Thickness & ILD dunlop mattress topper

I am about to go crazy with information overload. I have a bulging disc in my upper back from an injury about 4 months ago. When I wake up my upper back is sore sometimes. I’d like to get a dunlop mattress topper from sleepwarehouse so that I am better supported. My current mattress is a 2 year old coil mattress in good condition. It is relatively firm which is how I like it.

I am 5’10, 145 pounds and sleep on my back and side equally. I have heard that side sleepers need 3", but that 3" is bad for your back and back sleepers should use 2". I’m not sure what to do.

I am looking at either a 36 ILD or 30 ILD dunlop topper. I tried a coil mattress with a 3" latex top at a local store. The salesperson said it was 36 ILD talalay, and I really liked how it felt. I’m not 100% sure he was right on the ILD.

Basically: 2" or 3"? Any thoughts on which ILD would be better?

Hi koala,

I can certainly understand this. Even worse is that so much of the information that is “out there” is misleading or contradictory and it’s very difficult to know what to believe.

It would probably help to know more details about the mattress you currently have and what is underneath the topper. Support comes mostly from the lower layers of the mattress and if the mattress already has some softer layers on top (and even extra firm mattresses have some soft foam on top), then adding a foam topper that is too thick can compound the issue … even if it is firm. Latex will follow the contours of any softer layers underneath it which is why it’s difficult to fix a mattress that it too soft by adding firmer layers on top.

Since your mattress probably has at least two inches of foam on top (and probably a fair bit more), then adding another 3" could mean you end up with too much foam on top and turn your current softer comfort layers into support layers. I would always tend towards as thin a topper as possible … especially if you are adding a foam layer that may be firmer than what is underneath it.

So the answer would depend to a degree on solving the right problem which means deciding if the layers on your mattress are too firm (and causing pressure issues) or too thick and/or soft (and causing alignment issues).

There is also a real possibility that your pillow could be part of the problem when the issues are in the upper part of the back.

So my tendency would always be to go with a thinner topper but before making any choice I would try to identify what is already in your mattress (which would be part of the 2" or 3" recommendation rather than just using the topper thickness) and knowing if you are trying to make the mattress softer (which a topper is good for) or firmer (which a foam topper of any thickness may not work as well for).

The key in other words is fixing the right problem :slight_smile:


Thanks Phoenix. If you go here, I believe “The Cozy” is the current version of the mattress I have. It has two inches of foam on top. It is pretty firm. I don’t like overly soft beds.

I’m not trying to make the mattress firmer. I just want it to be more supportive of my entire back. Does that make sense?

Also I hope it is not my pillow. I love my pillow a lot :slight_smile: What kind of things should I look out for in the pillow?

Hi koala,

What I would probably suggest is to talk with Paul at Twilight to find out exactly what is in your mattress. He is a good guy and I think will be happy to help.

My guess based on the price of your mattress is that you probably have a firm Bonnell coil with a couple of inches of lower density polyfoam on top. The gauge of the coils (which are probably fairly firm but a low coil count) and the density and expecially the ILD of the polyfoam on top will be part of the information that would be helpful in deciding what is needed. Because the foam is lower density … it has probably also softened to some degree.

My guess is that with the firmness of the coils (and because the foam on top could be softer so that you would feel the firmness of the coils underneath them) … you are likely feeling the pressure of the innerspring on the injured part of your back in spite of your lower weight. This could be compounded with a pillow that is too thick and make for your side sleeping position on a firm mattress which may raise your head too high when you are on your back creating a hunched position when you are sleeping on your back. This hunched position would increase the pressure on your upper back and also make it more sensitive to pressure. How is the pressure on your shoulders when you are on your side?

I would also suggest that if you need a topper that they may be able to sell you one at a better price (don’t know this for sure) although the sleepwarehouse price is a good one. I should also mention that the ILD of the toppers at sleepwarehouse is almost certainly understated. 4.7 lb/cubic feet is the equivalent of 75 kg/cubic meter which would be closer to a medium/soft Dunlop probably in the range of mid 20’s or higher and effectively even firmer than this when used on top of a mattress. It’s quite likely that their ILD rating comes from the hardness spec which you can see here which is very different from ILD. This is a common error in Dunlop ILD ratings all over the internet. While there is a newer version of Dunlop made (without pincores) which is softer and has an ILD in the upper teens … it is also much less dense (about 3.5 lbs/cu ft or about 55 kg/cubic meter). This means that the soft Dunlop may be more appropriate and worth considering.

First though … I would call Paul and find out what is in your mattress before deciding what to add.


Thanks again :slight_smile:

Hi Koala,

I should also thank you. I first talked to Paul around November of last year and was happy to find another local manufacturer that was building good value mattresses but for some reason I didn’t list him at the time in the Washington thread. I’ve now corrected the oversite thanks to your post :slight_smile:


I saw your list the other day and actually went to Northwest Bedding to check out their latex mattresses. The salesperson was very nice–explained a lot and was not pushy at all. I really liked one of the coil & latex combos, but I felt it was really overpriced.

Hi Koala,

Since Northwest Bedding dropped their King Koil license they are more in control of their product but “value” is always dependent on what and who a mattress is compared to, especially on a site like this. While their mattresses certainly have better value compared to larger outlets and brands … some smaller manufacturers may be better yet.

It’s also tempting sometimes to only look at the more basic ingredients in a mattress (such as how many inches of a particular foam) when making value comparisons and not the other components such as cotton or wool in the layering or the ticking/quilting or the finer details of different foam densities or different types of latex that are also included or the methods of putting everything together (tufting, hog rings etc) all of which can have quite an impact on the final prices of a mattress. Overall though I certainly agree with you that the smaller manufacturers can often work on a smaller profit margin and often (although far from always) tend to have lower prices.


I decided that I am going to save up to purchase a bed from SleepEZ. In the meantime, I have switched out my pillow as you suggested and it is making a HUGE difference. Thanks :slight_smile:

Hi Koala,

That’s good news :slight_smile:

It’s amazing how much of a difference a pillow can sometimes make.