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Many people who will buy a new mattress will also consider eliminating the box spring/foundation and instead opting for a European type style bed that utilizes a slat pack which is nothing more than closely spaced wooden slats. They often ask, “can you put a mattress on wood or steel slats?”
These slat packages should not be confused with curved, bowed, or a flexible slatted base which we will not be discussing in this article. The other thought is to put the mattress on steel bed slats that are known to be stronger and have additional middle support legs and adjustable feet. In this article, we’ll detail specifically what type of slats you can place a mattress on because one of these styles is ok to place a mattress directly upon one and the other is not.
First, we need to set the record straight, there really isn’t anything special about today’s traditional foundation bases the standard support piece used directly under mattresses. They range in quality and are essentially a wooden framed pallet covered in cloth making them no different in terms of support as the floor or a piece of plywood. A benefit to these simple bases is that there are no coil springs. This makes it easier to identify signs of failure. This could be squeaking or broken slats or a swayed/broken foundation indicating that a foundation has failed.
Boxsprings on the other hand are rare these days and are often considered the shock absorbents for mattresses. Springy flexible boxsprings are energy-absorbing coil springs that arguably extend mattress life. Many agree that they transfer disturbing motion throughout the entire bed and can’t be tested for failure making them notorious for fatiguing and nearly impossible to know when they’re shot.
Wood slat packages can be found in virtually every retail store from Walmart to Amazon. Common construction includes a strip of ribbon-like material or webbing that connects wooden planks. This connecting material is stapled to equally spaced boards and helps to keep the slats in position. Most queen packs include 14 – ¾ inch thick slats. -Twin and Full sizes include 13 – ¾ inch slats/laths.
While building material is generally solid wood, more often than not the wood is inexpensive low-quality pine. These pine boards are the same ones found in low-end Bunkie boards used for smaller children and teens. Another issue of standard slat packs is that they often lack center support bracing from head to toe. Especially troublesome is the lack of middle support legs required by mattress manufacturers. This leaves your mattress non-compliant with warranty requirements and vulnerable to bowing, sagging, and potential slat breakage.
Superior quality platform beds that can support the average size and sometimes plus-sized adult couples typically include at least one heavy-duty wood beam running the length of the bed. Underneath the beam is numerous adjustable legs with feet to support the middle of the bed from head to toe and keep your mattress properly supported so it complies with all major mattress manufacturers’ warranties.
Slats have been described as the skeleton to support your mattress; however, this is not the case for steel slats. They are built to be placed underneath a box spring/foundation but not directly under a mattress. Steel slats are so strong it is common to only need 3 or 4 to get the job done and support a foundation/box spring. Placing a mattress directly onto metal slats will not work due to excessive spacing between them.
They will not properly support give the rigid support needed for a mattress and will allow it to swag/sway between them making it impossible to sleep on. Some do it yourselfers have placed thick plywood on top of the slats eliminating their foundation and converting their bed into a platform type of bed.
So you own this amazing mattress and a really sweet bed, but it turns out you don’t have the correct support underneath your mattress set.
You thought the box spring and mattress would be fine until you realized the warranty for the set calls for center supports with feet under it in the middle.
Heavy-duty steel bed slats are the best way to protect your bed, mattress, comfort, and support. (and yes even your safety from collapse). You need to be extremely leery of ordinary sub-standard metal/wood middle bars, slats, and slat kits. In most cases, these “supports” were initially given to them for free or for a discounted cost with the bed when they bought it new.
Unfortunately, the first concern of the people that built and sold you your bed is NOT complying with your mattress warranty’s requirements. Standard bed supports included with beds having a headboard, footboard and side rails just don’t make the cut. Replacing them with a stronger steel bed slat kit having plenty of angle iron crossbars and lots of feet really is the key.
Look for systems with plenty of steel legs with adjustable footing. This footing acts as piers down to your floor which helps assure warranty and prevent sag caused by lack of proper base frame support. Not only that, but it also can increase the comfort and support of your mattress by strengthening the entire bed and sleep system.
For those who have beds with a wood headboard, footboard, and wood side rails your bed could be vulnerable to cracking and breaking. There are a couple of different types of steel bed slats with feet that can work for this type of bed. These heavy-duty bars run from one side of the bed to the other and securely screw into the wood lip of the wooden side rails. These metal slats are made from hardened steel and are designed to replace weaker wooden rails that warp, crack, and even worse break.
The models you will want to look into that we offer include:
The GS-3 XS Center Support is our top seller – universal support that fits full, queen, and king size beds
The BB 8-18 are our heaviest steel bed slat system with feet and are strong enough to support heavier people, softside waterbeds, and of course, anyone that just wants the strongest middle support system money can buy.
If your entire bed frame is made of metal/steel NOT WOOD including the side rails and slat system this section is for you. The hook in beds with headboards, footboard, and hook in slots (NOT Bolt one) offer various models of Complete Steel Bed Frames with Steel Bed Slats to take care of your support needs:
This is another type of bed frame that is entirely made of steel. These bolt-up type beds (NOT hook in) have holes in the legs of the headboard and footboard making connections possible with bolts, nuts, and washers. Bolt up Steel Bed Frames have steel side rails with Steel Bed Slats that span the width of the bed and again keep the mattress set from sagging. Here are just some of the frames that can handle the job:
BB 24 connects twin and full-size beds with headboards and footboards
BB34 Joins queen size headboards and footboards
BB44 Attaches king headboards & footboards
46R and 24 RR Bolts up to twin & full-size headboards only
34 RR, LB 34 (low profile version) fastens up queen headboards only
44 RR, LB 44 (low profile version) affixes king headboards.