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Building my own mattress - looking for guidance 12 Oct 2013 08:21 #1

First - thanks to Phoenix for this site and all the detailed guidance provided on this site. I know way more about mattresses than I ever thought possible. With that said, I am having a tough time finding a mattress that fits me and have come up with an idea to build my own mattress. Before I start buying components though I wanted to get some guidance.

About me: I vary between 200 to 210 lbs, athletic build, and have about a 4 to 5" drop from my shoulder to my armpit and a little more to my waist. I am a side sleeper 95% of the time and shoulder pain has been the biggest issue I have with mattresses.

I recently tried the tempurpedic cloud luxe and it hurt my shoulders as well - plus it slept hot. I have zero interest in memory foam since they sleep hot. In the retail stores, I have enjoyed the feel of the sterns and foster euro-plush mattresses, but I realize they are inferior in material and will break down, but the feel they have in the comfort layer is nice to me. I like the soft feel and the way it somewhat wraps around me. I don't necessarily care about the support layer (i.e. - coils vs foam) I just like the way the comfort layer feels on these mattresses (in the store).

What I am considering: I am seeking a thick comfort layer and pressure relief for my shoulder - maybe 5 to 6 inches plus. I do not want to go so thick that I lose support for my spine though. Here's a solution that I think may work for me and give me options:

Buy a 12" zipper cover from www.nestbedding.com. (I'm open to any other covers, but I haven't seen any other zipper covers for sale.)

Add a 6" Dunlop latex layer in 36 +/- ILD range for support.

Add a 2" Layer in the 28 +/- ILD range

Add a 2" intelli-gel (buckling gel) layer. (I can buy their topper and remove the intell-gel layer)

Add a 2" Talalay Latex Layer in the 18-21 ILD range.

Add either a 2" or 4" all wool topper from www.surroundewe.com.

My hope is this will give me plenty of pressure relief, good breathability (not sleep hot), the feeling I like from the sterns and foster of softness and wrapping around me, and still provide plenty of support. The downside is I don't have a warranty, but the upside is I can replace components. Also, I can take off the wool topper and or swap out the order and material of the comfort layers as I choose.

I don't want to spend a ton on a mattress, but this solution looks like it would be in the 2000 to 2200 range. This is fine if it gives me a quality mattress that I can tweak and use for years. I am also open to ANY recommendations for a pre-built mattress that already meets my needs for less - I have not found one yet.

As stated, I'm open to input and ideas. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

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Building my own mattress - looking for guidance 12 Oct 2013 08:48 #2

Hi H8tobogie,

There's a lot of information on this site that you will find valuable with your approach. Since I've read much of it, I often try to restate some important pieces that Phoenix and others have written. A note about building a DIY mattress... It often boils down to trial and error if you're not modeling your mattress on one that a company has already made and you've found you like. Phoenix notes it's where the science and art of mattress design meet.

DIY thread

1. There are several places to get zip covers. The above link has several. A mattress cover may also include wool or other materials to change how the mattress feels.

2. You're into the realm of layering toppers and how they'll interact together... Which is where mattress design becomes an art. You've got high quality versions of latex, buckling gel, and wool. You'll certainly have nearly every possible combination that you can try ;)

3. There was recently some dicussion on buckling column gel, and intellibed. I actually just tried it. Nevertheless, I have no idea what it would do under another layer.

4. If your only problem is your shoulders causing a posture or pressure problem, you might consider a zoned bed (further complicating your build, since you could also zone a DIY bed). Flobeds vzone is the most recent one I read on this thread, but I trust there are many others. Basically, at your shoulders youd have a zone that is softer, for your shoulders to sink deeper and with more pressure relief.

My personal 2 cents... It'll be essentially random good luck if the mattress you've outlined works. You've selected all high quality materials, but how they're going to work as layers is a huge unknown, and it's definitely not something you can try ahead of time. On the plus side, you basically have 1 of everything so by rearranging the layers you have more chances that one of them feels just right. Budget and time wise, I'd therefore suggest you plan for some suplus $$'s / and or plan for additional time to replace some of the layers or make adjustments after you make your first version of your mattress.

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Last edit: by dn.

Building my own mattress - looking for guidance 12 Oct 2013 09:12 #3

Hi DN,

Thanks for the reply - this is exactly what I was looking for. I think the biggest problem I am having is finding a "stock" mattress that has a high quality comfort layer that is thick enough to offer the kind of pressure relief I am after. I would prefer to find a pre-built mattress that I can try and feel confident in the materials used, but this is proving difficult.

The biggest risk in building my own is buying components that can't be returned and the intelli-gel topper offers a 60 day comfort guarantee so I can mitigate some of the risk there. Perhaps there is a latex retailer who offers and exchange on some of the layers too? If so, then I am up to the trial and error part of tuning in a mattress (though I would still much prefer walking into a reputable store, with quality materials, and finding a mattress that fits my requirements).

I will check out the links and do some more reading to better understand how different materials can work together.

Thanks again!!!!

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Building my own mattress - looking for guidance 12 Oct 2013 09:18 #4

I know nothing about FloBeds (I only know them as several members have recently bought from them, so it's the last company sticking in my mind that does zoning, and that they use high quality materials), and this is where other members might speak to zoned mattresses, but...

You might consider talking with FloBeds about your needs and vzone, or find a smaller mattress maker (factory direct) in your area that can custom tailor a mattress, and use their knowledge and insight to help you. They can talk and listen to you to determine your needs, and do things like change depth of comfort layer and create custom zones. Making sure to talk with the manufacturers directly is important so you can explain your needs, but then tap into their wealth of knowledge as to how to accomplish that. Give them a phone call :)

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Last edit: by dn.

Building my own mattress - looking for guidance 12 Oct 2013 09:27 #5


Also, you might post your postal code or rough area. Phoenix is the expert here, and may have some suggestions as to factory direct or custom mattress makers close to you.

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Building my own mattress - looking for guidance 12 Oct 2013 09:35 #6

I'm in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. I have the link he shared with someone else with the local mfrs. I have been through all of their websites and maybe will go visit one or two of them this coming week to see who can work with me. I don't see any standard offerings from them that look appealing but perhaps they can custom make a mattress.

Thanks again!

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Building my own mattress - looking for guidance 12 Oct 2013 15:55 #7

Hi H8tobogie,

There's not too much that I can add to the excellent suggestions that dn has already mentioned.

In most cases I tend to discourage trying to design and build your own mattress from separate components from separate suppliers because there is no formula that you can use to predict how the specific design you are considering will interact with your own body type and sleeping positions. Each person is very different in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) and what works well for one any not work nearly as well for another even if they appear to be very similar in terms of their body type, sleeping style, and circumstances.

Some of my thoughts about building a complete DIY design are in post #15 here and in post #2 here . There are also some links to some of the theory involved in mattress design in mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here but these are only generic and useful as concepts and are not specific to any individual person.

Many local manufacturers can make custom builds and don't include everything they have available on their websites. If you do decide to go in the direction of designing and building your own mattress on your own then realistic expectations of success and the chances of having to replace layers and the costs involved (most individual layers have some cost involved or are more costly in the first place if there is a return policy built into the price) are important and one of the most important steps would be as much personal testing on as many different combinations of materials and designs as possible so that you have personal reference points for what specific combinations tend to work best for you. This can involve a fairly lengthy and steep learning curve if you are building a mattress where you haven't personally tested a specific design or are using material combinations you aren't personally familiar with.

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