Purchasing a new mattress foundation can be a bit overwhelming. Most shoppers are familiar with traditional box springs and other foundations such as platform beds and slatted frames. You might even come across the term “bunkie board” while browsing.
A bunkie board is a 1 to 3-inch flat foundation, traditionally made with plywood and covered in fabric. Essentially, a bunkie board provides a sturdy solid platform between your bed and its base. In this article, we’ll look at some reasons why you should consider using a bunkie board with your new foundation.
Why Should You Use a Bunkie Board?
Originally, bunkie boards were made with one solid piece of wood to support the whole mattress. Today, bunkie boards are constructed with wood chips or strips to meet the desired length, width, or thickness.
Modern mattresses, such as memory foam beds and hybrid mattresses, do not require a traditional box spring. These beds sag and sink if they don’t rest on a solid, flat surface. Without the correct surface, you may experience back pain and other sleeping disruptions because your body isn’t properly supported.
If you do not have a solid foundation, you can use a barrier between a mattress and the frame. Bunkie boards are typically placed on top of mattress foundations to create an even surface for your bed. They come in a variety of sizes, so you’ll enjoy the comfort of your bed no matter its size.
Does Your Foundation Need a Bunkie Board?
If you have just purchased a new mattress, you might be wondering if you need to buy a bunkie board for your mattress foundation. In this next section, we’ll look at the foundations that require a bunkie board.
Memory foam and latex mattresses should not be placed on slatted foundations with slats wider than 2 to 3 inches. Placing a bed on the wrong foundation will not support the sleeper and could cause your mattress to become damaged quickly.
It’s best to measure the slats on a slatted foundation before you place your bed on it. If you want to forgo this process altogether, you should purchase a bunkie board. These bases will keep your body supported and prevent your bed from sinking.
Solid foundations already have a solid surface, so they do not require a bunkie board. However, if you want to add extra height to your bed, a bunkie is a great way to lift your mattress without causing damage.
Bunkie boards also make your mattress feel firmer by providing a more rigid support. This is helpful for sleepers with beds that are too soft and need a more sturdy sleeping surface.
Box springs are traditional foundation types, but they do not always provide a reliable base for memory foam or hybrid mattresses. These foundations are suited for older innerspring beds, while memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses pair better with solid or slatted foundations.
If you’re dead set on using a box spring with your new mattress, it’s best to place a bunkie board on top of it to create a solid surface.
Before using a bunkie board with your box spring, you’ll want to check your mattress warranty agreement. Some warranties prohibit the use of a box spring with your specific mattress.
Can I use a bunkie board with an adjustable base?
Bunkie boards are not good for adjustable bases because they cannot fold. Placing a bunkie board on an adjustable frame will prevent the frame from bending properly. It’s better to use bunkie boards with a slatted or solid foundation to keep your mattress in good condition.
How expensive are bunkie boards?
Bunkie boards are budget-friendly, and you can expect to pay between $50 and $150 for a foundation. It’s important to note some bunkie boards might be a bit more pricey depending on their size. Additionally, solid wood bunkie boards are more expensive than bunkie boards made from compressed wood chips or particleboard.
Can I use plywood instead of a bunkie board?
Plywood is an excellent substitute for a bunkie board and is a more affordable option for some sleepers. The plywood should be at least ¾ inch thick and should fit the exact size of your bed. To avoid splinters and punctures, wrap the plywood in a piece of fabric.
It’s worth noting a bunkie board has a cleaner look than unfinished plywood and is less likely to become damaged. Plywood chips easily and may snag on your bedding or mattress. Bunkie boards are measured to fit your foundation and designed to protect your bed, so they are a safer purchase in the long run.
Can I use a bunkie board by itself?
Bunkie boards are best paired with box springs, slatted or solid foundations to support your mattress and add height to your bed. Placing your mattress on the floor without a base will make it susceptible to bugs, dirt, and dust mites.
However, if you plan to place your bed on the ground, a bunkie board will create a barrier between your mattress and the floor surface.
How long does a bunkie board last?
Generally, a quality bunkie board will last for 2 to 3 years. Bunkie boards are long-lasting because they are made with solid wood.
Wood has more weight-bearing capacity than bunkie boards made of other materials. If you notice defects on your foundation like chipping, it may be time for a replacement.
It may be a great idea to invest in a bunkie board if your foundation has large slats or you need a solid base for your mattress.
Bunkie boards may provide better support than a traditional box spring. Though you may not need a bunkie board with a foundation, it is still a great way to make your sleeping surface extra firm.
Chris was a psychiatrist and neurologist with board certification in sleep medicine Clinical Associate Professor at the University of California. For over 10 years, he served and helped patients at Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital with their sleeping disorders.
After suffered from sleep disorders for years, Chris has been passionate about sleep health ever since. He wants to help others sleep better and wanted to make the world of sleep easy to understand for everyday people.