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Can I make a pillowtop mattress firmer? 01 Nov 2013 21:54 #11

  • phoenix
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Hi Annmarie,

I was just wondering if I bought a 1 or 2 inch latex topper, firm and put it under my memory foam 1.5 inch, if that would be supportive enough.


Your mattress is the part of your sleeping system that will provide the primary support and the comfort layers are more for pressure relief. A mattress that is too thin and/or firm or too soft and/or thick in the comfort layers can both lead to alignment issues and back pain. My guess is you may need more thickness to "fill in the gaps" in your sleeping profile to help maintain the natural alignment of the more recessed parts of your sleeping profile because the bottom of your mattress would have little to no softness at all.

The type of material you use is a preference issue not a "better worse" issue as long as the thickness and firmness is suitable for you. If I was in your shoes I would probably be thinking in the range of a 3" topper in the choice of material that feels best for you.

What is the density of the memory foam toppers you are using and which of the combinations you tried was better than the other (what was the specific difference between them in your experience and "symptoms")?

I would also make sure that you test any combination you are using for a minimum of a few days (preferably a week or more) so that your experience is more predictive of your longer term experience and not just an anomaly because in effect you are sleeping on a "new" mattress and there may be some adjustment period to get used to a new sleeping surface.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Can I make a pillowtop mattress firmer? 02 Nov 2013 03:38 #12

  • Annmarie
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Thanks Dn, I was kind of thinking the same thing yesterday. Woke this am sore again, anyway I'm gonna flip it back over tonight and see how I feel. Yeah I have three different pillows I use.

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Can I make a pillowtop mattress firmer? 02 Nov 2013 03:54 #13

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Thanks Phoenix, I'm gonna flip this monster back over for a few nights just to see how I feel. Then I guess we are either gonna have to do surgery or flip it back over and see if the experiment with a thicker better topper will work on my side. Neither of the packages for the memory foam toppers says what the density is, one does say high density on it. They are just off the shelf at kmart for 50 and 46 dollars each. You mentioned before about the type of mattress it's an upside down Sleeping Beauty Advantage Ariana, I guess it's made just for Sleepys.

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Can I make a pillowtop mattress firmer? 02 Nov 2013 10:30 #14

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Hi Annmarie,

Before you do surgery it may be worth using a thicker topper with higher quality materials (higher density memory foam or latex). It's quite likely that the memory foam toppers you are using are very low quality and don't have the cushioning ability to shield you from the firmness of the mattress.

Phoenix
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Can I make a pillowtop mattress firmer? 02 Nov 2013 15:11 #15

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Yes and I was thinking about latex, haven't tried that yet, and also I guess the investment would still be worth it, cause if we do surgery we are gonna need it anyway. I'll let you know.

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Can I make a pillowtop mattress firmer? 03 Nov 2013 14:43 #16

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Hey dn, I think you may have something there. First night with the bed flipped the right way and I woke up much better than the last week. Hubby, not so much. Anyway looks like we might be cutting the top off this puppy. I was thinking about getting a 3" layer of latex, firm or extra firm for hubby, maybe firm or medium for me. I saw raw pieces for sale at Spindle Mattress for a good price. Two twin xl. They are in Mass. and we are right here in Ct. we can even take a ride up if we had to. This is my theory, please let me know if it won't work. I was thinking when we take the top off this mattress we would leave whatever padding is directly on the springs themselves, then put the 3" pieces on top of that, and use either the memory foam toppers I bought 1.5 inch. or some part of the topper that is already there. The mattress is supposed to be layers of foam, latex and gel memory foam on top of wrapped coils. Now remember hubby likes a firm sleep surface and me medium to soft. We would still have the tempurpedic if it didn't give me migranes and left me feeling like I was sleeping in an oven, hubby said he slept too good on that mattress. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. One more thought, should I get two pieces of extra firm or firm latex for each of us and work up from there. Thanks

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Can I make a pillowtop mattress firmer? 03 Nov 2013 14:59 #17

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Hi dn,

I'd be curious Phoenix's thoughts on this theory: one thought I've had is that the springs may be offering less support. Instead of a firm base under them, there's now a pillow top since the mattress is upside down. As a result, the springs might be pressing down into the pillow top, making the springs behave quite differently, and potentially less supportively. If that were true, it might be a rather unique reason for alignment issues, since most pillow top mattresses aren't upside down.


