Phoenix - thank you for your knowledge and expertise. This website is such an amazing resource. Your approach is so refreshing and the amount of thought and effort that you put into every reply is equal parts mind-boggling and enlightening. I’m so happy I found this forum, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am.
I know this isn’t particularly relevant, yet I still feel compelled to ask: What do YOU sleep on? I can’t help but be curious.
I am 6’2"/180lbs and a 70/30 side/stomach sleeper. I’ve tried everything I can locally, and after getting over the initial “Aha!” of laying on memory foam and doing some more research, I’ve decided I want to go with latex. I have things narrowed down to a few mattresses.
One is available locally - a Restonic “Superior Breathe” Latex, which has 2" of ‘gel-infused Talalay’ on top of 2" of Talalay and then 6" of what the sales guy said was ‘7lb base foam.’ The price is $1,099 for a queen including a 25-year warranty. This one has a flat “all natural bamboo” top. Only concern is that it feels a little firm/hard based on 15 minutes in the showroom, and I can’t find much info about this one online.
Another is the Ultimate Dreams Latex - 3" Talalay on 6" of 1.5lb poly foam. $599 for a queen. The price is appealing, but my main concern is with the durability given the density in the support layer, and how the quilted top might differ in feel from what I’ve tried. I’m also worried about how the foam in the quilted top may wear over time. Are these valid concerns, or am I overthinking things?
The last is the Ultimate Dreams Freedom - 3" Dunlop over 3" Dunlop over 3" Dunlop. $899 for a queen. I only need to get 50% more life out of this compared to the UD Latex Hybrid for it to be the better value. But then I’m concerned about the feel of the Dunlop vs. the Talalay. I haven’t had the opportunity to lay on anything with Dunlop yet, so I’m not even sure this is a serious consideration. I do like the idea of “all latex.”
As you probably know … there is no way that the base foam would be 7 lb density. 1.7 lb polyfoam possibly but certainly not 7 lb. I would ask them to find out the correct density. If the mattress is 10" thick (so you know there are no missing layers in the description) then there would be no weak links in the mattress.
You can see the quality guidelines I would suggest in post #4 here and there is much more detail yet about all the variables that can affect durability and the useful life of a mattress in post #4 here. The “best” place to use lower quality and lower cost materials in a lower budget mattress that will have the least effect on durability are in the deeper layers of a mattress that are less subject to the mechanical stresses of compression and will have the least effect on the durability of the mattress. If you are in a higher weight range (higher than the low 200’s or so) then a 1.5 lb support layer would have more effect on durability than it would if you have a lighter body type and don’t compress the support layer as much and with your weight it would have a relatively minor effect on durability and the useful life of the mattress.
The quilted top will affect how the mattress feels compared to sleeping directly on latex layers of the same firmness level and thickness. There is more about the effect of different types quilting layers in post #12 here and the posts it links to.
As you mentioned this is an “all latex” mattress that uses three different firmness levels of synthetic continuous pour Dunlop latex and the quilted zip cover also has a different firmness on each side so this provides a total of 12 different combinations of layering that can be used to fine tune the comfort and support of the mattress. There is more about how Dunlop compares to Talalay in post #7 here and the post it links to about the different types and blends of latex.
The biggest advantage of a component mattress such as the Freedom would be the ability to fine tune the mattress after a purchase (which can reduce the risk of an online purchase) and having separate layers also gives you the ability to replace a single layer if one of the layers starts to soften or break down before the others (usually the top layer) or if your needs and preferences change down the road.
There is no way to quantify how long any mattress will last for any particular person but if a mattress is well inside the comfort/support range that is suitable for someone and isn’t close to the edge of the range that is too soft for someone when it is new and meets the minimum quality specs that are suggested in the guidelines here then it would be reasonable to expect a useful lifetime in the range of 7 - 10 years and with higher quality and more durable materials like latex or higher density memory foam or polyfoam (in the comfort layers especially) it would likely be in the higher end of the range or even longer.
It’s always more realistic to think of about 10 years as a maximum reasonable expectation for any mattress no matter what the quality or durability of the materials and then treat any additional time after that as “bonus time” because after about 10 years the limiting factor in the useful life of a mattress will often be the changing needs and preferences of the person sleeping on the mattress and even if a mattress is still in good condition after a decade … a mattress that was suitable for someone 10 years earlier may not be the best “match” any longer.
Having said that … with higher quality materials throughout a mattress and/or for people whose needs and preferences or physical condition or body type hasn’t changed much over 10 years then “bonus time” or even “extended bonus time” with higher quality/density and more durable materials like latex or higher density memory foam or polyfoam or natural fibers is much more likely than with less durable materials.
There is more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that can help you assess and minimize the risks involved with each of them in post #2 here and there is also more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase in post #13 here that can help you make more meaningful comparisons between mattresses.
Thanks very much for your thoughtful reply. After digesting the info in the links (most of which I’ve already read), am I correct in starting to think that the 1.5lb support layer in the Ultimate Dreams Hybrid could potentially constitute a “weak link” (for myself, not necessarily for everyone)?
I understand that the quilted top will slightly lessen my perception of the resilience and buoyancy of the Latex comfort layer beneath it. This would be fine, I think. Is there any reason to be concerned that the foam in the quilting will wear out prematurely or cause irregularities in feel/performance? In other words, will it “break down” before other parts of the mattress (i.e. the support layer) “break down?”
Thanks once again! I can probably sleep on just about anything - I’ve actually been on a couch for the last several years. Looking forward to pulling the trigger on something soon!
At 180 lbs I wouldn’t consider it to be a weak link no … especially in its budget range … and it would be a higher quality and more durable choice than most other mattresses in its budget range. Some of the major brand mattresses (including some Tempurpedic models) use 1.5 lb polyfoam in their support cores for mattresses that are several times the price of the Ultimate Dreams and they also use less durable materials than latex in the comfort layers (which is the weakest link of a mattress). In other words it meets the minimum guidelines in post #4 here.
The quilting process pre-compresses the quilting foam which removes any “false loft” and increases its durability and it’s only 1.5" at its thickest which is in the range of “about an inch or so” that wouldn’t be a durability issue. Quilted polyfoam would be more durable than the same foam used in a comfort layer that wasn’t quilted. Once the quilting layers are in the range of 2" or more then I would want to know the density of the quilting material but thinner quilting layers don’t have enough thickness and are already soft enough that any further foam softening wouldn’t have a significant effect on the loss of comfort and support that is the main reason that people would need to replace their mattress.