Ironman or FBM

Aloha All!

Trying to figure out what would be the best route to go. Have about $800-$1000 mattress only budget. I’m 225lbs, 6’ 2", spouse is about 190lbs, 6’. I have low back & sacrum pain along with upper thoracic pain which is most likely caused by our current junk Serta mattress. Spouse has no issues. In the past we’ve had Sealy ($2K), Sterns and Foster (returned previous $2k mattress under warranty claim, spent another $900 to get sterns and foster) and our current Serta ($500 cheapo, firm) from sams club, all of which went bad within 6months to 1 year. Spent the past 3 years on the junk Serta frustrated and broke from shelling out so much money on junk mattresses. Decided its time to probably make our own mattress (after much research on here and other forums) and almost pulled the trigger when we ran into the Ironman mattress at a local store. It seems to be close to the build we would be building, so I thought I would see what you all thought!

Here are the 4 options we are trying to decide between, all EASTERN King size:

Local store IRONMAN:
Ironman T3.1 (can get for about $941 on clearance)
Ironman T3.2 (can get for about $1200 on clearance)


Custom builds from FBM (
Option 1:
1" Soft Latex 20ILD (FBM): $120
2" Medium Latex 32ILD (FBM): $239
6" Lux-HQ 50ILD (FBM): $250

Option 2:
1.5" HD36-HQ Foam (FBM): $57
2" HD36-HQ Foam (FBM): $83
6" Lux-HQ 50ILD (FD): $250

For the cover on either option above I’m thinking:
13" Sleepez: 4 Way Strtetch Zipper Cover Non Quilted 13,000 Zipper Cover (13"): $165
Something from $120

Total up to this point for custom builds (including custom foundation):
FBM Option 1: $730-750
FBM Option 2: $510-540
I’m getting a 12" encasement to give us room to see what works best for us. This will allow us to add softer layers if needed. Then, if there is still a few inches left to fill the case, I was simply going to add more LUX-HQ to the core support level to fill the case up.

For all scenarios above, I’m going to build my own foundation. I looked at the ironman foundation and it was all lumpy with the slats underneath. I’m going to use 2 layers of 3/4" or thicker plywood cut to shape on top of a universal frame from Costco:
Figured we could cover it with fabric. The wood and the frame will run around $100-$150, and be more solid than our floor.

I’m aware of the mixed reviews on FBM. My experience in buying a mattress from a manufacture up to this point is 100% being ripped off!! LOL! So I expect somewhat of the same treatment from them.

I did want to get the latex from somewhere else, but most do not ship to hawaii. And the shipping costs as much as the mattress for the ones that do. FBM ships to hawaii at very reasonable rates, another reason I’m being forced to go with them if I go the DIY route.

My concearn with the Ironman is its unknown quality. I’ve read the few postings on here, and it seemed to have a decent reviews. I have tried out the T3.1 and felt it was perfect for me, my spouse felt it was a little firm. She liked the T3.2 better. The T3.2 felt fine to me also, so we could go that route too. It does put us over budget, but if its a high quality mattress, we are willing to go over budget a bit. I found out it has a zippered cover so it does give us the option of easy mattress surgery in the future if needed. I don’t like how they hide their specs with vague descriptions in their literature, which raises a red flag.

What do you guys think? What would you do in our situation? We eventually want to go 100% latex, but it is way over our budget now. Hopefully sometime in the future when we can get the money together we will go that route. The thinking behind DIY option #2 was to get us by till we could afford better latex. We also really like the idea of being able to modify/fix our mattress whenever we want without having to buy an entire new setup.

Mahalo and Thank you all for your ideas and thoughts. I’ve learned a lot in the forums and am very grateful to you all!


Hi alohabob,

The first comment I would suggest is to exclude FBM as a reasonable option for a mattress unless it made no difference what types of material you were purchasing and that their description didn’t match what you will likely receive. There are more comments about them in post #2 here and post #2 here and a search on FBM will also bring up many more. I would not do business with them until they could give some reasonable assurance that what their customers think they are ordering is what they will actually receive or unless “random foam” was OK in the mattress you were building.

There’s really not much point in taking any time to analyze the layering if the materials are coming from them since there’s no way to know what you will receive.

Ideal quilting is a wholesale outlet only and only sells to manufacturers. The SleepEz cover is very good quality and value … particularly if there is latex in your mattress (which needs to be well protected from ultraviolet and ozone). You can see some pictures of it in post #33 here (the actual cover is off white and not the color that the lighting in the picture gives it).

There are also some good options in the foundation thread here which would be a similar price (the wire grid frames) to what you are looking at making and would have the advantage of being a little higher, providing better ventilation, can also be used for storage under the bed.

Out of the options you are looking at … the Ironman would certainly be my choice. They use good quality materials and at the prices you are mentioning (you don’t mention the size but I would assume it is at least queen size) they would be good value. Some of my thoughts about them are here.

