How to Dismantle a Bunk Bed

Girls in bunk beds.
What You'll Need
Rubber mallet
Chisel or strong putty knife
What You'll Need
Rubber mallet
Chisel or strong putty knife

Since your children will more than likely outgrow their bunk beds, it is important to know how to dismantle it. Bunk beds come in many varieties and are usually made out of metal or wood. Handmade wooden bunk beds will have the following parts:

  • Headboards
  • Footboards
  • Side rails
  • Support slats
  • Ladder
  • Top bunk safety rail
  • Pins
  • Extender attachments

This how-to specifically deals with the process of dismantling a set of handmade wooden bunk beds. Bunk beds that are purchased at a department store more than likely will come with detailed instructions, but in the event that your set does not, follow this guide for how to turn the bunk beds into matching twin beds or simply take them apart and store them.

Take Out the Mattresses

Remove the mattresses from both the upper and lower bunks. If you are planning to break down the beds and store them, strip the mattresses of their linens first.

Remove Support Slats

These are strips of wood, about ¾ inch by 2 inches that run parallel to the headboard and rest on the lip of each side rail. They support the mattress and rest freely. There are usually between 20 and 30 slats per bed. Remove these and stack them up to be stored later.

Colorful bunk beds.

Disassemble the Lower Bunk

The side rails are attached to the headboard and footboard of both bunks using a leg and rail joint supported by two dowels through each. To remove the dowels, simultaneously grab the head end with the pliers and tap the protruding inside end with the mallet, pulling with the pliers as you do. Remove all eight dowels this way.

Remove Side Rails and Boards

Now that the dowels are out, gently tap on the headboard above the leg and rail joint to remove the side rail. Once the four joints are separated, stack the headboard, footboard, and the two side rails against the wall.

Disassemble the Upper Bunk

Remove the slats from the upper bunk. The bed will come apart in the same way as the lower bunk. Before you separate the headboard and footboard from the extensions, remove the side rails in the same manner as above. Use a chisel to pry one leg of the headboard away from the extender. The joint is like a leg and rail except that the support piece is an extension of the leg. Think of it like a leg and leg joint. Slowly work both legs of the headboard off of the joints and do the same for the footboard. Bunk beds in a bedroom.

Disassemble the Safety Rail

The safety rail is attached to the outer side rail of the upper bunk via four screws. Unscrew these and remove the safety rail.

Now that everything is disassembled, you can stack and store all of the components for later use. This type of bunk bed can be rebuilt in the future as matching twin beds for a guest room or passed on when your children have kids of their own.