Futons were once a staple of college dorms, back when they were a simple frame and mattress. Most futons came with a metal frame and a solid-colored cushion. Fast forward to today, when futons have all sorts of variables, from different framing materials to covers to match just about any palette. Their versatility makes them ideal for just about any space. However, they do come with one common problem… after a while, they all sag in the middle.
So, what can you do if your futon sinks in the middle? The good news is that a futon that sags in the middle isn’t necessarily on its last leg and can be revived. You can do several things to help your sagging futon, including supporting it with a pillow or even bolstering it with extra padding inside the pad.
If you have a futon that sinks in the middle, don’t worry. It can be fixed. And, depending on how committed you are to the project, there’s most definitely a method that will help you give your futon new life. Does your futon sag in the middle? Or, are you interested in how you can perhaps prevent the inevitable sagging futon pad? Then this article is for you, so just keep reading.
Table of Contents
What Causes a Futon to Sink in the Middle?
Let’s get the wheels turning by focusing first on what actually makes futons sag in the middle. It might seem as simple as the mattress being worn thin, but in some cases, a sagging futon is a more complex issue than that. To find the proper solution to your sagging futon, it’s time to launch a full investigation into the root of the issues.
Once upon a time, futon frames were constructed of metal and sometimes wood. Although the wooden futon frames were generally much pricier than the metal ones. Depending on the material used in creating the frame, this can be the culprit of the sagging center of the futon.
To make futons as affordable as they are, inexpensive metals are used in the construction of the frame. This is great because it makes them easy to find, assemble, and even move when the time comes. Metal futon frames are also easy to keep clean. But, the metal used isn’t the sturdiest, so it can bend after extensive use. If the metal frame under the futon mattress is aging, it might be causing the mattress itself to sink in the center.
Just like metal futon frames, wooden frames have also evolved over time. Futon frames can be made of any of these types of wood:
These are the most common types of wood used in futon frames, although the list goes on and on. Wooden framed futons are both aesthetically pleasing and can also be durable if they’re maintained.
However, if a wooden futon frame isn’t properly cared for, or is made of wood that’s not as strong, then it can also struggle to continuously support the mattress, allowing it to sag in the middle. Wooden futon frames are also susceptible to water damage, which can cause the wood to warp and bend, again causing the center to sink.
Mattresses vs. Cushions
Futons are often so comfy, they become one of the most prized pieces of real estate in a home. Some mattresses can take all of the love, but others aren’t able to withstand the constant use. In some cases, the mattress or cushion can be the guilty party in the sagging.
When you picture a futon, the traditional big, fluffy mattress might come to mind. This was once the most commonly available option for futons, if not the only option. The mattress lies flat when the futon is in its bed form and conform to the frame in the seated position when the futon is up.
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These mattresses are separate from the futon frame, so they slide around quite a bit, allowing them to be open to a little more wear and tear. Also, these mattresses are more affordable, so they’re made from inexpensive materials, making them less durable. If your futon is frequently used, then the sagging could be from the mattress itself.
Related Article: How to Fix a Sagging Futon
Many furniture stores are carrying an upscale version of the traditional futon, and it resembles more of a sofa than futon. The cushions are actually attached to the frame itself. These futons aren’t as likely to suffer from damage due to the padding sliding around, but they can start to sag after lots of sitting action.
However, in many cases, these futon cushions are made of higher-end materials, so the sagging won’t happen as early on as it might with a mattress that’s separate from the frame.
How to Revive a Futon
More often than not, a futon is going to start sagging in the middle. For some futons, this is after years of use. For other futons, it might be within months. There are many factors that play into this, including the structure of the actual futon itself, as we just discussed.
The idea of reviving a sagging futon might seem like a big chore. But, it doesn’t have to be. It can be a fairly simple process. Let’s start with the easiest solutions. If you’re interested in a big project, we’ll save those for the end.
Keep it Simple
If you’re noticing a slight sag, you can intervene before it becomes a major issue. The following remedies are easy, and you can do them using things that you most likely already have. No additional tools or materials are required.
Air it Out
Giving the mattress fibers a chance to regain their strength and to bounce back from constantly being sat on is important to the longevity of the cushions. This won’t help with major sagging, but it can work with minor sinking issues. Unzip the cover and allow the mattress to lay flat for a few hours. If at all possible, do this overnight. Better yet, when you go out of town, let your futon mattress be free and lie flat all weekend! Futons deserve time off, too.
If your futon has a mattress that’s separate from the frame, try using a pillow under the spot that’s starting to cave. Usually, a firm bed pillow can provide enough support to remedy a sagging futon for a while, although this is just a Band-Aid for the time being. It can be a longer-lasting solution if you’re willing to switch out the pillow for a fresh one when the pillow starts to wear.
While the pillow method works pretty well, adding a bonus layer in the form of a thick blanket or even an additional foam pad can be helpful too. Inexpensive foam from a craft store is great for this purpose. But if you’re on a budget, try a blanket or two. Just slip the extra layers inside of the futon cover.
Just unzip the cover and put one layer on top of the other. If you’re going with two blankets or foam and a blanket, sandwiching the original mattress between the two works really well here. However, be sure that the mattress cover will still fit when you’re done. Also, using duct tape to keep the layers together will help to ease the mattress back into the cover, and to avoid any slippage for anyone sitting on the finished product.
