Here at The Foam Shop, we’ve taken customer education seriously since 1974, and we want to help clear the air on the differences between high-quality and lower-quality foams, to help you make informed decisions.
The Foam Shop Facts
Whether you’re buying a mattress, sofa, or any other foam product, the item you’re buying is likely being described using the term “high-density”. This impact phrase is the most common term used when selling foam products in the market today and, in fact, foam density can be a good indicator of a foam’s overall quality.
But it’s not the only quality factor and, in some cases, density is used to overinflate the perceived value of a foam product. The crafting process that foam is created by has significant effects on the quality and performance of the final product, without affecting the density.
Key factors of crafting foam
Creating high-density foam is a lot like baking a cake. First, you gather and mix your ingredients and then you bake it into a finished product. In both cases, the ingredients you choose, and the recipe you follow will determine the quality of the final product.
What determines the quality of high-density foam includes:
- Filtration and Pressure –The materials used to create foam pass through a multistage filtration process, designed to eliminate any unwanted components from the mixture. The better these ingredients are filtered, the better the foam quality will be, as there will be less “junk” interfering in the bonding process, which lowers the quality of the final product. The speed and pressure that these materials travel through the filters have a large impact on foam quality as well. Too much pressure during a specific phase can create “blow holes” in the foam, while too little pressure can create dense pockets. A mistake in filtration or the pressures used in the mixing process will often result in a poor performing foam (known as off-spec foam).
- Pure Recipe – Great foam manufacturers take every precaution to keep their ingredients pure while crafting their foams. Other foam manufacturers have been caught loading their foams with heavy but cheap fillers such as clay. This process increases the foam’s density, lowers the manufacturing cost, and ultimately lowers the comfort and durability of the final product.
- Material quality – There are many ingredients that go into the making of a great foam, and just like baking a cake, the better ingredients you use, the better quality the final product will be. In the case of foam, one example is the grade of polyol used; a higher grade will ensure a stronger bond and better cell structure, offering you improved comfort and product life. Foam without a strong bond won’t stand the test of time, even though it might weigh in at an appropriate density.
Weight means everything
While the weight or density of a foam can be a key indicator of the product’s quality, it’s only one consideration. A high-density product prepared with lower-quality ingredients, inferior equipment or using a quicker, less time-consuming process can still weigh the same as a high-quality, high-density foam – but it will never perform the same.
Once a poor quality or off-spec foam has been produced, there is no way for the manufacturer to fix it. Their only options are either to scrap the foam, or to sell it off at a discounted price. These off-spec foams often still weigh the same as a high-quality foam and therefore can still be marketed and sold as “high density.” But, as a consumer, you’ll notice the difference in comfort and durability in a very short time.
Compression doesn’t hurt
One of the challenges of producing any type of high-density foam product is that it’s bulky and expensive to ship. In an effort to reduce these delivery costs, some manufacturers now compress their foam before shipping it to the store or customer.
These reduced costs come at a price: foam performance and your comfort. High-density foam isn’t meant to remain compressed for extended periods of time as this damages the cell structure of the foam causing the product to lose its ability to bounce back.
Despite test results show that high-density foam that’s been compressed for long periods of time will lose up to 70% of their ability to perform, some products are in a compressed state for six months or more from the time they’re produced until they’re sold. Although we recommend never compressing foam to ship it, if you have to, it should never stay squeezed for more than 48 hours.
The Foam Shop Promise
Here at The Foam Shop, we’ve taken customer education seriously since 1974, and want to make it clear to our customers exactly the type of foam products they are purchasing:
- The Foam Shop’s entire foam line up is Canadian made
- The Foam Shop’s foams are made using top tier manufacturing equipment and high-quality ingredients
- The Foam Shop does not sell off-spec foams
- We do not sell any loaded foams at The Foam Shop
- The Foam Shop’s foams have never been compressed for shipping or storage.