If your spring cleaning includes getting a new mattress, don’t forget about the rest of the bed. Maybe you’ve heard that mattresses should be replaced every 7 – 10 years, but what about the foundation underneath? When mattress shopping, you may want to consider whether it’s time to buy a new box spring, bed frame, or platform bed too.
Why you need good bedding support
Having a bad foundation can lead to a number of common sleep problems. If the mattress sags, it will distribute your weight unevenly, causing pain and soreness. If your bed squeaks and moves every time you roll over, it’s annoying and disrupting. Also, older box springs can have a buildup of dust mites, which can make allergies and asthma worse.
Do you have the right foundation?
There are a lot of options out there, and if you’re in the market to change up your bed, you might want to change your support too. Your sleep foundation can make a huge difference in the performance of your mattress (and your quality of sleep), so make sure you’ve got one that will keep your mattress from sagging, shifting, or squeaking.
Box Spring: This is the most common type of foundation. Box springs consist of a wood frame with either metal or spring rods that creates a sturdy base for the mattress to rest on. They raise the height of the bed and absorb shock. It’s usually recommended to replace your box spring at the same time as your mattress, since the support can deteriorate over time.
Box springs will typically sit on top of a bed frame. There are different kinds of bed frames, and having one that’s sturdy and in good repair is important. A good bed frame can last a lifetime, though, so you might not need to get a new one unless it’s damaged or you want a different size, feet, or other feature.
Platform Bed: A type of bedding support that eliminates the need for a box spring. They can be either a free-standing platform, or part of a headboard/footboard/rail system. The support could be solid, slats, mesh, or other material. Because there’s no box spring, using this will make your bed sit lower, and remove some of the support under your mattress. Unless the platform bed is damaged, you don’t need to replace it as often because they don’t have the same break-down as the springs in a box spring.
Bunkie Board: A thin platform (typically made from solid plywood) that is commonly used to support a mattress, without the need for a box spring. Bunkie boards can be used in daybeds, platform beds (to add more support), bunk beds, or even a trundle mattress. Again, without the box spring, your bed height will be lower, and won’t have the give of a spring-filled box spring. But, like the platform bed, you don’t have to replace a bunkie board with your mattress!
A platform bed with wooden slats for support.
How to tell if your foundation needs to be replaced
Just as the quality and materials that make up your mattress will determine its lifespan, a poor quality foundation can deteriorate faster than the one you pay a little more for.
How can you tell if it’s reached that critical point? You might already know, based on what happens when you sleep on it. If you hear a consistent squeaking when you move in bed, that is likely coming from your support. Or, if your mattress shifts or feels unsteady, it’s probably not getting the structure it needs. Likewise, if you’re not getting good sleep, your bedding could be to blame.
Take your sheets and blankets away to reveal what’s underneath. If you see any of these things, it’s probably time for something new:
- Cracks or splintering of any wood components
- Sagging or bowing of your mattress or the support system
- Bent or broken steel frame, wheels, or legs
- Broken or loose slats
By having a support system that isn’t doing its job, even getting a new mattress might not solve your sleep problems. Quality support can lead to restful sleep and not an uncomfortable night of tossing and turning. Your mattress is only as good as the foundation beneath it.