How do I Tell if a Sofa is Using High Quality Foam or Cheap Foam?

by | Sep 23, 2021 | Ask the Expert | 0 comments

Question:

How do I tell if a sofa is using high quality foam or cheap foam?

Jan. 3, 2021

 Answer:

The difference between high quality and cheap foam is what determines the lifespan of most mid-price range sofas.

  • The quality (and cost) of the foam is determined by its density.

The vast majority of mass produced sofas stocked by furniture stores will have 1.8 density foam.

  • Cushions that do not designate a density or have a generic description of “high density foam” are almost always 1.8.
    • Occasionally they are even less, especially on imported seating.
  • 1.8 density foam cushions have an average lifespan of 3 – 5 years before losing their shape, resilience (ability to bounce back) and comfort.
  • Some mid-priced sofas are available with 2.0 density foam. That will last about one year longer than 1.8 density.

Higher priced custom built sofas often are available with optional upgraded cushions.

  • 2.5 density foam cushions have an average lifespan of 10 – 15 years.
  • Optional spring down cushions may last even longer.
  • Cushions using foam with densities higher than 1.8 will usually designate the foam density number.

The highest density for residential furniture is typically 2.5.  Foams with densities of 3.0 and higher are used primarily for contract or institutional furniture.

As foam density increases, the cost of the foam increases and the durability and lifespan of the foam increases.

When sofas are new in the showroom, it can be impossible for most people to tell the difference between low and high density foams.

  • 1 year later the 1.8 density foam will feel noticeably softer.
    • The 2.5 density foam will still feel brand new.
  • 5 years later the 1.8 density foam will be worn out.
    • It will have flattened out, losing its shape, resilience and comfort.
    • The 2.5 density foam should still feel brand new.

Density is not the same as firmness. Firmness is measured on a different scale. It is possible to have low density foams that are very firm or high density foams that are softer.

  • Most foam suppliers offer several different firmnesses for each density.
  • Changing the firmness does not affect the price of the foam.

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Jeff Frank

Jeff Frank

Furniture Insider

Jeff Frank is a 45 year veteran of the furniture industry. He’s worked directly with buyers, retailers, and manufacturers at every level of the industry. In every position throughout his career, his focus has always been customer service.

Shopping for furniture can be complex and frustrating. Salespeople often do not have enough knowledge to answer your questions or give advice based on limited experience. If you’re looking for real information and advice before spending hundreds or thousands of dollars, take a look at our furniture buyer consulting.

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