing that was kind of annoying was that he kept all the showroom mattresses in the plastic. I thought about complaining but figured this was just how he did things. He should really think about changing that though because the plastic just kind of throws everything off.

Prior to heading to houston, after checking most of what College Station had to offer I found that I enjoyed the two opposite ends of the mattress spectrum. I liked firm mattresses (denver mattress Dr.'s Choice zoned in particular) because my lower back really felt supported (I’ve had some lower back issues) but then I also liked the really plush latex because of overall comfort. As such, I envisioned a hypothetical perfect mattress as something with some sort of zoned coils with plush latex on top.

I found a mattress pretty close to that which I liked at Houston Mattress Factory. It had a ~5.5" base layer of tri-zoned dunlop Latex (80/20) with ~4" of ~4lb aero-memory foam. The aero-foam has an open-celled structure which he said was more breathable. He said there may have been a thin layer of lower density foam in there as well, but I never got the final answer on that.

This mattress supported my low back but then also felt really conforming and comfortable everywhere else. Almost exactly what I was looking for, except, I think I prefer the springy/cloud-like feel of plush latex to fully conforming memory foam.

So what I was thinking of doing, since HMF does everything custom anyhow, is having him do a similar mattress but swap out the memory foam for plush latex, specifically I was thinking (from bottom to top):

5.5" tri-zoned dunlop Latex (80/20) (from the original mattress)
2" 19 ILD Talalay Latex (blended talatech)
then as a removable topper: 2" 15 ILD Talalay Latex (probably the fast response active fusion)

Any comments/concerns on this mattress idea would be appreciated. My intuition is that the zoned support will still come through the soft latex, does that seem right? Would I be better off just sticking with the original mattress instead of customizing?

Before placing the order, I was probably going to call the HMF and fully confirm what was in the memory foam layer of the original mattress. Is it worthwhile/useful to compare ILDs of memory foam and latex? Or is that more apples to oranges? I also should probably check to see if he gets latex from Latex International.

Sorry for the long post, just thought I’d try to describe the whole experience. And again, thanks.

Hi djag67,

thanks for your “Houston feedback” :slight_smile:

I think your experience with the Better Bed Store is fairly typical and they don’t appear to be as knowledgeable as other retailers or manufacturers. They are owned by the same group (Merrick Group) that owns Angel Beds and Tranquility mattress and other internet sites.

Knowing whether Talalay latex is 100% natural or blended can be difficult. It isn’t made any easier by the naming conventions used by Latex International who often calls their blended Talalay “natural” and their 100% natural Talalay “all natural”. This ends up leading to retailers who are confused about what they are selling.

In looking at the Tranquility site it’s difficult to know what they are currently using based on their terminology (the letter you listed was from 2005 and doesn’t indicate what they are currently using). In some places they call their Talalay “natural” (which could mean blended if they used LI’s terminology) and in other places they call it 100% all natural (which would mean 100% natural) and in other places they say 100% pure Talalay latex which could mean anything at all because Talalay is a manufacturing process and any latex, natural or synthetic, that is made with the Talalay process would be “100% pure talalay latex”. Normally though if an ILD is specified that is one of the rated ILD’s used by the manufacturer for their blended Talalay (you can see the Latex International ILD’s here) then it’s blended. It looks to me like they are using 100% natural Talalay though (which comes in N1 - N5 if its made by LI and not ILD ratings) and their Dunlop is also 100% natural but 100% natural Dunlop is much more common than Talalay.

Their information about fire retardants is somewhat suspect as well. If they are using a “salt” as their fire retardant then it is likely a halogenated fire retardant and most likely Bromine and as you can see on the wikipedia site here there are some fairly serious concerns about many Brominated fire retardants and some have been banned in Europe.

This actually isn’t so unusual because all mattresses are a combination of firmer support materials and softer comfort materials. A mattress that has firm support can have many variations of comfort layers on top of the firm support which can itself vary from soft to firm and would still be “firm support” . In other words the pressure relieving softness/firmness of the comfort layers are different from the “support” firmness/softness of the support layers although they certainly interact with and affect each other.

