What Are Slat Beds?

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You have one of two choices when buying slat beds for your new mattress. Box springs are the alternative to slatted bed bases. Advantages and disadvantages lie in both choices. If you have a slatted bed base, you can save money on your next mattress purchase because there will be no need for a box spring.

Difference Between Slats and Box Springs

  • A slat bed is a bed frame that has built-in support in lieu of a box spring. The difference lies in the frame. A frame without slats that is designed to hold a box spring will not have any support other than a mid-beam. The box spring rests on the outer edges of the frame, which then provides all the support to the mattress. A slat bed, however, has support beams that run parallel to the head and foot of the bed frame. The mattress can be placed directly on top of the slats, which provide the same type of support as a box spring. The money saved on a box spring can be used to purchase a better quality mattress.

Types of Slat Beds

  • Slat beds are commonly seen in bunk beds, daybeds, futons and various other kinds of bed frames. Some beds have aluminum or wooden slats that are welded or screwed into the bed frame. These slats are known as fixed slats. Most other kinds of slats are referred to as flexible slats, which are interchangeable in the event one breaks and the slats must be replaced. If you are buying a slatted bed base for a children's room, it provides more storage space underneath the bed. But unlike a box spring bed that can absorb some shock because of the spring design, slats will crack if children jump excessively on a bed.

Fixed or Flexible

  • Fixed slats are the more common of the two slat bed bases. The slats do not move from the bed frame. A standard spring mattress works fine on a fixed slat bed base. Latex and foam mattresses, however, are better suited for a flexible slat base because the mattress can form to the slats, providing more give and support with this kind of base.

Types of Wood Slats

  • Slats are made of different types of wood that range in cost, flexibility and strength. Pine is the most cost effective and common type of wood used in slats. Birch wood slats cost slightly more but are stronger and provide a sense of flexibility in the wood, which can prevent it from cracking. Pine wood comes in many different species that range in price and durability as well.

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