You’ve probably seen this as well but some of the better options in the Hawaii area (at least Honolulu) are in post #2 here and the posts it links to.

Hope this helps.


Aloha Phoenix!

Thanks for the info! I figured that would probably be your reply about FBM! LOL! That company seems have serious issues. I didn’t know that Idealquilting only sells to manufacturers, I hadn’t contacted them yet. Looks like I’ll be going with the sleepez one if I end up building it.

The Ironman is almost within budget. The prices were for a King size. I’m tempted to go pick it up, but the gimmicky vague marketing is what is keeping me from buying. I just want the thing to last for 5 years!!

Another $1k in budget and I would have a lot more options. Unfortunately the mainstream “S” companies bled us dry before we caught on to their game!

Mahalo again for all your help,


Hi alohabob,

Have you considered one of these …

Both of these are members here.

I’m not sure what their shipping policy is to Hawaii though so it may be worth a call to check. Even if the shipping is much more than normal though … they would still be great value.


Aloha Phoenix,

Yea I actually saw those, and was going to go both of those routes at one time.

The Eco models at the Latex Mattress Company mention in the small print:
*This mattress rates as a “medium” feel overall and not recommended for individuals over 250lbs."
If they made one with a firmer base, and 3" or so of latex that would be perfect!
We wanted a firm mattress, and the ILD on the base is 33, which is too squishy for us based on what we have tried.

For those of us who can’t afford a solid latex, the HD-R foam under latex seems to be the next best thing from what i’ve read. I then found the dreamfoams on Amazon (same company?), as they let me pick exactly what I want for each layer.
From what I found it would have been the perfect fit for what we wanted (minus the zippered encasement!).

But they don’t ship to Hawaii! DOH!


*EDIT: Just talked with Greg…the core is similar in firmness to the Eco model.
He also said shipping it to Hawaii is very expensive…Doh!

Some items on the website let you check out with shipping to Hawaii.
Other items throw an error and wont let you. It looks like the full latex beds that require motor freight are the ones throwing the error. He said he does ship, but its very rare and it costs alot.

Shipping here is really weird. If you happen to be in with the right companies, you can ship for cheap, but if your a small business owner and not in with the right group they really stick it to you on freight.

Their website is kind of hard to find what your looking for.
I just found this, and didn’t see it before:
Maybe I’ll give them a call to see what the ILD is on that poly core.

Hi alohabob,

*EDIT: Just talked with Greg…the core is similar in firmness to the Eco model.
He also said shipping it to Hawaii is very expensive…Doh!

The 7 zone Dunlop was the one I meant to link (I linked the page that had both the eco models and their dunlop/poly hybrid). Even with expensive shipping it would still probably be good value compared to what is there (although the Ironman for king also sounds good to me). It has a 3" Dunlop comfort layer (which gets firmer faster than talalay) and uses a 3" comfort layer so it may be OK with your weight. Did you talk with Greg about whether it may work for you?

As a side note … Brooklyn Bedding (who makes the Dreamfoam Ultimate Dreams) and Arizona Premium Mattress are two different companies.

Geoff at carries the Ironman and is very knowledgeable about them (and likes them a lot) so he may be able to help give you some guidance on how suitable they may be or some of the layering even though they are in Canada and wouldn’t be selling it to you. He is a good guy. There are some comments about them on their facebook page as well. Latex is a very durable material and there’s no doubt that if the model you get has latex on top that it will last. The only question mark would be the ones with memory foam because I don’t know the density but Geoff may help here.

Another option would be to talk with a local polyfoam supplier and order some known polyfoam (to make sure it was suitable and good quality) and then order a latex topper and a cover. There are some DIY sources here (for ordering separate layers rather than all from a single manufacturer) but the more you can order locally the better for shipping.


Aloha Phoenix,

Went back to the local store and tried all 3 of the Ironmans again. Out of the three, we liked the 3.1 the best followed by the 3.2. The 3.1 would need a topper as it was a bit too firm. The 3.2 was a little too soft in the core. They had them side by side, and after much testing I noticed the bottom layer of foam on the 3.2 was a different firmness than the 3.1. At first I thought it was because maybe the bed was broken in, but I tested it by pushing in on all four corners around the bed from the side, and the 3.1 definitely has a firmer foam being used than the 3.2 as its support core base. Too many red flags (their vague info, different firmness in the cores) don’t want to get burned again so we aren’t going to go that route.

