8 Ways to Know if You Need a New Box Spring

Ways to Know if You Need a New Box Spring

If you’re finding it harder and harder to get a good night’s sleep because of your bed, you may want to take a look at your box spring. A bad box spring can lead to back and neck pain and ultimately lead to sleep deprivation. Still, to be certain your box spring is the problem, you have to know what signs to look for that indicate it needs to be replaced. 

If you’re wondering whether or not it’s time to replace your box spring, you’ve come to the right place. In the following sections, we’ll discuss why box springs go bad and the biggest 8 signs that yours has already. Hopefully, with our guide, you’ll be able to take a look at your own box spring with new eyes and decide whether or not you need to replace it. 

Why Do You Need to Replace Your Box Spring?

So before we get into all the signs that indicate you need a new box spring, let’s answer the question of why you should even replace yours in the first place. Does it really matter all that much if it’s a little bent or the fabric covering is ripped? Isn’t it usable as long as it’s keeping your mattress elevated? 

While you could use a damaged box spring, there are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t. Most of these reasons come down to the varying functions a box spring is meant to take. It’s not just for keeping your mattress elevated but for ventilation and weight disbursement as well. 

Below we’ve outlined the biggest reasons why you should replace a damaged box spring:

  • A bad box spring can damage your mattress: A box spring gives your mattress support so that when weight is put on it, it can be spread out evenly. If your box spring is no longer providing that support, your mattress’ lifespan will be shortened.  
  • Torn box springs can cause poor ventilation: The temperature of your mattress can actually play a big role in how well you sleep. You don’t want it to be too hot/cold or it could make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. The fabric covering most box springs allows for just the right amount of ventilation to keep your mattress cool but not cold. 
  • The lack of support can cause you physical problems: It’s not unheard of for people to think their mattress is causing them back problems when in reality it’s their box spring. If your box spring is slummed then you’re not getting even support across your body. This can lead to back and neck pain along with sleep deprivation. 

At the end of the day, you’ll not only be getting a better night’s sleep by replacing your old box spring, but you’ll also save a decent amount of money. You’ll save money by preserving your mattress for a longer period of time and on potential health care bills that can come when you begin having back and neck pain. 

Your Current Box Spring is Sagging 

If your mattress seems to sag inward when you lay or sit on it, it’s not getting the underlying support it needs. Many people assume that this is always a sign that the mattress itself is going out. They are, of course, disappointed when they replace it only to still experience the same sinking feeling. 

Replacing the mattress itself doesn’t always work because the sagging is often indicative that the box spring is wearing down and needs replacing. This is why anytime your mattress starts to sink in, you should remove it and take a look at the box spring. 

You want to look for any warping or sagging where there shouldn’t be any and see how the structure of the boxspring responds to light pressure. You can also listen for any strange sounds that might indicate the metal springs on the interior are going bad. 

Of course, we’ll note here that you should also take a look at the mattress itself as well, as you could have both problems if your bed is old enough. While there are some mattresses that can last an absurd amount of time if they’re properly cared for, most have a lifespan comparable to their box springs.

Your Box Spring is Making Funny Noises 

Is your box spring squeaking when you lay or sit on your bed? This is one of the first and most apparent signs that a box spring is about to give. Anytime you put pressure on it, you’ll hear creaking or a squeak kind of like the one you hear when a door with an old hinge is slowly opened. 

There are a number of reasons why your box spring makes these kinds of noises. In a lot of ways, the problem will correspond to what type of box spring that you have. If it has steel springs within it, they are likely the source of the problem. Likewise, a metal frame can also lead to these noisy issues.  

Another source that many people don’t really think about is the wooden panels within the box spring. These can swell over time and rub against each other producing and creaking that can be grating on the ears. 

Can You Fix a Squeaky Box Spring?

With an issue as seemingly minor as squeaking and creaking, you may be wondering if you can simply fix the issue with some WD-40, the way you would a noisy door frame. Well, the truth is depending on the extent of the problem, you may be able to fix it and avoid having to replace the entire thing–at least in the short term. 

If it’s the springs themselves that are getting worn down, you’re probably better off just replacing the whole unit when you can. At the same time, we know money can be tight and suddenly being hit with an expense like that can really throw off your plans. The quick fix below will temporarily fix the squeaking until you have a chance to get a replacement: 

  • Tighten up the bed frame: Overtime a bed frame can loosen up around the screws that hold it together from normal wear. You first want to make sure that everything is nice and tight so you can most accurately find the source of the problem. 
  • Find the squeaky spot: Sometimes you’ll know exactly where the source of the squeak is coming from, while other times you’ll need to gently apply pressure and move around the box spring until you find it. 
  • Rotate the box spring: If there’s really only one spot that’s squeaking, you should rotate the box spring so that it’s not on the side of the bed you sleep on. 
  • Place a small board over the spot that squeaks: An old highschool or college textbook will also work just as well. Just place whichever you chose over top of the part of the box spring that’s squeaking. When you place the mattress over it it should suppress the sound. 

Please keep in mind that this is a temporary fix to hold you over until you can replace the box spring itself. If you try this as a permanent fix it can potentially cause more damage over time. 

Your Box Spring Has Broken or Warped Slats

Sometimes the wooden slats on your box spring can become warped, leading to a sagging and less stable mattress. To check you simply need to take a look at the box spring itself or feel for depressions when putting pressure on your bed.  

