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Sleep on Latex DIY 25 Jul 2014 09:44 #1

  • colorfinger
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I started my new mattress process expecting to buy a major brand at a local chain store. After not being satisfied with that experience, I hit the internet and found this forum. Loaded with great information, I went back out and searched for a better mattress experience than what I found with the chain stores. I found a better experience and product at Cape Fear Bedding with the Golden Mattress but it wasn't perfect. Being a guy who tends to tinker, I started looking seriously at the DIY route. I talked to many suppliers listed here and found that the Dunlop Latex from Sleep on Latex was the right place for me. Dunlop is not as bouncy as talalay but it isn't a sink in feel like memory foam either. It lightly cradles you but mostly you float on top of it like talalay but with slower bounce back. Talalay makes me think of jello while dunlop reminds me of a marsh mellow. Obviously that is just my take on the materials but if you haven't tried dunlop yet, don't dismiss it without giving it a go. It is also, generally, less expensive than talalay.

The process of ordering my latex from sleep on latex started with a couple of phone call conversations with Karl at SOL. He advised me to start with a firmer base and then add comfort layers as I go until I hit the sweet spot rather than try to order the whole thing at once and end up with a layer that doesn't seem right. Of course you can always still make a mistake going layer by layer but it minimizes the mistakes. I planned the delivery for while the wife was out of town for 10 days so i could get it setup as an anniversary surprise. I installed it on top of a slat bed frame with drawers underneath for additional storage.

I started with 2 6" twin xl in firm for the base. I might have gotten away with medium and would have needed a little less comfort layer but playing the odds, I went firmer. I also went with a 2 inch soft comfort layer in a king size. I figured it would be more comfortable too have a solid layer on top of the split base. As it turns out, the split base meshed together so well that I could have been happy with split layers all the way through.

The unwrapping process is not has hard as I expected but it is heavy...HEAVY. I would not recommend a full king 6 inch slap to anyone. Start with a split base. It was only like 15 bucks more and very worth it. The 2 inch comfort layer was easy enough to manage and I wouldn't think you need to have a split top for the comfort layer(s) unless you are going for a different feel per side. The 2 inch came cut incorrectly. It was mostly squared up except one of the corners was cut in 2 inches to far and tapered out to full with over about 20 inches on one side. I called Karl and let him know about the problem and they were able to work with me to correct promptly and I am very satisfied with the customer service I received from sleep on latex.

After letting it air out for 12 hours, I laid on the base layer by itself for 30 minutes and decided to forgo a night on just the firm. It wasn't going to work. I like a medium soft and the wife leans towards soft. The firm was legitimately stiff but to my surprise, it didn't cause soreness like laying on a firm innerspring mattress does in a matter of minutes. The mattress didn't really need aired out. It went to full size with in a couple hours and had little smell. So unlike the windows opened stink that I've seen some lament, I didn't find these products to be an issue.

I slept for a week on just the base layer and 2 inch comfort layer. It was passable. Had I been on a tighter budget, it would have worked. Deciding I wanted to get it 'perfect' I ordered another soft layer, this time in 3 inches. I had originally planned to go a week with just the 3 inches but the wife talked me into just tossing it on top of the 2 inches and go with a 6 inch base and a 5 inch comfort layer. As per usual, listening to the wife worked out. She has always like a softer bed, so I expected her to love the 5 inches while I would want to jump back to just the 3 inches. I didn't feel like it was too soft at all. It squishes down a bit but mostly it just feels supportive and comfortable. I'm a side sleeper and I was getting should discomfort on our old worn innerspring mattress. When I sleep on something too firm my arm goes numb. When I sleep on something too soft, I get kinks in my back, shoulders, and neck. The dunlop doesn't feel nearly as 'soft' as the talalay does and thus its subtle softness 'feels' like it is more supportive even if that is just perception.

Along with the new mattress, we also picked up 2 queen sized latex pillows from sleep on latex. They are talalay and are very comfortable, have a nice cover over the latex, and are reasonably priced. I am always looking for a better pillow and this is one of my favorites.

