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Is a box spring necessary if I buy a wood bed frame?

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  • Jul 13th, 2010 4:21 pm
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[OP]
Member
Apr 10, 2010
214 posts
12 upvotes

Is a box spring necessary if I buy a wood bed frame?

I just recently bought a mattress set (including box spring) at the Bay. Now, I have started searching for a bed frame and headboard. I always used to just have my box spring on a metal frame, which was covered up by a bed skirt.

All these wood frames have a whole bunch of wooden slats running horizontally... which 'looks like' it eliminates the place of the box spring.

I would like the added support of the box spring, but, if putting it on top of a wooden frame, there's no way to cover it up.

So - do I need the box spring, or should I just put the mattess onto the frame directly?
9 replies
Deal Addict
Jan 5, 2003
3074 posts
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Toronto
The purpose of a box spring is to support the mattress. Therefore, if your bed frame has slats or a solid piece of wood, a box spring is unnecessary. With many of these bed frame designs, it's not supposed to use a box spring, and using one (while it doesn't hurt), would make it too tall for some people's preference.

I've found that some cheaper frames (like those from IKEA, etc.) could use a few more slats. A quick trip to a hardware store to pick up some thin pieces of wood would solve that issue.
Deal Addict
Aug 27, 2003
1215 posts
96 upvotes
There's one more thing to take into consideration if you're planning on not using the box spring. If your mattress uses pocket coils then you should consider getting a bed frame that uses a solid base or one that has enough slats to support the individual coils. Some manufacturers claim that you will void your warranty if you do not support the pocket coil mattress well enough. Besides, pocket coil mattresses will have more tendency to sag if you don't support all of the coils.
Deal Addict
Dec 10, 2008
1658 posts
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Kitchener
not using a box spring may void your warranty too... my boss found that out the hard way... I'm not sure what brand his was...
Deal Addict
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Oct 12, 2007
3004 posts
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Ottawa
jm1 wrote:
Jul 13th, 2010 9:44 am
The purpose of a box spring is to support the mattress. Therefore, if your bed frame has slats or a solid piece of wood, a box spring is unnecessary. With many of these bed frame designs, it's not supposed to use a box spring, and using one (while it doesn't hurt), would make it too tall for some people's preference.

I've found that some cheaper frames (like those from IKEA, etc.) could use a few more slats. A quick trip to a hardware store to pick up some thin pieces of wood would solve that issue.
+1

We once relocated into a place where the box springs just wouldn't fit into the kids' bedrooms. I adapted their beds' base by added enough slats that I essentially made a solid base on top of which we rested the mattress - it worked out perfectly. While I have heard that this can void mattress warranties, you're also saving a significant amount by bypassing the boxspring in the first place - more than enough (IMO) to compensate for any additional warranty risk.
Deal Expert
Oct 6, 2005
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CarCar1979 wrote:
Jul 13th, 2010 9:33 am
So - do I need the box spring, or should I just put the mattess onto the frame directly?
Depends on the bed and matress. But with slats, you typically don't need a box spring.
Jamie_Canuck wrote:
Jul 13th, 2010 11:12 am
not using a box spring may void your warranty too... my boss found that out the hard way... I'm not sure what brand his was...
But slats are an appropriate alternative to a box spring. I'm pretty sure platform beds / "european" slat beds are exempt from the box spring rules on a lot of matresses. But always check the fine print :)
Deal Addict
Jan 5, 2003
3074 posts
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Toronto
If you use slats and don't have enough of them and you put a lot of weight on the mattress, it could sag in the non-slat areas. If you try to put in a warranty claim, it'll be obvious that you used slats. Solution is to make sure you have a lot of slats, so that it won't sag in the first place, so warranty would be a non-issue. Best solution is to put a board on it, so the support will be even. For my son's twin bed (which didn't have enough slats, in my opinion), I cut three pieces of MDF instead of adding more slats. There's only small gaps between the MDF pieces and it's virtually the same as having one MDF board. The reason I didn't use one piece is that one solid piece of MDF is heavy and three smaller pieces is easier to move (I like to vacuum underneath the bed whenever I lift up the mattress to rotate it). The reason I used MDF boards instead of adding more slats is because he jumps on his bed a lot and I felt better with the additional stability of boards vs. slats. For regular use, just adding a few more slats would've been fine.

You've probably noticed in your shopping that different beds have different number of slats. If you like a certain frame, but it doesn't come with a lot of slats, don't let that sway your choice. A few bucks at a hardware store would fix that problem.
[OP]
Member
Apr 10, 2010
214 posts
12 upvotes
Great info so far!!

So, does putting a mattress right on the slats (or board) make it less comfortable?

Or, rephrased - does the box spring add any comfort?, or it's simply a support mechanism?
Sr. Member
Dec 12, 2007
762 posts
107 upvotes
My bed has slats and a box spring. It makes it higher off the floor which I like so the dog doesn't try to jump up. I still use a bed skirt to cover the box spring even though once the comforter is on you don't notice the gap.
Member
Jun 26, 2004
266 posts
3 upvotes
Where can I get a cheap box spring? I have a mattress, and a bed that needs a box spring (otherwise it will be too low for the headboard)
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