Latex topper

Hello (Phoenix?)

I’m looking to upgrade my sleeping experience on a tight budget. I’d love to buy a new latex queen size bed, but I can’t afford it right now. What I have is a Murphy double/full size bed which is a bit too short for me. My mattress is 8" high, flush with the Murphy box - so my fingers and toes are prone to hitting the hard wood frame. My 40 year old spring mattress is still perfectly firm (remarkably). I also have a like-new 8" memory foam mattress that came with the (second hand) Murphy bed, but it sleeps impossibly hot. But it could make a good base.

So I have two requirements: raising the mattress level by about 3" (the maximum that the Murphy bed will take) and increasing the comfort level. I bought a 1.5 inch wool topper from Yes, It’s Organic which I like. I’m thinking of getting a (probably 2") latex topper to put beneath it. I’ve done a lot of reading on ILDs, Dunlop vs Talalay etc. My best guess so far is a 2" Dunlop topper (I’d probably choose 24-26 ILD) from Jamestown for $239. + shipping (TBD).

Here is Canada, I can get pricier Talalay or Dunlop toppers from Zedbed or Sleepy’s In B.C. in the $480. range.

I hope to get this right the first time - as I can’t really afford to add more layers beyond this.

BTW - I’m a 5’ 10" male, about 160 pounds in decent shape



Hi Miko,

There are some topper guidelines in post #2 here that may be helpful.

There is also a list of some topper sources that are either in Canada or ship there in post #21 here.


Thanks, Phoenix. I’ve contacted two Canadian topper sources on your list. The post 2 information was helpful.


Hi Phoenix,

I’ve decided to bite the bullet and get a queen size Murphy bed. So now I’m looking for a latex mattress (vs. topper). The Murphy bed will accommodate a mattress up to 11" in height. I’ve heard that an all-latex mattress lacks the rigidity to stand on end inside a Murphy bed. All-latex is also quite heavy and pricey, so I figure a high-density foam mattress with latex support/comfort layers on top may be the way to go. I’m 5’ 10", 160 pounds and I’m mainly a side/stomach sleeper.

Most of the “low-end” latex combo mattresses I’ve tried (e.g. Zedbed Polar, Balneo) have a 2-4" latex layer on top. On these mattresses, my hips feel comfortable enough, but my shoulders feel “squished”. From what I’ve read (, I should go with a Talalay latex comfort layer with a ILD rating of about 24-26. Here in Montreal, I find Literie Laurier to be quite flexible and affordable. I received the following comments from them (below). Any suggestions before I meet with them this week (and possibly buy a mattress)? I’m hoping to get this right the first time.

As always - thanks so much for the advice.


From Literie Laurier:

Thanks for your interest.
First the glue is non-toxic, it’s a base of water.
Second: We have two options for you.
1st option: 2 inches of latex ILD 21(soft)
2 inches of latex ILD 28 (semi-firm)
5 inches of foam 1832 density of 2 pounds per cubic foot.
Price: $1100 + taxes (delivery included)

2nd option: 3 inches of latex ILD 28 (semi-firm)
5 inches of foam 1832 density of 2 pounds per cubic foot.

Price: $900 + taxes (delivery included)

For your question about the foam, it’s not beatheable like the latex.
Any foam or memory foam is made with a base of oil (gas). But like everybody
you probably slept all you life on a mattress made with springs and foam on

If you are interested Michael, we can prepare like a sandwich for you to try
it in the showroom, but you have to let me know at least one day in advance
to prepare it.

Thanking you in advance.


Hi Miko,

As you can see in mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here … I don’t believe that using “statistics” or “theory” to choose a mattress is a great idea although they can provide some useful generic guidelines. I also wouldn’t use Plushbeds as any kind of “authority” for what may be suitable for you (outside of making a choice between their specific mattresses if you were to make a purchase from them) because every layer interacts and affects every other layer in a mattress. Your own testing or experience (using the guidelines in post #1 here) is the most reliable way to know which mattress is most suitable for you. The choice between Talalay and Dunlop is a personal preference although Talalay is probably more common in comfort layers (not better) only because it tends to be more widely available in softer versions that many people seem to like but this is also not always the case. Both are commonly used in transition or support layers. I personally prefer the feel of Talalay for example but my daughter much prefers the feel of Dunlop in all her layers (including the comfort layers).

