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Currently, we are in the process of renovating our home and we also wanted to get a new bed frame for us. Since we have a toddler, we wanted our bed to be placed low to the ground so that she can easily and safely go in and out of the bed if she wants to. Therefore, we wanted to find a bed frame that is low to the ground. We also wanted a bed frame that is made of a non toxic material, solid wood. While I was searching for a bed frame, I realized that there are a lot more to think about than just choosing a style of a bed frame. In this post I share with you, what to look for when buying a solid wood bed platform bed frame and what non toxic, solid wood platform bed frames are available. This post is long so if you want to take a look at available bed frames, go to the end of the post to view them.
A Platform Bed Frame
Before you search for a solid wood platform bed frame, you have to decide if a platform bed is right for you. First, find out if a platform bed frame is suitable for your mattress. A type of bed frame you choose depends on a type of mattress you have. You also have decide what types of bed frame suits your budget, decor, space and physical needs & comfort. Most manufacturers require their mattress to be placed on a box spring, a foundation or a platform bed to be qualified for warranty. When buying a bed frame, consider your mattress manufacturer’s recommended usage such as types of foundation or slat widths to keep your mattress qualify for warranty. There are three types of mattress foundations you can use: platform, box spring or foundation. What are the differences and why one may choose a platform bed frame? Let’s take a look at different types of foundations for your mattress!
Platform VS Box Spring VS Foundation
A traditional bed frame is built to support a box spring or a foundation and a mattress. A box spring typically contains a wooden frame and coil springs inside and it is covered by fabric outside. It is typically placed underneath a coil mattress. With some mattresses, a box spring is required to be used together with a mattress to keep a mattress under warranty. Manufacturers often sell a matching box spring for a coil mattress. A box spring is placed between a bed frame and a mattress to prevent wear such as a mattress sagging, and to absorb shock or stiffness. It also makes a coil mattress feel softer and more comfortable. With a box spring layer, a box spring bed is also higher off the ground compared to other beds without a box spring. A box spring can be placed directly on the floor without a bed frame or it can also be placed on a bed frame or metal slats for extra height. A metal bed frame is often used for a box spring bed. Having a metal slats or a bed frame will provide for support for your mattress and a box spring. If you have a latex or foam mattress, you may want to look into other mattress foundation options. If you place a latex mattress directly on a box spring, the weight can make the springs bend and the mattress can sag.
A foundation is made of wood slats and covered by fabric outside. It is usually used for a latex or memory foam mattress to provide support. If your mattress is very heavy and requires a lot of support, a foundation can be a good option. For example, when a platform bed frame doesn’t offer enough support for a heavy mattress, a foundation can be used. A foundation supports a mattress without a box spring or a bed frame. It can be placed directly on the floor and provides support for your mattress. You can also use a bed frame with a foundation and a mattress. Adding a bed frame will make a bed higher off the ground, provide extra support for your foundation and a mattress and also create extra space underneath the bed for storage. A mattress and a foundation is often used for a traditional bed, where an additional layer is needed for support and aesthetic look.
A platform bed either has a solid or slatted surface to provide support and foundation for all mattress types. With a platform bed frame, you can place a mattress directly on the solid surface or slats of a platform bed frame. A platform bed does not need any box spring or foundation. A platform bed is typically used for non coil mattresses such as latex or memory foam. However, it can be also used for coil mattresses. When used with a coil mattress, the mattress can be used with or without a box spring. If you have to use a coil mattress with a box spring due to warranty issues, keep in mind that added box spring will raise a bed profile and may hide any footboard or headboard. A platform bed is built low to the ground so headboard or footboard will be situated low as well. If a box spring is not required, you can use a coil mattress without a box spring on a platform bed. A box spring can be an extra cost when you buy a mattress and a bed frame. Without a need for a box spring, you can save money you may spend on a box spring. A platform bed supports all types of mattresses without any extra purchase.
Also, a platform bed frame is widely available in many different types of designs and styles. Its sleek modern design appeal to many people. It is also situated low to the ground so if you are looking for a low profile bed frame, this is great. It is also stable and offers a firmer sleeping surface than a box spring bed. Its solid flat surface also offers great support for latex or memory foam mattresses. If you have a latex or memory foam mattress, a platform bed frame or a foundation is suitable. A platform bed frame made of slats provides good air circulation though slats and help a mattress prevent mold and mildew. Also with a platform bed, you can choose a style with storage underneath. A platform with storage can save space in your bedroom and offer convenience.
