KJ's Upholstery

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Cushioning choices for custom reupholstered furniture

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Foam

Polyurethane foam is the most common (and least costly) seating used. The standard grade foam commonly found in today's retail furniture can range from low to medium density/resiliency, which is then wrapped in dacron. Low resilient/low density foam will commonly lose it's thickness, and shape, collapsing permanently at the corners. This can show up, in some cases, after only a few months of use. The other complaint is that the seat is “not providing enough support” or “bottoming out” . This is primarily due to the type of low density foam that was used.   

Density can be considered a measure of quality. The most important factor that will determine the lasting comfort, support, and durability of foam is directly related to the density, which is measured by weight per volume. This is expressed as lbs per cu ft.

The higher density of the foam the more it costs to produce. Higher density foams have more lasting resilience(springiness) and are less likely to lose their shape in usage.

It is important to know that density is independent of firmness. Extra firm does not necessarily mean high density. Firmness is a measure of load bearing capacity, which is also called the Support or Compression factor. A high density/firm cushion will keep its original feel far longer than a low density (lower quality)/firm cushion.

The firmness type chosen is a personal comfort preference, which can also vary with the thickness of cushion and the type of furniture.  

There are several factors to consider when choosing cushioning for your project. KJ’s can recommend the options appropriate based for your specific project. The density, firmness, thickness of the foam and type of cushion wrap will determine the durability, comfort, shape and look of the cushion. It is always best to test the new foam on the actual sofa or chair, as decking suspensions vary. The best firmness for your project is an individual preference; some people like to sink in, others like more support. 

* Soy based foams are only 5–35% soy based and the rest is oil based derivatives. This is a new material which shows promise but currently KJ’s is not using these mostly synthetic /natural foams.

Natural Latex Foam

provides superior resilience, gentle firm support and outstanding pressure relief. It is highly resistant to sagging and deterioration. Latex is a natural, renewable resource with a life expectancy of nearly 20 years, compared to 10-15 years for standard foam. The latex foam can be used in combination with innerspring units or wrapped with wool.

*Premium spring/latex foam

 Combines the support of springs and the resilience and shape retention of foam. Spring core cushions offer a lifetime of comfort. These individual spring coils are framed in a latex foam core wrapped with a stretch cover. The spring coil unit provides equalized independent suspension cushioning and support.

* Latex /wool wrap

Wrapped with stretch knit which enhances the natural resilience of the latex. Natural wool batting is used as the soft cushion wrap over the latex. This wool creates a nontoxic, breathable layer. The cushion is then covered by a stretch ticking, which also helps keep dust and dust mites from penetrating into the cushion.

Latex facts:  Manufactured using sap from the rubber tree, it is a renewable natural resource. It has exceptional contouring properties, is naturally resistant to bacteria, mildew, and mold. Consider these products an investment, which often carry a warranty for 20- 30 years when properly encased. Latex is biodegradable, when exposed to the elements it will actually completely turn to dust. Note: Dunlop foam is currently found to have better longevity and durability than Talalay latex . Latex foam is not naturally fireproof, so when used as bedding  the foam cushion should be wrapped in something that will retard flame. In less expensive green upholstery this is achieved by using a fireproof ticking. In high-end pieces, natural wool batting is used as the soft cushion wrap. This wool creates a nontoxic, breathable layer, but should be covered by a down-proof ticking.

100% NATURAL WOOL CUSHION WRAP

BENEFITS: provides a water resistant protective layer to protect your foam from spills and soiling. It will add comfort in the summer and winter due to wools insulative/ wicking properties. It also adds fire retardancy and resistance to dust mites. We use either 1/8" thick or 1/4" thick depending on the project.

100% NATURAL COTTON CUSHIONS

Cotton breathes, which helps control temperature. Pure cotton will not offgas any chemicals or gases. Cotton is perfect for people with chemical sensitivities or allergies. 

