Reinforcing Your Bed Frame

There’s nothing worse than an unstable, noisy bed frame that squeaks and wiggles with every sudden movement you make. Instead of forking out several hundred dollars or more for a new bed frame, you can buy yourself some time by reinforcing your current bed frame. This essentially means you’re making it more supportive, sturdy, and much quieter (hallelujah). Below are a few ways you can get your bed frame — almost — as good as new.

Depending on your issue and the type of bed frame you own, there are a few different ways you can approach the problem.

Suggested Materials – A drill, 1-inch screws, and a second-hand bed frame

Tighten Bed Frame Screws – First you should double check all of your bed’s individual slats (if there are any) and screws to make sure nothing is loose — even the legs. Loose screws and bolts are common culprits behind a squeaky and wobbly bed. But the good news is that it’s a real easy fix — just tighten them up with a screwdriver or a wrench!

Reconnect Joints – If you’re sleeping on a wooden bed frame, reconnect any joints that may have shifted over time. Separated bed frame joints can destabilize a bed frame, making it wobble and sway. Lay cloth on both sides of the joint to prevent possible damage, and ask a friend or family member to help you hold the frame. Using a mallet, gently hammer the joint together and repeat for any others that need to be rejoined.

If you have a bed frame that was previously glued, lay cloth around each side of the joint and reapply wood glue to the inside. Afterwards, you’ll want to gently hammer the joint together and use something like a clamp to safely hold it together while it dries. Repeat for any other disconnected joints you see.

Add Bed Slats – If you have a basic run-of-the-mill bed frame that has only a perimeter and a supportive center beam, adding slats will beef it up so it’s more sturdy and supportive. This will help combat mattress sagging, and will enable your bed frame to withstand more weight.

  1. Measure the inner width of the bed frame to figure out how long you need your new slats to be.
  2. Use a pencil to mark the length on a 1×4 ft wooden board and use a hand saw to cut off the excess wood.
  3. Repeat steps one and two to come up with another wood slat, or, if you aren’t the best handyman, take your measurements to your nearest hardware store like Home Depot where they’ll cut the wood for you.
  4. Place one board on the right of the center beam and the other on the left side, about 2 or 2 1/2 feet away from the frame’s middle bar.
  5. Use a power drill to secure the new wooden planks to the inner lip of the bed frame.

Replace The Supportive Center Beam – If you suspect the center beam to be the only problematic piece of your bed frame, you can get rid of it all together and replace it with something that’ll offer a bit more support.

Each plank should be about 2 ft away from the supportive center beam
  1. Unscrew the center beam from your bed frame.
  2. Measure the width of the inner bed frame from side to side and determine the length of your new center beam.
  3. Measure the distance from the floor to the bottom of the center beam to determine how long your new support leg needs to be.
  4. Use a pencil to mark your new center beam measurement on a 1×4 wooden board and use a saw to cut it yourself, or take your measurements to a hardware store to have a professional cut a piece of wood for you.
  5. Repeat step four for your new support leg using a 4×4 block of wood.
  6. Place your cut wood block underneath the new center beam directly in the center, and drill 2 wood screws into the block through the top of the plywood center beam to secure them together.
  7. Using a power drill, secure each end of your new center beam to your bed frame.

How To Fix A Broken Bed Frame

If you were a little late getting to the “reinforcement” part of this post and are now dealing with a cracked bed frame because it wasn’t supportive enough, don’t give up yet! There may still be hope. This is a common problem, and usually happens along the horizontal grain lines or on the ends of the frame. If that’s the case, channel your inner handyman and follow these eight steps:

  1. After you remove your mattress from the bed frame, leave all the slats in place while you pry open the split from the inside of the frame using a screwdriver. Once it’s split, remove the excess splinters and wood chips.
  2. Apply wood glue down the length of the split, and spread it around the crack using a flat head knife like a putty knife.
  3. Use a bar clamp to force the two ends of the split back together and tighten it until you see glue coming from the crack. Keep them on the frame overnight to dry.
  4. To reinforce the frame and make sure the joints are sturdy, on the following day when everything is dry, measure the length of the split from the inside of the frame and add 6 more inches to it.
  5. Measure the width of your bed frame.
  6. Using a saw or table, cut a strip of ½” scrap wood such as plywood, to match the measurements you just took.
  7. Drill holes into your scrap piece of wood 2” apart with a 3/16” bit and drill, but make sure the holes are staggered and NOT in a straight line.
  8. Apply wood glue to one side of the scrap wood, and place it on the inside over the split. Drill 1” screws into your pilot holes, and let the frame dry overnight again before you place your bed back on it.

Buying A New Bed Frame

If it seems so though that reinforcing your bed frame is not an option and it’s beyond repair, it may be time to consider buying a new one. There are many different types of bed frames, and they’re available in a wide range of prices. The average cost of a bed frame is around $250, but the size and materials greatly affect the cost of the frame – some bed frames (like adjustable frames) can cost upwards of $1,500. Just make sure to take into consideration your budget, needs, space and size requirements before starting the bed frame hunt.