I’ve noticed this website never mentions “plain old foam” slabs for mattresses (or at least I haven’t come across it). For many years I would go to a foam wholesaler and buy a plain polyurethane slab in their best quality, highest density (for longevity) with an ILD of 35 (for firmness), put it in a zipped cover, and place a quilted mattress cover over that. Isn’t that a great option for many people? Why not?
I’m in the group that finds memory foam hot and like a sinkhole keeping me from moving freely. So I prefer non-memory.
I’m considering latex now. One reason is longevity, but I’ve learned here to expect something like 10 years, not 20-25; and my foam slabs make it almost that long before they compress.
The other reason is that my wife would prefer going natural. Also, we have different needs in bed support, so we’re considering something more complicated where the two sides differ. Shortly I’ll post a question about that as a new topic.
But – apart from off-gassing, which I’ve handled by airing out before use – is there something bad about plain polyurethane slabs that accounts for their omission here?
Also, is my having liked a plain foam slab a good indicator I will like a latex mattress?
If a single layer polyfoam mattress (or multiple layers with different firmness levels for that matter) with a reasonable cover matches your specific needs and preferences in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) then there wouldn’t be anything “wrong” with it no and it could make a good quality/value purchase. Like all materials and component choices it would be a matter of preference and the criteria that are most important to you. The density of the polyfoam would be the biggest factor in its quality and durability … and cost. Your own personal testing and experience will tell you more than anything how latex feels to you compared to polyfoam. There are so many versions and softness levels of both latex and polyfoam that I don’t think there is any general rule about how your experience on one may translate to another.
Latex has a different “feel” from polyfoam (although there are some types of HR polyfoam that are more “latex like”) but in an apples to apples comparison with polyfoam it will generally be more durable and maintain it’s properties for longer. While a good quality 32 ILD polyfoam layer may last 10 years (or in some cases longer because durability is relative to each person) … a similar latex layer may last 20 years of more (you can see a video example here of a single layer latex mattress that was almost 50 years old).
Polyfoam is included as one of the materials discussed in the mattresses section of the site and it’s a frequent topic of discussion in the context of being part of other types of mattresses (innerspring, memory foam, or latex hybrids usually) but an all polyfoam mattress isn’t as commonly asked about on the forum and is usually part of a lower budget choice. It isn’t usually most people’s first choice or preference outside of budget reasons so it’s not so much a matter of omission as that it’s a much less common topic of discussion on the forum although there have been several threads that I remember where “all polyfoam” mattresses have been discussed.
I slept on a single layer of polyfoam for a number of years (see post #2 here) and my “memory” says it was very comfortable although I was also much younger and more in the range of “I can sleep on anything” than I am now