Posted on by Amber Merton

denser latex mattress

If you have heard wonderful things about all-natural latex mattresses, and wondered how this mattress feels to sleep on, you need to know about latex foam, and how it is used in making the high-quality, breathable latex mattress.

Natural Latex

How a latex mattress is made, as well as other latex products, is by extracting liquid sap from a rubber tree. Then the liquid latex is converted into a latex piece of foam, used to make durable household items.

The latex is made into a latex mattress by pouring latex foam into a mold, and then solidifying it using a vulcanization process to turn it into a mattress.

Depending on how it is processed, natural latex can be turned into different types of latex

Dunlop Latex

The liquid latex is poured into a mold, and baked using a vulcanization method. Dunlop latex has two distinct layers - a high density foam bottom layer, with a lighter layer at the top. Because of the processing method, Dunlop latex tends towards an extra firm texture, and is excellent for manufacturing a mattress core.

Talalay Latex

The liquid latex is poured into a mold only halfway. It is then vacuum-sealed to expand the latex foam to cover the entire mold. It is then flash frozen to allow carbon dioxide to escape through the material, forming air pockets in the latex foam. Latex is then washed and baked to form a latex mattress.

Talalay latex has a lighter and less firm texture because of the air pockets. It is mainly used to make the comfort latex layer on latex mattresses.

Organic Latex

When extracted from rubber trees grown sustainably, natural latex becomes organic latex. Organic latex is natural, made without harmful chemicals and pesticides, and is excellent for sensitive sleepers like the elderly and small children.

Organic latex is further certified by the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) for its purity.

Synthetic Latex

Synthetic latex has little to no natural latex in its composition. Synthetic materials used in the mattresses are similar in texture and firmness to natural and organic latex, but are less durable and lack temperature regulation, making you sleep hot.

Blended Latex

Blended latex mattresses combine synthetic and natural latex, with at least 30% natural latex.

What is Latex Density?

The density of the latex mattress determines the support and comfort level of the latex bed, and its temperature regulating properties.

Latex density is measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF), and can fall into low, medium, and high-density levels.

Latex mattress manufacturers often do not disclose the firmness of the individual latex layers used in building the mattress. That is because the density of a latex mattress depends on the firmness and ILD (Indentation load deflection) of the different latex layers.

How does Latex Density Compare with Other Foam Types?

Different types of mattresses can be made from different kinds of foam that have varying densities. You can get latex density measured (and other mattress types as well) by dividing the total weight by the total cubic feet.

Memory Foam

Memory foams tend to get softer with heat, and have varying densities compared to latex mattresses. Memory foam mattresses have open cell construction that provides better air circulation, making them less dense than latex mattresses.

Polyfoam

The density of polyfoam mattresses depends on the type of construction. Although high-end polyfoam mattresses can mimic the feel and density of latex or memory foam, inexpensive ones can have lower-density materials, making them less durable.

Latex foam, memory foam, or polyfoam mattresses can be categorized as per their density as follows. PCF below stands for pounds per cubic foot, a mass per unit.

Density

Latex

Memory Foam

Polyfoam

Low Density

< 4.3 PCF

< 3 PCF

< 1.5 PCF

Medium Density

4.3-5.3 PCF

3-5 PCF

1.5-1.7 PCF

High Density

> 5.3 PCF

> 5 PCF

> 1.7 PCF

 

While lower density mattresses contour the body, providing pressure relief, high-density mattresses offer superior support.

What does Latex Density Mean?

The density of a foam mattress can be calculated in pounds per cubic foot (PCF), which is a per unit volume measurement. Latex mattresses with a high density will provide better support, and will not yield to weight and pressure. High-density latex layers are excellent for building the mattress core, because of their maximum support features.

Latex mattresses with low-density materials will have a softer mattresses texture that offers better temperature regulation and pressure point relief. Lower-density foam can be used to make a comfortable mattress topper.

How Latex Density Affects Mattress Layers

Most latex manufacturers offer multiple layers of latex in their mattresses. The top layers are typically made from low-density, softer latex, providing pressure relief, while contouring the sleeper's body.

The middle layers have medium to high density to prevent sagging, and to offer edge support. In contrast, the bottom layers have high-density latex that provides support, while maintaining the shape of the entire mattress.

The uniqueness about PlushBeds is that we use a technologically innovative production process that enhances the distribution of the Dunlop latex during its processing, so that it feels just as soft and cloud-like as Talalay latex! This means we can use varying densities of Dunlop latex throughout the mattress, without even having to use Talalay latex foam. Our modern methods of latex processing allow for the cozy, comfortable feel of latex, while keeping the mattress organic - because while Talalay latex can be natural, only Dunlop latex is organic.

How Latex Density Affects Mattress Performance

The density of your latex mattress can significantly affect its feel and performance in the following ways:

Durability

Although most latex mattresses have better durability than other foam mattresses, high-density latex is more durable than low-density mattresses. High-density latex beds can last as long as twenty years, if maintained well.

