Whether you’re moving or just rearranging your furniture, (bad) things can happen, and you might end up with a cracked bed frame. It’s rather annoying and probably the last thing you need after a long day. But if I just described your current situation, don’t worry — today, I’ll explain how to fix a broken bed frame.

Trust me — I know the struggle. You probably spent hundreds of dollars on your amazing bed that matches your other furniture perfectly, even that awkward rug your grandma gifted you. Yet, it only took one wrong move to break the frame. It’s sad, no doubt, but it happens.

Unfortunately, no matter if your bed is from IKEA or a higher-quality furniture store, poorly assembled beds aren’t that rare nowadays. Manufacturers are using the cheapest materials they can find to cut corners and make you buy more furniture. That’s just the way the industry works (not that it justifies their choices).

Don’t lose hope, though; all is not lost. The following tips should show you how to fix a broken bed frame quickly and without much hassle.

Disclaimer: You don’t need to be an experienced craftsman to complete this project. Anyone can do it; just follow my steps.

Addressing the Issue

The con of having a wooden bed frame is that it’s prone to cracking. Cracks and splits usually develop because of the extremely poor quality of wood used for most commercially available beds.

However, in recent years, the tendency of using cheap materials has become popular among “prestigious” manufacturers too. Thus, the new “normal” is to spend upwards of $2000 for a “high-end” bed every five years.

Obviously, that’s a huge waste of money, especially when it’s so easy to repair what’s broken. So, here are two ways you could fix the cracks.

Method #1: Reinforcing the Bed Frame

For this method, you’ll only need a few extra pieces of lumber and screws. A drill may also come in handy; even if you don’t get to use it for this project, it’s a tool everyone should have at home.

Here are the steps you need to take:

1. Strip Your Bed

First, you want to remove the mattress as well as the box spring to be able to work comfortably. Leave the slats, however. You need the base there so that you can support it with the additional lumber bars.

2. Cut the Lumber

Depending on the damage, you might need to reinforce the whole frame with additional pieces of lumber. I’d suggest doing that even if only one bar has a crack. Besides, if you’re at the point of needing to fix your frame, there is probably more to be repaired.

Reinforcing the frame is extremely easy; you just need to cut the new pieces of lumber to the right length and place them on top of the cracked preexisting bars.

It’s important to use the exact same width lumber that was originally used. Thickness may vary a touch, though, if you can’t find an identical counterpart.

Measure and mark the pieces of wood and go outside to cut them. You’ll need a circular saw for that.

A hand saw would do the job too if you don’t have a circular one, and you’re on a tight budget. However, I’d advise you to just invest in an electric saw because it’s going to save you so much time and effort. On top of that, if you opt for a good one, it’ll probably be a one-time purchase, so it’s worth it.

3. Add the Pieces of Wood

Once you’ve cut the bars to the right length, go back inside and start placing them on top of the cracked parts.

Again, it’s a good idea to reinforce the whole bed frame. Be smart and save yourself the trouble of doing this again in the future.

Add the center bar right on top of the old one and attach it with a couple of screws. After everything is installed, you’ll put more screws in each bar.

Once you’ve done that, get longer screws and drive them into the intersections where the center bar overlaps with the other slats. You need a long enough screw that can go through all of the wood for added support. Shorter screws go in between the longer ones.

Addressing a Break on a Side Bar

If the break is on one of the side bars that form the perimeter of the frame, go about fixing it the same way as you would the center bar.

Here you’ll notice that the new piece of wood won’t want to stay straight; it’s going to curve a bit toward the inside of the frame. Don’t worry — once you’ve placed the first screws in, it’ll be easy to pull it back.

Once you have about four screws in there (depending on the bed, the number may vary), you’ll need to pull the bar straight.

Pro tip: Get three screws (for a queen-size bed) and just start them (don’t screw them all the way in). Do that so that you don’t have to hold the bar for long. Plus, it’s smarter than having to pull with one hand, and placing the screw and trying to drive it in with the other.

