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Care Tips

The Modern Sleeper’s Guide To Using Old Box Springs With A New Mattress

    Last Updated
    September 16, 2022
    min read

    Box springs are a type of bed foundation that works best when paired with innerspring beds, but does that mean they can’t be used with other types of mattresses? Not exactly – box springs can still be used with memory foam and latex mattresses, albeit with some caveats.

    You could physically puncture your new mattress or void your warranty altogether when pairing a box spring with a new mattress. So, how do you know if you can use a box spring with your new mattress? Keep reading to find out.

    Can You Use An Old Box Spring With A New Mattress?

    Yes, you can use an old box spring with a new mattress. However, you need to know the risks and considerations when mixing and matching mattresses and foundations. 

    The first consideration buyers must be aware of is that matching a new mattress with an old box spring may result in subpar support. As we mentioned earlier, box springs tend to deteriorate over time, which means that they stop providing the same level of support after a certain number of years. If this is the case with your box springs, you won’t be getting the maximum value from your purchase.

    Box springs are used less and less. Platform bed frames are becoming a popular alternative as they provided additional support and are more widely compatible. See our guide on box springs vs platform bed frames.

    Purple offers platform bed frames that is light weight, sturdy and provides storage space.

    Shop Platform bed frame

    Can You Replace A Mattress Without Replacing The Box Spring?

    Yes, you can replace a mattress without replacing a box spring, but there are a few things to be mindful about. Namely, different beds require specific foundations – not all mattresses are compatible with a box spring base. 

    Unfortunately for many box spring owners, there is no hard and fast rule for replacing your old springy foundation. Instead, you’ll have to decide on a case-to-case basis.

    When To Replace The Box Spring

    When purchasing a new mattress, you’ll want to check with your mattress manufacturer. Newer mattresses often void the warranty if a box spring is used. 

    When Not To Replace A Box Spring

    Fortunately, you don’t always need to spend a few extra hundred dollars on a new box spring when buying a new mattress. 

    If your new unit is the same size and make as the old one, you probably won’t have any issues reusing your old bed foundation. Furthermore, you’re less likely to need a new foundation when buying a new innerspring mattress versus foam ones.

    However, it isn’t easy to generalize about different mattresses since every manufacturer has its own guidelines for usage. Check with your specific retailer about whether you can keep your old box springs or not.

    Do You Have To Buy Box Springs When You Buy A New Mattress?

    It is best to check with your mattress manufacturer. For a modern mattress, box springs are typically subpar compared to other foundations because they’re generally less supportive. Most buyers are better off with platform beds, slatted bed foundations, bunkie beds, or even simple bed frames. 

    How Do I Know If My Box Spring Is Worn Out?

    Despite their supposedly durable metal inner coils, box springs still wear out over time. So, how do you know if it’s time to replace or upgrade? Fortunately, there are a few easily identifiable indicators. 

    Here are a few significant signs your box spring has worn out.

    Your Bed Is Squeaking

    Old box springs create squeaking noises throughout the night – this is one of the most significant indicators that your coiled bed foundation is due for a refresh.

    As you sleep on a box spring, the coils naturally swell and warp with use. The same is true about the wooden outer box. The metal and wooden inner structures of the bed rub together to create a grating, squeaky sound whenever any pressure is applied to the bed. Consider swapping it out for another bed foundation as soon as squeaking starts.

    You’re Uncomfortable While Sleeping

    While comfort is subjective, waking up with aches and pains is never a good sign. If your box spring-based sleeping area is less comfortable than it used to be, your mattress and foundation are likely due for a change.

    However, sometimes the discomfort may be more about your mattress rather than the foundation it sits on. Examine both your box spring and mattress for any indications of wear, such as visible rips and tears, an uneven surface, or too much noise when pressure is applied.

    You’ve Been Using Your Box Spring For Almost A Decade

    Box springs are made from durable wood and metal, but that doesn’t mean they’re meant to last forever. But while the average lifespan of a box spring is 8-10 years, proper care and maintenance can make it last longer.

    So, if your box spring is still comfortable and gives you ample support after a decade of use, then there’s no reason to throw it out right away.

    There’s Visible Warping On Your Box Spring

    Bed foundations are supposed to provide a flat surface for your mattress, and any warping will impact the quality of your sleep. Warping refers to the sagging, bunching up, or sinking of the surface of your box spring.

    A few things can cause warping, and nearly all of them have to do with a broken inner structure. From broken slats to damaged coils and casings, your box spring may develop any number of issues over time. 

    Pro tip: Not all warping or sagging can be identified through visual examination alone. We recommend gently applying pressure all over the box spring to identify depressions or loose coils.

    You Can See External Damage

    Rips and tears aren’t just visually bothersome – they can also signify that your box spring is worn out. Even the most innocent-seeming tears can let dust and debris into the foundation, impacting ventilation and coil condition. 

    If you can see rips and tears on your box spring’s outer covering, you may want to consider sending it out for repairs or simply purchasing a new one. Likewise, you should also consider replacing your mattress foundation if you see any coils pushing harder than they should against the surface. This may be a sign that one of your metal coils is broken.

    Final Thoughts On Using Box Springs

    Box springs were a mainstay for many bedrooms for a very long time, and many modern consumers still include them in their sleeping setups. However, most modern mattress manufacturers now explicitly advise against using box springs because of their tendency to puncture foam beds.

    Other Sleeping FAQs

    When did they stop making box springs?

    Most manufacturers stopped making traditional box springs around 2002, although many retailers and companies have retained the name. This is primarily because the term “box spring” is widely used and familiar to the vast majority of consumers. 

    Today, most box spring variations don’t actually contain metal springs. Instead, they’re usually just a wooden frame with some kind of inner support structure. However, some models may use pocket springs instead of bare metal ones


    About the authors

    April Seifert

    April has nearly a decade of writing experience, with 3+ years specializing in sleep content. Her work has been covered by sites like BuzzFeed, Entrepreneur, and Money Under 30. She has an M.A. in Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism from Syracuse University and a B.A. in Communication Studies. As a self-proclaimed expert in all things cozy, she sleeps better at night, knowing her writing helps others sleep in comfort, too.