There are two main categories of box spring:
- The box spring encloses a series of rigid, transverse slats in a wooden frame supporting rows of springs. It is covered with a fabric known as ticking. There also must be filling to isolate the springs from the ticking and the mattress. This enhances comfort and aeration.
- Recessed box springs have slightly raised edges which stop the mattress from sliding. It has a non-slip and dust-repellent surface. The unit preserves mattress springiness.
The use of a spring mattresses on a box spring is highly recommended. This will ensure the softness and suppleness of the bed and extend the useful life of both units.
The main disadvantage of the box spring is that its support characteristics cannot be modified, in contrast to slatted bed frames, where individual areas can be reinforced. This is true even with newer versions using pocketed springs. Do not use a box spring with a wool or latex mattress; this combination may damage the mattress.
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