Building the Perfect Mattress

  1. Where do I start? Study what kind of sleeper you are. Do you prefer to sleep on your back, stomach, or side? Back and stomach sleepers tend to enjoy firmer mattresses, while side sleepers need softer mattresses. Those of us that sleep on our tummies with one of our legs hiked up frequently need contour directly beneath our supportive layer. Once you figure out what kind of sleeper you are, you will understand what kind of bed you should be building.

    We recommend spending some time identifying the things you enjoy about your current bed, as well as problems you might be experiencing. Do you find yourself tossing and turning at night? If you are experiencing lower back pain, it might be that your current mattress does not offer you enough support. If you wake up with numbness or aching in your shoulder and hips, it could be that your current bed is not providing enough contour, causing too much pressure against those areas.

  2. Make a budget.Building your mattress should be observed like an adventure. Before you take this project on, understand that you are exchanging lots of time, effort, study, research, and the possibility of costly mistakes for potential savings and the satisfaction that comes from building your own guaranteed non-toxic sleep system...

  3. Do some basic latex research.This starts with understanding the two different types of processes used to manufacture latex foam. The internet is stocked with a million articles dedicated to explaining and comparing the two manufacturing processes. For this article, we are going to stick to how the two different processes affect the feel of the latex. Keep in mind that what we are discussing is "feel" not "firmness." A firm piece of Dunlop latex and a firm piece of Talalay latex are going to have comparable ILDS, which affects the firmness. What we're discussing is how the products behave.

    Latex processed using the Dunlop process is straight poured rubber, and it is also considered the most natural of the two processes. Generally speaking, the latex manufactured using the Dunlop process is going to have minor cosmetic imperfections, and it is going to be denser toward the bottom of the layer. It will have the textured consistency of pound cake, which means it'll also have less of a bounce, and a more supportive feel.

    Latex processed using the Talalay process is rubber with air compressed into it during the manufacturing process. Generally speaking, latex manufactured using the Talalay process is going to have a more uniform appearance, and larger pin core holes to help facilitate a ringent cell structure. It will have the textured consistency of angel cake, which means it'll be bouncier, and offer a more contouring feel.

  4. Familiarize yourself with industry terminology.. In the bedding industry, the term "natural" does not mean "organic." When we are talking "organic," we are mostly referring to the latex's journey from farm to factory. For latex to be considered "organic," the latex serum has to be grown and harvested on certified organic farms, and the supplier's processing facilities and manufacturing procedure has to be certified as organic too. 100% Natural latex is the same as organic without the certification. When you are shopping around be wary of anyone who claims their latex is just "natural," the percentage of natural makes a huge difference. A piece of latex that's marked "100% Natural" and a piece of latex that's marked "Natural" are two very different products.

  5. Understanding ILDS. ILD stands for Indentation Load Deflection. In simple terms, it is a measurement of how hard or soft a surface is. More accurately, it is a measurement of the force required to compress any material by 25% of its thickness. Our Latex Topper is available in three different firmness options: soft (19 ILD), medium (28 ILD), firm (38 ILD), and x-firm (44ILD).

    • Soft (19 ILD) — is excellent for any side sleeper seeking contour and pressure relief.
    • Medium (28 ILD) — offers the perfect balance of contour and support for any side to back sleeper. It is ideal for couples looking for a compromise between cushion and support.
    • Firm (38ILD) — provides great pressure relief and support for stomach sleepers or any sleeper that prefers a firm sleep surface.
  6. Find a design that works. If you are unsure where to start when planning your bed, research stores who sell latex mattresses and ask them to recommend one of their models based on your needs. If possible, try to lay on the mattress. We are aware that right now, that is a little harder done than said. Most latex dealers are internet based, so the next best thing you can do is to ask your selected retailer if there's another local retailer that carries a similar design you can see and try. If you cannot try the bed once you've found a design that works for you, try to emulate it in your DIY mattress.

    If you are part of a couple, consider splitting your mattress down the middle to allow both parties to customize their sleep surface. If you are building a split queen, you'll need two layers that measure: 30 x 80. If you are building a split king, you'll need two Twin-XL layers.

  7. Look for certifications, the return policy, warranty, and other important purchase factors. When deciding where you are ultimately going to buy your layers from, definitely take the time to inquire about their return policy. Most reputable retailers that sell components (basically, just layers) offer a 30 Day Full Money back guarantee. Also, whether the company holds the appropriate certifications is important. Businesses that carry certifications recognize that importance of consumer health concerns, and it is usually the only way to make sure you know exactly what you are buying.