But I found something that will work well for us. Let me know what you think…
Looking at a 6" poly base from either:
Firm (44) High Resilience Foam (3.0lb) 80" x 78" x 6" King Mattress $638.52

EverFlex™ V44 Very Firm $756.96

For the latex layers, I found some from Rocky Mountain Mattresses:
Natural Latex Dunlop (Medium Firm)- Topper Sizes 2" King $313.95
Natural Latex Dunlop (Medium Plush)- Topper Sizes 1" King $214.95

I did find some bad reviews for foamonline so I may be going with the (post #9 shows the latex they sent compared to the latex from Rocky Mountain Mattress)

Its going to put us over budget. Looks like its going to be Saimin for all our dinners the next month. But like you said, at least we’ll getting good quality foam. :slight_smile:

Mahalo for all your help,


Hi Alohabob,

The Ironman 3.2 (and 3.3) models both have memory foam under the latex while the 3.1 doesn’t which is probably why they felt so much softer to you.

Believe it or not … their claims have some science behind it and their descriptions are not all hype. If you call the outlet in Kelowna I mentioned he could probably fill you in on the layering of each of the models but they do use good quality materials in their mattresses. There’s even a mattress protector that uses Celliant and there’s a couple of articles here and here that talk about how it works and its benefits.

There are some other polyfoam choices listed in the DIY thread in post #4 here as well in case you want to do some shopping around. Both of the ones you listed are very high quality HR foam but they certainly aren’t inexpensive either. You would probably be fine with a little lower density in the base foam and the same firmness level if you wanted to reduce the cost. The comfort layers are the “weak link” where the quality of the materials is especially important.

Your choice of toppers are also fairly firm and if I had to guess, especially in combination with the firmness of your core, your mattress would probably be firmer than the Ironman 3.1.

I’m not sure what you’re seeing but both of the layers look fine to me. Of course you may be more comfortable with foamorder … and I do think highly of Alan … but I don’t see an issue in the picture in the post.

The biggest challenge won’t be getting good quality materials … there are lots of good sources … but getting the layering right so you are comfortable sleeping on it.

The good news though that if you do get it right then there’s nothing quite like the feeling that goes with sleeping on a mattress that you designed yourself :slight_smile:


Well hmm…

I found the specs for the Ironmans…Here they are for anyone interested:

T3.1 Iron Man 8" King Size
1" 21 ILD Celsion latex
7" 1.8 density 38-ILD Polyfoam

T3.2 Iron Man 10" King Size
2" 21 ILD Celsion latex
1" 3lb 10 ILD visco memory foam
7" 1.8 density 34-ild Polyfoam

T3.3 Iron Man 12" King Size
2" 21 ILD Celsion latex
1" 3lb 10 ILD visco memory foam
1" 21 ILD latex (non-celsion)
7" 1.8 density 34-ild Polyfoam

Turns out I was correct. The T3.1’s core is more firm. We liked the feel of the T1! Now we just have to replicate it with better foam and soften it up just a bit with maybe a 1" layer of latex :slight_smile: Will fill you guys in as we find more out.

Mahalo for all your help!


Yea, I think I’ll be happier with it if I make it myself.

As far as the foamonline post #9 up above, Sandman mentioned the following:
“Updated photos of Walmart wool filled topper (about 6.5 lb.s, 1- 1.25” inch thick). Also, zoning piece of latex from foamonline. Clearer inferior to the rockymountainmattress 100% talalay. The foamonline is suppose to come Latex International, but from the photos I would say not. Might even be 100% synthetic. Seems like it is less than the 24 ILD is suppose to be. Not too happy with the quality (also only 1.75" thick - suppose to be 2"). The rockymountain is a generous cut, at a bit over 2", so there is a bit of a height difference."

It just looked like the RockyMountain latex was a bit better from what I can tell. There certainly wasn’t any defects that I could see and it didn’t look like the photos of the FBM latex I’ve seen (some of them look like they fell off the truck on the freeway and got ran over a few times and then glued back together!) LOL! I’ve read a lot of other posts that had good things to say about Foamonline’s Polyfoam, so I may end up ordering it from them as its about $100 cheaper.

Well I’m tired. Back to our nightmare Serta. Can’t wait to wake up in pain!!
Getting close to pulling the trigger though. Thanks again for all the help!


Hi Alohabob,

I read that but it’s certainly not 100% synthetic because there is no all synthetic talalay.

The 100% natural talalay cores are poured in 6" molds and the blended are poured in 5.6" molds so the toppers that are cut from them are thinner as well. The look of the topper will also depend on where in the core it is cut from because talalay pincores don’t go all the way through (you can see that in the picture) so some toppers will have a pattern where all the holes go all the way through and some won’t.

To me it looks like the differences are probably just the normal differences between all natural and blended talalay that are cut from different parts of the core.

In any case … it’s a moot point anyway because you aren’t ordering any talalay from them. If I was ordering latex … I would order it from the members here as well because their prices are better and I know the quality will be good.


Thats good to know!!

