Adding plywood to your bed set-up was recommended by doctors to provide extra support to your body while sleeping. Health care professionals initially suggested the plywood bed because spring mattresses and box spring beds were sold as the primary type of bed set-up and did not provide rigid enough support.
Since then, many more mattress and bed types have been introduced and now cater to most people’s needs. Plywood can be added to a bed set up or be used instead of box springs.
The addition of plywood has received mixed reviews, but depending on what issue you’re trying to solve, it may be a decent solution. Using plywood under your mattress can work for some people.
It’s a cheap way to construct a bed set up that will give you decent support. Plywood can also help extend the lifespan of an old, worn mattress.
However, plywood sheets under your mattress can create mold and are more liable to breaking. In addition, the plywood will make your mattress less flexible and will not be easier to clean than a box spring bed.
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The Problem With Box Springs
Additionally, box springs add height to the bed for extra comfort and ease in getting into it at night.
However, box springs create as many problems as they solve. They often develop lots of crevices that invite dirt and dust to accumulate.
Additionally, they often lack a good foundation, forcing you to rely on an unsightly fitted sheet or covering. Finally, box springs can wear away over time, meaning they will no longer absorb shock and force.
Thus, your mattress must take all the pressure, and lumps or dips will form over time.
Advantages of Using Plywood Under Your Mattress
Plywood is relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to box springs. Using plywood can add support and structure to an old or worn-out mattress.
Mattresses are expensive, so the longer you can put off replacing them, the better!
Ease of Use
Adding a layer of plywood to your bed set is easy and requires little work. You can add or remove layers of plywood depending on what height you want your bed to sit.
Whereas box springs are fixed, and you cannot alter their height.
Some users find that adding a layer of plywood gives them the extra support they need and can help alleviate discomfort and pain.
Using a plywood sheet instead of box springs means you’ll have more space under your bed for storage. This is a massive bonus for those who live in smaller homes are need any room you can get.
Disadvantages of Using Plywood Under Your Mattress
Lack of Airflow
Adding an entire sheet of plywood or a few small sheets of wood under a mattress will stop any airflow.
This means that moisture can get trapped inside of your bed, especially if you live in a house prone to damp spots or if you live in a humid climate. The last thing we want to do is shorten the lifespan of your mattress, so making sure that it is well-ventilated is essential.
Preventing mattress flexibility might be one of the reasons to add plywood, but if you’re not looking for more mattress rigidity, this might not be the best idea for you. Plywood will make the mattress more rigid, which many users will find uncomfortable and may cause muscle aches.
The Plywood Will Warp
Plywood is liable to warp and bend over time, meaning it might not sit properly in the frame and become uncomfortable to sleep on.
Liable to Breaking
Plywood is not as strong or resilient as box springs, so if you have kids jumping on your bed, plywood might not be a great idea.
Difficult to Clean
If the difficulty in cleaning a box spring set up was one of the reasons you were looking for an alternative, plywood will not solve that problem. The plywood sheet will create even more gaps and areas for dirt to collect.
Additionally, depending on the finish of your plywood, it can splinter, which is not pleasant to wipe clean.
How to Use Plywood to Support Your Mattress
If you’ve considered all of your options and still think plywood is the right move for you, here’s how to do it:
- Use a minimum ¾-inch thick sheet of plywood. You should use plywood between 1 and 1.5 inches thick for strength.
- The type of plywood you use is less important than the surface of the wood. Use OSB or normal AB or BC softwood plywood. Note: particleboard is not strong enough.
- Measure the width of your bed, and purchase some plywood that can span that distance. You don’t necessarily need one big sheet covering the entire underside of the bed. A few pieces width ways is a more secure, easier option.
- Round the edges and sand. If you have an electric jigsaw, you can use this to cut corners into a semi-circle shape. Then, follow up with some sandpaper.
- If you don’t have a jigsaw, use an electric sander or some rough sandpaper to grind away at the corners. Then, once a round shape is formed, follow up with some finer, high-grit sandpaper for a cleaner finish.
- The entire surface of the plywood should also be sanded down to remove splitters. Sanding is a crucial step, as it will prevent your mattress from snagging against the wood, causing unnecessary damage to the mattress cover.
- Seal the wood. The surface needs to be sealed with either paint or varnish to prevent future splintering.
- Or, you can upholster the piece. Using some cheap upholstery fabric, spray adhesive, and a staple gun, wrap the plywood up like a parcel and secure it. You only need to upholster the top side of the plywood that will be in contact with the mattress; you won’t see the underside.
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What to Look Out For When Buying Plywood
If you’ve never been to a lumber yard or a hardware store before, buying wood can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know how to assess the quality.
Plywood is manufactured from many thin layers of wood glued together. When you look at a sheet of plywood side-on, you can see the different layers.
These work together to create a robust, rigid, and relatively inexpensive piece of wood.
Here are some signs of a bad piece of plywood:
- If the plywood is very warped and bent. It won’t provide a solid, flat base for your mattress and will not be comfortable. Stand up a piece and look at it from the side to check if it’s concave.
- If the plywood has a bad smell or appears to be moldy, you should avoid it. The wood may not be solid, and the odor will cling to your mattress.
- Bad plywood may appear unfinished, with many splinters, dents, and rough patches.
Here are some signs of a good piece of plywood:
- A great piece of plywood will be straight and scentless or only smell fresh wood. If you accidentally buy a bent piece of plywood, stores will sometimes offer an exchange, as some people won’t mind having a slightly warped piece if they plan on cutting it up into lots of pieces.
- It’s a good sign if the plywood has relatively soft, finished edges and a smooth surface.
- It’s probably acceptable plywood if it’s kept clean. You don’t want a sheet of wet, warped, dirty plywood that has been left out in the rain.
There are many types of beds out there, with one to suit your needs, regardless of what they are. Using plywood under your mattress is one of the DIY options out there to give your mattress extra support.
It’s a cheap solution that you can do very quickly on your own. Plus, if you ever replace your bed, you will have some plywood leftover that you can resell or reuse and build into something else.
A win-win! If you’ve considered the plusses and minuses of a plywood bed support, go for it; just bare ventilation in mind.
Lift up the mattress every so often so the mattress can breathe, and try not to let your kids have epic wrestle fights on your bed!
Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API