When To Replace A Box Spring

Getting a good night's sleep starts with your mattress and its support system. If you find yourself tossing, turning and struggling to find a comfortable position, it may be time to trade in your old box spring for something new. A handful of red flags let you know if your box spring has seen better days.

Bedroom in soft light colors. big comfortable double bed in elegant classic bedroom at home.
credit: ake1150sb/iStock/GettyImages
When To Replace A Box Spring

Purpose of a Box Spring

Your box spring creates a stable foundation for your mattress. Think of it as a platform to support your mattress and help distribute weight evenly. Without it, your mattress would gradually start sagging in different areas, turning it into an uneven, lumpy mess.

The supportive foundation helps your mattress stay comfortable and maintain its form. It also prevents premature wear and tear to your mattress. Without some form of stability, your mattress starts to sag and break down sooner than normal, so you're not getting the best return on investment. Box springs also add height, so it's easier to get in and out of your bed.

Is a Box Spring Necessary?

Your mattress needs some type of support system, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a box spring. In the past, box springs actually contained springs and added extra give to the bed. Most modern box springs are essentially wooden slats built into a box shape, although some have metal grids or springs in them.

You can get the same supportive effect from a platform bed with slats or a solid plank in place of a box spring. Some people opt for a platform bed because they prefer a bed that is lower to the ground.

Signs You Need a New Box Spring

You've decided you want to stick with the box spring foundation option for your mattress. So how do you know if you need a new one? Time isn't always the best indicator. Low-quality box springs may only last a few years, while high-quality ones can last 20 years or more. On average, you can expect about eight to 10 years out of your box spring.

A quick peek at your current box spring can give you some clues about its condition. Some signs of a problem include:

  • Squeaking, which can indicate loose or weak joints
  • Sagging or bowing
  • Steel coil springs that are more than 10 years old
  • Bent or broken steel grid
  • Broken slats

You may need to remove the dust cover from the bottom of your box spring to check out the slats and other internal parts. Remove the staples that hold the cover in place to look inside. If everything looks good, you can replace the cover using a staple gun.

A good rule of thumb is to replace your box spring when you replace your mattress. Your old foundation may be fine, but it's not always easy to spot signs of a worn out box spring. Plus, it may only last a few more years if it's on the older end. Replacing them together helps you maximize the life of your new mattress.

Warranty Considerations

Buying a new mattress? Check the fine print on the warranty to find out if you need a box spring. Most companies require some type of support system for the mattress. If you don't follow the restrictions, you may void your warranty without realizing it. A platform bed or other types of support systems may be enough to keep the coverage in place, but it's always a good idea to double check.

Using a box spring that's in good shape may help you sleep comfortably, and it keeps your mattress from breaking down prematurely. A quick visual inspection usually gives you enough clues to decide if it's time to swap out your old bed foundation for a new model.