When you are building a bed, you need to consider a range of different factors to ensure it is comfortable. One of the most important factors to consider when designing a bed is the material you should use for the bed’s base. Wood is an excellent material to construct a bed, but it’s essential to select the right kind of wood to use for the bed’s slats.
Some of the best types of wood for bed slats include softwoods like Douglas fir, pine, and spruce. If you’re looking for more premium bed slats, opt for red or white oak, hickory, ash, birch, and beech. You will need up to 20 slats for a king or queen bed, but for a twin, you’ll only need 18 slats.
This article will explore everything you need to know about the best wood for bed slats. It also includes information about how many bed slats you should use when constructing a bed; use it as your guide for bed frame building.
What Wood Should You Use for Bed Slats?
There is a range of different types of wood you can use for bed slats. To decide which type of slats you should use, consider what type of bed you are building, how much you’re willing to spend, and the durability and strength of the slats.
Basic, Inexpensive Wood Slats
If you do not have a high budget, look for inexpensive wood options for your bed slats. Most inexpensive bed slats will be made from softwood such as douglas fir, pine, and spruce. These woods are explored in greater detail below.
Douglas fir slats are made with wood from the Douglas fir tree, easily found in timber plantations across North America.
As a result, Douglas fir bed slats are usually easy to find and relatively inexpensive. They are also quite solid and durable, making for a sturdy, hard-to-damage bed frame.
Yellow pinewood is an excellent wood that makes for sturdy, durable bed slats. It has a firm grain and can bear large amounts of weight, making it well suited for building king-sized beds. While it is softwood, many bed makers rate it similar to hardwood bed slat variants.
When buying yellow pine bed slats, it’s essential to ensure you are not mistaking them for other pine variants such as Ponderosa pine and sugar pine.
You can get Yellow pine bed slats at most hardware stores. They are also conveniently available on Amazon.com; the Classic Brands Extreme Heavy-Duty Solid Wood Slats are available in a range of different sizes.
Spruce is an inexpensive and readily available softwood that is easy to manipulate and use. When selecting your spruce wood bed slats, be sure to look for thick pieces as spruce wood can dent more quickly than other variants.
Spruce bed slats should be available at any major hardware or DIY stores.
Premium Wood Slats
If you are looking to build a high-quality bed that will last a significant amount of time, you should consider more premium wood slats. Premium wood slats tend to be stronger and can bend a great deal before breaking.
They are also stiffer than softwood variants which ensure better durability.
Some of the best hardwood or premium woods you can use for bed slats include red or white oak, hickory, ash, birch, and beech. These variants are explored in further detail below.
Red or White Oak
Oak is one of the most commonly used materials for bed slats – with good reason. Oak is highly resistant to wear and tear, is stiff, and is non-yielding.
Both red and white oak will make for good, long-lasting bed slats; you should be able to purchase them at hardware or carpentry stores.
Hickory is a strong, solid wood. At the same time, it is reasonably lightweight, making it easy to cut and handle.
While it is not quite as popular as red or white oak, hickory wood is commonly used for bed slats because it is resilient, can bear heavy weight, and is durable. It’s an especially good option for queen- and king-sized beds.
Ash is a versatile wood that can be used for various purposes, and many carpenters like it because it is so easy to work with and shape. It is light-colored wood, which makes it aesthetically appealing and easy to align with many different room decor and design options.
Like ash wood, birch wood is also a light wood that makes for bed slats with a medium thickness. It is more robust than oak and can bear weight for a long time. It is important to note that birch comes in various types, including plywood and lumber.
When looking for bed slats, be sure you are choosing hardwood birch slats.
Beech Wood is a favorite amongst high-end bed slat manufacturers as it is strong, dense, and durable. Some manufacturers find that beech wood slats tend to be more reliable than other hardwood slats as each piece of wood has an assured thickness and strength.
When looking for beech wood slats, look for slightly curved ones. These slats are called ‘sprung’ slats and adapt to the weight placed on them, allowing them to last longer.
How Many Slats Should You Use When Constructing a Bed?
Once you choose what kind of wood you need, you should consider how many slats you need. This depends on the size of the bed you are making and the width of the slats.
You should use between 18 and 20 slats when constructing a king- or queen-sized bed. For a twin-sized bed, you’ll usually need between 16 and 18 slats.
This section explores the calculations that explain why you need a certain amount of bed slats. When building your bed, you must make your measurements to ensure you’re buying the right amount of slats.
The standard size of a king-sized bed is 76 in x 80 in.
Most bed slats measure one by two inches, and so, to completely cover the frame, you will need 40 slats. However, you should leave at least two inches of space between each slat.
So, for a King-sized bed, you will need 20 slats in total.
A queen-sized bed typically measures 60 in x 80 in.
Therefore, similar to the king-sized bed, you will need around 20 slats to reinforce the bed adequately.
However, be sure that you measure the size of your bed frame and the width and length of each slat before beginning to lay it on.
A twin-sized bed can have a variety of widths but is generally 75 inches long.
It will therefore need between 16-18 slats to make for an adequate slat frame. It is essential to measure your twin bed before laying on slats as they can have different dimensions.
What Else Should You Keep in Mind When Buying Bed Slats?
When buying bed slats, deciding whether you want a sprung or solid slat is one of the many factors you should consider in addition to choosing the right type and quantity of wood. You’ll also need to ensure you have adequate center support for your bed.
Solid Slats vs. Sprung Slats
Bed slats come in two types; solid and sprung. As their name suggests, solid slats run straight across the bed with no curve. They are typically made from pine.
Sprung slats have a slight upward curve. They flatten when they have pressure on them and then bounce back to their original shapes.
The information below will help you decide whether you should choose solid or sprung slats.
It would be best if you chose solid slats when:
- You are looking for a firm, unyielding bed with a lot of resistance to weight.
- You share your bed with someone else; the flatness of the slats absorbs movement, making you less likely to disturb your partner’s side of the bed when you move.
- You are looking for a type of bed that provides excellent back support.
On the other hand, you should choose sprung slats when:
- You want to protect your mattress from wear and tear.
- You’re looking for a bed frame that will last years.
To recognize a sprung slat, look for slightly curved slats.
When you are using bed slats to support your bed, there is a chance that they will begin to sag in the middle.
To stop this from happening, you should use rigid center support in the middle of your bed. Doing so supports the slats and prevents them from sagging under extreme pressure.
The center support will also create an ideal base for your mattress, helping it last longer.
Center support is made with pieces of wood and can be found in hardware stores. Talking to the experts at the store about the slats you are using will help them guide you in choosing the proper center support.
Depending on the type of bed frame you are building, there is a range of different woods suitable for bed slats. If you would like softwoods, opt for Douglas fir, pine, and spruce.
However, if you’re looking for hardwoods, consider hickory, ash, birch, and beech. Choosing suitable wood and the correct amount of slats will ensure you build a comfortable bed with a strong foundation.