Can I Put A Mattress on Top of Another Mattress?

By Geoff McKinnen Certified Sleep Coach

Last Updated On November 9th, 2023
Can I Put A Mattress on Top of Another Mattress?

Key Takeaways

  • Do Not Stack Mattresses: Stacking mattresses is not recommended because of potential damage to your mattresses, reduced breathability, voiding of mattress warranties, and the risk of mattresses moving and slipping.
  • Safer Ways for a Taller Bed: To achieve the desired bed height, don’t stack mattresses or box springs. use alternative methods such as bunkie boards, mattress toppers, or bed risers.
  • Creatively Reuse an Old Mattress: Repurposing your old mattress, either as a daybed, a guest bed, or for DIY projects, can be a sustainable and creative way to give it a new life.

Once you have a new mattress arrive at your home, you stop and wonder if there’s a way to use your old mattress for support and to raise your overall bed height. However, we cannot recommend this for several reasons, from safety concerns to comfort issues.

Understanding the do’s and don’ts of stacking mattresses is crucial for several reasons. It ensures your safety and well-being by preventing unstable and unsafe sleeping conditions that could lead to falls and injuries. Properly laying out mattresses and following the manufacturer’s guidelines also helps maintain the longevity of your current mattress, preventing uneven wear and tear that can shorten the lifespan of even the best mattresses.

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Moreover, being aware of the do’s and don’ts empowers you to make informed decisions about your sleep comfort, optimizing your overall sleep experience and avoiding potential discomfort or dissatisfaction.

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Why Stacking Mattresses Is Not Recommended

Putting a new mattress on top of an old one once you figure out which side of the mattress is up is not recommended. Why? It can decrease your sleep comfort and end up costing you more than a new bed base would. In short, you will end up destroying your mattresses in the long run.

Let’s explore the main reasons why you should avoid placing a new mattress on top of an old one and why you should consider a better method for supporting a mattress.

It Will Damage Your Mattresses

Mattresses stacked on top of each other will cause more harm than good. When you place a new mattress on top of your old one, it will damage your new mattress. Particularly if your old mattress is already misshapen, as the top part of the old mattress will rub against the bottom of the new one, affecting how the top mattress supports you.

Additionally, the transfer of bed bugs or dust mites, fungi, germs, mold, and other dirt from the old mattress to the new one can expedite its wear and tear, shortening its lifespan.

It Reduces Breathability

When you stack a new mattress on top of an old one, it creates a barrier that restricts the airflow, regardless of the materials used in both mattresses. This can be a problem for people who tend to feel hot while sleeping or live in a warmer climate. A mattress on top of another mattress traps heat and moisture, resulting in uncomfortable and sweaty nights even with a cooling mattress.

The increased moisture also creates an ideal breeding ground for mattress mold, dust mites and fungi, letting them thrive. Dust mites, also known as bed bugs, feed on the dead skin cells you shed and they release droppings into the air. When you breathe in these droppings, it can lead to allergic reactions such as sneezing and coughing. Meanwhile, fungi and mold release spores into the air, potentially triggering allergic reactions as well.

Even if you try to make this work by airing out your mattress regularly to eliminate dust mites and or use a mattress protector to prevent fungal growth, dealing with two mattresses can be exhausting and time-consuming. In most cases, the effort is not worth it.

It Voids Your Mattress Warranty

Mattresses often come with a warranty designed to safeguard against sagging and defects in workmanship, typically lasting from five to 15 years or more. However, it’s essential to be mindful of actions that can void the mattress warranty, as manufacturers will not replace or refund your mattress if you go against the specified terms.

When purchasing a new mattress, it is common for the package to include a list of activities that can invalidate the warranty. One of the most frequent reasons is the use of an unsupportive foundation, which can lead to premature sagging of the mattress.

This is especially true when it comes to mattress stacks, as placing a new mattress on top of an old one not only goes against the recommended proper foundation but also increases the risk of sagging and other issues that may void the warranty.

