We have the Ikea Luroy bed slats that we purchased when we ordered the Tarva and Grimsbu for testing. We decided to see how strong their curved design was with multiple types of wood in many layers. An interesting design that performed much better than I expected.
Two Ikea Luroy stacked on top of each other sagged with 200lb including 1″ at 20″ span, 1.5″ at 25″ span, and 1.75″ at a 30″ span. With two slats stacked together, the ends bent 1″ at 120lb and 2″ at 200″ while supported in the center while a single slat broke at 120lb.
Test 1: Static sagging
For this test, I placed the ends of the slats on a solid surface (dumbbell weights and concrete wall and walkway) and stepped in the center to measure the sag. I started with the span at 20” and increased the span a few times. The test results are in the table below.
|Weight lb||Span||Sag inches|
Test 2: Bending strength
I cut two of the slats from the straps that hold them together. For this test of strength, I held the slats over a doorway and held onto each end. Slowly, and carefully, I pulled down on the slats until I lifted myself off of the floor. Not too bad, I am 200 lb and there are two slats.
I would call that a success.
Now to try to break one slat I think. So I am performing the same test but with only one this time. Each end bent about 2” before I heard the wood creak. But it did not fail, so I kept going. It finally broke and I am guessing that it held about 120 lb.
When I heard the wood start to creak and break I stopped and compared it to the other slat. This one is now more curved as it did not spring back to its original shape. I guess that its limit is 100 lb before it is permanently damaged.
Table 2. Testing two slats breaking bending and breaking
|Ends bent |
|120||18 on each side as|
the dor supported
Table 3. Testing one slat breaking bending and breaking
|Ends bent |
|100||18||Started to break|
Test 3: Shear strength
We held one end of the slat flush against the floor. The other end protruded out over the ledge. We took turns applying our body weight and measured the bend. I was hoping the slat “diving board” would break while I was walking the plank rather than my wife!
Table 4. Shear strength
DNF = Did Not Finish as it broke
The Luroy slat design
The slats are ½” thick and 2” wide and the gaps between the slats are 2 3/4”. The standard twin size is also used for the queen-size bed frames, they just use two side-by-side.
The wood species varies and is constructed with thin layers, similar to plywood. Ikea states there are 17 layers, but I can only count 7 (but my eyesight is not good). It does look like they used several types of wood for this slat, and according to Ikea:
We often use wood like birch, beech, ash, and even bamboo – and strive to use the raw material as smartly and efficiently as possible to avoid waste.
The edges are rounded to protect the mattress and fingers from damage from splinters, cuts, and tears.
The 8-layer laminate carried the most weight before breaking at an average of 6.79kg, followed by theUniversity of Southern California, Comparing the Strength of Solid and Laminate Wood Beams
4-layer laminate at 5.53kg, then the 2-layer laminate at 4.14kg. The solid wood beam carried the least
weight at 3.54kg which was 48% less than that carried by the 8-layer laminate.
4 design advantages
They have a bow of 1” over 36” (slightly less actually). Benefits of this design include:
- Sag resistant: This increases the strength by approximately substantially.
- Comfort: Increases the comfort of the mattress without the need for a box spring. The slats are springy similar to a box spring without adding the additional cost or height.
- Cheap to produce and ship: Saves money by being lighter (less shipping costs) and consuming less wood (ecologically friendlier).
- Strength per weight: Utilizing multiple layers of laminated wood instead of one solid piece of wood increases the strength and resistance to permanent sagging and bending. I loaded up four slats with 312 pounds for about 30 minutes and they sprang back into shape. This is despite the slats sagging 1.5”! Read about the test and results here.
Laminated wood may be up to 2 times stronger than solid wood of the same shape and size. This is due to the way that the posts are an engineered construction. By laminating, you’re allowing the wood layers to strengthen one another.Belco Forest Products, 5 Benefits of Choosing Laminated Posts and Columns
2 design disadvantages
There are many advantages, but with any product as cheap as these there are disadvantages too, including:
- Noise potential: The slats are anchored at the headboard and the footboard ends with four plastic hooks. This stretches the straps that hold all the slats together so that works pretty well. But there is nothing to stop the slats from small movements on the metal support brackets.
This can create squeaks during movement on the bed while tossing and turning during the evening since they are not permanently fastened in place with screws or a compression fit.
They can permanently lose their shape with consistent heavy loads night after night.
Tip: Rotate the slats 180 degrees each time you rotate the mattress for maintenance. This reduces the time a few slats are exposed to the heaviest load by 50% and extends the life of the slats the same as a mattress.
I am surprised again by the strength and performance of the minimalist design by Ikea. Their slats and bed frames don’t look sturdy or durable at all. I haven’t tested durability yet, but I am impressed with the strength of the cheap low-cost beds and slats!
Check out my review of the Ikea Tarva here and the Grimsbu here and the Luroy slats here where we loaded up the slats and frames with hundreds of pounds of concrete weights. And you can see the assembly instructions for the Tarva here.