Need help with replacement comfort layer

My wife and I purchased a mattress from Mark of back in Jan, 2006. The company went out of business a few years later.
Our mattress consisted of the following:
3" of Talalay latex 35 ILD
3" of Talalay latex 28 ILD
3" Foamex Sensus 5.0 lb memory foam
Quiltflex topper
Amicor pure 9" mattress cover
The foundation was a box spring with a piece of plywood on top.
The bed is a California King.
We have been noticing that our backs were starting to be sore on getting out of bed in the morning and after doing some research, I decided that the memory foam layer on the bed was probably past it’s useful life.
In doing a lot of reading online, including your excellent site, I decided that replacing the memory foam comfort layer with another layer of latex was the way to go.
We took the memory foam out of the cover and slept on the 6" of latex last night. I assumed it would be pretty firm which it was. I sleep on my side and back. It felt good while on my back, but wasn’t very comfortable on my side due to firmness. I also removed the plywood on top of the box spring since I removed the memory foam.
My wife informed me this morning that she didn’t like the firmness and liked the idea of “sinking into” the memory foam rather than just lying on top of the latex.
[1] Is their any latex ILD that I can put on top as the comfort layer that would give this “sinking into” feeling or does this mean I have to go back to a memory foam layer? Would a softer ILD latex help, but not hurt lower back?
[2] Would their be a big difference between a 2" or 3" comfort layer over the 6" latex?
[3] Is there any way to know what kind of Talalay latex Mark was selling back in 2006? Would this be a blend?
Where could I find Talalay latex of similar quality? This was quite expensive back in 2006. Each latex layer was $439, so I’m assuming it was pretty good quality latex.
[4] If my wife pushes for another memory foam layer where can I get a quality piece? Is anything over 4 lb okay?
Any thoughts you could pass my way would be greatly appreciated. Also, thanks for providing such a great site. I have been all over the web searching for the truth about mattresses and I have found a home here…keep up the excellent work!

Hi DesertDuck,

Welcome to the Mattress Forum! … and I’m glad you found us :slight_smile:

I’ll do my best to answer your questions although some of them are more subjective or about preferences which are much more difficult to quantify relative to any specific person.

It certainly makes sense that your mattress would be too firm without the softer comfort layer … especially for side sleeping.

I’m not sure if you have a box spring with springs inside it or a foundation with a rigid support surface.

An mattress with a latex support core will generally do best with a firm, flat, and evenly supportive support surface underneath it that has minimal to no flex under the mattress and for larger sizes with at least one center support beam that has good support to the floor to prevent any sagging in the middle of the mattress. The components (either a bedframe and foundation or a platform bed) need to be strong and durable enough to support the weight of the mattress and the people sleeping on it without some of the parts bending, sagging, shifting, or breaking with extended use. The support surface under the mattress (which may be a solid surface, slats, or a steel or wire grid) should have enough surface area to prevent the mattress from sagging through any gaps or spaces in the support surface over time but ideally still allow some airflow under the mattress. If the support system under the mattress has a slatted surface then I would suggest that the gaps between any slats are no more than about 3" (with 1 x 3 slats) although less than that would be better yet.

You can see my comments about a solid support surface under a mattress (such as plywood or MDF) in post #10 here. While it would be “supportive” enough and in most cases they would probably be fine … they can be an additional risk factor for the formation or mold or mildew … particularly if there are other risk factors involved that could contribute to the formation or mold or mildew in a mattress.

Latex and memory foam are very different materials with very different properties but the choice between them is more of a preference and budget choice than a “better/worse” choice. There is more about some of the differences between memory foam and latex in post #2 here but the best way to know which type of materials or mattresses you tend to prefer in general would be based on your own careful testing and/or personal experience with each material in a range of different firmness levels. Strictly in terms of firmness (and not “feel” or resilience or the other properties of a foam layer) a latex layer in the same thickness and with an ILD somewhere in the teens would probably be closest but it will still be very different from memory foam. You will sink in more deeply into any softer foam layer than a firmer layer of the same material.

I don’t know how any differences in the design of your DIY mattress would affect your lower back. The first “rule” of mattress (or component) shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, or PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) or how a mattress will “feel” to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress), sleeping positions, health conditions, or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more reliable than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).

There is also more about primary or “deep” support and secondary or “surface” support and their relationship to firmness and pressure relief and the “roles” of different layers in a mattress in post #2 here and in post #4 here that may also be helpful in clarifying the difference between “support” and “pressure relief” and “feel”.

Most people would notice a difference yes. A thicker layer of the same material in the same ILD would generally feel softer than a thinner layer of the same material and will isolate you more from the feel and firmness of the layers underneath it.

He sold blended Talalay latex made by Latex International (now called Talalay Global).

The better online sources I’m aware of for different DIY materials and components are listed in post #4 here.

