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Mattress Modifications 12 Sep 2016 07:28 #1

  • rvsarch
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I have an original Tempurpedic queen size mattress that I purchased about 15 years ago as a replacement for an aging King Koil. I weigh 210 and my wife is 170. We rotate it a couple of times a year. We loved it for the first three or four years until it became noticeably unsupportive. I unzipped the cover and it was clear that the foam base layer had given out under the denser memory foam near the center of the bed. I was able to peel the bottom layer away from the memory foam and replaced it with a much heavier 4” talalay latex. Since then, the mattress has been better than new, firmer with even more support. Over the years, I have noticed that the memory effect has diminished and the top layer feels softer. It does not seem to be sagging at all, but more like an overall change in the top memory foam layer. I am tempted to replace the top layer now. It is my understanding that Tempurpedic used a 2.8” thick - 5.3 lb memory foam at that time. Since the latex replacement layer is not quite as thick as the original base foam, a generic 3” - 5lb memory foam slab would fit inside the cover. Another possibility would be to replace the memory foam with a cool gel type foam, but I am not familiar with it and have never experienced the feel. We use a sheepskin mattress pad, so the original memory foam has never felt hot or uncomfortable. Before doing that, I am tempted to flip the mattress over to see if we like the feel of latex. I assume that having the memory foam at the bottom would have very little effect on the support, especially since it would not be warmed by our bodies. Any other suggestions?

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Mattress Modifications 12 Sep 2016 09:05 #2

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Hi rvsarch,

Over the years, I have noticed that the memory effect has diminished and the top layer feels softer. It does not seem to be sagging at all, but more like an overall change in the top memory foam layer.


This would be typical for memory foam as it will soften over time under the heavier parts of the body especially (virtual impressions) more than sag (visible impressions) and will also lose some of its "memory".

I am tempted to replace the top layer now. It is my understanding that Tempurpedic used a 2.8” thick - 5.3 lb memory foam at that time. Since the latex replacement layer is not quite as thick as the original base foam, a generic 3” - 5lb memory foam slab would fit inside the cover.


There is more information in post #9 here about the different ways that one mattress can "match" or "approximate" another one. Every layer and component in a mattress (including the cover and any quilting materials or mattress pads) will affect the feel and performance of every other layer and component and the mattress "as a whole" so unless you are able to "match" every layer with exactly the same type of material that has all the same properties with the same layer thickness and the same layer firmness you won't be able to "match" your original Tempurpedic or your memory foam/latex replacement.

Latex and memory foam are completely different materials with very different properties so using a latex base layer that is very different from the original polyfoam base layer in your Tempurpedic would already make it impossible to "duplicate" your original Tempurpedic even if you were able to find a memory foam layer that had identical properties to the memory foam in your original Tempurpedic.

In addition to this there is a very wide range of different memory foam formulations with different properties including density, response time, temperature sensitivity, breathability, and firmness. Many of the newer memory foam formulations or gel memory foam formulations are more breathable and have a faster response time (less "memory") than older formulations because of consumer complaints about heat and about the "stuck in sand" feel that can go with some memory foam formulations that have a slower response time. There is more about the different properties that can be formulated into of different types of memory foam (gel or non gel) in post #9 here and in post #8 here .

In other words it won't be possible to "duplicate" your original Tempurpedic or your latex/memory foam replacement using different types or formulations of materials.

The good news though is that you won't have to duplicate it anyway because all that really matters is that any mattress or combination of materials and components that you sleep on is a good "match" for your own specific needs and preferences in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) and whether it matches another mattress or combination of materials or not isn't particularly important (just like your original change from a polyfoam core to a latex core was an improvement over your original Tempurpedic even though it was different).

The closest you could probably come to your current latex/memory foam combination would be to replace your current Tempurpedic memory foam layer with a 3" layer of a different type of 5 lb memory foam that was "somewhat similar" to your Tempurpedic layer.

The better online sources for replacement layers and components I'm aware of are listed in post #4 here and a conversation with a reliable and knowledgeable supplier can also provide you with good information about how their toppers compare to each other or to other toppers they are familiar with that are available on the market so you can choose the type, thickness, and firmness for a memory foam topper that has the least possible risk and the best chance for success. A good exchange/return policy can also reduce the risk of an online purchase so I would make sure you are comfortable with the options you have available after a purchase just in case the memory foam layer you choose doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for.

