Possible problem with column gel?

Hi, new user, just found this site thanks to frustration with my new mattress and spent 3 hours reading all of the articles. Thanks very much for all of the information posted; I now feel like there may actually be a reason for my issues.

Here’s the short version: about 5 and a half years ago, I purchased a mattress from a regional chain in the New England area (www.mybobs.com). Although I now see that many people complain about this chain, I loved the mattress, it was great, in both my opinion and that of my then-girlfriend now-wife. However, due to the (now obvious) quality issues the mattress probably suffered from, the bed started sagging after a few years, and is over 4 inches of sag now. So we attempted to get a refund/replacement on our 20-year warranty. Unfortunately, we no longer live in New England (we are in Pittsburgh) so the only option offered was to have a replacement mattress shipped to the closest outlet and then drive it home in a Uhaul.

Well, we did that, and now that we have the mattress, I am deeply unsatisfied, though until I read the site I had really no idea why. You see, we are both “cushy” mattress people-i.e. a thick, soft comfort layer-and the old mattress had that in spades. The pillow top section was probably 5 inches thick and it was great. Now, because it’s 5+ years later, the model that I originally purchased has been “upgraded” and is no longer available, so I was provided a credit for the original value of the mattress in order to apply to a new mattress. Naturally, I requested the new version of the mattress. Here is a link to the mattress I ended up getting:
I was then asked what type I wanted (“Cushion-firm”, “Firm”, or “EuroTop”). Keep in mind that this is over the phone as I no longer live in the area and could not try them out - I told the associate that the original mattress was “ridiculously cushy” and he told me that I absolutely wanted the “EuroTop” mattress. Looking at the description from the web for that type, it makes sense; there’s 5+ inches of different types of foam listed there.

Skip to now that we have the mattress. Despite the fact that the receipt lists the mattress as a “EuroTop” and that it has the stitching section of the mattress that indicates a “EuroTop”, the mattress fields like a freaking board. It has 0 give at all! The section on “sink-in” and “sink-down” from this website was especially helpful because now I know what I loved about my old mattress - great “sink-in” combined with good “sink-down” - and this mattress has neither. I can barely sleep on my side and not on my back at all.

Ok, enough of the rant-here’s my question. Per the section on column gel, I have to wonder, could I have gotten some super-firm gel in the new mattress, which is screwing it up? I was told that this version of the mattress is Identical to the old version, just with the addition of the gel. And the web page for the EuroTop version lists 1/4th inch of “gel-infused memory foam”, so there’s definitely some gel in there somehow. The other thing is that the idea of a “buckling” weight makes a lot of sense for the behavior of the mattress; if I sit or lay on it, there’s absolutely no give, but if I step on it or put a knee on it and lean into it, there’s a distinct buckle which is followed with a much greater sinking in.

So (after all of that), I have 2 questions, for anyone who is willing to read this far:

  1. Could the gel be causing my problem? Could it really take a mattress that in a previous incarnation was very high on “comfort layer” score and completely wreck that?
  2. If the gel IS my problem, would one option be to simply cut open the euro-top section and remove it? Because of the situation that a) it is a replacement and b) I live 300 miles from the closest outlet for the store, bringing it back is not really an option, and I doubt I could get a refund or a second replacement. Really the only other thing I could do now is to give it away or sell it on Craig’s list.

I very much appreciate any help anyone could offer. Thanks!

Hi novakom,

I read the description of your new mattress, and I don’t see any “buckling column gel” in the design. I only see one quarter inch of gel infused memory foam, which is in there only so Bob can claim that the mattress has gel foam in it. I don’t know why the mattress is so hard, though given the cheapness of their materials, I would expect it to soften quickly, and then start to break down.

I do have a thought. You might want to get a latex foam topper and use it for your comfort layer. If you wait for this mattress to break in it will probably be too late to use it as a firm support for a soft top layer. You will find many descriptions of possible toppers on this site, and you might want to look at the Seven Comforts topper as a cheap way to try this approach. From what I have read here, it is unlikely that a topper will work on a broken down mattress, but if used on one that is still firm it will add some length of life to cheap materials that are under it and haven’t broken down yet.