[quote]Any comments/concerns on this mattress idea would be appreciated. My intuition is that the zoned support will still come through the soft latex, does that seem right? Would I be better off just sticking with the original mattress instead of customizing?

Before placing the order, I was probably going to call the HMF and fully confirm what was in the memory foam layer of the original mattress. Is it worthwhile/useful to compare ILDs of memory foam and latex? Or is that more apples to oranges? I also should probably check to see if he gets latex from Latex International.[/quote]

This would depend on the layering and specifics of the latex mattress you are using as a reference point (the one you called really plush) but overall I would tend to avoid latex layers that were that soft unless you are very light (and you aren’t what I would call light) and the 4" thickness may also be more suitable for a side sleeper than a back sleeper although your own experience is always more important than any “theory at a distance”. I would tend to use at least 24 ILD in the surface layer and then based on your experience with this see if you need an additional layer of softer latex (and I still wouldn’t go as low as the mid teens). Latex is the most durable of the foam materials but all soft foam will soften faster than firmer foams and most manufacturers would be very hesitant using ILD’s that low with your weight. Of course the advantage of having a separate topper is that it can be replaced without having to replace the whole mattress.

With memory foam, ILD is not really a relevant spec because it changes with temperature, humidity, and the amount of time it is compressed and it certainly isn’t comparable to latex ILD’s which in turn aren’t comparable to polyfoam ILD’s either. Even Talalay and Dunlop in the same ILD will have a different firmness level for most people because Dunlop gets firmer faster than Talalay once you are past 25% compression where ILD is usually (but not always) measured. ILD is really only comparable if you are making comparisons between the same material. There is more about comparing memory foam to latex in post #2 here. You can also read about the difficulties involved in using ILD to compare different materials in post #6 here.

As far as the source of latex I would consider both manufacturers of Talalay latex (Latex International and Radium) to be good quality (and there are some manufacturers who prefer the feel and consistency of Radium) and while latex International doesn’t make Dunlop … most of the Dunlop that is available is also good quality and I would compare it based on the blend of the Dunlop (ranging from 100% natural to synthetic) more than by who makes it.

Overall … when you are considering a design that you haven’t specifically tested then your recourse if you make a choice that is less than ideal can be an important part of your personal value equation.

Phoenix

Hi Phoenix, thanks again for the detailed reply. I understand its really all about how it feels when on the mattress, but I definitely appreciate the ‘theory at a distance’ (also, I wouldn’t consider me light either). While I am primarily a back sleeper, I do change positions to side and occasionally stomach sleeping.

There were a couple reasons I was thinking 4" with such a low ILD Latex.

  1. There was 4" of memory foam in original mattress I was going to switch to latex
  2. Previously, I enjoyed the comfort/plushness of the PLB Harmony with a 2" Fast Response Topper and the Serenity (old/soft). I just wasn’t sure if I was getting enough support from those mattresses. The PLB Harmony already had a 3" pressure relief layer before the 15 ILD topper (didn’t see the Harmony ILDs in the posts here or here, do you have the full specs for the harmony? and while I’m asking do you know the specs of the Restonic Kingston Plush? I think it is pocketed coils with latex comfort layer but that’s all I know) And the Serenity had a 3" comfort NR layer cat. N1 (I know you’re already aware of these ILDs, but just typing the numbers for reference).

So the idea was to try to recreate that soft latex feel from the harmony+topper or serenity on top of the zoned dunlop that I enjoyed (hopefully without losing the low back support from the zoned base).

Anyhow that was my thinking. Your main point is that under my weight the lower ILD latex layers might not hold up over the long term, correct? (makes sense)

I understand its a risk buying something I’ve never gotten a chance to try, though the houston mattress factory does have a warranty that he’ll make any changes you want assuming you bring the mattress back to him. So I was thinking if all else fails I could always have him switch it back to his original memory foam design. Of course that means I would have to drive the mattress back to houston. I guess it would be worth asking if he accepts full/complete returns or not.

As usual any other thoughts you might have would be useful.

