What is the construction method for mattress toppers?

The general rule of construction is that the upholstery used to make the topper should be ‘in keeping’ with what is used as the primary layer within the mattress. A topper is usually softer to give a deeper comfort layer to your mattress.Latex 100% Natural Topper

Many people contact us in confusion over mattress toppers.

  • Should I get one?
  • What do they do?
  • Which topper should I buy to go with my new John Ryan mattress?
  • How many toppers do I need?

We always advise that in most instances you should try a mattress without a topper first. Though we recommend all mattresses use a protector at all times, not to be confused with a topper!

A mattress protector is usually a relatively cheap polyester cover that fits over the mattress and protects it from sweat, moisture and damage.  You can either wash or replace this when it becomes dirty or worn out.

So why try the mattress without a topper first?

This is because toppers usually soften the top layer of a mattress.  We recommend you get a feel for your mattress before adding more layers, this means that you’re not spending excess money on your mattress if you don’t need to. You may find your stand alone mattress perfectly adequate, or you may find you want some extra comfort and top it with a fantastic 100% latex topper for example later down the line! All our Fusion and Hybrid mattresses come with a matching removable topper which has been specifically designed to give them an exacting feel.

Matching your topper to your mattress

Our advice is that any topper bought to go with your mattress should follow the same fibres or components found in your mattress.  This is especially true for 100% natural mattresses.  Meaning that in this example you should stick to natural fibres, after all, you don’t want to cover a hand made Artisan mattress which is 100% natural, with a cheap polyester layer between you and your dream mattress! You could use, for example, a natural fiber such as cashmere wool if you so wished, but we would avoid synthetic fibres in this example. It’s really important that when you choose a topper it works with the original mattress construction and not against it!

We find that hybrid foams and latex give a consistent feel to the topper with a suitable rebound rate.  Cheaper polyester toppers tend to compress very quickly but are a lot cheaper. You really do get what you pay for so bare this in mind.

We tend to find that one topper is usually enough, that said, if you want that extra deep soft sink the more the merrier!

Many of the high street retailers don’t recommend toppers or if they do they permanently stitch the topper to the mattress completely removing the longevity benefit. Retailers that do sell them often are selling products without explaining the benefits, drawbacks or product details leaving you once again confused and scratching your head.

Top end foam bed companies such as Jensen use toppers in their top end mattresses commanding a high-end price, £3000 plus in some cases.  They do provide some truly excellent products but are simply out of the reach of some budgets. Again you are paying a premium for these products and in some cases, some topper retailers still won’t tell you the exact depths and densities of their toppers which are really important. We will provide you with all the details, benefits, drawbacks and advice when choosing a topper from our range.


If you have read the techniques of mattress construction in another post you will know that as you get higher up the mattress the material should get softer. The topper, however, can be firmer or softer as its a separate part of the mattress. We have matched our toppers to the mattress bases to provide the best progressive comfort as we have tried and tested the combinations that work well together.

When buying your own topper you need to work out what will work best for you given your existing mattress.  If it is too firm then maybe a softer topper will help, if it is too soft then maybe a firmer topper will help remove some of the issues.  Mattress toppers used in this fashion can only tweak a bed and not completely restore it.  Our guidance is to make sure you buy a topper alongside your mattress to enable the two to fully work together.


View Comments
  • Scot C says:

    Hope you can help with buying a new mattress, i have read some posts on you site and it answered my questions about the half price sale for a full priced mattress. rrp etc.

    To my question, i currently sleep on a Sealy Prestige Support Regular King Mattress with a Yanis 3 inch coolmax latex topper (graphite grey dunlopillo low percentage latex) and a silent night 1 inch talalay topper, this has been a good combination for me for the last 2 years but now the Yanis topper is about 50mm thick where i sleep instead of the 80mm it was or still is at the edges, it has been turned and flipped every 2 weeks but it has lost some of its return, the Silentnight 1 inch topper has lost its return too,

    I am looking for new mattress that would be similar or a combination that would suit the above setup. I really need a mattress that is not going to have my body imprint on it after a year or two. I weight 12 stone but prefer the firm mattress but the softness of the latex, too soft and my lower back will go. any suggestions in your range. it is a must that it does not sink and must have good edge support

    0780 3308774

    Hi Scot, I’m glad the site has answered your questions. Let’s see if I can help answer the remaining ones. The prestige you have is a firm single sided mattress. Unfortunately, but oh so commonly, there is very little discernible information about this mattress online or from Sealy as to whats inside and its components. Its one sided nature suggests there is only one comfort layer and from the price point we can assume its entirely synthetic.

    The 8cm Yanis latex topper you mention is a graphite synthetic blend. We have a range of detail in our posts about the blends of latex here. To try and summarise discussing latex is like discussing ‘Beer’ without specifying whether it be lager, ale or stout you can’t really gather any information. In this case we know its graphite, which is usually used for a FR layer in more expensive high quality latex mattresses. Some cheaper mattresses wil use this as their ‘latex’ layer as its the cheapest type of latex. It is also the crumbliest. I could hazard a guess that if you opened the topper and started to rub it it would crumble pretty quickly. This is the downside of synthetic cheaper latex but that said its considerably cheaper than high quality latex!

    You’ve found that it has now compressed somewhat, which is a common issue customers come to us with from other mattesses. Now all foams will compress over their lifetime, just like a spring compresses and softens, like a sofa cushion or car suspension etc. This is natural. The issue is how far it compresses over its life time. One thing that is accepted is the higher quality the foam or latex the better the responsiveness (how quickly it comes back to its original position) and how resilient it is. Remembering that Latex in its natural state is used in hundreds of varied applications because its robust and flexible. The weaker the blend or more synthetic the further away from this benefit you may move. There is no way of ever preventing compression, but you can ensure the material compresses minimally over time. You’ve been maintaining your mattress which is always the first part of advice.

    1 inch toppers are pretty much useless I’m afraid Scot. They may hold limited short term value but not the for the long run. This is because all foam will compress over time and with 2cm being the accepted tolerance, once its compressed there is little left to have any effect. All our toppers are 5cm or greater.

    We would never guarantee that any mattress would not compress to some degree but what we will say is that we only offer high blends of natural and 100% natural latex mattresses so your really buying the best you can get.

    To meet your firm preference and latex combination I would recommend the Fusion zero. It gives firm support but has two layers of dunlop latex, one being a removable topper. I think this is a higher specification of the current mattress you have. Hope that helps Scot. Lee

  • Gary says:

    Does the latex arrive pre-wrapped/inserted into the quilted topper, or
    is this a DIY/IKEA-esque job?

    The latex topper comes inserted into the quilted cover ready to use. There is no DIY experience required! Thanks

  • Jill Gowing says:

    We would like to buy a 5 ft zip-together bed (with 2 x 2ft 6” mattresses) and would like the toppers to be different i.e. my husband likes a firmer topper and I like a very soft topper. We have a water bed at the moment and this is very supportive yet very soft and whenever we have to sleep on other mattresses we find them very hard and uncomfortable.

    Is it possible to buy zip-together mattresses with different toppers i.e. one memory foam and one soft top topper?

    Hi Jill,
    We do not make zip and link mattresses in our contemporary range i.e. Latex or Hybrid Foam, but these are available in both the Origins and Artisan ranges on our main site at https://johnryanbydesign.co.uk. The Artisan range can be made with different spring tensions for each mattress to suit your specific requirements. As far as the purchase of toppers is concerned, we would advise waiting until you have tried your new mattresses for at least 14 days before deciding if a topper is necessary. If you would like some more detailed and specific advice after viewing the products referred to, please call our office. Kind regards Mike.

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