Do Box Springs Wear Out?

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. [Read our full health disclaimer]

Updated on February 16, 2023

The comfort and longevity of your mattress and your good night’s sleep heavily rely on your mattress’s foundation quality. Now the question: does a box spring wear out? Yes, they do. Over time, the components of your box spring will wear out causing sagging and uneven surface.

One typical mattress foundation is the standard box spring. Depending on the box spring quality, it can last more than ten years. Keep reading because we’ll discuss more in detail how long does box spring last and how to protect your mattress and the ensuing sleep quality.

What Is a Box Spring?

A box spring is a support system for your mattress designed to be the same size as the bed. It’s built of a wooden frame that is filled with a steel grid or springs and wrapped in fabric. You put the box spring directly under your mattress to provide support.

white bed linen on bed

The box spring is designed to serve several purposes:

  • Providing underlying mattress support.
  • Lifting the mattress up to a more comfortable height
  • Protecting the mattress by playing the role of a shock absorber.
  • Improving the airflow, helping to keep the mattress cooler.

Box springs provide support, but they also act as a shock absorber from the mattress itself. This is a useful characteristic for innerspring mattresses, but it can damage memory foam mattresses. A memory foam mattress that lacks the rigid structure of an innerspring mattress is recommended to be used with a quite solid support base like a platform bed.

Over ten years ago, a box spring was basically a must when you bought a new mattress. However, nowadays, whether you buy a box spring or not is up to you. You still need to purchase box springs for certain mattress types, but for others, you don’t.

Generally, the phrase “box spring” refers to the standard design that in fact actually uses a metal grid or springs surrounded by a metal or a wooden frame.

Type of Box Spring

The best bed frames and mattresses come in numerous different configurations, and some of them require certain features that only a specific type of box springs has. Basically, there are four types of box springs, and they all are available in standard, low-profile, and ultra-low-profile box spring heights:

  • Zero Deflection Box Spring These are the most common box springs. Zero-deflection box springs provide strong, unyielding support, and their advantage is that they are compatible with almost all mattress types. These box springs are typically built out of wooden slats, but in some of the newest boxes, they’re built out of steel.
  • Coil Box Springs These box springs are the most traditional ones. Coiled box springs are built out of wire coil springs and wood, they’re creed to bounce and conform, and at the same time, coil box springs provide even support for your mattress. This type of box springs is best for innerspring mattresses.
  • Semi-Flex Box Springs This type of box springs offers a combination of flex and support somewhere between the previous two kinds. Semi-flex box springs are built out of a strong metal grid and wooden frame. If your mattress is large and heavy, or you own a latex or memory foam mattress, this type of box springs is the perfect support for your mattress.
  • Split Box Springs As the name suggests, this type of box springs is divided into two parts for making their moving much easier and are the best choice for people who own large queen or king beds. These box springs need a bed frame with better central support.

So, Do Box Springs Wear Out?

Throw Pillows On Bed

The answer to this question is a big yes. You may not think of it because box springs are hidden under your mattress, but you need to keep in mind that your box spring does wear out. It’s essential to look for indicators of box spring damage, as a box spring that is worn out can cause your mattress to sag prematurely.

Box springs are an important part of any bed setup, providing support to your mattress and absorbing motion while you sleep. Over time, however, box springs can wear out just like any other piece of furniture. On average, box springs last 8-10 years before they need to be replaced.

The stress that box springs take over the years can impact the wooden frame, the coils, and the fabric covering. As these components start to wear out, it can cause sagging or unevenness in your mattress which can lead to a lack of comfort and support when sleeping. It is important to check your box spring regularly for signs of wear and tear so that you can replace it as needed. If you notice any sagging or unevenness in your mattress, it may be time to invest in a new box spring.

Wood Frame

The wooden frame of a box spring is an important factor in determining its quality and longevity. Higher-end box springs are typically framed with hardwood, such as oak or maple, which can last for several years. This type of wood is strong and durable, making it ideal for supporting mattresses and providing a stable foundation.

Mattress with wood bed frame

On the other hand, less expensive box springs are usually framed with plywood, which is not as sturdy or long-lasting. Plywood can start to deteriorate in as little as two years, so if you’re looking for something that will last longer than that, it’s best to invest in a higher-quality frame.

