Imagine yourself snuggling up on the bed, having a good time by yourself in your haven of comfort and warmth, then suddenly, you hear a crack.
You check the headboard and footboard – no damage. You scan each bed leg – looks fine. So what’s the problem? That’s when you flip the bed sheet and discover a huge crack on your bed frame or your bed slats have broken.
What would you do if you are to be in that situation? Toss the soon-to-be broken bed away so that you can save yourself from all the possible accidents and get a new one?
Well, there is no need for such excessive measure actually. You can just make the crack go away yourself. Here is how to fix broken bed frames & bed slats yourself if you’re not planning on buying an entirely new one. Let’s jump right into it!
Safety first! If you have working gloves, put them on. You know how nasty sting splinters can give, not to mention you can get tetanus from cuts from a rusty nail or old wood splits.
Long story short, here’s what you’ll need for each way your bed can fracture: splits and cracks, bad joints, broken bed slats, broken legs, and broken metal bed frame.
Splits and Cracks:
- Wood glue
- Bar clamp (or C-clamp)
- Scrap wood
- Utility knife
- Putty knife
- Table saw (or miter saw)
- A drill and a 3/16 inch bit
- 1-inch screws
- A drill
- Rubber mallet
- Wood tape
- Wood glue
Broken Bed Slats:
- New slats
- 1-1/4 inch wood screws
- Wood glue
Broken Metal Bed Frame:
- Scrap flat iron (around 1 inch thick)
Fixing Splits and Cracks of a Wooden Bed Frame
If your bed has been in your family for ages, you might find some crack or split scattered all across its frame. It’s a regular issue, usually because the wooden bed frame’s support system weakens over time. Another possible reason is that it has been of inadequate quality right from the start.
Either way, it’s best to fix them straight away to prevent any major fractures.
The good thing is, fixing this problem is not that complex a job., Just think of it as an arts and crafts project, but for adults. If you actually put your mind to it, in less than a day, you can bring back your bed to its mint condition.
Step 1: Get The Bed Empty
First thing first, make sure nothing is in the way of your handiwork.
You should remove the bed sheet along with the mattress from your bed. If there’re a mattress topper or box springs, take them off as well. Only the frame and the slats stay.
Step 2: Clearing The Splinters
With a screwdriver, carefully pry open the crack or split from the inside of the frame until there’s enough space for you to remove all the splinters using a plier.
Here’s a tip, you can finish this task much faster with the help of a utility knife.
Step 3: Glue The Split
You shouldn’t spread the wood glue right away, pop it along the crack’s length first.
And then, use a putty knife to slather the glue all over the crack. You don’t have to make it even, but the glue has to cover every space on that split.
Step 4: Mend The Crack
Take your bar clamps and open their jaws to the width of your bed frame, the number of clamps depends on how long your split is.
Next, position the clamps on to your bed frame, so the split is in between. Then, close the clamp jaws tight enough that you can see the wood glue seep out a bit.
You should leave them there for a night before continuing the process.
Step 5: Strengthen The Junction
Grab your ruler and measure your bed frame’s width. You’ll also need to figure out how long the split is and add 6 more inches to that measurement.
Once you’re done with that, find a strip of 1/2 inches plywood and shape it to those 2 measurements. Feel free to use any pieces of wood you already have in your house, it doesn’t matter what type it is.
Step 6: Drill holes
First, insert a 3/16 inches bit in your drill. Then, take the plywood piece you just cut, and pre-drill some holes on it in a zigzag order. The space between each pilot hole should be around 2 inches.
Step 7: Attaching the wood piece to the frame
Apply a liberal amount of glue on one side of the plywood, make sure all of the areas are coated. And join it together with the inner surface of your bed frame.
The last thing to do is driving 1-inch screws through the pilot hole into the bed frame. Now you only need to wait overnight for everything to sit and voila! Your wood bed frame is good to go.
Fixing Bad Joints
You can find brackets or metal plates on many beds. Mostly on antique sleigh bed frames whose mortise and tenon joints become significantly loosen and have to be supported by brackets.
Loose joints can be fixed just by a few steps: Remove, Repair, Replace. Scroll down to see how it works.
Step 1: Remove brackets from the frame
After stripping the bed, you’ll see 90-degree metal brackets on each corner of the inside of the frame, over the mortise and tenon joints.
You can remove them simply by unscrewing the screws that attach the brackets to the frame by a driver.
Step 2: Check The Joints
Examine if the mortise and tenon joints are loose, don’t be scared to move them a little to check.
If they are, gently give them a little tap using a rubber mallet to take them apart. Once they are apart, you should use a chisel to clean out any dried glue on the joints and move on to the next step.
However, if the joints are not loose, let them be. Don’t disassemble them, and attach the bracket back to the frame.
Step 3: Thicken The Tenon Joint
Usually, the joints are loose because the tenon joints have worn out.
To fix this, simply add one layer of wood tape on one side of the tenon joint with glue to increase its width. If it’s still loose, add one more on the other side.
Continue to repeat the process until you feel both mortise and tenon joints can be tightly engaged.
Step 4: Reassemble The Frame
Apply some wood glue on where both joints connect. Again, be generous with the glue.
After that, you only need to rejoin them. In case it’s too hard to do it by hand, you can tap them back with a rubber mallet.
Step 5: Set The Brackets in Place
Slightly place the bracket away from its original position. In other words, the holes of the brackets shouldn’t be in line with the existing holes on the frame.
The last thing left to do is screwing the brackets back on to the frame. You can use the screws that you took out from the beginning. But if they’ve worn out, replace them with new ones.
How To Fix Broken Bed Slats
If you have had a bed for decades, broken bed slats are inevitable. You can be having pillow fights or just reading bedtime stories to your kids, and your bed slats will still wear out through time.
The best solution is to replace the damaged bed slats with new ones.
For starters, use a driver to unscrew any bed slats you find deflective.
Then, drill 3/16-inches pilot holes first.
Lastly, use a driver and 11/4 inches screws to attach the slats on the frame. On each end of the slats, you only need 1 screw. You can apply some glue on top of the screws if you want to be extra careful.
Fixing a Broken Metal Bed Frame
The procedure is quite similar to fixing broken wooden beds. But instead of drilling and screwing, you’ll need to do some welding.
Before you start, safety first! Put on your welding helmet and gloves. An apron will also make it even more secured.
You’ll start by removing the metal chips on where the metal bed rail broke if there are any.
Then, find some leftover flat iron, they should be around 1 inch thick.
Next, use bar clamps to keep the flat iron and both parts of the metal bed rails tightly together. Weld from top to bottom and stagger the welding joints.
Once you’re done welding, apply a coat of paint and let them dry. The result might not be aesthetically pleasing. Still, it’s more affordable than buying a new metal bed frame.
You can learn about these steps in action with the video below.
Over to You
That’s all the guidelines to help you fix your bed frame. It’s not a short article, but we want to make sure that you understand everything thoroughly, even when you’ve never fixed anything before.
If you want to make your bed more steady after it’s fixed, stay tuned for our guide about reinforcing the frame and slats.