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Choosing Your Foundation
A box spring is a box shaped frame upon which a mattress is laid. The two major functions of box spring are to provide support and increase height of the mattress. Box spring serves as source of sturdy support to mattresses. This helps to increase the longevity of mattress as there will be reduced wear and tear of the mattress. It also helps to increase height of the mattress. It elevates the mattress making it easy to get in and out of the mattress. Box spring is similar to foundation, actually some people uses the two words interchangeably. Box spring is the type of support system that is constructed using springs inside a wood frame whereas foundation is a lightweight supportive box spring without the spring. Some folks may wonder, what is the difference between a box spring and a foundation? Well the answer is simple, they’re essentially the same thing. Box springs used to be constructed with actual springs but manufacturers have since found better ways to create a lighter but equally supportive box spring without the springs, and that’s how the foundation was born.
Whether or not you need to use a box spring is totally based on your mattress warranty and also the type of bed frame or foundation you are using. Some mattresses comes with a warranty that is conditioned on the use of a box spring, failure to use a box spring will automatically void the warranty. This is a big deal especially for a luxurious mattress. Imagine losing a 20-year warranty just because you failed to use a box spring, I won’t have to tell you that is a great loss. However, not all mattresses come with a warranty that is conditioned to use box spring. The other reason why you should use a box spring is the type of bed frame or foundation you are using. There are different bed frames and emphasis will be made on whether or not you will need to use a box spring for each bed frame. We will also include our choice for a product in each one of the primary categories. The bed frames include:
Collapsible Metal Frame: If you are using a collapsible metal frame, you have to use a box spring. This is because beyond the perimeter of the metal frame, there is no center support for the mattress. The mattress will not have the support it needs which can make sleeping uncomfortable not too mention it could potentially void the warranty on the mattress.
Our Choice: Zinus Compack 9-Leg Support Bed Frame
Smart Platform Base: Unlike a collapsible metal frame, the smart platform base incorporates both a frame and a platform into one. The use of box spring is not necessary in this type of bed frame. Here are some of the benefits of the platform base:
- Full platform bed frame offers a quiet, noise-free, supportive foundation for a mattress; no box spring needed
- Made of durable steel with a sleek black finish; designed for sleepers up to 250 pounds
- Provides extra under-the-bed storage space with a vertical clearance of about 13 inches
- Accommodates a matching-size mattress; fast, easy setup—no tools required
This is a dual feature bed frame that is economically priced and easy to setup.
Our Choice: AmazonBasics Platform Bed Frame
Platform Bed Frame (solid): This is also similar to a reinforced metal bed frame. Using a platform bed frame, a box spring is not required. This is as a result of the solid surface a platform bed frame utilizes. The solid surface performs a similar role to that of a box spring. It provides a stable platform for a mattress. Platform beds are generally lower than traditional mattresses that use a box spring. However, this may pose a problem for old sleepers suffering from back, hip, or joint pain. They will find it hard to get in a low platform bed. This is also where a low-profile box spring can come in handy which is discussed in a different section. Platform bed frames may also come with drawers or additional storage which can help with avoiding clutter if you have things you don’t have space for.
Our Choice: South Shore Step One Platform Bed With Storage
Platform Bed Frame (slat): Unlike a platform bed frame (solid), the slat is a bit different from a traditional platform bed. Instead of a solid surface foundation, a platform bed frame (slat) makes use of slats for support. Although, just as you don’t need box spring in the solid type, you also don’t need box spring in the slat type of platform bed frame, that is as long as the slats are arranged close enough. They will satisfy the warranty condition of proper mattress support. The general rule of thumb states that slats should not be more than 4″ apart from one another. There are different types of slats that can be used, some are made from wood, metal, plastics or even composite materials. However, steel slats are the strongest type of slat that you can use as they provide more rigid support. Lastly, the slat distance from one another is sometimes added in the warranty terms and condition, make sure you use the proper spacing to avoid losing the warranty of your mattress.
Our Choice: Zinus Upholstered Square Stitched Platform Bed
Adjustable Bed Frame: Just as the name implies, it gives sleepers the freedom to shift the height and angle of the mattress, thereby reducing stress on the back, internal organs and helps breathing. This bed frame does not require the addition of a box spring nor could it work due to the box spring not being able to adjust.
Our Choice: Nectar Sleep Adjustable Frame
Putting Your Mattress On The Floor
Instead of using a box spring, some sleepers prefer to just lay their mattress on the bare ground without using any support. There is not much problem with that except that:
- It reduces airflow since the mattress is on the bare ground, there won’t be adequate flow of air in and out of the mattress as there would be in a mattress that is laid on a bed frame or foundation.
- It is less hygienic since all the dirt on the floor can easily get on your mattress. Dust, dirt allergens and even insects can easily find their way on your mattress.
- It will be difficult for older sleepers or other sleepers that have trouble getting in and out of the mattress to get up from the mattress. It is usually easier for sleepers that are lying on a mattress that has a bed frame or box spring to get up from bed because of the support, but getting up from the ground may be difficult for some sleepers.
- It will void your warranty. Most of the mattresses come with a warranty that is conditioned on the use of support. Laying your mattress on the bare ground will risk you losing your mattress warranty.
- There is high chance of mold formation. Especially if you are living in a moist environment, there is higher risk of mold forming on your mattress and this will affect the quality of your mattress as well as potentially voiding the warranty.
However, if you still prefer laying your mattress on the ground because of the lower look and you are not concerned with voiding your warranty, placing your mattress on a mat or rug will help keep it cleaner.
If you don’t want to use a box spring because it makes your mattress a little too high for you and you also don’t want to lay your mattress on the ground, there are other alternatives you can use. They include:
Bunkie Board: this is a thin sheet of wood, commonly known as plywood that you can use between your mattress and your bed frame. It provides perfect support and eliminates the need for a box spring.
Low Profile Foundation: this works similarly to a normal box spring, but it is not as high as a box spring. The height of a low profile foundation is half that of a normal box spring. This is a compromise between using a box spring and laying your mattress on the ground.
I hope this helps you to decide whether or not you need to use a box spring or can point you towards the ideal base for your mattress. Remember, it all falls back to what you want. Do you want to sleep on a high mattress or a low mattress? This is the question you need to ask yourself. You can sleep on a low mattress without necessarily laying your mattress on the bare ground or choose one of other several options with varying heights to achieve your desired sleep platform.