When your shoulders feel squished then it often indicates that you may need a thicker or softer comfort layer to “allow” your shoulders to sink in more deeply but this will also depend on the firmness/softness of the layer below it. Softer support or transition layers often mean you can use thinner comfort layers because the top section of the support or transition layer will also be part of your pressure relieving cradle (the depth you sink into the mattress regardless of the thickness of any specific layer and its ability to conform to the shape of your body).

Literie Laurier is certainly one of the better quality and value options available in the Montreal area but there are also others (see post #276 here) that may be worth talking to as well. You are fortunate to have so many good quality manufacturers so close to you.

[quote]Thanks for your interest.
First the glue is non-toxic, it’s a base of water.
Second: We have two options for you.
1st option: 2 inches of latex ILD 21(soft)
2 inches of latex ILD 28 (semi-firm)
5 inches of foam 1832 density of 2 pounds per cubic foot.
Price: $1100 + taxes (delivery included)[/quote]

This would certainly be well worth testing but just as a point of clarity … 1832 polyfoam is 1.8 lb density (the first two numbers) not 2.0 lbs. The last to numbers are the IFD (softness firmness rating) which in this case is 32 (at the bottom of the firm range).

[quote]2nd option: 3 inches of latex ILD 28 (semi-firm)
5 inches of foam 1832 density of 2 pounds per cubic foot.

Price: $900 + taxes (delivery included)[/quote]

This would also be well worth trying and may provide better support under the pelvis (especially for your stomach sleeping) but I would also make sure that the comfort layer wasn’t too firm for your shoulders to sink in deeply enough when you are on your side. Firmer and thinner is less risky though for stomach sleeping which carries a much higher risk of sleeping in a swayback position which can often contribute to lower back issues. The goal with combination side / stomach sleeping is “just enough” thickness/softness for pressure relief and to allow your shoulders to sink in far enough on your side so that the alignment risk for stomach sleeping is lower ( you are closer to the support layers which will “stop” the heavier pelvis from sinking down too far and hammocking on your stomach). The more time you spend on your stomach over the course of the night the more you may need to “weight” the specific needs of stomach sleeping.


Thank you so much, Phoenix, for all the good info. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Hi Phoenix,

Well - I’m getting there hopefully. So much research. I’ve found three good sources in MontreaL

To recap: I’m looking for queen size mattress with a 2"-3" latex, gel or memory foam top and a high density foam base. All the options I’ve found interesting are in the $1000. range. I’m a side and stomach sleeper (with a slight sway back). I’m 5’10", 160 pounds.

The most comfortable mattress off the bat was at Literie Laurier: 2" of gel-infused memory foam from Domfoam International in Montreal on a petroleum-based 1832 density base. The use water-based (non-toxic) glue. I may be a victim of “showroom feel”. I worry about off-gassing.

I thought that I would love latex tops (natural product, no off-gassing), but I find all of them (Dunlop and Talalay, multiple ILDs) too bouncy. Like I’m resting on top of the mattress and not in it. When I lie on my side, my hips feel fine on most of the latex-topped mattresses, but my shoulders tend to feel squished or jammed up. I see that you suggested shredded latex. I’ll look into that.

At Matelas Selection, I tried a blue water gel foam (? from Italy, I believe) which the owner said is better than the gel-infused stuff. Not as comfortable for me (not memory foam). Water-based glue and a 6" EcoLogix 2.3 lb base (Oeko Tex Class 1, Hyg Cen biocell)

Matelas Excellence had a similar mattress: 2" water gel foam (not as comfortable for me - not memory foam) and a choice of EcoLogix high density bases (German) from 2.3 to 3 lbs.

Finally, I came across

This is interesting:

Don’t know if I’m getting there, after all.



I live nearby, so I’ll drop by Essentia tomorrow, just to see how the mattresses feel. Not that I have two grand plus to spend, but the trip might give me some insight into what I need. Hey! They got a sale on ($100. off). Maybe if they made natural MF top layers for a good price, I’d be interested.

BTW - I did a search of the forum, so I have at least some idea of the debate around the company :wink:

Hi Miko,

Making “natural” memory foam is about as likely as a suitcase full of money falling into my lap :slight_smile:



Any other comments on the search? I’m leaning towards the gel-infused Domfoam International MF top layer (or shredded Talalay, if I can find it here). If I get the MF, I’ll try it with my organic cotton/wool topper.


Hi Miko,

[quote]Any other comments on the search? I’m leaning towards the gel-infused Domfoam International MF top layer (or shredded Talalay, if I can find it here). If I get the MF, I’ll try it with my organic cotton/wool topper.