As we noted, stacked mattresses can also hinder proper ventilation and airflow, creating a higher risk of moisture buildup. Fostering the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria can also void the mattress warranty. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and avoid stacking mattresses to ensure the warranty remains valid.

It Will Move and Slip

Placing one mattress on top of another can compromise the structural integrity of both mattresses. It will cause them to naturally wobble, especially when performing activities like getting in and out of bed or shifting positions during sleep.

The edges of different mattress types are typically not completely flat and may have a slight dip before the stitched rod edges. Even a mattress with edge support was not designed to support a whole other mattress. Furthermore, many mattress covers, especially those made of shiny and silky materials, can increase the likelihood of the layers sliding against each other.

In short, your mattress might slip and you will likely have to readjust the two mattresses back into place on a daily basis. This continuous movement can compromise the structural integrity of the mattress. If the mattresses contain internal springs, they may become misshapen or even break.

Moreover, there is a fair risk of you ending up on the floor if the top mattress slips off the bottom one. To avoid these problems and make sure your sleeping surface lasts longer and stays stable, it’s important not to stack mattresses on top of each other.

Health Risks of Old Mattresses

health-effects-old-mattressesAlong with the fact that an old mattress isn’t a proper mattress foundation, we must note that an old mattress can pose several health risks. First and foremost, an old mattress may not offer adequate support to the body. It can lead to improper spinal alignment, causing discomfort and potentially contributing to back pain. Sleeping on an unsupportive mattress can also strain muscles and joints, leading to stiffness and aches upon waking up.

Furthermore, an old mattress may accumulate dust mites, allergens, and bacteria over time. These microscopic organisms thrive in the warm and humid environment provided by older mattresses. The presence of allergens and bacteria in a mattress can compromise indoor air quality and worsen existing respiratory conditions. Dust mites, in particular, can trigger allergies and respiratory issues.

Another concern with an old mattress is the potential for mold and mildew growth. Moisture from sweat and humidity can penetrate the mattress, creating an environment conducive to mold and mildew development. Exposure to mold spores can trigger allergic reactions, and respiratory problems, and even exacerbate existing conditions like asthma.

And if you didn’t have one of the best mattresses without fiberglass, you can also potentially tear open the mattress cover with the strain of a second mattress, releasing fiberglass particles that can cause similar breathing difficulties.

Can I Stack Two Box Springs?

Stacking two box springs or box spring alternatives is not recommended because it can cause similar problems as stacking mattresses. Box springs are made to give support and stability to the mattress on top of them. When you stack two box springs on top of each other, it can make them less effective and lead to different issues.

Stacking two box springs to make a taller bed can make the surface unstable and uneven for your mattress. The combined height and weight of the stacked box springs might be too much, putting excessive pressure on the bottom box spring. The increased height of the stacked box springs can make your bed higher, which may not be desirable or convenient for getting in and out of bed comfortably.

You may also not need a box spring, as only traditional spring mattresses were designed to require a box spring to deepen their feel and durability. More modern mattresses can even sag prematurely on a box spring. It’s important to have a sturdy base for your mattress to ensure support and prevent premature wear and tear. Stacking box springs may compromise mattress stability, leading to a less supportive and less comfortable sleeping surface.

In short, stacking two box springs can change how they are meant to work, making the weight distribution wrong and causing more wear and tear on the mattress. This can make a comfortable mattress less cozy, and not as durable, and it might even void the warranty for both the box springs and the mattress.

Do I Have the Right Bed Height?

There’s a range of possibilities when it comes to the best bed height. It’s important to consider your own comfort and ease of getting in and out of bed. When sitting on the edge of the bed, your feet should touch the floor comfortably without straining or dangling. Mattress edge support can affect whether or the sides of the mattress support you, which can buoy you by an inch or so.

Additionally, the right bed height should be suitable for your body size and any specific needs you may have. Some taller individuals may prefer a higher bed for easier accessibility, while others may prefer a lower bed for a more minimalist look. Ultimately, the goal is to find a bed height that allows you to rest comfortably and get in and out of bed with ease.

