Hi! I’m new on here and am learning so much about what goes into buying a good mattress. I live in the Alexandria, VA area and was wondering if you know the best places to buy good mattresses factory-direct from manufactorers here?

Hi goodmattress,

The better options and possibilities in the Alexandria, VA area I’m aware of are listed in post #2 here.


Thanks so much for getting back to me. I saw there’s a Healthy Back store just down the street from me and did visit for a few minutes yesterday. I will visit them again when I have more time. They have a new line that’s just come out called Embrace. Very pricey though. My friend mentioned the House of Foam in Baltimore, MD. Have you heard of that one?

Hi Goodmattress,

I saw them on their site but they don’t list the density of the foams so of course you would need to find that out to make any meaningful assessments about quality or value of the line.

Yes … they are more of a foam supplier but I have talked with them and they have some very high quality polyfoam along with memory foam available although they don’t carry any latex (he is considering it). Based on my conversation with him I would say he is knowledgeable and “good people” and would be worth a call and/or a visit if you are looking for the types of materials he carries in your mattress.


Great, I will check both of them out then for more information. Thank you so much once again!

Hi Phoenix. I talked with Robert at the American Foam Center and discussed what I’d like. I am 170 lbs and my partner is about 300 lbs. We discussed making only a Talalay latex core 6 inches, queen size, for $1624. He said a topper, or comfort layer was not needed and would only add $300 more to the price. My partner felt that that price was way too much and asked about the Dunlop latex instead. Dunlop brought it down to $1120. Robert also recommended the 44 ILD for our weights as well. Do these prices seem reasonable for these types of beds, with no additional comfort layer and no box support (I have my own box support, which Robert said could serve as the foundation)?

Hi goodmattress,

Post #21 here has a list of the members here that I use for making value comparisons. To get to “roughly equivalent” local value I would add about 20% - 25% to the range of prices there to offset the increased risk of an online purchase vs a local purchase. Of course each person may have a different risk tolerance and choose a different number to get to “equivalent value”.

Some of the other parts that will affect both the price of a mattress and its value to each person are the other options and benefits that come from dealing with a particular store or retailer both before, during, and after a purchase and which can’t be separated from the cost of the mattress itself. Some of the many things that may be included in the value of a mattress is listed in post #46 here and is part of what I call each person’s “personal value equation”

When you are considering latex and making comparisons then it’s also important to make apples to apples comparisons. This means making sure you are comparing the same type and blend of latex. Talalay comes in 100% natural and blended versions and Dunlop also comes in 100% natural and different blends as well.

I would also consider the type of cover that is being used because this can also be a significant part of the cost of a mattress.

Having said all that … if the Talalay they are using is blended Talalay then on a raw materials basis the single 6" layer would seem a little on the costly side yes. The extra 3" for $300 (if its the same Talalay) seems like a good price and the two together would also be much more reasonable in this case. The Dunlop … if it’s 100% natural also seems to be much better value and with an extra 3" for $300 would be good value (assuming that the Dunlop is 100% natural and depending on the cover).

Sleeping directly on 44 ILD Talalay also seems very firm to me and is the firmest Talalay latex they make. It is typically used in “super firm” support layers. You can see the Latex International ILD range here.

Your own personal testing would also be more accurate than any “theory at a distance” but a 6" base layer with no comfort layers may be a bit on the thin side for someone that was 300 lbs IMO. If you make up for this by making it so firm then you would be sacrificing pressure relief and the lighter part of the couple (in this case you) would likely experience pressure points and possibly both of you well. It certainly doesn’t seem to me to be in the “normal” range.


Great information to consider. I will call Robert tomorrow and ask him were his prices for 100% Talalay or Dunlop, or blended. It also clicked that if the materials are all the same and Robert is willing to add only $300 more for a comfort layer (resulting in an 8 or 9" pure latex mattress), the $1590 might be worth it. My partner and I will also visit his “showroom” on Saturday to get a “feel” for the various levels of firmness.

My partner and I discussed our optoins and I’d like you to consider our construction (our spending limit is $1400):

For a 9" mattress: Comfort layer[/b]: 2" Talalay (100%) N2

                             Middle Layer:  2" Talalay Classic, 28 or 32 ILD; this will provide me, the lighter of the duo, some measure of 
                             firmness, but avoid hitting the super firm support core too soon leading to pressure points as youmentioned.  This 
                             middle layer will also allow my partner, who is heavier, to obtain the cradling and pressure relief needed from the 
                             upper layers   
                             Support Core: 5" Dunlop (Blended), 44 ILD

The “progressive” construction that includes blended latex will hopefully allow us to remain within our budget while providing quality materials in a thicker mattress.