Phoenix, the mattress guru here, can give you some feedback on toppers, has tried a number of them. My thought was to find a way to get some more comfortable years out of your current investment.

Good luck, Lew

Hi Lew,

Thanks for your response! I guess I was confused and assumed that “buckling column gel” (as described in the website) was roughly equivalent to the “gel infused memory foam” that the website noted. Maybe not. In any case, we were definitely thinking of investing in a foam topper to solve the problem. I took a quick look at the link you provided and unfortunately it looks like the one mentioned in the first post is out of stock, at least for now. I’ll spend more time going through the whole thread tomorrow.

Regardless, since the mattress was in fact free as a replacement (minus Uhaul and gas costs) I was thinking of selling it to recoup costs and just looking into buying a quality one as described on the site, if the only thing I can do is add a topper. In the mean time the old mattress is in fact still viable (I gave up on the new one last night and switched back) at least for now.

In the mean time, any other insight anyone might have on why the new mattress is such a train wreck (maybe I just got a bad one?) and recommendations on toppers would be most welcome.

Thanks again!

novakom, I wouldn’t use a topper on the old mattress. It won’t solve your problem with a worn out, sagging mattress. It can allow you to soften up a mattress that is too firm, and give you a more durable foam in the comfort layer. I gather your bed is a queen, as the king Seven Comforts is in stock. In the meantime you might look at post #9 here and a link from Phoenix in a following post to see some ways to get a little more life out of the old mattress until you figure out what to do.


Of course, you have to be a serious tinkerer to do what I did with those boards :stuck_out_tongue: Sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn’t…Lew

Hi novakom,

I would echo the great advice and comments that Lew provided.

Buckling column gel is a much more costly material that Bob’s wouldn’t use in their mattresses. The mattress you linked is a combination of an innerspring with memory foam and polyfoam layers on top of it (although they don’t provide any information about the quality of their foam layers). The “gel” they are referring to is a type of gel that is added to memory foam and this gel memory foam is only a 1/4" layer (as Lew mentioned it’s basically meaningless and just there for label copy). Their innerspring mattresses are made by King Koil although as you can see here … the employees there know little about their mattresses.

No … the gel is only a 1/4" layer of memory foam and would have almost no effect on the feel or performance of the mattress.

I would advise against this except as a last resort and unless you are familiar with mattress materials and construction because if you remove the Eurotop and don’t replace it with something else that is suitable you will have a much firmer mattress than you already have (the eurotop makes it softer not firmer).

I’m not so sure that the mattress is a “train wreck” although the odds are good that the materials in the upper layers are lower quality than they should be. The quality of a mattress is very different from how a mattress feels and feel is very subjective. A mattress that works well for one person may be completely unsuitable for the next person in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) depending on their body type, sleeping positions, and sensitivities. I think that the mattress is just firmer than you would prefer but it may be perfect for someone else (even though it may not stay perfect because of the lower quality materials that are in the top layers of the mattress).

As Lew mentioned … a topper is not a good idea on a mattress that is sagging because the topper will just follow the sags and soft spots. It’s not really possible to “fix” a mattress that either was too soft originally or has become that way and has dips and soft spots but there are a few suggestions in post #4 here that may help either partially or temporarily and you can see that Lew also used a similar concept under his mattress to improve the support from under the mattress (instead of using a topper on top of it).

You may be better off to start all over again if your mattress is that unsuitable for your needs and preferences but Lew’s suggestion to add a topper was also a good one because it can add more softness to your comfort layers and help with the durability and slow down the softening of the layers below it. You can find some topper guidelines in post #2 here and the posts it links to.

Both the queen and king size of the Seven Comforts appears to be currently available on their own site here.


Thanks so much to both of you for the advice. I’ll read through all of the links and take a look at toppers. And a special thanks to Phoenix for all of the great articles on the site; it’s exactly the information I needed.