And Then More Support
Adding a layer of padding with a pillow, blanket, or foam is a good enough fix on its own. But, if you want to go the extra mile, supporting the structure of the futon will help, too. As we mentioned, the bars, or slats, on the frame can also cause the appearance of a sinking futon.
Using something firm to help spread the weight around and give an added line of support is another way to remedy the sagging. Some futons have adjustable slats that can be slid into different positions. Doing this from time to time can add support.
Or, if your futon frame allows for it, add some extra slats. If your mattress is extra thick and fluffy, you might even be able to add a board underneath that fits the length and width of the frame where you sit.
Flip & Rotate
If everyone is sitting on the same spot on the futon, it’s constantly getting pushed down. The fibers inside of the mattress aren’t made from a super strength material that’s resistant to weight, otherwise, it would be a really uncomfy mattress. The insides of a mattress are made of something much softer, usually some sort of cotton blend.
There’s only so much springing back into shape that these materials can do. And once they’ve been worn down and they have no more spring left, they’re just going to continue to get flattered, causing the mattress to sag.
Every so often, flip your mattress over. You can flip it from front to back and even rotate it. Changing up the position of the mattress will allow different spots to wear evenly, so not one particular area is taking the brunt of the sitting.
An added bonus of this method is that it also prevents too much fading, or wear and tear, on the actual mattress pad. Futon mattress pads can get expensive, which can help avoid additional costs in this department.
Wrap Slats & Bars
Again, if the actual frame is to blame, tending to just the mattress won’t solve the problem. If your futon is sinking, and it appears that the metal frame is misshapen under the seat, then wrapping them can help.
If you’re not concerned with how the underside of your futon looks, using duct tape is a really simple, and inexpensive fix. Taping the bars will provide extra support and aid in preventing further sagging, but if you add more bulk with tape where the sinking is currently happening, it will help to prop that area of the mattress up more.
More Drastic Measures
If you’ve tried one of the previously mentioned tricks, or even a combination of a few, and you’re still seeing a sagging futon, then it’s time to kick it up a notch. But if you’re determined to save your futon, one of these tricks can help.
A Full Restuff
This can be done with a mattress that’s one piece, but it will also work with futons that have more than one cushion, like a sofa futon. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Upholstery foam or batting (the same size as your existing cushions or mattress)
- Cutting tool (for foam)
- Hot glue gun and hot glue (optional)
- Measuring tape
- Duct tape
- Trash bags
Restuffing cushions sounds like quite an undertaking, but it’s not too hard. If possible, it might be helpful to have someone around to lend a helping hand. Once you’ve got all the supplies ready, it’s time to get started:
- Unzip the cushions or mattress and remove the covers. This is a great time to wash and dry the covers if you haven’t done that in a while.
- Determine how thick the mattress or cushions are. You can measure the existing cushions if they’re not too saggy or matted. For extra dilapidated cushions and mattresses, you’ll want to measure the cover to see how thick you can make your new cushion.
- If you’re using thicker material, such as upholstery foam, cut it to be the same size as each of the existing cushions. If you’re using batting, you can wrap it around the existing cushions.
- Use duct tape to secure the batting or foam in place. Be careful not to apply the tape too tight, or else it will alter the shape of the cushions. If you’re not opposed to using hot glue, it can help keep the layers together while you’re taping and serves as an extra layer of security.
- Put each of the newly covered cushions inside a trash bag. If you’ve done an entire mattress re-stuff, then you’ll have to make a trash bag big enough by taping a few together. If there’s a certain way that your cushions fit inside the covers, the opening of the trash bag will need to go at the bottom of the cover. For a better visual, read through all the steps to see how this works.
- Once the cushions are inside bags, it’s time to get them back into the cover. This can be really challenging, but the trash bags will help. If you have someone on hand to help out, you’ll want them for this step. Carefully slide the cushions back into their covers, with the trash bag’s open end going first. The bags’ slickness will help ease the cushions into the cover. This is especially helpful if your newly fluffed cushions are thicker and have a tighter fit for the covers.
- Pull the trash bag out and off when the cushions are all the way into their cover. Voila! You can zip up the covers and put them back where they belong.
- But wait… if the open end of the bag is at the top so it can’t easily be pulled off, don’t fret too much. You might be able to reach in and carefully tear the bottom of the bag open for easy removal. Just don’t put anything sharp inside the cover, because it would be quite a bummer to cut the cover itself.
Add Extra Slats
This isn’t as complicated or time-consuming as restuffing or redoing the cushions and mattress, but it requires some tools and measuring, so it’s not an easy fix. There are slats on the market at some big box stores that can be purchased, then cut to fit your futon frame.
But, you can also DIY slats with just a few materials. Gather these supplies before you start. If you don’t have these at home, they’re available at any local home improvement or hardware store:
- Long, thin pieces of wood (at least long enough to fit the length of your futon frame)
- Duct tape
- Hammer and nails, or screws and drill (if the futon frame is wood)
- Measuring tape
Before you get started, clear the mattress or cushions out of the way, and give yourself plenty of space to work.
- Measure the length of your futon, and trim wood to fit. You’ll want to make sure they’re long enough to rest on the edges of the frame at both ends.
- Cut enough pieces to add as many new slats as you have room for. They should be evenly spaced throughout the seat’s frame.
- To secure the new slats in place, use a hammer and nails, or drill holes for screws. If the frame is metal, duct tape will do the trick.
- Replace the mattress or cushions and enjoy the newly supported seating area.