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The problem with most bed frames

The Problem with Most Bed Frames

Putting your mattress on a bad foundation will wreck it and your back. It can make the mattress “hammock” into the bed slats, which is why so many companies have rules for slat gaps, supporting beams, and the number of legs.

The Solution: Ensemble Bed Bases

If you want something cheap, the answer is pretty simple: get an ensemble bed base. It’s cheap and solid, and a king ensemble meets all those requirements. It will be more solid than any assembled bed frame as it’s prefabricated in one piece (or two pieces for a king).
  • I sell a king-size ensemble base for $680. I’m not trying to say buy from me; I’m saying ring around and ask for around that price. If I can do that price, others can, too.
  • More independent places will probably have these prices. Harvey Norman-style places were upwards of $1000 the last time I checked.

Avoid Bed Frames with Flexible Slats

Any bed frame in a box that you assemble (in your price range) will not meet that criteria. Any bed frame with flexible slats should not be used, ever. It’s a major contributing factor to probably 70% of the mattress problems I encounter, and I have literally done exactly this all day, every day, for 13 years. This is probably a good time to educate people about the number one thing to avoid when buying a bed base. Seems like the right spot for it.

Real-Life Examples

Whenever a customer calls me and tells me that my mattress is dipping, I ask them to move it over and send me a photo of the slats. It’s always these flexible slats. I had a lady ring me the other day, and she was quite upset. She said, “I bought your mattress 3 years ago, and now it’s sagged, and there is a firm spot going down the centre. I have to sleep in the centre of the bed where it’s comfy, and my husband has to sleep on the lounge.” Immediately, I knew what the problem was. Then she said, “I’m really upset. Your mattress is dipping, and I can’t sleep. Why can’t I buy a mattress that lasts more than three years?” She was quite upset. I told her, “I can answer your question about why the mattress is dipping on the sides, and the middle is firm if you like.” She agreed, so I said, “Move the mattress off your base. Now, pick a bed slat, move your hand 25% of the way along the slat from the outside of the bed frame’s side rail, and push it down. Now, is it flexing down?” She said, “Yes, it’s flexing down.” Then I said, “Move your hand 50% along the slat to the middle of the mattress and push down. Is it flexing down?” She said, “No, it’s not moving. There’s no flex.” I said, “Can you see why the mattress is firm in the middle and soft where you lay now?” She agreed that it makes sense. I said, “If you put your mattress on the floor, you will have even support, and you and your husband can at least sleep properly tonight while you figure out how to get a proper foundation.”

The Root of the Problem

The flexible bed slat problem plays out in many ways, but it’s always the same problem. The source of the issue is companies importing bed frames from overseas. They may be large importers of bed frames, and some larger importers may order 40-foot containers of slats. The thinner the slat, the more you can get in a container. If you make them flexible, you can fit more in a container. It’s a profit thing. And honestly, I see this problem getting worse over the years.

The Best Option

The best option is rigid pine slats and hardwood side rails, head, and foot. Quokka does excellent bed frames. I’m going to use them for inspiration for building my bed frames. In my opinion, they have the best price-to-value ratio of any bed frame in Australia. I don’t know these people, but I gotta give credit where it’s due. They cost more than $600, but if you want a long-term, sturdy bed frame that you never need to worry about again, that would be the one I would get.

Take Action Now

If you are reading this and thinking, “I wonder if my bed frame has flexible slats,” then I think you know what you need to do. You only find out when it’s too late. Get ahead of this problem. Put some 4mm hardwood ply along the middle third under the hips. This is a good solution until proper support can be found. We carry these in our delivery vehicles. We install them for free when we see these flexible slats, and then we tell people that we have slowed down the damage that will occur, but they do need to buy a new base with solid slats.