One of the most common things you’ll hear when buying a bed is the importance of the right foundation. You can purchase the most high-end mattress there is, but sagging from lack of foundation can still make sleeping an uncomfortable sleeping experience.
When it comes to bed foundations, box springs and slats are among the most common options. But can you put a box spring on top of slats to increase comfort? Theoretically, you can, but it doesn’t always lead to a better outcome. In most cases, it’s rather unnecessary.
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Can You Place a Box Spring on Slats?
Yes, it’s okay to use a boxspring with slats. However, most people will find this redundant and unnecessary. Box springs and slats are functionally the same – they act as foundations to provide further support to prevent the mattress from sagging, which can cause back pains and muscle sores.
In most cases, using box spring and slats together is harmless – it will not harm the longevity of your bed frame or mattresses. However, particularly hefty box springs can add more strain onto the slats, and we all know excess weight may break these supporting bars.
That said, the drawback above can be easily circumvented with metal slats, which are more durable. What’s more worthy of concern is that the bed’s height will be a couple of inches taller—usually around 2”-9”—when you put box spring on bed frame.
This wouldn’t be much of a problem normally. Still, households with small children, the elderly, or physically challenged people may not find this an ideal setup. The higher frame will make it much harder for these individuals to bed with a slatted box spring.
In short, you can put a box spring on a slat bed, except when the slats themselves are not strong enough to hold excess weight or when you need to make the bed more accessible.
Why Did You Put a Box Spring on Top of the Slats?
Then, in what case is combining wood slat box spring beneficial? That would be when you need to raise the bed a couple of inches higher – whether because it’s more convenient for you or for aesthetic reasons, such as evoking a sense of luxury.
Higher beds have their perks. For instance, they’re more suitable for people of larger stature. Those with joint pains will also find it less bothersome to get in, out, and make the bed when its frame is taller.
Some people may consider combining slats with a box spring when their slats are too far apart. In this case, some may let the box spring support slats instead of finding more foundation bars.
Another reason some people may like combining box springs and slats is that they like the former’s bouncy quality.
However, as the middle of box springs usually provide little support, they’ll need slats underneath to avoid sagging or letting you crash onto the floors.
What is a Box Spring and Bed Slat?
1. Box spring
As mentioned above, a box spring is a type of foundation frame to keep the mattress from sagging. At a glance, box springs may look like a mattress – but you’ll easily be able to tell them apart by the wood frame present in these bed bases.
These bed foundations are always covered by fabric, and if you examine the inside of box spring, you’ll find line after line of metal coils. These spring coils are the reason behind box springs’ bounciness.
Box springs are most suitable for innerspring mattresses – a type of mattress consisting of a coil support system and are famous for their breathability. They’re typically used with poster beds and canopy beds. Note that box springs aren’t compatible with memory foam and latex mattresses.
Box springs can be an excellent option if you need to add a few inches to the bed’s height. As they are available in many profiles, you can choose one that will raise the bed by 2”-9” taller.
The metal spring coils inside this bed foundation can also make the bed more bouncy, which can absorb shock from rough movements. If you tend to toss and turn a lot during your sleep, you’ll find a box spring a much-needed addition.
What’s more, box springs tend to have quite sturdy construction without sacrificing air flow.
However, box springs can be rather expensive. For instance, a queen box spring size can cost more than $150.
In addition, as the middle of the spring box may not provide enough support and sag, as a result, you may need additional slats for a queen bed with box spring, which can also bump up the cost.
Another downside of box springs is their hefty build, which can make placing them on the bed quite a challenge. And as they’re not foldable or collapsible, putting them away for storage is no easy task.
2. Bed slats
Nowadays, most people prefer to use wood slats instead of box spring as bed foundations.
While slats are usually individual planks around 2.75 inches apart– a key reason for their easy assembly, they can be interconnected as well. In these cases, the supporting bars are typically covered with fabric.
You can also find beds with built-in slats as foundations. The most notable example is platform beds, which offer both firm support for your body weight and breathability for comfort. As they already have slats, you don’t need to use a box spring on the platform bed.
A cheaper price aside, slats are not heavy or bulky as box springs. As a result, they’re effortless to assemble and disassemble. They’re also better at keeping your mattress in place – once you properly put your spring mattress on slats, it’ll never slide elsewhere.
Unlike box springs, bed slats are suitable for all types of mattresses, including memory foam and latex ones. As the bars are a few inches apart, this bed foundation can also provide proper airflow, if not better than box springs.
The most notable drawback of slats is that they may cause the mattress to sag. However, this mostly applies to poorly constructed ones, such as those with bars too far apart. The wood planks, if too thin, can also be more prone to breaking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need a box spring on top of the slats?
If you don’t need to raise the bed’s height or circumvent slats too far apart, you don’t really need to place a box spring on top of your bed slats. If you find the mattress not bouncy enough, a box spring can also be used. Otherwise, this action can be quite unnecessary.
How much weight can slats hold?
Bed slats’ max capacity can vary depending on their design, quality, and material. For example, metal slats are usually stronger, whereas yellow pine would be the best choice for wood slats. Similarly, thicker planks are usually stronger as well.
The density of the slats can also impact their max load – the more supporting bars there are, the more weight they can hold.
Considering that many factors affect slats’ max capacity, it’d be wise to check how much load they can hold first. In most cases, you can expect your bed slats to be able to withstand 600 pounds.
How to make my bed slats stronger?
Here are a few ways you can try to make your bed slats stronger:
- Cut matching planks to add more slats to the frame.
- Use nails or screws to fix two ends of the slats firmly into place.
- Add three supporting legs to the center beam. Make sure the legs are equally spaced.
- Slip slat spacers in between the slats. You can create ones yourself by cutting planks with the same thickness as the supporting bars or find pre-made products
How many slats should a bed have?
This will depend on the size of your bed, how much space you leave between the slats, and how wide these supporting bars are. Assuming that the bed is 75 inches long, the slats are 3.5 inches wide, and you intend to leave 2.5 inches between each plank, then you’ll need 12 bars.
Can I put a box spring on the floor?
Yes, you can. So if you don’t have a bed frame and have to place the mattress on the floor, at least consider placing a box spring underneath. While this may sound redundant – the floor is already a strong enough foundation, a box spring actually makes the mattress more breathable.
So, can you put a box spring on top of slats? You can, so long as you don’t mind the extra height, which can pose quite a challenge for older people or small children.
Overall, combining box springs and slats can offer various benefits, such as making the bed more shock-absorbent for restless sleepers. The taller height is not necessarily a drawback either, considering they’re more comfortable for people with joint paints.
Therefore, whether you should place box springs on top of slats will depend entirely on your needs and preferences.