Next, gently pull the bar back; you’ll notice that you’re stretching the whole frame. Because of the previous step, you already have the screws in place — now just drive them in. Do it quickly, and try to get all three in there so that you don’t lose the strength.

Again, depending on the size of the bed, the number of screws will vary. 

4. Beef It All Up

The last thing you want is to go back to square one in a year’s time. That’s why when you’ve got everything in place, you’ll want to drive more screws around to secure the stuff you’ve fixed.

That would ensure that the new construction is strong enough not to fall apart. If you’ve done a good job, don’t expect that you’ll be running to the store for a new bed any time soon.

Method #2: Dealing with Cracks

If you’re dealing with a crack, you can use wood glue to fix it. I’d personally go with the first method, but depending on the situation and the materials you have, the second one might be a better option for you. Here are the steps:

1. Prep the Crack

Depending on the size of the crack, you might need to insert a screwdriver (or any other instrument with a similar shape) into it and open it slightly. The point is to be able to clean out the splinters and other particles so that the glue can create a stronger bond. You can use an X-Acto knife for that, but remember to be extremely careful with it.

2. Add Glue

Now that you’ve prepped the crack, inject the glue along its length. Using a small-tip bottle will make it easier as it provides more precision. Then, take a putty knife and even out the glue.

If you don’t have a putty knife, you can use an old X-Acto knife or even a hard piece of cardstock — anything that can smear the glue without leaving you with a mess to clean.

Make sure the glue has saturated the inside of the crack. Repeat the same steps for all cracks on the bed frame.

3. Add Clamps

The next step would be to put bar clamps all around the frame. Tighten them until you can see the glue oozing out, but don’t go overboard — you don’t want to add more damage to the frame, especially if the bed is old.

An alternative would be to use C-clamps, but they don’t offer as much strength as bar clamps. At the end of the day, use what you have — this project’s aim isn’t to leave you broke!

Leave the clamps on overnight. You need to make sure that the glue is fully dry. Still, while waiting, you might want to inspect the frame for more cracks. If you spot anything you’ve missed, now is the time to touch it up.

4. Reinforce the Joint

Once the glue is completely dry, you can reinforce the joint. For this, you’ll need to measure the length of the crack and add about six to eight inches to it. Then, measure the width of the bed frame.

Once you have the measurements, cut a strip of half-inch plywood. Again, if you’re on a tight budget, don’t be too picky about it — almost any type of scrap wood you have will do. Just make sure it’s not rotten or damaged, and that it’s around the suggested size.

5. Drill Holes

You’ll need to pre-drill the plywood with a 3/16-inch bit. Place the holes about two inches apart, but don’t worry too much about how they’re arranged. They don’t have to line up at all.

6. Glue and Screw

Now that you’ve prepped everything, apply glue to the plywood and then carefully position it over the crack. Using the pilot (pre-drilled) holes, drive in one-inch screws.

Leave the frame to dry overnight. Once it’s dry, your bed is ready to use!

Disclaimer: This method is usually applicable when dealing with minor damage. If there are more than two broken areas or cracks, stick to the first one. After all, as you can probably tell, it does take more time.

Still, if you can’t find bars the same width as yours (or any bars at all) and only have access to plywood and glue, by all means, go for the second method.

The Takeaway

If you were wondering how to fix a broken bed frame and avoid splurging on a new one, now you have two simple yet effective solutions.

You don’t need to spend a fortune every time something breaks. Nine out of ten times, you can fix it yourself. And once you’ve done a couple of projects, you’ll get the hang of it. Before you realize it, you’ll be searching for other things to repair.

So, don’t shy away from challenges because that’s what the big manufacturers want. If I can do it, you can too. Knowing how to fix a broken bed frame is proof that you don’t have to depend on stores for everything. Remember — with enough ambition, anything is possible!

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