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Brooklyn Bedding 25 Sep 2013 11:21 #16

I also tried the Original Mattress Factory Latex 9" and 12" - both were soft to me but the 12 was ridiculous.
The Aloe Alexis is what I wound up with (I'm about 215 Lbs, 6' tall). I cannot tell you it is as good as the total Latex but it does have 6" of latex over 7 " of 2.17 lb core. I love it and can say I would buy this one again.

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Brooklyn Bedding 25 Sep 2013 11:34 #17

Hello bcsteeve,
What firmness level (or ILD) did you select?
Also, I hope you post another review once you have had it 5-6 weeks (it takes awhile to adjust to a new type mattress).
It seems that I sleep a little better every couple of weeks on my Aloe Alexis; although, I probably should have picked a level 5 (32/28) instead of the level 3 (36/32) as I do tend to roll up on my side more than I realized - it is a little too firm for a side sleeper.
Congratulations on your purchase and I think you will get many years out of the total Latex.
Jeff

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Brooklyn Bedding (Dreamfoam) 25 Sep 2013 11:47 #18

dn,

Thanks for the heads up on the bamboo/rayon controversy, Wikipedia claims that "rayon is so far removed from bamboo by chemical processing that the two are entirely separate." Dreamfoam does call theirs "natural bamboo fabric" so hopefully it's the real thing.


There's no such thing as 'natural bamboo fabric', as far as I know. In the USA, the federal trade commission has published the following:

www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0122-bamboo-fabrics
ftc.gov/opa/2009/08/bamboo.shtm
business.ftc.gov/documents/alt172-how-avoid-bamboozling-your-customers

Wikipedia on bamboo as a fabric:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamboo_textiles

Now, that said... bamboo rayon may be desirable for a variety of reasons. I've certainly felt it, it's soft and it might be nice, I don't know. If a company says 'we use bamboo rayon because we like how it feels and performs', I respect that. If I read 'we use bamboo because it's eco friendly and an all natural fabric', I think of the fairly harsely written ftc info I've linked to above.

Maybe their 'bamboo' is different, but from my perspective all of the 'bamboo' covers I see are a low cost man made fabric, with properties which may be favorable to mattress making. I've not seen anything to the contrary. (I'm not saying it's bad - in fact, it could be the most amazing fabric ever - I just get irritated when advertising isn't accurate). Also, there could be new methods used?

(my own bed is organic cotton w/ organic wool, and I was recently impressed to see that SleepEZ advertises they use the same thing).

Glad you aren't suckered by the crazy retail prices - yes, I agree, sears and the like are the same - I don't trust them either ;)

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Last edit: by dn.

Brooklyn Bedding 25 Sep 2013 12:37 #19

Hello bcsteeve,
What firmness level (or ILD) did you select?
Also, I hope you post another review once you have had it 5-6 weeks (it takes awhile to adjust to a new type mattress).
It seems that I sleep a little better every couple of weeks on my Aloe Alexis; although, I probably should have picked a level 5 (32/28) instead of the level 3 (36/32) as I do tend to roll up on my side more than I realized - it is a little too firm for a side sleeper.
Congratulations on your purchase and I think you will get many years out of the total Latex.
Jeff


Hi Jeff,

I do plan on providing a full review once I feel I've fully "broken in" (myself and the bed). It wouldn't be very fair to do it right now because, frankly, I'm still not getting enough sleep and I'm grumpy because of it! :)

I went with all Talalay. 32 in the 6" layer and 28 in the 3" layer. I also bought their 24 3" topper that I currently don't use.

If I were to do it all again for myself (and ignoring my wife) I would have gone one level firmer in all layers.

I suspect I would have been happier with memory foam for me. But that was out of the question anyway, as my wife really doesn't like it. But again, I'll follow up in a few weeks.

- Steven

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Brooklyn Bedding (Dreamfoam) 25 Sep 2013 13:10 #20

Hi sdmark,

Obviously individual circumstances vary, but I do get concerned when I see a pattern. The problem with the glowing mattress reviews on any site is that they are mostly from new owners, but the whole point of researching here is to find a reasonably-priced mattress that will last years, not months. I'm beginning to wonder if that is possible.


