DIY Latex Mattress

I’m looking at and think I will make my own King size mattress with the DIY latex mattress components. Pro - budget friendly, Con - no warranty or return policy, so I want to make VERY sure I’m getting something that will suit my family. My husband and I will be sleeping on it, both of us ~200lbs. He’s a stomach sleeper and I’m a side sleeper. I’m thinking of building the mattress as such (top to bottom):

Option 1
One 3" King (28 ILD) Blended Talalay Topper
One 3" King (25 ILD) Natural Dunlop Latex Mattress Duvet Topper
Two 6" Twin XL (36 ILD) Dunlop Latex Base
Floor (until we decide on a foundation, we are upgrading from a Queen bed)

Option 2
One 3" King (19 ILD) Blended Talalay Topper
One 3" King (28 ILD) Blended Talalay Topper
Two 6" Twin XL (36 ILD) Dunlop Latex Base
Floor (until we decide on a foundation, we are upgrading from a Queen bed)

Any insight on the differences of mattresses am I making here? Is option 1 a med, med, firm? Is option 2 a soft, med, firm? Is one option more firm or one more plush than the other? Is one more customizable by switching layers in case we need to tweak things? Will one last longer? What about covers do I go with the bamboo-wool blend or organic cotton?

(I called yesterday but the guy I spoke to was really not informative about anything other than adding up the price, which I can clearly see in my online shopping cart.)

Thanks in advance for advice!

Hi Mestone,

Designing and building your own DIY mattress can certainly be a rewarding and fun project and has some great quality/value components available but I would make sure that you’ve read option 3 in post #15 here if you are considering designing and building a DIY mattress to make sure you have realistic expectations of success and the trial and error that may be involved in finding the most suitable combination of layers and components. The “best” approach with a DIY mattress is a “spirit of adventure” where the process itself, your experiences, and what you learn along the way are more important than any cost savings which may or may not happen depending on whether you purchase any layers or components that end up needing to be replaced.

The choice between Dunlop and Talalay is a preference choice and there is more about the differences between them and how they “feel” in post #7 here but the most reliable way to know which one you tend to prefer would be based on some local testing on a range of mattresses that use each type of latex in different firmness levels. There is also more about the different types and blends of latex in post #6 here.

There are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved for someone else to be able to predict which combination of layers would be best for you based on specs (either yours or a mattress) or "theory at a distance but there are some very generic guidelines linked in mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here that may be helpful. It may also be worthwhile considering a side to side split layer design because stomach sleepers will often need a firmer mattress than a side sleeper to prevent the risk of sleeping in a swayback position which can lead to alignment issues and discomfort or pain in the lower back when you wake up in the morning.

The “firmness rating” of a mattress is not particularly meaningful because there are different types of softness/firmness that people may be more or less sensitive to (see post #15 here) and what feels soft or firm to different people can be very subjective and also depends on body type, sleeping positions, and individual sensitivities and physiology. In the end … the only thing that matters is whether a mattress is “soft enough” in the comfort layers and “firm enough” in the support layers to be a good match for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal perferences) regardless of how firm or soft or how suitable the same mattress may be for anyone else.

Both mattresses have three layers so you would have the same number of options to rearrange the layers in both of them but since the materials are different the combinations in one will feel different from the combinations in the other. Because Dunlop is a denser material than Talalay and tends to feel firmer in the same ILD than Talalay … the 25 ILD Dunlop layer would probably feel similar in terms of firmness for most people as the 28 ILD Talalay layer (but would have a different "feel) so your first option (from the bottom up) would be somewhere in the range of firm/medium/medium layers and the second would be in the range of firm/medium/soft layers so the second one would feel a little softer … at least for most people. I would tend to lean towards firmer comfort layers for primary stomach sleepers than for primary side sleepers who generally need softer comfort layers to provide better pressure relief.

They will be closely comparable in terms of durability but they would be different in terms of firmness and “feel” for most people because of the differences between the type of latex in the layers and the firmness of each layer.

You can read more about the pros and cons of a wool quilted cover vs a thinner stretch knit cover in post #6 here. This is also a preference choice.


Thanks for your reply Phoenix!
I’ve read many posts on the forums, some of the ones you pointed out, & I will go back through those, but I’m don’t feel any more knowledgable for it. What we have now is a spring coil Queen that is sagging after only 5 years and we are fed up with it, both of us wake up in pain now. So we definitely want a good supportive mattress. As a side sleeper though I want something with a little give to relieve pressure points on shoulders and hips, but not too much to cause sway-back in my stomach sleeping husband.

I haven’t found a mattress store near us that carries Dunlop so hence my uncertainty of what its like, I’ve seen youtube videos and it looks pretty dense.

We were able to find the Pure BLiss Nature and Nutrition at a store near us and were told the main difference being that the shorter the mattress, the firmer the feel. My husband liked both but preferred the 10" Nature a bit more and I preferred the 11" Nutrition. I was hoping that by building a firm 12" mattress it would have a little give for me but be firm enough for both of us.

I don’t know the Talalay IDL of the layers in the Nature or Nutrition mattresses by Pure Bliss so I can’t compare that info either, no info on their website. [strike]Do you perhaps know?[/strike] WAs able to find this info in the forums Post #2 here

My theory is that a Dunlop firm base, then a dunlop support core will give us plenty of support, but the the 3" (28 IDL Talalay) will “feel” like a bit of give for side sleeping?

Hi Mestone,

I certainly understand this because “theory” by itself isn’t particularly meaningful until you also have the personal experience on different types of latex mattress designs to “translate” all the information you read into “real life” experience.

The thickness of a mattress is only one of many factors that can affect how soft or firm it feels to a particular person and it often isn’t the most important factor because the specifics of the design and materials inside the mattress can have a bigger effect than thickness on how soft or firm a mattress feels (see post #4 here). The Nutrition for example has a dominating layering (see post #33 here) that uses a firmer comfort layer over a softer transition layer and to many (but not all) people it would feel firmer than the Nature because the top layer is firmer even though it’s also thicker.

If you let me know your city or zip code I’d be happy to let you know about any of the options or possibilities I’m aware of in your area. Some good reference points based on your own actual experience on different types of latex mattresses can be more important and a more relevant guideline than “theory at a distance” when you are designing your own mattress.

28 ILD comfort layers would certainly be a common choice for side sleepers that are either in higher weight ranges or that prefer slightly firmer comfort layers than some of the softer ILD’s that are available but the only way to know how it would feel to you in combination with the other layers and the type of cover you are considering would be based on your own personal experience.

It’s can also be a good idea to take an incremental “bottom up” approach where you order your base layer and say a 3" 28 ILD layer on top of it and then use your actual experience on these two layers as a reference point to decide on any additional layers or softness you wish to add to your design and then leave the choice of cover until after you have confirmed the combination of layers and the thickness of the mattress that you are happy with.


Thank you Phoenix. My zip is 30189, I would love to be able to test first hand before buying.

Hi Mestone,

The better options or possibilities I’m aware of in and around the Atlanta region are listed in post #2 here and there are a number of them that would give you the chance to test different types of latex in different firmness levels.