taking a Tempur pedic mattress apart?

I bought a Tempur Pedic mattress 8 months ago that’s too soft. Does anyone have any experience with taking one apart, ie, removing some or all of the comfort layer? Specifically, I have a Cloud Elite which has Tempur ES (whatever that is) for the comfort layer and Tempur for the core.
I had a Tempur Pedic for 10 years that I loved. It was firmer.
I believe quality control at Tempur Pedic may not be what it used to. The bed that got delivered is much, much softer than the one I tried in the showroom. My first choice, the Contour, arrived much, much firmer than what I tried in the showroom. I chose a replacement that on delivery was – they agreed – simply defective, and they replaced it for what I have now. I almost cannot sleep on it anymore – waking up in too much pain.
Thank you so much for this forum and website! I’ve read the shopping tutorial through, and some pages more than once. I’ve just been out to try a latex mattress, but discovered on arriving home that what I tried had 3" of polyfoam on top (City Mattress – prana sleep models). So, still looking to test real latex. But have a hunch that Tempur Pedic is my best feel, for whatever reason… I have tested other memory foams in the past – although not lately – and just find that the Tempur material seems to suit me better than anything else – if only they would deliver a consistent product.
Thanks for whatever advice you can provide.

Hi mjw,

[quote]Specifically, I have a Cloud Elite which has Tempur ES (whatever that is) for the comfort layer and Tempur for the core.
I had a Tempur Pedic for 10 years that I loved. It was firmer.[/quote]

Tempurpedic makes a wide range of mattresses with different firmness levels and the Cloud Elite is one of their softer mattresses (what they call “extra soft”) and would be softer than most of the mattresses that Tempurpedic made years ago that didn’t include their 4 lb memory foam. The Tempur ES is their 4 lb memory foam which is the softest memory foam they use and is softer than their 5.3 lb and 7 lb memory foam.

Tempurpedic has quite stringent spec tolerances for the materials in their mattresses so they are generally very consistent in terms of how they feel but there are a number of other reasons besides the mattress itself that can result in a mattress feeling different when you receive it than it did in a showroom. These include different temperatures in the showroom compared to your bedroom (memory foam is temperature sensitive and is softer in warmer temperatures), the type of mattress protector or mattress pad or the sheets you are using (the mattress in the showroom would be a bare mattress and anything on top of memory foam can affect how much heat reaches the memory foam and how much and how quickly it softens), whether the foundation that you are using has any flex, and it can also take a few weeks for a new mattress to break in (although a new mattress will generally feel firmer for the first few weeks than the same mattress in a showroom that has already broken in).

There are some suggestions in post #2 here that may be helpful with a mattress that is too soft and if all else fails and you have no other alternative than to replace your comfort layer (other than buying a new mattress) then there are some suggestions and guidelines for mattress surgery in post #2 here that may also be helpful.


Thank you for the detailed, thoughtful, and fast reply. I’ve only had time to skim, and it will take me awhile to work through all the links. I had already been paying attention to/adjusting: temp in the room (really cool), no pads vs. different pads, Mattress Helper under the whole mattress/under different parts of it. There are many more great suggestions in your post I haven’t tried yet; I’ll post again as/when I do.
Here, I would like to reiterate my concern about the Tempur Pedic brand. For example, the mattress I have now – which is the third one delivered within a short time – has varying support from the middle (less) to the edges (more); and one end suits me better than the other. Perhaps using Mattress Helper for a few months has softened the middle portion. – the bed is supposed to be kept on a solid foundation – but it had differing support from one area to another from the get-go. I’m aware that Tempur Pedic has been purchased by Serta, and I’m suspicious that the new owners may be sourcing raw materials from different (ie, less expensive) suppliers, and/or performing the manufacturing processes with less reliable entities. Another example: yesterday when I went to the showroom to test latex, I also tried the Cloud Deluxe they had on the floor; I lay on it for enough time for it to conform to my body, and it felt far more supportive than the mattress that’s inhabiting my room – yet the Deluxe is their ‘Ultra Soft’ model, supposedly even softer than my ‘Elite’ – but to me, mine feels way, way softer. The showroom was normal temp. Another example: I asked a household member for an opinion on the first 2 mattresses, and she thought the first was “like a board”, actually unsleepable (my TP of 10 years ago didn’t require any breaking-in period); and the second, 'like a marshmallow" – and TP did take that one back, saying ‘Every manufacturer has an occasional defective one.’ Since I like (or did like) Tempur Pedic, I would be tempted to bite the bullet and buy another, firmer model. I recognize my present predicament is my fault, I chose too quickly (due to circumstances) – but at this point I’ve sort of lost faith in the brand.
Your thoughtful reply, however, also is causing me to consider that some of my discomfort may be due to personal quirks – perhaps there isn’t a “perfect” mattress for me now. (I’m 70 yrs with some arthritis, not usually painful; metal hips; less muscle as happens with aging; a skinny build which doesn’t compress the comfort layer enough to feel the support layer.). So I’m thinking there may be adjustments I can make such as a pillow between the legs. Also, older people often just don’t sleep through a whole night. But I think there should be a way to feel refreshed in the a.m. rather than bent over and achey. Anyway, I’m less angry/frustrated, and more “on the hunt” to solve this. So again, thanks very much for this terrific forum, and your dedication. I’ll be making a donation soon. .

