What bed?
June 3, 2018 9:52 AM   Subscribe

I have a collapsing bed. It's a wood frame with slats, and the slats keep popping out of their rests, because the central metal rail/support has distorted. I think it's a basic design flaw, as the single vertical supporting rod gets skewed if the bed moves at all, and then the weight of self+partner just pushes things skew. So, what to do?

The things just over two years old, and I'll talk to the bed shop, but I clearly need a bed that won't do this. Self+partner are large beasts, so the best solution would seem to be a superking divan style base.

But I have only ever bought one bed in my life - it was this one, and clearly I didn't do a good job. All advice welcome - there's a huge range of suppliers and prices for what look like very similar products. Partner wants something medium or soft - "sprung" - and we have a perfectly good mattress already.

Basically, I don't know what questions to ask or on what basis to make a selection. This is part of adult life for which I am unprepared and, frankly, unimpressed.

Location is Edinburgh
posted by Devonian to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It’s not clear if you are interested in repair. You could fix this bed for cheap, at least good enough to last for another year or so. Then you don’t have to rush your shopping for something nicer.

A simple X brace under tension should do the job. You can get some wire rope and turnbuckles for a few dollars at Home Depot; I assume they exist at similar prices in the UK.
posted by SaltySalticid at 9:59 AM on June 3, 2018

Is this perchance an IKEA bed? I had a queen-size Malm which had this exact problem.

Turns out: I hadn't assembled it correctly. In addition to the thick metal beam which runs down the center of the bed, it was supposed to have smaller metal crossbraces which attach the left and right wooden panels of the frame to the center beam. This prevents weight on top of the bed from skewing the sides out. You can see the crossbraces in this photo.

I don't know if the crossbraces were inadvertently left out of my box, or what – but I was able to get replacements relatively cheaply, and I never had a problem after that.

Maybe you have a similar situation on your hands? Or, even if the bed isn't designed this way, maybe you could rig up something similar?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:02 AM on June 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I had the same problem, years back, with a bed that similarly seemed nice but was too flimsy with that support bar.

While we eventually replaced the bed itself (with in fact the MALM escape from the potato planet just mentioned, and it's been fine for us but we're maybe 300 lbs combined), my wife and I got by in the intervening years by just reinforcing the original bed with a new DIY crossbar:

I bought and cut a length of 2x4 to replace to original brace running down the middle of the bed, and a couple of shorter lengths of 2x4 to stand as vertical props under that center brace, and attached it all to the headboard and footboard with some 90-degree angled metal brackets. I am not a good woodworker; this did not require any real amount of skill, just lumber and some brackets and screws from the local hardware store and a circular saw to make the cuts with. If you have no access to a saw, you could plan the cuts out and have them done at the hardware store.

As far as how to approach replacing the bed with something sturdier: I think the only way to be sure is you just have to look at how they're built. It either is or is not going to have a solid bracing setup; the Malm for example has that diagonal reinforcement and a metal brace, compared to the chintzy wooden 1x2 that came with our old bed, which was fine for laying quietly on but couldn't handle any kind of movement.
posted by cortex at 10:06 AM on June 3, 2018

The bed was installed by the bed shop, and they've been back once to fix it (it didn't stay fixed) so I assume it's all there as intended.

I'm not going to fix it as DIY is a bit beyond me due poor eyesight. I will be getting a new bed
posted by Devonian at 10:27 AM on June 3, 2018

Many bed frames use the same wooden slat method of support as your current frame. We have had the same problem with our bed, and after many many hours of looking I felt that we’d end up with the same issue on any new bed frame since we are both large beasts, too. Just this week I went to the hardware store and got 16 five-foot lengths of 2x4; pulled the slats out and put the 2x4s in. It’s been heaven and it was really easy to do.

I know you say you will be buying a new bed but just want to say that it’s not a complicated DIY fix if you wanted to spend the $50 to try 2x4s first.
posted by stellaluna at 10:54 AM on June 3, 2018

If you are looking for a divan-style base, this is probably no good to you, but I would recommend going into Vintage and Reclaimed on Causewayside. The bed we bought from them feels bombproof.

We found them very helpful, and they’re perfectly willing to customise the frames - divan-style is probably out, though.
posted by smcg at 11:10 AM on June 3, 2018

Having the bed shop do the assembly is no indicator that it was done properly. My bed was “professionally assembled” completely wrong, including leaving several crucial parts off to the side.
posted by rockindata at 12:07 PM on June 3, 2018

I got a 9 leg bed frame on Amazon, and that thing is a beast. Then I went to the hardware store and bought six 12” x 1” boards and had them cut to the length of the frame. I laid them down over the frame and my bed is rock solid. You’ll need an additional board or two if you have a queen or king. I’ve had this set up for 10 years and it’s never shown the least signs of failing.
posted by ananci at 12:39 PM on June 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have a Zinus SmartBase that's 18" tall. It's very sturdy but it also can fold up if you need to move. Here's the 14" one.

However, I think it's kind of ugly. If I had it to do all over again I would probably get one of these similar, but more attractive, heavy duty platform bases: 14" and 18".
posted by elsietheeel at 2:52 PM on June 3, 2018

I had this exact problem with an Ikea bed. We wound up buying a pile of boards cut to the width of the bed and laying them down so that they were supported by the central rail and the internal edges of the frame. It lasted for years, longer than the bed itself. I never did figure out why the problem happened in the first place.
posted by Vatnesine at 6:57 PM on June 3, 2018

Ditch the frame. Put it on the floor. Disregard the pain of low bed. Is it the mattress or frame? Turn the slats over and try again with the frame. Is it better for a while? You have a support problem spanning the distance. Sparse cheap frames supporting the weight of mattress+people is hard to do cheap. What does the frame give you but height/comfort? Not snark. Replace slats with (USian) 2x4 instead of those thin slats. Forget about the Middle. That is a vacuum. Nature abhors a vacuum.

If your beloved frame is failing in the middle, fix the middle by making it non existent (put it all on the floor and try that). Then fix the non-existent vacuum of the middle and over compensate.

Put a brick and some pieces of wood under the center to support and remove the vacuum.

It's likely that the 2nd bed you buy will be the same as the 1st bed you buy unless you get the bit about removing the vacuum of the center.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:43 PM on June 3, 2018

I like the look and size my IKEA bed frame and it did the same thing, so I just removed the slats and metal and made my own "platform bed" by putting a short box spring and my mattress inside the frame on the floor.
posted by juniper at 7:14 AM on June 4, 2018

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