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Posted by Stephanie on March 6, 2023

If your warehouse or facility uses pallet rack beams, two solutions that can properly support and distribute the weight of your pallets are wire decking and pallet rack supports. While some pallet racks are durable enough to support the pallet weight, there are many times when additional support is needed.

If you have pallets in your warehouse that aren’t large enough to effectively balance on the beams or aren’t stable, adding more support can be highly advantageous. Once you reinforce the pallet rack, you’ll be able to prevent injuries among your personnel as well as product damage. Before you purchase more support for your warehouse, you should know the differences between pallet rack supports and wire decking, which are detailed in this guide.

Pallet Racking with Waterfall Wire Decking

Importance of Proper Storage Systems in Warehouses

There are four separate styles of pallet supports that you can obtain for your warehouse, which include hat, structural, double-flange, and roll-in. Wire decks are available in flush-mount, flare channel, and waterfall styles. Because of how important it is to choose the right pallet support for your warehouse, you should understand the differences between each style of pallet rack support and wire decking. Certain styles offer more versatility, while others provide a more secure fit with your pallet racking.

Pallet rack supports are designed to be installed on the pallet rack beams to form vertical bars that are situated across the beam. This setup bolsters support for the bottom of the pallet. In most cases, these supports are made to be positioned inside the beam step. Since they add extra surface area that the pallet can sit on, stability is improved. These supports should also balance any pallets that haven’t been properly distributed.

As for wire decking, it involves a basic sheet of wire mesh that’s designed to be securely fitted between rear and front rack beams. This type of decking can support high pallet weight and is ideal for storing open or split cases. It also provides the pallets with a larger surface area.

Pallet Rack Supports

Pallet racks come with a wide range of features, which include:

  • Heavy-duty and durable design – These supports are made from heavy-duty steel that’s meant to last for a long time.
  • Available in various sizes and configurations – You can select pallet rack supports in numerous sizes and configurations to suit the exact setup you have in your warehouse.
  • Easy to install and maintain – The installation process only takes a few minutes to be completed. All that’s required is to drop the cross bars in place, after which they can be secured with a self-drilling screw.
  • Can accommodate different pallet types and weights – Pallet rack supports are available in several sizes and styles, which means that they can accommodate different pallet weights and types.
  • Provides optimal support and protection for products – The added support that your pallet rack receives should protect against rack failure, which ensures that protection for personnel and products is also bolstered.
  • Cost-effective in the long run – These items are relatively inexpensive and will protect pallets from costly damage.
Pallet Racking

Wire Decking

The many different features that are available with wire decking include:

  • Lightweight and easy to handle – The wire mesh solution has a much lighter weight when compared to pallet rack supports, which makes it easier to handle.
  • Allows for better visibility and air circulation – Because of how wire decking is designed, light is absorbed through the mesh to provide workers with a better view of the product. There’s also more air circulation.
  • Prevents dust and debris accumulation – The inclusion of small spaces between each wire ensures that dust and debris don’t accumulate on the surface.
  • Can improve fire safety measures – Wire decking is non-flammable, which makes it preferable over wood decking. It also allows water to easily flow from overhead sprinklers in the event of a fire in the warehouse.
  • Ideal for storing non-palletized items – This decking is durable enough to secure non-palletized loads that can’t be placed on traditional pallets. These loads can include everything from valves to pieces of carpentry.
  • Easy to customize and adjust – Wire decking can be customized and adjusted to fit different lengths, depths, and load capacities associated with a rack system.

Pallet Rack Supports vs. Wire Decking

Choosing between pallet rack supports and wire decking can be challenging because of the number of benefits that each solution provides.

Pallet Racking with Waterfall Wire Decking

Which One to Choose?

First of all, there’s no reason why you need to choose one product instead of the other. Building codes don’t require distribution centers or warehouses to use just one of these products unless you’re in a situation where someone will be walking below the structure. In this scenario, wire decking is highly recommended since it will keep the product from falling through the decking and hitting the person below. The solution you opt for largely depends on which factors matter most to you. Below are some of the main similarities and differences between these two types of support.

Factors to Consider

There are numerous factors that must be considered when selecting between pallet rack supports and wire decking, which include product types, weight, accessibility, cost, and safety. As mentioned previously, there aren’t any codes that require a warehouse to use wire decking or pallet rack supports, which means that you’re free to choose the solution that you believe would be the best for your warehouse.

Wire decking is highly effective when storing cartons, while pallet supports are designed specifically for pallets to be placed on top of. Wire decking is considered to be slightly more versatile and can accommodate split and open cases.

When it comes to safety, wire decking and pallet rack supports provide sufficient support of pallet weight. Both solutions accommodate weights of up to 2,500 pounds. Wire decking in the waterfall style comes with a lip along the edge of the surface that keeps pallets and items from becoming dislodged. Pallet rack supports offer similar stability when they are correctly installed.

If you use pallet supports, consider roll-in style supports. These items come with a tab that connects to a slot within the beam for easy installation. On the other hand, hat or double-flange styles should be screwed to the beam.

Pallet rack supports are somewhat more affordable than wire decking. You can expect the costs to be around $12-$18 per pallet when you purchase pallet supports. In comparison, wire decking costs around $15-$20 per pallet. When looking specifically at the installation process, both items are easy to install. However, pallet supports require slightly more labor since they need to be screwed in to remain secure. When installing wire decks, all you need to do is place them in the correct positions.

Wire decks are known to be more user friendly than pallet rack supports, which makes them beneficial for material handlers who are loading pallets. It’s not a requirement for pallets to be uniformly positioned over beams if a wire mesh deck is being used, which reduces the amount of time it takes to perform loading tasks.

In comparison, pallet supports are less usable. Handlers need to make sure that pallets are resting securely on the beams to ensure maximum stability. While loading pallets is easy when the supports are at eye level, it’s more challenging for higher levels.

Pallet Racking with Waterfall Wire Decking

How to Determine the Right Storage Solution for Your Warehouse

Wire decking and pallet rack supports are great options when you want to provide additional support for the pallets in your warehouse. The best solution depends on your exact needs. However, wire decking is widely considered to be more user-friendly while offering better fall protection. If price is a main concern of yours, pallet rack supports are more affordable.

Both of these options offer a substantial improvement when compared to standard pallet racking. If you would like to try out both solutions for your pallets, consider using pallet supports on the lower levels and wire decking at higher levels. Pallet supports are easier to load and install at lower levels. On the other hand, wire decking is more suitable for higher levels where the security of items is more important.

Why Choose QMH?

At QMH, we specialize in helping warehouse managers and owners obtain the right solutions for all of their storage needs. We want to provide all of our customers with the highest value for their money. If you’re finding it difficult to choose between wire decking and pallet rack supports, our team can help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both before providing you with a recommendation that has the right fit for your facility. Contact us now to get started.

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The QMH mission is to serve and/or create a world where people and products are handled the right way. Our customer service philosophy is simple: We strive to be the best for everyone who walks through our door. We’re passionate about providing our customers with the greatest value for their money.

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With over 32 years of experience in material handling, QMH is committed to providing end-to-end solutions for companies with distribution, logistic and warehousing needs. From permit approval management to full-service execution from the ground up, QMH delivers unique solutions providing distinct value in record time.