January 24, 2011 - Marshall Coyle

Which Is Best : Platform Bed, Box Spring, or Foundation ?

By Marshall Coyle, the Old Bed Guy.

Individual  questions  can be asked , and personally answered,  via the survey> CLICK HERE TO START    

If whatever you have under your mattress or have seen in a store, it is only a BOX SPRING if it has springs.  If it has springs, it will feel “springy”.  If it is unyielding it is a FOUNDATION. Some stores and makers call foundations “box springs”, but they aren’t.

A box spring has 45-90 large, strong, heavy wire coils. Old technology two-sided mattresses need a box spring under them to provide proper support and comfort.   A coil box spring surface will go down an inch or much more under pressure. If you sit on the edge and the thing under the mattress sinks down even  slightly, it is a box spring. Older or lower quality box springs sink the most.   Springs age and lose their springiness over the years.   Flexible wire or strong upholstery twine ties the coils together.  Often there is a heavy rod around the upper perimeter.

ALL REVERSIBLE TWO-SIDED INNERSPRING MATTRESSES should be used on a BOX SPRING.   Flippable mattresses lose much of their life expectancy and at least half of their potential comfort when used on a rigid PLATFORM BED, or a FOUNDATION.

A new genuine coil-spring box spring is a genuine rarity in today’s mattress market.   I estimate that 99.9% of all boxes found under a new mattress are some form of foundation.   This is not a bad thing unless the mattress is old style two sided innerspring.   Old style innerspring mattresses rely on the spring action of a genuine coil box spring to supply the desired comfort and durability.  The upper and lower unit works in a silent partnership.

If you purchase a new technology one-sided hybrid innerspring mattress with the intent of using it on your old box spring, it is a false economy. You are not only shortening the comfort life of the mattress, but you are taking away much of the comfort designed into it.  One-sided mattresses are not just mattresses with half of the filling omitted.

You can convert your old box spring into something like a foundation using a slab of 1/2″ “smooth one side” plywood.  If you use more than one piece to cover the old box spring, make sure that the center 1/3 is one piece. Either end can be less. This lumberyard fix is not quite as good as a proper foundation, but it is good enough.   If your lumberyard offers you some other board other than plywood, politely decline.  Only plywood is strong and durable enough.  More than 1/2″ thick is a waste of money. And less is a waste of money and will not work.

There is a third type of under-mattress box shaped like a box spring now finding its way into the market.  It is a foundation with wood slats across the top instead of the base. It is actually an upside down cheap foundation.   No one, to my knowledge has found a less costly way to make a foundation.  This is not a good thing. It is usually a tip-off that the maker is also cheating on the mattress components. I would avoid buying such a product. The cross slats are almost always the cheapest knotty softwood ready to break. I have seen some with a sheet of heavy cardboard over these junky slats.  It does not help. If you see these problematic foundations, try shopping elsewhere. Stores that knowingly sell junk usually also usually knowingly bend the truth.

Few buyers will ever have to decide between a foundation and box spring. Box springs are high on the endangered species list. They have been driven off the market by lower cost foundations. No major mattress maker still offers old-style box springs.

One company, Leggett and Platt, manufactures all good foundations made with steel formed-wire support, and a heavy wire grid top. Almost every American mattress maker buys them as a kit from L&P, needing only the outside cloth to complete.  Several different qualities are offered but none are bad.  The differences are not great.

Then the fun starts.  Since the products offered by almost every maker  in the store, even in sleep shops with a dozen brands,  are essentially the same, each brand  pays  wordsmiths  to come up with countless phrases  and sentences to tell you meaningless gibberish.  You can change brand names around but they are all selling peas in a pod.   These wire supported/grid top foundations are strong, durable, and perform the job expected of them. Some of the smaller factory-direct mattress makers don’t bother with any but the best of these L&P foundation kits.  Reasons vary, but I think it is usually to save storage space in too-small factories. Maybe even one broken one is one too many when your own name is on the product.

When you see a ‘box spring” advertised, more than likely it is a foundation with no springs. Foundations are rigid boxes 4-16” thick/high designed to fit on a metal bed frame under a mattress. They provide support and raise the combination off the floor.

Whatever you have under your mattress or have seen in a store, it is only a BOX SPRING if it has springs.  If it has springs, it will feel “springy. If you peel back the cover on the underside a few inches and peek inside, you will know for sure.

ALL REVERSIBLE TWO-SIDED  INNERSPRING MATTRESSES  should be used on a BOX SPRING.   They lose much of their life expectancy an at least half of their potential comfort when used on a PLATFORM BED, or a FOUNDATION.

NEVER-FLIP ONE SIDED INNERSPRING MATTRESSES should always be used on a FOUNDATION or a PLATFORM BED.   They are not designed for use on a flexible springy base and may fail prematurely.

A new genuine spring filled box spring is a genuine rarity in today’s mattress market.   I  would estimate that 99.9% of all upholstered boxes found under a new mattress are some form of foundation.   This is not a bad thing unless the mattress is old style two sided innerspring.   Old style innerspring mattresses rely on the spring action of a genuine box spring to supply the desired comfort and durability.  The upper and lower unit work in a silent partnership.  Sometimes, BOX SPRINGS,  are not so silent.  When they were popular, better box springs were made with cloth strips between the metal coils and the wood slats that they were attached to.  A coil would move along with the sleeper’s motion and rub against wood making the traditional squeak that people under sixty have probably never heard.

If you purchase a new one-sided innerspring mattress with the intent of using it on your old box spring, it is a false economy. You are not only shortening the comfort life of the mattress, but you are taking away much of the comfort designed into it.  One sided mattresses are not just mattresses with half of the filling omitted.    I am, and now you should be, aware that it is possible to buy just such a mattress if you deal with one of the minority of bad actors waiting to take your money under false pretenses.   If you have the strength to read  this blog and also study the available material at Consumer Reports, you probably will end up with a decent mattress that meets your needs.

When you see a box spring advertised, or demonstrated by a retail chain “sleep expert”, more than likely it is a foundation with no springs. These are rigid boxes 4-16” thick designed to fit on a metal bed frame under a mattress to provide support and distance from the floor. Foundations can and be made in many ways and some are superficially better than some others, but they all have a slatted  bottom base, a smooth hard top, and something to full the space  between  top and bottom . Most frequently used are toughened rigid formed steel rods that are bent to provide a flat surface on top. Leggett and Platt is not the only supplier, but the minor ones mirror the L&P technology.

Essentially, a well made foundation mirrors the sleep and support benefits of a solid top platform bed. It will provide smooth, durable, strong, and predictable support. The quality of sleep comes 90% from the mattress and 10% from the platform or foundation.  Aside from aesthetics, there is no reason not to just put your new one-sided mattress on your floor, carpeted or otherwise, and get the same quality sleep as you would get with the factory foundation.   Actually, the feel is improved by a padded carpet to the point of being better than most platform beds or any “foundation”.    A tiny number of platform bed makers lightly pad their platforms for added comfort. Ligne Roset, Flou, and Charles P. Rogers are the most significant.

Please be aware that all of the above advice assumes that you own or will buy a one-sided hybrid/innerspring mattress.   A few mattress makers still make reversible, two sided retro mattresses.  These are designed for use on flexible box springs springs, but few are sold with them. Foundations are so much less costly to make. Most of these retro mattresses are either very inexpensive or very very expensive. No middle ground.   The inexpensive come from small local factories and mattress renovators. Mattress renovators rebuild old and used mattresses.  Depending on whether the mattress is all new or has partially reused parts, such a mattress and foundation can be as cheap as three hundred dollars, rarely a bit more.    The other side of the spectrum are two wonderful mattress makers.  One is on each coast.   McCroskey in the SF area, and Shifman in the NYC area.    These retro mattresses are mostly thick, thicker, and too thick, especially the Shifman. McCroskey even makes their own vintage style wire tied innerspring units. The kind of semi-rigid coil innerspring that pocketed coil has almost completely replaced in the luxury market.  Both firms make some hand made coil box springs.  Both still make the best mattresses you could buy in 1951, the year I went into business.   Shifman was the best mattress in my store in the fifties and we slept on one for a while until we made happen what was going to become a permanent fact: we started sleeping on naturally cool latex and never went back.  Latex mattresses from about 1930-2,000 were as good as one could get and they almost all came with a coil box spring.  Now, the hybrid innerspring with all latex has replaced the all-latex on a box spring.  A wonderful benefit for consumers.

In the post WW2 years until the 80s or 90s, hard mattresses were considered the best and healthiest.  Maybe someday “hard” will again become popular.  However, they virtually disappeared when the competition started using new padding material and more flexible innersprings to make far more comfortable mattresses.  Both McCroskey and Shifman still use large, heavy gauge mattress coils, and layers of felted cotton for the core of their beds.  Some concessions to comfort have been added, usually in the form of latex padding, but they can’t compete with good pocketed coils and natural latex.

SO WHICH SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?   Sorry, but you really don’t have the luxury of choice with only minor exceptions.  You are going to get a FOUNDATION.    You have to be very patient and energetic to find a real coil box spring. If you seek a coil box spring, I mention a few sources in the previous paragraph.   Another excellent choice is to get a well built solid padded deck platform bed.

If you get either a new platform bed, or foundation, and you get a mattress properly designed for a solid base support, you can find your perfect bed. I know of no current mattress thicker than sixteen inches from upper to lower binding that will have the comfort life expectancy of a purpose built platform mattress. You should only buy a box spring if your new mattress is reversible.  Shifman, Marshall, Hastens, McCroskey, EJ Kluft, and other makers of replica post-WW2 mattresses are major players.   If the maker claims that their mattress is platform-ready then you know it will do fine on a foundation or a platform bed, and even better if the platform bed has a solid top.

When we bought our own latex hybrid, we also ordered a platform bed with a solid, lightly padded, deck, instead of a foundation and a metal bed frame.   Why?  A bed like this http://goo.gl/itqaX  is completely steady.  All foundations or box springs on metal bed frames tend to move a bit when you do.  We were getting a mattress with intelligently assembled individually pocketed coil springs that prevent “motion transfer”.  Even with such a good mattress, if what is underneath can jiggle, then no matter how well the mattress is designed and built, the whole bed still shakes when one of us moves.  Our knowledgeably sourced bed and mattress gives both comfort and a tranquil environment.  An added bonus was finding some needed storage space.  This bed has inconspicuous  space for four large plastic boxes from Bed Bath and Behind.

Remember, do not use any innerspring mattress on any platform bed with wooden slats for the top support, EXCEPT, if the space between the slats is 2.75″ or less.  You would be surprised to see how quickly the mattress fails if the airspace between the slats is greater.  And do not use a solid foam of any kind on anything except an almost unobtainable box spring unless you do not mind missing out on at least half of the comfort that the nice cushy mattress could give you.  Of course, you could always do better for yourself and not buy anything other than an innerspring/hybrid/latex and get the best of both possible worlds.  If you are stuck with a platform with non-conforming slats and spaces, you can use it anyway with a modification.  Cover the center 2/3 of the surface, or more, with 1/4″ thin smooth one side plywood. No other kind of board except plywood and with no exceptions. You may have to fasten the plywood if it makes noise against the slats. Some countersunk wood screws will work.  When placing the plywood, center it top to bottom.


