Options for getting a Latex Mattress in Ontario


I’ve been interested in upgrading my ancient inner spring mattress for a while now. Both my body and the mattress have seen better days. Information I’ve seen on this website ( thanks Phoenix) and others has naturally made me leary about purchasing a mass-market mattress. I’m leaning towards latex, and if possible, some form of DIY. I like the idea of being able to tweak the mattress to get a better “fit”, and I like the idea of being able to swap out something that doesn’t work or has worn out (rather than discarding the whole thing).

Many of the discussions on this forum involving DIY tend to revolve around suppliers in the US (SleepEz etc.). They sound great, but using one of them is problematic for someone in Eastern Ontario. I could theoretically have something shipped to a border city and drive down to pick it up, but there’s a lot of logistics involved, and any sort of return or warranty service would be a nightmare. Many companies in the US will only ship to the billing address on the credit card used for payment.

Since I already own a 2" latex topper (factory second from Natura. unknown ILD), my idea is to get a basic 6-8" latex mattress of medium to firm consistency and add the topper. If I need additional cushioning, I could get another 1 or 2 inch slab of latex to augment the topper.

Based on searches of this forum, it seems there are a few possible sources in the Toronto area. Driving down to pick something up is not out of the question, but unless they can roll/compress the mattress, carting it home would be difficult. According to their website, Natura (in Cambridge, ON) currently has a sale on some factory seconds, but I don’t know if these mattresses can be rolled to fit in a station wagon. Also, they’re a tad vague on the actual content of these mattresses so it’s hard to judge whether or not they’re really a bargain (if they’re natural latex, they’re a steal, otherwise, not so much).

One possibility is the dunlop mattress from latexmattressdirect.ca, as they offer “free” shipping. It claims to be 100% natural latex, but I’ve been able to find next to no information about their product on the internet. I’m a bit leary given that their reputation is a complete unknown and any returns would involve shipping the mattress back at my
own expense. Does anyone have any additional info on this supplier?

The simplest option seems to be to go to Ikea and get one of their Latex mattresses. Though they aren’t 100% natural, I doubt that anything else in that price range would be. Advantages are that local pickup is possible, and they have an exchange policy. The ones I’ve seen and tested so far are quite firm, but I do have the topper to put on top of it. Also, their lineup seems to be in transition at the moment and the latest models aren’t on display locally just yet.

Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance for any help/advice.

Cheers, Rick

Hi Rick,

If you’re anywhere near the GTA area … then post #1 here should help you (although based on your comments I think you’ve seen this thread)

If you’re near the Ottawa area then this thread should help.

If you’re somewhere other than these two … if you let me know the city you live in I’d be happy to look and see what I know of any manufacturers or outlets that may be nearby.

While I certainly understand this … if there is a local manufacturer near you … many will swap out a layer either soon after purchase or years later at a minimal reasonable cost and if this can be done locally it can be simpler than sending layers through UPS, especially considering that you can test them first.

Both SleepEz and Mattresses.net are confortable with Canadian customers and will ship right to your home in Canada. They both have many Canadian customers and are a good option for those who don’t have comparable value or a local manufacturer nearby. I do agree though that the exchange and/or refund process could be more costly although the delivery going into Canada is apparently fairly simple and doesn’t involve a lot of extra costs (except tax of course :frowning: ). It may be worth calling them to find out what their experience is with layer exchanges across the border.

These are a great price but like you say it’s unknown what they are. I wonder if they will tell you on the phone or if the price comes with buying something completely unknown. They would be hard to maneuver and fit in a station wagon IMO but it would sure be worth the effort if they are mostly latex and it would be worth finding a truck.

[quote]One possibility is the dunlop mattress from latexmattressdirect.ca, as they offer “free” shipping. It claims to be 100% natural latex, but I’ve been able to find next to no information about their product on the internet. I’m a bit leary given that their reputation is a complete unknown and any returns would involve shipping the mattress back at my
own expense. Does anyone have any additional info on this supplier? [/quote]

Optima was a Zinus trademark application in 2004 (A Chinese mattress manufacturer that sells various more “budget” brands online and elsewhere) and a Leggett and Platt trademark in 2009 (since sold their foam division to Sleep Innovations) so I don’t know if either of these are connected to the latexmattressdirect.ca website who sells an Optima mattress. They are part of http://www.directshops.ca/ and say that they purchase from manufacturers but that doesn’t say anything about what the material is or who they buy from. It also doesn’t say how thick the mattress is or the density or the softness/firmness. It may be worth calling them to see if they will say where the latex comes from or provide more details.

