Please help! Need some direction!

Oh my! I visited a local manufacturer in the St. Louis, MO area the other day and I don’t feel any more prepared to make a mattress decision. The store only had 1 memory foam and 1 latex mattress in their show room. (We’ve narrowed it down to these 2 choices.) The memory foam is 4 lbs. density and there wasn’t much you could adjust. A king size mattress was $1200.

The latex mattress was made of two 5-inch dunlop (?) cores placed together with 42 ild near the head and foot of mattress and 37 ild in the center. You could adjust this one by getting only one 5-inch core, plus another core put together with 1 or 2-inch thick pieces (to equal 5 inches) which had ild of 20-24. The sales people also said that each 5-inch core was softer on one side and firmer on the other (which we tested and found we liked the softer side), but I’m not sure how this was achieved. We both liked the feel of this mattress better, but with an additional 1-inch latex topper in 19 ILD. The latex mattress in 2 twin long mattresses (recommended due to the heaviness of the latex) was $2600. I’m not even sure if these are reasonable prices for the mattresses. Honestly, this is out of our price range, but were wondering what you thought as far as value for the money. Could we find something similar for much less?

My husband and I had also visited some chain stores and liked the Serta Icomfort, but after reading all of the info on here we aren’t sure if we would be wasting our money. Can you please offer some guidance and suggestions of where to go from here? Should we continue searching? Should we buy online? I have no idea. PLEASE HELP! Thanks in advance.


Hi Erica … and welcome :slight_smile:

When Dunlop latex is made … the latex particles tend to settle to the bottom of the core which results in a slightly softer side and a firmer side. Talalay latex because it is flash frozen before the settling can happen is more consistent throughout the core.

If I was going to choose memory foam in this price range … I would be looking for 5lb density. 4 lb is medium quality memory foam and while it may initially feel softer … it will get softer yet over time and it is much easier to “sink through” lower density memory foam. It is also less durable.

If I was in your shoes … I would certainly consider a 5" Dunlop as a support core however I would put talalay latex over this for a comfort layer. How thick and how soft this talalay layer was would depend on your weight, body shape, and sleeping positions (it would typically be from 1 - 4"). 10" of Dunlop in a mattress and additional talalay over this (if I am reading you right) is probably “overkill” with this type of construction IMO.

The pricing seems out of line for dunlop latex compared to the pricing of many other independent manufacturers including those on this site. It is not likely that you would really need more than 8-9" of latex in a mattress unless there was a particular reason for it whether it was dunlop or talalay but the prices seem high even for 10" of dunlop with an inch of talalay over it.

While I personally prefer latex over memory foam for many reasons … this is partly subjective and partly because of the specific advantages latex has over memory foam if it is “put together correctly” … not the least of which is durability. I do understand though that some are more attracted to memory foam in spite of its disadvantages and perhaps because they have never really compared it to other options such as latex with the appropriate ILD (most people who do try latex to compare it to memory foam will compare it to much firmer latex which of course is not nearly as “soft feeling” as memory foam).

Typical memory foam is “in the range” of 15 or less ILD … although in the case of memory foam this is a little misleading as the ILD changes with temperature and humidity. For those who like the “feel” of memory foam … talalay latex (not dunlop) with an ILD of 19 or less (it goes as low as 14) should be tested in the comfort layers. Firmer versions (24 and up in talalay and any dunlop) may not work well for those who like a much softer comfort layer.

If you let me know your approximate weight, body shape, and typical sleeping positions it would help me to give you more specific ideas about a suitable contruction.


Thanks so much for your quick reply to my post. I really appreciate all of your advice. I think my description of the latex mattress was confusing. I was told that the mattress was done in 2 separate 5-inch dunlop mattresses because latex is very heavy. The 1-inch topper that they had me try was also dunlop latex at about 20 ILD. I mentioned that the mattress was a little too firm for me (37-42 ILD), so they just placed a 1-inch thick piece on top so I could get the “feel” for softer latex. They said if I wanted it softer than this I would have to take 1 of the 5-inch thick mattresses from above and instead combine together 1-inch and 2-inch pieces (so example 2 2-inch pieces that are 24 ild with 1 1-inch piece that is 20 ild OR 1 2-inch piece that’s 24 ild and 3 1-inch pieces that are 20 ild.) Basically, I could chose either combination to make the second 5-inch thick mattress with the softer ILD pieces glued together to equal 5 inches. All of it is Dunlop latex, no talalay. I didn’t have much choice over what I wanted the ILD to be. The 2-inch thick pieces are 24 ILD and the 1-inch thick pieces are 20 ILD. They seemed to know what they were talking about somewhat, but I still didn’t feel like they could inform me the way I needed.

