If the foam in your sofa cushions is not up to the task, it can start to disintegrate and lose its rebound-ability in a short time. The sagging cushions can make the whole piece of furniture appear old and tired, and make it very uncomfortable for sitting. Replacing the foam is a task a DIY-er can face with confidence when armed with some couch cushion foam know-how.
The Basics First
Foam is measured by two standards: density and compression. Density refers to the amount of material in one cubic foot of foam; the more dense the product, the more the cubic foot will weigh. Compression refers to the amount of force required to compress that cubic foot by 25 percent. The two figures together describe the softness to hardness of the foam. For example, a 2735 rated foam is 2.7 pounds per cubic foot and requires 35 pounds of pressure to compress it 25 percent. This is a medium-firm foam suitable for couch cushions. If you want your cushions a bit softer, as you would for a back cushion, you could use a 2720 foam, which would be much softer, requiring only 20 pounds of pressure to compress it 25 percent. Very dense foam — 4 to 5 pounds per cubic foot — can also be found with low compression ratings. This is typical of very high-density memory foam, which is a specific poly foam and could have a rating of 5314, for example.
What’s Inside Most Cushions
Polyurethane foam is a product of the petroleum industry and is the most common foam used in couch cushions. Available in multitudes of grades which can indicate the expected number of years of wear and various stages of firmness and in a wide price range, it can be found in retail stores or purchased through specialty foam distributors, upholsterers and some drapery construction workrooms. Because it is a product of the petroleum industry, it may not be considered an eco-friendly product because it is made from a nonrenewable resource.
Foam is also rated by expected years of use. A 5-year foam, for example, should not begin to deteriorate for at least five years of everyday use, similarly 10- and 15-year foam should last at least 10 or 15 years. Some foams are rated as High Resilience, which is a high-quality cushion foam with a density of 3 pounds per cubic foot. Latex foam, which is made from rubber, not polyurethane, can have a density of 3 to 15 pounds per cubic foot. Memory foam is a poly foam but manufactured to produce a super-high density product.
Cushions with a foam core wrapped with down or poly-fill can provide the best of both worlds — they give the look of a down-filled seat cushion with some of the rebounding properties of foam. The inner core of foam determines, in part, the softness or firmness of the couch cushion, while the down or fill wrap provides the softness and slightly rumpled look of down. The foam core provides the rebounding effect that is absent in down- or fiber fill-only cushions, both of which require fluffing each time they are used.
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