Used alone as a cushion filling, 100% cotton provides the firmest support natural padding. It will become firmer with use and is best suited for a flat uniform surface. The all cotton futon style cushion is available from 3" thin up to 9" thick. . The cotton batting is hand tufted to stabilize and prevent shifting. It is encased in a ticking cover, so the upholstery cover can be easily removed for washing if needed.

Cotton batting

with eggcrate foam insert:

This is a blend of natural and synthetics. The eggcrate foam greatly improves the resilience, softening the firm feel of the cotton batting cushion.

Cotton wrapped spring units:

Spring core cushions offer a lifetime of comfort.  This style was very commonly used in furniture 20 plus years ago before synthetic foam came on the market. Compared to spring/latex these spring/cotton units will flatten out a bit over time, but can be renewed with another layer or two of cotton after years of use.

Cotton facts:

Cotton filled mattresses have been used for thousands of years, back to the ancient Babylonians, Mesopotamian, and Egyptians. The natural botanical cotton odor will dissipate with time. Most people don’t notice it or don’t mind it, but some people can be sensitive to the natural botanical smell. These cushions can get quite heavy. See our spring/foam combo options for cotton cushions which provide a more springy, resilient feeling cushion.Because of cotton’s absorbency, care should be taken not to allow spills to penetrate the upholstery cover. If this is an issue, protection can be added with either a water resistant wool wrap, or a breathable waterproof barrier cloth. .It will compact and flatten out a bit over time, but it can be renewed easily by adding another layer. We also offer organic cotton upon special request. This natural alternative typically lasts 10-15 years

100% Natural Down

Down is a natural renewable resource, which requires minimal processing for use.There are a variety of feather/down/cluster fiber combinations to choose from, each create a different loft and resistance. This resilient feel and look has a much longer life expectancy than simple dacron wraps. To maintain the loft, these cushions require an occasional hand fluffing. This option is generally a 50% cost upgrade above standard factory grade cushioning.   

Premium spring/foam/down- Combines the fluffy down feel with support of springs and the shape retention of foam.

These have individual spring coils framed in a foam core. This is then surrounded with a baffled down/feather envelope. These keep their shape beautifully because of the foam. The spring coil unit provides equalized independent suspension cushioning and support, while the down envelope provides a “sink into” lofty feel and look.

A baffled down cushion without foam is most commonly used primarily for back cushions, as it does not provide enough support for seating unless used on top of another cushioned surface.

Foam with down envelope– foam provides deep firm support, while the down provides an excellently resilient crown.

A medium thick down envelope with a generous 3”-4 ” medium-density  foam core.   

Ultra down envelope with foam core– A thicker down envelope gives a deep fluffy cushion top, while the thinner foam core (2"-3") provides some shape retention and support.

Ultra thick down envelope  with a 2”-3” High-density core.   

Back cushioning and Pillows

Some styles of furniture or pillows require a loose filling, while other styles need foam or other filling to provide shape and support. The optimal  softness or support, and the thickness of a back rest or pillow is often an individual preference. Each filling choice made for style reasons can also effect the feel and comfort, so a test sit is often helpful. Ask KJ help you decide which is best for your project! 

Poly fill. Is the least costly material used is, which can vary in quality and resilience. Some fills can be quite lumpy.

Cluster fiber is a much higher quality fill, quite down like, especially when encased in a baffled pillow form.

Down/feather baffled cushion.  Is  the highest quality soft, resilient back cushions     The amount and type of filling, and the ratio of down/feather proportions will vary the feel and look. This cushion does not retain its shape without an occasional fluffing. A foam insert can be added to retain the shape as an option.

100% Natural Kapok is an alternative to down. Baffled pillow backs filled with kapok (a vegetable fiber that has been used for many years.)

A variety of foam thicknesses and densities can also be used for back cushioning, depending on the desired feel and look of the back rest or pillowback. A foam core can be wrapped with 1 or many more layers of dacron or fluffy dac 91, or wool batts.  

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