Latex layering question

I recently purchased DIY components from Arizona Premium Mattress, for a Latex Hybrid mattress. I have been sleeping on the following set up: King 8" combi coil, with a 3" layer of 28ILD blended talalay and a 3" layer of 19ILD blended talalay on the top. I built my own foundation which consists of 3/4 inch plywood and 2x6 and 2x4 construction (probably overkill). I have spoken with Ken at Arizona Mattress a few times about my set up. By the way, he has been great to deal with. I advised him that my current set up is a little too firm for me and my wife. She is normally a side sleeper and I am a combination side/back sleeper. We are both around 5’10" (200 and 175 lbs.). The main area of concern is the shoulder areas while sleeping on our sides ( I have somewhat of broad shoulders).

Ken initially advised to swap out the 28ILD slab for a second 19ILD slab. I originally went with the layering I did to have options layering the latex differently. If I go with another 19ILD slab, I will be stuck with only one option, 6 inches of 19ILD. My most recent conversation with Ken was to replace the 28ILD slab with a 14ILD slab and put the 14ILD under the 19ILD. I don’t know if this will be too much of a change, making the mattress too soft. Ken also mentioned he can get me a 3" slab of 24ILD, but I don’t know if this would be enough of a difference. I also don’t want to keep exchanging the latex, since it is a pretty hefty shipping charge. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Hi Bamm98,

Welcome to the Mattress Forum! :slight_smile:

I’ll do my best to throw a few things out there for you and see if any of it makes sense. Unfortunately, attempting to predict what arrangements of layers might work best for you via an online forum is quite difficult, because of the very individual and subjective nature of each person’s sleeping surface preferences.

First off, I’d make sure that you reevaluate your pillow to make sure that it is providing a decent alignment to keep your cervical/upper thoracic region in a relatively neutral arrangement. Improper pillow thickness is a common cause for shoulder issues, especially with a new mattress.

Next, you may wish to reevaluate how you are sleeping upon your side and the location of your arms, as this can also make a large difference in shoulder pain, regardless of mattress types. While on your side, fold your arms across your chest (like what is commonly depicted on an Egyptian sarcophagus). So if sleeping upon your right side, your right arm would be crossed over your chest, with the elbow pointing down toward your waist area and your hand closer to your left shoulder. Doing so adbucts your shoulder girdle and takes some of the pressure off of your shoulder joint. Also, consider placing a thicker pillow in front of you and place your free arm (in his case, the left arm) a top this pillow to help support it in a more neutral position and take pressure off of both shoulders.

Now, for the latex layers.

The first thing I would have you experiment with might be counterintuitive, but it could provide you some relief. I would have you try switching the order of your current layers, and place the 28 ILD layer on top of the 19 ILD layer. Sometimes people can use layers that are “too soft” on top, and they in effect “feel through” them to the deeper layers, which in this case would be the firmer combi-zone innerspring unit, and if this would be the case in your particular situation then you’d feel more comfortable with this “dominant layer” construction, and adding even softer layers would be counterproductive. It’s a bit of a long shot, but as you have the layers at home already, it’s worth a shot to try and it doesn’t cost anything.

As for the difference between 28 and 24 ILD, yes it is generally noticeable by most people. Using the 24 ILD in the place of the 28 in the second layer of the product would result in a “slight” difference in overall plushness and sinking in.

I wasn’t a part of your phone conversation with Ken at Arizona Premium (I’m happy that you’ve had great dealings with him – as you know, I think highly of them as members here on the forum), but I certainly would put stock in his recommendations, as he is quite knowledgeable about his products and latex layerings in general. Apparently, from what you two discussed, his thought was that based upon your experience that swapping the 28 ILD for a 24 ILD wouldn’t be enough of a difference for your needs, and swapping the 28 ILD for a 19 ILD would be more appropriate.

Going with a 14 ILD and 19 ILD configuration would be quite plush (regardless of ordering), and while that certainly would create a very plush surface comfort, it could cause upper alignment issues and also create a more “abrupt” transition from the very plush comfort layers to the innerspring unit. There is more about primary or “deep” support and secondary or “surface” support and their relationship to firmness and pressure relief and the “roles” of different layers in a mattress in post #2 here and in post #4 here that may also be helpful in clarifying the difference between “support” and “pressure relief” and “feel”.

I understand your desire for the ability for multiple layering options, but personally my focus would be mostly on getting the comfort correct. I would have a concern of the 15/19 combination being a bit too plush for your mass, and with the options you’ve presented I’d personally be more “comfortable” with the 19/19 or the 19/24 recommendations.

That’s about the best advice I can offer via the forum. I hope that information is helpful to you.


We recently purchased new side sleeper pillows from Nest Bedding which are great. We had to remove about a shoebox full of stuffing from them to make them right for us. I will try to switch my current layers to see what happens. If it does not work, I will probably go with the 19 or 24ILD.

