Trying to figure out what is wrong with our latex mattress

After doing tons of research on this thread we took the plunge and purchased a latex mattress about a year ago. Unfortunately despite layer exchanges and trying every configuration possible we havent been able to make the mattress work so I am hoping in posting to gain an idea of what might be going wrong.

Backround: I am about 200lbs 6ft tall mostly upper body weight and my wife is 5’10 mostly lower body weight. I sleep on my side and my wife is a side and back sleeper.

Specs on our mattress:
We initially purchased a 6" organic dunlop latex core with 7 zones 36-38 ILD in the center, 32-34 in the shoulders and 29-30 in the head and foot area. We had tried similar in store and it seemed to work for us. This was topped of with 2 x 3" natural dunlop toppers one 22 ILD and one 32 ILD. The ticking is a bamboo cover with wool on the top.

With this configuration we found it comfortable for a few weeks then the bed seemed to dip towards the center with both of us being visibly out of alignment and waking up stiff mainly in the lower and upper back. We didnt know much so we figured that the topper was just too soft.

We sent the 22 ILD layer back in exchange for a 28ILD layer they had. We were sent a natural dunlop replacement layer which we didnt notice for almost a year was mistakenly 36+ ILD. During this time we both went through alot of hip and back pain as the layer we thought was 28ILD was much firmer. Still the mattress was sagging and noticeably softer in the middle even with the firmer layer on top.

We contacted the company we ordered from and explained that we were sent the wrong density replacement layer and that the mattress was noticeably softer in the middle and showed a visible sag in the middle. I attached a couple images showing placing a heavy object at different points on the bed and how it would sink in more. We ruled out that it was the foundation as we keep the mattress on the floor. After testing the different layers it seemed that the 32 ILD layer was softer in some parts than others. We had also tested the core but didnt notice a difference in softness. Also we noted that the 32 ILD layer only had pincores one side of the layer and not the other which we thought may have meant it was defective.

The company we purchased from agreed to swap out the wrongly sent layer as well as the layer we felt was defective. They sent us two new layers this time natural talalay one N4 layer and one N2 layer.

Before we added the new layers to the bed we were away on vacation for a month and were sleeping on different beds in the 7 different hotels we stayed at and didnt have a single issue with any of them. My back and neck pain was completely gone. This was good because after we were able to tell for sure that out issues were as a result of the bed.

We added the two new talalay layers to the bed on our return and within 5 days or so we were back to having pain and tightness in the upper back, its odd because we both get the pain in the same area and are completely different builds. The mattress again started to feel soft in the middle, despite the two new toppers.

A couple things we noticed about the layers:
-the organic zoned base layers have gotten seemingly more brittle over the year we had it, their consistency feels much more flaky and when moving it around little bits flake off very easily.
-The two new talalay layers we received didnt have any labeling on them. The dulop layers we had initially had a label from the company they were produced by (Latex Green) along with a GOLS label ect where as the new layers just had N2 and N4 written on them in marker.
-one of the new talalay layers seems to have two pieces joined together, not even right down the middle buy one piece being larger than the other.
-The layers have never really fit well in the case that we purchased for them it seems that they had to be squished in at the corners.
-With the most recent configuration of layers we noticed when we put them in the cover was very tight around the layers and the bed didnt feel to bad. After a few nights the cover is saggy on the top almost as if the layers had flattened out.
-We tried beds at two other stores and they feel much much more bouncy than our bed and have very similar components just a different case.

After trying endless configurations, which is a pain as its not easy to take apart and reassemble we really cant figure out what is wrong with out bed.

-Is it possible that the cover has that big of an impact on the feel that one would wake up in pain and sleep out of alignment?
-How is it possible to tell if a layer is defective?
-Is it normal for layers to feel more dry and flaky after only a year?
-Is it normal to get a layer that seems to have two pieces glued together? And not have any labeling on them?
-Is there any way to assess the quality of layers that we are sent to know if they are in fact
natural latex?
-Is it normal for a latex mattress to feel completely dead without any boyancy?

Your help is greatly appreciated we just want to make sure we are not overlooking anything before we junk a $2000 mattress that we have tried everything to make work.


Hi diamnodshopper,

You have a very long posts with quite a few questions, so I’m going to do my best to be direct and concise with my responses.

That could have been a possibility. It doesn’t sound like you did a rearrangement with the firmer Dunlop piece on top or even tried flipping over the Dunlop core to see if there was perhaps an issue there, which would have been interesting to learn about. There is some information about the many different symptoms that people may experience on a mattress and some of the most common causes behind them in post #2 here that may be helpful as well.

Even latex (and your covering) will soften slightly over time, but larger sagging would be less common and the largest constant here is the core, which I would again be curious about.

Unfortunately you didn’t provide a reference for the amount of sag, as a small amount could be normal as would some softening in the area of where the latex was used. You mention you think the core is fine, but my curiosity is still raised here, as that has been the one constant and you’re still complaining about softness in the middle, and it would be odd for replacement layers to have a similar defect (it’s odd for latex to have defects in general). But that’s again just a curious thought I have. I can’t tell from your photo if your Dunlop piece was form a 3" mold or was slit, but not having the pincores on the bottom is not a sign of a defect. Some pieces are produced as such.

