Most bed frames tend to give out quickly after a few years or even just a few months of use. So, when the crack of a slat from under your bed awakens you from your peaceful slumber, you know that you need to replace bed slats with plywood as soon as possible. Is replacing slats on the bed difficult?
Replacing slats on the bed isn’t too difficult. For metal bed frames, some of the things you need are a drill and metal brace brackets. As for wooden slats, some of the materials you need are a strong carpenter’s glue and plywood.
Read on to know more about replacing slats on the bed.
Replacing Slats on Bed
Replacing slats on a bed is not so hard. Some of the materials you need for wooden slats are strong glue and plywood. As for metal bed frames, some of the things you need are a drill and metal brace brackets.
How to Replace Bed Slats on a Twin-Size Bed
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to replace bed slats on a twin-size bed:
- Remove Bed Covers and Mattress
- Buy a Plywood
- Measure Bed Frame Length and Width
- Plywood Installation
- Get the Floor Clearance Measurement
- Put Back Bed Covers and Mattress
1. Remove Bed Covers and Mattress
Start by removing the bed covers and the mattress. Then, remove the slats by undoing the screws or removing the nails.
2. Buy a Plywood
Buy a 3/4″ plywood from the local hardware store. The one good side of a 4′ x 8′ plywood will be adequate. If you do not have a truck to transport it in, you can tie it to the roof of your car. If you are hesitant to transport your plywood like this, you can usually pay the hardware store a $15-45 delivery charge to have them deliver it for you.
3. Measure Bed Frame Length and Width
Measure the bed frame’s length and width, and then cut the plywood accordingly. The measurements should be approximately 75″ x 39″. Measure the plywood’s center and mark the bad side with a big, bright X using a marker or a crayon.
4. Plywood Installation
Install the plywood. Then, fasten it to the bed frame using screws or nails to strengthen it further and reduce the noise made by the wood moving when the bed gains weight. When installing the plywood, ensure that the good side is facing up to prevent the bad side from picking or poking the mattress.
5. Get the Floor Clearance Measurement
Measure the distance between the floor and the bottom of the plywood. Mark your lumber using a speed square or book or the factory end of a piece of lumber.
Cut a 2×4 or 2×6 length of lumber, install it in the middle of the plywood, and rest it on the floor. It will serve as a support leg that will substantially increase the strength of the bed frame platform. Get someone to reach under the bed to hold on to the X while you either fasten screws or hammer some 3.5″ nails into it.
6. Put Back Bed Covers and Mattress
Put back the mattress and bedding, and your new platform bed frame is all set.
How to Replace Bed Slats in Full and Queen-Size Beds
For this procedure, you will need two sheets of plywood and a piece of 2 x 4 x 10′ lumber. The steps include the following:
- Measure Bed Frame
- Get the Measurement of the Remaining Gap
- Measure Floor Clearance
- Slide the Beam and Posts
1. Measure Bed Frame
Measure the bed frame’s width, which should be around 54″ wide. Cut the length of the two sheets of plywood and place one on the bed frame, tightly to the head end of the bed.
2. Get the Measurement of the Remaining Gap
Measure the remaining gap, then cut the second plywood to fit that gap. Cut the 2 x 4 x 10′ lumber to the bed frame’s length. This will provide a beam below the plywood in the center.
3. Measure Floor Clearance
Measure the distance between the bottom of the plywood and the floor, then subtract 1.5 inches. Cut two 2 x 4′ lumber pieces and fasten them to the 2 x 4′ beam. It should be 12 inches in from the head end of the beam and 24 inches from its foot end.
4. Slide the Beam and Posts
Slide the beam and posts underneath the bed, make sure they are positioned in the center. Fasten them with screws or nails through the plywood every 12 inches. Countersink the heads of the tapered screws to the mattress from getting damaged.
Replacing Bed Slats on King and California King-Size Beds with Plywood
The steps to replacing bed slats on King and California King-size beds are about the same as replacing Full and Queen-size bed slats. Except that the bed frame has a longer length and a wider width.
Plywood manufacturers provide a 54 PSF (pounds per square foot) plywood with a clear 36-inch span from the center post and the bed rails. This would be sufficient, but installing two beams and posts will enable the bed to handle more weight and abuse. This is particularly true if you have children who love to jump on the bed aggressively.
How to Fix a Bed Slat
Sometimes the damage on your bed frame isn’t so bad, but you need to replace the bed slats outright. If the crack on your slat doesn’t seem too serious but still serious enough to warrant attention, it is still possible to fix it yourself. All you’ll need to do is apply some strong carpenter’s glue and then provide the slat with adjustable support.
However, you cannot repair all bed frame problems with plywood, especially a metal bed frame. In this case, you will need to use a drill and employ metal brackets to support the slats. Below are the two methods for repairing two different types of bed frames.
How to Fix a Wooden Bed Slat
The steps for fixing a wooden bed slat include the following:
- Remove Beddings and Inspect the Bed Frame
- Apply a Strong Carpenter’s Glue
- Place Additional Support
- Measure the Crack on the Bed Frame
- Make Holes in the Plywood
- Add Support Legs
1. Remove Beddings and Inspect the Bed Frame
The first step is to remove the beddings, mattress, and box spring. Then, inspect the bed frame for cracks and find out if there is any other damaged part aside from the bed slat. You may need a screwdriver to disassemble the bed now or when you start doing repairs.