Marshall Coyle, The Old Bed Guy –



Bed Buying Tips / Bedding / Casper / Mattresses


  • Maggie says:

    Have you heard of Carolina beds? It’s made of a combination of latex & memory foams and springs. It has a breathable top fabric bamboo fibers. Warranty is 15 years. Any info would be great .

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      I am aware of them, but have never seen their product. I analyzed their specifications as offered on their website and on the websites of several of their largest dealers. There is much more information of the dealer sites. Carolina Mattress Guild offers furniture stores an unknown virtually private label to offer at rather high profits to help them fight off some of the bargain outlets such as Sams Club, Costco, and others. Prices and quality is all over the lot.

      One can buy a Simmons or Serta mattress with as many coils, similar latex and soy foam, at far lower prices in a big-box store. When you see this brand, you see a retailer trying to make extra dollars because of customer inability to shop.

      For less than the cost of even the highest price Carolina Guild, you can cut out the retailer completely and buy beds directly from various makers. Another direct maker with stores in many states is “The Original Mattress Factory”. They are nice people to deal with, however, to my knowledge do not work with pocketed coils. If you check with Consumer Reports on the web, you can get a lot more honest information.


    • True Story says:

      Don’t ever buy a bed from Carolina Mattress Guild. Our was misrepresented by the store (Mattress Capital in Raleigh NC), was way overpriced, and had a 1.5 inch sag within the first week! I’m on this page because I’m trying to replace their junk foundation that they sell with their beds because it creaks very loudly every time I get off the bed.

      • Marshall Coyle says:

        Sure, Tempurpedic is the synthetic foam maker that recently bought Sealy and Stearns and Foster and is the throes of a re-organization. They make a very wide range of chemically base visco-elastic memory and ordinary chemical polyurethane foam. ADDED APRIL 29.15. THIS NATIONAL NEWS STORY ABOUT TEMPURPEDIC APPEARED TODAY AND FOR THOSE OF YOU CONSIDERING THE PURCHASE OF TEMPURPEDIC AND ANY OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCT, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU BE AWARE OF THIS CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST TEMPURPEDIC: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/04/30/i-team-consumers-believe-mattresses-made-them-sick/

        They must be the best of their type, only because so many questionable foam peddlers claim to be “Better Than” TempurPedic. In my highly subjective opinion should be a signal to walk away from anything that you offer.

        If someone wishes to buy a genuine Tempurpedic, I believe that he or she could take advantage of TempurPedics well run direct-to-the-customer operation

        Where you buy is as important as what you buy. If you buy a chemical foam mattress from a retailer, not as nice to deal with as Tempur Pedic, I have never heard a bad word about the company and applaud them for their merchandising wisdom.

        But back to the importance of buying this type of mattress that has received so many negative and controversial reviews. -Tempur Pedic sells through hundreds or possibly thousands of retailers. Their main similarity is that they have all agreed to never sell at a lower price than one authorized by Tempur Pedic .

        Their reliability and service policies are all over the place. You might buy your Tempur Pedic from Macy’s and will be taken care of no matter what. You might buy it from a hustler with a website and not much more and your future issues will be solely yours, or what you can accomplish by insisting on help from Tempur.

        My simple advice is that if you believe their wonderful and effective TV and print advertising, and want your own. Buy it from them.

  • Barb says:

    I am currently shopping for a new mattress set and have narrowed it down to two
    which both seem very comfortable in the showroom. Either the Charles P. Rogers
    Powercore Estate 5000 or a Bloomingdales Shifman Original Firm which I found at
    a great price. I am have some low back issues and a back/ side sleeper. Help I can’t decide?

    • Marshall Coyle says:


      You have narrowed your choice down to two excellent mattresses. However, they could hardly be more different. Way back in 1950 “Mrs. Coyle” and I slept on a wedding present Shifman “Original which was then about all they made in those days. It was Sanotufted through heavy wide striped eight ounce cotton ticking, a clever way of tufting to conceal the tuft-bumps before competition convinced them to add a thin quilt. This was before queen and king size appeared on the horizon and the full size set retailed around $99 with free delivery. A button-tufted Simmons Beautyrest with similar hard wearing ticking and a far better innerspring unit was only $79.00 for the two piece set and considered high price.

      We soon opened our first store and for fifty years whenever something new and allegedly better came out, it went home for personal testing. My back has had more experiential learning than most. Mattress manufacturing used to be very local. The few name brands had strategically located factories and every major area had its small craft shops. Englander and Simmons ruled nationally, and although both still exist, Englander is now a group of disparate franchises, and Simmons has toughed it out through many ownerships and changes of philosophy. Simmons had the best innerspring unit then, and except for Charles P. Rogers, still has. Shifman, Charles P. Rogers, and Beckley, all NY area high quality makers have survived the growth of national brands by sticking to what they do best, making unique good mattresses and protecting their brands.

      I am giving you this history so you will better understand how my opinion(s) have formed. If given a choice of the two brands, Shifman and Charles P. Rogers, I wouldn’t think twice. The Roger’s mattress you have selected is a bit too firm for anyone with skeletal pain, certainly anyone over fifty, but one could get accustomed to it. We recently visited their NYC showroom and tried out the whole Estate line. They all are more conforming than most other mattresses owing to their unique proprietary innerspring unit, but they have distinctively different feels owing to the padding layers. As the style number and price escalates, the amount of cool latex grows and the ability to soothe painful hips and shoulder blades grows exponentially. We decided on the #9000 after I lost the “argument” with “Mrs Coyle”. She kept reminding me with my own quotes that if we buy a mattress that is too soft we are stuck with it and no longer are in the mattress business, but if we buy one too hard, we can put a nice thick latex topper on it and sleep happily ever after. Now this makes perfect sense and quite recently, I had a letter from someone who bought a Shifman DaVinci in an out-of-business New Jersey retailer, Valley Furniture, and apparently as the retailer must be involved, not service was forthcoming. This Shifman is a much higher priced and thicker version than the Shifman Original that you are contemplating. She asked for help getting some sleep after wasting thousands on a too hard mattress built so well that it may never soften. I gave her a link to a 3″ good quality latex topper pad at Amazon. She bought it with expedited overnight delivery and can’t stop thanking me.

      The “original” Shifman uses only very high quality cotton felt for comfort padding over a heavy gauge hard innerspring low-coil count innerspring. Should last at least ten years and maybe longer, hard every night. People loved hard mattresses two generations ago and actually eschewed the comfort of a Beautyrest to sleep on the new mattress on the block, Sealy PosturePedic. “No Morning Backache From Sleeping On a Too Soft Mattress”. When tastes changed Sealy had to knock off the pocketed coils that made Beautyrests so comfortable and durable and have maintained market share. I do not believe that their imitation Beautyrests are as good as the Simmons product, but that is someone else’s problem. At this moment, my only problem is giving you good advice.

      Rogers uses highest quality cool latex in the Estate line for support and comfort padding. Many other premium brands also do, but not at their low prices because Rogers makes and sells direct to you. The important difference is that only Rogers has the proprietary PowerCore springs. They are the latest version of the hundred year old pocketed coil and the one that senses any protuberances like elbows or hips and gently eases down under the weight, all but eliminating pressure on your sensitive nervous system. This saves the shopper in-store or on the web at least fifty percent compared to any department or furniture store and more than that where you may have been shopping. I am writing this without knowledge whether or not you visited the Charles P. Rogers factory showroom in Chelsea. If you did and chose the #5000 after trying the two more cushy versions, then, by all means buy it. If you haven’t been there, and are mobile, you really should. But as I said above, you can easily make a mattress softer and no less durable with an appropriate latex, (not chemical foam/feathers/wool/or organic miracle) just good easy to buy latex.

      And last, lower back issues often are ameliorated by really sleeping on your side. Gravity apparently is your friend as you sleep and does its best to align your spine a bit. Based upon personal experience I have recommended to dozens of my correspondents with stenosis, scoliosis, past surgery, and spinal arthritis, a method to fall asleep on your side and stay that way. It will only work if your mattress has enough padding as I describe above. You have to invest a bit under $100 in a nice body pillow. The 9-10 long pillows favored by many women in late pregnancy. You wrap it around yourself with your head on top of inverted U and one leg over and one leg under lying on your left or right side with the pillow between the knees. If you have a PowerCore, your hips will settle down enough for your spine to be in a straight line. If you have a competitive pocketed coil such as Beautyrest or the Sealy imitation, it might work, but just a gamble that your weight and body mass are correct for that mattress. The PowerCore obviates a need to worry, you don’t fit it, it fits you. Another and lots less expensive way is to sew an old (or new) tennis ball into the back of a loose cotton tee shirt that will annoy you every time you roll onto your back. Everyone tosses and turns somewhat, but stiff springs like the Shifman double offset with 12.5 or 13 gauge tempered wire, to me, is no different than sleeping on a well padded thick woolen carpet. The feeling is very similar as the only real give is the rug pile and the foam padding.

      Barb, I have gone on an on in the hope that you will be another happy sleeper. I keep thinking about retiring again, but every day when I get the smiling thank-you-for-my-best-nite-sleep letters, I am back to the keyboard.

      “Marshall Coyle”

  • Barb says:

    One more thing…I sleep well on my back and would never consider torturing myself
    with a tennis ball! something much better is a body pillow.

  • Bita says:

    Hello, Thank you for a very helpful blog. What is your recomendation for a less than 12 inch mattress thickness which is one sided (for platform bed). Challenge is finding a good quality mattress that is not so deep and thick.

    Lastly, what are your thoughts about the firm mattresses made by Room and Board or BoConcept which are meant for platform beds they sell?


  • Paul Bullen says:

    Are there any good reasons to buy a metal frame? If so, what are they?
    Are there any good reasons to buy a (hard) foundation? If so, what are they?

    I gather two-sided mattresses work best when on a spring mattress (as opposed to the floor or a platform bed).

    I can think of one good reason for both–they both constitute one way to make the top of the bed higher from the ground–which for some people may be a good thing. It would be one reason to opt for a platform bed instead too. Possible reason #2. I suppose a frame gives bugs fewer places from which to move from the floor on which they are walking onto the bed. (Also, a foundation would give bugs further to walk to get to where the people sleep).

    Relatedly, is “foundation” a genus of which hard foundations and box springs are two genera (with adjustable bases a possible third), or is a box spring not a kind of foundation (this is a terminological question)? I’ve been in the habit of using the word ‘foundation’ to cover both, pointing out that single-sided mattresses should not be used with box springs.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Paul, I am unsure of what you are calling a metal bed frame. If it is what once was universally called a hollywood bed frame that fits under a boxspring and keeps it off the floor and provides a means for attaching a headboard, it makes perfect sense to me. Attaching six inch or so metal or wood legs to the bottom of a bed also works well esthetically but usually has no wheels for easy moving. The other choice is to put your foundation or box spring directly on the floor.

      If you are talking about the ready to assemble springs on legs with a wire grid top, sure they make sense. They make sense to the Chinese entrepreneur that is grinding them out. They make sense to the websites whose unique selling proposition is to sell cheap stuff cheaply regardless of the outcome. They make sense to consumers who have little disposable money and want something cheaper than a foundation that also might have storage room underneath. People who are the market for this type of product tend to live in more cramped quarters and extra storage is a good selling point. I once recommended one, about three years ago, to someone who I meet dog walking. She needed storage and something without cloth to meet the needs of an emotionally challenged destructive teenager. It came from Amazon and has worked well in twin size. The Amazon webpages for these products are so full of five star reviews suspiciously similar to each other that only the one and two star writers should be given credence.