I completely agree with your thoughts about reviews when it comes to mattresses (see post #13 here ) which is the main reason I focus so much on the materials in a mattress and on helping the members here to have a better understanding about what to realistically expect with a new mattress purchase. Knowing the materials inside a mattress is really the only way to make meaningful quality, value, and relative durability comparisons when you are buying a mattress


The durability of a mattress (or more accurately the useful life of a mattress which is relative to each person and is not just a function of the materials themselves) is a complex subject with many interacting factors involved. There is more about this in post #4 here .

In any mattress ... it's the upper layers that are subject to most of the compression forces that soften, change, or break down the materials and are normally the weak link of a mattress. This is why its so important to know the materials in the comfort layers especially and identify any potential weak links in the mattress. This means that the top 3" to 6" or so (depending on the other factors mentioned in the durability post) are the most important from a durability and longevity point of view.

There are also two main changes that happen to mattress materials over time. These are changes in firmness (foams will soften and fibers will compress and become firmer) and changes in height (both foams and fibers will lose height over time although there is a significant difference in how much this will happen to different materials).

In the case of the Dreamfoam Ultimate Dreams ... these upper layers are the 1.5" of quilting foam, the 3" of latex, and in some cases depending on individual circumstances, the support layer on the bottom.

The quilting foam is in the range of "about an inch or so" which is thin enough and already soft enough that any further foam softening will normally have little effect on the useful life of the mattress. It is also quilted which pre-compresses the quilting and makes it more durable as well. Even if this softened significantly it's main function is the surface "feel" of the mattress and there isn't enough thickness that foam softening would have a significant effect on the overall feel and performance of the mattress.

The layer underneath this is latex which is the most durable foam material in the industry ... although as you can read in the durability post, softer latex is less durable than firmer latex (this is true of any foam material).

Underneath this is the 1.5 lb polyfoam (NOTE they are currently using 1.8 lb polyfoam) which for most people would not play the most significant role in the useful life of the mattress but in some circumstances (such as heavier weights or for people that are "on the edge" of a mattress that is too soft for them ... see post #2 here ) this can also play a role and a higher density base foam would be a better choice.

This is also one of the lowest budget mattress and among the least costly mattresses you will find anywhere that includes 3" of latex in the comfort layer.

Having said all that ... there is no soft material that is immune from some softening or impressions and it's just a matter of degree and on how much the foam softening affects the comfort and support of the mattress for the person using it.

In addition to this ... the hills and valleys that can form in a mattress are a separate issue as well that are not only connected to foam softening (although that can play a role). This is particularly common in the larger sizes ... especially king size. There is no way to avoid this completely because in most cases the middle of the mattress isn't used as much as each side so it's really a matter of degree and time. It can come from either the loss of height as lower quality foams break down and fibers compress or it can come from the gradual stretching, shifting or "bunching" of the materials in the center of the mattress where nobody sleeps. This would be more common with quilted covers. In addition to this ... you can also have "virtual" impressions where there isn't a visible impression when there is no weight on the mattress but where the softness of the mattress or the softening of lower density materials allow the heavier parts of the body (usually the pelvis) to sink down too far even though the foam hasn't lost significant height. These virtual impressions are more connected to either the softness of the original choice or the loss of ILD (foam firmness) that is much more common and develops much more quickly in lower quality/durability materials than it would with latex.

Outside of buying something that has no give at all and will stay completely flat (and is too firm to sleep on), there is no way to completely avoid the normal changes in a mattress or the materials inside it that happen over time and it's just a matter of degree and on how much these changes affect comfort (pressure relief) and support (alignment). Because some degree of softening and shifting and loss of height is a "normal" occurrence with all materials to different degrees ... mattress warranties have exclusions for the amount of impressions that are considered to be a defect. Without this every mattress sold would qualify for a warranty exchange with the slightest amount of change in the materials and this wouldn't be realistic.