To recap: I’m looking for queen size mattress with a 2"-3" latex, gel or memory foam top and a high density foam base. All the options I’ve found interesting are in the $1000. range. I’m a side and stomach sleeper (with a slight sway back). I’m 5’10", 160 pounds.[/quote]

It seems to me you are connecting with good manufacturers which is the most important part of your search. You are fortunate to have as many good options as you have.

This would seem to be in a reasonable budget range depending of course on the specifics of the mattresses.

It’s also possible that you need either a thicker comfort layer or softer latex. I don’t know the specifics of the mattresses you tested but I think that a lot of the latex mattresses in Quebec often use firmer latex (several manufacturers have told me that “firmer” is more popular there than softer which may be the opposite of what you need). Regardless of thickness or softness though … latex has a more “on the mattress” feel than memory foam which is more “in the mattress”.

The watergel foam is made by GommaGomma in Italy and is a gel polyfam (as opposed to a gel memory foam). Like all polyfoam it’s important to know the density of the material so you can make meaningful comparisons but it’s a good quality foam although as you know, “feel” is a subjective preference.

This is a “typical” online marketing article or “fluff” with some facts mixed in with lots of misinformation, partly true or misleading information, and “agenda”. It’s either an ad for Essentia or at best written by someone that didn’t do their homework and took everything they were told at face value.

I know you’ve read it but for the sake of those who haven’t the Essentia threads here and here have more information about Essentia but they stopped responding in the forum once they were asked more “pointed” questions or presented with information that contradicted their claims…


Hi Phoenix,

I have a new idea…

I have a 1.5 inch wool topper from “Yes It’s Organic” which I quite like (double bed size).

Given my dissatisfaction with MF (comfy, but VOCs) and Latex (too bouncy, sleeping “on top of the bed”, not cradling enough for shoulders) - I’m now thinking of getting something like the Snuggle Mate and putting it on top of the high density foam base, to create my new queen size combo mattress!



6" German-made"EcoLogix foam 2.3 lbs / cu ft density. Based on soybean oil, certified Oeko Tex Class 1 and Hyg Cen biocell. The open cell, channeled foam foundation structure has a comfort rating of 3 (compared with an index of 2 for the vast majority of conventional foams)."

I folded over my current wool topper on my current hard mattress to see how it would feel. Not bad. I could add this topper (even though it’s double size) underneath if I need a thicker wool comfort layer.

What do you think?


Hi Miko,

It would probably work well for your stomach sleeping but a wool topper over what I’m assuming is firm polyfoam (you didn’t mention the ILD) may be on the firm side for side sleeping … especially once the wool compresses.

I don’t know how your current wool topper folded over may compare to the Shepherds Dream wool topper you are considering and I also don’t know how your current hard mattress compares to the 6" polyfoam layer you are considering using under it so there is no way for me to know what your experience may be on the specific combination of materials you are looking at without more specific reference points. If you think your current mattress is somewhat comparable to the 6" polyfoam base layer (assuming you have tested it in person to compare them) then it may be worth trying the wool topper first on your current mattress without buying the polyfoam base layer to see how it feels.

If you do decide to go in this direction, I’d love to hear our feedback so instead of me telling you how it may feel … you can tell me how it feels based on your actual experience :slight_smile:

I would be cautious when considering material combinations where you aren’t familiar with how the specific combination feels and performs for you and if you are in an “experimental” mode … then the return privileges of the topper may become an important consideration in case it doesn’t work as well as you hoped.


Hi Phoenix,

The base layer comes in at least three ILD ratings that I know of. I’ll get the ILD info and try them all out.

Trying the wool topper on my current mattress is good advice. The Shepherd’s Dream website says they don’t accept returns on used merchandise. I’ll get clarification.

I’ll definitely let you know how it works out.



Hi Miko,

There are some sources for wool toppers in post #3 here that I have found to be very informative and helpful on the phone and I believe that at least some of them may have a good return policy.


Hi Phoenix,

The plot thickens…

It seems that breathability is going to be an issue with the wool topper. Shepherd’s dream was not too enthusiastic about my idea of putting the 3" Snuggle Mate over a eco high density 6" foam base in a Murphy bed. I’ve consulted the Murphy bed seller (StilDesign) for ideas. I don’t actually have the bed yet. I’ve put down a 50% deposit - and the bed is still a good idea for my bedroom-office.

The bed has a very shallow steel frame, something like the attached photo, except queen size

Or this…

The bed’s one-piece foot swings up to hold the mattress in place when the bed is to be put away.

