How To Lower Queen Size Mattress Sets

Are Wood Bed Slats Sturdy?

August 20, 2011
In the Bedroom

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Question: I want to know if it is OK to use wood bed slats on a bed and if are they sturdy.

Are Wood Bed Slats Sturdy? Movable drilling platform by Avondale Pattillo UMC

Answer: For years and years wooden slats were the mainstay of virtually every bed built. They were and are still today a crucial support component for the boxspring and mattress, but do they get the job done?

Wood slats were used on Mom and Dad’s, Grandma and Grandpa’s old beds, but most mattress stores use steel bed frames as support in their beds today. Perhaps you’re buying a new bed that comes standard with wood slats don’t you want to know if they are sturdy and strong enough? You should – because many fall short of the designed intent.

About Those Wood Slats…

While they may be common, they are not without their problems. These beds are often very easy to install and look beautiful. Simple wooden side rails hook into the headboard and the footboard. The heart of the support structure relies on wood slats. Without this support, the boxspring or the foundation of a mattress would fall through to the floor. While some are strong and sturdy, many of these beds use low-quality slats that are not made from hardwood like oak or poplar. Making things worse, they use wood that is too thin and flimsy and not nearly enough of them. Finally, many of these slats do not have supporting feet. Without each of these “little” things strength and boxspring support are significantly compromised.

What Kind Of problems Can I Expect From Wood Slats?

The most common problem is bowing. This is when flimsy thin slats begin to droop or sway like an old hammock. One thing that can stop this sway is using sturdy legs for support in the middle of the slats. Some offer adjustments for different height beds. Hardwood is a must and as mentioned poplar, oak, or some other hardwood will add needed strength to beef up the support system, although we recommend using steel instead of wood. Slats should number 5 or more and be a few inches wide to help evenly distribute box spring weight. Even distributing the weight and getting it to the floor properly can do other things. Most heavier people should consider using a heavy-duty bed frame instead. 

See our huge selection of heavy-duty steel bed frames

Common Problems With Beds That Use Wood Slats

In addition to the bowing and sagging mentioned above poor weight distribution can be as costly and damaging. Most wood side rails are not designed to take the brunt of the weight and without evenly distributed weight some of which needs to be directed to the floor we risk major damage to the side rails like cracking, splitting, or worse they may completely break. Another resulting problem is where the rails hook into the headboard and footboard excessive weight can cause cracking, splitting, or breaking of the headboard. In either event, it can be at best a costly repair or at worse a useless bed.

Is There A Stronger Alternative Replacement That Will Do A Better Job?

Just like we don’t build skyscrapers out of wood we shouldn’t use wood for our bed slats. The strength of steel is the answer. Strong tempered angle iron slats that screw firmly into place are best because they don’t flex and they do not bow. Steel slats comply with all mattress manufacturers ‘ warranties. Center support legs are adjustable and usually accommodate beds that are from 5 to 12 inches tall. Companies like Leggett & Platt®, Knickerbocker, Mantua, and Glideaway manufacture and distribute to their mattress and furniture retailers various forms of such support. Glideaway who I am most familiar with offers a couple of center supports that will get the job done called the G-Force I and G-Force II. Save yourself some money and check them out.

Questions about what kind of support to use on your bed contact us or email us a photo of your bed. We’re here to help you with your purchase of a safe durable center support for your bed.

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