      Two sided mattresses become softer and more flexible on a real box spring where the coils have some up and down movement. They feel and act differently. On a platform, a medium firm mattress may feel hard and the same mattress on a coil box spring might feel soft. The foundation became ubiquitous when one sided mattresses took over. Most of them would not do to well on a box spring as they are not designed to have a flexible support and inside parts will move around and eventually break away. A very few makers, the one’s who make their own springs, can make a two sided mattress that can cope with a box spring but few to none are now available.

      Your bed bug pondering is way off. The cute little buggies don’t wander aimlessly. They sense the warm carbon dioxide emanating from any human or animal in their proximity and walk right over for a snack. The semi-scamming bed bug cover makers conveniently have forgotten that the bugs are just as happy, maybe more so, living in cracks in the wall, electric outlets, any furniture at all, not out in the open. Not unlike our NYC Metropolitan insect, the roach. Only leave the dark to feed. This old bed guy has never seen a bed bug, but there are many other more interesting things still left to see before I make it my business to see one.Y

  • Paul Bullen says:

    It would seem that you, at least, use “base” as the genus term, such that box springs and “foundations’ are two species of bases. But I see that Leggett and Platt use “box springs” to refer to solid bases, aka, foundations: http://www.beddingcomponents.com/boxsprings.asp.
    You would think they would be terminologically more careful.
    Adjustable bases replace both bases and frames. So perhaps, it is not good to treat adjustable bases as a third species of base. They are more accurately, adjustable base-frames.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Leggett and Platt, the single entity that makes the components for most of the mattresses assemble in the USA and Canada, has made an internal decision to call any box that is as long and wide as a mattress that contains steel in any form is a box spring. They sell both coil box springs and grid top foundations with a large variety of formed metal rods that support the top grid. Until recently this type of bedding was called a “foundation” and still mostly is. Nevertheless, L&P has decided to call them all “Box springs” as long as they have some steel in their construction. Those with coils usually have a flexible top and are my preference when used with a double sided mattress, tempering the hard springs in the mattress. Those with formed wires bent with many different angles attached to a metal grid and stapled to a wooden base, have just been christened “box springs” spring or not. They are distinguished by their rigid platform type top. One sided mattresses fare best on this type of base.

      The L&P adustable bases have a boardlike surface and are not box springs as are most of the rest of the world’s supply. A conspicuous outlier is Duxiana who has an adjustable bed filled with resilient coils and, in my opinion, at this time is the very best. If you visit the L&P website, you may get a clearer understanding of why there is very little differentiation between the design and manufacture of innerspring mattresses. They all use the same parts bin and can keep busy knocking off each other’s original work.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      The Leggett and Platt company has apparently decided that if it looks like a box spring, and can squeak like a box spring, then it must be a box spring. One defining criteria is the presence of steel. Absent steel and present wooden slats, it is a foundation and (they say) foundations are awful. In retrospect, when costly box springs started to be replaced by not costly formed wire filled foundations, I was not happy. At least fifteen years have passed and the wire grid foundation is under virtually every new mass produced innerspring mattress made in America. Leggett and Platt has reimagined box spring construction to sharply lower labor and material costs. I predict that they will come roaring back with higher priced mattresses. This is a good development. If you want to see what a good old-fashioned hand tied box spring looks like, visit the McCroskey Mattress site. Except for Duxiana which has coils in the base of its adjustable beds, and some non-powered wooden slat adjustable bases sold overseas, to my knowledge every adjustable bed supports the mattress on a foundation.
      Marshall Coyle

  • Cheryl Khan says:

    I love my platform bed. I’ve never gone back to the old box spring of my childhood. There’s really no need for them. If you’re worried about platform beds being stiff, take advice from a soft sleeper, it’s really not that big of a difference. It ultimately depends on your mattress. Here’s some tips you should look at:

    Get a platform bed. You won’t look back! :)

    (I have deleted a link to the platform bed seller, Cheryl Khan)

    To all the nice people out there who sell bed products, please don’t foul up one of the two or three review sites on the net that do not accept pay for praise. Marshall Coyle )

  • diane says:

    What a great blog! Thx for taking the time to educate us all! I recently purchased a storage bed. my traditional boxspring made it way too high so I got rid of it. Now my back is suffering. I just moved and am on a budget so I won’t be investing in a good mattress for another year of so. In the meantime, I’ve heard people say to try either: putting a piece of plywood under the mattress, buying a bunky board (2 in) or low profile box spring (5 in). The bunky board would be a good size since it looks like the bed looks best the way it is now without the additional height. There is nothing solid under the mattress now, it’s about 5 slats, which I think are causing the problem with support. Your suggestion for a temporary (1-2 year fix)?

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Diane,

      The most suitable fix, and so suitable that I will call it the only sensible fix, is getting a lumber yard to cut you one or two pieces of 1/2″ or thicker plywood (smooth one side) equal to the exact size of your mattress (you did not mention one). Remove enough slats so that only three survive. One in the exact middle, and one proportionately between the slat and each end of the bed. Three is the perfect number to prevent any rocking or being high or low. Don’t second guess on this magic number 3. Save any good ones left over, for “just in case”. Place plywood with messy side down facing the floor. If this bed is twin or full size, I can send you a slightly more complicated fix that should cost a few dollars less. Either “fix” will provide proper support for any purpose designed platform bed innerspring mattress. If I am still surviving when you have saved$6-800 I will be happy to save you from the snake-oil salesmen that now sell mattresses on the internet. You can read about this on the blog, and it might keep you from buying a new mattress and then having to do it all over again in as little a two or three months.

      I am not kidding about the surviving. I started this blog when I was eighty years old and have helped thousands of people save literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now, five years later, I am sort of beyond my use-by date and there is no one around with my kind of mattress and bed knowledge to turn it over to. If you go to the blog again, or quickly search around these comments, you will find a list that I require before I can help anyone actually get the most perfect mattress for their needs. It is in your interest to do this as soon as convenient, because “years” is what I do not have any longer.

      Good luck with the bed fix up. I would appreciate any before and after pictures if you have a picture phone or camera.

      Marshall Coyle, the OldBedguy@gmail.com

  • Becky says:

    Hi Marshall – thank you for your time and expertise! I have a fast question: I’m looking at a latex/foam mattress from Lucid. Its a 9″ inch thick mattress with a 3″ natural latex comfort layer and a 7″ high-density polyurethane foam support base. They say use of a platform or box spring will void the warranty. Why do you think that is? Are they meant to be put on the floor only? Thanks for your help! Becky

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Because the importer who is peddling this cheapest of Chinese chemical crud masquerading as a mattress, brings in packages of all the parts including the base in the shipping container. They can not eat the leftovers. You buy complete sets or nothing as they have no retail business or warehouse or place to store the base that you do not buy. If I were you, I would continue to shop, but this time, make sure that you are dealing with a real merchant. If the web site does not have a land address, a store, any kind of history, and is offering miracles that no one else seems to have, you would be well advised to continue your shopping.

  • Jenny says:

    Hi Marshall,
    I’m so glad to find your page when I was out of ideas on what to do!!
    Long story short, I bought a platform bed online for a new mattress. The package came but without nuts/washer and one of the leg was bent. I have no time to wait for the parts to be resent/replaced as my guest arrives in two days and I need something quick and easy. (easy because I’m a DIY idiot…sadly) I have an old box spring so i thought I’d do what you suggested and place a 1/2″ plywood between the new mattress and old box spring. I went to Homdepot but they said they can’t cut it as one big piece. Your Blog mentioned multiple piece is workable. So, here comes my stupid question. Do I nee to find a way to “join” the plywood together if I get 3 pieces (running in the width direction)? Will them slid/move around if it is not one big piece? Truthfully, I don’t know how to “join” them together. The gentleman from Homedepot suggest a mending plate that has teeth so I can just hammer it along the seam of plywood plates. (I guess that side would be facing down, towards the box, in this case) But that way, ultimately the mending plate would bend/deform along the seam of the plywood?

    Thank you very much for your help.


    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Jenny,

      Duct tape, wonderful duct tape. Buy a small roll of at least 3″ width, with 4″ being better. Apply three pieces of tape to each seam, one right smack in the middle, edge to edge but not wrapped around, and the other two meeting in the middle. This will make for years of use. Tape only one side, the smooth top side. This will permit a minor hinging action with little or no wear to the tape. If you do it on the bottom, it will quickly tear. If you do it on both sides, it will tear even more quickly. Then you can Google “duct tape projects” and learn how to make wallets and many other things out of your lots of leftover tape. If the “expert” at Home Depot can figure out how to make one of the plywood pieces larger than the other two, then the large piece should be supporting the torso.

      If you bought an appropriate platform-specific mattress your guests should be delighted.


  • Gloria says:

    Dear Mr. Coyle,

    We are currently looking for a new mattress and are literally at our wits end trying to find a quality queen
    flip/double-side inner coil mattress for under $1,000. We live in Southern California and every place we have looked don’t even carry double-sided mattresses. Any suggestions? Also, can we use a platform base for our new mattress, or should we be using a box spring, or can we put our new mattress on top of our old mattress (which is also a flip, double-sided mattress that is only four years old, but not as firm as we would like — we bought new from my brother who was transferred overseas just weeks after he purchased).

    Many thanks for your response and your most valued opinion and assistance.


    • Marshall Coyle says:


      I can understand why you are frustrated in your search. Can you imagine the difficulty you would find in you also wanted to buy a brand new 1950 technology television or automobile. Mattresses have evolved and what you seek has become a fossil. Never the less, you can find a double sided mattress in Southern California if you find a Macys or a Bloomingdales, or possibly a local sleep shop that carries Kluft and Aireloom brands. The Kluft company, in Northern California carefully hand assembles very good two sided mattresses. A problem for you will be the price as they can cost as much as an entry level automobile. You should start thinking about possibly compromising.

      Your plaint has so many contradictions of what is possible but I am trying. You use flippable/quality/queen size/ and <$1,000 in the same sentence. In reality, you cannot do any of these things. You can get a quality, actually a good quality queen in your price range if you buy it factory direct from one of the sources mentioned in various essays in this blog. But you will have to order on the internet. Nothing like it near you. The nearest is McCroskey Mattress in San Francisco and way out of your price range. Very good one. A retail priced queen sub $1,000 has quality compromises that affect the comfort and expected life. Only from a factory direct source mentioned in the blog, and ordering on the net or toll free phone will you find what you think you want. And then, you will have to make your own compromise and get a contemporary engineered one sided hybrid innerspring. If you lived in heartland America or even the Rust Belt, you would have access to the Original Mattress Factory's 100 factory direct stores. They make a sub $600 two sided mattress that is just OK as you would see if you clicked on the link to them in my Mattress Buying tips or hints. They also make higher priced two sided, but, again, too much for your budget. To make it plain. Please spend an hour reading. You may not become a mattress expert, but you will stop making impossible demands on yourself. If your new mattress is too hard, and it one sided, it should be on a firm foundation or platform bed. A practical way to make it softer is with a latex topper. The operative word is latex. Unless you want to buy and return a chemical foam because it is less costly. You have to spend several hundred dollars to get a minimum 2" soft latex high quality topper. If you buy on the cheap, you will soon discover why I took the trouble to advise you otherwise. I hope that this letter has been helpful. It is only a tiny bit of the advice available when you read the various essays in the Old Bed Guy blog. , And continuing in your journey: A two sided mattress requires a coil box spring. You can read why and how in my article about box springs and foundations. It is plain that you just started typing without reading the laboriously typed advice that is freely given in the OBG blog. Putting your new mattress on top of your old mattress, without any consideration of what either mattress consists of is the least best idea of all your efforts to be different, but not better, in your choice of sleeping equipment.