Different people with different body types, sleeping styles, and individual preferences and sensitivities can also interact with the same mattress very differently so they can have very different opinions about how two mattresses compare so I would always keep in mind that the only reliable way to know for certain how two mattresses would compare for you in terms of how they "feel" or in terms of firmness or PPP would be based on your own careful testing or your actual sleeping experience and that some degree of trial and error will always be part of any DIY mattress project.

Before doing that, I am tempted to flip the mattress over to see if we like the feel of latex.


I would keep in mind that the firm latex that you are using in your base layer will feel very different from the softer latex that is generally used in comfort layers so it may be a good idea to test out some mattresses in local stores that have top layers of latex that are softer than your current base layer to see how they feel to you and to get a general sense of the firmness level that you tend to prefer.

I assume that having the memory foam at the bottom would have very little effect on the support, especially since it would not be warmed by our bodies. Any other suggestions?


If the memory foam has softened under the heavier parts of your body then it could certainly have some negative effect on your alignment over the course of the night although it would probably be less on the bottom than on the top. Since you have separate layers anyway ... if you are considering using a latex comfort layer instead of a memory foam comfort layer I would tend to use the latex on top of your current latex base layer and remove the memory foam completely. Since you appear to like firmer mattresses if you do go in this direction I would probably start with a 3" layer of latex that was somewhere in a medium firmness range and then if this was too firm you could either add an additional softer layer on top of it or replace the medium layer with a softer one. Again though I would keep in mind that latex and memory foam are very different materials with very different properties so it's difficult to use one as a reference point or "blueprint" for the other. There is more about some of the differences between memory foam and latex in post #2 here .

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Mattress Modifications 12 Sep 2016 11:56 #3

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Phoenix,

Thanks for the quick response and in-depth reply. Since my wife and I both liked the mattress more after replacing the polyfoam with latex, it is not necessary to replicate the original. We've never tried a latex comfort layer. I was reluctant to flip the mattress over because of the weight and the fact that the two pieces of foam are just held together by friction and not with glue like the originals were. It was difficult to get them lined up straight and the mattress is much heavier now with the latex base layer.. If we like the feel of the latex, then yes, I would replace the old memory foam with latex. Since the new latex will be a different density and thickness, then we could decide later, which latex makes a better comfort layer. If we don't like the feel of the latex, then I think we will go for a dense memory foam to replace the original, probably 5lbs. New foam should be better than the 15yr old stuff, even though it will never exactly match the characteristics of the Tempurpedic foam when it was new. I will look through the forums to get specific opinions about cooler memory foam as well. When I'm done, the only thing "Tempurpedic" about the mattress will be the cover.

RVSarch

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Mattress Modifications 12 Sep 2016 12:25 #4

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Hi rvsarch,

I will look through the forums to get specific opinions about cooler memory foam as well. When I'm done, the only thing "Tempurpedic" about the mattress will be the cover.


The "hand feel" of most gel memory foams will be noticeably cooler than regular memory foam and they can provide some cooling benefits when you first go to sleep at night but temperatures will tend to equalize over time at which point the insulating properties of the memory foam will become dominant. The amount and type of gel in the foam can affect whether the temperature benefits will last longer or shorter and the cell structure and amount of airflow through foam will also play a very significant role in reducing heat buildup in the material but in general terms ... gel memory foam can sleep a little cooler when you are first going to sleep at night but in most cases the benefits of the gel tend to be temporary and don't normally last over the course of the night. Gel memory foams in general will also tend to be somewhat faster responding than non gel memory foams as well.

It's not really possible to quantify the sleeping temperature of a mattress for any particular person with any real accuracy because there are so many variables involved including the type of mattress protector and the sheets and bedding that you use (which in many cases can have just as significant an effect on sleeping temperature as the type of foam in a mattress) and on where you are in the "oven to iceberg" range and because there is no standardized testing for temperature regulation with different combinations of materials ... there is more about the many variables that can affect the sleeping temperature of a mattress or sleeping system in post #2 here that can help you choose the types of materials and components that are most likely to keep you in a comfortable temperature range.

In very general terms ... the materials, layers, and components of a sleeping system that are closer to your skin will have a bigger effect on airflow, moisture transport, and temperature regulation than materials, layers, and components that are further away from your skin and softer mattresses or foam toppers will tend to be more "insulating" and for some people can sleep warmer than firmer versions of the same material. The sheepskin mattress pad that you are using would generally be enough to keep most people in a suitable temperature range even on top of memory foam (which in general is the warmest type of foam material) although of course there will always be some exceptions.