Most of the time, broken slats will be relatively easy to spot. Warping on the other hand can be kind of tricky, depending on how warped it is. If you want to be really certain on a wooden frame you can use a level and ensure that there isn’t any slight warping. It’s also a good idea to apply some light pressure, as the warping may not be as visible until something presses against it.  

Your Box Spring is Over 8 Years Old 

Ideally, a box spring will need replacing every 8 to 10 years. If you’ve had yours for over 8 years chances are it’s not giving you the same amount of support it gave you in the past. Even if it does, however, it would be wise to begin looking into replacements as a precautionary action. It doesn’t hurt to at least have an idea of what you’re going to do when it goes out.  

Just remember that this is the average lifespan. If your box spring is over 10 years old, but it’s not really showing any serious signs of damage, you don’t have to rush out and replace it just because. 

There are a number of factors that will determine if your box spring lasts only eight years or potentially even passes ten. If it’s the box spring for a guest bedroom bed that only gets used a few times a year it’s going to last a lot longer than the one you keep in a kids room which gets jumped on occasionally. Just use your own common sense when deciding if it’s time to change. 

Your Box Spring Has a Damaged Grid

Over time the steel grid on a metal box screen will wear down, warp, and sometimes even break. Once that happens your box spring will no longer be able to provide the level of support it used to and it should probably be replaced. 

This kind of wear and tear usually occurs around that 8 to 10-year mark we mentioned before. The metal springs just aren’t as sound as they used to be and they no longer adjust appropriately when weight is applied to them. While the box spring will still be usable for a while, it will likely start to cause you back and neck pain.  

Your Box Spring’s Covering is Ripped 

Most box springs have a fabric covering that goes over their frame. That covering protects the interior from becoming filled with dust and debris and helps maintain a certain level of ventilation for your mattress.  

Too much debris gathering within the box spring can cause a wide array of problems. Depending on what’s getting in and what material your box spring is made from, it can lead to warping and other damage overtime. 

If you have an old box spring that actually has real metal springs inside it (most modern box springs don’t have springs at all) even more problems can arise. Depending on what’s getting through, you can have corrosion to the springs or they can be blocked from properly absorbing weight the way they’re supposed to. 

You’re No Longer Sleeping Comfortably

The boxspring itself isn’t always the only reason why it may need to be replaced. Our bodies change as we age and the type of mattress/support that best accommodates our needs may require some adjusting over time. 

This may simply mean changing your mattress, however, in most cases, it will also require you to change what you use to support your mattress. 

You’re Replacing Your Mattress 

Most sleep experts agree that when you change your mattress you should also change your box spring if it’s feasible for you at the time. Even if your old box spring is still usable, it probably won’t be providing the same level of support it was giving you in the past. This means less support for your new mattress and thus a shorter lifespan. 

That said, if your box spring is in good shape, it may not make that much of a difference and is by no means absolutely necessary. For example, if you’ve had to replace a mattress that was purchased with your box spring a year ago because of an unexpected problem or accident, chances are there wasn’t enough time for the box spring to get worn down. 

This is more for the case where you’ve decided to replace an old mattress that’s starting to wear out. Some mattresses can last up to 20 years, whereas box springs are only expected to be good for up to 10. If you’re replacing your mattress because it’s starting to cause you back problems, there’s a good chance that the box spring is also contributing to the problem.  

Things to Consider When Replacing a Box Spring

So, if you’ve read our guide and found that your box spring does indeed need to be replaced, what is your next step? Well, there are a number of things you should consider before buying a new box spring. You may be able to cash in on a warranty or you may find an alternative option like simple plywood slats. 

Before you replace your box spring, the following considerations will ensure that it’s the right option for you:

  • Do you have a warranty? Depending on the type of damage and it’s cause, your old broken box spring may be eligible for a warranty. This is especially good news if you really liked the feel of your bed before and don’t want to accidentally change it. Just keep in mind the damage usually has to be from normal wear rather than a sudden accident.
  • Do you actually want another box spring? Box springs aren’t the only game in town. In fact, many people have found that they can cut slats from plywood to the dimensions of their bed and use it to absorb the weight of the mattress instead. 
  • Do you want the same type of box spring? Now-a-days, most box springs don’t actually contain springs inside them at all. If you bought your old box spring a decade or two ago it may be quite different than those you find at the store today. You need to decide if you’re trying to get one just like your old one or you want to try something new.

If you like the elevation a box spring provides your mattress, alternatives like using a plywood base over slats probably won’t cut it for you. You may instead want to use your warranty (assuming you have one) or go in search of a box spring very similar to the one you’re used to for some level of continuity. 

So Really, How Do You Tell if You Need a New Box Spring?

If you know what to watch for, a bad box spring will give you plenty of notice when the time it needs to be replaced is coming around. It may make a perfectly good mattress seem like it’s beginning to sag or it may start making odd squeaking noises when you put pressure on it. Remember, if it’s over 8 years old, this is really par for the course. 

While a bad box spring will give off plenty of warning signs that it’s about to give or already has given, there’s really only one way to be sure it needs to be replaced. Examine the slates, the frame, and the springs themselves for any issues. Once you replace the unit itself, your body will get the support it needs and you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed and glad you took the time. 


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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