A supportive mattress is the key to a good night’s sleep, but the quality of your mattress isn’t the only factor that comes into play. In the same way your home needs a solid foundation to stand strong, so does your mattress. Not only does a foundation provide a stable base for your mattress, but it helps prevent sagging and other signs of mattress wear-and-tear.
There are a number of different options on the market when it comes to mattress foundations. We’ve put together this handy guide to introduce you to the options and help you make the right choice.
What is a Mattress Foundation?
In simple terms, a mattress foundation is the surface your mattress sits on. For many years, box springs were the most common foundation used for mattresses but that is no longer the case. Modern mattress materials still require a supportive foundation, but that can be achieved through a variety of different designs. Before we get into those details, let’s talk about why you need a mattress foundation.
Why Do You Need a Mattress Foundation?
Though some modern mattress companies may say their products don’t require a foundation, it’s almost always a good idea to have one anyway. The type of foundation you choose should be determined by your mattress, but all foundations provide the same basic benefits.
Here are the benefits of a mattress foundation:
- A solid foundation prevents responsive materials like memory foam and latex from sinking too much, helping to deliver the contouring and support you need for a good night’s sleep.
- With a solid foundation under your mattress, you can prevent sagging which, over time, could develop into deep grooves and indentations that won’t come out.
- Having your mattress on a supportive foundation helps increase the longevity of the mattress – with proper support your mattress should last 7 to 10 years.
- A foundation can add height to your mattress which may make it easier for individuals with mobility issues to get into and out of the bed.
- Putting your mattress on a foundation keeps it off the floor where it might be more likely to accumulate dust and moisture that could affect the lifespan of the mattress.
- Raising your mattress off the floor improves airflow under and through the mattress which can help you sleep cooler at night.
When discussing the benefits of a mattress foundation, it’s important to recognize the difference between a foundation and a bed frame. A bed frame is simply a decorative structure your foundation and mattress rest on. It may consist of a simple metal frame or might be attached to a headboard, footboard, and side panels. Some bed frames have slats that serve as a foundation for the mattress.
Types of Mattress Foundation
The simplest option for a mattress foundation is the floor itself. Many modern mattress companies say their products can be placed on the floor as long as it is a flat and supportive surface. The trouble with putting your mattress on the floor is that it may be more prone to collecting dust, moisture, and allergens. It can also make it more difficult to get into and out of bed.
We recommend using a supportive foundation under your mattress, but the type of foundation you choose should be determined by the kind of mattress you have.
Here are the top 6 types of mattress foundations:
- Box Spring – For many years, box springs were the most commonly used mattress foundation – especially for innerspring mattresses. A box spring consists of a wooden frame, often with springs inside the framework, and a cloth covering.
- Metal Platform Base – A platform base is a flat surface that raises your mattress off the floor. Metal platform bases consist of a metal frame, typically with metal supports running vertically and horizontally across the entire surface to create an evenly supportive surface.
- Slatted Platform Base – A slatted platform base generally consists of a wooden frame with slats spaced evenly across the frame. These slats may be flat or they might have a slight convex curve to them to provide cushioning for the mattress on top.
- Solid Platform Base – Similar to the slatted platform, a solid platform base typically consists of a wooden frame but the horizontal surface is solid – there are no spaces between slats.
- Bunkie Board – If you’re looking for an additional source of support for your mattress, you can add a Bunkie board to most box springs and platform beds. A Bunkie board is generally a flat piece of wood or metal commonly used with older box springs or memory foam mattresses.
- Adjustable Bed – These foundations allow you to adjust the angle and elevation of your mattress in a number of different positions using a remote. Some adjustable beds even allow you to adjust both sides of the mattress individually.
Now that you understand why it’s important to use a supportive foundation and you’ve learned the basics about the different types, keep reading to learn how to choose the best foundation for your mattress.
Tips for Choosing the Right Foundation
Whether you’re looking to add support to your mattress or simply want to raise it up off the floor, you’re going to want a good foundation. Choosing a mattress foundation is partially a matter of preference, though certain foundations tend to work best with certain mattresses.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping for a foundation:
- Memory foam and latex mattresses do best with some kind of solid support like a solid, slatted, or metal platform bed.
- Price varies greatly among mattress foundations with box springs being one of the most economical options and adjustable beds being the most expensive.
- Look for a mattress foundation made from high-quality materials that will support the weight of your mattress and remain durable for its entire lifespan.
- Consider the construction of your foundation, especially if you’re planning a move in the future – look for something easy to assemble and disassemble.
- Check the warranty on your mattress to see if the company has specific requirements for mattress foundations – many companies do.
- When purchasing a slatted platform, make sure the slats are spaced no more than 3 inches apart – if they’re too far apart your mattress might sag in between.
With proper care, most mattresses will last somewhere between 7 and 10 years. If you don’t provide a supportive foundation for your mattress, however, it may be prone to sagging which may make it less comfortable for you. Having a solid foundation under your mattress enables it to support your body weight in such a way that your spine stays properly aligned as you sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a bed frame?
If your mattress is properly supported, you don’t necessarily need a bed frame. That being said, many mattress supports incorporate the foundation and bed frame all in one design, such as the platform bed. If you’re using a box spring, you may need a bed frame.
Are mattress foundations really necessary?
While you might be perfectly comfortable sleeping on a mattress placed on the floor, there are benefits to using a proper foundation. A foundation provides support for your mattress (and, by extension, your body) and it helps protect them from wear and tear.
Do I need a box spring?
Box springs are the foundation of choice for traditional innerspring mattress. They consist of a wooden frame that may or may not have springs inside. While box springs provide additional height, they are not always necessary. Most mattresses do just fine with a solid or slatted foundation.