4 lb or higher memory foam would normally be durable enough for those that aren’t in higher weight ranges (more than the lower 200’s or so) in which case I would lean towards 5 lb or higher memory foam. I would also keep in mind that there are many different formulations of memory foam that have different firmness ranges and different properties (such as slower or faster response, more or less breathable, more or less temperature sensitive etc) depending on the chemical formulation of the memory foam. There is more about the different properties that can be formulated into of different types of memory foam in post #9 here and in post #8 here.

Thanks for the kind comments … I appreciate it.


Phioenix, Thanks for the quick reply.
In talking this over with my wife, it seems the prudent approach is to stay with what we know works. So, I’m thinking of replacing the 3" Sensus 5.0lb memory foam comfort layer with a new one. It looks like they price out from $400 up which is less than I paid for mine back in 2006.
One final question…if I stick with the companies you list for memory foam, can I rest assured that the memory foam will in fact be Sensus 5.olb? Will all Sensus 5.0 lb memory foam be the same? Is Sensus considered one of the better made memory foam? OK…technically, that’s 3 questions… B)

Hi DesertDuck,

That makes sense to me :slight_smile:

As far as I’m aware … all of the listed suppliers accurately describe the type and density of their memory foam yes.

There can be some variation in memory foam from batch to batch and there may have been some changes in formulation over the years as well but they would be very close yes. I would also keep in mind that a new memory foam layer would most likely feel firmer than your current memory foam layer because memory foam will gradually soften and break down over time.

That would depend entirely on how you define “better”. There is a wide range of memory foam formulations that have different properties (see the links in my previous reply) but that would be a preference choice rather than a “better/worse” choice.

In terms of durability … the density of memory foam is the single biggest factor that can affect the durability and useful life of a foam layer so different memory foams that are in a similar density range would be reasonably comparable in terms of durability. There is more information about the variables that can affect the durability of a foam material in post #2 here.

Three for the price of one :slight_smile:


Thanks again Phoenix…I decided to look a bit more for a possibly better memory foam topper.
I found one made by which is 5.3 lb memory foam…I have read that the .3 lb heavier makes all the difference. It has a 15 year warranty vs a 10 year for 5.0 lb by Sensus.
I have noticed that you have a favorable opinion of even though they aren’t a site member.
Any thoughts on this…made by Everflex…?

Regards, DesertDuck

Hi DesertDuck,

I’m not sure where you read this but I certainly wouldn’t agree with it. Assuming that a memory foam layer meets the minimum density guidelines I would suggest for your weight range the specific properties of any memory foam formulation (regardless of density) would be much more important to me than any potential durability benefits of an additional .3 lb density (see post #7 here).

I would also keep in mind that a warranty only covers manufacturing defects in a material which generally involves visible impressions that are deeper than the warranty exclusion (which would be uncommon) and not the gradual (or more rapid in the case of lower density materials) loss of comfort and support over time that comes from foam softening that will be the most likely reason you will need to replace a topper. A warranty will have little to do with the durability or useful life of a topper.

IMO it would be unrealistic to expect any topper to maintain its comfort and support for longer than the 10 years that your Sensus topper lasted you (and less than that would be more realistic for a topper which will tend to soften and break down faster than the same type and quality layer inside a mattress cover) and I would consider anything more than that to be “bonus time” rather than an “expectation”.

I do think highly of foamorder in general but they would be the most reliable source of guidance about how the properties of their specific toppers compare to other memory foam formulations on the market (such as Tempurpedic memory foam) in terms of temperature sensitivity, response rate, and firmness.

Everflex is the name they use for their polyfoam not their memory foam.


Hey Phoenix,

I thought I would update you on what I ended up ordering for my replacement layer.
I went with a straight replacement of the 3" Sensus 5 lb memory foam. In addition, I have also ordered a new foundation to replace the box springs we have been using.
I decided on the Simple Life foundation that is made by Leggett&Platt. It looks very solid and L&P makes quality stuff.
Thanks for all the great info you provide and keep up your great work!

Hi DesertDuck,

You certainly made some good quality choices … and thanks for letting us know what you ended up deciding.

I’m glad the site was helpful :slight_smile:


Hey Phoenix,

I’m checking back in to ask your opinion on an issue that has entered our mattress situation. As you know, we replaced our Sensus memory foam layer and also replaced our foundation. We used to have a box spring with a slab of plywood on top. We replaced with the L&P simple life foundation.
The end result was a definite increase in firmness as to the “feel” of the mattress. That was to be expected and I’m okay with that since I have lower back issues and I’m no longer waking up in the morning with a sore lower back.
However, my wife has been waking up with sciatic nerve pain and is suspicious of the mattress due to the increased firmness. So, I have been given the task of solving this issue for the sake of our marriage…:slight_smile:
Anyway, I see two options here…either get a thinner topper to put on top of our 9" layered mattress or find something to put on top of the L&P foundation to soften it’s base.
I’m inclined to go with the later since it would seem to defeat the purpose of having the top memory foam layer if we added yet another layer on top of it.
Do you have any ideas as to what we could possibly put on top of the foundation to allow the mattress to have a softer feel?


