Latex mattress thoughts / questions

Hello, this is my first post. Nice site you’ve got here. :slight_smile:

My name is Dave. I’m 31 and from northern NJ. About 20 miles west of NYC. I’m 6’4", and weigh 280lb. I’m looking into getting a queen size mattress. It will be only me sleeping in it for now at least. I sleep randomly on my back, stomach, or side. I can’t stand heat while trying to sleep. I need it to be in the 60-65 temperature range to sleep comfortably on an average latex or innerspring mattress. I’m looking to buy a new mattress. I have a pretty low budget. For one, I don’t want to spend more than $150/year of good use. Preferably no more than $100/year. I don’t like dealing with warranties and all that, so I’m hoping to just get a mattress that will just last. Also, I’d like to spend relatively little on it because it’s just not practical money-wise for me to spend $1000’s of dollars on a mattress. I have a platform bed. Just solid wood. No slats of springiness to it at all.

I’ve owned two mattresses in my adult life. The first was a king size coil mattress - probably mid range quality from one of the major manufacturers. I bought a complete mattress/boxspring/frame set, so it was with whatever it was designed for. That only lasted me about 5 years before it was pretty messed up. It was just horribly sunk in and gave no support anymore.

The second was a DIY 9" Talalay queen size mattress I got on ebay from some seller who had a store located in Florida. I actually went to Florida for vacation that year and tried one out in the showroom, then ordered what I liked best from ebay and had it shipped to me. It came as three 3" talalay latex layers, a 1/2" or so really soft top non-latex layer, and a zip cover. I’m not 100% sure, but i believe the three layers of latex were 35, 32, 28 ILD. I believe this has lasted me about 10 years, but I’ve had to replace to zip cover twice. It was a terry cover, and they always tore eventually, then latex crumbs would start falling out so I’d need to replace it. It always seemed to happen in the area by the middle of my back (about 70-80% of the way up the bed, starting from the foot). Now that the latex foam is about 10 years old, it’s kind of falling apart. It’s still very supportive. If it were contained, I don’t think it’s performance is even hurt by the fact that it’s getting brittle. But every time this happens, I order another zip cover, but end up losing alot of foam and it makes a mess of my bedroom until the shipment comes in.

The all talalay mattress was really comfortable. No complaints at all as far as comfort or heat. It does have alot of convenience-type problems though. For one, the layers weren’t glued or sewn together, so over time they would always end up “pyramiding” (the higher up layers always shifted left, so the right side of the bed was like a pyramid). Also, the 1/2" soft top layer would always just bunch up under the zip cover. The problem with the cover ripping may have been caused by this. Maybe the foam layers were stretching it too far when not neatly stacked. One other strange problem I had was fitted sheets would always end up tearing roughly in the middle of the mattress. This never happened to me with traditional mattresses. I don’t think I ever had a fitted sheet last more than about 6-9 months (of actual use). I wonder if this is due to the mattress top material not being smooth and slippery. Mattresses I’ve had in the past were always made out of that slippery material. Maybe this allows the fitted sheet to slide around when I move in the bed. A terry cover maybe grips the fitted sheet and puts too much stress on it. I’ve never had any of the problems mentioned about this with any other mattress. Only complaints I have about past mattresses was comfort, and longevity. Any thoughts?

So with the most recent tear of the zip cover, I’m starting to get tired of dealing with this. The latex foam is falling apart now worse than ever, and I might rather get a new mattress that (hopefully) won’t have the problems this one did. I’m currently using a $30 inflatable camping mattress temporarily, but I got busy and didn’t buy a mattress, so I’ve been sleeping on it for about a month now. It’s not bad for a $30 air mattress, but it’s certainly not comfortable compared to a real mattress. My main problem is how hot it is. At 60 degrees in my bedroom, I still sweat wherever I’m touching the mattress. We recently have had a heat wave, and the AC can’t keep up. At 70 degrees, I can’t even sleep.

I was looking at the Ultimate Dreams latex top mattress on Amazon. It has all insanely good reviews. And looking around here, it seems you guys have no problem with it. I’d like to know first of all, if you guys think it would be an upgrade or a downgrade to the latex mattress I’m used to. The one I have is all Talalay, so I would think technically better. But being DIY, 10 yeas old, and all the problems I mentioned, the Ultimate Dreams would probably be at least as good. I’m hoping it won’t have the problems my old DIY one had. I’m hoping it will last at least 4 years, 6 would be better, 10 would be awesome. I’m hoping it will be comfortable for me, and last decently long considering my weight. I know an all latex mattress doesn’t crush down like springs or memory foam do. But how will the regular foam base of this mattress do over time? Also, will the temperature feel like sleeping on latex since it’s 3" of latex? Is that enough to help with heat before the support layer starts? This mattress just seems to good to be true for the price. But considering that no one who reviewed it was anything but completely happy with it, I’m pretty convinced. Although it’s pretty new, so there’s no long term reviews yet.

If I do get this, what would you recommend as far as the firmness? My old mattress always felt best to me when the zip cover was off. It was softer without the top, and I’d sink in more. But I don’t know if it would have actually been good to sleep on every night. I know initial impressions of conforat aren’t always the same as long term.