2. Apply a Strong Carpenter’s Glue
Inject a strong carpenter’s glue on the crack of the bed slat and smear it on the cracked portion. Carpenter’s glues are explicitly made for repairing wood materials. Depending on the break’s location, you will need a bar clamp to hold onto it while the glue is drying. Tightly place the bar clamp onto the bed frame and leave it there overnight.
3. Place Additional Support
You will need to give the broken bed slat additional support to provide it with a support structure. Do this by installing either plywood or an easy-to-install support leg.
4. Measure the Crack on the Bed Frame
Measure the length of the bed frame’s crack, and then add 6 inches to the measurement. Once you have finished measuring, cut a piece of plywood using a miter saw. If you do not have any plywood, you may also use scrap wood as a substitute.
5. Make Holes in the Plywood
Use a drill to make holes in the plywood. Leave a space of at least 2 inches between each hole. Next, apply glue to one side of the plywood and place it on the crack. Use wood screws to fasten the plywood on the bed frame crack.
6. Add Support Legs
Add a support leg to the repaired bed slat. Use a screwdriver to install it, and then extend it to the desired height. The metal construction of the support will add durability and stability to the wooden slat. At the same time, the nylon bottom will protect the floor from scuffs.
Again, replacing slats on a bed – how to do this? It’s quite easy to replace slats on the bed. Get your drill and metal brace brackets if you have metal bed frames. Meanwhile, have your strong carpenter’s glue and plywood ready if you have wooden slats.
How to Fix a Metal Bed Slat
Here are the steps for fixing a metal bed slat:
- Examine the Crack
- Fit Metal Brackets to the Broken Slat
- Install Metal Brackets
1. Examine the Crack
Examine the location of the crack. If necessary, bend the metal; use a rubber mallet for making small bends.
2. Fit Metal Brackets to the Broken Slat
Fit straight metal brackets to the broken bed slat. Select the size of the metal brace corresponding with the slat. Mark the places where you will need to make holes and drill through the marks.
3. Install Metal Brackets
Install the metal brackets to repair the broken portion of the bed slat.
Metal brackets are resilient enough to repair your bed slat. But you may want to add a support leg to give the slat more stability and durability.
Also, as mentioned, the nylon bottom will protect your floor from scuffing. Install it using a screwdriver and extend it to the specified height you require.
How to Replace the Metal Bracket Joints on Bed Frames
Antique beds usually encounter problems with their bracket joints, which tend to loosen after the bed has been used for several years. If you want to fix the bed frames of a bed experiencing joint problems, you will need to replace its metal bracket joints.
Here are the steps:
- Remove Existing Brackets
- Repair Loose Joints
- Reassemble the Bed Frame
1. Remove Existing Brackets
To replace the metal brackets on your bed, the first thing you need to do is to remove the existing brackets. Using a screwdriver, remove all of the metal brackets installed at the four corners of the bed frame.
2. Repair Loose Joints
Next, tap the bed frame joints with a rubber mallet to find out if they are loose. If there are loose joints, they will need to be repaired.
Apply wood glue to the loose joints and attach the glued joint tenons. Should the joint be too loose, attach the wood tape to stabilize it. Remove the tape once the glue dries. Using carpenter’s glue could take at least an hour to dry, depending on the glue’s formula.
3. Reassemble the Bed Frame
For the last step, use a screwdriver to reassemble the bed frame. Attach the metal brackets with wood screws tight enough so that the joints will not squeak.
Alternatives to Bed Slats
If you decide that bed slats aren’t worth the hassle of repairing or replacing them, there are a few alternative bed frames that you may want to try out.
These are the following:
- MDF Sheets
- Metal Mesh
- Planed Softwood
- Reclaimed Timber
1. MDF Sheets
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) sheets are sometimes used in place of bed slats. Just cut pieces of the MDF sheet as wide as the slats. Then, place them in the same position between the side rails.
Butt together adjacent pieces to leave no gaps. Alternatively, screw the sheets into place. Compared to slats, MDF sheets are firmer and less springy. However, they do add weight to the bed.
2. Metal Mesh
The base of metal beds is usually made of metal mesh. They come in a variety of sizes, from fine to broad. The ends of the mesh wires are generally sealed into the frame to ensure safety.
Beds made in centuries past, such as the Shaker beds, usually had their mattresses supported by ropes. The side rails were made from thick wood thicker than modern bed rails to endure the rope tension.
The ropes needed to be very taut so that the mattress above them would not sag in the center. Rope beds, however, are custom-made and cannot be easily reproduced by non-professionals. A hammock bed also uses ropes (as well as fabric or netting) to support the sleeper’s weight.
4. Planed Softwood
Planed redwood or whitewood can also be used instead of bed slats. Cut the softwood timber to length and lay it down in place to where the slats would be. Using timber with a tongue and groove will make it fit tightly together. But a simple butt joint between straight-edged pieces will suffice.
You may space out the pieces to leave small gaps if you wish to. You can also screw or nail the pieces in place on the support laths of the side rails.
5. Reclaimed Timber
Reclaimed timber may also be used to replace bed slats. Just sand it down before using it to ensure a smooth and clean surface.
Conclusion – Replacing Slats on Bed [How to]
Replacing slats on the bed isn’t that difficult. For metal bed frames, some of the things you need are a drill and metal brace brackets. As for wooden slats, some of the materials you need are a strong carpenter’s glue and plywood.
A creaking bed frame is not a matter you should sleep on. Whether you opt to replace or repair your bed slats, once they start crackling, you need to get cracking before you end up sleeping on the floor.