February 2016

Slatted bases on foam mattresses

One of the frequently asked questions is ‘Are your beds suitable for slatted bases?’.  The quick answer is, not without some modification.  This is not to say that they can’t be used to provide the night's sleep you expect, it's just that unfortunately slatted bases are usually not constructed in a robust enough manner for foam mattresses, which need a firm consistent base.  Foam mattresses ideally require a platform top or sprung edged base to provide the stated tension, ensure longevity and avoid dips or damage.


Origins Platform Base

There are two types of slatted bed base.

  1. Sprung Slats
  2. Solid Slats

Sprung Slats

This is where the slats are humped or arched.  You may have heard of ‘the humpback bridge’ effect where the mattress develops a central dip due to this.  This is where the pressure from the arch is too firm for the mattress.  The middle of the slats is the lowest point and the foam conforms to this shape.   Whilst a solid quality pocket sprung traditional bed can sometimes overcome this, a foam beds sole purpose it to mould and contort to the sleeper and surface.  Therefore even the highest quality foam and Latex mattresses will not just mould to the sleeper on top, but also, the gaps and arches beneath.  This is where unidentified dips or sags come from.  It is due to the pressure from the slats and hump to the mattress.  Sprung slats aim to emulate a pocket sprung edge but fall short of providing the benefits.  Our advice is to choose a pocket sprung edge rather than sprung slats.

Solid Slats

Lower priced bed frames tend to use solid slats.  The issue is to cut costs they provide the bare minimum slats to rest the mattress on.  We have seen Kingsize beds with 4-5 inches between the slats, which is far too big a gap.  These gaps allow the mattress to conform to the gap and the excess pressure it causes allows them to ‘dip’ through the gap.  This is not to say the mattress has dipped, more it has simply followed the shape of the base. We sometimes refer to this as ‘falling through’.

Sprung slats can create a ridge in the centre of your mattress
Sprung slats can create a ridge in the centre of your mattress
Solid slats can rip your mattress or cause lumps if they're not boarded over.
Solid slats can rip your mattress or cause lumps if they're not boarded over.

What can I do to prevent issues with slats?

Our advice is always to board over the slats, if possible. We have a guide here on how to do it.

If the base has sprung slats we would advise that the horizontal slats are boarded over.  We advise either MDF or plywood to do this.  Pegboard can also be used to aid ventilation, though bear in mind the weight of the mattress and what it is resting on.  If the mattress feels and looks too heavy for the material you want to board the base in it probably is.  Also, don’t forget to consider the weight with you on it as well!  The image shown is an example of how to do this, particularly on sprung slats to avoid the ‘humpback bridge effect’.

What’s the ideal base for a foam mattress?

The best answer is to go for a platform or sprung edge divan ideally.  This ensures a consistent surface and removes the issue of slats causing dipping or damage to your mattress.  Whilst a nice looking bed frame is a consideration when buying a new bed, you also have to weigh this up against the impact of certain slatted bed frames.  Particularly against your mattresses longevity, comfort and consistency.


If you need more help on working out which exact base will work with your mattress then please get in touch with us.  As a general rule of thumb, a solid platform top or divan base is far better than a cheaper slatted base. All of our mattresses are paired up with suitable matching bases in our shop, but we are always here to provide tailored advice where needed.

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