What To Look For When Buying A Solid Wood Platform Bed Frame
Solid Wood Platform Bed Frame Structure
Solid VS Slats
A platform bed can either have a solid surface or bed slats for your mattress. It may or may not include a headboard or a footboard. Generally, a solid surface platform bed frame offers solid flat support. Therefore, it is ideal for foam mattresses such as latex or memory foam. However, keep in mind that a solid flat surface may offer too much firmness for some people. A flat surface doesn’t help distribute weight and pressure. Storage drawers can be built underneath the solid surface unlike a slatted platform bed. However, a solid surface does not have air flow and a moisture can buildup beneath the mattress over time. Mold and mildew can be prevented by turning over your mattress often and use a mattress protector if this happens.
With a slatted platform bed, you will have rows of flexible wooden slats. The slats can either be built into the frame itself, or may be removable for adjustment. Slats will be typically no more than 3 inches apart. With some platform beds, you can adjust degree of firmness by removing or adding slats. Slats also distribute weight of your body and offer a comfortable surface. They also allow air to flow easily so it helps distribute moisture and heat. This will keep a mattress cool and help a mattress prevent mold and mildew. You can use coil mattresses, hybrid mattresses or some foam mattresses with a platform with slats. If you have very heavy, dense memory foam mattress, a slatted platform may not be suitable.
Types of Wood Material
Solid Wood VS Engineered Wood
Wood is the most commonly used material for a bed frame. It is durable and offers a natural or rustic look for your bedroom. Wood materials includes solid wood, engineered wood or combination of both. Slats can also be made with solid wood or composite wood.
Solid wood is natural so it is non toxic. It is durable so a bed frame made with solid wood can last for a long time. A solid wood bed frame is also fairly easy to maintain. In addition, it can offer a natural, stylish, rustic look, and also warmth and texture for your bedroom. Solid wood furniture, on the other hand, can be expensive compared to furniture made with other materials. It can also be very heavy when you move it. However, it is the most non toxic, the most natural material for a bed frame.
Engineered wood (composite wood), on the other hand, emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air we breathe in. Engineered wood or composite wood is not real wood but is made to look like real wood. Commonly used engineered wood is medium density fibreboard (MDF), plywood and particle board. MDF is made by mixing wood fibres from hardwood or softwood, wax and resin binder and applying high temperature and pressure. Plywood is layers of wood veneer bonded under heat and pressure with adhesives. Particle board is pressed with sawmil shavings, wood chips, or sawdust, and a synthetic resin or other suitable binder. You will often find furniture made with laminate or veneer. Laminate is made by attaching a printed sheet of a wood grain image on MDF core. Veneer is made in the same way as laminate is made except a solid hard wood sheet is used instead of a printed sheet. Therefore, the base of veneer is also MDF.
One of the harmful chemicals released from composite wood such as MDF is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is an actually naturally occurring chemical in solid wood but solid wood emits formaldehyde at a very low trace amount (0.009 parts per million (ppm). Composite wood emits a lot more formaldehyde than solid wood does. When composite wood is made, formaldehyde-based glue is used. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen and it is hazardous. Exposure to formaldehyde above safe levels can cause eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation, coughing, wheezing, and allergic reactions. How much formaldehyde engineered or composite wood emits will depend on composite wood a manufacturer used. Composite wood that carries an ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde (ULEF), no-added formaldehyde (NAF) label will have very low formaldehyde emission. California Air Resources Board (CARB) Phase 2, and TSCA Title VI compliant composite wood (which is now a government standard since March 22, 2019) have formaldehyde emission limit of less than 0.05ppm. However, CARB Phase 2 and TSCA Title VI compliant composite wood still have a lot higher formaldehyde emission than solid wood. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of World Health Organization (WHO), some sensitive people can detect formaldehyde by smell at levels between 0.1 ppm and 0.5 ppm and experience irritation to the eyes, nose and throat. Most people can detect it at 0.5 to 1.0 ppm level. You have to also consider other furniture with composite wood parts in your bedroom since they will also contribute to your overall bedroom air quality.