Just wanted to reiterate how amazing and useful this site is. I reviewed all the links and recommendations (and the links from the links, and links from the links from the links… :wink: ) and learned all about the different types, compositions, and thicknesses of latex toppers. In the end I went with the “Rejuvenite” 3" topper from mattresses.net, mainly because I was worried that 2" would not be enough, and because I wanted the lowest ILD available so per your advice the blended talalay is a better choice for durability.

I’m excited to see if this will transform my board of a new bed into something worth sleeping on, and will report in when it comes in.
Thanks again!

Oh, and I should probably mention that the 5% mattress underground discount saved me 20 bucks, which is awesome on it’s own, but is also good to know, as the forum post on the discount only mentions that it is good for mattresses, not mattress toppers. So for anyone who is buying online from mattresses.net, try the discount code even if you’re not buying a mattress!

Hi novakom,

Thanks for the kind words.

You’re right that the discount normally only applies to mattresses but some of the members here also provide a discount on other accessories as well so I’m glad you could take advantage of it :slight_smile:

I’m looking forward to your feedback about your topper when you receive it.


Great novakom. We expect a follow up on how all of this works! :wink: Lew

Hey Phoenix & Lew,
I apologize for how long it’s been since I posted; there was a lot of extra work involved. Here’s what happened.

  1. As I said, I purchased the “Rejuvenite” 3" topper from mattresses.net. I got the low ILD (19 I think?) version. It came in, and it’s a quality mattress topper. There’s no latex smell, the cover is nice, and it fits my standard King (80x76) mattress perfectly.

  2. We slept on it for about a week. Unfortunately, what I would say is while the topper is quite soft and springy, as someone who had never slept on latex before, I wasn’t expecting it to be as springy as it was. I had the problem that only my back sunk in; despite the 19 ILD my legs didn’t sink in pretty much at all, and that threw off my back alignment, as Phoenix mentions is key throughout the site and the forums.

  3. Reconsidering the situation, I decided that most likely the problem was that the base (the actual mattress) was pretty much like sleeping on a board, so there was absolutely no additional give. If there was some give, I would expect that the Rejuvenite topper would work much better, and I do recommend it for mattresses that need a bit more comfort but aren’t entirely stiff. However, in my case, the simple fact is that it’s like putting the topper on the floor and sleeping on it that way, and I’ve learned that that’s not enough for me. Therefore, I decided to take the approach to pretty much entirely ignore the mattress itself and work with the Rejuvenite topper as a middle section. Therefore what I did was to get a second topper, this one a 3 inch memory foam topper by Sheex (who make amazing sheets, by the way), and put that on top.

  4. Success! The combination of 3 inches of memory foam and 3 inches of latex is AMAZING. Quite honestly, at this point we could be sleeping on the floor and it would still be great. I like the Sheex topper; no real smell, nice cover, fits the normal king mattress well.

Overall: this experience was very much a learning experience to find out about different materials and how they work together to make a comfortable bed. It’s ironic that I had to buy 2 expensive toppers to make a (free) new bed comfortable enough to sleep on, but as someone who really values a good night’s sleep, there’s no other option. If you are in a position where you feel you might need to go this route, I would caution you about one thing; I added an extra 6 inches to the height of the bed; it is now ridiculously high. My wife makes cracks about it all the time. The tradeoff is that she also admits that it’s the most comfortable thing she’s ever slept on.

Thanks again to everyone on this site, especially Phoenix for all the Mattress Science I can now leverage. If you or anyone has any questions about either topper please feel free to ask. Thanks again!

Hi novakom,

Thanks for the update and I’m thrilled that you were able to find the perfect combination :slight_smile:

The Theragel in the Sheex gel memory foam topper is made by Carpenter and is the same type of perforated gel memory foam used on top of the Sealy Optimum mattresses.

I also like certain memory foam/latex combinations (although in slightly different combinations than yours) that have a combination of the resilience of latex and the “slower” feel of the memory foam and it certainly can work very well in the right combination.

Thanks again for bringing us up to date!