I know that you focus on density for the comfort layers and not so much on the inches (nothing less that 4 lbs). Can this construction provide 4 lbs of density in the comfort layers (that includes the middle and upper/topper) even with the blended materials?

Does density matter in the core layer as well, or only the amount of inches?

I know you also mentioned that blended materials may break down faster than 100% pure latex. What materials would you feel comfortable with in a blended latex that might not sacrifice the durability of the middle and core layers?

Hi Goodmattress,

I think you may be mixing up a few separate and different concepts here.

Density is the weight of a particular layer of foam expressed in either pounds per cubic feet or in kilograms per cubic meter. In the case of polyfoam and memory foam it is the single biggest factor (but not the only factor) in the durability of the foam. With memory foam and polyfoam density has little to do with softness and firmness because any density can be made to be either softer or firmer. It determines the quality of the layer.

With latex it’s completely different and density is directly related to the softness/firmness of the latex layer. With talalay … the softness or firmness of the layer is expressed in ILD and all you need to find out is whether it’s 100% natural or blended Talalay.

With Dunlop the softness firmness is expressed in either ILD in some cases, density in other cases, or in “word” ratings suc as soft or firm in other cases. The blend of Dunlop is also important to know.

Density is not cumulative and each layer has its own density (which determines quality in memory foam and polyfoam and firmness in latex). The goal is always to make sure that each layer uses good quality durable materials which means knowing the density in the case of memory foam or polyfoam or the type and blend of latex in the case of a mattress that uses it.

The thickness and layering of the comfort layers are critical and this is one of the most important parts of the mattress design in terms of what makes a mattress suitable for one person and not another. It is one of the most important parts of a mattress’ design. Thickness along with firmness also has a secondary effect on durability. Thickness has nothing to do with the density of a material.

I normally don’t suggest that you become your own mattress designer and let your body tell you what you need because without a reference point that comes from your own testing the numbers will have little meaning to you.

Having said that … I’ll make a few comments on your layering.

The N2 is in the range and thickness considering the layers you have underneath it but I would ask you why you are choosing 100% natural Talalay which is likely to be less durable in this ILD than blended Talalay. Of course it’s a valid choice for those who prefer it but it’s also more costly than blended Talalay.

You seem to have a good understanding of this part of the layering and “in theory” (if not always in practice) it would do what you are suggesting. I would tend towards the 32 because of your partners weight. This would be more part of the comfort layer for your partner and would be in the “soft” range for them but would be more of a transition layer for you that was partly for pressure relief and partly for alignment.

This seems reasonable although Dunlop doesn’t come in “exact” ILD’s and its firmness is often expressed in density rather than ILD depending on who you are dealing with. You may also not find blended Dunlop in this ILD and it would depend on who you were dealing with and what they carried. In “theory” though this also seems to be in the range of what may work for you.

The idea is a good one but the challenge is finding the exact materials in a single supplier so you can test the theory in real life. There are many variables both in terms of how different layering interacts with different people and also in the preferences of different people. Overall your layering would be 'in the ballpark"

Again … if a support layer is polyfoam (you won’t find memory foam in a support core) then density determines the quality of the layer but not the firmness. If the support layer is latex then density is directly connected to its softness/firmness and is not a “quality spec”. The Thickness of the core will have an effect on the mattress yes just like the thickness of every layer is one of the most important parts of the design. Usually latex cores come in 6" layers not 5" (you may have difficulty finding a 5" layer and if you do then the supplier would also need to have the other layers you are looking for available). Generally it’s best to work within the choices that a particular supplier has available because again I don’t suggest becoming your own mattress designer.

This depends on which type of latex you are talking about. If you are talking about Talalay then it’s the opposite way around and blended is more durable … at least in the lower ILD’s or with heavier weights. With Dunlop 100% natural would probably be more durable because of the different way that SBR and NR latex ages and breaks down. There is more about all of this in post #2 here.

Again though I would resist the temptation to begin the learning curve that designing your own mattress may entail and put the most emphasis on your own personal testing.


Thanks for clearing up the confusion about density. I don’t plan on going with memory foam and want to stick with the latex. I guess I was trying to construct a mattress that I could afford and would also give me and my partner what we needed, but I plan to test out the mattresses from the places in my area you gave me this weekend. I’ve talked with Robert from the American Foam Center who also advised I try out the mattresses in his showroom. So I’ll let you know. Appreciate all your help.

Hi Goodmattress,

I’m looking forward to your feedback … and any other questions you may have :slight_smile: