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Foam Core Comparison: What Consumers Need to Know

Cushion construction is the single most important factor in determining the lifespan & comfort of your sofa or chair.

Firmness of cushions does not affect the lifespan as one would naturally think – if it is extra firm, but made at a 1.5lbs density foam, it will not be firm for long, as it will break down faster with use.

Density & Compression

The density of foam is found by weighing a 12” x 12” x 12” block of the material. If a product has 2lb density, that means the 12”x 12” x 12” foam block weighs 2lbs.

Density does not pertain to the firmness of the cushion, but it does correlate to the quality & longevity of that cushion. Most suppliers have a range of 1.5 to 2.5 lbs.

1.9lbs-3lbs is the standard on higher priced furniture and will start to lose its shape & resilience in 3-5 years. Moderately priced furniture between 1.5lbs – 1.8lbs & will begin to lose its shape & resilience in 1-3 years…1.5lbs can start deteriorating in under a year

Superstyle offers 1.9lbs on their standard cushion cores, 2lbs on their upgraded “Ultracell”, 2.7lbs on their “Cement” and 2lbs in their LeatherBrand Collection, while Stylus offers 2lbs on their standard cushion cores, and 2.75lbs on their upgraded “Ultracell”, which has a high resiliency that recovers its shape better after use. Both companies wrap their cores in Dacron to stop the fabrics from slipping & bunching.

Fjords offers a unique “cold cure” molded foam in the back, seat, armrest & footstool, in casts that have the exact shape of the product. There are considerable differences between block foam & molded cold cure foam when it comes to the durability of its physical appearance. Cast molded cold cure foam retains its suppleness longer than block molded foam. Density varies from model to model – average being 3lbs.

Foam density is available in many different firmness levels from very soft to very firm.

Levels of “firmness” are determined by how much weight is required to sink the foam down by 25%. Example: A cushion core deemed “soft” would use 18-25lbs to compress 25%, medium 25-35lbs, and Firm 35-45lbs.

Firmness levels are based on the “mixture of chemicals” used to create the foam – some will add more (carbon dioxide) for softer feel.

When shopping for a sofa, always test the cushions by picking them up. As a rule if the seat cushions feel “light” you are looking at a sofa with a very short expected lifespan.

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