Memory foam or to a slightly lesser degree gel memory foam in general will tend to sleep warmer than other types of foam materials such as polyfoam and latex and all foam materials will tend to sleep warmer than natural fibers such as wool or cotton but there are many different formulations of memory foam and gel memory foam that are being used in the industry that can vary in terms of airflow and temperature regulation. There is more information and comments about some of the different methods or formulations that can be used to help cool down the tendency of any memory foam to sleep warmer for some people in post #6 here but memory foam manufacturers don't disclose their specific chemical formulations and there are so many variables involved in temperature regulation other than the memory foam formulation itself that the only way to know whether any memory foam mattress in combination with all the other variables that can affect temperature regulation will be "temperature regulating enough" for you will be based on your own personal experience.

I'm looking forward to finding out what you end up deciding and to your comments and feedback once you've had the chance to sleep on it for a bit.

Phoenix
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Mattress Modifications 13 Sep 2016 12:06 #5

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I flipped the mattress last night and it was interesting. Yes, the latex base layer was too firm and would not make a good comfort layer. I just don't think I would like the resiliency of latex after 15 years sleeping on memory foam. My wife loved the Tempurpedic from day one, so I ordered a 5.3lb, 3" memory foam topper from foamorder.com. I decided not to get the 5lb topper from Memory Foam Solutions on Amazon for $100 less, mostly due to their free shipping. Some negative reviews put me off. I will let you know what happens when I get it.

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Mattress Modifications 13 Sep 2016 13:07 #6

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Hi rvsarch,

I think you certainly made a good quality choice that would probably be "as close as possible" to the memory foam layer you were using previously.

I'm looking forward to your comments and feedback once you've received it and have had the chance to sleep on it for a bit.

Phoenix
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Mattress Modifications 28 Sep 2016 12:09 #7

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My 3" - 5.3 lb memory foam slab from foamorder arrived today. It took about ten days for them to ship after the order was placed. Then another six days via UPS ground. It was very well packed.

When I opened my old Tempurpedic mattress cover I was surprised to see that the old memory foam layer was actually two pieces glued together. I measured the total thickness of the old memory foam at 3.5". There was a 0.75" layer glued on top of a 2.75" layer. The latex I bought to replace the base layer ten years ago looks and feels great. The old memory foam is quite discolored and feels spongy.

The new memory foam is 3", so the mattress is a bit less thick, but I don't think that will be a problem. The new foam smell is not that bad. Compared to the old foam, the new pink foam is significantly more firm and has the full memory effect I remember from when the Tempurpedic was new. Once zipped together, the combination of old latex and new memory foam feels significantly more supportive. Even though the foam is a half inch less thick, I don't feel as though I sink down as close to the support layer, even after a twenty minute nap. It will probably take a few nights sleep to confirm the improvement. I have the feeling the latex will last as long as this new top layer.

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Mattress Modifications 28 Sep 2016 12:34 #8

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Hi rvsarch,


Thanks for taking the time to share an update and it's good to hear that things sound promising so far.

When I opened my old Tempurpedic mattress cover I was surprised to see that the old memory foam layer was actually two pieces glued together. I measured the total thickness of the old memory foam at 3.5". There was a 0.75" layer glued on top of a 2.75" layer. The latex I bought to replace the base layer ten years ago looks and feels great. The old memory foam is quite discolored and feels spongy.


It sounds like you had the old Tempurpedic Classic rather than the Original (see post #3 here ).

I have the feeling the latex will last as long as this new top layer.


I think that would be a reasonable assumption.

I'm looking forward to any additional updates you have the chance to share once you've had the chance to sleep on it for a little longer.

Phoenix
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Mattress Modifications 01 Oct 2016 08:10 #9

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It's been three nights. My wife is thrilled with the improvement in comfort and didn't want to get out of bed this morning. It was like replacing a limp sponge with a marshmallow. Clearly, the old memory foam was shot and not working any more.

Room temperature was 67º F last night at bedtime. When we first got the mattress, the Tempurpedic foam became quite stiff when the room temperature was in this range and took a while to soften with body heat, especially with the wool fleece mattress pad we use. The new foam, while feeling very viscous, seems less sensitive to temperature. We both think that the new memory foam layer is more comfortable than the original Tempurpedic when it was new. I notice the improvement most in my elbows.

When we replaced the original polyfoam support layer with latex ten years ago, it turned out to be much more supportive. Now the comfort layer is also improved over the original. The only remaining component of the mattress is the zippered cover emblazoned all over with the Tempurpedic logo.

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Mattress Modifications 01 Oct 2016 13:12 #10

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Hi rvsarch,

Thanks for sharing another update and it's great to hear that your new topper is working so well for both of you.

Phoenix
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