Hi djag67,

I would consider 4" of latex that soft to be on the risky side for a combination sleeper of your weight that was primarily a back sleeper … and especially for someone that spent time on their stomach.

I also wouldn’t compare the ILD/IFD of memory foam to the ILD of latex because they really aren’t comparable and memory foam ILD is not a good guideline for latex ILD. They really are apples to oranges comparisons because memory foam is affected by compression, tempeerature, humidity, and time while latex is only affected by compression. I would only use your experiences on latex as a guideline for latex and your experiences on memory foam as a guideline for memory foam. Latex also doesn’t change it’s ILD over the course of the night while memory foam will. ILD is really not a meaningful spec with memory foam except perhaps to give you some indication of the relative softness of two different versions of memory foam and even that is variable depending on conditions and on the other more important properties of memory foam besides ILD.

I have the Harmony “quality specs” (layer thickness and type of latex) but not the “comfort specs” (ILD). They are …

3" ActiveFUSION Fast Natural Talalay
6" Bonded Foam/Latex (90% polyfoam/10% latex see post #6 here)

Since there are only 3 ILD’s for the Talalay GL I would make an “educated guess” that the ILD of the 3" comfort layer is 21 ILD (which is what they use in the top layer of most of their mattresses) but I’ve never asked them.

The description of the Serenity here says that it’s one of their firmest mattresses and it would be a surprise to me if they were using 3" of N1 in the comfort layers (although I don’t know their comfort specs).

I have no idea but a quick google search brings up a couple of very partial descriptions here and here neither of which have enough information to be meaningful.

The risk of course is less if a manufacturer will make changes but of course you still have to get the mattress there. I still would be very cautious about using that much soft latex. If anything I would sleep on the mattress first before adding any kind of topper and then use your actual sleeping experience on the mattress to help you decide on a topper.

Phoenix

So I called them and they said the the top comfort layer was 15 ILD, which seemed a little surprising.

This was for the older version of the serenity which was actually their softest model. For reference they actually sent me this:

9" Nobility Plush TRQ LAT09OC 6" Dunlop 3" N1
8" Heavenly Plush TRQ LAT11OC 6" Dunlop 2" N1
6" Basic Plush TRQ LAT06OC 6" Dunlop -
8" Medium Firm LAT11N2OC 6" Dunlop 2" N2
9" Medium Firm LAT09N2OC 6" Dunlop 3" N2
9" Serenity Plush Medium firm TRQ LAT09N1N5OC 6" N5 Talalay 3" N1
9" Serenity Firm Firm TRQ LAT09N5N5OC 6" N5 Talalay 3" N5
6" harmony Firm TRQ LAT06N5OC 6" N5 Talalay -
9" Serenity Extra Firm Extra Firm TRQ LATSFOC 6" 44 ILD Talalay 3" N5

Phoenix,

So I did a little more research/checked out some more mattresses with the intent of trying to figure out what would work best for a latex comfort layer over a zoned latex core.

First thing I did was go to Denver mattress and I put the ichoice latex topper over the Dr.'s choice zoned innerspring mattress. I liked the way that felt, with the extra support under my hips and the latex feel. But I wasn’t thrilled with the ichoice topper. It was a 3" topper and the guy said if I left him my phone number he’d check and call me with the ILD. This was on wednesday, and I haven’t heard anything yet.

Do you know what the ILD of the ichoice topper is? (I think I found a thread where you were investigating it, but I didn’t see an answer). Do you know the ILD’s of the zoned Dr.'s choice? Is it worthwhile to compare ILDs of innerspring and latex (I’m guessing its not apples to apples).

Second, I went over to sleepcenter and checked out the PLB pamper, nature, nutrition, and beautiful (kinda felt bad for the girl that was helping me, but she really didn’t have anything else to do anyhow). As far as comfort went the beautiful and the nutrition felt really good. The beautiful as is wouldn’t actually work for me because I wasn’t getting enough hip support, but I actually debated scrapping my custom build plan and just going with the nutrition. The pamper with 2" of 21 ILD over a firm core really didn’t feel all that good. I also tried the pamper with a 2" topper (which I’m guessing was 15 ild?), and that didn’t seem right either. (that was actually fairly close to my earlier plan, so that seems like less of a good idea).