How Can I Make My Mattress Higher?

Once your new mattress has finished expanding, you may find you want just a little bit more extra bed height. If you want to safely make your mattress higher without a new bed frame or thicker mattress, there are a few options you can consider.

Bunkie Boards

A bunkie board is a thin and solid foundation typically made of wood or metal that is placed between a mattress and a bed frame or platform. Originally designed to replace a box spring underneath a bunk bed mattress, a bunkie board can be used with any type of mattress.

A bunkie board helps provide additional support and stability to the mattress. If you want to increase the height of your mattress, placing a bunkie board on top of your bed frame or platform can add some extra height. However, keep in mind that the increase in height will be minimal since bunkie boards are generally thin, usually around 1 to 3 inches thick.

Mattress Topper

One simple solution is to use a mattress topper. A mattress topper is a thick layer of padding that can be placed on top of your existing mattress to add extra height and cushioning. This can make your bed feel more comfortable and give it a higher profile. Mattress toppers can also help hot sleepers by making their sleep surface feel cooler.

However, a mattress topper may not be the best option if you are happy with the way your mattress feels, as many toppers are designed to make a bed softer or firmer.

Bed Risers

Bed risers are simple devices that can help make a mattress taller. They work by elevating the height of the bed frame underneath the legs or corners. By placing the bed risers under each leg of the bed frame, the entire bed is lifted, including the mattress. This design also increases under bed storage space.

Bed risers are typically made of sturdy materials like plastic or metal, designed to support the weight of the bed and the sleeper. They come in different sizes and heights to accommodate various bed frame styles and preferences.

Types of Mattresses

When it comes to the types of mattresses you can sleep on, remember that all of them require proper support, more than what a old mattress can provide.

Please also note that mattress types can vary in terms of quality, materials, and features. So it’s important to research and test different mattresses to find the one that suits your personal preferences and needs.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses are known for their contouring ability. They are made of viscoelastic foam that responds to body heat and pressure, molding to the shape of the sleeper. They offer excellent pressure relief and motion isolation but can retain heat.

See also:

Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses are made from natural or synthetic latex foam. They provide a responsive and buoyant feel, with a balance of comfort and support. Latex mattresses are known for their durability, hypoallergenic properties, and good breathability.

See also:

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses are constructed with a network of metal coils or springs that provide support and bounce. They offer a traditional feel with varying levels of firmness. Innerspring mattresses are known for good airflow but may have limited motion isolation.

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses combine elements of both foam and innerspring mattresses. They typically have a wrapped coil support system to deter motion transfer and multiple layers of foam or latex for enhanced comfort and support. Hybrid mattresses aim to provide the benefits of both types, such as the responsiveness of coils and the pressure relief of foam.

See also:

Air Mattresses

Air mattresses use air chambers as the primary support system. They are often used for temporary purposes like camping or guest mattresses.

See also:

Waterbeds

Waterbeds use water as their primary support system. They come in two main types: hard-side and soft-side. Hard-side waterbeds have a water chamber inside a wooden frame, while soft-side waterbeds resemble traditional mattresses with water-filled chambers. Waterbeds offer unique body contouring but require maintenance and may have limited availability.

What Can I Do Instead Of Stacking Mattresses?

If our methods for raising the bed height don’t appeal to you, consider purchasing a bed frame or mattress foundation that is specifically designed to provide the necessary support for your mattress. Panel beds, platform beds, and other options often come with bed slats or a solid foundation that ensures proper weight distribution and prevents mattress sagging.

By using a sturdy and supportive bed foundation, you can accommodate the additional weight of multiple sleepers or heavier individuals, without the need to stack multiple mattresses. This not only maintains the integrity of your mattress but also provides a comfortable and stable sleep surface for a restful night’s sleep.

Repurposing Old Mattresses

If your previous mattress is still in good shape, you might be hesitating at getting rid of it. While you can donate it or recycle the mattress if you wish, you can also find a way touse it around the house, too.