Therefore, when you look for a wooden platform bed frame, check if it is made of 100% solid wood. Furnitures made from laminates or veneers will have composite wood covered by a thin sheet of paper or solid wood. Some wooden bed frames have combination of solid wood and engineered wood – solid wood frames with plywood wood slats, for example. In addition, manufactured wood is weaker and softer than solid wood. It is less durable and repairing broken laminated sheet is almost impossible. Although a solid wood plat form bed frame is usually more expensive than the one made or combined with manufactured wood, it has a lot more quality and value for money.
Hardwood VS Softwood
Solid wood bed frames can be made of different types of wood species. Generally, a bed frame can be made with two types of solid woods: hardwood or softwood. Examples of hardwoods are maple, oak, walnut, cherry, poplar, acacia or rubber wood and softwoods are pine, cedar, douglas fir, spruce or redwood. The hardness, durability, maintenance, usage, cost of wood depends on wood species. Generally, hardwoods grow slower than softwoods, therefore, they are more dense and heavy. They are generally stronger than softwoods so they are often used for furniture. However, there is a softwood that is hard and also a hardwood that is softer than softwoods. You will find some furnitures that are made of softwoods. Softwoods grow faster, they are lighter, less dense and typically less expensive than hardwoods.
Oak VS Pine
You will find many furniture pieces that are made of oak or pine. These trees are readily available and widely used. The prices of oak furniture is typically a lot higher than pinewood furniture. What is the difference between oak and pine solid woods? Oak is one of the most abundant hardwoods grown in US. Oak is strong and durable. It will less likely to show signs of wear or damage and will require low maintenance. However, a furniture made from oak is very heavy and costs more than a furniture made from a softwood such as pine. Pine wood is a softwood. It is lighter and less durable. Since it can dent and scratch easily, a furniture made from pine will require more maintenance than a furniture made from oak. However, it is still stiff and resistant to shock although it is not as strong as oak. It may not last as long as oak but it is much more affordable. Oak and pine both have very different look. Therefore, you may want to see if you like the colors, grain patterns or textures of the woods.
Reclaimed wood is recycled wood made from woods that are once used for other furnitures or buildings. Although reclaimed wood is a sustainable choice since no new trees have to be cut down and processed, it could have toxic chemicals. Reclaimed wood comes from many sources and we don’t know exactly where it came from. It might have had mildew, mold, bacteria, lead paint previously. It might also have been coated with chemicals, treatments, paints or finishes from previous uses. Since the wood was used many years ago, we may not know exactly how it was used. Reclaimed wood is very strong and durable so it can make a great furniture. However, I will be cautious when choosing a reclaimed wood furniture. I wouldn’t feel comfortable unless the source is known by a reputable company and the furniture is certified for low chemical emissions (such as Greenguard Gold).
When you shop for a furniture, you will notice that some furnitures are made of rubber wood and they are very cheap compared to other solid wood furnitures. Rubber wood bed frame can cost around $400 whereas walnut solid wood bed frame can cost around $1000 or more. Is rubber wood good choice for a furniture? Rubber wood typically comes from the Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) in plantations. The Pará rubber tree is used for obtaining milky latex for natural rubber for about 25-30 years and then harvested for furniture making. Rubber wood is naturally stain resistant and naturally fire burning resistant. It is stable with Janka wood hardness scale of 988 (red oak is 1290, walnut 1010, southern yellow pine 690). However, dents can happen commonly since the hardness is only moderate. It is also highly susceptible to damage if it is place in dry or hot places. (including near heater or in direct sunlight) If you spill alcohol or place a hot item on the wood, the wood will get damaged very easily. When seasoning the wood, it can also warp and twist while it’s drying. Also, rubber wood is often coated with antifungal insecticide chemicals during processing since it is susceptible to fungus and insect infestations. Therefore, if you are worried about chemicals used for wood processing, it may not be a good option. In addition, if you are allergic to rubber, you may want to avoid rubber wood. Rubber wood is often called a sustainable option since trees are used after latex harvesting is finished. However, expansion of rubber plantations due to high demand often harms virgin rainforests and rubber wood from rubber plantations are often not FSC certified.
Types Of Wood Finish
There is another thing to consider when choosing a solid wood platform bed frame. Solid wood is non toxic but solid wood furniture can be toxic due to a wood finish used. A wood finish is applied on wood to protect wood against wearing, staining, swelling and cracking. It also enhances the appearance of wood. However, some wood finishes contain toxic chemicals and will emit harmful volatile organic compounds. (VOCs) Therefore, find out what type of finish is used for a bed frame. Wood finishes can be divided into two categories: surface finishes and penetrating finishes. Surface finishes doesn’t penetrate the wood and dries on a surface of the wood. Surface finishes include lacquers, oil-based or water-based varnish, oil-based or water-based polyurethane, shellac. Penetrating finishes include linseed oil, tung oil or danish oil. Let’s take a look at them.
