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Posted by Stephanie on January 23, 2023

When you manage a warehouse, there are numerous solutions you can use to accommodate the facility’s storage requirements. The two most common types of pallet rack decks that can be outfitted in warehouses include wire decking and wood decking. While wire mesh decking offers many tangible benefits, some end-users believe that this type of decking could damage pallets while they’re being stored.

Even though each warehouse has different needs, any facility that stores items and freight should use quality racking solutions alongside other components to create a secure and efficient storage environment. Pallet rack storage systems mainly consist of cross beams and frame uprights. Crossbars must also be installed to keep the goods and any nearby pedestrians safe.

In the pallet rack industry, there’s a commonly held debate over which pallet rack solution is the best. When you’re trying to determine if wire decking or wood is better for your warehouse, you should compare the two solutions. The following is an in-depth comparison guide between wire decking and wood to determine which material is better suited to warehouses.

Boltless Shelving vs. Pallet Racking

What is Pallet Rack Wire Decking?

Wire decking is a type of racking system that gives pallets a pallet deck. It can support palletized goods and makes it easier for pallets to be stored around two or four high depending on the rack you select.

Pallet rack wire decking is available in many different types and sizes, which gives you the opportunity to select decking based on the pallet size and end-user needs in your facility. Wire decking can be mounted on the rear and front areas of pallet racks to ensure that pallets can be stored two or four high.

pallet rack wire decking

What is Wood Decking?

All sizes and shapes of pallets can be effectively stored on a wood deck. If pallets don’t overlap, the pallet racking area will benefit from the extra support available with wood decking. Any broken or small pallets can also be supported by this decking, which consists of wood slats that are situated along racking beams. A storage section is available for hand-loaded inventory cartons.

The slats that come with wood decking are attached directly to battens that keep them locked in place. The pallet beams are then placed between them. Wood decks are available in two styles, which include closed-deck and open-deck.

When it comes to the closed-deck style, it’s attached to a batten, which provides support for the deck against the interior faces of the racking beams. The primary advantage of using this type of decking is that smaller products won’t fall to the lower levels or onto personnel. They are also simpler to maintain and clean.

The open-deck style is mainly supported by numerous pallet beams. This form of decking can be customized to match the exact size or type of pallet racking that you use in your warehouse. The main problem with using open decks is that cleaning them is more challenging, which can result in hygiene problems throughout your facility. Open-deck pallets are considered to be lighter and provide better drainage when compared to closed-deck pallets.

wood decking

9 Benefits of Pallet Rack Wire Decking Over Wood

There are many benefits of choosing wire decking instead of wood decking, which include everything from less product damage to better forklift visibility.

Reduced Product Damage

Goods that are stored on pallets are susceptible to being damaged during the shipping process. This damage can result from cartons moving around too much, which leads to product abrasion and dirt contamination. Pallet rack wire decks can keep pallets from moving around and reduce the amount of damage that occurs.

Improved Forklift Visibility

Pallets are often heavy and difficult for forklift operators to see. However, wire decking offers enhanced visibility, which means that forklifts can access the pallets more quickly. Once installed, this decking can improve operator and worker safety. Wire decking also reduces injuries that occur during pallet-lifting activities by providing a durable platform from which pallets can stand without the potential for tipping over or collapsing.

wire decking visibility

Better Handling

Palletized goods that are stored with wire decking are considerably easier to handle when compared to pallets that are stored on wood decking. Palletized goods can slide directly onto pallet jacks without needing to lift the pallets, which lessens worker strain and reduces the potential risk of damage.

Goods are Protected from Falling Out of Pallets

The sturdy nature of wire decking makes it more difficult for heavier goods to fall out of the pallets. In comparison, pallets with wood decking are more liable to collapse.

