Help with DIY mattress construction

Hey everybody!

I’m planning on doing a full review of my mattress experience, but before I do that I’m trying to resolve an issue:

I bought a mattress that you put together yourself. The manufacturer sends you pieces of foam (2 piece lower core, one piece glued top, and a cover). I’m having a bit of trouble with the cover. When I sleep on it and move around a bit the top of the cover kind of bunches up and makes the top of the mattress feel lumpy. It feels fine at first, but after some tossing and turning it gets misshapen.

As far as I can tell I have the pieces all put together properly, but its as if the cover is a bit too big or perhaps too stretchy? Assembly is pretty straightforward. You put the 2 core pieces butted together inside the cover, put the top piece on, line it up as square as you can, and zip it all together. The cover is bamboo and wool, the mattress is 2 6" 33ild core pieces and 1 3" 22ild top piece.

Has anyone experienced this problem? Any solutions? This is kind of a dealbreaker for me at the moment.



edit: I’m using a top sheet AND a thin polyfoam mattress pad on top of the mattress. I may try removing the mattress pad and see if that helps. Maybe there’s too much material and/or friction between me and the latex? I dunno! Seems like this would be a common problem…

Hi Mike S,

That’s certainly unusual. Normally the cover should be tight fitting enough that this shouldn’t happen. Larger sizes would make this more likely that you would see this if the cover didn’t quite fit right but I think it would still be an indication of a cover that wasn’t right.

A thought occurs to me that this is a “non standard” thickness which is outside of their “normal” 6" + 2" construction. Perhaps they sent a cover which was thicker than it should have been (maybe they went from an 8" cover to a 10" cover). I know that they can make a 6+2+2 construction so maybe this is what happened.

Have you talked to them to see what they say?


Thanks. I haven’t talked to them yet, but I did order a non-standard 9" mattress and the cover they made me says 9" on it. It fits pretty tight when you’re just looking at it, but it seems like when the foam compresses there is slack created in the cover and the foam doesn’t decompress strong enough to hold the top taught. Does that make sense?

As an aside, my first impression is that adding the extra inch of 22ild topper was a mistake. I feel like I sink too much into the mattress and end up feeling like I’m sleeping on an incline… this may just be in my head due to the psychological trauma of trying to buy a mattress for 2 months. :slight_smile:


Hi Mike S,

The covers normally compress the latex when they’re zipped up (you can see on the video here that the latex is higher than the cover until it’s zipped up). Was your’s like this?

Given your testing … the stats you have are close to the mattresses you liked and I’d probably give it a little time for adjusting … and of course call them to ask them about the cover issue.


I didn’t feel like I had to work very hard to get the zipper zipped up. It definitely isn’t creating a lot of upward pressure on the cover…

After sleeping on it another night and inspecting it more it does seem to me like one side is softer than the other. We ordered it to be the same. The top is 2 pieces of latex glued together and I’m wondering if one is softer than the other.

My wife woke up today complaining of back pain, so I’m really wondering if we’ve done the wrong thing here. Maybe I can swap the cover and the top for a new 2 inch top and better fitting cover? Not looking forward to trying to get this back in the box or paying for shipping both ways. So far I’m feeling like I’ve got what I paid for and perhaps buying a product I can inspect is worth some more money. :unsure:

Hi Mike S,

The first thing I would do is talk with them about the issues you have brought up here so you can use their expertise, desire, and ability to help you to explore your options.

I also realize I forgot to include the link to the video I mentioned in my last post which shows them putting together one of their adjustable mattresses (now fixed).

I would also take a little time before making any core adjustments (a separate issue from your cover) to make sure that you have gone through any adjustment period so that you’re not adjusting something that will adjust itself and creating a new problem. The options you have (besides a refund of course) include exchanges which would of course be more economical (and probably more accurate) than starting all over again. If you take your time with your evaluations and deciding on possible “fixes”, your odds of solving any issues improve dramatically. Jumping to “quick” conclusions during the normal adjustment period for any new mattress or “fixing” the wrong problem (such as changing a comfort layer to solve a core layer problem or vice versa) is one of the most common mistakes that people make when exchanging layers. You have 60 days and I would use as much of this as possible in combination with communication with Arizona Mattress to make sure that whatever you choose has the best odds of success.

I also believe that buying a mattress that you have personally tested is well worth paying a premium to some degree. There are so many competing variables that make “close” possible but “exact” duplication much more difficult that an exchange process when buying a “choose your layer” mattress online is always a possibility. Sometimes a layering pattern that is “close” can even feel like it is “way off”.