  8. How many inches of latex do I need? How many layers should I expect to buy? That is going to depend on a lot of different factors, primarily your height and body weight, and what type of sleeper you are. We recommend that children sleep on approximately 6 -7" of medium to firm latex. Most average adults are comfortable on 9" of latex. Heavier adults typically need anywhere from 10" to 13" of latex.
    Basic Comfort Latex Mattress
    Plush Latex Mattress
    Luxury Latex Mattress

  9. Buy one layer at a time, and start from the bottom up. To minimize the potential of costly mistakes or the possibility of buying more layers than you need, we recommend only buying one layer at a time. We also recommend that you begin building your bed from the ground up. Buy your support layer. It can be a combination of layers or a six-inch core. If you want more customizable options, we recommend stacking two three-inch layers with different firmnesses on top of one another to create the support core of your bed. For instance, a 3" inch medium layer and 3" firm layer. As a note, we do not recommend stacking two "soft" layers onto of one another as there is a noticeable loss of back support.

    Have a pillow handy to perform this test. Lay down on the layer(s). Start on your back, and try to slip your hand behind the lower curves in your back, and the bed. If you can slide your hand between yourself and the bed, it means that your hips are not dropping into the bed far enough, and, as a result, you are not getting the proper back support. If you are not getting enough back support, it could mean buying another mild contour layer (like a medium) or purchasing another support layer.

  10. Buy your contour layer(s) next. We typically recommend starting with one 3" contour layer. Depending on your height and body weight, that could mean purchasing a 3" soft layer or a 3" medium layer. Only buy one contour layer at a time, stack it on top of your support layers, and try the bed with each new addition.

    Have a pillow handy to perform this test. Turn onto your side, and have someone stand behind you so they can see the alignment of your spine. Your hips and your shoulders should be perpendicular to the bed. Your shoulder blades should be flush with your back. If any of these things are missing, chances are you are not getting the proper contour, which leads to pressure points. After laying on your side for five minutes, if you start to experience any discomfort at all, chances are you need to buy another contour layer.

  11. Select a cover for your latex layers. What cover you use to encase your layers can have a significant effect on the overall feel the bed. If you are looking for more contour, we recommend enclosing your layers in a 4-way stretch cotton knit cover or something similar. This cover is usually thinner than a quilted cover, which lets your latex breathe better, and typically offers the greatest range of mobility. This does not mean the latex is going to migrate; it means that the sides of the bed are not pinned down by fabric which helps the latex shape around your body.

    If you want a more traditional looking sleep surface and the benefits of wool, we recommend looking for a quality cotton quilted to wool cover. In addition to acting as a natural fire resistant barrier, wool is naturally hypoallergenic, temperature regulating and helps wick away moisture. The wool will add an extra inch or so of padding to the mattress, and if you are layers are split for individual customization, it will help mask the seam in the middle of the bed.

  12. Make sure you have a flat foundation for your bed. While you can always setup your latex mattress on the floor, anyone seeking a foundation should know that while slatted bases accommodate all kinds of beds, and they are uniquely suited to bearing latex mattresses. The slats should not be spaced more than 3" apart. We do not recommend purchasing a Euro slat or a standalone wire foundation for your latex mattress, either.

    If you have a functioning box spring, we recommend taking a trip to your local home improvement store and purchasing a 1 - 3-inch slab of plywood to lay between the box spring and the mattress. The additional plywood platform will ensure that the box spring coils do not poke, or shred the bottom of your mattress. The extra platform will also ensure that your latex is laying on an even surface, which is crucial for the overall longevity of the mattress.

  13. How to check and make sure I've built the right bed for me? Have a pillow handy to perform these tests. Lay down on the layer(s). Start on your back, and try to slip your hand behind the lower curves in your back, and the bed. If you can slide your hand between yourself and the bed, it means that your hips are not dropping into the bed far enough, and, as a result, you are not getting the proper back support. If you are not getting enough back support, it could mean buying another mild contour layer (like a medium) or purchasing another support layers.

    Turn onto your side, and have someone stand behind you so they can see the alignment of your spine. Your hips and your shoulders should be perpendicular to the bed. Your shoulder blades should be flush with your back. If any of these things are missing, chances are you are not getting the proper contour, which leads to pressure points. After laying on your side for five minutes, if you start to experience any discomfort at all, chances are you need to buy another contour layer.