Shepherd’s Dream has a pricey insert which might work:

Or perhaps something from Ikea like you discuss here:

I can likely pick up one of those second hand (and assembled) for cheap.

What are BE outlets? Are they in Canada?

Then there’s still the question of buying a base layer. Shepherd’s Dream has these latex slats.

I’d love to get a wool mattress (vs topper) but they’re expensive and may not stand up in a Murphy bed anyway (?).

Comfort wise, I prefer wool to the latex (any ILD). MF is comfy but too toxic.



Hi Miko,

I’m not sure why breathability would be an issue (wool is very breathable) but my bigger concerns would be trying a combination I wasn’t familiar with in terms of comfort (wool over polyfoam could become quite firm depending on the firmness of the polyfoam and the specifics of the topper) and on the topper “flopping around” as the bed was raised and lowered and possibly becoming damaged in the mechanism or shifting the wool over time. If I had a murphy bed (see post #64 here) I would probably tend towards a “finished mattress” that I had tested with a stiff base layer that would stand up to longer periods of time on edge where the risk of shifting or sagging layers was minimized and the manufacturer confirmed that it would work well inside the murphy bed.

The ideal would be that the murphy bed was suitable for supporting a mattress by itself without a foundation at all but if it isn’t (I can’t see the details of the support surface on your murphy bed) then you would need a foundation as well. If you do need a foundation I would tend to use a low profile foundation because you are limited to 11" in height and you won’t need a foundation with the narrower gaps that would be necessary for a mattress with a latex base. A base with flexible slats or tension adjustable slats (like the Laxeby) could either help or detract from the feel and performance of your mattress depending on the thickness of the mattress and on the specifics of the combination. Your highest odds are to test a mattress that works well on a firm non flexing foundation and then to use something similar under the mattress (either the murphy bed itself or a foundation if it needs one) so you don’t have another variable to try and “match” the characteristics of a flexible base that you haven’t tested in combination with the mattress.

BE is Berkeley Ergonomics and at this point they don’t have any retailers in Canada. NOTE ADDED: they are now available at who are one of the members of this site and will ship across the country.

Overall I would tend to focus on a mattress that I was familiar with the combination of materials (through personal testing or at least using similar material combinations to those I had tested) and didn’t have a tendency to shift or sag.


Hi Phoenix,

Happy Fourth of July!

Your advice on getting a “finished” mattress for my Murphy bed sounds sensible. As discussed, my maximum height is 11". I may reconsider an inner spring/coil core (vs. polyfoam). I’m not sure why I went to semi eco-friendly polyfoam core in the first place.

To recap on top layers, I love the feel of gel-infused memory foam, but I’m concerned about VOCs. Latex (any ILD) is not working for me (too bouncy, “resting on top of the bed” feel). I like wool a lot based on my experience with my 1.5 inch topper, though I take your point about compression.

The top layers (especially jammed/squished shoulders) seems to be my main problem - though I know all the layers work in concert.

This is a bit extreme, but I came across Black Sheep Mattress co. (Calgary) on the internet and spoke to the owner (Christian)

Very knowledgeable and impressive. All natural materials, custom made mattresses. Christian spoke to me about creating a hybrid Devon/Suffolk (see website) in my price range: Top side (soft), bottom side (firm). He spoke about creating a memory foam feel (approximately) with natural materials. He uses high quality springs as the core.

I presumed that the shipping cost to Montreal would be prohibitive (thousands of kilometers), but apparently he’s done it before and shipping would cost me a about $140. - so not that bad.

The big downside is not being able to try the mattress, though if it’s a bit firm and well below my mattress height limit, I could add … a topper!

BTW - Shepherd’s Dream says they would take back a Snugglemate (3" wool topper) if it’s in mint condition - but (as we know) a topper goes against the “finished mattress” idea.

And so it goes…

Got to pull the trigger soon - I’m losing sleep!

Miko (a.k.a. Michael)

Hi Miko,

I think that polyfoam is less ecofriendly than recycled steel so from that perspective there would be little reason to choose polyfoam.

The real challenge is not so much knowing how a single material works for you but how a combination of materials feels and performs.

