What Kind of Wood Can Be Used for Bed Slats?

Bed slats may need to be replaced after a few years of using a bed. When bed slats are not purchased from a bedding store, they may be cut from lumber available at most local home centers. It is less expensive to cut new bed slats from inexpensive lumber than to purchase bed slats from a bedding store.

Size

Bed slats may be cut from ¾ inches by 3 ½ inches lumber, which is available from most major home center stores. Do not use wood that is thinner than ¾ inches since it will not be thick enough to provide the support required for the box spring. Wood that is thicker than ¾ inches may be used for beds that require additional support based on the weight of the occupant of the bed. Wood that is less than 3 ½ inches wide may be used for bed slats. However, position the bed slats so there is ½ inches less room between the slats than the slats are wide. For example, 3 ½-inch bed slats should be spaced no more than 3 inches apart for proper support of the box spring. Measure the width of the bed and choose wood that is longer than the width of the bed and cut to size.

Species

Pine, cherry, mahogany or any species of wood can be used for bed slats. Pine is the least expensive. However, the species of wood chosen for bed slats may be chosen to match the wood the bed is made from.

Finish

Select wood that has been sanded or sand the wood to reduce splinters. The splinters may cut the fabric lining on the bottom of the box spring which can allow dust mites, fleas or other undesirable pests access to the inside of the box spring. The wood that is used for bed slats does not have to be stained or sealed buy you may finish the wood to match the bed. Be sure the finish is thoroughly dry before installing the new bed slats.

Placement

If the wood chosen for bed slats has a bow, or curve, place the curve so the high side is up. The weight of the box spring and mattress will help to push the curve down. If the curve is placed so the new slat dips, there will be less support and more strain on the box spring.