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Fire Protection vs. Comfort Layer 25 Mar 2013 22:40 #1

  • Espy
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Hey there, TMU.

After much studying of the articles and forum posts here, my wife and I tested out a few mattresses this past weekend. We found one we loved at Gardner Mattress here in MA. It's a 100% talalay latex mattress with a 6" 36 ILD core and a 2" 28 ILD top. It seemed perfect for two average size, multi-position (mostly side and stomach) sleepers. Of course, along with Gardner's quality comes a bit of a price tag ($1,949 for a queen-sized without foundation).

The difficult part when comparison shopping is that Gardner uses Visil for the fire-protection piece, which (I believe) is fairly thin and doesn't have much impact on the feel of the comfort layer that we both found, well, comfortable. It seems like most of the online sites (Mattresses.net, SleepEZ, BB) use a wool or wool/foam layer for fire-protection, which adds another 1-2 inches on top. I think that the additional layer could be bad (1) because it would be a different softness than we like, and (2) because it's adding height that would not be desired during stomach-sleeping time.

So I'm having a bit of difficulty identifying alternatives. Ideally, I'd find an exact replica from a TMU member with the 5% discount (and perhaps even a lower starting price). I'm sure that BB's offerings with the HD foam core and 3" talalay top would be fine -- if we could test them out in-person.

Bringing this long-winded post to a close, would the additional layer be as problematic as I'm imagining? If it's within the range of personal preference, has anyone heard of a competitively-price 100% latex mattress with 2" comfort layer in the vicinity of MA? :)

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Fire Protection vs. Comfort Layer 26 Mar 2013 01:22 #2

  • phoenix
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Hi Espy,

The difficult part when comparison shopping is that Gardner uses Visil for the fire-protection piece, which (I believe) is fairly thin and doesn't have much impact on the feel of the comfort layer that we both found, well, comfortable. It seems like most of the online sites (Mattresses.net, SleepEZ, BB) use a wool or wool/foam layer for fire-protection, which adds another 1-2 inches on top. I think that the additional layer could be bad (1) because it would be a different softness than we like, and (2) because it's adding height that would not be desired during stomach-sleeping time.


I think that you will find that the wool quilted layers are actually much less than 1" to 2" once they are compressed (the number of inches mentioned is usually the uncompressed wool). You will also find that some of the manufacturers on the list also offer unquilted covers that use a similar visil fire barrier for those that prefer a cover that has less effect on the compression of the latex and are willing to give up the benefits of wool. Wool also compresses very differently from a foam and has little risk of the alignment issues that thicker layers of foam would have. There is also a difference in the fabrics that are used to quilt the wool and it may be a stretch knit on one or both sides or be a weave that has little stretch. You can read more about some of the pros and cons of each in post #6 here .

Again though ... looking at the websites of the various online manufacturers listed here and talking to them on the phone is the best way to know what they have available because many of them have options that are either not on their website or are not always easy to find. I would also consider that the ability to test a mattress in person has a significant "value" and as you can see in post #46 here that talks about each person's "value equation" ... I would place a premium on the ability to test a mattress in person and in general terms I would consider a local mattress that was in the range of a 20% premium in an apples to apples comparison to be roughly "equivalent value" compared to a similar online option but of course each person can use the number which best reflects their own risk tolerance.

So I'm having a bit of difficulty identifying alternatives. Ideally, I'd find an exact replica from a TMU member with the 5% discount (and perhaps even a lower starting price). I'm sure that BB's offerings with the HD foam core and 3" talalay top would be fine -- if we could test them out in-person.


I would always consider a similar online purchase to be an "approximation" rather than a "replica" so that you have more realistic expectations. Minor differences in layers or components can make a bigger difference to some than to others in terms of how a mattress feels and performs. Purchasing a mattress online has higher risks than a local purchase and there is no way to avoid this unless you happen to be local to an online manufacturer. While many of them have the ability to re-arrange or exchange layers or other exchange policies which can reduce the risk significantly ... there is just no way to avoid the risk completely (to different degrees) of an online purchase and this is something that I believe each person should take into account realistically when they are considering an online choice vs a local choice as part of their personal value equation.

Bringing this long-winded post to a close, would the additional layer be as problematic as I'm imagining? If it's within the range of personal preference, has anyone heard of a competitively-price 100% latex mattress with 2" comfort layer in the vicinity of MA? :)


Wool quilting can certainly make a difference but I don't see it as "problematic" at all but as more of a preference. It's not like a mattress that uses wool has some kind of "hard" layer on top when the amount of wool used is just enough to pass the fire regulations and there is some stretch in the cover.

Some of the other options in the Boston area are listed in post #2 here and I would talk to them on the phone to see if they have something comparable and then visit the ones that are the most promising.

Phoenix
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Fire Protection vs. Comfort Layer 26 Mar 2013 01:52 #3

  • Espy
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Much appreciated, Phoenix.

Good call on revisiting the value equation. There certainly is value in the ability to test for ourselves (or in avoiding the risk inherent in making a large-scale purchase at a distance). Of course, it would be a wonderful world where we could order the "perfect" bed from a couch.

Thanks, also, for referencing the previous post listing other local manufacturers. I was so focused on the online-only angle that I forgot to run through them again. Ultimately, if Gardner suits us best, they really do deserve the sale. Better to spend a bit more on something we've chosen from personal experience than rolling the dice in the hopes of saving a few dollars.

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Fire Protection vs. Comfort Layer 27 Mar 2013 23:54 #4

Hey there, TMU.

After much studying of the articles and forum posts here, my wife and I tested out a few mattresses this past weekend. We found one we loved at Gardner Mattress here in MA. It's a 100% talalay latex mattress with a 6" 36 ILD core and a 2" 28 ILD top. It seemed perfect for two average size, multi-position (mostly side and stomach) sleepers. Of course, along with Gardner's quality comes a bit of a price tag ($1,949 for a queen-sized without foundation).

The difficult part when comparison shopping is that Gardner uses Visil for the fire-protection piece, which (I believe) is fairly thin and doesn't have much impact on the feel of the comfort layer that we both found, well, comfortable. It seems like most of the online sites (Mattresses.net, SleepEZ, BB) use a wool or wool/foam layer for fire-protection, which adds another 1-2 inches on top. I think that the additional layer could be bad (1) because it would be a different softness than we like, and (2) because it's adding height that would not be desired during stomach-sleeping time.

So I'm having a bit of difficulty identifying alternatives. Ideally, I'd find an exact replica from a TMU member with the 5% discount (and perhaps even a lower starting price). I'm sure that BB's offerings with the HD foam core and 3" talalay top would be fine -- if we could test them out in-person.

Bringing this long-winded post to a close, would the additional layer be as problematic as I'm imagining? If it's within the range of personal preference, has anyone heard of a competitively-price 100% latex mattress with 2" comfort layer in the vicinity of MA? :)

Espy-we just decided to buy the SAME mattress from Gardner! Although you must be buying the full size, because we're paying $2250 for ours. I had the same question about a protective layer. I remember the manager at the Newton store saying they used something that sounded like drytec. Not sure yet what we're going to get.

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