Speaking of Talalay, I also tried out a 3 inch soft layer from dream foam based on the positive feed back from here. It was a great layer and we decided to keep it for another bed, though we may end up using it at some point as well. You never know when you'll want something a little different. It is bouncier but it doesn't distract while sleeping. It isn't like a waterbed but it does 'give' more than the dunlop. Interestingly enough, it didn't feel much different having the 3 inches of talalay on the 6 inches of dunlop vs just tossing it on top of the whole setup. Yes it is softer but most of the feel at that point is the talalay and very little of the dunlop is directly noticeable. What was a lot more noticeable than I was hoping is the size of the mattress. Dreamfoam cuts their mattress toppers short of the size of the bed. I have to admit, that bothered me while sleeping on it much more than I expected. at 6'2", I am able to feel the edges at my head and feet and thus it is noticeable. I would probably get use to it but if you are concerned about dimensions, you may want to try a different vendor. The cover, the feel, and the speed of service from Dreamfoam was great but the cut may be an issue.

If you are considering going the DIY route, I strongly recommend considering the dunlop core as a starting point. Whether you add talalay, memory foam, or more dunlop as the comfort layer, the dunlop core has been great over the past month and seems like great bang for the buck.

As Phoenix has pointed out many times, DIY is not for everyone. You won't always get it perfect with (we ended up with a talalay layer we really didn't need) and that may kill most of your cost savings or just take up time if you have to make returns. But if you get it right, you can build a custom setup that fits your needs better than anything off the self and you may just save a few hundred in the process. We did and it worked out great.

The next step is a new body pillow. I've shopped around and haven't been thrilled with the options so perhaps another DIY is in the works.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the threads I started here through my process, especially to Phoenix for the depth of information here, and Karl at Sleep on Latex for taking the time to work with me. You really helped me land on the right mattress.

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Sleep on Latex DIY 25 Jul 2014 12:05 #2

  • phoenix
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Hi colorfinger,

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences and insights about your DIY mattress in such great detail ... I appreciate it.

I also like the "bottom up" approach you took and for those who are going in a DIY direction I also think it can be one of the most effective approaches because it allows you to assess each combination before deciding on what to add next.

It sounds like you did very well and ended up with a great design that works well for you.

Congratulations on your new mattress :)

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Sleep on Latex DIY 28 Apr 2016 09:32 #3

  • restoms
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An old post but I wanted to comment on it so people would be aware that building a mattress yourself through SleepOnLatex does not come with any warranty. SleepOnLatex offers a 10 year warranty on their pre-built mattress but no warranty on a diy mattress assembled form their cores/toppers. We bought a "firm" mattress from them 2 weeks ago and I must say that their mattress is well made and seems to be very good quality. Unfortunately, the mattress is way too firm and I honestly don't know how anyone can sleep on a mattress this firm. SleepOnLatex's firm latex is really extra firm. We will be returning it for a medium in the next few days. Returns are 100% free so this is a plus. I would definitely recommend SleepOnlatex.

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Sleep on Latex DIY 28 Apr 2016 11:43 #4

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Hi restoms,


Thanks for taking the time to share your comments and feedback and for letting us know what you ended up deciding.

You certainly made a great quality/value choice although I'm sorry to hear that the firmness level you chose isn't working out as well as you hoped for. The good news of course is that SleeponLatex has a great return exchange policy that can minimize the risk of making a choice that isn't a great "match" for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences).

SleepOnLatex offers a 10 year warranty on their pre-built mattress but no warranty on a diy mattress assembled form their cores/toppers.


This would be the norm with any DIY mattress because you are buying individual components rather than an actual mattress. Having said that ... mattress warranties only cover manufacturing defects and they don't cover the gradual (or more rapid in the case of lower quality comfort layers) loss of comfort and support that comes from foam softening or breakdown that is the main reason that most people will need to replace their mattress so warranties have little to do with the durability or useful life of a mattress or how long it may be until you need to replace it. If there is an actual defect in the materials it will usually show up early in the life of the mattress (and most reliable suppliers will replace components that are clearly defective) but knowing the quality and durability of the materials in your mattress is always a much more reliable way to assess the durability and useful life of a mattress than the length of a warranty. There is more about mattress warranties in post #174 here .

We bought a "firm" mattress from them 2 weeks ago and I must say that their mattress is well made and seems to be very good quality. Unfortunately, the mattress is way too firm and I honestly don't know how anyone can sleep on a mattress this firm. SleepOnLatex's firm latex is really extra firm.


