Quality Sofa Construction: It’s All in the Foam

In this blog we will be exploring what type of foam is best for your sofa cushions. After all, isn’t the point of a sofa to be able to sit comfortably on it for years to come?! 

When shopping for a sofa, there are a few things you should look for before making your purchase. The 3 biggest factors in determining if your sofa will be long lasting is the frame material & construction, the springs and the cushion foam density. Additionally, selecting the fabric that is right for your lifestyle can play a huge part as well. If you haven’t already read our blog on the types of fabric, click here to check it out!


What does density mean?

When looking at the material specifications of any new sofa, they will generally tell you the foam density in a ‘pound per cubic foot’ measurement, or pcf for short. 

But what does that even mean? 

Density is simply a measurement of weight per unit of volume. In the case of foam it is measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF). In other words, the density of foam is expressed by measuring the weight of a single cubic foot of foam material. 

Foams with a higher density will generally feel more firm, and can withstand more pressure. Foams with a lower density will be softer but not as durable. 

Therefore, for a longer lasting and more durable cushions you should go with a sofa that is made with a higher pounds per cubic foot measurement. 

There are 5 main types of foam or fills typically used in sofa construction.:

Standard Polyurethane
High Density Foam
Lux Foam
High Resilience Foam
Down & Feather

Keep reading for details on each of these foams or fills, and to find out which ones are considered the worst, and the best for long lasting sofas. 

Standard Polyurethane

Typically the pound per cubic foot of a standard polyurethane foam is 1.2 pcf. Sofa cushions made with this foam will not be very comfortable, or last as long as the other foams. It will last for about 1-2 years before you start to see deterioration and sink areas in your cushions. Additionally, the return rate to it’s original form is very slow. 

High Density Foam

High Density Foam is the most common type of foam used for furniture. It has a 1.9 pcf rating, but will still provide support and comfort just to a lesser degree than other foams. A high density foam will generally last around 4 years, but will get softer over time. The return rate to it’s original form is medium and it will offer a more consistent level or support and comfort than a standard polyurethane foam. 

Lux Foam

With a 2.2 pcf rating, a cushion with lux foam with provide a much firmer feel and will last around 6 years. This foam has a quick return rate to it’s original form, is durable and able to support various pressures. 

High Resiliance Foam

Made from a high grade open cell foam, a high resilience foam ranges from 2.5 to 3.0 pcf. This foam has a high responsiveness rate, and a quick return rate to it’s original form. Even though it is very springy, it still offers sturdy support and will last between 8 – 10 years. This type of foam is used in high quality sofa construction, and is the best foam type if you are looking for a long lasting investment. 

Down & Feather Fill

Even though it’s not technically a foam, most high end sofas have the option of adding down or feather fill cushions. These are a good option when combined with an inner foam core. Adding down or feather will make for a more comfortable cushion, however if combined with polyester fibers this could create lumps over time due to the fibers clumping together. 

Dacron Wrapped Foam

Some sofa manufacturers will add an additional Dacron wrap to their foam. A Dacron wrap is a polyester fiber that is used to prevent the fabric from creeping or slipping. Dacron will also help make the cushion look puffy and feel softer. 

In conclusion, typically the best foam to use for sofa cushions will have a pound per cubic foot (pcf) rating of between 2.0 to 2.5. The name of high density foam or high resilience foam can sometimes be interchangeable so we find it’s best to just look at the pcf number to determine the quality of foam used! 

At designQ, our sofa manufacturers use between a 2.1 to 2.75 pcf foam, depending on the style. Additionally, they will also do a Dacron wrap to help prevent slipping of fabric and to help the cushion maintain it’s shape! 

Happy Sofa Shopping!

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