  • becs says:

    Just purchased a king mattress and was wondering if I can do a sort of DIY platform bed using a metal bed frame and purchasing some wood from Lowes cut to the width of the frame to use as “slats” (maybe 1×6 boards). Would that be sufficient if we used about 10 of them?

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      The number of slats is adequate for proper support as the spaces will be quite small, however, if the bed frame does not have a center support running from head to toe, the slats will not be adequately strong by far. The will bend deeply in the middle and just fall out before they break, if they do not break first. Cheap pine over 6 feet long does not have much resistance to bending. And hardwood can be better, but a lot more costly and still will bend without center support. If you’re wallet is running on empty, check out steel bed frames from Amazon. Amazingly inexpensive way to keep your mattress off the floor/ get the ones with flat metal strips, not thin wires.


  • Ed says:

    Thanks for the best mattress information I have encountered. It is obvious that you are both honest and expert. Here is a bed height problem that I hope you can help solve. We have a Sealy latex king mattress (11 inches high) and Twin XL foundations (9.5 inches high) on a K52RS standard steel frame (7.25 inches high). Altogether, the bed is 27.25 inches high. I have two medical problems requiring me to simultaneously get the whole bed as close to the floor as possible, and also to raise the head above the feet by 7 inches (which precludes simply putting the mattress on the floor). The head of the frame is already up on 7-inch blocks; the question is how to lower the total height while keeping the very heavy latex mattress supported properly without needing another mortgage. After hours of reading, I have narrowed the solution down to the following choices: 1) Replace the standard frame with a low-profile version to save 3 inches and replace the two Twin XL foundations with low-profile models to save 4 inches so that the total height (not counting the blocks) will be 21 inches. 2) Replace the frame with a low-profile version to save 3 inches and replace the two Twin XL foundations with 1 x 6 wood slats (like those suggested by “becs” on February 15) so that the total height (not counting the blocks) will be about 17.5 inches. 3) Replace the frame with a low-profile version to save 3 inches and replace the two Twin XL foundations with Twin XL bunkie boards so that the total height (not counting the blocks) will be about 18.5 inches. Based on what I have learned from you already, the first solution will support the mattress enough, but will either of the other two do so? If either of the other two will work, I will both save money and get the bed closer to the floor. Can you suggest any other alternatives? Thanks very much.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      to “Ed” Re angled bed/Bed Height

      Think about this: Invest in a custom platform made from a minimum 1/2″ smooth one side plywood, or 3/4″ if you can afford it. You need approximately 76X80 which will involve a serious carpenter piecing two boards together. You need a nice flat surface that can be elevated the 7″ on one end without sagging in the middle. If you have access to a competent carpenter, the 1/2″ will do but he will have to make a support a few inches high halfway between the front lip that will be resting on the floor, and the head end up 7″. It would be good to put a lip on the bottom, but not totally needed. This, even with the better wood, will not, or should not cost more than a couple of not needed metal frames. And if your health returns, a simple set of legs and you have a normal platform. The other ideas are too complicated and messy, especially the slats. You do not need foundations if you have a real solid old latex, Sealy brand or otherwise. In a perfect world, that mattress should be on real box springs, and you would be getting the comfort that is inherently in it, that you may never have felt. If money is no object, just comfort, I urge that you get a good latex/hybrid combination such as I mention all over my blog. And now top rated by Consumer Reports. I am completely vindicated. I have been touting hybrids for years, mostly alone, but apparently 2015 is the year when a lot of people will be sleeping better. The wonderful innerspring core, not the same as others, brings out all of the inherent wonderful comfort that latex comes with– and is lost on a slab or a foundation. If you never tried it, you have no idea what you are missing. If you take this mattress advice, please write to me first so I can try to guide you to get the most appropriate for your body type and sleeping habits.

      Marshall Coyle

  • Marshall Coyle says:

    Dear Christina, I have continued searching for a worthwhile local to San Antonio factory, and have not succeeded. If there is one, and there might be someone hiding in plain site with no internet representation, but from here in the northeast, invisible to me. What I did find was a retailer with the disingenuous name of “Factory Mattress” that sells the major brand names. http://www.factorymattresstexas.com/products/ will get you to their product page. They do not appear to have, or to have on their site, the most highly recommended Consumer Reports and OBG mattresses, but that is not necessarily the case in-store. From their site, they appeared to be the typical unimaginative sleep shop, and that is not necessarily a bad thing if they provide good service. The nature of the products on-offer tend to require service on the average of 20% so buying these mass-produced mattresses is best done where the service is good. I would NEVER recommend buying any of the major brands on the internet because of the service issues and the uncertainty of getting what you expect. The internet, for you, exists to shop for some of the excellent factory-direct providers where the mattresses rarely, if ever, need service, and the prices are much lower. You can see at least two of these institutions in the just published Consumer Reports recommendations, and they all will ship to San Antonio.
    Marshall Coyle

  • Marshall Coyle says:

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/bed-bath/mattresses/mattress-ratings/models/overview/novaform-altabella-costco-99051115.htm will tell you a lot more about your intended purchase. The base you own is worth trying. You can buy a similar mattress, a slab of the cheapest kind of synthetic chemical foam with a push of the button on Amazon and lay out only about $300 or often a lot less. I wonder if you bothered to read the helpful posts on the Old Bed Guy. The 2015 Consumer Reports list on the blog shows you several (my opinion)better synthetic visco memory foam layered slabs with better Consumer Report ratings at less than half the price. Do yourself a favor and read a bit more before you get a hot and hard bed, no matter how cheap it is. You can do a whole lot better. Marshall Coyle.

  • Brad says:

    Greets Marshall,

    I purchased this queen sized metal bed frame from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00R6OXJWE/

    I plan on putting a memory foam mattress on it. The frame has 9 feet, which I read is good, but the spaces between the metal bars is too far for a foam mattress to sit nicely. I plan on getting some 3/4″ plywood to place on it (two 30″x80″ pieces I think, unless you have a better thought?). Do you think that will be a nice solution for this frame? Also, I’ve read that placing foam mattresses on plywood can lead to possible mold on the bottom, since moisture has no way of escaping. In your experience, is that a concern? Would drilling 1″ holes in the plywood somehow help with airflow? I also thought I may cover the plywood with some sort of canvas fabric, if I’m feeling spunky.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  • Margo Tiede White says:

    We are looking for a bed without flame retardants and toxic materials. We are looking at an Essentia bed. With our doctor prescription, we can get the bed made without the kevlar barrier to eliminate the fire retardant. Do you think this is a good choice for a non toxic bed? Also…..unfortunately, this company does not make a base or foundation for their beds because they are encouraging their customers to use a platform bed. We do not have one and want to know what we should put under this bed. Presently, we have a traditional king size head board and foot board held together by a metal frame where the traditional box frame sits. What about a STL frame? Maybe a bunkie board on top of that? Should we be concerned about the EMFs associated with the metal in the STL bed frame foundation? We need advice! Thank you!!!!!!!!! Margo

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Margo, I do not think that you should be concerned with EMF’s emanating from a wire grid foundation. I am not an expert on EMF issues, and you should not rely on what I “think”. The grid structure looks a lot like a shortwave antenna that used, would you believe it, 70 years ago when I was 15. A bunky board is a two thin pieces of cloth and some thin cardboard: that is all, and if EMF’s are stopped by it, I would be extremely surprised. I agree about using a platform bed and sleep on one myself. And I do not sleep on a mattress made by a manufacturer that is one of the worst offenders as far as making mattresses with harmful chemicals that fill your bedroom with noxious gases. I sleep on a latex hybrid, one that I recommend in the website and so does Consumer Reports rating it tops in this year’s reports. I do not wish to publicly mention the maker but if you write to me a oldbedguy@gmail.com, I will share with you. One of my choices was to make sure that my bed did not have manufactured wood that was made with formaldehyde glue. If you revisit my blog, you will sooner or later find a short essay about “manufactured wood”, made of small particles glued together. These particle boards are in 98% of all inexpensive beds and furniture and if formaldehyde gases are truly carcinogens, they have caused a lot of suffering.

      Margo, I think that this news story should be of interest:
      FTC to mattress companies: Don’t pad your green claims

      By Lesley Fair
      July 25, 2013 – 11:08am
      If you or your clients make environmental marketing claims, don’t sleep on three actions the FTC just announced against companies that sell mattresses. What’s more, the pleadings in one case offer insights into a course of conduct advertisers should avoid in the use of seals and certifications.

      According the FTC’s lawsuit against Relief-Mart, based in Westlake Village, California, the company advertised its Biogreen memory foam mattresses without having its claims tucked in. Relief-Mart, which markets through its tempflow.com site, said the products don’t contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), have no VOC off-gassing, and don’t have the smell consumers often associate with memory foam. One aroma the FTC detected from Relief-Mart’s representations was the whiff of deception, which is why the complaint charged that the company didn’t have a reasonable basis for its claims.

      A second lawsuit challenged statements in ads by Quebec-based Essentia Natural Memory Foam Company, which has retail stores in six U.S. cities. The FTC charged that Essentia didn’t have appropriate proof to back up claims that its mattresses are VOC-free, have “[n]o chemical off-gassing or odor,” and — unlike other memory foam mattresses that “can emit up to 61 chemicals” — are “free from all those harmful VOCs.” In addition, the complaint disputes Essentia’s claims that its memory foam mattresses are chemical-free, contain no formaldehyde, don’t emit chemical fumes and odors, and are “made with 100% natural materials.” The FTC also challenged the truthfulness of Essentia’s assurance that testing confirms that its memory foam mattresses are VOC- and formaldehyde-free.

      (An aside about “smell” claims: The FTC doesn’t normally challenge subjective representations like smell. What’s different here is that consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances are likely to interpret a claim that a mattress doesn’t have that memory foam smell to mean that it’s VOC-free.)

      In a third action, the FTC alleged that San Diego-based Ecobaby Organics short-sheeted the truth in how it marketed its latex mattresses. Through its purerest.com site, Ecobaby touted its mattresses as “chemical free,” with no formaldehyde, toluene, benzene, VOCs, or toxic substances. The company also said its products contained fewer contaminants and chemicals than competitors’ memory foam or latex mattresses and that it had sound testing to back up its chemical-, formaldehyde-, and VOC-free claims. Not so, said the FTC, which alleged that Ecobaby didn’t have appropriate testing to support those statements.

      What about the certification angle? Ecobaby’s promotional materials prominently featured the seal of NAOMI, the National Association of Organic Mattress Industry. The FTC says the ads conveyed to consumers that NAOMI was an independent certifying organization with appropriate expertise that grants its seal based on objective standards. The truth, says the FTC, is that NAOMI is run by Ecobaby and is really an alter ego of the company. Thus, the company awarded its own seal to its own products without applying objective standards, a practice that (surprise, surprise) ran afoul of Section 5.

