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Latex Comfort Layer Life Expectency 15 Apr 2014 15:09 #1

  • AnalogJ
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A local dealer/manufacturer that sells its own customizable product told me today that he is seeing the quality of the latex (They use 100% natural talalay) go downhill. He is seeing the latex soften within the warranty period and become less supportive over the years. He thinks that latex from decades ago did lasted much longer than it does now. He is guessing that somehow the manufacturing process of latex mattresses has cheapened the quality. He can't really warrant this as it's more of a wear and tear sort of issue.

He thinks that a good quality innerspring will last a long time and it's the comfort layers over the innerspring that eventually break down, not the innersprings. In his opinion, a good wool/cotton well-designed comfort layer with springs will last a good deal longer than a fully latex or latex over spring mattress. While the wool/cotton could flatten a bit, the mattress will continue to support since the spring layer is doing the support. The comfort layer could get a bit firmer over time, but the mattress as a whole will last longer.

Again, in his lengthy experience, he is seeing latex comfort layers soften and disintegrate, losing its ability to cushion.

Any thoughts here on recent latex mattress experience?

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Latex Comfort Layer Life Expectency 15 Apr 2014 16:02 #2

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Hi AnalogJ,

I think that there are several reasons that would likely explain his experience and your question brings up a few interesting issues :).

The first of these is that he is using 100% natural Talalay which was only introduced in 2005 as a result of consumer demand for more natural versions of Talalay. If his source of Talalay is Latex International then it wouldn't be as durable as the blended Talalay that has been used for decades (particularly in the lower ILD's). You can read more about the differences between 100% natural and blended Talalay in post #2 here and you can see Latex International's comments here about the 100% natural being less durable than the blended Talalay. Radium has told me that they use a special curing past for their 100% natural Talalay in lower ILD's and that it's more comparable to their blended Talalay in terms of durability.

The second is a trend towards softer comfort layers and with any material (including latex) ... softer ILD's are less durable than firmer ILD's.

The third is that I have talked with a number of manufacturers that have told me that over the past few years there have been some sporadic quality control issues with Latex International where their latex has either softened prematurely or cracked and split and this has resulted in some loss of confidence in their latex (or in some cases latex in general) although they now seem to have corrected the durability issues that some manufacturers were experiencing.

As a general rule ... latex is the most durable foam material but not all versions of latex are as durable as others although they would still be more durable choices than other types of foam. As you can see in post #2 here ... there are many factors that can affect the durability and useful life of a mattress and how long it will continue to match the specific needs and preferences of a particular person. This includes how the properties of the materials and components change over time (foam will soften and break down while fiber materials like cotton and wool will compress and become firmer) and how long the mattress as a whole will stay inside the range of comfort and support that is suitable for each person before changes in the properties of the materials cross the threshold where someone begins to "tolerate" the mattress more than sleep well on it. Like aging in general ... this can be a gradual change over time that creeps up on people. The changing needs or preferences of each person on a mattress is also an important part of the useful life of a mattress and over a period of years people's needs and preferences tend to change. In most cases ... the gradual loss of comfort and/or support that is suitable for the needs of a specific person will lead to the need to replace a mattress before the materials themselves have actually worn out.

While the wool/cotton could flatten a bit, the mattress will continue to support since the spring layer is doing the support. The comfort layer could get a bit firmer over time, but the mattress as a whole will last longer.


Cotton is certainly a durable material and won't soften or degrade like foam materials but as you mentioned it will compress and become firmer over time and the loss of comfort can also lead to the need to replace the mattress just like foam softening.

I certainly agree that for those who like a firmer mattress and don't need or prefer the contouring or softness of foam materials, a cotton / innerspring mattress (or other innerspring / natural fiber mattresses) with a good quality innerspring can make a very durable choice (see post #2 here ).

Thanks for asking a great question :)

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Latex Comfort Layer Life Expectency 15 Apr 2014 18:23 #3

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You're welcome. Thanks for the thorough answer.

There's so much hype on the intertubes. You can often read contradictory statements about the same thing.

Yes, they do get their latex from Latex International. I'm leaning toward a wool/cotton mattress they have which sits on a separate pocket coil layer over a standard pocket coil base. This all sits on a foundation. I wish that it had a bit more give, though. My hips actually do sink in, but my shoulder doesn't quite as much as I'd like. it's close. I could add a support layer. My wife and I like the temperature of the wool/cotton and we're both side sleepers. They can customize since they're building it. Any suggestions?

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Last edit: by AnalogJ. Reason: Wrong word.

Latex Comfort Layer Life Expectency 15 Apr 2014 19:06 #4

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Hi AnalogJ,

There's so much hype on the intertubes. You can often read contradictory statements about the same thing.


You're certainly right about this ... and it's one of the reasons I started the site so that people would have a way to do some fact checking and bypass all the marketing.

Yes, they do get their latex from Latex International. I'm leaning toward a wool/cotton mattress they have which sits on a separate pocket coil layer over a standard pocket coil base. This all sits on a foundation.


These all sound like good quality materials and components. You can read a bit more about microcoils in this article (assuming that the upper pocket coil layer is a microcoil).

I could add a support layer.


I'm guessing you mean adding a comfort layer (an upper layer such as a topper which provides additional pressure relief). The support layers are the deeper layers of a mattress.

Any suggestions?


The materials you choose are a personal preference so the main suggestions I would have would be to make sure that you are confident that the mattress is a good match for you in terms of PPP, that you know the quality of all the materials in the mattress, and that it's good value compared to your other finalists based on the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you. I would also make sure you are comfortable with the options you have after a purchase to fine tune or make changes to the mattress if you haven't tested a specific mattress in person.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.
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