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Best OMF mattress to buy to add a topper later? 05 May 2013 12:35 #11

  • levander
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Phoenix. I plan on making that call Monday morning. I didn't have time to Friday and didn't wanna on the weekend because the odds were higher I'd get another dumb guy answer the phone. Now that I'm thinking about it though, if they are using top-quality materials, they should want to tell me the specs of their layers. So maybe I'm being too cautious about calling. I just didn't wanna become known to them as "THAT GUY who keeps calling to ask about layers..."

Your main concern about toppers is if you can't lay on them and test them before buying them?

Right now I'm thinking if the layers of the OMF mattress I'm interested in don't look good, going for a OMF basic, firm mattress and then getting toppers.

And I'm definitely getting a topper for my Mom. She's got an old mattress that's still firm, but lacks any padded feel... I'm about to bump and old thread of your about gel toppers.

Best OMF mattress to buy to add a topper later? 05 May 2013 12:50 #12

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Hi levander,

There not much in terms of discussing mattress layer quality on the internet. This site's articles are easily the best I've found. There was a guide on some stobel.com (that I can't find now, it's probably on my history on my iPad upstairs) that said up to 1.3 lbs density is low grade. 1.8 lbs to 2.3 lbs is mid-grade... This 1.5 lbs density OMF is using doesn't sound blatantly irresponsible, but it's definitely sounding in a grey area to me.


That's kind of funny coming from Strobel who told me that their top layers on their...


Now that you gave me the correct spelling, I was able to check my history on my iPad. There was only one page from the strobel.com site in my iPad history, and it is not the one that gave me that information.

I'm just posting this to try to correct an error I made. I don't want to be spreading bad information and it looks like that's what I did in this case.

Best OMF mattress to buy to add a topper later? 05 May 2013 14:40 #13

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Hi levander,

Your main concern about toppers is if you can't lay on them and test them before buying them?


If you mean testing the specific mattress/topper combination together ... then yes. If you get the combination right then a mattress / topper sleeping system as a whole can have some real advantages (such as being able to replace the topper without replacing the entire mattress). Choosing a topper that "matches" the needs and preferences of a particular person though without a frame of reference based on personal experience can be almost as difficult to predict as choosing a mattress although local testing on similar combinations can reduce the risk of making an unsuitable choice. There is always a balance between support and pressure relief and choosing too much of one can affect the other negatively because they are really "opposites".

Sometimes a topper can result in some unpredictable effects on a sleeping system similar to making changes in the layering of a mattress that can result in some surprising outcomes because every layer will interact with every other layer of a sleeping system and if all the effects that a change may lead to aren't taken into account then the change produced may not be what someone anticipates. In some or even most cases where a specific combination hasn't been tested ... it can be a matter of using educated intuition based on the best possible information available about the material you are choosing and personal experience and familiarity with different materials to make the best choice (which is why the topper guidelines are less technical and more experiential).

Phoenix
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Best OMF mattress to buy to add a topper later? 06 May 2013 08:02 #14

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Okay, I just got off the phone with the main OMF factory store near Atlanta. This time I spoke with a young girl who sounded like it made her happy to answer my questions. She did know several things about the mattresses. When I specifically asked about the density, she said she had to go ask someone.

I asked about the Orthopedic Pillowtop and Orthopedic Super Pillowtop models. The Super Pillowtop one is the one I'm more interested in because it felt better in store to me.

What I was told was that both beds start out very similarly. Just the springs and a layer of cotton. On top of the cotton is the pillowtops which is where they differ.

The Pillowtop model has one 1" layer of "super-soft foam" (they call it) that has a density of 1.5. Then there is also some cotton and two more 1/2" layers of foam that each have a density of 1.2.

The Super Pillowtop has two 1" layers of their "super-soft foam" that has a density of 1.5. And some cotton in there... This is consistent with what the last time I called the salesman said as above...

Part of the problem with me asking them this stuff is I only have a vague impression of what it all means and they are not used to explaining this stuff to customers.

I am making another trip to the main OMF factory store, probably tomorrow, and will look at the mattress cut-outs they have next to each one of their display models. If I see anything interesting, especially if I think it may affect durability, I'll report...

But the 1st time I went into the main OMF factory store, I got a salesman who seemed very good. I made a comment on this to him and he said he was one of the company owners, had worked at Sealy for 12 years previously where he learned how mattresses are made, etc.. He wasn't just a by-the-hour salesman hoping to get a commission. When I told him I was concerned about pillowtops' durability in general, he was just like, "well then you should look at these without pillowtops..." He didn't argue the point at all. He was never pushy, but he was willing to argue other points.

I just wonder if for whatever reason, OMF has decided to cut back on the densities of their foams in their pillowtops, even though it reduces durability, their getting other benefits. Like soft-feel, reduce cost of construction...