Hi mjwm

Tempurpedic wasn’t purchased but they did purchase Sealy although it was more like a merger in its actual effect.

Softness and firmness and their relationship to support are quite subjective and relative to each person and their body type and sleeping positions so support means different things to different people. The Tempurpedic Cloud Luxe uses their 7 lb memory foam in the middle transition layer which is softer, has a higher support factor (compression modulus), and is more contouring than their 5.3 lb memory foam so it’s not unusual that for some people and body types it would feel more supportive. There is 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”

Having said all that … It’s certainly very possible that the overall quality/density of the materials in the Tempurpedic mattresses has gone down (and I suspect that it has at least in some of their newer mattresses) and it’s also true that they are no longer as transparent about the quality/density of the materials in their mattresses as they used to be years ago so if they did make changes to the quality/density of their materials then it wouldn’t be easy for consumers to find out. While I normally suggest avoiding them (along with all the other major brands) because I don’t consider them to be a very good value purchase compared to many other mattresses made by other manufacturers that use similar or even better quality materials and sell in much lower budget ranges … I haven’t heard any specific indications from retailers that sell them that would cause me to suspect that they have been having quality control issues on a larger scale.


Well, I have to ask: what do you suggest from other manufacturers using similar or even better quality materials selling in lower budget ranges?
The paragraph about the different kinds of support is intriguing and intimidating – there is so much to try to absorb. I have to work today; look forward to reading with focused attention through all the links you’ve sent, hopefully tomorrow morning.

Hi mjw,

There is more about the different ways that one mattress can “match” or “approximate” another one in post #9 here. Any mattress that uses the same or better quality/density materials would be very similar in terms of durability. The tutorial post also includes a link to a list of some of the better online memory foam manufacturers/retailers that I’m aware of as well (in the optional online step) and many of them also make memory foam mattresses that are designed to compare well to many of the Tempurpedic mattresses either in terms of firmness and feel or in terms of the quality/durability of the materials (or both) that are in much lower budget ranges than the Tempurpedic mattresses that are equivalent to theirs.

There may also be other memory foam mattresses available locally that compare well to the Tempurpedic line as well either in terms of their firmness and how they feel or the quality of their materials (or both) but you would need to test them in person to compare how they feel and you would need to know the type and quality/density of the materials inside them to know how they would compare in terms of durability (see this article)

There is also more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase that can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in post #13 here.


OK, I have my work (study & testing) to do. Will post back when I have more questions, or to let you know if/how I resolve things.
This a.m. as a first step I turned the Cloud Elite over to try the firmer side – something I wouldn’t have thought of without this site… The underside (sans the cover, which I removed) has what looks like dirt marks at even intervals across the whole width – as though it had been sitting on slats (wasn’t new to me?)… It has only been on a TP solid foundation since I’ve had it. I cannot come up with an explanation for these marks. Oh well. A very expensive mistake, which I probably need to put behind me and move on.

Oh – here’s the photo of the marks on the underside

Sorry, I can’t seem to figure out how to send the photo. I got it attached, and hit insert, but it isn’t going through.

You could put it on an image site like photo bucket or Flickr, and then paste in the link.

Hi mjw,

Which browser are you using and how big is the file?

If you email the picture to me at the contact link on top of the page I can attach it to your post for you.


Hi mjw,

I attached the picture to your post. The reason that it wasn’t working is because the image was too large and I had to resize it. The maximum size that the forum will allow is 800 x 800 pixels and a file size of 2 megabytes.

I can see the stripes you were mentioning but it’s hard to see what they could be without looking directly at the foam. Outside of the mattress sitting on slats (which is unlikely if it was purchased new) it’s also possible that the stripes are glue strips that have discolored the foam.