Most warranties cover loss of height past a certain point and not changes in comfort and support. Normally the warranty exclusion for a mattress that has quilting of some kind or polyfoam in the comfort layers is from 1.5 - 2" and a warranty exclusion for a mattress where you are sleeping directly on a higher quality specialty material such as memory foam or latex that is less prone to the loss of height is .75". The larger exclusion for quilted covers is to allow for for some softening, compression, impression, and shifting of the materials in quilted cover. Even wool which is one of the highest quality materials in a mattress and is found in mattresses that cost multiple tens of thousands of dollars can compress over time up to 30% of its thickness although this varies depending on how the wool is compressed, the type of wool, and how it's made and tufted. The manufacturers of ultra premium mattresses will tell you to "expect" this "nesting" but of course many consumers believe that if they paid tens of thousands of dollars for a mattress that it won't impress at all which of course isn't realistic.

In addition to this there are also other factors that can contribute to the ridge in the middle of a mattress. This includes using a box spring instead of a non flexing foundation or platform bed ... particularly in a king size where there are two twin XL box springs with solid wood non flexing edges that meet in the middle and each side over the springs themselves is more flexible which can contribute to the formation of the ridge in the middle. Foam mattress tend to do best with a support surface that doesn't flex anywhere at all over the entire surface (with a few exceptions that are part of the specific design of some sleeping systems) which helps the mattress surface remain more even.

Finally there is the issue of legitimate defects in the materials that are in the mattress. All foam suppliers produce defective or "out of spec" materials from time to time and these can end up in a mattress. Even latex that has voids in the material or wasn't properly cured in the middle of the material can be defective. These will always affect some smaller percentage of mattresses and tend to show up early in the life of a mattress and are the main reason for a warranty in the first place (you can read in post #174 here how warranties have little to do with the useful life of a mattress). Some of the larger manufacturers use the exclusions in their warranty as a way to avoid warranty claims. Many smaller manufacturers who are more responsive to their customers have warranty exclusions to make sure that warranty claims are reasonable and will lean towards the customer in the grey areas of warranty claims because they are more concerned about their reputation than avoiding a legitimate warranty claim.

The real issue in a mattress and the main factor in its useful life is the loss of comfort and support regardless of whether the sleeping surface is completely flat ... and there are many consumers who have unrealistic expectations and believe a mattress has failed at the first sign of any impression at all or when the middle of a larger size mattress develops a ridge of any kind. This just isn't a realistic assessment if the foam materials underneath them are still providing them with the comfort and support they need or if the changes are inside the "normal" range for the type of mattress they purchased. If the mattress is still comfortable and provides good pressure relief and keeps you in good alignment ... has impressions that are less than the warranty ... and the materials in the mattress have only softened to the degree that is reasonable for those materials ... then the mattress is doing exactly what it was intended to do. If they were to sleep on the center of the mattress as often as they do on each side (which of course isn't practical for most couples) then the mattress materials wouldn't stretch or shift and the mattress surface would remain more even or even out over time.

So all of this really depends on the specifics of each circumstance, on the actual reasons behind why each person is having an issue with their mattress (vs the reasons an unhappy consumer may sometimes believe is the issue), and on whether their issues are legitimate and reasonable and are connected to the mattress itself or due to other reasons that may have little to do with the mattress itself.

If you know the materials that are in your mattress and make sure they are the best quality available for the budget range you are in ... then your odds are significantly higher that you can avoid or reduce these types of issues in the first place although they will never be eliminated completely and of course there will always be consumers that believe their mattress has failed at the first sign of changes that are completely normal.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Brooklyn Bedding (Dreamfoam) 25 Sep 2013 14:44 #21

Hi Phoenix,

Thank you for the detailed thoughts.

It would be great to have more information on the support used in each situation, and the size and number of people on the bed. Maybe Dreamfoam will chase that down eventually.

I agree that knowing and choosing the composition should be the best defense against early mattress failure.

The need to have realistic expectations makes some sense. As for me, I slept fairly happily on a single Sealy from 1994 through 2011. It had probably "dented in" after ten or twelve years--I remember sleeping diagonally for a while--but it didn't become a problem until much later. So that's where my expectations come from.

Most warranties cover loss of height past a certain point and not changes in comfort and support. Normally the warranty exclusion for a mattress that has quilting of some kind or polyfoam in the comfort layers is from 1.5 - 2" and a warranty exclusion for a mattress where you are sleeping directly on a higher quality specialty material such as memory foam or latex that is less prone to the loss of height is .75". The larger exclusion for quilted covers is to allow for for some softening, compression, impression, and shifting of the materials in quilted cover.


