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Build your own Box Spring – Twin, Full, Queen, King Size

100 0642 Build your own Box Spring   Twin, Full, Queen, King Size

The top part of our old box spring

For years I have scoffed at our noisy box spring, but when we started co-sleeping with our toddler, the noise was too much.  Why did I delay replacing it?  I didnt want to pay for a new box spring that might have the same problem and I wasnt sure if the Do it yourself options would be compatible or comfortable with my mattress.  The lack of information available is astounding, but my final solution was dirt cheap ($30 for a queen) and easy as can be.

Here are your options if you are trying to replace your box spring:

  1. Buy a new box spring –  This can be expensive, may still be squeaky, and will cost a lot in shipping
  2. Put your mattress on the floor – Easy for bugs to get to you(which I have read is the reason we use frames) and it may cause a mold problem.
  3. Plywood – Cheaper than a new box spring, but with some concern about mold growth.  At the queen size you have to buy 2 sheets and cut to fit.
  4. Slat of wood –  Cheapest, but many different ways of going about it.

Plywood Box Spring Mattress

Our bed is queen size and that requires 2 sheets of plywood to cover the whole area.  This concerned me because I didnt want the mattress to sag in certain areas.  Our bed frame has center supports but I couldnt figure out an acceptable way to cut the plywood sheets that would be supported properly by the frame.

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Me holding my daughter(210lbs together) in the center of a 60" plank at the foot of the bed with no center support (The planks at the head and the foot of the bed have no center support because the would never be subjected this much weight normally). This piece did not deflect at all.

The other concern with plywood seems to be mold growth.  Some people online seem to wonder where the moisture would come from?  The most direct would be from the person sleeping in the bed!  We lose an incredible amount of moisture through our skin and atleast half of that is directed straight into your mattress.  The caveat here is that if you have a waterproof mattress cover you need not worry, because your moisture is directed right back at you.  Hence the reason some people can’t stand mattress covers.

The mold growth solution for those of you without mattress covers would be to drill several holes into your sheet’s of plywood.  I have no idea how many.

At this point I had discovered I would need to purchase 2 thick, quality sheets of plywood (~80-$100), cut them to fit, then drill several large holes in them.  With a background in engineering, that just isnt solid enough for me, and with a background in healthcare, the offgassing of the glue used in the plywood is also a concern to me.

And then I found what I was looking for. . .


Slat’s

Essentially, what I wanted to duplicate was a platform bed.  I decided to use 12″ x 2″ non pressure treated wood.  The 16 foot version

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Our Bed frame with the slat's and my daughter testing them out.

was roughly $14 at our local Home Depot, and they did all the cuts for me at no charge.  I had 6 cuts total, but since I came at a slow time and I was polite, they did not charge me for the 4 cuts they should have(an extra $2 if they had charged me).

When I got home that evening, I dropped the slats right into the frame, lubricated some parts of our metal frame, and tightened a few bolts that had come loose.  Standing in the middle of the slats they deflect approximately 1/16″ at the headboard and the footboard portions of the bed where there is no middle support(I weigh ~180 lbs).  These boards will almost never support that kind of weight while we sleep.  There is no deflection at any point for the slats that contact the center support(the slats that will be supporting the majority of your weight).

I can finally escape from the bed in the morning without waking up the baby(and my back hurts less).  It feels as though the bed is an extra inch or two wider because the edges of the bed are more firm and don’t allow you to roll off as easily

Bed Size

Width

Length

# of Slats

Slat Length

Planks Needed

Twin

39”

80”

6

39”

1 – 12”x2”x16’

Full

54”

75”

6

54”

2 – 12”x2”x16’

Queen

60”

80”

6

60”

2 – 12”x2”x16’

King

76”

80”

6

76”

3 – 12”x2”x16’

Cal King

72”

84”

6

72”

3 – 12”x2”x12’


Step by step

  1. Find your bed size in the chart above, then MEASURE YOUR OWN FRAME.  It should be the size above, but its better to be safe.
  2. Go to a lumber supply yard and pick up the planks of wood you need.  Be sure to spend some time choosing flat, straight boards.
  3. Have them cut at the store(no way am I fitting 16′ boards in a Corolla) or at your house if you have the tools.
  4. Drop the boards into the frame, leaving 1″-3″ spaces between them(the spaces allow water to escape if you don’t use a mattress cover).
  5. Don’t throw away your old box spring until you’re sure you like the new platform!
  6. Enjoy your practically new bed (or maybe get a few more years out of an old mattress like ours).

These steps should work with most frames and mattress types and are easily adaptable.  I just tried to put all the information about turning your box spring into a platform in one place.  Please take a moment to share this page or comment about your personal experience.