Lacquer, Oil Based Varnish or Oil-Based Polyurethane
Lacquer, oil based varnish and oil-base polyurethane offer very durable, good protection. However, they are very toxic. They are mixed with petrochemical solvents that will emit VOCs. Some of the chemicals such as toluene, benzene, petroleum distillates are linked to cancer and reproductive harm. Polyurethane which is a petrochemical resin contains isocyanates. According to the Occupational Safety And Health Administration of United States Department Of Labor, Isocyanates include compounds classified as potential human carcinogens and known to cause cancer in animals. It can also cause occupational asthma and other lung problems, irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. Many varnish products also contain benzene which is a known carcinogen. These finishes can out gas for months or even years. The fumes can cause headaches, drowsiness, dizziness and skin irritation. Lacquer contains the most volatile organic compounds and will emit VOCs the most. It will also likely contains toxic toluene and xylene solvents.
Water-Based Varnish or Water-Based Polyurethane
Although water-based varnishes also contain harmful VOCs, they contain much less amount than oil-based ones. Therefore, they emit fewer VOCs. They have low odor and lower toxicity. They also offer good protection. However, many water-based polyurethane finishes or stains use toxic glycol ethers as solvents. Glycol ethers are group of solvents that are commonly used in paints, finishes and cleaners. They are suspected health toxicants of kidney, liver, respiratory, reproductive, developmental, cardiovascular and blood. Therefore, avoid stains or finishes that contain glycol ethers solvents. There are water-based varnish or water-based-polyurethane that have low or zero VOCs. Therefore, if you want a durable and non toxic finish, you can consider a water-based finish that contain zero or low VOCs. For a furniture that has every day wear or a furniture that is going to be used fairly roughly, a zero or low VOC water-based finish will be a good option.
Shellac is a natural and non toxic, however, keep in mind it doesn’t resist water, heat and alcohol well. It also needs more maintenance since it doesn’t offer as much protection as other surface finishes.
Natural oil finishes are typically tung oil or linseed oil. They penetrate wood and dries in the inside of the wood. Natural oil is most non toxic and it contains 0 g/L of VOCs. Natural oil makes wood look natural and beautiful. Some people love a natural oil finish look a lot more than a look from other surface finishes such as varnish, polyurethane or lacquer. A natural oil finish is not as durable as surface finishes and only provide limited protection from stains and wear. However, it is easy to do spot repairs by applying more oil whereas it is a lot harder to do with other surface finishes. Natural oil does need more maintenance than other surface finishes but you can reapply oil when a furniture looks old and dry. In addition, if you are looking for the most non toxic, natural finish option, a natural oil will be the best option.
When you shop for a platform bed frame, you will see some bed frames are finished with danish oil. Danish oil is tung oil or linseed oil mixed with a small amount of varnish. It is also considered as a penetrating finish. The ingredients of danish oil is extremely varied. Each manufacturer has their own proprietary mixtures and percentages. Many danish oil finishes will contain harmful industrial solvents. Danish oil finish can contain only 10% of actual drying oil and the rest are made of volatile organic compounds. High quality danish oil will contain more than 50% of drying oil. Some danish oil will emit harmful volatile organic compounds. Some of harmful chemicals include benzene and gasoline which are carcinogens. Not all danish oil finish is toxic but you should find out if the manufacturer use 100% solid drying oil. You should avoid a danish oil finish that uses a little amount of drying oil mixed with industrial solvents.
Non Toxic Solid Wood Platform Bed Frames
The Afton – Non Toxic SolidWood Platform Bed
Frame Material: Solid maple wood posts, rails, and legs
Wood Finish: Choose zero-VOC linseed oil; zero-VOC walnut, cedar or mahogany stain; or natural unfinished. No lacquers or varnishes are used.
Slat Material: closely-spaced poplar slats and solid steel
Joinery: mortised-in corner brackets. Each corner has three tenons for optimal strength and durability.
Made In: USA
Assembly: No tools required for assembly.