When shopping for a box spring, it’s important to consider the type of wood used in the frame. Hardwood frames are more expensive but they provide superior support and durability compared to plywood frames.

If you’re looking for something that will last longer than two years, then investing in a higher quality frame is definitely worth it. Additionally, make sure to check the warranty on any box spring you purchase; some manufacturers offer warranties on their products that cover damage caused by normal wear and tear over time.

Box Spring Coils

The coils in a box spring are an essential part of the mattress support system. They absorb most of the shock that occurs when there is movement on your mattress, making them an important factor in how comfortable you sleep.

Over time, these coils can become worn out and lose their ability to provide adequate support. This is usually the reason why a box spring is past its prime and sagging.

a display of mattresses in a store

Replacing the coils in a box spring is not always easy or cost-effective. It requires taking apart the entire box spring and replacing each individual coil with new ones. Depending on the size of your bed, this could be quite a laborious task.

Additionally, it may be difficult to find replacement coils that match your existing ones exactly, so you may need to buy a whole new set of coils for your box spring. In any case, if you notice that your box spring is sagging or not providing enough support, it’s likely time to replace the coils inside it.

Fabric

The fabric covering your box spring is an important part of its construction. It helps to protect the coils and keep them in place, while also providing a comfortable surface for you to sleep on. Over time, however, this fabric can become worn and torn due to frequent moving of the box spring, broken coils, or repeated pressure on the box spring. This can cause the fabric to tear and eventually need replacing.

If you notice any signs of wear or tear on your box spring’s fabric, it is important to take action right away. Replacing the fabric can help prevent further damage from occurring and ensure that your mattress remains comfortable and supportive for years to come.

You may want to consider investing in a new box spring cover as well, which will provide additional protection against wear and tear. Taking these steps now can save you money in the long run by preventing more costly repairs down the line.

Buy Box Springs Or Something Else?

When it comes to deciding whether you should get a new box spring or something else, the answer is not a simple one. It really depends on your individual needs and personal preferences. Generally speaking, most mattresses will work just fine on a box spring, but some mattress manufacturers may recommend using a platform base instead.

This could be for marketing purposes to encourage you to buy their accessories, but it could also be due to genuine concern that their mattress may not perform optimally on an old box spring.

white throw pillows on white bed

If you are considering buying a new box spring or something else, it is important to do your research and consider all of your options. You should look at the type of mattress you have and what type of support it needs in order to perform its best. Additionally, consider the size of your bedroom and how much space you have available for the new base.

Finally, think about your budget and how much money you are willing to spend on this purchase. Taking all these factors into account can help you make an informed decision that will ensure your mattress performs its best for years to come.

Do I Need A Box Spring Replacement? How do I know if my box springs are worn out?

If you’ve decided you want to stick to a box string as the foundation for your mattress, the real question is when you should get a new one. Keep in mind that time isn’t always the best sign. High-quality box springs can last up to 20 years or even more. On the other hand, low-quality options can last several years. On average, you can expect your box spring to last approximately 8 to 10 years.

With only a quick look at your current box spring, you can get an idea about its current condition. Some indicators of damage or other problems include:

  • Squeaking noises can be a sign of weak or loose joints.
  • Bowing or sagging.
  • Metal coil springs that are over ten years of age.
  • Broken or bent steel grid.
  • Fractured slats.

You might need to remove the protective cover from the bottom of the box springs in order to inspect the slats and other internal parts. Pull out the staples that keep the cover in place to check inside. If everything looks okay, you can put the cover on again with a staple gun.

A good rule of thumb is when you buy a new mattress to also buy a new box spring as well. Your old box spring might look fine, but it’s not always easy to see the signs that a box spring is worn out. Additionally, your old box spring may last just several years if it’s on the older end. If you replace the box spring and the mattress together, you can maximize the lifespan of your new mattress.

