How to Fix a Broken Bed Slat In Under 30 Minutes [Guide]


Is a broken bed slat keeping you from a restful sleep?

That sucks! Getting a good night’s rest is key to taking on busy mornings and a full day of work and family obligations.

I know how annoying it can be to have a broken bed slat keep you uncomfortable every night. But don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place for answers. Below, you’ll find a short article including simple and quick ways to fix your broken bed slat in under 30 minutes.

In summary, here’s how to fix a broken bed slat:

  1. Clear the chips from the slat.
  2. Glue the cracks.
  3. Put a clamp over the crack overnight.
  4. Glue and drill a strip of plywood over the crack, then leave it to dry.

Fixing a broken bed slat is super simple. But if it’s your first time doing the job yourself, you’ll want to check out the extended instructions. The instructions will show you exactly which tools and materials you’ll need and go into more detail on each of the steps.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

How to Fix a Broken Bed Slat

Buying a new set of bed slats is pricey. And getting a new set just because one or two of the slats are broken seems ludicrous. Thankfully, there’s a way around it.

Wooden bed slats
Fixing a broken bed slat doesn’t have to be a headache!

In most cases, I find that a broken bed slat does not have to mean buying a new bed or buying a new set of slats. Check the instructions below to repair the broken slat:

To complete the job, you will need the following tools:

  • A utility knife
  • Extra-strong carpenter’s glue
  • A putty knife
  • A bar clamp
  • A tape measure
  • A miter saw
  • 4 wood screws
  • A strip of plywood measuring 6 inches longer than the crack
  • A drill

#1 Clear the Chips From the Slat

To begin repairing your broken bed slat, remove everything from the bed that obstructs the slats, including the sheets and the mattress.

Then use a utility knife to cut away the chips and splinters from the broken slats. Try to make the broken slat as smooth as possible.

Wooden bed slats have a grain pattern like any wooden board. A broken slat usually indicates a break across the grain, like a karate chop. A crack will follow the grain, so if a slat is cracked, the crack(also called a split) will be in the long direction of the slat. If the slat is broken, the break will be in the short direction, across the grain.

#2 Glue the Cracks

Glue is great for repairing a broken bed slat. Remove the cap from a bottle of extra-strong carpenter’s glue. Squeeze the glue onto the edges and cracks of the broken slat. Spread the glue around using a putty knife – make sure to cover the entire break. Push the cracked edges of the wood together.

Applying wood glue
Applying extra-strong wood glue will help keep the cracked edges together

#3 Put a Clamp Over the Crack Overnight

Place a bar clamp over the crack in your broken bed slat. Tighten the bar clamp firmly over the cracked slat. Leave the clamp on the crack overnight to give it time to dry thoroughly. If you don’t have a clamp, you can use Plumber’s tape or anything else that can help hold the wood together.

Remove the clamp from the slats before moving on to step 4.

#4 Glue and Drill a Strip of Plywood Over the Crack

Use a tape measure to measure the size of the crack in your broken bed slat. Then add 6 inches to the crack measurement, which will result in the length of plywood that you should cut to glue over the cracked slat.

Cut the plywood using a miter saw. Keep the width of the plywood the same as the width of the bed slats.

Use a drill to make 4 holes in the slab of plywood. The holes should be at least 2 inches apart and 2 inches from the edges of the plywood. Then smear carpenter’s glue on the slab of plywood over the crack in the bed slat. (Make sure you avoid covering the drilled holes with glue.)

Fix the gluey plywood to the cracked slats and secure them with the wood screws. Place the clamp around the plywood and bed slat to fasten them securely. Then leave the plywood to dry on the bed slat overnight. The bed should be solid and dry for you to sleep in the next day.

What Can You Use Instead of Bed Slats?

Are you looking for an alternative to wooden slats for your bed? You’re not alone. Hundreds of people are looking for substitutes for wooden bed slats daily for some of the following reasons:

  • To have more room for storage under the bed.
  • To cut down on the assembly time when buying a new bed.
  • To enjoy extra-firm back support.

Let’s take a look at just three types of beds without slats:

  • Platform beds
  • Plywood beds
  • Rope beds

Now you’re probably wondering, what are some of the main features of the beds mentioned above? And what are the benefits that come with using each bed type?

Platform Beds

Platform beds feature a sturdy and solid wooden base that is both airy and breathable. Platform beds expand the space in your room and provide you with more storage than slatted bed frames. Yes, platform beds give us more room to hide the things that we probably should just throw away.

Plywood Beds

Plywood beds are made of one solid cut of plywood instead of individual slats. Plywood beds are ideal for those who want extra lumbar support when sleeping. Foam mattresses are an awesome match with plywood beds because there’s a great contrast between the soft foam and firm base.

I find that the best way to explain the feeling of a foam mattress over plywood slats is to think of a marshmallow resting against a graham cracker – the perfect combination.

Just remember that, like any other wood type, plywood can grow mold under certain conditions, so it’s key that you keep an eye out for the issue.

Rope Beds

Rope beds are also a fantastic alternative to slatted beds. Rope beds are made up of ropes that create a tight weave that is both comfortable and sturdy for a mattress to lay on.

There are loads of DIY tutorials on how to make a rope bed. Some people weave one long rope through metal loops on the base of the bed. Others cut the rope into strips and nail them to the base of the bed. And still, others buy their rope beds online, ready-made and assembled. (I don’t know about you, but the last option is right up my street.)

No matter your creativity level, there’s a rope bed out there for you!

Can You Strengthen a Bed Frame?

Is your bed feeling a little rickety? If so, don’t worry; you may not need to take a trip to the furniture store just yet. From what I’ve seen over the years, the joints in beds can loosen over time and work their way out of place.

So, take a look at the following things you can do to tighten your bed back up again:

  • Secure the bed frame screws. Tighten the bed frame by using a screwdriver, wrench, or Allen key. Tightening the frame should stop your bed from wobbling.
  • Glue the joints. Are the joints in your bed fastened together with wood glue? Then you may want to apply more glue to them. Once you’ve applied wood glue to the inside edge of the seal, clamp it. Tighten the wood clamp and leave it overnight to allow the joint to dry and bond together.
  • Replace the center beam. The supportive center beam may have weakened if you’ve had your bed for a while. You should measure the length of the old center beam and use it as a guide for cutting a new one.


Sleeping on a bed with a broken slat is uncomfortable. But buying a new set of slats can seem like a bit of a waste of money, especially if only one of the slats has broken. I hope the steps mentioned in this article have shown you an inexpensive and easy way to fix your bed slat.

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Have a great day!


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more