There are no "standard" definitions or consensus of opinions for firmness ratings and different manufacturers can rate their mattresses very differently than others so a mattress that one manufacturer rates as being a specific firmness could be rated very differently by another manufacturer. Different people can also have very different perceptions of firmness and softness compared to others as well and a mattress that feels firm for one person can feel like "medium" for someone else or even "soft" for someone else (or vice versa) depending on their body type, sleeping style, physiology, their frame of reference based on what they are used to, and their individual sensitivity and perceptions. There are also different types of firmness and softness that different people may be sensitive to that can affect how they "rate" a mattress as well (see post #15 here ) so different people can also have very different opinions on how two mattresses compare in terms of firmness and some people may rate one mattress as being firmer than another and someone else may rate them the other way around. This is all relative and very subjective and is as much an art as a science.

You can see an example in this topic where their firmest latex mattress felt to soft for one of the members here.

We will be returning it for a medium in the next few days. Returns are 100% free so this is a plus. I would definitely recommend SleepOnlatex.


I'm looking forward to finding out how the medium works out for you :)

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix. Reason: Updating link to https: status

Sleep on Latex DIY 28 Apr 2016 15:35 #5

  • restoms
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Thanks for the insight Phoenix! So you don't think that I should rule out going the diy route due to the lack of warranty? I really like the SleepOnLatex mattress but wish it had a 3" comfort layer instead of the 2" they use. I really feel that this extra inch does make a difference and if that doesn't work out I can replace layers or add more layers until it is just right. It's amazing how different the synthetic latex is from natural latex. The synthetic latex we tried in a different mattress was not the least bit supportive. Natural latex is so much more dense and supportive.

Thanks!

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Sleep on Latex DIY 28 Apr 2016 16:35 #6

  • phoenix
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Hi rest9rms,

It's amazing how different the synthetic latex is from natural latex. The synthetic latex we tried in a different mattress was not the least bit supportive. Natural latex is so much more dense and supportive.


There can certainly be a noticeable difference between different types and blends of latex (such as synthetic vs natural and Talalay vs Dunlop) which can all have different properties and a different "feel" ... even if they have the same ILD or thickness. There is more about the different types and blends of latex in post #6 here and there is more about some of the general differences between Talalay and Dunlop in post #7 here .

I really like the SleepOnLatex mattress but wish it had a 3" comfort layer instead of the 2" they use. I really feel that this extra inch does make a difference and if that doesn't work out I can replace layers or add more layers until it is just right.


Every layer and component of a mattress (including the cover and any quilting material) will have an effect on every other layer above and below it and on the mattress "as a whole" so depending on the type and firmness of each layer you may find that you would do well with some latex mattress designs that have a 6" + 2" construction and yet other mattresses that also have a 6" + 2" design may be completely unsuitable for you to sleep on. The same would be true for mattresses that have a 6" + 3" design or a 3 x 3" design. It would all depend on how the specific layers interacted together with your particular body type, sleeping style, and personal preferences and sensitivities.

The only way to know for certain whether any specific layering combination will be a good "match" for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP will be based on your own careful testing or your own personal experience when you sleep on it.

So you don't think that I should rule out going the diy route due to the lack of warranty?


What you "rule in" or "rule out" would depend entirely on your own criteria and the risks you are willing to take.

If you are attracted to the idea of designing and building your own DIY mattress out of separate components and a separate cover then the first place I would start is by reading option 3 in post #15 her e and the posts it links to (and option #1 and #2 as well) so that you have more realistic expectations and that you are comfortable with the learning curve, uncertainty, trial and error, or in some cases the higher costs that may be involved in the DIY process. While it can certainly be a rewarding project ... the best approach to a DIY mattress is a "spirit of adventure" where what you learn and the satisfaction that comes from the process itself is more important than any cost savings you may realize (which may or may not happen).

There is also more about primary or "deep" support and secondary or "surface" support and their relationship to firmness and pressure relief and the "roles" of different layers in a mattress in post #2 here and in post #4 here that may also be helpful in clarifying the difference between "support" and "pressure relief" and "feel" that may be useful as well.

For those who decide to take on the challenge then I would either use the specs (if they are available) of a mattress that you have tested and confirmed is a good match for you in terms of PPP as a reference point or blueprint and try and "match" every layer and component in your reference mattress as closely as possible or use a "bottom up" approach (see post #2 here ).

For me ... the "risk" involved of choosing a combination of layers that is a good "match" would be much higher than the relatively small risk of receiving a defective layer which most suppliers would replace if it was obviously defective (rather than just the wrong firmness choice).