The warranty process is, I think, where the whole industry, with the big S companies in the lead, has really failed consumers. The 1.5" threshold is an ancient rule of thumb that may have made sense in the "old days" when top layers were thinner and more resilient (hope I'm using the right word there). The problem is that even when new poly and memory foam layers lose resiliency, they still spring back when you get up, making almost every warranty claim pointless. Companies are applying an old standard to new materials, which basically cheats consumers. As one of those cheated, I'm not happy about it.

Things need to be warranted as they are actually used. Imagine if your car warranty was only valid if the symptoms were evident with the car parked and the motor turned off. "What do you mean the brakes are squealing? I don't hear anything."

To warranty a mattress, its performance while in use must be measured. Ideally one would warranty that the mattress's total ILD would not decrease more than x% per year. But probably field-testing ILD is too difficult, so how about a standard weight, say a 24" round 50lb. dumbbell weight. Placed anywhere on the mattress, if the bottom sinks in more than x inches below the edge of the mattress, too much resiliency has been lost.

Probably preaching to the choir here, but if the materials of an entire industry change, the warranty needs to change to keep up. It would be nice to see some of the smaller vendors take the lead in offering fairer warranties that more accurately reflect how the product should perform in normal use.

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Brooklyn Bedding (Dreamfoam) 25 Sep 2013 15:26 #22

Hi sdmark,

The need to have realistic expectations makes some sense. As for me, I slept fairly happily on a single Sealy from 1994 through 2011. It had probably "dented in" after ten or twelve years--I remember sleeping diagonally for a while--but it didn't become a problem until much later. So that's where my expectations come from.


I only wish that the major manufacturers made the same quality/value mattresses today that they did a decade or two ago ... unfortunately they don't ... especially in the last 15 years or so since the rush to one sided mattress was started by Simmons. You can read more about this in post #3 here and post #404 here .

The warranty process is, I think, where the whole industry, with the big S companies in the lead, has really failed consumers. The 1.5" threshold is an ancient rule of thumb that may have made sense in the "old days" when top layers were thinner and more resilient (hope I'm using the right word there). The problem is that even when new poly and memory foam layers lose resiliency, they still spring back when you get up, making almost every warranty claim pointless. Companies are applying an old standard to new materials, which basically cheats consumers. As one of those cheated, I'm not happy about it.

Things need to be warranted as they are actually used. Imagine if your car warranty was only valid if the symptoms were evident with the car parked and the motor turned off. "What do you mean the brakes are squealing? I don't hear anything."


You're certainly right about this ... and in most cases in the mainstream industry today warranties are used as a marketing or closing tool rather than as a meaningful benefit. A big part of the value of a warranty is the culture and policies of the company that honors it and this is where smaller manufacturers that are more dependent on their reputation than on their advertising generally rise above their larger competitors.

To warranty a mattress, its performance while in use must be measured. Ideally one would warranty that the mattress's total ILD would not decrease more than x% per year. But probably field-testing ILD is too difficult, so how about a standard weight, say a 24" round 50lb. dumbbell weight. Placed anywhere on the mattress, if the bottom sinks in more than x inches below the edge of the mattress, too much resiliency has been lost.


This would also be great ... but it would also lead to more costly mattresses that used higher density foams or more durable materials which would then put many mainstream mattresses out of range for many consumers and they would lose market share. The mainstream manufacturers also aren't likely to ever go in the direction of including loss of ILD in their warranties because it would reduce sales significantly and they are well aware that if a mattress is replaced a few years down the road that most consumers will once again buy based on the current advertising which convinces them that "things are different now than when you bought your last mattress" and they will make new versions of the same mistakes all over again. This is the outcome of the lack of transparency in the mainstream industry and sadly the market share of the "advertising oriented" manufacturers is still increasing because consumers don't know what to believe any more and marketing information has replaced meaningful quality information as a way to buy a mattress.

Probably preaching to the choir here, but if the materials of an entire industry change, the warranty needs to change to keep up. It would be nice to see some of the smaller vendors take the lead in offering fairer warranties that more accurately reflect how the product should perform in normal use.