That was nice of them to exchange the layers. What you have sounds like Talalay Global natural Talalay, with the N2 being in the 20-25 ILD range and the N4 being in the 30-35 ILD range.

I could be that you simply don’t have an affinity for latex, or at least in the combinations that you’ve created. You’d also want to look at your pillow choice independent of the mattress, as that can sometimes have an impact upon neck/upper back issues.

All foams “age” a bit over time, and this can be influenced by the cover used, the mattress pad and sheets placed over the mattress, the amount of UV exposure, the amount of anti-oxidants used in the product and the humidity/airflow around the mattress itself and any forced air by the mattress, amongst other things. Some “hardening” on the outer edges of the latex is normal and to be expected.

Unless you had received the one piece of Talalay that was cut from the core with the “testing” sticker on it then this would be normal. TG doesn’t provide individual stickers on each slit piece like other brands might do (such as Latex Green).

An offset glue seam is normal with Talalay, as most molds are twin extra long.

It is normal for a cover to fit snugly, but latex layers are also quite flexible and are easily manipulated with an “accordion-style wave” to make them a bit smaller in dimension.

This would actually be mostly from your cover stretching a bit and everything “settling in” within the cover.

All of the components within a mattress contribute to the overall comfort, including the covering and whatever foundation was used, and “similar” components aren’t the “same” components, so a comparison like this wouldn’t be the best indicator of “bounciness”.

I don’t know if anything is actually wrong with your bed, or if there could possibly be an issue with the core, of if you don’t have an affinity for latex, or if it is the combination of types of latex and ILDs that you have chosen. Unfortunately, I can’t determine that via the forum (I wish I could for you!).

It’s part of your overall comfort, but not an alignment issue probably. This tends to be the deeper support layers. You could always test your theory by removing the top cover and sleeping upon the mattress with just a mattress pad and fitted sheet for a few nights.

With foams, this is usually determined by the amount of depression. You’d want to speak to your supplier for their measurements and guidelines for what they determine a defect.

As I mentioned above, there are many factors that figure into this, and some of that can be considered normal, and there are many variables that play into that.

Yes and yes. You can refer to my answer just a little earlier in this reply.

No. Unless they were labelled, you’d be relying upon the supplier with whom you’re dealing.

All types of latex feel different, with Dunlop not feeling quite a buoyant as Talalay, but all of the layers of a product, including the covering, contribute to the overall feel. All latex will have good resilience as compared to polyfoam, but it will vary with ILD and type of latex (and to a small extent the blend).

I know that’s a lot of answers, but you had a lot of questions. :lol: I hope that information is helpful.


Thank you for the very detailed reply!

With the original set we had, I didnt think to flip the dunlop core layer as I had assumed that both sides would be the same. Im sure in the many time I rearranged the layers that I had flipped it. I did try putting the firmer layer on top of the soft and I did like the feel more but again after a number of weeks we felt it softening alot in the middle.

The post you linked to seems to describe perfectly what we are experiencing where our shoulders are propped up but hips dip causing alot of mid back and trap soreness. Do you think this might be aided by us trying the firmer talalay layer on the top and then the softer then the core. I think this is the only combination of all 6 layers that I have not tired yet. Of course assuming the core is not defective in some way.

I wish I knew how to better test the core to see if that is the issue. When I placed weight at various parts it seemed to recess evenly.

Good to know that the pincores do not pose any issue, and also that it is normal for the talalay layers not to have labels that make me feel better about what we do have and hopeful that I can find a solution.

I am really thinking that we both dont jive with latex, we have been sleeping on a cheap 6" folding memory foam mattress that we keep for guests and dont have the back pain. I have tried easily 10 different pillows to make sure that was not the case so we ruled that out.

I did try out just putting a sheet over the talalay layers but it was much too soft without the case. I will try again maybe with the medium talalay layer on top.

In a last ditch effort to make something work what might you suggest for a case that would be an in between for a fairly thick wool and bamboo ticking? I was thinking Stretch jerey cotton or something similar, and if you know of any sources I can order one reasonable cheap.

Last question because my wife really wants me to pack up the bed and put it away if I cant figure out something soon. Do you know of any online source that sells the bags that to vacum pack the layers?

Thanks again for all your help, im really hoping not to have to donate a $2000+ mattress

My wife really wants me to just throw in the towel

Hi diamondshopper,

You’re welcome.

Have you tried the N4 layer on top of the core without the N2 being used at all? It could be very well that you do need a bit of a firmer surface comfort. Just a thought.

Besides visual cues, it would be something you’d experience trying out the core by itself and when you lie on it attempting to determine if there is some sort of “void” allowing for “excessive” travel in your hip area.

That very well could be the case – some people simply have an affinity for certain materials.

I don’t know that the cover is you issue, but finding something different would not only depend upon the material being used, but what it was quilted to and the quantity of that quilt material. A jersey stretch knit might actually be more flexible than your current bamboo cover, butagain it depends upon the specifics of the material and to what it is quilted. There are some mattress cover vendors listed in the components post here.

This video from Arizona Premium Mattress shows how to vacuum pack latex layers. U-Haul and Lowes apparently are good sources for the bags.