Hi DesertDuck,

Most people wouldn’t feel any difference between two support systems that are both have a rigid non flexing support surface so it’s surprising to me that you would feel a difference between them. It’s more likely that the difference was because of changing the memory foam layer but either way it’s good to hear that your back issues have gone away.

A mattress with a latex support core will generally do best with a rigid non flexing support system underneath it and layers that are closer to the sleeping surface will have a much more noticeable effect than layers that are deeper in your sleeping system (and some people may not feel much difference at all by adding a softer layer under your mattress) so if you are looking to soften your mattress I would definitely go in the direction of adding a soft topper.

If the topper you add is also memory foam then it will still have the memory foam “feel” although some people prefer the “feel” of having a more resilient material on top of memory foam as well.

In very general terms … the properties and firmness of materials and components that are closer to the top surface of a sleeping system will tend to have a bigger effect on the overall “feel” and firmness of a mattress than materials that are deeper in the sleeping system, thicker layers or toppers will contribute more of their feel and firmness to the overall sleeping system than thinner layers, and a thinner layer would “allow” more of the feel and properties of the layer(s) underneath it to “come through” than a thicker layer.

It may be worth reversing the order of your two latex layers for a few days to see if that makes a difference in your wife’s sciatic pain and the type of difference it makes (better or worse) because it’s possible that her pain could be coming from support layers that are too soft so you could test the effect of firming up the support system before adding a softer topper.

I would also keep in mind that there will be a break in and adjustment period for any new mattress or topper as the topper loses any of it’s “false firmness” and your body gets used to a sleeping surface that is different from what it is used to (see post #3 here). This could typically be a few weeks but it can be shorter or longer depending on the specifics of the person and the mattress (higher density materials can take longer) and it can be surprising to some people how much their sleeping experience can change over the course of the first few weeks. It may also be helpful to walk evenly and carefully across the surface which can help speed up the initial softening or break in period.

If the only issue with a mattress is that it is too firm and there are no soft spots or sagging in the mattress then a good quality topper can certainly be an effective way to add some additional softness, “comfort” and pressure relief to your sleeping system but the only way to know for certain whether a specific mattress/topper combination is a good “match” for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP is based on your own careful testing or personal experience on the combination. If you can’t test the combination in person then there will always be always some risk and uncertainty involved in adding a topper because the specifics of the mattress itself along with your own body type, sleeping position, and preferences can affect which specific topper would be a suitable choice on any specific mattress.

There is more information about choosing a topper and a link to the better online sources I’m aware of in post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to which along with a conversation with a reliable and knowledgeable supplier (that can provide you with good information about how their toppers compare to each other or to other toppers they are familiar with that are available on the market) can help you use your sleeping experience as a reference point and guideline to help you choose the type, thickness, and firmness for a topper that has the least possible risk and the best chance for success. A good exchange/return policy can also reduce the risk of an online topper purchase so I would make sure you are comfortable with the options you have available after a purchase just in case the topper you choose doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for.


Thanks for the quick reply, Phoenix…have relayed your comments to wife and she wants me to get a additional topper to soften the feel…so, you know what that means…I’m going to look for another topper…:slight_smile:
Thanks again for the feedback and continued success with your great site!

Hi DesertDuck,

I completely understand what that means! When it comes to what we sleep on my SO is also the “boss” in our home as well and I’m in big trouble if I want to change something that she doesn’t “approve” of :slight_smile:

I’m looking forward to any additional updates you have the chance to share.


Hey Phoenix,

I’m wondering if you can comment on the Comfort 3 mattress topper sold by
It is a 3 lb memory foam with a 10 ILD rating. I’m looking at a 2" to put on top of my existing 9" latex/memory foam sandwich.

I can’t find any reviews, so I’m wondering if you think it might be too soft? I’m just looking for something to lessen the firmness for my wife, but don’t want to go too far which could jeopardize my lower back issue.

I know this is probably an impossible question…just want to make the best educated guess I can.

Your thoughts?

thanks, DesertDuck

Hi DesertDuck,

The density of memory foam isn’t directly connected to firmness (see post #9 here) and I don’t have any personal experience with the topper so I don’t know how soft it is relative to other types of memory foam. They would be more familiar with their own toppers than I am so they would be a much better source of guidance about how the firmness may compare to other types of memory foam (at least that they are familiar with) but I would tend to avoid 3 lb memory foam because of potential durability issues and look for 4 lb density or higher instead anyway.