This is a much more complex issue than you may imagine because of the many factors involved with durability and the useful life of a mattress and the current state of the market and consumer awareness but the smaller manufacturers are already leading the way in terms of the quality/durability of the materials they use and the "value" they put in their mattresses and also in the more liberal way that many of them will apply their warranties in real life (oriented more to the customer than protecting themselves against claims). Even with the current exclusions ... their warranties are much more realistic because of how they're applied. In today's market ... "realistic warranties" could also cost legitimate smaller manufacturers most of their business because they would "look worse" than longer warranties that aren't realistic or meaningful and they are already under tremendous pressure. Consumers as a whole tend to believe anything that is repeated many times and don't often look into the facts behind what they are being told so this is as much a consumer education issue as a warranty issue.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Brooklyn Bedding (Dreamfoam) 25 Sep 2013 15:51 #23

Sounds like it would take FTC action and/or class action lawsuits to effect broad change. I'm a little surprised not to have seen more of both.

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Brooklyn Bedding 25 Sep 2013 16:42 #24

My 2 cents, for what it's worth ...

Ironically, I've seen what I believe the roots of the problem are, even here on this forum. People wanting as cheap as can be and then some, and demanding that retailers provide that option. Where consumers demand cheaper and cheaper, and vote with their dollars, don't be too surprised that the manufactures/retailers try to figure out how to satisfy that demand (profitably), which at some point means cutting corners.

Heck, this entire thread is on the Brooklyn Bedding thread, questioning the quality of one of their low cost mattresses (and perhaps all of their mattresses). I'm sort of an interested observer to this forum, and I'd guess 50-75% of the folks are here soliciting advice on how to obtain a mattress cheaper..... Phoenix has been talking 'value', but many seem to interpret that getting the same for cheaper.

Business (which is my background) isn't stupid , there's a market with consumers willing to pay cash money though are persistently demanding lower cost. Business is just servicing what the demand is for.

The mattress industry isn't the only one. How many here have asphalt shingles on their roof? Another industry I became familiar with- the shingle industry (yes, for on top of your house), is similar. Most people have asphalt shingles. They suck. The warranty sucks. There are better alternatives that are more durable, more eco friendly, backed by better companies, have real warranties, you name it - the same sort of tune as the mattress industry. Turns out... cheap crap with minimal value sells there too, because it works well enough and the better stuff is either more money, or, more difficult to find, or both. Sounds familiar?

I get a kick when I see people saying they want an expensive mattress but won't pay for it... they found one (often a tempurpedic), and want to duplicate it. Then, inevitably, it's not quite the same. I think Phoenix has been amazing at saying how nearly impossible it is to duplicate the feel of a mattress, and think there's subtle wisdom in how he presents the info he does. He has said that you probably won't be able to duplicate a mattress, but, instead you might be able to come close enough for some people and pocket the difference, which may be of better value depending on the person.

Anyhow, looking back to the 'good ole days, when mattresses were better', I'd be curious about what percentage of the average household income went into purchasing a mattress. My guess, like so many things in this new age, the amount people are spending by percentage of their household earnings has decreased .....

Everyone here has the opportunity to buy the more expensive models...some of which have delightful service, warranty, etc. It's all part of the 'value' equation that Phoenix laid out. But where most of the consumers decide they want cheap... well... no surprise, that's what they got.

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Brooklyn Bedding 25 Sep 2013 17:20 #25

dn, I see your point, but

1. I paid $440 plus tax on 8/1/1994 for a Sealy Eden Pillowtop. That's equivalent to $693 today. The mattress lasted 18 years = $38.50/year in 2013 dollars.

2. I paid $461 plus tax on 2/18/2012 for a Sealy Cason Bay Ti Firm Pillowtop. That's equivalent to $469 today. The mattress lasted 1.5 years or $307.33/year in 2013 dollars, about 8 times the cost of the previous model.

Yes, my bad for still having that $500 figure in mind when I went shopping in 2011. But somehow I don't think I would have gotten a mattress 8 times better if I had been thinking $700.

The main issue seems to be the extra top layers of polyfoam. I thought I had heard something about new foams being petroleum-based (by law?) but in this post , Phoenix makes a good argument for it going back to Simmons' successful introduction of the one-sided mattress.

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Last edit: by sdmark.
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