As for our weight etc. I’m 5’7", 125 lbs. and sleep on my side. My husband is 6’3", 225 lbs. and sleeps mainly on his back and side. Is there anywhere else that you could suggest we go and look? I would greatly appreciate you input. I am a somewhat indecisive person, but all of the choices and misinformation make it even harder! Thanks again!


Hi Erica,

OK … I understand what they are doing :). If I’m understanding you correctly then all of their mattresses would be 10" but the top 5" can be layered differently.

You are much lighter than your husband so you will likely need softer latex on top. For side sleeping using their choices I would likely use 3 x 1" layers of the 20 ILD over 2" of 24 ild over the 5" firm core as a basic starting point. This would give you enough thickness of soft latex for your side sleeping. The second possible option would be 1" of 20 over 2 x 2" of 24 over the firm core. This would be slightly firmer but may also work well.

For your husband who is heavier and also sleeps back/side … I would recommend firmer upper layers. since the firmest layers they have available in the “softer” latex is 24 … I would suggest the same layering as the second option for you but try the 1" softer (20 ILD) in between the 4" of 24 and the core to see if he preferred this more than having the 1" 20 ILD on the very top. It would be nice if they had the option to use slightly firmer latex (28 - 32 ILD) in the lower 2" of the comfort layer as with his heavier weight and back sleeping he may prefer this and it may help with his alignment when he is on his back. He could also of course try 5" of the firmer latex on the top but this for most people, even at 225 lbs would feel much too firm for side sleeping.

Dunlop in general feels firmer than Talalay (even in the same ILD) so its too bad that you don’t have a chance to try say 19 ild Talalay in the top 2 inches to compare and see which you prefer. Thinner layers will usually feel softer than a single layer so this may make the Dunlop feel softer than the ILD would otherwise feel in a single layer.

Once you have tested these combinations … then it would be fairly simple to “duplicate” this layering with an online purchase from one of our members if the value was significantly better than the local manufacturer (which I’m assuming is Campbell)

I would also recommend going here as they carry Pure Latex Bliss mattresses which are made of Talalay so you can feel the difference. It would be particularly useful for both of you to test the Beautiful, Nutrition, and Nature models without a topper and the Pamper model with the 2" topper. Don’t be put off with prices of these as I have the specs on these models and these too are simple to duplicate through an online member here at much better value. The goal is to test for the layering and the material that works best for you.

Let me know how your testing goes.


Thank you again! The configurations you mentioned make sense, but I am confused by the info I was given at the mattress store. They said that most people get the 2 5" thick mattresses as they come with the 37-42 ILD. Wouldn’t that be a really firm mattress? I can’t imagine that most people would be comfortable on that! Also, is $2500 for a king size really a reasonable price? This was found at a local manufacturer that you suggested I visit, Maplewood Custom Bedding. As I mentioned before, there was only 1 latex and 1 memory foam bed in the show room (7 beds total) and they didn’t carry the necessary pieces so that we could try a “softer” version of the latex. They said they would order them and then let us try them, but I’m just not convinced that I will want to spend this kind of money.

Where else in St. Louis and surrounding areas would you suggest? I saw your link to Is that a store I can visit or just for online ordering? Have you heard of Verlo Mattress Factory Stores? I’m interested in trying more options, but haven’t had much luck. I’ll look further into STL Beds amd Verlo, but will await your reply as well. Thanks so much.


Hi Erica,

Yes … that would be a really firm mattress … far firmer than most side sleepers would be comfortable on IMO. It certainly would be way to firm for me! I can only imagine that people would choose that based on the fact that it was latex and not realizing that they can customize latex in many more ways than this. There are a lot of people who falsely believe that “firmer is better” and give up their best construction because of this belief.

