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When it comes to extending the lifespan of your mattress, you've got options. First and foremost, you should make sure to choose a mattress made from a durable, high quality material which is guaranteed to last you for years and years. That material, of course, is natural latex - and you can read all about just what makes latex so great and so long-lasting right here!
Even if you've chosen the perfect, ideal, most high quality natural latex mattress currently available, there is still even MORE you can do to help ensure it lasts as long as possible. Some of these are tasks which you can add to your weekly chore rotation: clean your mattress regularly, make sure to keep it dry even during humid weather or rainy season, and keep your sheets, blankets and pillowcases equally well-laundered. Another option, however, is to purchase one of several bedroom accessories capable of adding additional support and comfort to your mattress and protecting it from the various dangers and irritants present in the home.
One of your options is to add a mattress pad or a mattress topper. We've already talked about these subjects at length here and here. Today, we're going to head in a different direction instead - rather than enhancing your mattress from above, we're going to look at how to boost it from below! That's right, today's handy guide from our Brand Name staff will be talking all about mattress foundations. Read on to learn more about these amazingly versatile bedroom additions - and how to select the perfect one to pair with your favorite natural latex mattress!
A mattress foundation is a rectangular accessory which is designed to support your mattress and raise it off the floor. While a mattress foundation can usually be used in conjunction with a wood or metal bed frame, some modern bed frames in fact already come with a built-in foundation. These are referred to as "platform beds". If you have a platform bed, there is no need to worry - you're all set!
If you don't have a platform bed; however, you might want to consider purchasing a mattress foundation to boost the lifespan of your natural latex mattress. However, there are several specific types of mattress foundation, and not all of them pair well with our favorite durable, high quality, environmentally friendly mattress material.
The most common type of mattress support is an item commonly referred to as a "box spring". (If you're confused about the terminology, think of it as being like squares and rectangles. All box springs are foundations, but not all foundations are box springs). As its name suggests, a box spring primarily consists of a series of metal coils, also called "springs," supported by an exterior frame. The springs may or may not be cushioned with padding made from fabric, synthetic polyester foam, or very occasionally memory foam. (You can read more about box springs in particular right over here!)
Foundations which are not of the box spring type are sometimes called "platform" foundations due to their similarity to the structures built in to a standard platform bed. These also feature an exterior frame, made from wood or possibly metal such as iron, steel, brass or even aluminum. However, instead of metal springs or coils, this frame encloses a series of horizontal slats. Like the box spring, the platform or generic foundation may feature fabric or foam padding but also may not.
Of course, these two types of foundation are not the only ones available for purchase. Some foundations are solid rectangles made from foam (polyester, memory, or occasionally foamed natural latex) all the way through, without any metal or wood enhancements altogether. Alternately, hybrid foundations combine the horizontal slats of the platform with the coils of the box spring, and usually feature polyester or memory foam used as a form of padding.
Although not all foundations are compatible with all types of mattress, there are a few "universal positives" for which you should keep an eye out as you shop. These are general signs that a foundation is of high quality and will serve the purposes which you hope it will. Of course, a foundation should ultimately extend the lifespan of your mattress - but just HOW does it accomplish this task?
First of all, a good foundation should raise your mattress off of the ground by at least several inches. This is, after all, the primary reason that mattress foundations were developed in the first place. This space is crucial both because it makes your bed easier to get into and out of and because it keeps your mattress from picking up the dust and dirt which gradually accumulates on even the cleanest of bedroom floors. Keeping your mattress clean and free from the various pests which unfortunately call our houses home is a great way to make sure that said mattress will still be in use several years from now!
Additionally, a good foundation should provide opportunities for keeping your mattress well-ventilated at all times. It is extremely important that air be allowed to flow in, around and through your mattress during the night. Why is this so crucial, you ask? Well, the unfortunate truth is, many mattresses - even those manufactured from the very highest quality materials - have a tendency to trap heat inside them and transmit that heat to your body as you sleep. This phenomenon, termed "sleep hot" by scientists, has caused many a sleeper to wake up in the middle of the night feeling extremely overheated and finding that not even their fan on the highest setting or the coldest drink of ice water can save them. However, a mattress foundation creates space around and beneath the mattress, allowing air to flow and preventing heat from being allowed to accumulate. Mattress foundations can not only decrease your risk of encountering the dreaded "sleep hot" - in some cases, they can even eliminate it entirely!