The RockyMountain website only shows they sell Dunlop, so it could be a difference between talalay and dunop also? I also noticed the soft dunlop on their site is 4.75lbs density and the med. firm is 5.2lbs.

Foamonline lists all their latex as being 5.6lb, no matter what the ILD is…maybe thats a better way to go. LOL! I’m going to be counting ILD’s in my sleep.

Again mahalo for all the help!


PS- One other question…would it matter if the foundation can “breathe” or not? I’m asking because we are going to have to encase our finished mattress in a waterproof cover to keep the kids from destroying it. Doesn’t seem like its going to breathe much in what equates to a plastic bag? (I have yet to find a breathable waterproof cover…)

Hi alohabob,

Most of the waterproof covers you can get now have the waterproof/breathable membrane which work quite well. They aren’t quite as breathable as natural fibers but they are the best compromise between breathability, waterproof qualities, and having little effect on the mattress itself.

They come in complete encasements (usually used for bedbug protection) or 5 sided with a stretch pocket that wraps around the mattress corners. Some examples of the breathable/waterproof membrane types of protectors are in post #15 here.

A slatted foundation is usually a “safety margin” for ventilation but a solid foundation would work OK in most cases as well. Even if you used a 6 sided protector it would probably be fine but the 5 sided version would be my choice unless bedbugs were a particular concern.


Hi Alohabob,

In our exchange I missed that you had posted the ironman specs and just noticed it now on a different search I was doing. Thanks a lot … I appreciate it :slight_smile:

The “weak link” of the 3.2 and the 3.3 is clearly the memory foam at only 3 lb density although being under 2" of latex it would increame its durability. I would personally still avoid it though.

The Celsion and the “regular” blended Talalay (Talalay classic or Talatech) are both high quality materials made by Latex International. The Celsion (now called Talalay GL fast recovery) is the same as Talatech except it has phase change materials in it to help improve temperature regulation and is often used in the top inch or two of a mattress as a replacement for regular talalay. It comes in three firmness levels (15, 21, and 27 ILD).

The 1.8 lb density base form is suitable for a base layer and should work well in most applications (depending on the thickness and type of comfort layer above it and how hard it has to “work”). There is little difference between 34 and 38 ILD although this would be within the range of noticeable for most people but the thin comfort layer on top of it would contribute significantly to the firmness of the 3.1.

It’s a shame that they use lower density memory foam (although part of the reason besides cost that some manufacturers do this is because of the faster recovery rate, breathability, and softness of lower density memory foams).

I’m looking forward to the configuration you end up with.

Thanks again for posting the specs and sorry I missed your post in our “cross posting”.


Aloha Phoenix!

Thanks for the info! I agree too…we almost bought the ironman mattress…glad I found out the exact specs as it wasn’t exactly what we wanted.

I’m working with Chuck @ Dreamfoam bedding now. He is awesome to work with. He emailed me while on vacation! He is going to see what he can ship one out for when he gets back. His mattresses are exactly what we are looking for. The only thing its missing is a zipper so I could modify it as needed! LOL!

I’ll keep you posted with what we end up doing. Thank you for all your help. We really, really appreciate it.


Ok…this is too cool. It comes with a zipper so you can exchange the latex layers…

8" Core
3" of Talalay Latex foam
Zippered top…

LOL! I thought he only had the one model on there!! WOW!!!

Hi alohabob,

He just added his new line in the last few days. They also have wool in the quilting :slight_smile:


Aside from the zipper top, is there any advantage to the 8" core on this item versus the 5.5" core of the standard non-zipper mattress?

Hi tinman,

The advantage of a thicker core layer depends on the body type and preferences of the person and on how the other layers of the mattress interact together and with the person sleeping on the mattress.

Layer thickness and layer softness (ILD) work hand in hand. A foam material will get firmer according to the percentage of it’s maximum compression (when it bottoms out) it is compressed so with everything else being equal … a thicker core has more room or “inches of travel” to compress before it gets to a certain maximum firmness level. In other words it gets firmer more slowly and gradually with deeper compression than a thinner core. This can be an advantage for heavier weights or larger body sizes or certain body types where for example someone may be a back side sleeper where back sleeping is a flatter position and needs more even and firm support while the side has more “pointy parts” or larger gaps in the body profile that need to be filled in (it allows for deeper compression and a deeper pressure relieving cradle). It can also be a preference issue where someone would prefer a more gradual increase in firmness as they sink in to a mattress. In other words it can “help” the comfort layers more.

So whether or not it is useful or an advantage or a disadvantage depends on the complete design of the mattress, the other layers it contains, budget and cost factors involved, and the body type and sleeping style of the person that is using it and how well each mattress provides PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences) for a particular person.

It would certainly be a good question to include in your conversations with DreamFoam who of course are the “experts” on the differences between each of their mattresses and choices and on which may be better suited for any particular body type and sleeping style.