      Proposed settlements with the three companies should put misleading representations to rest. You’ll want to read the orders for the details, but savvy green marketers will pay close attention to provisions addressing VOC-free claims. The orders prohibit the companies from making VOC-free claims unless the emission level is zero micrograms per cubic meter or if they have competent and reliable scientific evidence that the products in question contain no more than a “trace level” of VOCs. The “trace level” standard comes from the FTC’s Green Guides’ guidance on making “free of” claims. As the Green Guides explain, companies meet the “trace level” test if:

      The level of the ingredient is less than what would be found as a background level in the ambient air;

      The presence of the ingredient doesn’t cause the harm consumers typically associate with it, including harm to the environment or health; and

      The ingredient hasn’t been intentionally added to the product.
      The orders also bar a host of unsubstantiated environmental benefit or attribute claims and prohibit certain health claims without appropriate scientific evidence.

      In addition, the settlements address particular forms of deception challenged in the individual complaints. For example, the Essentia and Ecobaby settlements ban claims that products covered by the orders are “free of chemicals” and prohibits misrepresentations about tests, studies, or research. The Essentia order bars unsubstantiated “natural” claims. And under the Ecobaby settlement, the company can’t make “non-toxic” claims unless it has scientific evidence to back them up. Addressing the deceptve use of the NAOMI seal, the Ecobaby order puts a provision in place to end misrepresentations about certifications.

      You have until August 26, 2013, to file an online comment about the proposed Relief-Mart, Essentia, or Ecobaby Organics settlements. Looking for more resources about keeping your green claims compliant? Bookmark the BCP Business Center’s Environmental Marketing page. Today’s cases also offer a timely reminder to take a fresh look at the FTC’s revised Green Guides if you haven’t reviewed them recently.

      3 Comments >> Leave a Comment | Comment Policy
      Jay June 16, 2014 – 6:51pm reply
      Essentia is continuing to mislead consumers! Their website is full of false claims and lies!
      Howard November 4, 2013 – 12:41pm reply
      My wife and I heard the a similar claim at an Essentia store in Denver, Colorado, only a couple of weeks ago. (Around 24 October 2013).
      Joe July 25, 2013 – 5:53pm reply
      As of today, July 25th, they are still saying on their website that they make the world’s only natural memory foam. I went into their store and their salesperson told me they make their foam with pine cone and water
      Leave A Comment

      Here is the direct link to the Federal Trade Commission’s report to consumers about Essentia’s lack of truth because their foam was not natural when tested.


  • Marshall Coyle says:


    It will not do any harm to add the plywood and it may not also do any good. If the spaces between the wires are less than 2.5″ that will work with any mattress. You can not expect any opinion about your mattress because you did not supply any useful information like the name for a starter. A wrong mattress will ruin your nights for as long as it lasts. The thousandth day will be no better than the first. The right one is the opposite. I am happy that you got the right one and hope that it was from some of the advice in the Old Bed Guy blog. Everything being relative, your new mattress might not be such a good choice, but if your old one was all worn out, anything new would be better. Please do not post if you wish more help. Write to me at oldbedguy@gmail.com

  • Providence Hadland says:

    Dear Marshall,
    I am so delighted to have found your site. From what I have read it appears to be very informative…My questions are: I have a very solid platform bed, I was wondering if there is an adjustable mattress that can be utilized on this platform? I have physical problems, back, nerve damage in leg. I think I prefer a firmer matress with a softer top? What mattress would you suggest (if adjustable would be available/or another mattress suggestion)? I do not like any mattress that will hold heat….
    Thank you,

  • Andrew says:


    I just purchased a double sided innerspring mattress. Didn’t know it was double sided. Should I buy a box spring?

    This new mattress cost me $2500…. Don’t want to ruin it with a slatted platform bed.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Andrew,

      You are correct. All double sided innerspring mattresses require a flexible base. Box springs are usually the most suitable. But since you do not apparently know what you bought, and the price tells me nothing, if you already own the slatted platform bed, I would try the mattress on it before investing in a box spring. Real box springs with nice flexible coils are available from Shifman and McCroskey to name a couple of “retro” manufacturers. They can cost as much as your unidentified mattress. Your mattress might be a bit firmer on the platform bed then it would on a box spring, but it may not be comfortable on either since you apparently made no effort to match it to your needs. If you use it on the platform, you might like it. It will not do any harm to the mattress, and should not violate any warranty. People who still make these throwbacks and sell them to people who want none of the wonderful improvements that have happened to mattresses in recent years, push the box springs because without them, most two sided mattresses feel like bricks. With the coils underneath, some people are comfortable on two sided mattresses. Usually people who have had an AARP card for at least 20 years.

      In any event, if you take my advice and use your existing bed, and like it. Be happy. If it is too hard, and you have loose spending money, you can soften it a bit. It will not be too soft. And when you think about how nice it would be to really have a comfortable bed, you can spend a lot less than $2,500 and get a top rated hybrid innerspring. A lot less. It is only money. Not your health.

  • Andrew says:


    It’s a Organic Cotton RoyalPedic mattress (the one that requires a dr. note). And yes, it’s super hard.

    My previous mattress was a double sided pillowtop mattress. That one was awesome.

    I think I am going to purchase the matching box spring from Royal Pedics.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Andrew,

      Sounds like a good plan to me. You might want to compare prices with McCroskey. They make a heck of a hand tied box spring for a heck of a lot of money. But I believe that RoyalPedic’s similar hand tied costs even more. There should be no difference in the utility, so whichever costs you least should be #1 choice.


  • Marshall Coyle says:

    Dear Nancy,

    I can not specifically answer your question from the supplied information. One of your mattresses is 37 years old, the Elan, and the other I can not detail. As Simmons stopped making two sided mattresses fifteen years ago, it has to be at least fifteen years old with fifteen years of dust mites and microscopic human hair cells. This is one reason why it is about fifty pounds heavier than when new. If your Sears box spring, is a real coil boxspring, with circular twisted coils that go up and down a few inches, and they still work a bit, then you have nothing to lose. Your mattress, believe me, is long worn out, and maybe putting two negatives together can make a positive.

    Two sided mattresses do not work well when on a board or platform bed. Their coils are designed to work only on a flexible box spring. So you are just plain throwing out your money if you do not already own the wood. Then you will only throw away some labor. Mattresses, not unlike people, do not live forever even if some of us old ones still look pretty good.

    I have just added a feature to the Old Bed Guy website on most pages. You will see an invitation to fill out a survey. If you do, you will get my personal recommendations based on what I believe that you need, and also where to find it within your budget if possible.

  • Kimberly Mendoza says:

    Dear Mr. Coyle,
    We currently have a Sleep Number bed, horrible bed, but that’s another story. We are considering buying a Simmons Beautyrest Recharge World Class Henderson Bay or Ultra St. Caroline. Both have 1000 density pocketed coil technology, one has 14 gauge steel wire and the other has 15 gauge. Both seem to be very comfortable. We have been waking up daily with backaches. on our sleep number bed, no matter how we adjusted it. We even tried a foam layer on top, still backaches. We recently vacationed at a very nice hotel that used this BeautyRest Recharge mattress. We did not have any backache for a whole week! My question is two-fold. One, what is your opinion on this kind of mattress, and two could we use the sleep number platform as the foundation or use the foundation that comes with the set? Thank you for your opinion.

    Kimberly A. Mendoza

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Kimberley Mendoza,

      I cannot comment on the suitability of either mattress for the Mendoza’s. For what seems like the thousandth time, and I do not mind the extra work, when someone send me a survey, so easy to do, I am then in a position to advise as to what mattress is best for your needs. What I can do for you that can also help all of my readers is to advise you to absolutely, no hesitation, re-use your sleep number foundation under any one-side no flip innerspring mattress including both of the Beautyrest mentioned above. It is far from being a good foundation. The Simmons foundation is well made for them by the Leggett and Platt company and will outlast any mass produced mattress that they make. As the Beautyrests you mention are designed to last no longer than five to seven years, even a low grade foundation like the Sleep Number will suffice. If you folks are above average in the weight department, three to four years from now, if you buy either mattress, you will be back shopping again. Say to yourself ten times before you pull the trigger on your next purchase, “latex hybrid innerspring”. These Beautyrests with their layers of and layers of synthetic foams and not even a token piece of latex are not such as I would ever recommend unless you find it fun to shop every few years. You can read reviews from owners right here from Consumer Affairs, http://www.consumeraffairs.com/furniture/simmons.html and when finished you can send in a survey to find a mattress that will last for tens of years with any luck, and be comfortable until the end. For a while, too many surveys to answer were pouring in, but the Labor Day Sales are over and the survey requests have slowed down. Please mention this post when you fill out the survey.

      Happy Shopping,

      Marshall Coyle

  • Lisa Kluka says:

    Havebyounever heard of the Bed In A Box? It has excellent reviews. J

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Yes, I have heard of Bed In ABox.They have a large variety of products that vary in quality from bad to not bad. Certainly you can do better with some of their squashed foam than with Casper, or the other dozen new snake oil peddlers. These things do not have springs. They are nice cushions and better than sleeping on a floor. They do sell latex and although they are not really competitive, meaning you can do better else where and could find out if you send in a survey,but if you buy any of their synthetic foams, the same warning you will see all over my blog applies to these nice merchants. There may be as many as a hundred websites peddling these boxes of foam. Every day boatloads leave Chinese ports for buyers all over the world. They sell in China for less than $50 and with compression tech making it cheap to ship over a wide ocean, you can get a lump of foam for what you might think an attractive price. Just be aware of the formaldehyde and other “gifts that keep giving” that come with poorly made synthetic foams. Viva nice clean naturally cool latex.

  • Marshall Coyle says:

    If you spend some time on my blog, you will find some carefully researched answers. I consider Saatva not to be a real mattress as much a marketing tool. You can read more about in Consumer Reports where they give it some kind of lower middling rating. The Saatva people did not invent selling to the ignorant through the use of paid for reviews, but they are wonderful about. You will spend years, maybe decades on your new mattress, you can save yourself a lot of grief if you dig into some of the essays I freely offer.

    The Saatva is made in numerous contracted factories and what emerges from these low bidders is usually mattress with the lowest cost and least best innerspring unit on the bottom, and some cheap, probably Chinese, micro coils up on top that seem to immediately sag. You can see a picture of an almost new Saata elsewhere on this site with a little effort. You can not find a bad review because they pay sometimes many hundreds of dollars just to remove one. Their business depends on appearing to be wonderful and they are so far removed from even good.

    The Loom and Leaf is as good or bad as any other half a mattress. Again, and forgive me for sounding annoyed, but I have worked hard for years to provide people with educational essays that explain these things. The information is readily accessible. I even go so far as to offer to help you select a mattress that Ithink is most suitable for you when you fill out one of the surveys posted all over the blog. The Loom and Leaf is a nice ordinary cheap slab of chemical foams. A bag of petroleum, formaldehyde, and some of 51 other noxious, carcinogenic, and mutagenic chemicals that Dow, Monsanto, DuPont, and Cargill sell to foamers who mix it with petroleum, natural gas, or synthetic oil from plant sources. People with the brains to seek out naturally cool latex do not have these worries.