There is yet another reason why ventilating a mattress is so important. Improperly ventilated mattresses can absorb not only heat, but also moisture such as sweat, spilled food or drink, or ambient humidity from the surrounding atmosphere. This trapped moisture can provide a fertile home for all sorts of nasty mold, mildew and bacteria. Of course, these growths are extremely dangerous as they can cause sleepers to develop a variety of sicknesses and health conditions including but not limited to asthma, shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and even permanent lung or skin damage. Given that your body spends an average of 7-8 hours per day in direct contact with your mattress, it's extremely important to keep it clean and free from natural invaders at all times!
Lastly, any good mattress foundation should provide some degree of additional support. An unfortunately all too common sign of a low quality foundation is that it will, over a period of time as short as a few months or even weeks, cause your mattress to sag and lose its original firm, supportive shape. This can happen as springs or slats bend, break or collapse in on themselves or as material is forced to gravitate towards the parts of the mattress experiencing the greatest pressure from your sleeping body. A good mattress foundation will instead DECREASE the risk of sagging or collapse, providing even and balanced support to all areas of your mattress and helping it maintain its original shape for months or even years on end.
In addition to paying attention to all of the above qualities, there are special considerations which you should also keep in mind when selecting a foundation for a natural latex mattress. Due to its unique qualities, not every foundation will pair well with your brand new natural latex mattress. (Don't worry, the next section explains in detail what types of foundation should be avoided!)
It is important to note that even the most lightweight of natural latex mattresses tend to be somewhat denser than those made from synthetic foams or other natural materials such as cotton or down. This is because mattresses made from natural latex focus on providing support to key areas of the body in addition to the usual mattress goals of being soft or comfortable.
What does this mean when it comes to choosing a mattress foundation? Primarily, it indicates that certain foundations will not possess the necessary strength to support the weight of the mattress. It is extremely important to choose a sufficiently supportive foundation - one which cannot carry out this duty will quickly cause the mattress to collapse or could even break the mattress, foundation, bed frame, or all of these above.
Typically, mattress foundations which are themselves made from latex or other foams will be capable of supporting natural latex mattresses. Metal or wooden frames featuring the horizontal slat design, such as the platform bed or platform foundation, are also acceptable IF the slats are placed sufficiently close to one another so as to prevent sagging in the spaces between them. We recommend selecting a foundation with slats no further than 3 inches apart from one another.
Additionally, you must ensure that your chosen foundation allows your natural latex mattress to receive sufficient ventilation. While most 100% natural latex mattresses are capable of circulating air well on their own, some of the denser, thicker, or more support-focused models can sometimes benefit from a little bit of assistance. Make sure you choose a foundation which sufficiently raises your mattress at least several inches off the floor. Ideally, choose one which also has excellent ventilation properties of its own.
For the most part, if you follow the tips listed above, you will easily be able to pick out a foundation which pairs well with your natural latex mattress. However, if you are still worried about making sure that you make the right choice, here are two major things to avoid while shopping around for a foundation:
Traditional box springs. Most traditional box springs will be too lightweight and not supportive enough to properly bolster a natural latex mattress. Traditional box springs are focused on helping the mattress feel softer and more comfortable during the night. However, most natural latex mattresses are plenty soft and comfortable on their own and do not need any assistance in this area. Instead, a box spring will quickly cause a latex mattress to begin sagging and losing its original shape.
Platform beds or foundations with slats spaced further than 8 inches apart. This will almost certainly result in the natural latex mattress beginning to sag as parts of it are allowed to slip through the too-wide cracks. Rather than extending the lifespan of your mattress, this sort of foundation could instead shorten it drastically.
If you follow the advice presented in this article, you can choose a mattress foundation which will only benefit your natural latex mattress. Your mattress will feel both more comfortable and more supportive than ever before. Best of all, it will continue to provide you with nights of deep, uninterrupted sleep for years to come!
Of course, in order to purchase a foundation which properly benefits a natural latex mattress, first, you need a natural latex mattress! Luckily, Brand Name has got you covered - head right on over to our catalog, found here, and browse our amazing list of products. Your perfect night's sleep is closer than ever before!