Also, I searched this forum and the internet for info on this Eco-Lux 13" Florence Latex Foam Mattress - LATX3000 mattress, but couldn’t find much info. I like the fact that it’s thicker. Makes me think it would handle me better. But it seems all the terms they use are their own marketing terms, so that makes me wary of it. It does seem to have good overall reviews though. Any thoughts on it?

Any other recommendations of good bang for your buck mattresses in the lower price range? Thanks for the excellent site. Hope to hear back soon.

Hi dsf,

Although latex is a very high quality material and very durable … it is also very subject to oxidative breakdown from light and ozone and other factors and requires a high quality mattress ticking to last as long as is should. A mattress cover that is so thin that you replace it twice in 10 years is not suitable for a mattress IMO … especially a latex mattress … and the brittleness of the latex is a sign that it has oxidized and is breaking down and biodegrading.

A good quality mattress ticking that fits tightly around the mattress will normally deal with this and if it does happen it’s easy to just re-arrange the latex. There are benefits to gluing the latex layers but in the eyes of many these are offset by the advantage of being able to change out layers as needed or even replace a single layer when it wears faster than the others. It seems to me that the biggest issue with the cover wasn’t the bunching but that i just wasn’t a suitable cover.

As you say … this is a “strange” problem and may be from the cover “gripping” or prematurely wearing the sheets as you say or it could be that the sheets didn’t have a deep enough pocket and were too tight. I’m not sure what kind of sheets you were using (this could be part of the issue) but this is an unusual problem and not one that I’m sure I could “nail down” without more specific information about the mattress and the sheets. It’s certainly not the norm.

I should also say though that your higher than average weight could easily contribute to both of these issues because it would both stress and wear the sheets more and in combination with the thinner cover contribute to the shifting of the latex. Your current mattress is also a lower ILD than would be the “norm” for your weight and it would allow for extra “travel” and wearing of the sheets because you would be sinking into the mattress more than average.

It may be worthwhile looking at the deeper layers of foam to see if they are also breaking down prematurely. If they are … then they would also need to be replaced but if it’s only the top layer then I would consider just replacing the top layer and buying a higher quality zip cover. It will be much more than a terry cloth cover but it will be worth it for all the reasons you mentioned.

The Ultimate Dreams has 3" of Talalay latex and the rest is high quality polyfoam so it wouldn’t have the same “value” as an all talalay latex mattress but given the condition of your mattress (or at least the top layer) almost anything would be an upgrade if the mattress is no longer suitable for sleeping on. They are a high quality manufacturer and like the other members of this site … I think very highly of them. They are among the “best of the best” in the country in terms of quality and value. If you do decide to go in this direction make sure you tell them you are a member here so you can receive your bonus (their shredded latex pillow).

The base foam they use is high quality (2.35 lbs) and very durable. The upper layers of a mattress are far more subject to wearing out and softening and base foam of this quality will normally last for 10 years or longer although again higher weights will soften or wear out foams faster. It will not have quite the same feel or performance as latex but it’s fine in terms of durability. How it performs of course in terms of support though will depend on its ILD and how it interacts with your weight. It’s a “standard” layer rather than having an adjustable firmness level like the latex layer in the mattress. Chuck will be able to give you good guidance as to how it would suit your height/weight/shape and sleeping positions and if he thinks it would be firm enough would help you choose the most appropriate comfort layer of latex (firmer would be better) that can give you the best possible combination of pressure relief and support that is possible within the range of choices they offer.

Latex is the most breathable of foams and the coolest and the upper layers are the biggest contributors to sleeping temperature but it’s only one of the factors that makes any particular mattress cool. It has a 1.5" layer of quilting foam on top so this would modify the feel of the latex a little (which the padding on your cover would also do if it has a padded or quilted layer on top) but it’s also a breathable foam that they use. Adding a wool mattress pad can also cool down a mattress as well as using different materials in your bedding so overall it’s quite likely that you will be fine in terms of heat.

Knowing the materials in a mattress makes it fairly easy to predict what the long term reviews will be like :slight_smile:

This is a Boyd mattress (the Natural Flex 935 which you can see here) and like you say they are very loose with their terms. Engineered latex is polyfoam that has been “engineered” (you can see the grooves) to feel a bit like latex. It has an inch of latex in it and the rest is polyfoam. They are a Chinese made mattress but to their credit at least the polyfoam has been CertiPur certified. They are often sold at liquidator outlets because their marketing terminology tends to command higher prices than they are worth (people think they’re buying a premium latex mattress). At least the price at wayfair is more reasonable. A search on Boyd (you can just click this) will bring up more posts and threads about them.

While there are many great value mattresses that are made by the members of the site (and the ones that specialize in online sales are in post #21 here), this is one of the best values in a latex/polyfoam hybrid mattress in the price range you are looking at. I would probably be looking at either this or checking your layers and adding a new top layer and a much higher quality ticking if your lower layers are still OK.