Hi Bamm98,

I like pillows that are customizable like that, as they have the ability to match different sleeping styles and somatotypes.

I’ll be interested to learn of your eventual decisions.


Hi Phoenix,

Another alternative I just thought of. What if I were to try to place the 28ILD under the pocketed coils and the 19ILD on top of the coils. What kind of change do you think this would make?


Hi Bamm98,

Changes made in the deeper layers of a mattress are the least noticeable on the sleeping surface. In this instance, you would be removing half of your upper comfort layer and placing it beneath your support layer (innerspring unit). So you’d have 3" of very plush latex that would then transition to the innerspring unit beneath it, which would most likely be a transition that wouldn’t be as “gradual”, and may not allow for enough of a comfort cradle for you when on your side. The foam beneath the innerspring unit will very slightly soften up the deep support, but overall this combination would tend to feel harder than your initial arrangement. This post has a little more about how the layers of a mattress work together.

The good thing is that you have all of the materials on hand to make this particular adjustment, and you don’t have to rely upon my speculations!


Update. I recently tried removing the 28ILD slab out of the mattress. I could really not tell much of a difference in the feel of the mattress with just the 3 inch layer of 19ILD on top of the combi coil unit. I then folded the piece of 19ILD to double the thickness. This felt to soft/mushy. I have decided to swap out the 3 inch slab of 28ILD with a piece of 24ILD. Hopefully this will do the trick and soften up the mattress to my liking.

Hi Bamm98,

Thanks for the update on your latest testing of combinations. I wouldn’t have expected the 3" of 19 ILD on top of the innerspring unit to have produced a positive result in the direction you desire, but it’s always good to personally test as opposed to speculate. And doubling up the 19 ILD proving to be too soft would lead to the logical choice of the 24 ILD. If you find the 19/24 combination still too soft, it does allow you the option to switch the order and try out a 24/19 combination, as having the ability for multiple configurations was a concern of yours.


I hope you post your results with the 24 ILD layer. I am considering building a very similar mattress.

Hi Ajohnson,

I’m also interested to learn about the choice and results between the 19 and 24 ILD.


I received my replacement 24ILD topper. It is SOFT. It feels softer than the 19ILD I currently have. I have slept on the new topper over the 19ILD topper and think the combination is too soft. Too much sinking in. I have an email into Arizona Mattress and waiting to hear from them. I think I may have received a 14ILD instead of 24. I will keep you posted on outcome.

Hi Bamm98.

Thanks for the update.

I’m glad that you were able to reach out to Arizona Premium as I do think highly of their customer care and advice.


Hi Bamm,

I’ve read your experience with 3 inch layers of latex and that you’re having difficulty finding a good compromise between pressure relief and spinal alignment? At least that is what it sounded like to me. Reminds me of my own experience, and I’m no expert, but after having tried to make 3 inch layers of latex work for me in multiple combinations I personally realized that I prefer firm support with thinner layers on top. I believe it’s easier to customize with 2 inch layers or less, because if a 3 inch layer of 14 would be too soft you can always use 2 or even one inch on the very top without throwing off your spinal alignment but getting that little bit of extra plushness-pressure relief you may desire. If you’re happy with the firm spring unit you have and the 19 on top of that didn’t feel much different than omitting the 28 layer entirely, but the 24 seems too soft… to me it just makes sense to try thinner layers. I found out I’m very sensitive to large incremental changes when it comes to the feel and alignment issues, so I’m going that direction myself. Just my two cents.

Additional thought: I don’t know if you are trying to fit it all into a mattress encasement and only have room for 6 inches of latex, but If you still have access to the 28 layer you might try the 3 inch 28 followed by 2 inches 19 and 2 inches 14, and maybe still fit it all in the encasement. Or if you don’t have the 28, you could try the 3 inch 24 or 19 with a 2 inch 14. I know at some point sending back layers gets expensive. I was trying to make 6 inches of latex work over a firm poly foam base. If I could do it all over I would have done one 3 inch layer 28, one 2 inch layer 19, one 2 inch layer 14. I was also finding the 3 inch 19 over 28 to be too firm so splitting the 19 with a 14 in 2 inch probably would have gotten me closer. Instead i tried a 3 inch of 24 under the 19 just like you are currently trying, for me, too soft. Anyway, hope any of this gives you some ideas to consider. Good luck.

You are correct about the support and comfort. The support is there with the 19 over 28 over the coil unit. The comfort is not. I do not believe the 24ILD topper they sent me was correct. It felt softer than the 19, and had more compression in a non-scientific measurement I conducted. I took a 12 inch round smooth bottom dutch oven and filled it about 2/3 with water. I placed the 19 topper on a flat hard surface, then set the dutch oven on top of it. I then did the same with the 24 topper, on the same surface. The 24 topper had 3/8 to 1/2 inch more compression than the 19. This leads me to believe the 24 topper was more like a 14.

