Latex Topper Longevity


After getting sick of spending money on expensive mattresses stuffed with eggcrate foam I built my own system. This is a king bed setup. I use an extra firm cheapo beautyrest mattress as a base (pretty close to a block of wood) and all latex above sits in a zipped bamboo enclosure. On top I placed a 4" firm dunlop layer, two Twin XL 3" dunlops (one firm, one soft), and a 1" soft talalay layer. I rotate and flip the pieces twice a year. The entire bed is about 12 years old. I’m 6’, 165lb as prefer the firm; my partner is 5’10, 170 and prefers the soft.

This combo has been wonderful, but lately I’ve had problems with the 3" layers. I’ve been getting my 3" dunlop slabs from SleepOnLatex (SOL). I’m on my third set of toppers and the longevity has been declining. I know when things are going south because I start to wake with a stiff back - replace the topper and all is good. It’s only been 2 years and the 3" toppers are failing… again.

I took the entire bed apart. The foam in the crap beautyrest was shot so I cut the top off, replaced the bead with a zipper, and put it some better dense foam sheet and reinforced the sidewalls). The 4" slab looks to be fine, and the 1" top layer seems okay too.

To my question: am I dreaming or is 2 years a ridiculously short people of use for a latex topper? If so, where do I get the good stuff? SOL’s products sell on Amazon and if you look at their reviews there are many that report a short life for their products. I’m not sure where they get their product but I no longer trust them.

I thought it could be just me aging, but the minute I switch out the 3" topper I sleep great and awake with zero pain.

Advice is very much appreciated!

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Hi Cmunro,

Welcome to TMU. You will probably hear this phrase mentioned a lot, if you don’t, you will read me writing it over and over.
“A mattress is only as good as its weakest layer.”

One of the things that worry me is your description of “extra firm CHEAPO Beautyrest Mattress.” If the mattress is not providing the support you need and the support the comfort layer and topper needs, this can lead to the accelerated dimise of your toppers. Even the best quality topper, or comfort layer, may not be able to withstand a poor support layer.

Just to be clear, firmness and support can and usually are independent of each other. You can a mattress feel firm with a HD foam layer of say 2.4lb with a hi ILD, like over 36 to 44, but if the spring support is not good, something will fail.

Likewise if your foundation is weak, this can lead to issues straight up to the topper layer!
You also have to remember that stacked layers of dunlop do not act as firm as a solid block of the same height. So your 3" layers may not be getting the support they need.

The 4" layer is going to be softer at the top of the 4" than it will be towards the bottom of that same slab.
It is likely that that firm 3" may be better off under the 4" as it is likely to be more supportive than the softer top of the 4".

I would review the layers again and their order of position in the build. The only assumption i can make is you are using the BR for the spring support layer, but now you have 8" more foam on top of the supposed support layer BR. Which may not be offering any long term support at all.
Your foam layer above those springs are trying to act as a comfort and support layer within itself. Thus negating the BR altogether.

Simpler sometimes is better. It is just hard to pinpoint the weakest link here as there are a couple.

Depending on the ild’s of the latex you have, you may not even need the BR. Conversely, if the BR is offering enough of a quality support layer, you not need all 8" of foam above the BR.

I know it all sounds confusing, but DIY’s are not as clear cut as it may seem.

Thanks - and all understood and insightful.

The reason for the BR was height. I could always build a box to get enough height but we’re both super busy and took the easy route. The BR EF was the stiffest thing I could find quickly - I’m amazed anyone could sleep on it. The foam inside wore out quickly and I replaced it with an inch of high-density foam (slightly more dense that gym flooring). When you stand in the middle of the BR is barely deflects. I felt that was as close as I could get without building up a wooden frame.

But I agree… the BR is not an ideal solution. I will get around to designing the ideal box to get the height we prefer.

We did actually try putting the 3" under the 4" slab, but neither of us found it comfortable. And because the 3" layer consists of two different ILD foams it felt odd when sleeping on it.

I worry about the quality and longevity of the two 3" layers because they’re failing more rapidly. The first ones I bought lasted about 5 years, the next batch 3 years, and now 2 years. While it could be the BR causing the problem, I can’t explain why these layers are failing faster since it’s just as stiff as it always was. The 4" layer may have reached end-of-life but it sure looks to be in great shape. Also, when I replace the 3" layers the overall system returns to be extremely comfortable.

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When you replace those 3" layers, no doubt they may feel comfortable initially. As you articulated in agreement, if there is some other underlying issue, the life of those replacement layers will most likely suffer.

It seems to me, rather than keep putting out the cash for the 3" replacements, try and pinpoint the weak link and fix that. Maybe the 3" layers are not in as bad shape as you think. Put them on the floor and test them by themselves. 2 3" toppers should actually feel reasonable nice, using the floor as a one night trial support layer. Not the best solution, but a trial test to create a benchmark.

Thanks again for your perspective - it really helps!

That’s a great idea and should isolate the performance of the 3" slabs. The other thing I can do is move the entire latex mattress to the floor (hardwood) and try sleeping on it that way - that removes el cheapo BR from the equation. I’ll see how easily it will slide off… might have to disassemble it. Don’t ask me why I didn’t think of that before!

In terms of the height issue, I have some 3/4" plywood I could use between the latex mattress and the BR to further isolate it from the latex. It might still deflect slightly but is would be evenly distributed. Thoughts?

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I would isolate completely, the 3" slabs completely on the floor 1st. see how that feels, then you can isolate the 2 - 3" plus the 4", then add the last 1". You really want to break it down in steps. Dont jump around or skip. It may take you 3 or 4 days to fully capture what is going on, but it will be worth it.
You can think about how long after you lay on your current lineup does it take to start bothering you, when you really start to notice the pressure or pain. Lay on the 2 - 3" of latex on the floor and see if you experience the same. Then add an additional layer, and test, then add the last layer.

One thing for certain, the BR (as much as it seems) is not as hard as the floor. So the floor is the benchmark. When on the floor, you can place the 4" ontop of the 2-3" on the floor.

I would not use the plywood at this time. Once you have established your baseline of comfort on the floor, Then you can introduce the plywood option on the frame of the bed. You may decide you dont need the BR at all, or you may simply want the coil spring layer and a firm transition layer between the springs and the latex for contouring support, but you may have to cut back on the height of the latex by one 3" layer.

You are definitely moving in the right direction, just be patient and you will get it down and nail it.

Will do. I’ll carefully perform the experiments and return with the results.

The BR is a bank of stiff pocketed coils. Originally it had an 1.5" layer of eggcrate foam over it which quickly degenerated and was replaced with teh high-density foam I mentioned. To get the right height for my bedrooom I needed a 12-13" elevation - that’s why I used the EF BR as a base. If it’s time to build my own platform base then I’ll carve out time to design and build one.


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Yes, love to know the results. Good luck with it. Just a shame the good brands of yesteryear have just lost their way!
All the best,

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I’m afraid that “Pride” has been replaced by “Profit” - a short-term view of “Value”. The mattress market is great example of obscene mark-ups amidst shrinking quality. So, I build my own. I have to find the right path but forums like this offer essential guidance - from experts who cling to the importance of quality, value, and sharing.


You are on the right track. Don’t give up on some of the independent mattress manufacturers. They will help you build your perfect mattress. There is plenty of pride there going around to circumvent the big behemoths out there!