Support and Pressure Relief

While a low-density mattress has better pressure relieving features, a high-density latex bed offers better support. People having body pain need to choose a high-density latex bed to get better support and pain relief.

Temperature Regulation

Getting a low-density latex bed is your best choice if you sleep hot. Latex density affects the temperature regulation of your body as you sleep.

Low-density latex mattresses offer better air circulation that releases trapped heat, helping you cool down as you sleep comfortably.

High-density foam mattresses can increase your body heat, making you sleep hot.

Sex

Low-density latex mattresses provide better responsiveness than memory foam mattresses, improving your sex life. It can also remove extra body heat while sleeping with your partner.

Conversely, high density affects how the mattress regulates temperature, and can increase your body heat while sleeping.

Motion Isolation

Low-density latex is highly responsive, and rates lower in motion isolation properties. High-density latex beds are less responsive, and provide superior motion-isolating features.

Mattress Weight

Low-density latex mattresses weigh less than their high-density counterparts, even though latex mattresses are heavier than other foam mattresses available.

Conforming Nature

A low-density mattress typically has a more conforming nature, as it hugs your body, making you feel comfortable. A high-density latex bed will provide more support, with a less cradling feel.

Price

Natural latex mattresses are more expensive than other mattress materials available. The more latex used, the more expensive it gets. Hence, a high-density latex bed will be more costly than a low-density mattress.

Latex Density, Firmness, and ILD

While latex density and firmness are often used interchangeably, they are different.

Latex Density and Firmness

Latex density considers the ratio of weight to the volume of each mattress layer. In contrast, firmness usually determines the overall feel of the mattress.

Although there is no universal rating system to determine mattress firmness, it is usually rated on a 10-point scale, with 1 being the softest, while 10 is the firmest. Most mattresses have the firmness that ranges between 3 to 8.

Mattress Firmness and ILD

Mattress firmness ratings can also be calculated based on ILD.

ILD, or Indentation Load Deflection, can be defined as the force required to compress natural latex, memory foam, or polyfoam in a mattress.

While mattresses generally have a firmness rating of soft, medium, and firm, the individual latex layers in the natural latex mattress will have their own ILD rating.

The firmness of a mattress, and their ILD rating ratings, are customarily described as follows, though there may be some variations by manufacturer:

Extra-Soft with a firmness rating of 1-2 (ILD range < or equal to 12):

The mattress material is very soft, and snuggles the sleeper's body, causing them to sink.

Soft to Medium-soft with a firmness rating of 3-4 (ILD range - 13 to 22):

The mattress material is close conforming, but has better support than Extra-Soft mattresses.

Medium to Medium-Firm with a firmness rating of 5-6 (ILD range - 23-33):

The Firm mattress provides adequate support with slight sinking.

Firm to Extra-Firm with a firmness rating of 7-10 (ILD range - 34 to 39 and higher):

Extra-Firm latex with no sinking effect.

For instance, PlushBeds' Botanical Bliss Organic Latex Mattress has layers of Dunlop ARPICO latex, with the following ILD.

 

Latex firmness

Comfort Layer

ILD

Dunlop

ILD

Medium

N2

24

D75

24-29

Med-Firm

N4

36

D85

30-37

 

Choosing the Right Mattress Density

While mattress shoppers can choose the right level of mattress density based on their personal preference, here are some guidelines to consider:

Body weight:

People with a body weight of 130 pounds or less typically prefer to invest in latex beds that conform to the body, giving a softer feeling. In contrast, a firmer mattress would be ideal for heavier people weighing more than 230 pounds for their superior supportive features that will not sag under their weight.

Sleeping position:

You can choose your mattress firmness based on your preferred sleeping position.

Side sleepers: People who sleep on the side need extra cushioning on their hips and shoulders to align their bodies better. They would go for Medium-Soft to Medium-density mattresses, perhaps even a hybrid mattress containing both latex and springs.

Stomach and back sleepers: People exhibiting these sleeping positions typically need better support, and would probably prefer a more supportive mattress. They would purchase Medium to Medium-Firm latex mattresses that combine body contouring with extra support.

Back & neck pain:

People who suffer from back and neck pain would do well to sleep on a mattress that supports their body weight, providing better pressure relief. They should purchase a firmer mattress.

Dual Firmness Mattress:

If you want the best of both firmness, many mattress manufacturers offer the option to get dual firmness in the same mattress.

PlushBeds offers dual firmness options in our Botanical Bliss Organic Latex Mattresses, where you can choose to get both Medium and Medium-Firm on either side of the mattress.

Takeaway:

Getting a latex mattress would be your best choice, if you are looking for an eco-friendly bed that has a cooling effect, and lasts for a long time. You can choose from a variety of density options in latex mattresses based on your preference and lifestyle. More information can be gleaned from our latex mattress buyers guide.

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