Need Talalay layer *slightly* softer than 19ILD Blended (Talalay Global) 2", DIY


I’ve recently been building my DIY mattress (original thread), which currently consists of the following layers, from top-to-bottom:

2" Talalay Latex, Blended, Talalay Global (19ILD) - from Luma Sleep (custom order, without cover)
2" Memory Foam Gel-Swirled (claimed to be 24ILD, 3.0lbf) - from Brooklyn Bedding
8" Quantum Edge Elite Bolsa Coils - from Latex Mattress Factory
1" LUX-HQ Foam Base (50ILD, 2.8lbf) - from Foam Factory from Foam Factory

I’m generally pretty pleased with the build so far – much more comfortable and higher quality than the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Medium I’m returning – but as a 120lb side-sleeper with broad shoulders, my greatest challenge has been in getting enough pressure relief at the shoulder region. When I first configured this DIY mattress, I had placed the memory foam on top of the Talalay blended 19 layer, but surpisingly had a slight pressure point from my shoulder hitting the Talalay, which evidently has more pushback/firmness than the memory foam does, despite its higher overall ILD of 24. Not sure if I trust Brooklyn’s specs on this though, as it’s not clear if it’s really 3.0lbf or is more like 2.5lbf. I also tried putting the latex layer on top of the memory foam, which was slightly more successful, as the tip of my shoulder no longer contacts a firmer layer below, instead sinking into the underlying memory foam. However, if I sleep in one position for too long (A.K.A. deep sleep), I do wake up with a more generalized, less pinpointed soreness in that arm/shoulder area. As such, I have determined that the firmer layer, the Talalay 19ILD blended, probably needs to be swapped out for something just slightly softer.

Here’s where the issue surfaces. In discussions I’ve had now with both Luma Sleep and Ken at APM, there seems to be a strong consensus that 14ILD Talalay is “mush” (literally what Ken called it). Luma was also very loud & clear when I asked if I could exchange their latex topper for the 14ILD in saying that “there isn’t much substance to the stuff”, and they were clear that a return would not be allowed. So I feel stuck. I know I need a slightly softer layer – but not A LOT softer – yet those who seem to have experience appear to be throwing shade at that softness level material. Should I believe them? Or is this another case of the inherent bias towards complaints from heavier weight individuals (than 120lb – who certainly make up the majority of the western mattress-buying population in general)?

As I understand it, I have a couple of options for available Talalay latex that on paper would be softer than the 19ILD TG blended variant, as informed by Phoenix on post #2 here and post #2 here:

  • Talalay Global 14ILD Blended (2.5lbf)
  • Talalay Global 14-19ILD Natural (??lbf)
  • Radium 15ILD Blended S3 (??lbf)
  • Radium 18ILD Natural N5 (??lbf)
  • Radium 18ILD Natural N4 (??lbf)

Can anyone help me put some perspective to how these options might compare in real life? I’ve had reps from some retailers tell me that Talalay Global is just slightly “the nicer stuff”, some saying it’s a little bit more soft feeling, but then again others here in the past have claimed Radium’s quality control is a little bit better. Also, a lot of the information (including Phoenix’s posts I linked from 9 years ago) could potentially be outdated, especially given the context of global supply chain disruptions and possible product changes since then. Ultimately, I’m just looking for a dependable talalay latex layer that this a little softer than the 19ILD blended variant I already know is slightly too firm, but it definitely wouldn’t be good if the layer were drastically softer, or a serious sacrifice in durability/longevity.

My current thoughts are that Radium’s 15ILD Blended may be a good bet since it’s not as drastically softer as TG’s 14ILD product. Though maybe the durability benefits wouldn’t be felt as TG’s is 70% SBR, vs. Radium’s 60% SBR? This is why it’s a difficult choice. Similarly, I’d be a little more concerned about both consistency of feel and durability in the Natural Rubber products due to the properties of the materials as have been outlined on the forum.

Does anyone have an opinion on what I should do, or direct experience with these materials? @phoenix your help would be greatly appreciated too! (And sources to buy this soft level of latex are needed greatly as well!)


I should also probably note that this 19ILD layer I have is currently feeling a bit too firm to me without a cover/encasement; currently I just have loosely fitted sheets on the mattress. So perhaps if I do go with something like 14ILD Talalay Global (Blended), it won’t be too much softer because of the effect of the encasement? Again, I don’t know how much softer TG Blended 14ILD is than 19ILD, real-world.

Any advice or experiences around these softer levels of Talalay + sources of where to buy this stuff would be awesome – thanks in advance!

You don’t give your height so there’s no way to calculate a BMI for you but from what you’re describing I’ll assume it’s pretty low.

I will say it’s a bit unusual to have memory foam as a supporting layer (instead of the top layer) but have you tried swapping the two top layers to see if that helps? If that still doesn’t work then due to your BMI I wouldn’t hesitate to try a layer of 14ILD talalay on top. Worst case if it doesn’t work you can use that layer for zoning in the shoulder area of the support layer (make sure to order the same thickness) and that should help you achieve what you’re looking for.

Also if you want to verify the density of your memory foam then put it into a laundry basket and weigh that on a scale (check accuracy with a weight plate or dumbbell). Then divide the weight by the volume of the layer (L x W x H……all in feet not inches) and that will tell you what you really have.