Beds with room underneath need something for the mattress to rest on—introducing, slats. These wooden bars lay beneath your mattress and add support as well as lift. However, there’s more than one type of slat you should know about before you go shopping for a new bed…sprung slat vs solid slat…
What Are Sprung Slats?
Sprung slats are gently raised or curved planks of wood that extend across your bed frame. They’re placed in two rows that go halfway across the bed, so they only work for beds with a center support beam.
They’re typically made from beech wood, which is flexible and has a natural curve to it.
You may also hear sprung slats called raised slats or posture slats, but sprung is the most common term.
Advantages of Sprung Slats
Sprung slats have several advantages—let’s break them down into individual points to make them easier to understand.
1. Mattress Longevity
When you lie on sprung slats, they bend into a flat position. This stops you from sinking too far into your mattress, helping lengthen its lifespan, keeping pressure off the springs.
During the day, the slats protrude upwards into the mattress and hold its inner components in place, preventing sagging. This can help keep your mattress in shape for longer, but keep in mind, it may only be marginally longer than its normal lifespan.
2. Pressure Point Relief
With sprung slats, as you sink into your mattress, you also sink into the slats. There’s no solid surface beneath you that puts pressure on your body—at least, there’s nothing as sturdy under you as solid slats.
Lacking a hard surface to sink into, your body falls safely into the mattress and there’s no stress or pressure on any of your joints, giving you pressure point relief.
3. Shock Absorbance
As your slats bend under the pressure of whatever is on the mattress, they work to absorb shock and therefore keep your mattress softer. The slats absorbing shock on the mattress also keep day-to-day wear and tear at bay.
With that said, be cautious about how much you put your slats through as they don’t last forever.
4. Mattress Softening
If you purchased a firm mattress you dislike, sprung slats help soften it a bit. As the mattress sinks into the slats, there’s some additional give to your sleeping setup for you to fall into in slumber.
You won’t find it monumentally changes the way your mattress feels, but a tiny bit softer is better than sleeping on an uncomfortably hard surface.
Disadvantages of Sprung Slats
Although the advantages are numerous, there are two disadvantages to take note of when sleeping on spring slats that may influence your decision when shopping.
1. Shorter Individual Slat Lifespan
Your sprung slats connect to a support beam in the middle of the bed, making them shorter and potentially weaker. Plus, as the slats under your body will bend further than the ones elsewhere on the mattress, there’s more strain placed upon those individual slats.
This can lead to you needing to replace a few slats more frequently than with solid slats. The weight distribution is uneven.
2. Bouncy Bed
Many people love a bouncy bed, but it’s not for everyone. While some bounce can help you get up in the morning if you have mobility issues, it can also disturb your partner.
The wood bending under you adds more bounce to your mattress, and they don’t sink slowly. When you move in the night the slats move with you and this may disturb your partner’s sleep, even with a memory foam mattress where all movement is localized to your spot.
What Are Solid Slats?
Solids slats run the width of your bed without a stopping point in the middle. They’re flat beams of wood, usually, a hard variety, that adds firmness to your bed. Solid slats may also be metal depending on the bed you purchase.
Advantages of Solid Slats
There are three main advantages of solid slats. One is that they’re incredibly easy to replace by yourself if one should break. Another advantage is their longevity. As the slats are entirely flat, the weight of the mattresses is evenly distributed, so you’ll avoid weak spots unless a specific slat is faulty.
The last advantage is how they add firmness to your mattress.
If you want an ultra-firm feel, a firm mattress with solid slats is the way to go. Alternately, if you have a mattress that’s a little too soft for your liking, pairing it with solid slats can toughen it up some so it’s more to your taste.
However, a sturdy, stiff mattress can be more than just a matter of taste. There are some health benefits to consider, too.
1. Health Benefits of a Firm Mattress
Heavier people can benefit from a sturdier mattress as they keep you supported far more than a more malleable mattress would. Bones are harder than fat or muscle so they take most of the pressure when you utilize a sturdy mattress, therefore decreasing the pressure on muscles and joints.
People who carry extra weight already suffer from more aches and pains than lighter people. One of these aches may be chronic back pain, which the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says you can ease when you sleep on a firmer mattress.
Obesity is already linked to sleep deprivation, so having a mattress that fits your needs and alleviates your pain can only help you get better sleep.
Disadvantages of Solid Slats
The main disadvantage of solid slats is that they let your mattress wear out faster than sprung slats.
Regardless of which type of mattress you use, it’ll wear down sooner or later. Memory foam mattresses wear out the fastest, but innerspring and hybrid mattresses are quick to follow.
As they age they mattresses sag, despite the supportive solid slats beneath them. Unlike with sprung slats, there’s no upward force jutting into them during the day, so there’s nothing to help them hold their shape for longer.
If you’re looking for slats that’ll add longevity to your mattress then sprung are the way to go, but keep one thing in mind; all mattresses wear out eventually and your solid slats have simply shown you the natural lifespan of your mattress.
Sprung slats may add a few more months, perhaps a year or two if you’re lucky, to your mattress’s life but in the end, it might not be a drastic enough difference to change slat types.
Sprung vs Solid Slats Mattress Compatibility
With all this talk of mattresses, you might wonder if solid and sprung slats work with all mattress types. Lucky, the answer is yes. You can use any mattress with any slats and they’ll be compatible.
Having said that, you’ll be interested to know that not all bed frames work with all slat types.
Bed Frame Compatibility
You can easily replace sprung slats with solid slats. There’s an area for them to slot into on each side of the bed frame, and they’ll sit on top of any center support beam running the length of the bed frame.
The same doesn’t extend to replacing solid slats with sprung. You need that central beam, and there has to be a slot on either side of it for your sprung slats to slide into.
If you’re considering switching from solid to sprung, you may need to buy an entirely new bed frame.
Can I Replace My Bed Slats?
Bed slats don’t last forever. They can sag over time, or the conditions in your bedroom may eat away at the wood and make it damp or mouldy. In these cases, you can change out all or just a select few of your bed slats, and there are many experts who’ll be willing to help you. Watch the video below to learn the basics of bed slat changing if you want to make this a DIY project.
Sometimes the type of slats on your bed matter as much as the mattresses you use. Learn about both types before you make your decision, and ensure you’re happy with your selection. Oh, and don’t forget to ensure your bed frame is compatible with your choice—unless you plan on replacing that, too. Keep the following in mind when looking at slat types:
- Is your mattress hard or soft?
- Do I need additional support?
- Can my bed frame handle both types of slats?
With those points in mind, the decision should be simple—but if you have any further questions, feel free to comment down below. Or, share any additional advice you have for other readers.