About the author

Allen.Ruppert

14 comments

  1. Mona

    Allen,

    Thank you for your most excellent creative idea! I have just purchased a latex hybrid (latex on top high density foam on bottom) and am in the process of finding a foundation for it. These types of mattresses supposedly require a slotted wood type (not solid) and some of them are ridiculously expensive nor have I felt certain that any of them would work with my bed. I don’t really want a box spring look alike either.

    Here is my situation:

    My existing set up is a pine bed with a head board and foot board that has 13 inches of space between the floor and where the box spring sits. Another words you can easily crawl under the bed! The box springs is 8 inches deep and the mattress is 13 inches deep. I would say that aesthetically the existing set up is too high for the bed,… so I was thinking that I could go this route (ditching existing boxsprings) but would need for the whole set up to be two inches higher than what you’ve described in your project here. The new mattress is 12 inches high and another 4 inches would hit my headboard and footboard perfectly.

    I have sideboards that contain the box springs. These have a lower “lip” on them that run the length of the bed.
    These are about 4 1/2 inches deep to the lip, so 4 inches of foundation material I should hope would go unseen.
    I do not have any center supports with my current setup,…only a few 1 inch or 3/4 inch boards that are placed in the upper third portion of the mattress.

    I hope I’ve done a fairly good job of explaining without photos. My question to you: Since I need for the platform foundation to be 4 inches high for aesthetic reasons, plus I don’t have any center support under the mattress, could I use your plan only include a bunch of 2 by 4’s underneath the 2 inch planks that you’ve described in your project? This would give me the 4 full inch boost in height that I need as well as give me the support that I need since I don’t have the center support down below? This may seem like a dumb question but I am not sure if the 2×4’s would do the trick for support, so I thought I’d ask/ or maybe you might have some other ideas for me!

    Thanks in advance!

    Mona

    1. Allen.Ruppert

      Wow! Thank you Mona for being my first non-spam comment. It makes me feel good that this helped someone. Given what you have described, I think 2×4’s would do a perfect job and provide plenty of support. You could always put a 2×4 vertically from the foot of the bed to the head and screw it to your other 2×4’s to provide that extra support in the middle, but those 12×2 planks are pretty strong. I would assemble your 2×4 frame on a level surface that way when you flip it over, it will be level. Let me know if you have any other questions! ~Allen

  2. Bryan

    Thank you so much Allen! I’m a 22 Y/O guy that can’t afford a box spring, and your solution to this works perfect! I am extremely grateful for your help, keep up the awesome sauce :D

  3. Suzanne

    Awesome idea! We were ready to go and buy plywood (which was going to be really expensive) until I read your post. I didn’t know about the moisture thing and I love that the boards are thicker and will be more sturdy. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Heaven

    Awesome, thanks for the information on how to make your own box spring! We purchased a bed/mattress for our guest bed, but didn’t want to pay the additional $150+ for the box spring. I’ll definitely be buying the wood today.

  5. Mindi

    Thanks so much for putting this together! We are getting ready to move our two toddlers into “big girl beds” and thought leaving out the box springs would be easier for them to get in and out of. The 2x12s will work great! Thanks again!

  6. Leah

    Allen,

    I’m considering this option for replacing my box spring…thanks for the idea and detailed information! I’m just wondering, since it’s been over a year since your post, how it has held up. Still a fan? Any changes or critiques that you have to offer would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Leah

  7. Nakita

    Thank you for this. I’ve only had my bed for a year and I cringe every time I move on it. I was looking for an easy fix and this seems simple enough. I might wait until I move to try this one. Seems simple enough for a single girl to do especially since I moved the bed in mostly by myself! Question though, does it make the mattress the same height? I love high beds and I want to make mine even higher, but if I’m getting rid of my box spring it won’t be as high as I want it. Any suggestions on that?

    1. Allen.Ruppert

      It will make your bed a little lower to the ground, but you can buy plastic pieces to put under all of the legs of you bed that will raise it about six inches. They are hard to find, but we have found them at Target before.

  8. Mary

    This worked for us! I replaced a sagging box spring with a makeshift platform, but the way I built it, it was very squeaky. I love your solution. I had to add a few more supports to our wood bed frame, but that was it. The 2″ boards give really good support and we’re now noise-free! Hurrah! I also love that the modular boards can be easily brought up and down stairs. Moving a queen size box spring is a struggle and a half.

    1. Allen.Ruppert

      Glad it worked for you!

  9. Kay

    I know this is an old post but thank you Allen, you saved us $200! It worked perfect.

  10. Huma

    Hi Allen;

    Thank you for posting this, we used your recommendation of measuring the frame. One question, six planks that are 2 inches deep are quite heavy. How is your bed frame with all that weight?

    Huma

    1. Allen.Ruppert

      It depends on the size of your bed, but we did this with a queen bed and I would say the total weight is no more than a regular box spring. Thanks for reading!

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