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Gel Foam over Latex ? Wool cover or Cotton? Customized sides of king mattress? 23 Aug 2015 15:56 #1

  • gwilli
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I live in Houston, and have visited TX Mattress Makers and Houston Mattress Factory. The guys at TX Mattress Makers were very knowledgeable, but they only showed me latex with polyfoam core mattresses and didn't even talk about all-latex mattresses, which I thought was odd.
Then I went to Houston Mattress Factory, and Michael showed me an all-latex mattress with 2 layers of Dunlop latex and 2 layers of Talalay latex, topped with a 2" layer of gel foam, then to be topped with a cotton cover.
My questions are:
- I thought Talalay latex was naturally the coolest layer. Is the gel foam cooler as a top layer?
- Many companies advertise latex mattresses covered with wool, or a wool/cotton blend. Is a wool or wool blend cover cooler than cotton?
(Obviously, the combination of living in Houston and sleeping hot have me obsessed with finding the coolest option.)

Now on to the eternal question of what kind of latex or combo of latex to use! I know that you stress that it is a personal choice and that the best method of choosing is to try the mattress, but my husband travels and is only in town for a couple of days at a time. So it's up to me to narrow down the options so we can decide quickly.

My husband weighs approx. 100lbs more than I do. He is a side sleeper, and wants a firm mattress (he hates the memory foam mattress topper I have on our current mattress). I am a back sleeper who lives with chronic back and body pain. I need some top cushioning to relieve my pressure points, but I'm fine with medium-firm to firm layers underneath. I should mention that I am strongly considering an adjustable base (the "zero gravity" position may be a gimmicky name but it feels like heaven!).
- Given our different sizes, needs and wants, do you think that a firm Dunlop latex base followed by Talalay latex upper layers will cover the most bases, including durability? Or would a mattress composed of 100% Talalay work equally as well?
- Again, given our differences, do you think there is a benefit to customizing each side of the mattress?
- Finally, do you advise people to rotate their latex mattresses? (I received different answers from TX Mattress Makers and Houston Mattress Factory).

Thank you for all the help and insight into the bewildering world of mattresses!

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Gel Foam over Latex ? Wool cover or Cotton? Customized sides of king mattress? 23 Aug 2015 21:47 #2

  • phoenix
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Hi gwilli,

I live in Houston, and have visited TX Mattress Makers and Houston Mattress Factory. The guys at TX Mattress Makers were very knowledgeable, but they only showed me latex with polyfoam core mattresses and didn't even talk about all-latex mattresses, which I thought was odd.
Then I went to Houston Mattress Factory, and Michael showed me an all-latex mattress with 2 layers of Dunlop latex and 2 layers of Talalay latex, topped with a 2" layer of gel foam, then to be topped with a cotton cover


I don't believe that Texas Mattress Makers makes an all latex mattress so that's probably why they didn't talk to you about them.

You are certainly looking at two very good local options.

My questions are:
- I thought Talalay latex was naturally the coolest layer. Is the gel foam cooler as a top layer?


It depends on the type of gel foam because gel can be added to latex, polyfoam, or memory foam although gel memory foam is more common that gel versions of the other two foam materials. There is more information about the pros and cons of gel materials in post #2 here . Gel foams typically have a cooler "hand feel" when you touch them and can help with temperature when you are first going to sleep at night but once temperature equalize then the dominant temperature regulating properties of the foam itself will take over and become more important than the gel over the course of the entire night.

- Many companies advertise latex mattresses covered with wool, or a wool/cotton blend. Is a wool or wool blend cover cooler than cotton?


Many latex mattresses use wool quilting but the cover itself that the wool is quilted to is made of cotton. Wool is one of the most effective temperature regulating materials and it can also be used to pass the fire regulations while a mattress that has a thinner more stretchy cotton cover will generally use an inherently fire resistant non woven fabric in the cover or an inherently fire resistant sock that surrounds the layers in the mattress as a fire barrier. There is more about the pros and cons of a wool quilted cover vs a thinner and more stretchy cotton knit cover in post #6 here .

I should mention that I am strongly considering an adjustable base (the "zero gravity" position may be a gimmicky name but it feels like heaven!).


There is more information about choosing an adjustable bed in post #3 here and the main adjustable bed topic that it links to that can help you choose an adjustable bed based on price vs features comparisons and also includes some retailers that you can use as good sources of information about the features of the adjustable beds they carry and as pricing references as well (in post #6 in the main adjustable bed topic). Of course there are many other sources as well and prices can change on a regular basis so I would also include some internet searching in your research. I would also keep in mind that online advertised prices are often price controlled so make sure you call the stores you are considering to find out their best prices rather than just looking at websites.

In most cases any foam mattress (latex polyfoam, or memory foam) and most mattresses that have a pocket coil as a support core and that aren't too thick (12" is a reasonable maximum guideline) so they can bend with the adjustable bed without damaging the mattress would work well but it's always best to check with the manufacturer to make sure that a mattress you are considering will work well with an adjustable bed.

My husband weighs approx. 100lbs more than I do. He is a side sleeper, and wants a firm mattress (he hates the memory foam mattress topper I have on our current mattress). I am a back sleeper who lives with chronic back and body pain. I need some top cushioning to relieve my pressure points, but I'm fine with medium-firm to firm layers underneath. I should mention that I am strongly considering an adjustable base (the "zero gravity" position may be a gimmicky name but it feels like heaven!).
- Given our different sizes, needs and wants, do you think that a firm Dunlop latex base followed by Talalay latex upper layers will cover the most bases, including durability? Or would a mattress composed of 100% Talalay work equally as well?
- Again, given our differences, do you think there is a benefit to customizing each side of the mattress?


The first "rule" of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best "match" for you in terms of "comfort" or PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) or how a mattress will "feel" to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress) or "theory at a distance" that can possibly be more accurate than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or if you can't test a mattress in person then your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here ).

There is more information in the first part of post #2 here about some of the different ways that can be used to accommodate a couple that have very different body types or different needs and preferences in a mattress and there is also more information about the pros and cons of split firmness mattresses in post #2 here .

If both of you can't test a mattress together in person before a purchase then the options you have after a purchase to fine tune the comfort and support of the mattress or to exchange or even return it may become a more important part of your personal value equation just in case your choice doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for.

- Finally, do you advise people to rotate their latex mattresses? (I received different answers from TX Mattress Makers and Houston Mattress Factory).


I would suggest rotating any mattress on a regular basis (see post #2 here ) because outside of a little time there are only advantages and there are no disadvantages to rotating it.

Phoenix
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