The beautiful (6") and the nutrition (5") both have a large amount of soft latex over the core. Given your previous concerns about my prior plan regarding my weight & being 75/25 backsleeper/sidesleeper on 4" of soft latex would you have any similar concerns with either of these mattresses as is for me? Do you think I would be able to feel the impact of a firmer hip zone in the core with 5" or 6" of soft latex on top of it?

Third thing I did was call Michael at the Houston Mattress Factory to figure out what the zone ILDs of the original mattress were. Turns out the zones are 26-34-26 (he also noted there was +/- 2 on the ILDs). I mentioned that I would prefer Latex on top of that, instead of the 4" of aero/memory foam he has on the one in his showroom, he suggested that he could replace the memory foam with 2" of 22 ILD latex. Given my experience on the pamper, I’m not so sure that would be a great idea, though, even the stiff zone in HMFs core is only 34 ILD so that would probably change things. Any thoughts?

Further, the 26-34-26 ILD of HMFs zoned core is all below the 36 ILD of the cores of the nature, nutrition, and beautiful. So if I simply swapped out the cores, I’d really just be softening the whole bed, just the zones under my shoulders and feet more so. That doesn’t really seem like a good idea. Perhaps I could have him change the zone to something like 34-40-34 or 36-40-36 and then have him put the comfort layers of either the beautiful or the nutrition on top of that (or something close). What are your thoughts on that idea?

After all this the things I think I know are:

  1. I like a zoned mattress
  2. I like the feel of talalay latex
  3. If I weren’t trying to custom build my own mattress I might go with the PLB nutrition (or maybe the original HMF zoned latex core/aerofoam)

Thanks again for all your help, hopefully I’m not wasting too much of your time (as you actually might have better things to do unlike the sales clerks at mattress stores)

Hi djag67,

No … I asked but the people I talked with didn’t know either but they said it may be available as more detailed information spreads through their stores. I called them again today to find out the ILD of the topper and the top 2" layer in the mattress (because this will also affect the feel of the topper) and I’ll post it here if I find out (unless of course you beat me to it :)).

The Nutrition is somewhat different from the rest of their lineup because the top layer is firmer than the layer below it which creates a firmer sleeping surface and a different “feel” where you don’t sink in quite as much and then the softer layer below it adds some extra softness underneath.

I would call the Beautiful “risky” in terms of alignment because it has 6" of soft latex on top. The Nutrition would be less risky because of the firmer surface which would also reduce the compression of the layer below it compared to the other way around. In the end though your own personal testing for PPP would be more accurate than any theory so you are in a better position than I am to know if the Beautiful or the Nutrition is risky or not based on your actual experience. Some people sink into a mattress more evenly than others.

Most of the zoned latex cores don’t have a lot of difference between the zones (4 ILD is common) so with 5" or 6" of latex above them the effect of the zoning may still be noticeable but it would certainly be reduced. With zoning that had an 8 ILD differential it would be more noticeable but I would still tend to avoid layers that thick on top of it.

Much of the “feel” of a 2" soft layer would come from the layer below it. In the case of the Pamper it is 40 ILD but softer layers below it will feel softer. A 6" + 2" design can be similar to a 6" + 3" design depending on how the layers interact together. A topper always acts in combination with the layers below it and every layer of a mattress will affect the feel and response of every other layer to differing degrees.

Again … theory is not an effective way to predict your alignment on a mattress and is only a starting point. I personally sleep on a mattress that “theory” says wouldn’t be suitable for me but my extensive testing indicated it would work well. The goal of zoning is to hold up your hips “more” relative to the shoulders (not a specific amount) and it’s always how evenly you sink in that counts. Unless he is doing the zoning manually then the zoned layers would only be available in the zones that his supplier provides. You may be crossing the line into getting overinvolved in specs that may confuse and frustrate you more than help you. Unless you have a great deal of personal experience on a wide range of different designs where you have analyzed each design to identify exactly how and why it is different for you and a well developed intuition about how changes you haven’t tested will work for you, speculation about changes in specs may not be meaningful because it will likely be different from what you expect when you sleep on it. The best way to use testing as part of a choice is when you can test the same layering that you are planning on purchasing or something that is so close that the changes are more predictable. Every small difference in a mattress has a cumulative effect and sometimes seemingly very small differences between two mattresses can make a significant difference for some people