    That is the quality. From the letters I have received and believe, the comfort varies from “I love the doughy feel and appreciate the warmth as I am never warm enough”, to “I couldn’t wait to get this piece of overblown mis-represented junk out of my home”. No easy in-between. But this mattress promotion is ony a few months old, and Saatva are marvelous merchants. I would expect them to make changes as time goes on. They only difference between Loom and Leaf and a $500 Tuft and Needle is the compressed packaging and about $600. If you think it is worth $600 for not having to watch your mattress re-inflate and take a day to normalize, and you want to sleep on a “dead” bed with no springs, then this is another choice. Since Saatva apparently will not refund your money if you post a negative review anywhere, or do not remove at refund time, all you will ever see are the faux reviews they have had posted. Need to know more.

  • Katie says:

    I first would like to say Thanks! I’ve learned so much about your website. Second, and I know this is a couple of months late, but in answer to Christina’s question from February, there is a custom mattress place in Seguin (close to San Antonio) that makes mattresses for antique beds, and another place in New Ulm (in between San Antonio and Houston) that makes them as well. Now, onto my question…
    We have a king-size platform bed with slats, I believe to be approx 2.5 inches apart measuring with my fingers, with a middle support beam and legs running from head to foot. Our current mattress (some one-sided bamboo something that’s about 5 years old) is starting to sag on either side where we sleep with a rise in the middle. Would this peak/valley problem be caused by a poorly constructed mattress or poorly constructed platform bed? I want to replace the mattress at some point in the near future, but I don’t want to keep the bed if it’s shortening the life of the mattresses because the slats possibly don’t provide enough support for the weight and eventual toll of gravity. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks for sharing your wisdom to those of us just looking for a better night’s sleep without all the sales pitches!

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Katie,
      Forgive me for finding fault with your powers of description but I have no idea what you are trying to describe. You might own a smart phone and/or a camera, and thereby the tools needed to bring this question to where it can be answered. Or, please send numerous and clear snapshots, along with a slowly typed letter explaining what I am looking at, and what your issues are. Chances are that you bought a mattress without checking my advice, and like most today, are dying after four or five years. Most now do. But far from all, and that is where I can help.

      There are dozens of smaller makers that can make odd size mattresses and some of the easiest to find make them for recreational vehicles or boats. Rarely with good innersprings, but there are choices out there. Meanwhile, start snapping and send only to the email address on this letter. I may have to close this forum because it takes energy that I no longer have, but the emails will go on until I close down everything.

      I can only give you mattress advice if you fill out a survey so readily available on most of my blog pages. Mattresses are not made of bamboo, including yours. Some mattresses have rayon fiber coverings and the choice of cellulose to make the fiber is/was bamboo, but the final product has no bamboo and only bamboozler advertisers so identify it.

      Marshall Coyle

  • AG says:

    Dear Mr. Coyle, I hope you continue your way to a speedy recovery and are feeling much better each day! Thanks for sharing all of your wisdom!

    I’ve read through most of your blogs, conducted the survey and emailed you. I only say all of this so that you know I’m not just posting something. I fully realize you have so many folks contacting you and that you’ve had a rough month with excessive amounts of surveys followed by the fall!!! I’m just posting here in case it’s easier for you/helps someone else out in the future with a similar question (and hence less emails/surveys for you :)

    Would you find it suitable to take a California King bed (specifically, the Macy’s Victoria, can be seen online), and place 3/4 inch plywood onto the slats to provide an adequate foundation for a Powercore Estate mattress (9000)? This would of course be done by following your guidance of placing the plywood smooth side down onto the slats (or personally upholstering the plywood pieces). If the bed has more than 3 slats, I would remove all but three and in the configuration you mentioned to Diane in her post above (September 14th/16th 2014). Was that only suitable for a temporary fix (Diane’s situation)? I realize she was trying to do something for 1-2 years until she was able to buy a new mattress. Would this be ok for a new bed and new mattress?

    I could purchase the accompanying foundation , but I would be out an additional $528 (after discounts), and even the low profile of 5 inches creates a whopping 20.5 inches in combination with the mattress–and would stick up past the space in the Macy’s headboard where the tufted upholstered design begins (unfortunately does not have the tufting all the way down, but rather has about a 15-16 inch space to slide mattress/foundation if trying for pure aesthetic appeal).

    I would very much like to just purchase Charles P Rogers’ Hampton platform bed, but then I would be striving to stop the Macy’s order and would be out an additional $3-400 as well (the Macy’s Victoria was purchased for about $1,128 after discounts, the Hampton will be about $1,600 after discounts I believe). Plus, the Charles P Rogers Hampton bed is not available in a California King for another 8-12 weeks–confirmed with their reps over the phone! I’m a tall guy, so I was looking forward to the length of a Cal King.

    The plywood option (if an option in your opinion) would save a chunk of change, especially since we’re going over budget a bit to get the right mattress (Powercore Estate 9000).

    Thanks again for all of your help!

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear AG, The advice I gave to Diane should work for you. IF, your bed is designed solely for a foundation and has a three or four support slats. You must make sure that the plywood is sanded smooth smooth and then smoother or it will destroy the bottom of the mattress. Usually, three bed slats is optimal with a foundation, ,more means rocking, less too weak. But you can’t get one-piece board for a cal king. The Macy bed is at the opposite end of the quality spectrum from the Rogers. So different that if you saw them side by side you would be appalled. The Rogers bed is based on a solid mahogany platform topped base that resembles an anvil in strength. The headboard is hand tufted carefully by an upholster and is about a day’s skilled labor. The Macy bed, and I have seen them offered at wholesale in China trade fairs, may have some pine, but the flat back of the headboard is manufactured wood. Think formaldehyde/China and read the article in my blog about manufactured wood. Someone must be looking over your shoulder because you still have time to work this through and get a lifetime quality bed to go under your wonderful new Powercore. Whatever numbers you have supplied and I am too rushed to also do the value calculation for you, but when you are buying crap, value is hard to assign, and the Macy bed falls into that category. Fortunately or the opposite, I am sort of a furniture pioneer. Not just mattresses but manufactured fine furniture in New England for decades until Chinese knockoffs made it silly to compete. The Victoria is like a used 1978 Dodge compared to a new Bentley. I know this sounds like an exaggeration, but in reality it is not. How Rogers can make money at these prices confounds me. They probably outsource the woodwork, but I have no idea, and it doesn’t matter. My extremely simple “Madera”platform from them cost around $500 and is a jewel among my original ’50s mid century modern furniture.

      It is more than just avoiding the retail markup. The Victoria wholesales in Shanghai/Guangzhou, or did in 2013 when I attended a furniture fair, for around $120 FOB Shanghai in mixed container loads. I think that Overstock.com still has one like it for about half of the Macy price. Any of them are fabricated from manufactured wood. The kind you should read about in my blog in the essay devoted to it. Think Formaldeyhde flooring, and then think wood chips and formaldehyde glue under the nice tufts on your headboard. That is what it is. It is no better than the worst memory foam mattress as an addition to your bedroom.

      Two things I can tell you that are not funny. Not that the condemnation of the junk being foisted on naive customers by our nice large stores is funny. What is, is that I can guarantee you that you are going to get shorter. I have lost 8% of my height in the last decade. Not so funny, but it happens to all of us if we live long enough.

      What isn’t funny is how fast the years go by. You are buying a mattress that given any care will last at least twenty of twenty five years. The Hampton bed base will be good for hundreds, but the headboard will probably need re-upholstery about when your mattress is starting to show its age. And it can be reupholstered. There is an internal armature or platform. The Macy thing is folded, compressed and glued onto the chip core back. Once the cloth fibers start to go in five to eight years, the headboard and the rest of the bed will be in need of replacing. So, if you can somehow be a patient person, and buy quality, you will get so much more pleasure for so many more years, that, although I will be long gone, you may want to thank me.

      While I was typing, I was thinking. Another solution if you just want to keep your life as simple as possible and ignore my advice about quality, just go to your lumber yard, bite the bullet, and get them to cut two 38X80 slabs of 3/4” smooth one side. A lot of wood will be wasted from the oversize plywood they will be starting from, but you will have no shaking, no rubbed off mattress bottom, no issues at all until the bed gives up or you and/or wife find that you have nose and throat irritation from the formaldehyde. I have no solution for that problem if you are buying a bed made from manufactured/engineered wood. You Macy sales rep will have no idea what you are talking about. If he was smarter, he would have a better job. The plywood will work as long as it is linear top to bottom and not several side to side pieces.

      Marshall Coyle

  • meagan says:

    My husband and I could really use some advice. We have a steel frame which is high from the ground and put a mattress on top of it. (See http://www.walmart.com/ip/15739166?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227001329410&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=40844529752&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=78657248432&veh=sem)

    I have an innerspring mattress from Ikea that I have loved in the past, but now that we bought a king, it’s terrible. We are not sure if it’s the mattress or frame.

    What do you think of the frame? Is it something we should return and start over?

    Thank you in advance for advice! We are at our wits end, I’m 6 months pregnant and sleep has become a thing of the past!


    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Meagan,

      Congratulations on your pregnancy. Few things can bring so much happiness for so long, but your changing body often does object to sleeping on inadequate or poor mattresses and springs. These Chinese springs on legs are all over the internet and sell for much less than the $80 or $90 that Walmart and Amazon peddle them for. They are just about the least-best springs on legs that I am aware of. If someone has found out how to make lower cost and less comfortable steel spring, it has not yet crossed my computer. Ikea makes several dozen different innerspring mattresses and one or two are suitable for very lightweight people who know that they are buying crap and do not expect too much from it. Just waiting for a job, or a six month gig. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent bed, but if you base your purchase on buying the cheapest that you can find, that is what you get. Did you buy the cheapest smallest TV, or still have a perfectly good flip phone. Of course not. But the sleeping arrangement weren’t important until they are like right now. No point returning the piece of junk.Except for a full refund. The next one might be worse. These are examples of Chinese exports at their worst. Chinese quality is improving by leaps and bounds, but this stuff is strictly price, and quality has nothing to do with it. You should examine your budget and, if you want, send in one of my free surveys. I will try to find you the best mattress and spring on legs that you can afford. For now, have an adventure and go camping with your mattress. Put it right on the floor and it will be as if you had bought a good quality platform bed. Billions of people around the world sleep on mattresses on the floor. It works well once you forget about how low your are. I really empathize with your problem, but if you were smart enough to figure out how to make a baby, you should be smart enough to find my mattress survey on the top of every page in the Old Bed Guy, and do the survey. If you are not smart enough to figure this out, I hope your parents live close by to help you with the baby. Thats what parents are for.

  • Hernan says:

    I must say this website is awesome. I filled out your questionnaire seeking for assistance to replace a really bad 7 month old on a Christeli mattress that has messed up my back pretty bad and my wife is not too happy herself. Currently sleeping on the floor since it’s the only thing that brings relief to my back pain other than this wack mattress. I’m awaiting your recommendation on the mattress I should get but wanted to ask if an Ikea king size platform bed with slats that go from the middle of the bed to each side and not side to side is good enough foundation, or if I should replace those little Ikea slats with a thick plywood board for support or perhaps just throw it on top of the slats. Great site I feel like I found a savior in this mess and your knowledge is incredible and really appreciated by a lot of people as I can see. Me included.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Hernan,

      Replacing the slats with plywood will certainly firm up the support. You really should consider replacing the mattress when you can afford a real hybrid latex innerspring. And if you do, this type of mattress requires the smooth flat inflexible surface that 1/2″ (smooth one side) plywood provides. If you know the date you submitted your survey, I should be able to find it and make a recommendation by the weekend. I am unable to deal with new ones coming in at the moment. I am limited to a few minutes a day at the computer and dealing with these comments absorbs all of it. However, I appear to be healing well from the latest surgery and look forward to returning full time by year’s end. Meanwhile, a helpful neighbor kindly typed the “Mr.Coyle Regrets” that opens up the Old Bed Guy blog, and this essay has a lot of new information so that you may not need a one-0n-one recommendation. Please use email and not these comments if you want to be more sure of getting a reply.