Hi, Phoenix
Sorry the pic was too large – thanks very much for reducing and posting. (I’m not very computer literate.)
I can’t see if the discoloration goes through the muslin cover to the foam inside (without seam-ripping the muslin open). Why would there be any glue involved? – this is the bottom layer of the mattress, a solid, thick piece of foam, turned over so it’s on the top. It WAS all encased in the Tempur Pedic traditional cover but that wasn’t glued anywhere – it slipped right off. (Well, not ‘slipped’ exactly. But it wasn’t attached.) Where would glue come into it? It’s a very thick bottom layer, so any glue from the next layer wouldn’t have seeped through all the way down through, I don’t believe.
It does appear to have been laying on a slatted frame.
The mattress wasn’t exactly ‘purchased new.’ Tempur Pedic sent it as an exchange for a new purchase that was deemed defective. Is it possible they’re permitted to send a returned (not new) mattress – putting a new cover on – in an exchange situation, I wonder. I am deeply, deeply, deeply suspicious of this mattress; it’s never seemed right, and now… . hmpfh. Perhaps I should ask TP to explain?
All the same, I’m looking forward to sleeping on the firmer side to see if that will work for me.

Hi mjw,

All of this is of course speculation because I can’t see the foam itself through the fire barrier sock that encases the foam but outside of the mattress sitting on a slatted foundation that would allow the foam to oxidize and discolor in the stripe pattern you can see I was thinking that the fire barrier may have been lightly glued to the foam to prevent it from shifting and the glue strips could also discolor the foam. Does the fire barrier slip easily over the foam or does it seem like it has been glued in place?

Depending on the defect they could have recovered your old mattress or reused some of the materials as a warranty repair (rather than a replacement) but it would be against the law to replace your mattress with a mattress that had been used by someone else.

This would be a good idea and I would be interested in seeing what they say.

This would certainly be much firmer than the other side of the mattress because you would be sleeping directly on firmer polyfoam instead of the softer memory foam on the top of the mattress so it’s quite likely that you may need a softer topper to provide the comfort and pressure relief you will probably need for this to be a longer term solution.


On the bottom of the mattress do you feel another layer of fabric beneath the covering shown in your photo? Slide the cover around that you show in your photo. Do the stripes move with it or do they stay in the same place?

I do not feel another layer of fabric, no. There is definitely only the muslin and then the bottom layer of foam directly under it.
The muslin is too opaque to be able to see whether the discoloration extends to the foam, as well. I tried sliding the muslin around and the stripes do move with the fabric but I can’t see whether there is striping under it also.
Tomorrow I will open the muslin on the end seam and see if the foam is also discolored.
The discoloration on the muslin also exists all around the edges – as would be expected had it been lying on a frame.
Will post back tomorrow. Thank you for your interest!

Hi, Phoenix
Yes, I’ve put a 2" latex topper-plus-down cover on top – probably both synthetic, I don’t remember, got them for a guest bed sometime ago. Not really expecting this will be a long-term solution, but it would be lovely to get a night’s rest. Thinking I’ll likely be trying a Symphony from Brooklyn Bedding, as it’s relatively risk-free.

Phoenix (and Forum Expert - Mattress To Go)
I have another question: Is it normal for the middle foam layer of a Tempur Pedic Cloud Elite to have cut out spaces? I expected all the foam layers to be solid pieces. The top and bottom layers are solid; but it’s evident (seen through the muslin covering) that the middle layer has a cut-out profile. Both the top and bottom of the middle layer have – I don’t know the term – if it were a cave, stalactites and stalagmites.
This means the idea of surgery is out – taking off the soft top piece of foam will leave a piece of pointy foam with a lot of air space around deep points.
Not sure what time I’ll get to opening the muslin, but will do so today and reply as soon as I’m able.
(Fyi: only lasted 1/2 hour on the firm underside, even with the topper. Repaired to the guest room where there was once a very fine bed indeed which unfortunately is too past its prime to be useful for more than a night. All this makes me nostalgic for youth when I could sleep on a hard futon without a second thought.)

Mattress To Go
The discoloration is on the foam, not on the muslin. I’m sending photos to Phoenix, in hopes he’ll post them. Please accept my apologies for the inaccurate info, posted too quickly, before I was sure of the facts.

So, the discoloration is on the foam, not the muslin – sorry for the inaccuracy. I’m sending photos via your email, hope that’s ok.
The warranty people couldn’t have remade the mattress I returned, because they delivered the replacement/picked up the defective mattress at the same time. (The defective mattress had a visible bowing.)
Does the interior of my mattress look ‘normal’ for a Tempur Pedic?