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Is it Worth Replacing a Mattress if You Don’t Replace the Box Spring?

By Jeff Frank


Is it worth replacing a mattress if you don’t replace the box spring? Both are the same age.

August 26, 2020


There is no reason to replace the box spring (or foundation) in most cases unless you just can’t stand having mis-matched fabrics hidden beneath the bed covers..

Except for the most expensive brands, almost all mattresses are now sold with foundations rather than box springs.

A foundation is simply a plywood box covered with a little foam and fabric.

  • Its primary purpose is to raise the level of the mattress to a height that is comfortable for most people.
  • It is very difficult to damage the structure of a foundation.
    • The fabric may get torn or dirty over time, but the functionality should not be diminished.
    • Foundations do not get softer over time or become less comfortable.

Box springs are basically plywood boxes with very strong springs in place of the foundation’s plywood top. They are typically way overbuilt for the amount of weight they support.

It is extremely difficult to break a box spring or to wear it out.

Prior to the popularity of platform beds (beginning in the 1970s) mattresses were often too thin or soft to be comfortable when placed on a flat surface like a floor (or a platform bed.)

That has changed. Almost all mattresses are now self-supporting and can be used without a foundation or box spring.

Bed frames, foundations and box springs are primarily cosmetic. They are used primarily to raise the height of the mattress to the level most people prefer.

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