A bunkie board (also spelled bunky board) is a flat board often made of particleboard, plywood, or any other composite material; designed to fit between a mattress and a bed frame. Bunkie boards are one to three inches thick and are cut to match a particular mattress size. They are usually covered in fabric that protects the mattress base from getting stuck and tearing.
A bunkie board works with several bed boards, including a box spring, box foundation, slatted foundation, metal frame, and solid platform bed.
In the earlier 20th century, bunkie boards provided a base for bunk bed mattresses, hence the name bunkie boards. However, traditional innerspring mattresses required a box spring for support, and although box springs were a decent fit for other beds, they could not provide a solution for bunk beds.
With a mattress and box spring, sleepers on bunk beds would either hit the ceiling or the bed over them when they sat up. It led to the birth of bunkie boards. These boards substituted the box spring so bunk bed mattresses could remain low.
They offer a low-profile and space-saving way to support your mattress. Bunkie beds also come in decorative options to match the look and style of your bed frame.
Bunkie boards have come a long way since they were first created. Today's bunkie boards are crafted in various lengths, widths, and thicknesses. Bunkie boards are not just for bunk beds. They come in all standard bed sizes as given below.
|Twin||38 inches x 75 inches|
|Twin XL||38 inches x 80 inches|
|Full (Double)||54 inches x 75 inches|
|Queen||60 inches x 80 inches|
|King||75 inches x 80 inches|
|California King||72 inches x 84 inches|
A bunkie board is placed between the bed frame and the mattress and functions as a box spring without the added height. A bunkie board is a comfortable solution that provides a thinner but solid surface that prevents mattresses from sinking and increases the lifespan of your mattress.
Experts recommend bunkie boards for foam mattresses like polyfoam, memory foam, latex foam, and hybrid mattresses. A bunkie board may not last as long as your mattress. But, considering its average price point, which is about $50 to $150, even a few years of use would be worth investing in one.
Before buying bunkie boards, you must know their pros and cons.
The pros include:
Bunkie boards act as a support for the mattress and help minimize the mattress's sagging.
Bunkie boards keep your beds low profile. Unlike traditional foundations like box springs, bunkie boards are primarily thin. This makes getting in and out of bed easier as the mattress sits lower on a bunkie board compared to another foundation.
Because of being thin, bunkie boards are lightweight. This makes them easier to move. They also don’t require much assembling as they’re mostly just wooden planks.
Bunkie boards can be used with any mattress size and type. This makes them versatile and easy to use.
Wooden bunkie boards can be vulnerable to moisture and change in temperatures. In a wet climate, the humidity may warp the board over time.
Placing a solid wooden plank between the mattress and bed frame can reduce the airflow. This can make the mattress trap body heat, creating a hospitable environment for molds and allergens.
Whether you need to buy a bunkie board for your mattress or not depends on the types of bed frames you want to put the board on and the type of foundation your bed has.
A bed with an already solid foundation does not need a bunkie board for mattress support. However, you can add the board if you want to increase the height of the bed.
If your bed has a slatted foundation, you must use a bunkie board to provide support to the mattress that slats can’t offer.
You cannot use a bunkie board with an adjustable bed. A bunkie board is a solid piece of wood and does not bend like an adjustable bed.
But, a bunkie board isn’t the only thing that provides support to a mattress. Following are the alternative to bunkie board and how they compare to it:
A box spring contains spring coils that work together to maintain weight and pressure distribution. Modern box springs consist of a wooden or metallic case with a cloth cover. Therefore, they do not provide the strong base and stability required by foam mattresses.
If you want to continue using your old box spring, you can place a bunkie board on top of it to create a solid base for the mattress. However, you need to check the mattress warranty before doing so, as some manufacturers restrict you from doing so. You might also need to check if your old box spring can withstand the weight of your new foam mattress.
You can place a solid piece of plywood below your mattress if you want a DIY bunkie board. The thickness of the plywood should be at least 3/4 of an inch and should be a perfect fit for your bed. The mattress and frame size should be exact; otherwise, they won’t fit well. You can also place the plywood above your old box spring to protect your foam mattress.
Plywood has a tendency to chip and snag, which can damage your mattress cover and even your sheets. On the other hand, a bunkie board will last longer and prevent damage better than a sheet of plywood. Also, right size bunkie boards are readily available in the marke
It is tough to place latex mattresses on slat bases that are 2 inches apart. Also, the bed slats should not be more than 3 inches apart for memory foam mattresses. Most Modern bed frames have a slatted base foundation which does not work well for memory foam or latex mattresses that need a solid base.
If you do not want to take a chance damaging your expensive mattress, you should simply opt for a bunkie board.
As you can see, in all three comparisons, bunkie board vs box spring, bunkie board vs plywood, and bunkie board vs slats, bunkie board seems like a better choice.
Once you decide that a bunkie board is the perfect bed support for your mattress, it’s time to buy one. Here are a few factors you should keep in mind when choosing a bunkie board.
Bunkie boards come in a variety of prices so find a piece that fits your budget. You can find a bunkie board for as little as $25-30, so if you are on a shoestring budget no need to worry. Similarly if you have a big budget there are bunkie boards that cost hundreds of dollars!
Your bunkie beds need to support the weight of your mattress and the person sleeping on the mattress. The weight capacity of a board depends on the thickness and construction of such a board. So choose a board that matches your weight requirements.
There are a lot of companies that sell a bunkie board. Choose a brand with a good reputation to buy your board.
If you are looking to buy your bunkie board online, look for companies that offer free shipping to your address.
If you want to buy your board offline, make sure the stores are not too far from your place.
Choose a bunkie board that matches the aesthetics of your bed frame and your bedroom.
Step 1: Get the Measurements of Your Bed Bas
Step 2: Cut the Plywood to Size
Step 3: Sand Down the Edges of the Board
Step 4: Cut the Quilted Upholstery Fabric to Size
Step 5: Adhere Two Pieces of Quilted Upholstery Fabric to the Board
Step 6: Fold and Staple the Excess Quilted Upholstery Fabric
Yes! A mattress that has supported your body for years also deserves some support. Unless you have a solid foundation for your mattress, your bed needs a support system. And as mentioned above, a bunkie board is a better support system than a box spring, slats, and plywood. Bunkie boards are an inexpensive and comfortable solution to preserve the shape of your mattress for a long time.
So buy a bunkie board and give your mattress all that support!