Why is it so difficult to find a sofa with firm cushions?
I recently purchased a sofa from a high end furniture store.
The foam core is a thick blue foam, enveloped by regular foam, and then poly fiber. It seemed good quality, yet, within 6 months, the cushions have lost their firmness.
My parents still have a sofa from the early 1970s that they had custom made. The cushions are still as firm as sitting on a bench, even though our family of many kids used this sofa daily.
I have a significant spinal injury that requires firm seating. I can sit on my parent’s sofa but I was told nothing commercially available is “like the old stuff”.
I read your rundown on foam densities etc. but am still at a loss.
I am thinking of working with an upholstery specialist.
What specifically do I need to ask for to end up with cushions that will be very, very firm and actually stay that way? Like the “old stuff” was.
I wish I could take a cushion from my parent’s sofa to an upholsterer for analysis, but they live on the other side of the country and are now quite elderly.
An “upholstery specialist” may be able to help you find firm cushions.
But not always.
Small upholstery shops may not have access to all types of foam.
Or there may be requirements where they must buy a minimum quantity, which is more than needed for your couch.
An upholsterer won’t be able to tell you what type of foam is in your cushions unless it was fabricated by a local supplier he deals with.
That requires a laboratory analysis.
Foam colors change depending on which company is making the foam.
Firmness is a separate measurement from density.
But both firmness and density need to work together to provide you with a cushion that will remain firm over a long time period.
Firmness is measured on an ILD scale.
ILD stands for Indentation Load Deflection.
Foam loses its firmness over time.
The rate at which a cushion loses its firmness depends on several factors.
One is the weight being placed on the cushion.
For a cushion made with a 1.8 density foam core, a 150 lb. person may not notice any difference in firmness for more than one year.
The cushion may feel uncomfortably soft after 5 years for a person weighing 150 lbs..
A 250 lb. person may feel a reduction of firmness after just a few months with that same 1.8 density cushion.
After 2 years, the 1.8 density cushion may feel uncomfortably soft for someone weighing 250 lbs..
Back injuries may increase the amount of discomfort as the foam loses its firmness.
Another factor is the foam density.
For a cushion made with a 2.5 density foam core, a 150 lb. person may not notice any difference in firmness for 5 years.
The cushion may feel uncomfortably soft after 15 – 20 years.
With a 2.5 density cushion, a 250 lb. person may feel a reduction of firmness after 2 – 3 years.
The 2.5 density cushion may be uncomfortably soft after 10 – 15 years for someone weighing 250 lbs.
You need a higher than average density foam for a cushion that will retain its firmness for a long time.
“High density” foams start at 1.8.
But you need a foam somewhere between 2.5 to 3.0.
If you weigh 180 lbs. or less, a 2.5 density foam should retain its firmness for at least 15 years.
For 2.5 density foams, an ILD of 25 – 27 is considered “Medium firm.”
An extra-firm 2.5 density foam will have an ILD firmness of 31 – 35.
An ILD of 35 with a density of 2.5 is still within the range of what is considered acceptable for most people.
If you want something that is “board-stiff,” you may want to look for 2.5 (or higher) density foam with an ILD from 40 – 55.
FoamOrder.com has a couple of foams that might work for you.
|This is one of the best pieces of polyurethane foam and will give you many years of support. It is recommended for seat cushions or mattresses. This foam is too firm for back cushions. We strongly recommend you buy a custom cover to protect any foam of this quality from rips and stains. Engineered using a high resilience (HR) cell structure. (Density: 2.8 lbs/ft³, ILD: 44.)|
|EverFlex™ V54 is a high quality firm grade of foam. This foam is one of the best qualities. It is great for a seat cushion or firm mattress, but too firm for back cushions. If your weight is 200–230 pounds (91–105 kg), then this foam is appropriate for a firm cushion 5″ (13 cm) or thicker. We strongly recommend you buy a custom cover to protect any foam of this quality from rips and stains. Engineered using a high resilience (HR) cell structure. (Density: 2.9 lbs/ft³, ILD: 54.)|
If you choose to order cushions from a company like FoamOrder.com, make sure that you also get the polyester (dacron) fiber wrapping.
The fiber helps fill in the corners and tighten up the fabric to improve the appearance of the cushion. It does not add to the cushion’s lifespan.
Ideally, the fiber wrapped foam cushion core should be sewn inside a fabric ticking cover.
The fabric cover enables the cushion core to slide in and out of the cushion cover more easily and prevents the fiber from shifting during use.
If you decide to buy a new sofa that will come with high density, extra-firm cushions that will last 15 years or longer, DreamSofa.com can help you.
DreamSofa makes lots of sofas and sectionals for commercial and institutional customers who want highly durable extra-firm cushions.
DreamSofa.com has multiple cushion options, including extra-firm 2.5 density foam.
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