I would put much more faith in your personal testing for PPP on mattresses that you are actually testing than I would on theorizing about changes in “comfort specs” or what changes may be better or worse. This type of speculation generally has no certain outcome that is meaningful until you sleep on the mattress unless a single change is very minor and easy to predict compared to something you have actually tried (such as a comfort layer that is an inch more than a mattress you have tried but otherwise exactly the same).

Thanks as well for listing the specs for the Harmony and for the Tranquility mattresses as well … I appreciate it :slight_smile:

Phoenix

Hi djag67,

I missed your question about comparing springs to foam and the simple answer is that they are not equivalent at all. The “art and science” involved in the theory of how springs work is amazingly complex much less how they will respond with various layers of foam above them. You can get an idea of some of the variations in how different springs work and some comparisons with other materials in post #16 here and post #10 here and post #2 here.

Phoenix

Hi Phoenix,

Kind of took a break from this, but I still need a new mattress so here I am again.

[quote=“Phoenix” post=22256]
You may be crossing the line into getting over involved in specs that may confuse and frustrate you more than help you. [/quote]

I agree, but that’s kind of what I do so…

I think I’m down to 2 options, well options 1(a), 1(b), and 2. Option 1(a&b) is doing a custom zoned latex mattress from Houston Mattress Factory and option 2 is, if I get cold feet with the custom order, the PLB nutrition which had the best balance of low back support and overall pressure relief of any of the mattresses I tried.

I thought I’d just run my custom ideas by you to see if I was totally crazy (or just a little). The best comfort/pressure relief that I found was the PLB beautiful (3" 21ILD,3"24ILD,6"36ILD), so my customized zone plan was just to start with the beautiful and firm it up under my hips. Michael at HMF gave me the impression that basically they could get in whatever I might come up with so here’s what I was thinking:

(A) top: 3" 21 ILD Talalay
Middle: 3" 24 ILD Talalay
Core: 6" tri-zoned dunlop: 36-42-36 ILD
stretch knit cover

My concern here is that even though the hip zone of the core is much firmer, the support effect might still be minimized by the 6" of softer latex on top of it.

(B ) top: 3" 21 ILD Talalay
Middle: 3" tri-zoned talalay: 24-30-24 ILD
Core: 6" tri-zoned dunlop: 36-42-36 ILD
stretch knit cover

My concern here is maybe now I’m overdoing the firmness increase.

Given your previous replies I’m certain that you’ll suggest in the end its up to me and my PPP, but I figured it was worth checking to see if there were anything that jumped out at you or there were any other comments or concerns.

Thanks again for all your help, before finding your site I was about set to pull the trigger on a simmons comforpedic. Very happy that I came here before I did that.

Hi djag67,

I would need to see you lying on the mattress or have a longer and more detailed conversation on the phone about your experience on each design (which of course isn’t possible) to know which one would be most suitable for you.

I’m certainly happy to speak to the quality or value of a mattress, help you identify any weak links, or point to more knowledgeable and experienced manufacturers or retailers. In terms of design choices though … mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here has links to some of the theory behind different constructions and the two ways I know to make the most suitable design choices (either personal testing or longer conversations with a knowledgeable manufacturer or retailer about a known mattress where they can use the “averages” of their customers to help you make a choice).

In terms of “risk” … I would tend to avoid or at least be very cautious with 6" of softer latex in the top layer unless at least part of it was zoned. While it could work well for some people … I would suggest either very careful testing on the specific design so you are confident that you are not risking alignment issues or as a backup make sure that you have the chance to make adjustments or change a layer after you have slept on it. In “theory” it seems somewhat thick/soft to me for a 6’ 190 lb back sleeper.

Phoenix