If you’re anything but completely motionless while you sleep, you’ll probably have to stabilize your bed frame at some point. Over time, the parts that make up a wooden bed frame tend to loosen and separate, often resulting in all sorts of annoying sounds. On top of that, sleeping on a structurally compromised bed can be a genuine safety hazard. So you might as well learn how to stabilize a wooden bed frame before you need the knowledge.
After all, the alternatives are either paying someone else to do it or buying a new bed every time you detect a wobble. Obviously, those aren’t financially sound strategies. And in any case, if you can fix a broken bed frame by yourself, you can stabilize one as well. It’s just a question of knowing when such improvements are necessary.
How Do You Know If You Need to Stabilize Your Wooden Bed Frame?
As you’ll soon learn, stabilizing a bed is pretty easy once you know what to look for. With wooden bed frames, the separation between the individual parts typically occurs as a result of regular use.
On the other hand, your bed may rock when you sit on it because of its position on the floor. Perhaps one of its legs is on the carpet while the others are on the floorboards. Maybe the floor itself is slanted. But how do you know if you need to give the bed and its surroundings a closer look?
Generally, if your bed is wobbling every time you sit on it and lying on it feels unsafe, it’s a good indicator that the structure of the frame is compromised. Additionally, strange noises are another sign that you’ll have to stabilize the bed. When the parts of a metal bed frame fall out of alignment, they tend to produce a squeaky sound. With wooden parts, you’ll probably hear a creaking noise instead.
Of course, wooden bed frames are more stable overall, so they’re much less likely to become wobbly and noisy. But even if your bed becomes unsafe, you’ll be able to salvage it with only a few tools.
How to Stabilize a Wooden Bed Frame: Step-by-Step
Before you start evaluating your bed frame and the floor space it occupies for things that might be causing it to wobble, you’ll want to get some tools. A bubble level is going to be pretty helpful. On top of that, you should probably have some screws and a drill or screwdriver on hand.
Depending on the cause of the instability, you might need a few more items, like new slats or metal brackets. But for now, these are the essentials. With that in mind, let’s talk about how to stabilize a wooden bed frame.
1. Strip It Down
The first step toward eliminating any problem is gaining access to the area you need to work on. In this case, you have to start by stripping the bedding and removing the mattress and box spring from the frame.
If you suspect that the slant of the floor is behind the teetering, and you want to fix it, you can move the bed to another room while you level the surface. Alternatively, you can simply rearrange the furniture in the bedroom, placing the bed frame on a more even part of the floor.
Of course, even if you leave the bed in place, you’ll have to take off any extraneous items. If you don’t move the bedding, mattress, and other accessories, you won’t be able to troubleshoot the problem.
2. Reconnect the Joints
Many wooden bed frames are made up of parts that fit together without the help of screws or bolts. While those are often the cheapest kinds of frames you can get, they also tend to loosen quickly. Still, if the parts float away from each other, you can push them back into place fairly easily.
Get someone to hold the bed frame on the other side of the joint you need to push. That should prevent the bed from skidding and damaging your floors. If manual prodding doesn’t cut it, cover the area with a folded towel to prevent damage and whack it with a rubber mallet a few times.
Notably, some of these types of bed frames are also made with glue. If you find the telltale signs of wood glue at the site of separation, clean them up as much as you can. After the area is as clean and dry as possible, add some more wood glue into the joint before connecting the parts. If you can, stabilize the area with clamps or tie it up while the glue sets.
3. Tighten All the Screws
Of course, many wooden beds are held together by something stronger than glue. So at this point, it’s important to check every screw and make sure it’s hanging in there. If loose lips sink ships, imagine what loose screws can do to a bed and its occupants.
To be safe, tighten all screws or bolts you see, particularly those that go into the legs of the frame. You can use a cordless drill or a manual screwdriver or wrench to perform the task. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check the fasteners around the supportive beams and slats.
4. Stabilize the Center Beam
If your bed doesn’t have multiple slats to support the box spring and mattress, it probably only has one beam connecting the longer sides of the frame. Queen and King-size beds often have three supportive beams, two on either side of the main one. Still, that kind of setup puts a lot of pressure on those points, which may destabilize the whole bed frame.
With wider beds, you might see additional legs preventing those beams from bending. If your frame doesn’t have that kind of support, you can get adjustable legs online or in your local furniture store.
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What’s more, if a closer examination of the bed frame reveals that the center beam has come loose, reinforce it with some L-brackets. You can also use those same L-brackets and some planks to construct more support beams. Alternatively, you can stabilize the bed frame with new slats.
You might also want to read: How to Make Center Support for a Bed Frame
5. Put In Some Slats
Different bed frames offer different levels of support to your box spring or mattress. While some only have a single center beam to hold everything up, others achieve better results with a solid mattress platform. Yet the most common option you’ll find is a slat platform, which can be solid or sprung. But what makes slats so popular?
In a word, it’s all about convenience. When one of the wooden slats moves, it’s easy to slip it back into place. If one of the planks breaks, you can take it out and replace it. Even when you notice that your bed frame has become unstable, you’re unlikely to dislodge all slats at the same time.
So no matter what, you’ll still have the support you need. And best of all, you can install slats on pretty much any kind of bed frame. Zinus makes all sorts of different sizes and styles of slats, including ones with:
- A metal frame and wooden planks (See on Amazon)
- Metal bars that fit into a metal frame (Amazon)
- Vertical wooden planks that are connected with strips of Velcro (Amazon)
- Fabric-covered vertical wooden slats (Amazon)
- Strong and Sturdy 1.6 inch profile wood slat mattress...
- Fast and easy assembly with convenient and compact...
- Offers additional support for spring, hybrid, and...
- Foam padded tape is added to the steel frame for...
When shopping for new slats for your bed frame, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s measurement guidelines. For example, the slats with metal frames will need to fit inside your bed frame. So you’ll have to measure the inner dimensions of the frame.
On the other hand, if you opt for basic wooden slats, you’ll be able to adjust them by simply trimming the planks. When in doubt, size up. Alternatively, you can just get custom-cut planks at your local home improvement store. If you want to make your bed frame even more stable, make sure to nail or screw the slats in place.
6. Make Sure the Legs Are Even
If your wooden bed frame is still unstable after you make sure all its parts are in proper alignment, it’s time to consider the true cause of the problem. Your regular tossing and turning are enough to make any bed separate at the seams a bit. But in this case, you might want to check the slant of your floor. That’s where the bubble level comes in.
Of course, before you break out the level, you might want to check if the legs of the bed are the same length. After measuring each of them, you’ll know that the wobbling is caused by the floor rather than the bed frame. To confirm the diagnosis, put your level on the floor around each of the legs. That will help you figure out the direction of the slope.
Of course, rather than fixing the slope of the floor, you can just extend one of the legs. You can use folded-up papers, books, or even anti-skid rubber grippers. Best of all, this simple solution should work whether you’re dealing with an extreme floor slope or just a short leg.
Ultimately, you might find that stabilizing your wooden bed frame doesn’t require all the steps mentioned above. Instead, it might be just a matter of sliding the parts back into place or getting an extra leg to support the center beam. Whatever the case may be, these solutions should let you get some more use out of your bed.
Of course, if your troubleshooting session reveals that your bed frame is beyond repair, you could always replace it. Any kind of quiet bed frame is likely to also be pretty stable. After all, they’re designed to prevent different parts from moving against each other and making noise.
However, if the underlying issue that’s causing your bed frame to wobble is the slant of your floor, you may have to bite the bullet and fix that problem. Until you do, you can just use various objects to support the leg that stands on the slanted area.