I'm gonna practice my PPP analysis today on my mattress at home. I don't expect to become an expert, but I figure some practice before actually being at the store will help...

Best OMF mattress to buy to add a topper later? 06 May 2013 08:15 #15

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It seems the only thing you could to make a layer that's not dense enough last longer is make the layers below it softer, so they could absord some of the shock on the low density layer. But if you've made the lower layers softer, you've (probably) made them less durable as well and just made the problem worse?


Actually this isn't correct. The layer below won't affect how much the foam above it compresses although you would sink into the mattress more "in total" than if the lower layer was firmer (the lower layer just adds to the compression of the top layer).


The reason I thought the lower layer had to be softer is because the guy at the OMF factory store told me they have real box springs that go under the mattress. The box springs will wear out faster than wood foundations. The wood foundations will practically last forever and never need to be replaced. But the box springs are softer than wood, and will wear out. But they absorb some of the force placed on the mattress, so the mattress doesn't compress as much, and the mattress will last longer.

So, even though you're having to replace the box springs every 10 years, you're saving money over buying wood because the mattress - which is more expensive - lasts longer.

That's where I got the layer underneath a layer would have to be softer for the upper layer to last longer...

The only way to add to the durability of a layer using another layer is to add something on top of it that reduces how much it compresses. Other methods that can increase durability include quilting or tufting the layers which removes the false loft of the foam and pre-compresses it so its firmer and less likely to soften or take a set.


The girl on the phone said something about this. But I thought she was saying it about the cotton and not the foam. I'll report back if I see anything in the mattress cut-outs at the store.

Best OMF mattress to buy to add a topper later? 06 May 2013 10:01 #16

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Hi levander,

The reason I thought the lower layer had to be softer is because the guy at the OMF factory store told me they have real box springs that go under the mattress. The box springs will wear out faster than wood foundations. The wood foundations will practically last forever and never need to be replaced. But the box springs are softer than wood, and will wear out. But they absorb some of the force placed on the mattress, so the mattress doesn't compress as much, and the mattress will last longer.


A flexible boxspring is generally a recommendation for innerspring mattresses because it can help with both the feel and performance of the mattress and also to help prevent the innerspring components from being bent or damaged with sudden shocks (which doesn't affect foam). See post #2 here for more about this.

There is a type of layering called a dominating layer where firmer foams are used over softer foams (often used in quilting layers as well) which will "bend" into the softer layer under it rather than "compress" into a firmer layer under it but this is more about changing the surface feel and the overall performance of the mattress rather than making it more durable (although it would increase the durability of the layers underneath it to some degree).

So an boxspring can affect the longevity of a mattress because of its shock absorbing abilities but doesn't really affect the durability or longevity of the innerspring itself in "normal" use and it won't affect how much the innersprings compress ... only add to the total compression of the mattress.

Phoenix
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Best OMF mattress to buy to add a topper later? 06 May 2013 11:46 #17

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Hi levander,
So an innerspring can affect the longevity of a mattress because of its shock absorbing abilities but doesn't really affect the durability or longevity of the innerspring itself in "normal" use and it won't affect how much the innersprings compress ... only add to the total compression of the mattress.


Yeah see, I keep using different words that have similar meanings in the English language, but very specific differences when you're explaining stuff scientifically. Part of the problem is I'm not educated enough in the specifics of this stuff, but find it interesting enough to muddle through what you're telling me and get an idea of what you're talking about. (Even though I probably don't need to understand it just to buy a mattress ;) )

I'm thinking that where I bolded the word innerspring above, I think you meant to say box-spring there. The mattress being on top of the box springs and the innersprings being inside the mattress... But, I could be wrong.

Best OMF mattress to buy to add a topper later? 06 May 2013 12:09 #18

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Hi levander,

Oops ... you're absolutely right and I did mean boxspring. I've edited it to correct the mistake, thanks :)

Phoenix
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Best OMF mattress to buy to add a topper later? 12 May 2013 11:07 #19

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Hi levander,

Oops ... you're absolutely right and I did mean boxspring. I've edited it to correct the mistake, thanks :)

Phoenix


I just mentioned it as a way to check my interpretations of what all you're saying. I had to correct and think about words you used a couple of times. In all you wrote on the board for me, the couple of times I think you mis-used a word, wasn't at an absolute minimum. Please don't think I'm complaining about it, I'd think it'd be more weird if there weren't a typo in two in all that you wrote for me.

I bought the basic, firm mattress from OMF! I got the Orthopedic Ultra Firm. I've slept on it two nights now. It's almost surprising how firm the thing is. Laying in it, I have to feel around on the mattress cause I'm like, "Is this mattress giving at all when I lay on it?" Feeling around, it is giving some.