The Esmont – Non Toxic SolidWood Platform Bed
Frame Material: All-maple frame
Slat Material: Closely-spaced poplar wood slats and solid steel,mortised-in corner brackets.
Slats themselves are 3/4″ thick and 3″ wide (when laid into place on the base of the bed). The distance between the slats will be about 2.5″ (varying from 2-3″ apart).
Wood Finish: Choose zero-VOC linseed oil; zero-VOC walnut, cedar or mahogany finish; or natural unfinished. No lacquers or varnishes are used.
Joinery: Traditional mortise-and-tenon joinery is also used for optimal strength and durability.
Made In : USA
Assembly: No tools required for assembly.
Medley Palder Bed – Non Toxic SolidWood Platform Bed
Wood Material: FSC certified solid maple, FSC certified solid walnut
Wood Finish: zero VOC, low sheen unscented natural beeswax
Slat Material: FSC solid poplar wood (slats are about 3″ wide)
Joinery: heavy-wire staples and glue
Glue: Zero VOC wood glue (Titebond Non Toxic Wood Glue)
Assembly: No tools are required to assemble. It has connecting hardware that allows the pieces to drop into place.
Made In: USA
5% Discount Coupon Code : gonewmommy5
Dap Wood The Tenor Solid Wood Platform Bed Frame – Non Toxic SolidWood Platform Bed
Wood Material: FSC certified solid wood -oak, maple, walnut, cherry
Slat Material: Poplar wood (Standard slats are 2.5″ wide and are spaced 3″ apart.)
Wood Finish: A linseed oil finish (non-toxic, and VOC-free)
Joinery: Each joint is held together with a metal plate and metal pins for easy setup and disassembly.
Made In: USA
Assembly: No tools required, easy assembly
Organic Lifestyle Sleigh Untreated Solid Wood Platform Bed Frame – Solid Wood Platform Bed Frame
Wood Material: Untreated solidwood Maple or Oak
Slat Material: Poplar wood
Each slat is 2″ Thick, 3″ apart from the next slat.
(An extra set of poplar sets can be purchased if you have a natural rubber mattress since Natural rubber mattresses require a maximum 2.75″ space between each supporting wood slat to properly support it.
Wood Finish: You can choose between Untreated or Tried and True Danish Oil (100% solids). Their danish oil contains no petroleum solvent thinners, no metallic dryers, and no VOCs. It is FDA approved for food contact.
Glue Used: There are no glued ledgers used to assemble their beds. The pieces are fastened using metal hardware to avoid the use of toxic glues or chemical fasteners.
Made In: handcrafted in New Mexico (solid wood material is from US)
Organic Lifestyle Mission Untreated Solid Wood Bed Frame – Solid Wood Platform Bed
Wood Material: Untreated Maple or Oak solid wood
Slat Material: Solid poplar wood
Wood Finish: You can choose between untreated or Tried and True Danish oil finish (100% solids). Their danish oil contains no petroleum solvent thinners, no metallic dryers, and no VOCs. It is FDA approved for food contact.
Glue: There are no glued ledgers used to assemble their beds. The pieces are fastened using metal hardware to avoid the use of toxic glues or chemical fasteners.
Made In: handcrafted in New Mexico (solid wood material is from US)
A bed frame can be one of the most important furniture pieces you will purchase since you spend so much time sleeping in your bed. Just like other furniture pieces such as a mattress or a dresser, a bed frame also contributes to the air quality in your bedroom. Therefore, if you are looking for a wooden platform bed frame, check out materials that are used to make that bed frame. There are many different types of solid wood with different look, texture, grains, durability, hardness, cost, etc. Therefore, consider what type of solid wood fits to your decor, budget and your needs. Also, not all wooden bed frames are 100% solid wood. Even if a platform bed is made of 100% solid wood, if it is finished with a toxic lacquer, oil-based varnish or oil-based polyurethane finish, the bed frame will still emit harmful volatile, organic compounds. Therefore, check what type of wood finish is used. Water-based varnish, water-based polyurethane or natural oil finish will be a better option. Each finish type has different toxicity, durability and maintenance needs. Therefore, decide what you are most comfortable with. In addition, if you already have a mattress, be sure a platform bed frame of your choice fits the size of your mattress. Also, check if your mattress will be covered under warranty with a platform bed frame. Considering all of these factors is not a simple process. I hope this guide can help you find a natural, non toxic platform bed frame for you and your family.