What Is a Mattress Foundation?


Mattresses are typically sold as a set with a matching foundation, a mostly rigid support system that is designed to go directly below the mattress. There are a number of types of foundations, and it is always recommended to purchase a mattress and foundation together.


  • The main function of a mattress foundation is to fully support the mattress and absorb impact on the mattress. It helps to protect the mattress from unnecessary wear over its life.


  • The best mattress foundations are modular grids of square coils made with heavy-gauge metal, all in a wooden frame with supporting slats. Other types of mattress foundations are the all-wood posture box, the wood and metal semi-flex grid, high-density foam and a box spring.

Box Springs

  • Traditional box springs consist of many coils that provide support within a wooden frame, but sometimes these coils are not rigid enough. This can cause a mattresses to sag sooner than it would on a more rigid foundation.


  • The warranty on a mattress can be invalidated if it is not used on the proper mattress foundation. When buying a new mattress, check the terms of the warranty for foundation requirements.


  • Mattress foundations come in all the traditional sizes of mattresses. However, most crib mattresses are sold without a foundation, as crib frames have an adequate support system.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Anthony Easton
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