Foam Facts

Our foams

We sell conventional foams (flexible polyurethane), latex foams,and closed-cell foams. Our conventional foams – used primarily for sitting and sleeping – are manufactured in the Pacific Northwest and Canada.

Open-cell foam

Conventional foam comes in many densities and firmnesses. The cells in open-cell foams are “broken,” or connected to each other, which allows air to fill the open spaces, making the foam relatively soft.

Latex foam

Options include natural and blended latex. Foams made using the Dunlop and Talalay processes are available.

Closed-cell foam

Many options, including Y-foams (EVA), XPE, Polylam, Ensolite, and neoprene. Closed-cell foams have cells that are unbroken, which means air or water cannot easily be absorbed.

Rebond foam

Made from shredded pieces of conventional foam left over from manufacturing that are bonded with adhesive in a steam-injection process. Good option in applications requiring durability.

Scrap foam

We occasionally have clean, cut scrap foam (generally cubed or shredded) available for sale by the bag. We do not have scrap foam in cushion or mattress sizes.

Extra-firm foam

Several open-cell options in 80 and 90 IFD. We also stock 2-lb. convoluted foam in 90 ILD for sound-deadening applications.

Healthy choices

Certified organic latex options. Our conventional foam options are free of fillers (often found in lesser-quality foams) and of fire retardants.

Frequently asked questions

What is density?

Foam density is measured in pounds per cubic foot of material. It affects the durability and support of foam. Generally, the higher the density, the better the foam retains its original properties and provides the intended comfort and support. These are the conventional foam grades we carry:

Grade Weight Quality
Low density 1.0–1.5 pounds Good
Medium density 1.6–2.2 pounds Better
High density 2.3–2.8 pounds Best

What is firmness?

Foam firmness is measured using the force in pounds required to indent a foam sample by 25% of its original height – this is the indentation force deflection, or IFD. Firmness is separate from density. High-density foams can be soft, and low-density foams can be firm.

Does conventional foam off-gas?

Flexible polyurethane foam is an inert substance once it has been cured. Foam in its cured state does not produce toxic off-gassing.

How is foam made?

Flexible polyurethane foam is made by mixing two key raw materials, a polyol and a diisocyanate, with a primary blowing agent—water or CO2—which produces an exothermic (heat-generating) reaction. The mixture is poured onto a moving conveyor in a chamber with sides that are 3 to 4 feet high. As the mixture reacts, bubbles form and the mixture expands—like bread rising. When the reaction completes, the resulting slab of foam is cut and stored for curing.

Making natural latex foam rubber begins with removing latex, or sap, from the trunk of a rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). The liquid latex is mixed with water, then whipped to a froth, or emulsified. Using the Dunlop method, the latex is poured into a mold and vulcanized. With the Talalay method, the latex is poured into a mold, flash frozen to evenly suspend fine air bubbles, then heated. During the heating process, molecular crosslinks form, which is what allows the foam to recover its shape after being compressed. Dunlop-made latex foam has a firmer feel; Talalay-made latex foam has a slightly softer feel.

Why are there holes in latex foam?
The holes in latex foam rubber are formed by pins in the molds. The pins are there to evenly distribute heat during the “cooking” process so that the rubber isn’t scorched. A favorable result of the holes is that they assist air flow and make the foam more flexible.
How should I deal with condensation in a boat v-berth or the mattress foam in my RV?
You can’t completely eradicate moisture in boats and RVs. For bedding areas, consider a bottom layer of HyperVent beneath your foam. HyperVent allows air circulation, which can reduce or eliminate mildewing.
How long does it take to get foam inserts cut for a storage or carrying case?
Plan to allow 3–5 business days for case work to be completed, especially for more complicated design work. We sometimes can get it done sooner, depending on the length of our project list, but it’s best to allow more time for this detailed work.
I need foam inserts cut for a gun case. What’s your process?
For weapons case work, please call for an appointment to bring in your case between 9 and 9:45 a.m., before the store opens. Weapons and clips must be unloaded, and safety mechanisms on. No weapons are allowed in the store during regular business hours, and no ammunition is ever allowed.

FYI