Having said that … for those who are more sensitive or who may need a longer adjustment period, then even the purchase of a mattress that has been tested as “perfect” also carries some degree of risk if your long term experience with the mattress doesn’t match your testing. While the risks are much lower here of course if the testing is more careful and specific, they still exist to different degrees depending on the person and the materials in the mattress.

So overall I would make slow decisions rather than faster ones (within the allowable time frame) and work closely with Arizona Mattress in the meantime to take full advantage of their ideas and knowledge of people who have faced similar issues to you. With an online purchase of an exchangeable mattress … after sales service is as important as what happens before you buy.


Hey Phoenix,

Its been a few nights and I’m having back pain when I wake up and throughout the day. I didn’t have any pain with my 12 year old spring mattress. :-/

I’m trying to figure out what the best course of action is. I haven’t discussed anything with the manufacturer yet because I want to get a clearer idea of my options before asking for help.

My best guess at this point is that the 3" 22ild layer is too thick. My hips are sinking pretty deep into it and I think the whole mattress is probably not supporting me enough.

None of my options seem very good to me, but one option would be to return the top and the cover for a smaller cover and a 2" top piece, still in 22ild. This seems like it would let me hit the core layer more, which is 33ild, and hopefully support my back better.

The other option is to try to either add some layer into my existing cover, though I’m not sure how that would help, or possibly exchanging my current top layer for one or two other layers. Maybe a 2" 22ild and a 2" 28ild? Seems like with the looseness of the top of my cover I should be able to accommodate another inch maybe? Going for a firmer 3" top layer seems less than ideal because I do like the initial softness of the mattress, just not how far I sink into it.

The other thing I could do is exchange the core pieces. 33ild seems pretty standard for a good amount of support, so this doesn’t seem like the right approach, but I’m certainly no expert on the matter.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and then I’ll talk to the manufacturer.

Thanks so so much!


Quick edit: Looking through old posts I saw that the Lago mattress, which we liked and didn’t seem nearly as soft as our current mattress, had 3.5" of 25-29ild of sculpted latex. I know the sculpted part makes it feel a bit softer, but I wonder if we’d be better off just swapping the 22ild top for a 24ild top or something like that…so many variables! I’m tempted to throw it all in my car and drive to Arizona and figure it out in person!!! Haha.

Hi Mike S,

I can certainly understand the temptation. Mattress construction, especially for for those who are more sensitive to smaller changes in layering and design, can be one of the most rewarding and frustrating combinations of technical knowledge and intuitive insights possible (OK a bit of an exaggeration but it’s true in essence). I think the real question is why can’t everyone just sleep on anything :).

In any case … assuming that the pain you are talking about is lower back … it certainly seems to be a support issue. There are a few variables in how support can be changed but in essence they are a combination of a firmer core, thinner top layers that put you closer to the core, and firmer top layers that help the support layers stop the heavier parts from sinking in too far.

The Lago would probably have a little bit firmer comfort layer but it’a also possible depending on the convoluting that it would be functionally similar to the 22. It also has a slightly firmer support core.

Your thinking is very much along the same lines that I would be taking. If you were to reduce the thickness of the comfort layer (and also replace the ticking to accommodate it) then you would be closer to the support layers and the support would improve. The tradeoff here would be less pressure relief because the thinner layer couldn’t spread your weight around quite as effectively. Whether I chose this (and it does seem to be a good option) would depend on whether you thought there was some “room” to reduce the shoulder pressure relief a little.

My next option would be to increase the firmness of the comfort layer. This would involve a jump to about 28 ILD or so because a change of only 2 ILD would be less than the normal surface variance of a layer and that small a jump wouldn’t be noticeable at all. While this would decrease the amount the shoulders could sink in and also bring the hips up a bit. The support adjustment would be a little more subtle than with #1. This could also put it more “in the range” of the Lago although the comfort layer would be a little fimer and the support layer a little softer.

The last option would be a more pure “support” adjustment which is going to a firmer support core. Given the circumstances … this would probably be my final choice or what I would choose if I didn’t think that the other two were practical based on my experiences on your current mattress. The advantage of this is that it would affect your shoulders less (which would have the same thickness to sink into) but it would “stop” your hips sooner. The effect would be a little less dramatic in support than the first option. I hesitate here though because “in theory” what you have seems to be OK for your height and weight.

The most reliable way to improve support would be to go to a thinner comfort layer. This would also have the secondary benefit of solving the ticking issue. I haven’t heard of this being an issue from any feedback from their standard mattresses.