  • Marshall Coyle says:

    Dear Roann,
    Some platform bed makers make beds with solid decks about 12-14″ above the ground. I think,but don’t hold me to it as I have not seen a live Dux bed for a couple of years, that you can unscrew the legs and end up with a flat bottom boxspring like almost any other. You could put this right on top of the platform It would raise the height of the mattress top about six or eight inches. Try here http://goo.gl/4KmW0c first as I think that this could be your problem solver. If not, you might want to buy only a nice upholstered headboard and place it between the back of your bed and the wall. You could easily buy a strip of velcro to put on the top of the back of the headboard to steady it. Especially if you get a tall headboard. Your mattress is really only a pad and works with the foundation/box spring that you now have and must keep. If you put your slender mattress on top of a modern foundation, it would feel no different than if you put it on a floor. But my idea would keep your present sleeping setup just as it is, only substituting the platform bed for the present short legs.

    Your present bed is nearing the end of its useful life and you might make everything better by buying one of these nice platform beds and putting a contemporary real mattress on it. You will be lots more comfortable on a great new latex innerspring hybrid than on a Dux with tiring twelve year old springs. They are not made to work for more than about ten years. And the “mattress”, the thin pad on top, needs to be replaced every four or five years. It is like holding on to an old car that has served you well, but soon will need a new engine, transmission, and body.

    Marshall Coyle.

  • Anne says:

    Mr. Coyle,
    We have what is now an “old” queen Serta Perfectsleeper hybrid w/box spring circa 2006: a “Scarborough” for what that’s worth. Loved the bed: supportive but soft. When seeking a king last year, we bought a Serta iSeries vantage firm. It definitely felt different in the store. At home, it is not supportive at all, just mashed down to a hard rock (sagging firm vs. supportive firm). When I found out the it was a foundation, I did a test and swapped it out for the ‘old’/queen box spring. Maybe placebo, but it was a lot more comfortable. I returned the “foundation” for the king. I called Leggett and Platt directly: they recommended 9.5 gauge/ 80+ (?? can’t recall) count coil box spring. I called some manufacturers. They want to charge $500+ for two twins (sometimes with shipping). I have been searching Craigslist for old box springs. And I do see some. Most recently a Stearns Foster from 2000 (serial number 693234 to be exact). Others seem to have “weblock” linking system. In general: just seeking your input on my pursuit. When exactly did coil box springs stop? Thank you!

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Anne,
      Box springs went out of fashion around Y2K when every, and I mean every, major brand, hunting for elusive extra profit to pay off the money many borrowed to buy up competition. Two sided mattress need the extra springiness a box spring can provide. One sided mattress can be made to offer the most comfort on a foundation. Foundations can cost a manufacturer from about $25 for all sticks and cardboard found in some expensive brands, to the excellent Leggett and Platt foundations with wire grid and excellent support can cost the mattress maker as much as $250. All prices without the cost of the cover. A top end wire filled foundation and cover can cost the maker as much as $300. Or a little as about $140. The $140 is the Stearns and Foster and the good ones are found in Serta/Simmons mattresses as well as most good factory direct sources. Your price of $500 plus shipping is a bargain. It is also a trap. The new ones have shorter and harder springs and far less flexibility as they are wire tied, not hand twine tied. So you will own two box springs in search of a mattress sooner than you can imagine. Good two sided mattresses are hard to find and expensive. None can compete for comfort and value with a real hybrid latex with thousands of coils in the mattress itself. Serta did not make hybrids to my knowledge before 2010 and I doubt that yours is. Box springs make it to Craigs list when they are old and tired, or infested. Be very careful. Do not bring one into your home without first getting it fumigated.

      Or fill out a survey, refer to this comment, and I will find you a nice factory-direct latex innerspring hybrid that you can afford. You can put it on foundations or a platform bed, but not box springs. It will make your old Perfect Sleeper a distant second place in your memories. I can only help you if you do a survey. You do need a new mattress because yours was bought after all the major makers purposefully started to shorten the comfort life to increase the sales of new mattresses.
      Marshall Coyle

  • Sharon Bandick says:

    Dear Mr. Coyle,
    Wonderful website – thank you for all your work! I’m a senior on mental overload with all this great information and apologize if I’ve missed understanding the answer I was looking for. I don’t need counsel on a mattress, as I’ve already bought one. It’s the box spring I need clarification about. I’ve let my old mattress go but kept the “vintage” box springs, and now not sure if I should have. I’m replacing a wonderful old style Simmons BeautyRest which I loved and turned faithfully for 15 years, but gave today to Salvation Army for recycling. Of course age has taken its toll on both myself and the BeautyRest. Decided to go back to the comfort of our first natural latex beds in the 60’s & 70’s. So I’ve purchased online a Dunlop, Medium, with 2 ” top layer, Soft, which is not meant to be turned. Delivery expected tomorrow. Now on my box spring I can see and feel the strong wires under a thin top fabric. Don’t know if the latex mattress should go on top with or without a board of some kind, or not at all. I have some thin foam “egg crate” that I can cut to fit if that would help somewhat. The company does not sell foundations and had advised that many customers do use platforms or their old foundation. But until my mattress was gone, I had not realized this one might not be suitable. What is your opinion?

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Sharon,
      The old latex beds you cherish in your memories had COIL box springs supporting them, as did your wonderful old Beautyrest. My blog is so full of information about what goes under what these days, especially the essay you just read. So you probably already know that you made a mistake buying a solid latex and putting it on a hard and unyielding surface, hiding much of the comfort you longed for. And if you go shopping for a real coil box spring, you will find them hard to locate, and harder to afford. The hybrid latex innerspring mattress such as we sleep on, where the innerspring unit and a latex mattress are all enclosed in the same tall mattress covering, has replaced what once was. Fortunately the replacement is far superior in comfort and support, something that you will only know if you return what you should not have bought and get a latex hybrid innerspring with the right coils and construction for your needs. You should submit a survey. The 26 questions tell me all I need to know to help you find the comfort you need at a price you can afford. Certainly no more expensive than the half comfort that you just bought and maybe less expensive. I need the survey to know. You have made yourself your own expert and I can appreciate that. Good information is hard to find. Finding it after the fact is only useful if you do something about it. In any event, I wish you happy sleeping and sweet dreams.
      Marshall Coyle

  • Sharon Bandick says:

    Hello again, Mr. Coyle – Thank you for your response. I always appreciate it when answers are not cut & dried, and show the kind of personal interest and caring that you give in replying to us. I’ve absorbed almost everything on all the different topics here and enjoyed the read . . . very much appreciate you, your mission, humor, and writing style.
    I did indeed know that natural foam should not go on a platform, that’s why I kept my old Beautyrest box spring for use with the new mattress, even though the latex company said any kind could be used. Just had those second thoughts when I could see the top surface was not smooth, and could see and feel the springs. If the mattress turns out as comfortable as I believe it will be, I think first I’ll improvise to make the surface a little more smooth or cushioned and give it a try. If not, I can have our locally owned and operated business, make me a proper box spring. That’s where our first latex mattresses came from, and where last year I bought a twin size (med) Talalay (with box spring) for my guest bedroom. I didn’t go into all this in my first query, of course. I slept on that for a long time trying to decide on which firmness for replacing my own queen bed. Even though very good, it was not quite right for me now, but “firm” wasn’t either. The young proprietor said he thought it might have been the Dunlop that was sold by his grandfather back when we first bought in 1961/62.
    Yes, trying to become “my own expert” as you suspected, I have considered the differences in ILD of both latex types and my own frame now, plus fibromyalgia needs, and came up with a guess that I’m hoping will be “just right.” If not, that’s life. Thanks for “listening” and best wishes to you and your family!

  • Ed Fink says:

    Thank you for the wonderful blog. I have an unusual situation.

    We have a wood frame king size bed.

    A furniture maker took our set of antique twin beds and expertly joined the headboards and foot-boards to create a king size. (See photos)

    We retained the four metal (Hollywood) frame rails (two for each previous twin) and the two twin sized box springs to form the “foundation”. Because the maximum height of box spring/mattress cannot exceed 14-15 inches without sitting higher than the foot-board level we put a king sized Ohio-Sealy brand mattress ( innerspring I believe – see tag photo) on top of the two twin sized box springs.

    The box springs and mattress are each about the same thickness of +/- 7 inches making a 14 inch total thickness. I believe we purchased the mattress in 1988 although the tag says 1986).

    The overall design/look was excellent and has been reasonably comfortable including a thick cotton mattress cover ( maybe ½ or so inch thick).

    Now we would like to get a more plush/pillow-top feel of some comfortable beds we have experienced in hotels but are unsure of what to change. We recognize that the existing mattress is 18 years old.

    1 – Should we try a high quality latex “topper” with the existing old BS/Mattress or:

    2 – Replace the BS/Mattress with a one sided 14 inch mattress only


    3 – replace the box springs with some different type of foundation with a newer mattress on top?

    If you have a different suggestion that would be appreciated also. We of course would like to maintain the total thickness as close to 14 inches as possible to retain the aesthetic of having the bed nearly level with the top of the foot-board.

    I have several photos to show the design, BS and mattress thickness and quality, etc. but will need your email address to send to you.

    Thank you in advance.


    Houston, Tx.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      dear Ed Fink,

      For whatever reason, probably not your fault, I am having difficulty replying to your post. Maybe it’s because I get to these posts the end of the day when I’m tired. I think it would be a good idea for you to send some pictures that clearly illustrate what you’re talking about to my email address, please do not post further such material on the blog as it is probably going to get neglected. in any event, I can only give limited advice to you in the absence of a survey completely filled out. I think maybe what you should be doing is sending in a survey and including in the comment boxes all of these issues about your bed, and still send in the email with the pictures.

      Marshall Coyle

  • Ed Fink says:

    Thank you for the wonderful blog. I have an unusual situation.
    We have a wood frame king size bed.
    A furniture maker took our set of antique twin beds and expertly joined the headboards and foot-boards to create a king size. (See photos)
    We retained the four metal (Hollywood) frame rails (two for each previous twin) and the two twin sized box springs to form the “foundation”. Because the maximum height of box spring/mattress cannot exceed 14-15 inches without sitting higher than the foot-board level we put a king sized Ohio-Sealy brand mattress ( innerspring I believe – see tag photo) on top of the two twin sized box springs.

    The box springs and mattress are each about the same thickness of +/- 7 inches making a 14 inch total thickness. I believe we purchased the mattress in 1988 although the tag says 1986).

    The overall design/look was excellent and has been reasonably comfortable including a thick cotton mattress cover ( maybe ½ or so inch thick).