Soirry ... I missed your comment in the thread.

Your theory is certainly valid. Innersprings have very little hysteresis (how much energy a material absorbs) and will pass the compression forces from the top of the spring right down through the bottom without spreading them out or absorbing them as much as foam so the foam layers on the bottom will compress more than they would if there was foam in the support core of the mattress.

This is also the reason why two sided mattresses are more limited in terms of how much foam you can use on each side of the support core because if the comfort layers are too thick and soft then the one on the bottom can compress too much and cause cause alignment issues.

Phoenix
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Can I make a pillowtop mattress firmer? 03 Nov 2013 15:10 #18

Hi Annmarie,

If I had a mattress and was in a similar situation, there are a few things I might do. Phoenix already posted a link to a mattress surgery in progress, with some instructions there too. URL is here:

www.themattressunderground.com/mattress-forum/general-mattresses/13910-fix-or-replace-worn-out-simmons-mattress.html

Phoenix also has a great DIY post with various materials, including mattress cases which will be important if you want to put it all into a new mattress case. The URL is here:

www.themattressunderground.com/mattress-forum/general-mattresses/5398-foam-factory-any-good.html#5411

Overall, if I had decided to do mattress surgery, these are some rough steps I'd follow.

1. Determine how I'd plan close it all back up in the end. Be it buy a new mattress case and put everything into it or somehow try to save the existing mattress case. If you decide to get a new mattress case, i might be inclined not to order it until you get a bit further into the surgery so you know how thick of one you want to get based on measuring the current depths of the springs and estimating extra materials.

2. Open it up in such a way as I could continue using the mattress while in progress, to determine what's there and thicknesses desired/required.

3. Determine what layers were already there. You might opt to keep your layering the same, or take portions from his side and use on your side. I.e. You might reuse some of the material, especially if the materials are good and have been working for you. Post pictures here for advice and review.

Phoenix is the expert behind this ... Mostly the point of the above is to let you and he, and those of us that might comment, see what you're working with/from without making the bed unsleepable, because this will be a process.

4. Like you said, I'd leave the final layer before the springs the same, and if you relocate everything into a new mattress case I'd probably keep any bottom layers under the springs too.

5. Determine how many and type of layering he and or you will need / want and try these layers. You really should be evaluating the layering for PPP, which is where DIY mattressing can become more expensive and time consuming, because you won't really know if the layers are right until you try them. Many outlets won't let you return used layers. You might reuse some of the layers from the existing mattress, especially on your side, since it seemed to be working for you and assuming they're high quality.

6. Put it all back together and enjoy :)

As you noted, a standard king means you can easily get twinxl sized pieces and side by side they add up to the same size.

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Last edit: by dn.

Can I make a pillowtop mattress firmer? 03 Nov 2013 15:45 #19

I was thinking about getting a 3" layer of latex, firm or extra firm for hubby, maybe firm or medium for me. I saw raw pieces for sale at Spindle Mattress for a good price. Two twin xl. They are in Mass. and we are right here in Ct. we can even take a ride up if we had to.


I'd note that latex is (in a manner of speaking) firmer than foam, or at least it has a higher support factor, and I've seen a number of people be surprised by its perceived firmness. I can't easily speculate on the softness/firmness required by you to achieve PPP. If you decided not to reuse any material from the existing mattress and replace both the comfort layer for you and him, I'd probably start with 3" soft for you and firm for him, but that's totally just a wild guess. I'd recommend you ignore my guess and instead the best people to ask would be Spindle who are most knowledgable about their product. They are a member of TMU I believe, which means Phoenix has assessed them to be among the best in the industry.

However, I'm partly suspecting you could replace his side only and use much of the material you already have for your side, especially if you like how it feels.

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Last edit: by dn.

Can I make a pillowtop mattress firmer? 03 Nov 2013 16:32 #20

  • Annmarie
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Here are two pics of the mattress. My plan was to cut above the top seam and sort of scooping out what we didn't want. Similar to the way "westcoaster" cut his. I wish he would right back in and let us know how it's going. Anyway going to give Spindle Mattress a call and get their opinion on the firmness issues as far as the first 3'' layer goes. I'm not sure if I am loading these correctly or not.


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