I do only have 6-7 inches of space in the mattress encasement, over the coil unit. I am thinking about trying some sort of combination of high quality 5lb memory foam (maybe 2 inches) and another 1 inch layer of latex (not sure what ILD). I would have to remove either the 19 or 28 topper. The so called 24 is going back for analysis. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Hi Bamm,

These are just my thoughts from my personal experience, which is very little, and claim to be no expert, but it sounds like you want more surface comfort. When I was in talks with various retailers who sell anywhere from 14-44 ild latex, they told me as little as one inch of 14 ild on top can make a difference in feel and pressure relief. If just micro-adjustments are desired and you feel like the bed is almost there comfort wise, this is just my opinion, but I would try 1-2 inch increments in layering. If you buy one inch of 14 and still find it is not soft enough, you can buy another one inch of 14, analyze the feel and further dial it in with another one inch of 14 or 19 (if you need it firmer).

As far as my situation is concerned; I tried three layers of 3 inch latex in quite a few combos, ( I had a 19,24,28,)on top of a 4 inch poly base, and without the 4 inch poly base. I wasn’t getting the pressure relief I needed in my shoulder in any combination, and in some combos the support was lacking as well. The closest I got was 19 over 28 but in retrospect I needed 1-2 inch of 14 over this. In the end I sent all but the 19 back and ended up with 2 inches of aerus plus 5 pound memory foam under 3 inches of 19 ild talalay. To me it’s more comfortable that any combo of the all latex was, but this is completely subjective. I feel that placed under the latex it did a little better job of pressure relief(for me).I didn’t like the very “active” springy feeling of 6 inches of latex, and the memory foam underneath absorbs maybe half that(just a guess), so I ended up with a much more stable feeling when I am laying on the mattress, but not a sinking stuck feeling as if I was laying directly on memory foam . I intend on switching out my 3 inch 19 ild on top for 2 inches of 14 soon, for experimental purposes, so I’ll be reporting on that. I realize our body weights are different so what works me may not work for you, but just something to think about with regards to layering in thinner pieces of latex. I think it could dial you into what you need. It will cost a bit more in the end because thicker pieces represent better value, but all that goes out the window if the mattress is not comfortable.

By the way, that is a very interesting experiment you did with the weights layed on top of the layers and I think sounds very telling. I did not that with poly foam testing in the past and it have a bit of an idea of representation of ild. I’d be interesting to know what you decide to try from here. Good luck

This is what I meant to say in the last paragraph, should have spell checked:

By the way, that is a very interesting experiment you did with the weights on top of the layers and I think sounds very telling. I did that with poly foam testing in the past and it gave me a bit of an idea of representation of ild. I’d be interesting to know what you decide to try from here. Good luck

Additional thought, and maybe Phoenix has some ideas with this, but it’s hard to say which topper to keep. If you kept the 28 it would allow you 3-4 inches of space to work with softer layers above it without risking support. If you kept the 19, it may just work with 2 inches of 5 pound memory foam underneath it, and one inch of 14 ild talalay above it the 19. There are so many variations you could try really.

At this point I think I am stuck with both the 19 and 28. I put a piece of soft polyfoam on top of the combination for now. Only slept on it for one night so far, and do not think it made much difference. I think I am leaning towards the Areus plus 5lb topper. I think I may have to get a 1 inch 30ILD to put over the coil unit if I were to use the 19 topper with the memory foam. If I were to use the 28 topper with the memory foam, I think I would need a 1 inch 14 or 19 to place over the memory foam. So much for the fun of building a DIY mattress.

I can understand your frustration for sure. I was there as well, since I had lost a lot of money sending things back, as well as not knowing exactly what I needed, which was frustrating. To me, and this is all just speculative, the 28 with 2 inches aerus and one inch 14 or 19 sounds pretty delightful feeling. But since there is no way I can feel comfort in the same way you do, it’s hard to know what it would do for you. I think this option would let the memory foam "shine through more, since the top latex layer is only one inch, not 3. It’s what I’m using and it feels good, but I’m also going to experiment with the 14 in 2 inch.

The first option you listed, using the 19 layer on top and over the memory foam and 30 ild one inch latex layer on the bottom also seems it could work. I would guess it would feel a little firmer than the second option with the 28 on the bottom because the memory foam and one inch 14 ild latex is going to be closer to the surface, which I think would be interpretted as softer than 19 with memory foam underneath. Again, just all speculative on my part.

Really just putting thoughts out there with this, and maybe give you something to think about. I think the hard part about DIY is you never know what something will feel like on paper until you actually try it.