Memory Foam Mattress On Plywood? [A Better Idea]

Placing a memory foam mattress directly onto a bed foundation is a common thing faced by many seeking optimal comfort and durability.

If you own a memory foam mattress and want to keep your current bed foundation, you may be wondering if you can modify. Better yet, you wonder if you can simply put plywood down and fit the bed and better support your memory foam mattress.

Plywood seems to be the go-to answer, but there is a far better solution that I want to cover and tell you why it’s vastly better.

Can You Put A Memory Foam Mattress ON Plywood?

Plywood is a thin sheet of wood, anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 inches thick, and tends to be the go-to answer for people want to give better support to their memory foam mattress.

You can put plywood under your memory foam mattress to give it better support on your bed frame, but there is a better solution. If you have a queen size bed or bigger and sleep warm, plywood will be horrible.

Why Plywood Sucks?

Plywood is fine if you have a bed smaller than a queen and don’t sleep warm; otherwise you’re going to hate it.

Sheets of plywood come in 6 foot by 8 foot sections, a sheet of 4×8 plywood will fit, but you’ll need to cut it. And if you have a king-size bed, the sheet won’t fit the whole mattress. Plywood is also one solid piece, which means no airflow at all.

Combined with plywood only being at most 3/4 inches thick, it’s not the best option.

The better option is to use 2×4’s!

Use 2×4’s Instead!

Right off the bat, a 2×4 piece of wood is 1.5 inches thick, and will hold up better than any 3/4 sheet of plywood.

You can get multiple pieces of 2×4’s to combine them to make whatever size mattress; no cutting, only adding.

Due to the nature of how the 2×4’s are cut, the edges are rounded off and thus allow for some airflow, at least more than a sheet of plywood can offer. If you need more airflow, you can drill small holes in the 2×4.

The last reason why 2×4’s are better is that it can be cheaper, especially with the prices of wood these days. A sheet of white wood 4×8 plywood that is 3/4 thick cost about $65 at the time of writing this post. One 2×4 at 8 feet long is about $3.60 at the time of writing this post, you would need about 17 pieces if you keep it tight, which is about $61. If you give yourself spacing between the 2×4, the price goes down. You can find cheaper plywood, but it’s not always as thick or easily splinters, which damages the memory foam mattress.

Not only are the 2×4’s cheaper, but are thicker and give better support while also still having better airflow.

Anything under 3/4 inches in thickness is a joke, which is why most plywood is not a great option. If you have the tools and know what you’re doing, you could re-saw the 2×4’s with a table saw to save even more money and still have better support.

Why Put Plywood Or 2×4’s Under A Memory Foam Mattress?

Using plywood or 2x4s under a memory foam mattress stems from the need for proper support and even weight distribution. Memory foam mattresses, unlike traditional innerspring mattresses, require a solid foundation to maintain their structure and provide the intended comfort and support. Here are some reasons for using plywood or 2x4s as a foundation:

  1. Even Support: Both plywood and a properly constructed 2×4 frame ensure that the mattress has an even surface. Uneven support can lead to premature sagging or wear in memory foam mattresses.
  2. Ventilation: While plywood offers a solid support base, it can restrict airflow unless modified. A foundation made of 2x4s, especially in a slatted form, can facilitate better airflow, which is vital to prevent moisture buildup and to maintain the longevity of the mattress.
  3. Costs: For those on a budget, creating a foundation using plywood or 2x4s can be more affordable than purchasing a branded foundation or platform bed.
  4. Customization: Using 2x4s allows for customization in terms of height, spacing, and design. You can design a bed frame or foundation that suits your specific needs.
  5. Flexibility: For those with unique bed sizes or room constraints, customizing a foundation using plywood or 2x4s offers flexibility. This can be especially useful for DIY enthusiasts or those with non-standard mattress sizes.
  6. Stability: A well-constructed base using 2x4s can provide a sturdy and stable foundation for memory foam mattresses, which can help in prolonging the mattress’s lifespan.
  7. Prevention of Mattress Movement: Both plywood and 2×4 foundations can help prevent the mattress from sliding or shifting, especially if combined with non-slip pads or coatings.

It’s worth noting that if one chooses to use plywood, it’s essential to ensure it is thick enough, smooth, and possibly ventilated (with drilled holes) to prevent moisture buildup. On the other hand, when using 2x4s, it’s crucial to ensure the slats are spaced appropriately (not more than 2 or 3 inches apart) to support the memory foam mattress adequately and prevent sagging.

Can memory foam mattress Be Put On A Slatted Bed Frame?

Yes, a memory foam mattress can be placed on a slatted bed frame, but there are important considerations to ensure proper support and longevity for the mattress:

  • Slats Spacing: The distance between the slats is crucial. Ideally, the slats should be no more than 2-3 inches apart. Wider gaps can allow the memory foam to sink between the slats, leading to sagging or uneven wear.
  • Slats Thickness: The slats should be sturdy and thick enough to support the weight of the mattress and sleepers without bending or breaking. 2×4’s are overkill, but 1×4 or 1×3 and similar are fine.
  • Flat vs. Curved Slats: Flat slats are generally preferable for memory foam mattresses, as they offer consistent, even support. Curved or arched slats may not provide uniform support for memory foam.
  • Center Support: For larger bed frames (like queen or king sizes), a center support rail with additional legs touching the floor is important. This prevents the slats from sagging in the middle due to the weight of the mattress and sleepers.
  • Ventilation: A significant advantage of slatted bed frames is the airflow they offer compared to solid foundations. This ventilation helps dissipate any moisture or mold and keeps the memory foam cool.
  • Solid Surface Option: If you already have a slatted bed frame with wider gaps, you can place a solid, thin board (like plywood or bunkie board) over the slats to create a more uniform foundation. This can bridge the gaps between the slats and offer a more consistent support surface for your memory foam mattress.
  • Protection: Consider using a mattress protector, not just to guard against spills and stains, but also to prevent the mattress from direct friction with the slats. This can enhance the lifespan of the mattress.

Make Your Own Foundation

If you’re getting a new mattress, it’s ideal that you also get a new bed frame, as they wear out too.

The problem is that mattresses, like memory foam mattresses, cost a lot of money, so many go without a new bed frame. The good news is that it’s not hard to make your own bed frame if you don’t mind a little DIY.

Below are videos on how to make your own bed frames, that not only look good, but are easy and not as expensive as you might think.

Sum Up

In the quest for the perfect foundation for your memory foam mattress, the journey often takes us through a maze of materials, from plywood to 2x4s and beyond.

Yet, the core takeaway is that while plywood might offer a seemingly quick fix, it often falls short in terms of durability, breathability, and overall support—especially for larger beds. In contrast, 2x4s present a more affordable, adaptable, and resilient alternative.

Furthermore, the bonus of DIY possibilities allows you to customize a bed frame to their unique needs. So, as you invest in the longevity and comfort of your mattress, make sure the foundation beneath it is given equal attention. After all, a good night’s sleep relies as much on what’s underneath as what lies on top.