$2500 for a King size would be reasonable for some types of configurations and types of latex and would also depend on the ticking/quilting they used and whether it was finished on one side or two … but in this case it seems too high. It would be better value though than a similar mattress using similar materials made by a major manufacturer. This mattress for example which is made by englander (which has better value than other national brands) uses only 8" of dunlop latex, is not customizable, but does have quiltable latex in the quilting but is $4000. Value often depends on what it is being compared to … but on this site … what you are looking at is certainly not the best value.

Yes I am quite familiar with Verlo and they are only about 1/2 hour or so away from you. I often recommend them as a good place to test mattresses and you will likely find good value there as well. I was actually about to add a PS to my last post mentioning them but you beat me to it :). They have a wide range of latex mattresses and configurations in Talalay and are open about the layering they use if you want to compare them to other outlets (such as online outlets) to compare value between similar constructions. STL beds is a bricks and mortar store that you can go to in person.

For an 8 - 9" King Size mattress customized side by side if necessary with a wool cotton quilting made of either talalay over dunlop or in all talalay you would be looking at between $1400 and $2000 from an online outlet like some of the manufacturers that are members here depending on the layering and the options you preferred. More than this would only be necessary in cases where you were looking for specific options (beyond just custom layering or a side by side split construction) or for a thicker mattress for specific needs (such as someone who was over say 300 lbs and wanted a thicker mattress).

Between where you have been, STL, and Verlo you will have a clear idea of the layering that works for you. Then its just a matter of deciding where to order it and where your best value is.

Verlo also has options which include latex comfort layers over polyfoam cores which will have a somewhat similar feel to all latex but because polyfoam is less than latex they will typically be less expensive for those on a more limited budget. Even though they are not the same overall quality as all latex … they can have good value as well.


I called Verlo before seeing your last post & they said they only carry 1 latex mattress that has different layers. They didn’t mention being able to customize it, but maybe they thought I was only interested in what they carried in stock. I will give them a call tomorrow to see if they offer customizable latex mattresses. They did mention that the 1 latex mattress they had is $2599 for anking size. Seems comparable to the other store we visited, but still much higher than you mentioned. Should I be looking for a cover with latex sewn in or just one of those stretchy bamboo covers? What about flame resistance & stain protection? Thanks ao much.


Hi Erica,

The Verlo website carries three mattresses with latex in the comfort layer. One of these is all latex (has latex in the core as well) so perhaps this is what he thought you meant. Very few outlets carry mattresses that can be customized as they are mostly premade but when you are testing that doesn’t matter as we are interested in how the different thicknesses and ILD’s of the comfort layers work for you regardless of the price of the mattress. The most important part of testing is to find out the type of layering which works best for you. The final step is to decide whether to actually purchase the one that was best (if it has good value) or to “duplicate it” through a DIY outlet.

The englander example was just a random example to give you an idea that in most places a $2500 all dunlop latex mattress would be considered good value … but that here there are other higher value choices when you know where to look. The latex quilting … while really nice … would add to the cost and is not really worth considering. It just happened to be part of the mattress I was using as an example to show you comparative value.

The stretchy bamboo covers are a great choice (or any good quality stretchy material) and there are also covers available that are quilted with wool which many people like. The wool would slightly reduce the ability of the latex to take on your body shape and reduce pressure but many people like it because wool is highly breathable and temperature regulating. If your mattress has a cover without wool and you would prefer the wool “tradeoff” … you can always add a wool mattress protector. The Pure latex bliss for example just has a thick stretchy cover but no wool.

Flame resistance is a complex question and with the mattresses you are considering … I wouldn’t worry about the technical details as they are all 1633 compliant (as all mattresses are). If you have specific concerns about this … then this article has a bit of information at the end regarding fire retardency Your sleeping style, preferences, and statistics - Natural vs Synthetic - The Mattress Underground

Alll mattresses should have a mattress protector which goes on top and there are many choices there. Post # 12 here has some information about this.

For now though … the most important thing would be to test the Pure Latex Bliss along with the Verlo mattresses with latex comfort layers to “nail down” the type of layering that works the best. After that you can compare what you have seen to similar mattresses online and decide where the best value is.