Ways to Extend the Lifespan of Box Springs

It’s essential for your box spring to remain comfortable and clean for as long as possible. With minimal maintenance and care, you can extend the lifespan of your box spring.

white bed linen near brown wooden door

Here are some tips on how to extend the lifespan of your box springs:

  • Use an organic protector for the mattress to make sure that you have a healthy sleep environment. The mattress cover will protect your bed from dead skin cells, spills, sweat, allergens, and dust mites. They are quite simple to find, and you can buy them on Amazon, for instance.
  • Change and launder your bed sheets regularly, at least once per week.
  • Regularly vacuum the felt cover of the box spring, moreover if the cover can be removed launder it.
  • Don’t eat in your bed. Crumbs might accumulate in your mattress, and your box springs will become a favorable environment for bacteria to breed.
  • Rotate the box spring every 2 to 6 months to minimize your body impressions and to contribute to even wear.
  • No jumping on your bed. The springs will deteriorate and collapse faster.
  • Air out the box spring in direct sunlight every couple of months. This way, you’ll disinfect your box spring and decrease humidity.

If you follow these simple precautions, you’ll drive out dirt, bacteria, and dust away. They’ll always help promote a healthy and clean sleeping environment, at the same time extending the lifespan of your box spring.

Alternatives to Box Springs

Instead of box springs, you can choose to use different support systems as a mattress foundation, such as:

  • Bed Foundation Bed foundations feature a metal frame or wooden frame. However, they don’t include the coil springs found in box springs. Just like box springs, a bed foundation can be used together with a bed frame in order to provide maximum support to your mattress, or you can just put it on the floor.
  • Platform Bed This mattress foundation is built of a slatted wooden or metal frame, together with legs and support bur on the center to lift your mattress. These mattress foundations can also come along with posts, headboards, and other features that add to the decor of your bedroom. You don’t need box springs or an additional foundation if you use a platform bed, but make sure that the slat dimensions are suitable for your mattress.
  • Adjustable Bed These beds can be elevated or lowered at your foot and head. This enables you to customize the angle of your sleeping postures. Some of the adjustable beds allow for every side to be adjusted independently, which is a very good option for partners with different angle preferences. Just like platform beds, adjustable bases can support your mattress without needing a foundation or box spring.

What To Do With Your Old Box Spring

When it comes to disposing of an old box spring, the obvious answer is to either throw it away or chop up the wood for other projects. However, there are many creative ways to upcycle your old box spring and give it a new life. With a bit of imagination and some basic tools, you can transform your old box spring into something entirely new.

multicolored wood pallet

For example, you could use the wood from the box spring to create a headboard for your bed. You could also use the springs themselves to make a unique piece of wall art or even a hanging planter. If you’re feeling particularly crafty, you could even turn your old box spring into a bench or coffee table. The possibilities are endless! With some creativity and effort, you can easily find ways to repurpose your old box spring and give it a second life.

FAQs

A Few Words Before You Go…

In the end, we can say that just like your mattress, your box spring can wear out over time. As we said, most box springs will last anywhere between 8 to 10 years. If you notice that your box spring starts squeaking, sagging, or leaning on one side, it may be time to buy a new box spring.

Article Sources

  1. Sundquist, A. E. (1941). Better buying springs and mattresses. https://rex.libraries.wsu.edu/esploro/fulltext/report/Better-buying-springs-and-mattresses/99900501520001842?repId=12332555840001842&mId=13332952250001842&institution=01ALLIANCE_WSU
  2. Habel, K. L. (1979). Cue sheet. Mattresses. https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/91363/VCE_MK_483.pdf?sequence=1
  3. Garfin, S. R., & Pye, S. A. (1981). Bed design and its effect on chronic low back pain—a limited controlled trial. Pain, 10(1):87-91. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/030439598190049X
  4. Barner, L., Herbst, J., O’Shea, M., et al.,(2021). Mattress Recycling Scoping Study. https://eprints.qut.edu.au/213747/
  5. Jacobson, B. H., Wallace, T. J., Smith, D. B., & Kolb, T. (2008). Grouped comparisons of sleep quality for new and personal bedding systems. Applied Ergonomics, 39(2):247-254. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S000368700700035X
Bree Taylor - Lead Editor

Lead Editor

Bree is an interior designer with a passion for helping people improve their sleep quality.

She specializes in creating comfortable and functional bedroom spaces that promote a good night’s rest.

When she’s not testing mattresses or helping people get the best rest possible, Bree loves to travel and explore new cultures.

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