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix. Reason: Updating link to https: status

Sleep on Latex DIY 30 Apr 2016 05:28 #7

  • mainertodd
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Many thanks to colorfinger for the original post, and to restoms for bumping this up so that it caught my eye. I'm planning to do this exact route--DIY through sleeponlatex, starting with a 6" base (probably two Twin XLs in medium-firm and extra-firm) and a 3" medium layer. It's great to hear your experiences.

I will echo Phoenix's point about not getting too caught up in one particular vendor's descriptions (firm, extra firm, etc.): I was looking at mattresses through another website (one of the recommended ones here, though I can't recall which one it was) that offered something like 6 different firmless levels, complete with info on their density and ILD and recommendations about how to layer to get a specific desired result. From there I was able to compare back to sleeponlatex (which also provides density and ILD ratings), and it was obvious just how relative terms like "firm" and "soft" can be. For example, sleeponlatex's "medium" was equivalent to the other website's "firm," "medium-firm" translated to "extra firm," etc.

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Sleep on Latex DIY 21 Dec 2016 17:11 #8

  • oznefu
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Hello!

I'm sorry to bring up this post is old but had a few questions regarding your DIY.

I'm assuming the base layer from SOL came with a cotton cover. What about the additional comfort layers you added? Did you opt for a cover and if not, did you just place your sheets or a mattress protector on top of the comfort layers? I am trying to discern if there is a noticeable difference between ordering their 9" mattress which comes with the 6" core + 2" comfort layer all within the cotton cover, or if it would feel better to have the topper on top of the core layer without a cover that way I would be able to feel the latex more.

You also mentioned that you did not notice a significant difference with the talalay topper you ordered. If you had ordered from SOL the medium base instead of firm and added the 2" soft comfort layer, would you feel this would have been more desirable and then the additional 3" topper wouldn't have been needed?


If you happen to see this, thank you in advance :)

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Sleep on Latex DIY 21 Dec 2016 19:22 #9

Hi oznefu, I can try to help answer some of your questions as I am in the middle of a DIY mattress project and ordered a few layers from Sleep on Latex.

When you order a raw latex layer (i.e. NOT their pre-assembled mattress), you have a choice on whether to get the matching cotton cover.

You can also choose to order their cotton cover separately (there is a hard to find link for it if you scroll down on their Toppers page). You can get the cover in any thickness to serve as the entire mattress ticking. It's a very high quality stretchy cover that is designed to be easy to put on over your DIY layers. The zipper is on the bottom vs. smack dab in the middle like other mattress tickings. This means it's just a flat piece of cotton (stiffer on the bottom, more canvas-like) that you lay down, and then lay down your latex layers on top of that, then finally you put on the top of the cotton cover over the entire thing the same way you would put on a fitted sheet. Zipping it up is a breeze. No need to worry about fitting your bottom latex layer into the bottom of a cover.

I don't recall seeing the option to order a 6" thickness core from them, so it must be a custom order you'll need to speak to someone on the phone about.

I personally opted to build my mattress core using two 3" layers so that I could have more firmness options for fine tuning.

Btw, Sleep on Latex's latex firmnesses are very different density levels. Many companies offer 65kg/m3 as Soft, 75kg/m3 as Medium, and 85kg/m3 as Firm. But Sleep on Latex carries 65kg/m3 as Soft, 80kg/m3 as Medium, and 95kg/m3 as Firm!

That 95kg/m3 is definitely extra firm, or some would say hard.

Hope this helps!

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Sleep on Latex DIY 21 Dec 2016 20:00 #10

  • oznefu
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Hey amnj, thanks for your reply!

I'm sorry, I went back to their website and realized it was a 7 inch base not 6 inches.

With separate raw layers, is there more a chance for the latex layers to misalign and/or shift? Do you foresee this being more of an issue with the cotton cover on since the latex on latex traction goes away? I really liked your idea of building your mattress with two different 3" cores. I remember seeing some companies sell cotton covers ranging from 2-14 inches so that may also be an option if I decide to layer them all together under one cover.

I didn't realize sleeponlatex has different firmness levels than usually expected. If you don't mind me asking, what densities did you choose for your mattress?

Lastly, I was wondering if you have any experience with talalay latex as a top layer option, if it's in your DIY mattress, and if not, what made you rule it out?

Thanks again!

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Last edit: by oznefu.
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