Does a new Mattress really require a new Box Spring?

by | Jul 18, 2014

BosxspringSo you go into a Mattress Shop to purchase a new mattress, and the salesperson tells you that you need the same brand engineered Box Spring, so you don’t void the mattress warranty. Do you go ahead with it? Do you really need a new Box Spring? Is it really engineered for that mattress?

The simple answer is NO, you don’t. However, there are some things to look at to ensure that you don’t cause premature wearing to your new purchase. The large retailers and manufacturers may void your warranty, but if you find the right company it shouldn’t void any warranty. The right company will stand behind their product as long as you have a strong and supportive foundation.

What is a Box Spring? First off, lets go back in history a little bit to a time when there was no foam in mattresses and most mattresses were metal springs, cotton, wool, horse hair ect;. These natural fibres last forever but are more of a padding layer. Basically, they compact over time and are firm and not soft and plushy. So, to make your mattress softer along comes the Box Spring.

Back in the day, a Box Spring consisted of a wooden slat structure and springs, padding layers and upholstery. Sometimes a flexible steel spring grid was part of a bed frame. When you lie down on your mattress you compress the springs below you, this in turn compresses the springs in the Box Spring, thus allowing your body to sink further into the mattress and giving a softer feel. Nowadays with new foams, latex, and memory foam, you can add more comfort layers without a Box Spring?

A Box Spring generally adds more movement to your mattress, since you are on a bouncy surface. Another selling point would be the fact that as you go into and out of bed or do other activities, other than sleeping, the Box Spring below you would take some absorption and thus put less wear and tear on your mattress. This is somewhat true, but is not too big a concern with modern materials.

2 inch posture boardHere in the present day, there are still a few Box Springs that actually contain real springs; however, they are rare. Remember back in the day when Box Springs were strong enough that you could screw legs into them? Most Box Springs still have a wooden slat structure, but they are very light duty and not strong enough to support legs. This is why Mattress sales people will insist on a metal bed frame with a minimum of 3 supports. Most of the time, instead of springs you will generally have a Semi-Flex Metal Grid. These have very little flex but generally support a mattress well. They are also light for easy moving.

Therefore most Box Springs are now what I call a Mattress Foundation. Which is basically a structure that is strong enough to support your mattress evenly and at the right height for you. In Europe, and even in North America, platform beds require no Box Spring. Generally, a mattress can go right on top. That being said, if there are many slats going across the bed, you would want to ensure the gaps aren’t too wide, especially with foam mattresses or organic latex mattresses. If you think the gaps are too big, some well-placed plywood or stiff cardboard should dissipate the weight across the slats and will reduced ridges from developing in the mattress. So any foundation, whether it is the floor, platform bed, wooden foundation, should be fine for your mattress as long as it meets certain criteria.

So, is your current box spring or mattress foundation ok to use for your new mattress? You will want to check three things. First, is the Foundation the right height for your new mattress? Secondly, is there any dips or sags in the foundation? You can get a straight edge level and check from the corners and sides into the middle? Lastly, check for compression or soft spots? Make sure the support is even around the entire mattress by pushing in with your hands and checking to see if any on spot is softer than another.

The best thing to do when purchasing mattress set is to find a reputable company or salesperson that you trust to give you the correct and honest information.