So those are my thoughts and they seem to be very similar to where you were already going. I would certainly talk with them because no matter how I am thinking, they have more experience with their specific mattresses and other customers with similar issues.

Let me know how it goes.


Thanks, Phoenix. You are truly awesome! :slight_smile:

I did a little experiment. I took the 3 inches of 22ild latex off and just laid on top of the wool/bamboo layer on top of the 33ild. It felt WAY better to me, haha. My wife found it a bit too stiff for her hips. We’re going to sleep like that tonight and see how we feel tomorrow.

We were discussing options and the simplest may be replacing the 3" 22ild piece with a 3" 28ild piece. We’d probably loose a lot of the plushness, but support would likely improve greatly, as you pointed out. We’d keep the cover we have, which simplifies shipping a bit, but doesn’t address the loose top. That may be okay.

Swapping the cover and the top layer for a 2" piece of 22ild would retain the soft feel, but I wonder if I’d find it gave me enough support. Do you think a 1 inch difference in thickness would have a big effect on how much support I’m getting? I weigh about 175 lbs, but I’m a skinny 6’4". I sink through it pretty fast, but I suppose if I hit the support layer quicker it’d be a big improvement. I’ve also realized a do a fair amount of stomach sleeping, so maybe this has some implications? Sounds like this solution would work better with our shoulders, right? I feel dumb asking for this since its his default configuration and I had to tweak it, haha.

Swapping out the support layers does have some intriguing possibilities, but it’d certainly take a lot more shipping of things around. It is possible the best solution is 2" 22ild on 6 inch of 38ild, but I’m not sure I wanna send the whole thing back to try it.

My guess is I’m gonna do your option 2, swapping the 3" 22ild for 3" 28ild. Seems easy and sounds like we’d dig it. If it ended up too firm I could always squeeze a 1" piece of 19ild into the cover for a little more plush feel, right?

After we sleep a night on the 33ild core I’m gonna email the manufacturer and get his advice. I’ve intentionally left this vague so as to avoid shinning a negative light on the manufacturer. I plan to do a full review of the mattress when its all worked out.

Thanks again! What party of the country are you in? I owe you a beer!


Hi Mike S,

It will be interesting to see your experience on the mattress less topper and I’m looking forward to your report in the next day or two to see how it affects you (and what it may point to).

It’s quite probable that your support would improve more with a 2" top layer than it would by increasing the firmness of the 3" layer. This thinner layer would also be much better for your stomach sleeping as this position needs the thinnest comfort layer possible. Layer thickness can play a major role in both pressure relief and support … at least as much as layer firmness.

I also suspect that the Lago may have created similar issues over the course of a night or several nights because of the stomach sleeping.

The only possible issue with this is the level of pressure relief that the 2" would provide but if this worked well then the rest would also be closer to your “theoretical” ideal … especially with the added complication of stomach sleeping (which may be part of the reason for the back ache).

Of course this would probably also fix the ticking issue but the best reason for it (assuming you believe the pressure relief would be good) is that the support would be much better in all positions.

I’m in Seattle … and I’d gladly take you up on that if our paths ever cross :slight_smile:


Slept on 6 inches of 33ild last night with the wool cover on top. Felt pretty good, actually. Not super comfy in terms of pressure relief, but both my wife and I woke up with our backs feeling better.

I’m going to go ahead and swap the cover and the 3" piece for a 2" piece of 22ild. Hopefully that one inch less of top layer makes a big enough difference. It’ll certainly be better than it was before. Just hope its enough!

Thanks again! I’m a touring musician, so I’m bound to be up in Seattle eventually! Haha. Funny part is, I spend months at a time sleeping on a bunk on a bus without back problems, but two nights on the latex bed killed me. Weird! Haha.


Hi Mike S,

This goes to show that sometimes … no matter how much you may think you know … nothing about mattresses or sleeping surfaces seems to make logical sense :). I’m tempted to make a comment that this is something like my DH sometimes (who has a degree in nuclear physics) but then I’d be in big trouble!!!

So in an effort to defy the odds and make some sense out of it … it seems to me based on your bus experiences and on your improvement sleeping on the firmer layer that you do best with a firmer surface with just barely enough of a comfort layer on top to cushion you from the firmness of the support layer and give your shoulders some pressure relief. I’m also guessing that the bunk doesn’t have much of a comfort layer. You probably don’t spend as much time on your stomach either as you do on the mattress or if you do there’s not as much room to sink into the bunk.

So overall … I think that your plan to change to a 2" comfort layer is completely and perfectly … logical :).

YW. I’m actually close to Seattle in a place called Gig Harbor … so maybe Gig Harbor is a good place for a gig!