    Now we would like to get a more plush/pillow-top feel of some comfortable beds we have experienced in hotels but are unsure of what to change. We recognize that the existing mattress is 18 years old.

    1 – Should we try a high quality latex “topper” with the existing old BS/Mattress
    2 – Replace the BS/Mattress with a one sided 14 inch mattress only
    3 – replace the box springs with some different type of foundation with a newer mattress on top?

    If you have a different suggestion that would be appreciated also. We of course would like to maintain the total thickness as close to 14 inches as possible to retain the aesthetic of having the bed nearly level with the top of the foot-board.
    I have several photos to show the design, BS and mattress thickness and quality, etc. but will need your email address to send to you.

    Thank you in advance.


    Houston, Tx.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      dear Ed,

      I would like to try to help you and probably could, especially if you’re patient person. I am having a hard job getting out of low gear lately. The email address is oldbedguy@Gmail.com it is very important for you to read my essay on hotel mattresses. You should find it listed on the right-hand side of the page, but as it is a year or two old you may have to use the search box. This lists the name and components price with my comments about most of the plush hotel mattresses in current use. I don’t know whether you are aware, but I will not give individual one on one advice unless I have a filled out a survey in front of me. There can be a large difference between what people want and what people really need. I’m talking about mattresses, but you can apply it to anything.

      Getting a nice comfortable mattress and foundation that does not exceed 14 inches with a hotel brand is a total impossibility. Getting a nice comfortable durable and affordable mattress and foundation going the conventional route is usually 15 or 16 inches. So I have my work cut out for me, but not until you send in your survey. I am completely swamped with surveys at the moment, so again toward patience is the operative word..
      Marshall Coyle

  • Marshall Coyle says:

    Dear Constantine,

    You would be a little better off with the brand-new foundation. All wire grid foundations come from the same maker. None of the mattress makers make their own because Leggett & Platt, A giant monopoly, does such a good job designing and making mattress and foundation components. Nevertheless, they do make a variety of qualities, basically good. What you now have is less than the best, you get that with Charles P Rogers and other highest-quality mattress makers, but it is good enough if you are trying to watch your dollars.

    You have to examine the top surface to make sure that the wire grid is not bent, basically the only thing that could go wrong with it. If the surface wires or the edge wires are deformed it needs to be replaced. With only four years of use, it is probably like new. I am very partial to the platform beds that the seller makes and actually use a very simple one. these beds are as solid as anvils and even have a solid deck eliminating any possibility of problems with typical slat platform beds. If you’re looking toward the very long term I would recommend investigating a bed like the Madera model that we now sleep on. it gives perfect support with no noise and completely eliminates any jiggling that the metal bed frames used to do waking both of us up. Another benefit of this and many other platform is considerable storage space available underneath. We live in a small urban retirement apartment and getting the extra space under the bed is a blessing. Marshall Coyle

  • Lynne says:

    Dear Mr Coyle,

    What luck to find your website. I have been talking to mattress sellers for weeks, only to get little in the way of reliable advice. I have a Serta Perfect Sleeper Queen, which I bought 8 years ago and still really love. Unfortunately, the bed bugs found their way into our place and we were told that we should put the bed up on metal of some sort since our box spring had been on the floor. We purchased a platform bed with the intention of tossing the box spring, but I found the mattress completely different when placed directly on the platform bed without a box spring. Suddenly the firm bounce had gone and there was more sink. I woke up every day with a back ache. The platform bed seems well made (Amisco) with 7 thin metal slats and then wide plywood boards which cover the metal slats, providing a completely flat surface for the mattress to sit on. We ended up buying a cheaper metal frame which is old style, so I can use my old box spring underneath and the bed feels as it used to, but my box spring is 10″, so now our bed is quite high. And the frame seems less reliable than the Amisco.

    So my question is, would getting a 5″ low profile box spring allow my mattress to fell as it does on my regular 9″? Because we would like to keep the nicer platform bed, if possible, but our box spring is simply too high for a platform bed. Also, I’ve seen many box springs advertised online claiming to have coils and then they give the number of coils (usually in the 700-900 range). I read your blog which states that coiled box springs are rare, so what are these ads referring to when they say there are coils?

    Thanks so much for your help. I hope this finds you well.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Lynne,

      If you bought your Serta Perfect Sleeper as a set eight years ago the object under your mattress is a grid top foundation and not a box spring. The mattress is designed to function properly on a solid hard surface, not on anything flexible as are genuine heavy coil box springs. I really have no way of advising you about the Amisco as they make a large variety of mostly well-made beds. If the one you own has any flexibility on the metal/plywood deck, the mattress will not provide the support that it was designed to do. Plywood less than 3/8″ does not do the job. I also know of no authentic box springs with hundreds of coils. It sounds to me as if someone is using too-soft mattress coils in some object to simulate the appearance of a traditional box spring without providing the function. Visit the Leggett and Platt website to see about the only affordable (partly)-coil box spring currently available in the USA. I haven’t done a coil count, but believe it to be fewer than 100 nice strong almost inflexible coils. I can sympathize with your plight but really cannot advise on anything to buy without knowing a lot more about you and your old boxspring or foundation, whatever it might be. Maybe you did not buy the set and are using an older box spring? That is why I put the questions together for my “Mattress Survey”and ask that people do not send in this kind of question as a post, but take a survey and ask the question there. If you do take the survey, please email me using the same address you used for the survey so I will be on notice to look for it. Sometimes, when my pain reaches a certain point I take a hiatus from researching but your post is interesting enough for me to make an exception for you.

      I do not see how it matters how far off the floor you elevate your bed in your quest to avoid bed bugs. They can and do climb rapidly to any height that offers a blood meal. They are attracted by the carbon dioxide in your exhaled breath and would climb to the top of a bunk bed for a meal. Back in the period after WW1 metal beds came into vogue because ignorant people believed that they would be less attractive to the bugs than wooden beds. Totally wrong. It does not matter what you except to exterminate the bugs. No furniture arrangement will help. Find an exterminator that uses the freezing technique and be rid of them without harming any of your plants or likable pets.

      And use your old box spring. You can actually use anything you like from a practical standpoint because your mattress is probably nearing the end of its useful life based on current customer reviews. If your platform bed has a flexible deck regardless of the materials used, it will accelerate the demise of your Perfect Sleeper. But if I were you I would not invest another nickel to make your mattress the way it used to feel and I would return the Amisco whatever if you can. One never puts a foundation or box spring on top of a platform bed. And if one has read my essay about foundations and box springs, one would not buy a platform bed without a solid deck. Even better, a platform bed with a lightly padded platform for perfect support and longest mattress life. If you are waking up with a back ache daily, you owe it to yourself to fill out the mattress survey that I am still doing and get a recommendation based on your real needs. What you are cobbling obviously is not meeting them. Marshall Coyle.

  • Tim says:

    Dear Mr. Coyle, Thank you in advance for any wisdom you can provide; You are obviously a godsend to so many of us who are struggling with mattress choices. I am hoping you can help me, too. I am a somewhat sedentary male, late 40s, who has suffered from occasional lower back pain, usually involving the third and/or fifth lumbar (my chiropractor is a lifelong friend). I had been relatively free from back pain for several years while sleeping on a double-sided innerspring pillow top by the Original Mattress Factory, until it was sagging very badly and the back pain was creeping in. I also want to state that for several months recently, I have been ESPECIALLY sedentary, with lots of reading in bed, so my core muscles are probably pretty weak right now, and I am trying to remedy that. I tend to start out on my back (reading) and then move to my side for sleeping, and I know I shift from one side to the other several times a night. I initially thought, based on all the hype, that “memory foam” was the way to go, so I decided to try out the “Loom and Leaf” (“relaxed firm”) by Saatva direct from their website, based on good reviews and their all natural materials. But I didn’t like the sinking-in feeling, and felt like the mattress was “grabbing” me when I shifted from side to side, aggravating my lower back. My chiropractor concurred. Wound up giving that mattress away. So next I tried a “hybrid.” This was the Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Elite Kelburn 12.5 cushion firm mattres, from “Mattress Firm.” Didn’t like that one either, for similar reasons, and was now angry at myself for not recognizing that the foamy feeling just might not be for me. Then went to a small, independent place and bought a less expensive mattress, made by “Park Place,” called the 5/0 Factory Select 500 FE Europe Mattress 1S with material listed as 65% Urethane foam, 15% Rayon fiber, 15% polyester fiber, 5% other fibers, and a “coil spring unit.” I wound up thinking this mattress a little too firm, but I liked the springs under my back and I am still evaluating this mattress (more on that in just a bit). Still unsatisfied, I returned the Sealy to Mattress Firm and got talked into upgrading to the $3500 Simmons Beautyrest. Well, that thing only lasted a day, because it STANK and I would wake up HOT, which is a deal breaker for me. Went back to the little independent place and bought one called the Montpelier (Luxury firm, I believe) by King Coil, and am currently rotating between that and the “Park Place.” I’ve also been swapping mattresses between my L&P adjustable base and a low-profile foundation, and, is it just my imagination, or do both mattresses feel better (like they’re giving a little more?) on the cheap foundation (about 5″ thick, with some upholstery on the sides) as opposed to the L&P adjustable that I paid a fortune for? (I will gladly do without an adjustable base in order to wake up without back pain). Also, is that L&P even appropriate for either of the innerspring mattresses I’m currently evaluating? I bought it with the expectation that the all foam Loom and Leaf would go on it, and I don’t want to damage the coils on either of my mattresses (the Montpelier is especially thick and reluctant to “bend”). Feeling that I have probably been erring by buying mattresses that are too firm for me (these mattresses are both labeled “firm,” and the old mattress from the Original Mattress Factory was more of a “medium,” I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond, and tried 2 different mattress toppers, rejecting a really bulky one by Stearns and Fosters, and opting for the “bedding essentials” with 4 oz. Polyester fill per yard, which are now on both mattresses because they felt nice, though I wonder if that extra layer just prevents me from sinking in as far as I need for spinal alignment… I am open to trying out yet another mattress (sparing no expense here) and would welcome any suggestions with regard to mattress pads and bases. Sorry to be so lengthy, but you know how it is, and thanks again!

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Tim,

      The only way I can possibly help you is if you help yourself by coming in the front door. these comments are not the proper venue for what you seek. They are for people to people communication. As you know, and certainly should if you’ve been reading this blog, I offer a means of communication that can answer questions such as this. It is called a mattress survey and is conspicuous on the top of every page of the hundreds of pages available. The questions are orderly and permit you all the comment space you need. I simply do not have the time to go through such rambling letters. If you would like an answer to your mattress problem, and it is obvious that you have a very serious one, go to the homepage or any page, and fill out a survey. If it is all possible, make the comments a bit more concise. You certainly did not take any of the advice freely offered so far and have been foolishly emptying your checkbook in almost every possible way. I’ve been doing this for five years and have never seen anybody make so many mistakes one after the other. I look forward to receiving your survey.

      Marshall Coyle

  • Damon Lee says:

    We just bought a platform frame from Walmart. Its metal and very uncomfortable. My bed has no give and even with the 3 inch foam on our bed, its still uncomfortable. We could not fit our queen box spring up the stairs. Do you receommned we buy a bed bunkie, get higher quality bed topper, or buy 2 twin box springs so they can fit up the stairs?

    Here is the bed

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