Even more surprising is that I like how firm it is. The first afternoon I got it, I was laying on it drifting in and out of sleep because I was so tired. And after the 1st hour, the muscles in my back started to get numb. It wasn't at all like getting a massage, but it was similar in the class of things you'd do to your muscles. Like very vaguely, if you crossed a massage with that stunt you see martial arts people do laying on a bed of nails, that's kind of what it was like.

As far as spinal support, I do have to play with my pillows a little more than usual to make sure my neck is supported. And the lumbar area of my lower back, it is like it barely touches the mattress but there's not much support there. And traditionally I've been a side-sleeper. When I roll over on my side, I do have to play with angles a little big. If I'm straight up and down on my side, like 90 degrees to the bed, my top hip bends in a little towards my stomach and there's a little pain there. But if I roll forward a little, it goes away.

Sleeping directly on the mattress, I have to be a little careful and watch my position. But not in a huge way. I just have to be aware and everything works out.

Maybe after the mattress "breaks in", these problems will go away?

But I really just got a firm mattress for the sake of adding toppers on it. And even though I like the firm feel so much, I'm going to play with them. With the idea that yeah, I like firm, but maybe there are other things I like too? I imagine there will be a range of things I like going from a firm mattress to a medium amount of padding. And I could sleep in one configuration for 3 months and then when it's time to rotate or flip my bed, I can saunter over to my linen closet change up the toppers and sleep a different way? I've always liked being able to change things around. Makes like a little more interesting.

I've already bought a topper from Flobeds. The shredded latex one that looks weird online because it's like a line of horizontal baffle rows. It's here:

www.flobeds.com/products/2101ST

I saw Phoenix's reviews of two competing shredded latex toppers, one of them was the Seven Comforts one. When I get it, I'll have to see if it craters, if it's too soft for me, and if the seams that connect the baffles together bother me. The customer support guy at Flobeds I talked to said they fill the baffles with so much shredded latex, they won't crater and act like a feather-bed. He also said they don't get many returns, but the returns they do get are because of the seams. Every time I talk to a salesman though, I'm always sitting there wondering what to believe and what not to believe. Once it comes in the mail, I'll have to see then.

Part of the reason I went ahead and bought that topper (and 2 shredded latex pillows) was because they were on a 50% off sale. They may have gotten me with the old "limited time offer trick". We'll see if I got snookered or not when the stuff comes in the mail.

Phoenix, you recommend letting the bed "break-in" before adding a topper. Can you give me a general idea why this is?

I wasn't going to do it before, but now that I like the firm feel so much and my head is a little clearer because I don't have a 100 things running around in my head trying to make a decision, I think I'm going to.

I'll just sleep on the shredded latex topper for several days and that will give me a good enough idea of whether or not I should return it.

But I would like to know the reasoning behind letting the mattress break in before adding a topper if you could give me a general idea of it.

Best OMF mattress to buy to add a topper later? 12 May 2013 11:21 #20

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I don't know the details of their specific mattresses but I believe that some of their pillowtops use much higher quality foam over the lower density foam which is why I would want to know the rest of the story (see post #32 here ).


Well, I just looked at your post #32. The specs you list there are about the same specs I listed in this thread. But in post #32 you say these are high quality materials...

In the pillowtop, the Orthopedic Pillowtop has two layers of 1/2" polyfoam with a density of 1.2. It has one layer of 1" polyfoam with a density of 1.5.

In the pillowtop, the Orthopedic Super Pillowtop how two layers of 1" polyfoam with a density of 1.5.

Underneath the pillowtops, the mattresses are exactly the same. Innerspring coils, then a layer of cotton. Between the cotton and the innersprings, there is a "netting fabric" that doesn't look like it affects the mattress. It just prevents cotton from falling down in the springs.

A detail I did leave out was that quilted onto the top fabric of the mattress is some of that baffled, egg-crate looking, polyfoam. Remembering what you said about putting a harder layer on top of a softer layer and how that adds to durability, I mentioned it to the salesman I was talking to (this wasn't the main OMF factory store in Atlanta, but it was the guy that owned the OMF sales storefront I was at) and asked if that increased durability. His answer was "well, it's really the fact that it's a two-sided mattress that increases durability. If it wasn't for the fact that it was a 2-sided mattress, I'd be worried about durability of that polyfoam too". But even though he was an owner, he was also a salesman, so I don't know how much what he said really flies.

If it seems relevant, I'll go back to an OMF store and write down what layers are in those mattresses by looking at the mattress cut-outs. I meant to do this before I bought a bed, but there was so much running around in my mind, I didn't get it done. Since I bought a bed, I've got several friends and family who having mentioned they may buy a bed so I'm interesting in knowing what this means about durability.

Is the fact that it's a 2-sided bed really enough to preserve the durability of the pillowtops to a good length of time? Or, is there something else?
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