Bunkie Board: What Is It and How Do I Make One?
This is a guest post from our friends at Comparakeet.
Have you ever heard of a bunkie board?
Most of us are no strangers to the box spring. It was and still is a popular bed base option, especially for a traditional innerspring mattress! In fact, the two go together perfectly.
How about a foam or hybrid mattress that may be thicker or heavier than what we grew up using? Can your trusty box spring provide a modern mattress sufficient support? The answer: Not always.
Contemporary brands usually warn against using an old box spring with a brand new mattress, even mentioning that doing so could void the warranty. Oh, no!
The trouble is this: If you just traded up your starter mattress for a new one, you may not be willing to spend on a new bed base right away. This is when a bunkie board might come in handy.
What Is a Bunkie Board?
A bunkie board is a flat object often made of particleboard, plywood, or another practical composite material; about one to three inches thick and cut to match a mattress size.
It may also be spelled differently! It is also commonly referred to as a “Bunky” board.
This pallet-like product goes right between your mattress and your bed surface. It will work with a variety of bed bases: box spring, box foundation, metal frame, solid platform bed, and then some. No bed base? No problem.
Some bunkie boards even feature decorative details. At least one side may be stained, painted or covered in cloth. A few non-standard bunkie board designs can also have more practical applications.
For example: A bunkie board can be thinner or thicker than the average range of one to three inches. Why? It all comes down to what your mattress needs.
Do you want the bunkie board to blend in with the bed base you’re using? Thinner it is. Do you want to add some height to your bed? Thicker may be the ticket.
How Does a Bunkie Board Work?
Bunkie Board vs. Bunk Bed
If you’ve been wondering where the bunkie board gets its name from, this is probably the answer! Remember how we said box springs and innerspring mattresses go together? The same is true for bunkie boards and bunk bed frames.
Imagine using a box springs for the top and bottom bunks. They won’t fit! With a bunk bed, lack of space is a real issue. Bottom bunk sleepers don’t want sleep too close to the bottom of the mattress above them, and top bunk sleepers don’t want to sleep too close to the bedroom ceiling.
This is also a situation where decorative elements of a bunkie board add to the experience! Bunk bed frames usually have slats, so the bottom of the bunkie board may be visible to the bottom bunk sleeper.
Bottom line: A bunkie board is ideal for bunk beds, because it provides adequate support while being as good as invisible for the most part. Same goes for trundle beds and day beds.
Bunkie Board vs Box Spring
Bunkie Board vs Plywood
Bunkie Board vs Slats
Let’s say that instead of an old box spring, you have a slatted bed base. Some platform beds and bed frames—including bunk bed frames, as we noted earlier—fit this description.
Most modern mattresses are compatible with slatted bed bases in theory. If you check your mattress warranty, though, you may find a few caveats.
For one, a foam mattress may not get adequate support from flexible slats. Using anything but sturdy slats may be grounds for voiding the warranty. Same goes for the space between slats! Most new mattresses won’t be able to perform properly if the gap width is more than two or three inches.
The solution: a bunkie board, of course! However, we should point out that using a bunkie board will cancel out the main advantage of using a slatted bed base.
Slats allow for more air flow and breathability underneath your bed. This can lessen possible heat and moisture retention in the foams significantly! A bunkie board literally covers all of that up. The payoff, though, is a solid surface that’s better for overall mattress durability and longevity.
Where to Buy a Bunkie Board
With such an unfamiliar name, it may surprise you to find out that it’s quite easy to find a bunkie board for sale! You may chance upon a selection at a mattress store or bedroom furniture dealer near you, but there will always be a much larger selection online.
There are bunkie boards available to match every mattress size! Standard U.S. bed dimensions are well-represented. The more common the size, the more options there are. Expect to find twin bunkie boards, full bunkie boards, queen bunkie boards and king bunkie boards without breaking a sweat.