This would be a good option but there also may be a manufacturer near you which will sell you something similar using higher quality Dunlop or Talalay at a similar price. This would make a good base for a topper but if it didn’t work there would not be anything to exchange it for and they don’t have a refund. I might even consider bringing your topper to the store and testing the topper/mattress combination if they are OK with that.

If there is a local supplier of raw latex (either a foam supplier or mattress manufacturer near you) … then you can purchase zipper covers here.

I don’t know of any DIY mattress manufacturers in Canada that are similar to the ones in the US who offer layer exchanges but I know there are many who will ship a mattress anywhere.

If there isn’t a good source near you though I would seriously consider talking to one of the US options.


Hi Phoenix,

Not sure if I’m going to get the quoting right on this response - I’m unfamiliar with this interface…

Yes, I looked that over, but it’s a bit daunting because of the distance and the number of options in the GTA to investigate.

I’m in the Ottawa area. I had looked at that previous posting about the factory outlets in this area. I’m not familiar with any of them, but I suppose I could make the rounds and check them out. I’m not sure how much I could learn from simply visiting - they could tell me whatever they like about the materials they’re using. I don’t think I’d be in a position to tell the difference between natural and synthetic latex for example. In any case, they could put whatever they want inside the actual mattress and I might be none the wiser until years later. I guess that sounds very cynical, but I haven’t always had the best experiences.

I guess I could look into what the shipping costs to Canada would be. It just seemed that when I was looking into this a year or two ago, by the time I added up the shipping, tax, (potential) duty, brokerage fees, etc., the cost was fairly high.

My previous experience with Natura is that they have been unwilling to commit to what’s in their factory seconds. This is understandable in cases where actual errors have occured in the manufacturing process. It seems that these mattresses might be a bit of an exception however, as the website does give some bare bones info. Since they do use blended latex and “plant based” foam in some of their lower priced beds, it does make me wonder if these mattresses would be all that much better than something like the Sealy “Natural Origins” line, which use similar materials. On the other hand, they could be using something closer to the materials in their flagship products, but you just don’t know. Hence the bargain prices.

In general, I’ve been very happy dealing with the Natura outlet in Cambridge in the past for smaller items. But it’s a 6 hr drive from here, and I’d have no guarantee that any of the mattresses they have on offer would be a good fit for me until I drove down. To borrow a vehicle that can fit a queen mattress and gas it up for that journey with no surety of success would be a bit of a gamble.

Unless I’m mistaken, I believe the latexmattressdirect.ca website says that the mattress is 7.5" thick, but you are correct, it says nothing about the density or firmness. It may be no better (or indeed, much worse than) the Ikea offerings which are in fact less expensive. The mattress does look suspiciously like some that can be purchased (in bulk) directly from China.

I’d have to check around to see if someone can offer something similar, but like I said, they could tell me almost anything about the quality of the latex they are using and it would be hard to know if I’m getting the straight poop.
I was trying out one of the Ikea mattresses last night with their latex topper, and it still felt on the firm side, but
not necessarily out of the question. A problem I have is that many beds that feel fine to me initially aren’t comfortable in the longer term. I think I’m going to have to photograph myself lying on different surfaces to see how my spine is aligned on good vs bad surfaces (as per your guidelines). This will give me a somewhat more objective measure to use vs my extremely variable and subjective impressions based on initial “feels”.

I’m wondering if such a cover is really needed. As it is, I think part of the problem I have with my existing topper being on the firm side is that it has a substantial quilted cover on it, and I have a quilted wool filled mattress cover over that. Based on what you’ve written elsewhere, I’m wondering if I don’t have too many layers between myself and the latex. If, hypothetically, I was able to score a block of dunlop latex to use as my new mattress, and then put my topper over that, and then the mattress pad, I’m not sure I see what advantage a zippered cover would give me. I guess it might make rotating the mattress a bit easier (or moving the mattress someday).

Thanks again for the advice.

Cheers, Rick

Hi Rick,

I would do most of the research on the phone to narrow down the choices. This will give you a good idea of who you are comfortable with and how transparent they are with the materials in their mattresses. A willingness to answer specific questions on the phone is one of the best indicators of a high quality outlet. the ones that say “just come in first and lie on the mattresses” are the ones that usually know much less and are more sales oriented than they are education oriented. Once you have a good feel for the ones that you feel best about … then is the time to visit the 2 or three that you feel best about based on your conversations about materials, your needs and preferences, and their prices. Better outlets are the ones that will work with you on the phone to help you do some preliminary research to narrow down the best choices for you.

Again I would talk with them first. You can save yourself many hours of time and frustration by doing most of your preliminary research on the phone. I would never visit an outlet without having talked with them first to find out how knowledgeable they are and what they have to offer that might work for me first. You can learn a great deal about the quality, knowledge, and service of an outlet by talking with them first.