For most people, VOC’s with polyfoam or memory foam are not a significant issue if it’s made in North America or is CeriPur certified but for a smaller percentage of the population who are more sensitive, who purchase a mattress with “faulty” foam, or who for other reasons have come to believe that any type of polyurethane materials are “bad” or “toxic” (memory foam, polyfoam, gel memory foam) regardless of where it is made or any certification then of course they would need to look in other directions. It really depends on how each person answers the question “how safe is safe enough for me?” or “what is the degree or risk I am comfortable with?”. This can lead down a rabbit hole of conflicting, incomplete, and very complex information that in many cases is talking about parts per billion of dozens of chemicals with hundreds or variations that may each need to be researched individually to decide on the level of exposure to each that you are comfortable with or which set of numbers (content amounts, VOC amounts, and limits of exposure that different “authorities” consider to be “safe”) you decide is most believable because in most cases VOC’s and chemical exposures are more about how much you are exposed to from many sources than about eliminating them completely. This can often require a degree in chemistry to really understand to the level where it becomes meaningful or fully relevant.

This is a typical issue for side sleeping men especially where the broader lighter shoulders (compared to the pelvis) need to be “allowed” sink into the top materials enough to relieve pressure and allow for good upper body alignment while at the same time “stopping” the heavier pelvis from sinking down too far. In more difficult circumstances (more athletic builds) then zoning can make a difference where there are different degrees of firmness under each area of the body.

[quote]This is a bit extreme, but I came across Black Sheep Mattress co. (Calgary) on the internet and spoke to the owner (Christian)

Very knowledgeable and impressive. All natural materials, custom made mattresses. Christian spoke to me about creating a hybrid Devon/Suffolk (see website) in my price range: Top side (soft), bottom side (firm). He spoke about creating a memory foam feel (approximately) with natural materials. He uses high quality springs as the core.[/quote]

They certainly would be a fair value choice and they do use high quality materials with no “weak links” although they are a little on the costly side (Bonnell coils are typically good quality and strong but among the least costly types of innersprings while natural fibers and latex are more costly materials). The challenge here would be choosing the design that would match your needs and preferences and with all online purchases that you can’t test in person, then the recourse you have if you make a mistake may be an important part of your personal value equation. Some people equate the “feel” of a wool topper to memory foam and in many cases a wool topper can reduce the springiness of latex and creates a “combination” of the feel of both materials.

A topper is always a good backup option if you choose a mattress that is too firm but of course choosing a suitable topper without trying the combination first can be almost as challenging as choosing a mattress and it’s usually “safer” to work towards an initial combination where there is only one choice involved rather than “going in” with the idea of adding a topper. Of course a topper with a Murphy bed has its own risks although a mattress protector with fitted corners may work to keep it in place.

I think if you don’t have the chance to test a mattress in person then your confidence that you are making the most suitable choice (based on personal testing on similar mattress and more detailed discussions with the manufacturer) will play a key role in your decision along with the customization, exchange, or return options you have available after a purchase if your choice isn’t as close to your ideal as you hoped.


Hi Phoenix,

Well - the deed is done.

I went with a mattress from Stéphane at Matelas Selection in Montreal, basically because I could try the various layers out in person here. If I lived in Calgary, I’d be at Black Sheep’s door.

The details…

Base: I went with a 5 inch 2.7 per cu. ft. density “eco-foam” which has one channeled side and one solid side. They are going to “zone” it for me, putting the channeled (more flexible) side up for the shoulders (and feet) and the solid side up for my pelvis area. I can flip it (head to foot) now and then to reduce wear on the shoulder end. This allows my shoulders to sink in a bit more.

It looks quite eco-friendly (as foams go)

I may have preferred springs (for eco-reasons). He did have a 7.5 pocket spring base, but this would reduce my top layer options (my Murphy bed limit is 11"). It also felt quite a bit harder than the foam base.

The top layer is 2" of soft Talalay latex (not sure what the ILD is).

I tried the combination with my (double size) 1.5" wool topper as is and folded over (to create a 3" topper) and it felt quite good. I may get the 3" queen size Snuggle Mate, if I find I need it.

There is also the option of adding another comfort layer later on, if I need it. I almost went with a 1" layer of 4.25 per cu. ft. blue open-cell Italian gel above the latex, but I thought I would try it as is (when it doubt, go a bit firm…).

The base, latex layer and wool/cotton cover cost me $964. CDN. before taxes. There is good exchange policy.

Finding the mattress took a lot longer than I expected it would, but I feel reasonably sure I’m in the ballpark comfort and eco-wise.

I really appreciate the time you took with my situation, Phoenix. So much good information. I’ll update you, if I make any changes.

Best Wishes,

Miko (a.k.a. Michael)