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Posted by Stephanie on March 21, 2016

We want our customers to be knowledgeable and informed. Pallet racking is one of our most popular items, and also one of the most complex and diverse as far as choices go. With a variety of different styles, sizes, and decking options it’s easy to become confused or overwhelmed. There are hundreds of terms we could cover, but we’ve decided to highlight the most essential racking vocabulary to know. That’s why we’ve decided to create the perfect guide to understanding pallet rack terminology: QMH’s Pallet Rack Dictionary.

Anchor bolts: bolts that anchor the upright to the ground. Using bolts to anchor your pallet rack system is mandatory in order to meet the local city codes.

Beam: The horizontal connecting beam between two uprights that dictate the capacity of the system on each level. Beams are limited to the system capacity and therefore are not the only thing that dictates shelf capacity.


Cantilever rack:  these racks are constructed without aisle frames to allow for easy display or storage of long, bulky items like lumber, tubing or even carpet rolls. The arms are each adjustable in elevations to create levels that simplify your storage to accommodate a variety of materials.


Carton flow rack: designed for a first in, first out inventory system. You can restock behind the product, as gravity pushes the older product to the front on wheels.

Column Guard: An optional accessory that protects your uprights from forklift damage.

Decking: The material that sits horizontally on the beams to create a solid shelf space. Choose from a variety of materials including mesh wire decking and much more.

Drive-in rack: A type of racking built with a railing system that allows the forklift to move through the racks simplifies the high-density storage process.

Foot plate: The plate welded to the bottom of the upright for the pallet rack to stand and balance on.

Galvanized: galvanized pallet racking is designed for cold environments such as refrigerators, freezers, and the outdoor elements. Galvanized racks won’t rust and will remain durable through harsh environments.

Interlake Old Style Uprights: Also known as teardrop, named for the shape of the holes, this style of upright is one of the more popular because it offers quick and easy assembly. Unlike other styles that need fasteners or clips to assemble, the teardrop can be slid right into place. The teardrop shape keeps the upright in a locked and sturdy position to maintain strong support between the upright and beams with 2 inches between the holes.

Interlake New Style Uprights: This updated style of teardrop uprights has angular holes, and is usually compatible with old style beams as well.

Pallet back stop beam: a beam that sits at the back of your rack to protect pallets from sliding too far back.

Pallet flow rack: A type of racking that uses gravity to keep the inventory at the front of the rack. Load from the back, unload from the front.


Push back pallet rack: The push back pallet racking system is a versatile, selective type of racking that increases and maximizes storage density by utilizing the depth of your pallet racks. Rather than storing a single pallet at the front of your rack, the push-back is designed to fill the empty unused space behind up to 4 or 5 pallets deep.


Ridg-U-Rack Uprights: With this particular style, the beam is designed with pieces that fit into the upright holes in a way that’s similar to key holes.

Sammons Style Uprights: This style is very similar to the classic teardrop style upright, the main difference being that there are 4 inches between the upright holes rather than 2.

Seismic foot plate: A wider foot plate designed to withstand earthquakes. Deigned to be up to seismic codes and standards.

Selective Pallet Rack: this type of racking maximizes the amount of access you have to your storage. It’s highly efficient and keeps your stored goods organized.


Structural pallet rack: this type of racking is manufactured from heavy-duty hot-rolled structural steel channels. It can handle higher capacities than most other racking systems.

Structural Uprights: Structural uprights are designed with thicker steel to maximize support for heavy loads, constructed with bolts that secure the beam and upright together.

Uncarco T-Bolt Uprights: With rectangular holes and straight edges, this style is simple to install, taking one turn of a bolt to lock the beams and uprights into place, creating a t-shape where the beam and the upright are bolted together.

Upright: Pallet rack upright frames are the vertical component for your pallet rack systems. You must choose the correct pallet rack upright to be able to pass city requirements.


If you still don’t understand everything, don’t worry—you have us to help! We are professionals here to help you with all of your racking needs! Call today to speak to an expert about racking or other warehouse materials.

Questions? Call 800-404-RACK (7225)

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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.