This is exactly why I focus so much on factory direct outlets and sleep shops that deal directly with manufacturers. They don’t rely on advertising and as a group they are by far the most knowledgeable about materials and mattress construction, and the most helpful in telling their customers about the “why” behind the “what”. Most larger outlets are staffed by salespeople who only know how to repeat what they are told and to use the sales techniques they are trained to use. They tend to know very little about how a mattress is made, the materials used, or why one mattress may be better for you than another. Some manufacturers of course are better than others but you increase your odds dramatically of getting quality and value by dealing with these types of outlets. It’s not difficult to get a sense very quickly about who wants you to know what is in your mattress and who doesn’t … or who doesn’t even know. A layer by layer description which includes the materials used in every layer is not at all unreasonable to ask for and the willingness to provide this and educate a customer about the good and bad of each material is a big part of how I tell the “good ones” from the “bad ones”.

It would be well worth calling them to have a reference point to compare the value that was available locally. It is not that difficult a process and they both have many Canadian customers. Of course a local purchase from a factory direct manufacturer may still be your best option but at least you will have a way to compare.

Natura uses good quality materials but their value is nowhere near smaller local manufacturers who use similar quality materials. Their factory seconds are of course much better value. They do give good general information about the materials in their mattresses but not the specific information about ILD etc. Given the local options available to you I would probably not go in the direction of Natura until you have explored what is available locally so that you can compare the Natura seconds to local value instead of the “normal” Natura price which is quite high. Of course if you actually compare Natura to National brands based on materials, then their value is much better. No mattress is worth buying online without testing unless there is a good refund policy or a mechanism to make adjustments after the fact at a low cost. Even then … I would only buy from an outlet that discloses the layers in their mattress so I could test similar layerings locally to make sure the odds were in my favor that the general construction of the mattress was suitable for my needs and preferences.

Again … I would never consider buying from an online outlet where I didn’t know the details of every layer in their mattress. It does say the mattress is 7.5" thick so the Dunlop layer is probably 6"-7". I would want to know the ILD or softness/firmness of the mattress and where it ships from. They could well be just an online presence where another source drop ships for them and I would want to know that source beforehand since it will be obvious after the fact anyway. Ikea can make a good choice for those who like a Dunlop latex mattress with no comfort layer or who want to add a topper. There are certainly better choices but they are at least a better value than many in terms of latex.

They could … but if you are talking with a manufacturer or a sleep shop who knows their stuff and is willing to take the time to educate you then this is far less likely. It’s not so difficult to tell who is focused on telling you “stories about a mattress” and who is focused on teaching you about the materials that are used in all mattresses … not just their own. It’s alll about putting the odds in your favor and avoiding major brands, chain stores, and outlets where they don’t know the specifics of what is in their mattress will dramatically increase your odds of buying something that is suitable for what you need and getting the best value.

Any good outlet can help you with this and are quite expert in fitting a mattress to the person. This is a big part of why finding the better outlets is one of the most important steps in finding the right mattress. If they have the knowledge and the willingness to share it with you … then you don’t need to become an expert.

The suggestion for a cover was in case you decided to go in the direction of buying raw uncovered latex which would need a mattress ticking/cover. A mattress protector would not be suitable as the cover for a mattress so a zip cover that was suitable for protecting latex and for use as a mattress ticking would be necessary here.

Too many layers between you and the latex can certainly make a big difference in the performance and feel of the latex. Your current topper could be firm either because of the ILD of the latex but the wool in the quilting can certainly add to the firmness as well. If you purchase some raw latex … a mattress ticking is essential because latex degrades much faster with exposure to air. A mattress protector, sheets, pads, or other “top of bed” additions can’t replace the need for a good quality ticking … especially with latex.

So overall … I would put my initial focus on phone research and then probably a visit to your local manufacturers would be the most likely next step.


Hi Phoenix,

You wrote:

I find this a bit confusing. Surely, a zippered cover isn’t going to be air tight, and some of the cotton covers I’ve seen advertised don’t strike me as very effective barriers to air exchange.

Furthermore, in a different thread, you advocated against using a sheet of plywood under a latex mattress because you said that it was important that there be air circulation. Isn’t this contradictory?

Also, I’m puzzled as to why a conventional box spring should be unsuitable for a latex mattress.

I did try my latex topper with the original cover removed, so that now, the only padding between me and the latex is the wool in the mattress pad. This makes the topper feel noticably softer.

Cheers, Rick C.

Hi Rick C,

The oxidation of latex, the breathability of the surface of a mattress, and the effect of any quilting (wool or otherwise) are really three separate issues.

