I'm still searching for my mattress but I wanted to let everyone know about a mattress company I visited last weekend in Mission Viejo in Southern California called Custom Comfort. Here is their website:
This is a family owned business that builds their own mattresses in their own factory. We went in to look at the OMI organic latex mattress, but quickly discarded that idea when we saw Custom Comfort's own manufactured latex mattresses. They use all Talalay latex from LI. I'd been to what mattress stores I could find in Southern California trying latex mattresses from various manufacturers (e.g. Land and Sky, OMI, Sweda, Sealy, the Healthy Back Store's latex mattress) and the Custom Comfort line of latex mattresses beat them all by a mile.
The floor models are shown in three basic firmness levels, but they will custom build a mattress with whatever latex thicknesses and ILDs the customer wants. I was very impressed by their friendliness and knowledge, and they did not try to talk down to me, simplify things for me, or throw me any sales pitches - just straight talk about types of latex and mattress components with sample cross sections of their mattresses, competitor's mattresses, their foundations, the frame, everything.
Their latex mattresses are built double-sided so you can turn and flip them to extend the mattress lifespan.
I haven't purchased my mattress yet, but this was exactly the kind of business and mattress I was looking for. I'm taking my husband in next weekend to try them out and can hardly wait to buy one.
Question: What is this custom mattress company's guarantee and return policy if you are not satisfied? Can you exchange it for another mattress? Can you return it, in lets say 90 days, for a complete refund? How long is the guarantee and what are the conditions. What exacetly is the configuration of the components, what type of foam etc., can you select.?
I'm checking into their guarantee and return policy. They do state on their website that if you get the mattress home and it's not working out, they will pick it back up and work with you to customize it to be comfortable. But, I'm not sure if they have a return or exchange policy - checking into that.
Regarding the configuration of the components, the interior components are blended Talalay latex. The firmest model has a 6" core of blended Talalay latex, with the mattress cover over it. The medium model has the 6" blended Talalay core, with two 1" layers of softer blended Talalay latex on the top and on the bottom (this is because they make their latex mattresses two-sided), for a total of 8", and the mattress cover over that. The softest model has the 6" blended Talalay core, with two 2" layers of softer blended Talalay latex on the top and on the bottom, for a total of 10", with the mattress cover over it.
So, there is no non-latex foam filler in the mattress, and it's latex edge-to-edge. Also, they said that if the customer prefers 100% natural Talalay latex, they can accomodate that too. So yes, you can choose your latex and your ILDs for each layer.
Regarding the cover, I believe he told me in the showroom that it's cotton and bamboo, although I'll have to confirm that when I go back in next Saturday. The top was soft knit material. From the cross-section of the mattress the salesman showed me, there is a thin layer of what looks like batting right underneath the cotton cover. I think this is the fire-retardant material. I'll have to confirm that too. So, it's not an "organic" or totally "natural" product in that they are using a blended Talalay latex and there is that fire-retardant material sewn to the cover. But that doesn't bother me, I'm not specifically looking for an "all-natural" or "organic" bed, and I looked at the OMI organic mattress too while I was there and for twice the price, it was not even as comfortable. Although if you want totally organic and you have the money to burn for it OMI seems to be the way to go.
Anticipating a question about what the ILDs are on the core and additional layers, I do not know - but it doesn't matter because they will custom make the layers in whatever ILDs the customer wants. The 8" and 10" showroom models were very comfortable for me (actually I almost fell asleep in the showroom), so I probably would not deviate from their standard production model.
The FOUNDATION that comes with the mattress is not wooden slats like FloBeds sells - it has coils or springs, not sure what the correct term is. They sell the wood slat foundations on their lower end mattresses.
The frame is a heavy duty frame similar (or maybe even the same) as the one on the FloBeds site. The wheels are offset a little to the inside so you don't stub your toes on them (something I am doing all the time on my current frame).
Anyway I should have more information after I return from my next visit on Saturday.
This message was modified Sep 1, 2009 by KimberlyH
Custom Comfort is a great little company that I personally would highly recommend, however LI's blended talalay does contain filler (LI does not deny this, but will not confirm it either due to the fact they consider that information proprietary). Not that there is any problem I am aware of in with the use of fillers, I just want to make it clear that it is not 100% latex content. LI's blended talalay is a fine product containing appoximately 70% synthetic (SBR) latex with the balance natural (derived from the hevea brasiliensis, or the rubber tree). The process of making Dunlop or Talalay latex, either all natural or blended does involve the use of many chemicals.
The first step in preserving the latex, as well as the first step in the manufacturing process is to add ammonia, and small amounts of thiurams. These prevent the premature spoiling of the latex. The next step is to add enzymes to break down any remaining proteins in the liquid, and create more pure latex. Next, the latex is spun in a centrifuge to increase the purity even further. It serves to remove even more protein, as well as concentrate the rubber in the sap. Many times the sap is spun again to increase the concentration even more. After the rubber is removed from the centrifuge accelerators and antioxidants are added. The choices for accelerators are thiurams, mercaptobenzothiazole, carbamate, and thioureas. Some manufacturers are replacing the thiurams with dithiocarbamates, due to the nature of the thiurams to provoke allergic reactions to the latex. These accelerators are added to aid in the vulcanization of the latex, while the antioxidants are added as preservatives, which protect the final latex from heat, ultraviolet light, and ozone. In the case of products, which are to be manufactured to a certain shape, the next step is to dip a mold, coated with a coagulant, into the latex. The most common coagulant used is calcium nitrate, which converts the liquid latex into a wet gel (almost like a milk shake). Moving the gel through a warm oven completes the coagulation process. The next step is known as "Pre-vulcanization leaching", which involves washing excess chemicals out of the latex, mainly the coagulant from the previous step. The latex is then vulcanized, by heating it and adding sulphur, which combines with the accelerators and improves the elasticity and physical durability of the finished product. The actual polymerization occurs when the latex molecules bond together with the sulfur molecules. This process is quite time consuming, however it cures to acceptable levels within hours. The latex is then leached again, for up to twenty four hours, to fully wash out all the chemicals that still remain in the latex that are unnecessary to the finished product.
Manufacturers of 100% Natural Dunlop Process latex claim that after washing, their products are 95-98% pure with most chemicals removed. So it may be true that this type of latex core in final form is very pure, however the process of producing latex in finished core form is not Manufacturers of 100% Natural Talalay latex are even further challenged to produce a purely natural result due to the fact they are required to add preservatives or stabilizers (ammonia) to the natural latex sap due to the distance and time they are from the source of their natural latex, the hevea brasiliensis plantations in Asia. Today, there are only two latex manufacturers that use the Talalay process for producing mattress cores and they are in North America and Europe. Latex International is in North America and to my knowledge is the only source of 100% natural Talalay latex. The other Talalay manufacturer is Vita/Radium in Europe and to my knowledge do not produce all natural Talalay latex.
In conclusion, even though natural latex (either Dunlop or Talalay process) is very pure it is not 100% pure and the process of producing it is quite caustic. I am in no way being critical of the products use in mattress design (on the contrary I am a big fan of it), however there is a certain amount of misinformation and marketing hype involved in selling it to the uninformed public as completely natural.