One way you can reuse the mattress, you can turn it into a daybed or sofa by removing the box spring and adding legs to the mattress. Cover it with a fitted sheet or fabric to match your decor, and add throw pillows for a touch of flair.

Or if you have the space for it, you might want to repurpose the mattress into a proper place for guests to sleep. Even a small side room can accommodate a gently used mattress for guests. You can also tuck the mattress away inside a trundle bed or Murphy bed cabinet in a room that’s used for another purpose when guests aren’t around.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I put a mattress on top of an air mattress?

No, it is not recommended to put a mattress on top of an air mattress. Air mattresses are designed to be used as standalone sleeping surfaces and may not provide the necessary support and stability for another mattress when stacked on top. Placing a regular bed on top of an air mattress can lead to uneven weight distribution, sagging, and discomfort.

Plus, the air mattress may not be able to withstand the weight and pressure exerted by a heavier bed when serving as the bottom mattress. This can potentially cause damage to both mattresses. It is best to use each type of mattress separately for their intended purposes to ensure optimal comfort and longevity.

How can I make my mattress higher?

If you want to make your mattress higher, there are a few things you can try. One option is to use a foam mattress topper, which is like a thick pad made of foam that you put on top of your mattress. It can make your bed taller and more comfortable. You can also use a bunkie board, which goes underneath the mattress and provides a solid surface. Bunkie boards are usually somewhat thin but can still add an inch or two to a bed’s profile.

Another option is to use bed risers, which are special platforms that go under the legs or corners of your bed frame. They can lift your whole bed up and make it easier to get in and out of bed. You could also think about getting a higher bed frame or foundation that is made to give your mattress the right height and support. These choices, including using a foam mattress topper, let you change the height of your bed and make your sleep better.

Can I stack two box springs together?

No, it is not recommended to stack two box springs together. Box springs are designed to provide support and stability to the mattress above them. When you stack two box springs on top of each other, it can compromise their effectiveness and lead to several issues. The combined height and weight of the stacked box springs may exceed the intended weight limits and put excessive pressure on the bottom box spring.

The box spring underneath bearing more weight than it was ever meant to can result in sagging, uneven weight distribution, and potential damage to both box springs. Additionally, stacking box springs can create an unstable and unsafe sleeping surface. It is best to use a single box spring or box spring alternative, following the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure proper support and longevity for your mattress.

Can I put a foam mattress on top of a spring mattress?

No, you should not put a foam mattress on top of a spring mattress. Foam mattresses and spring mattresses have different support systems. Foam mattresses rely on a solid and even foundation to provide proper support and contouring, or slats that are spaced close together to prevent mattress sagging. Placing a foam mattress on top of a spring mattress can result in an uneven surface, causing the foam mattress to sag or develop indentations over time.

What can I do with an old mattress?

One option is to donate it to a local charity or nonprofit organization if the old mattress is still in good condition. They can provide it to individuals or families in need. If the mattress is no longer usable, you can look for recycling centers in your area that accept mattresses. Mattress recycling helps reduce waste and environmental impact by dismantling the mattress and recycling its components.

You can also repurpose the mattress by using its foam or fabric for DIY projects or crafts. Lastly, if none of these options are available, you can contact your local waste management or sanitation department to inquire about proper mattress disposal methods. It’s important to follow local guidelines to ensure responsible and eco-friendly handling of your old mattress.

Conclusion

Can you put your current mattress on top of an older mattress? The quick answer is no as it can sacrifice good sleep. Choosing the right mattress and understanding the warranty that comes with it are crucial aspects of ensuring a satisfactory sleep experience.

By carefully considering your requirements and testing out different options, you can find one of the best mattresses that promote restful sleep and help alleviate any specific sleep issues you may have.


About the author

Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep. Geoff’s passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives. Outside of work, Geoff enjoys cycling and hiking and believes that by leading a healthy lifestyle, he can help others do the same.

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