Post #2 here has some information and some rather technical links on how different types of latex break down with exposure. In essence though, ozone and ultraviolet light are the two biggest “enemies” of latex in terms of longevity. A thicker less light permeable cover that is designed for use as a mattress cover will do far more to protect latex from oxidation than a thinner “mattress protector” which is more about protecting the mattress from moisture and stains and not so much from ozone and ultraviolet light. I read recently about a manufacturer that actually sent all their latex mattress customers a letter saying they should replace their zip cover because about 5 years later there were too many reports coming in of latex “crusting” and premature breakdown.

Breathability on the other hand is a different issue. Most materials and fibers are more breathable than foam and this has more to do with temperature regulation and evaporation of moisture than with foam breakdown. The more airflow there is around the body … the better the temperature regulation of the upper layers of the mattress (including your sheets and bedding). This is why memory foam can be hotter than other foams because it forms itself around the body very closely and doesn’t allow airflow within its cell structure as much as other foams which acts as an insulator and traps heat because there is less airflow and evaporation to cool down the body. Wool has a structure that has a more porous inner core which can absorb large amounts of moisture without the moisture coming into contact with the skin. This moisture which is held inside the wool fiber itself can then evaporate in a more gradual process which helps to regulate temperature much better. Breathability (airflow) creates a drier microclimate and encourages evaporation as long as the material isn’t saturated with moisture against the skin. Wool can be both insulating by trapping air and warming and allow evaporation which is the reason it does such a great job of regulating temperature in both directions. It can also hold moisture in the inner core before the moisture comes into contact with the body while other fibers become soaked right through the fiber.

So no cover will be air tight … nor should it be (airflow is a good thing). It needs to be elastic enough to conform to the layers underneath it (if that is part of the mattress design goals), breathable enough to allow for evaporation without becoming saturated, thick enough to protect the latex layers from oxidizing, and durable enough that it doesn’t thin out and wear out prematurely (and contribute to the oxidation of the latex).

The reason that a mattress needs to be breathable underneath is to allow enough air circulation to evaporate any moisture that may become trapped under the mattress which would encourage the growth of dust mites, mold, and mildew. With a plywood sheet … especially if it’s unsealed … there may not be enough airflow to evaporate the moisture that can otherwise become trapped in the lower layers of the mattress or in the wood itself. This is not a “comfort” issue or a “microclimate” issue so much as an issue of not allowing the growth of mold in the mattress ticking on the bottom of the mattress and damaging the mattress. Of course there are greater and lesser degrees of risk and some climates are more conducive to this than others but IMO I believe that the risk of an unslatted base is not worth it unless there are other reasons to choose it (such as an adjustable bed) where the tradeoff is worth any extra risk.

A conventional boxspring is designed to absorb shock to add longevity to an innerspring in a mattress. It also in some cases is part of the design of the sleeping system itself and in addition to being a shock absorber it also aids the performance (alignment) of an innerspring mattress. In these cases the box spring would be the “firm support” part of the mattress while the innerspring would be a more “medium” support part of the mattress. Foam mattresses on the other hand don’t need shock absorption and don’t need the help of an innerspring to provide either pressure relief or alignment. They are more instantly reacting even than innersprings and are not damaged with sudden shocks. They are also more variable in their compression than an innerspring and their potential is best realized by letting the foam core do the work which is what it does best. In many cases an innerspring under this will detract from the performance of the foam (it will compress when it shouldn’t) and detract from the alignment and support of the mattress. While it may not damage the foam (as long as it has an even supportive surface) … is certainly doesn’t allow the foam to live up to its best potential. An “active” boxspring in other words is not the ideal base for a latex mattress in the majority of cases.

Wool can have many effects on the latex underneath it depending on how thick, compressed, and/or densified it is and how soft it is relative to the foam underneath it. Over time as the wool compresses … it will have a greater effect on the foam underneath it as it becomes firmer. A wool mattress pad is also generally “softer” than a wool quilted mattress ticking because it isn’t an integral part of the mattress and will conform more to the layer underneath it. How well a wool quilted cover will conform to the latex underneath it also depends on the material that it is quilted to. The more stretchable the material (stretch knits for example as opposed to a damask cover which is woven) the better the latex can take on the shape of the body and the more pressure relieving the latex can be.

So we are dealing with three separate issues here. The first is protection of the latex from oxidation. The second is the breathability of the materials closest to your skin. The last is the ability of the latex to conform to your body shape and provide pressure relief. While some of these may be loosely related … they are in essence separate issues and part of the tradeoffs that are made in mattress construction … and in choosing the importance of one “benefit” against another.

Hope this helps clarify any “contradictions” but if not keep the questions coming :slight_smile: