If you’ve done your research on memory foam mattresses, you’ll likely notice that one of the biggest pain points that is outlined online are the fact that foams wear down over time and can flatten.
A lot of consumers, and our readers, are then under the impression that coil spring mattresses and their innerspring ‘siblings’ and box spring bases don’t have this issue and last for decades without any sinkage.
However, this isn’t the case!
If you’re wondering whether box spring bases wear out, then you’re in the right place. We have a tonne of information on innerspring, pocket spring and coil spring mattresses and bases below, and go over how, why and how to tell if they’re wearing out.
That said, let’s have a look below at box springs and a few types of spring mattresses and a little about how they wear out.
The Design Case for Spring Mattresses
To start, box spring bases and pocket spring mattresses have decades of market experience under their belt. Or under their covers, rather.
They’re one of the more popular bedding material types out there, and until recently there wasn’t too much else to choose from when it came to a mattress. That is, until memory foam and polyfoam mattresses hit the market and changed everything.
These box springs and spring mattresses are generally designed with wooden frames as a base, and all of the springs are adhered to this frame. They’re often tied together by one big metal sheet that sits above all the springs and dips down as you sleep on it.
However, newer models have independently operable springs that offer better support for joints and don’t all move at once.
The coils in the mattresses do a few simple things, and these include;
- Absorbing your movement
- Supporting the back and joints
- Allowing the body to sink into specific zones in the mattress
- Keeping the comfort layers supported or suspended in the air
With those points out of the way, it’s not hard to see that these coil springs have to do a lot when it comes to support. And when they get old, brittle or less responsive, you’re going to have a rather poor sleep experience.
Understanding Spring Mattresses As Time Goes By
Much like many other materials, coil springs will become less responsive and ‘springy’ over time. This essentially means that as you use your mattress, it will become less bouncy and supportive — though this happens over the course of a decade, rather than over a year or a few months.
These springs will slowly but surely weaken and you’ll notice your bed becoming a little harder and less responsive. That said, if you jump on to a new spring mattress, you will notice a tonne of bounce and support right off the bat. Whereas leaping on to an old spring mattress will have you simply hitting the springs with little to no upward pressure, you’ll just fall into a divot.
When it comes to quality and longevity, a lower-end or cheap box spring base or mattress, these will last you around five to seven years depending on your use case. This is okay for children’s beds as you’ll note that kids grow out of their beds and need replacements around every four to five years anyway.
On the other end of the spectrum, the ultra-high-end spring mattresses can easily garner you more than a decade of use, with up to twenty years being the average. These springs are often very durable and designed to withstand the downward forces pushed upon them.
In all, no mattress will last forever, but when it comes to spring mattresses, you can sure get a very long time of use out of these.
How to Tell If a Spring Mattress is Wearing Out
To understand why and when to swap out a mattress, you’ll need to know a little about lumbar support and the spine’s alignment.
As you’ll already know, all mattresses are designed to aid sleep comfort and to keep the muscles and bones in the back well-supported and aligned in a way that won’t cause harm or injury in the long term.
When your spring mattress begins to lose its ability to support you, you’ll find that your back begins to hurt, your muscles ache and you’re waking up without feeling well-rested, and could easily get back into bed.
This is down to the body being unable to fall into deep sleep due to the lack of comfort in the mattress — something you do not want to happen on a routine basis.
To help you gauge whether your box spring or coil spring mattress is worn out and needs replacing, take a look at a few signs below:
You’ll hear loud creaks and squeaks when you move around the bed at night, or when you first get into bed.
If a mattress is more than a decade old, it may not be offering the correct support even if the springs still feel rather taut and responsive.
You may be noticing that the bed is no longer entirely flat, but rather has a dip or a few sinkage spots that the body falls into as you sleep.
There’s a lack of bounce and responsiveness when you get into bed, and you’re feeling as though you’re laying on a rigid surface.
Hopefully these few signs gave you some direction on whether your box spring mattress is wearing out or not, and whether it’s time to consider a replacement.
Important Things to Be Wary Of
Although this isn’t all too common, there are a few things you’ll have to be wary of when it comes to investing in a new spring mattress.
A lot of our readers mention that their new mattresses already feel like they have the issues we’ve outlined above — and this is a serious red flag.
In some cases, manufacturers don’t integrate the highest quality materials into their beds, or they lack a quality control team to check things over. This results in a brand-new mattress that’s already feeling like it’s a decade old and has little support and responsiveness to it.
Our biggest tip; don’t settle for this.
You should immediately assess whether these issues are a problem with your mattress and relay them to the brand you purchased the bed from. They’ll let you know the process of having it replaced and you’ll be on your way to a good night’s sleep.
In a similar vein, if you’re buying a used mattress, you’ll need to be on the lookout for the same problems. Don’t save a few bucks on an old mattress only to find that it’s so worn that you’ll need to replace it within just a few months anyway.
To end, it’s imperative to always assess your new spring mattresses to make sure you’re getting a sleep surface that’s safe and going to support your back health in the long term.
The Box Spring Support and Alternatives
When it comes to the box spring supports for below your spring mattress, there’s a few things to keep in mind.
Of course, a box spring support based will work for essentially every mattress out there, so long as the box spring is new or in good condition. However, there are other options to choose from.
You don’t need a box spring for your spring mattress, and can easily opt for other bases too, which can include everything from platform bases, steel frame bases and more.
For some added information on this, you’ll be able to take a look at your manufacturer notes on the spring mattress and see whether you’re able to choose a base of your own, or if there are any recommended versions.
In doing this, you’ll help to extend the life of your mattress.
As we mentioned, an old box spring will damage a spring mattress, or any mattress for that matter, and so you should ideally follow your manufactures notes.
A few of the alternatives to a box spring support include:
The Metal Platform Base
One of the more common and rustic looking bases out there are the metal platform bed bases or frames that are essential a grid of steel. These are going to be a great alternative in that there is generally a little flex and movement space here for the mattress to move just a tad and get you the best sleeping experience.
Be sure you choose a model that doesn’t have spaces larger than around two to three inches, otherwise you’re at risk of creating dips in the mattress and ageing it further.
We have a few reviews on our website of bed frames and bases if you’d like to learn more.
The Wood Foundation Base
A second type of mattress support that can replace your box spring includes the wooden foundation. These are designed in a similar way to a box spring, but don’t actually have anything inside them. They’re essentially just a wooden frame to hold up your mattress, and sometimes include storage in place of the springs.
Again, be sure to choose something sturdy and well-designed that won’t have too much flex or ‘give’ to it. You’ll want your mattress to remain supported for years to come, and not to slouch or dip with long-term use.
The Steel and Timber Slat Bed Frames
A third popular mattress base is the old-school timber or steel slat bed base. These have a tonne of metal or timber slats that are supported in the centre by a single sheet or steel or plank of timber.
They’re often designed with a curve or arch shape, which actively counteracts the sinkage or dipping of a mattress over time — ensuring you get even more usage out of your mattress before it’s time to replace it.
Like the other bases on our list, you’ll need to choose something that features gaps of no more than three inches so that your mattress is able to remain supported without dipping or sagging over the years.
To end, we highly advise against throwing away an old box spring and setting your mattress down on the floor. Although some mattresses are designed for this, many are not, and you’ll actually damage the internals of a mattress should you do this.
There are also cases where doing this voids your warranty, so keep your bed off the floor!
One last thing to note, by placing your bed down on the floor, you’re increasing your chances of it becoming filled with mould and bacteria, something that isn’t ideal for a sleep surface.
Getting Rid of Your Box Spring
If our article has revealed that possibly your box spring is on its way out, or well-passed its used-by date, then we have a couple of tips and tricks to making the most of it if you’re not looking to take it to the tip.
You don’t have to throw your box spring away, you could use the timber interior to create your own unique wall art, or even work with the springs to make your own DIY hanging pot plant wall.
A few great ideas online also include using the springs to create lamps, by dangling a bulb and cable through them and setting the lamp on a desk or table for a unique rustic lamp look.
However, if the DIY route isn’t the one for you, we would suggest either taking your box spring to the garbage dump yourself if you own a ute, or reaching out to a rubbish collection service to do it for you. We know these bases are quite large, so, if its time is up, give your garbage team a call.
With all that said, we hope you have a little more information on box springs and spring mattresses and when to know whether it’s time to throw them away or not. Always be sure to put your spinal health and sleep first, and don’t rely on an old tired mattress to keep your sound asleep at night.
Be sure to check back on Sleepify for more information on spring mattress and our top choice bed frames!