BUYER BEWARE: CHEAP FOAM IN SOFAS

In last week's article, I offered a word of caution for those planning to purchase furniture for their home in Puerto Vallarta. There is currently a global shortage of foam. (For information on why check out my previous column.)

Foam is an essential material used in the manufacture of sofas, sectionals, and chairs. Although reputable manufacturers will likely require longer delivery times, many others will settle for whatever foam is available to continue production and stay in business. This increase in low-quality foam on the market means that consumers need to be even more cautious when purchasing sofas, sectionals, and chairs.

Foam is used on the seat and back cushions and the arms of any upholstered piece of furniture. If you want your sofa, sectional or recliner to last longer than two or three years, knowing which foam it is made with is critical. Foam is also, unquestionably, the material that determines its comfort.Some manufacturers and retailers will promote the density of the foam in their products. Each foam has a weight, and generally, the higher the weight, the better it is. This is not true when it comes to your sofa or sectional. The best foam, without question, is an HR or High Resiliency foam. HR foam is the material that means your sofa seat cushion will be super comfortable with good support and last the longest. This foam is not only used in household furniture but also cushions on yachts. HR foam is one of the heaviest foams when it comes to density, but what makes it even better is its ability to regain its original shape after you sit on it.

The foam used by most sofa manufacturers in Mexico is NOT HR or high resiliency foam. The foam they use is either HD (high density) foam or polyurethane foam. Both are widely used because they are low cost. These are low to medium-quality foams that are uncomfortable and simply will not last. At best, your sofa will hold up for two to three years. High density and polyurethane foam get softer over time and pack down as they deteriorate. Unlike HR foam, they do not spring back to their original shape.

Do not let the firmness of the foam fool you into thinking it is durable. One trick is to use cheap foam that is extra firm to give you the feeling it is well-made when you sit on it in the store. Cheap, low-density foam will not last longer than its warranty, leaving you to purchase again within one to two years. These manufacturers do not offer replacement foam or cushions, meaning you must buy the entire sofa, sectional, or recliner again. Upholsterers can replace the foam and the cover; however, the cost to do so will be almost the same as buying another new item.Here is a furniture insider's tip: Many manufacturers and retailers know that furniture buyers place more of their buying decision on the item's look. They rely on uneducated consumers to get excited about the design and the color rather than ask about the item's materials. The worst way you can make your buying decision regarding any furniture is based solely on its look and color. If you purchase a sofa at a low price or what seems like a great deal, the chances are the manufacturer made it with polyurethane or low-density foam.

Need furniture and want to buy it right the first time? Let us help. Our Puerto Vallarta store is at 363A Constituciones just off Basilio Badillo (Open Mon through Fri 10 to 2). Our Bucerias store is at Heroes de Nacozari 126 (Open Tues and Fri 10 to 2).

Email us at furniture@solutionsmexico.com or Whatsapp us at +3221365156 with any questions about buying furniture in Mexico and join our FB Group: Mexico Furniture and Décor for ideas and inspiration.