Post #2 here has some of the better options in the NYC area and post #2 here has more detailed descriptions of many of them (the last 5 would be better value for the needs and preferences of most people)


Thanks for the thorough reply. Locally, most were more money than I wanted to spend. A few bothered me because they didn’t give their prices online. I know they want to get you in the showroom, but I never liked places that won’t just tell me a price. DixieFoam Beds looked like the best local possibility, but I have an overall better feeling about the Ultimate Dreams mattress from BB on Amazon, and the latex one is less expensive.

I looked at the lower layers on my current latex mattress, and they appear to be in much better shape. They’re brittle from the sides, about 2-3" in. I can just push a chunk of foam off it with not that much force. Other then the outside couple inches, the entire top and bottom of the two lower layers look looks like new.

I’m thinking that it would cost me at least $400 to refurb this mattress. Between buying another layer of latex, and a high quality cover with padding built in like the Ultimate Dreams. And I still may not do it as well as the Ultimate Dreams. I know an all latex mattress is supposed to be nicer, but I’m thinking I’ll be happy with the UD. I’m not too picky as far as comfort goes. As long as it lasts a decent amount of time and doesn’t sleep hot, I"ll probably be happy with it. You did give me the idea that maybe I could either make a topper out of my old lower layers or maybe cut the brittle edges off and make a full size 6" mattress for guests some time when I have time for a project.

The bottom two 3" layers of my current latex mattress are XMT6036 (36 ILD average). The top layer is another 3", but it’s a bottom cut from the latex, and is missing the info about ILD. The part of the sticker that isn’t cut off says

“Mold ID: 801-6”
“ID: C47303”
“Weight 41.2”
“Quality rating: Talatech”

I don’t know the ILD of this one. Could it be estimated from the weight, or is it known based on the mold ID?

What I’m looking to find out is what I should ask for for my comfort level when I order the UD mattress. I’ll of course talk to him about it as well, but I’d like to get your input as well. I was happy with 36,36,unknown (probably 32 or 28). But I did like it more when I had the cover off. The cover made it firmer. Not sure if I should go for softer though. Although I remember liking it better when the cover was off, I never slept on it that way. It was soft, but possibly too soft if I were to actually sleep on it like that. What would you guess I should go for in the new UD mattress?

Oh, and based on the manufacturing date, this mattress is actually only about 8 years old. I thought I got it in 2002, but the foam was manufactured in 2004. I bought it in summer/fall of that year.

By the way, here’s pics of my current mattress layers. I couldn’t get pics of the worst part because It’s folded in half and packed away right now… so I couldn’t get to all of it. But these pics show enough of what was happening to get the idea. It would have been OK if the latex was breaking down like that if I didn’t have to replace the cover every few years. But to deal with these huge, heavy, falling apart layers is just no good.

Entire top is crumbling. This is a part of it that hasn’t fallen apart much yet, but you can see it’s brittle and will readily fall apart:

The middle layer. Other than the edges, it’s in OK shape. The entire surface feels bouncy and strong other than the edges:

Here’s what all the edges are like. What you’re seeing here is the corner of the middle and bottom layer:

I just talked to Chuck on the phone. He recommended a 3-4 comfort level for me since I’m coming from a pretty firm mattress and was happy with it, and because I weigh alot. Also, because I hate heat, I’ll sink in less and stay cooler. We settled on a 3.5, which he was saying just has a slightly firmer top to get the .5 difference.

I told him you’ve been helping me, and he mentioned the free pillow and all.

I’ll probably order later today. Any last minute advice you have? Does 3.5 sound reasonable to you given the info I’ve posted?

Hi dsf,

Thanks for posting the pictures :).

They clearly indicate oxidative “crusting” or degradation caused by a poor quality cover and they can serve as a great reference point for when I mention the importance of having a good mattress ticking or topper cover. As you can see … it’s mainly in the areas that are closest to the cover and the inside part of the mattress cores are still fine.

The 41.2 weight on the tag indicates 28 ILD and is right in the middle of the “range” that is rated as having an average ILD across the surface of 28. Talatech is a brand rating and for a core to be “rated” as Talatech it needs to fall within a certain tolerance in terms of ILD variation across the surface and +1.9/-1.4 weight from a baseline of 41 is the variance that is “rated” at 28…

My understanding of the UD number system is that a 4 translates" to 32 which would be appropriate for you yes. It’s in the medium/firm range and while the latex is a little firmer than your current mattress … the added thickness and softness of the quilting would also soften it as well compared to sleeping directly on a layer of 32. The “extra” .5 would either be them choosing a layer that is slightly higher in the range or likely making some “fine tuning” adjustments to the ticking tightness. It sounds like you are getting an “extra” level of customization.

Based on “averages” and also given that they are better than I am than recommending an appropriate firmness level for their specific mattress, and because it’s also true that sinking in a little less leads to less heat and better alignment, I think this would make a good choice yes.

I think you are making a good choice for all the right reasons and given the condition of your mattress … I would also be tempted to cut your current layers to a smaller size and re-use them for a new full size spare mattress either with 2 layers or with a replacement top layer … and of course a better ticking.