Increase Area Utilization

Wire decking provides personnel with the ability to stack pallets for better utilization of your warehouse space. Storing more products or goods in limited space will improve efficiency and worker safety in your warehouse.

area utilization

Minimize Dust Accumulation

Wire decks make it easy for pallets to be elevated off of the warehouse floor, which ensures ample air circulation and keeps dust accumulation at bay. Since the pallets are above the ground, the goods shouldn’t become damp. An additional benefit is that the palletized goods will benefit from better airflow from cooling fans or heaters.

Safe Walkways Around Pallets

By making better use of your warehouse space, you should be able to create safe walkways around the pallets. Less clutter and disorganization means that worker safety should improve.

safe walkways

Reduced Pallet Inventory

Wire decks can enhance pallet storage organization and reduce pallet inventory by improving warehouse efficiency. Retailers are able to classify pallets by brand, pallet inventory, or product. You can assign different wire colors to different pallet inventories, which allows for simple identification of items during the storage and shipping processes. Workers can locate pallets that are required for orders and shipments without delay.

Increased Pallet Storage Density

As touched upon previously, wire decking allows you to obtain high storage density since the palletized goods will be higher off of the ground when compared to pallets with wood decking or no decking.

Types of Wire Mesh Decks

Wire mesh decks are able to support box beams, structural channel beams, and step beams in numerous configurations. You can use these decks instead of safety bars to provide pallets of different sizes with an added layer of protection. Unlike the alternatives, wire mesh decks aren’t flammable.

One wire mesh deck style that you can choose is the upturned waterfall style, which comes with a backstop that ensures the product doesn’t move too much. Any barcodes or labels on the pallet will be legible since they won’t be obstructed by a beam.

A couple additional wire mesh deck types include inverted flare decks and flat flush decks. The flat flush variety can fit inside load beams and is meant to be used with hand-stacked loads. Inverted flare decks are sought because of their versatility and viability in numerous situations.

Pros and Cons of Wire Mesh vs. Wood Decking

There are pros and cons to both wire mesh and wood decks. While wire mesh decks are considered to be the better option, the one you choose mainly depends on what your warehouse requires out of a pallet racking system.

wire mesh decks

Pros of Wire Mesh Decking

The main benefits of wire mesh decking include:

  • Wire mesh decking is considered an effective and reliable method for storing hand-picked items
  • Issues with falling objects should be kept to a minimum
  • This type of decking consists of durable materials that provide a lengthy lifespan when compared to wood
  • The majority of manufacturers for wire mesh decking adhere to the ANSI MH26.2 standards
  • These decks provide optimal airflow
  • The surface openings allow water that comes from the sprinklers to travel down the various levels in the event of a fire, which makes it easier for a fire to be put out
  • There are many types of this decking that can be fitted into different beams, which extend to inverted flare, waterfall wire decking, and flat flush

Cons of Wire Mesh Decking

A couple issues with wire mesh decking include:

  • If decking becomes detached from the surrounding beams, it can turn into a fall hazard
  • This form of decking is typically more expensive when compared to wood decking

Pros of Wood Decking

The main benefits of using wood decking include:

  • This material offers a level surface that can quickly adapt to any type of rack
  • Wood is more affordable whether you use plywood or wooden planks
  • If you’re not going to store smaller items, the open-style configuration may be advantageous because of its ability to let air, light, and water through
  • Wood decking can provide the right amount of support for pallets as long as the decks you select are made to withstand heavy loads

Cons of Wood Decking

A few issues associated with wood decking include:

  • The properties of wood can degrade over an extended period of time
  • The material is flammable
  • It can create an obstruction to fire sprinkler systems that blocks water from reaching all the way to the bottom of the rack
  • This decking can cause overhead lighting to be blocked, which promotes the accumulation of dirt and debris

Why Choose QMH?

Selecting high-density pallet racking can significantly improve the usable storage capacity in your facility. At QMH, our racking systems are perfect for storing numerous pallets that consist of the same rotation and SKU. This solution simplifies the flow of goods throughout your warehouse. Our comprehensive knowledge of pallet racking solutions allows us to answer any wire decking inquiries our customers have. Call us today to learn more.

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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.