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Posted by Stephanie on July 8, 2024

You can never have enough space in your warehouse. If you’re searching for ways to improve your facility’s layout, consider storage mezzanines. These structures act as intermediate floors in buildings with high ceilings. Once you install a mezzanine in your warehouse, you’ll have access to more storage capacity.

While it’s possible to use mezzanines as catwalks, work platforms, and office space, they are commonly installed for storage purposes. As your company continues to grow, you must find ways to optimize your warehouse space. Mezzanines add an extra floor that effectively provides more square footage for your goods and equipment. The following article serves as the ultimate guide to storage mezzanines, including their benefits, types, and installation tips.

Pallet Rack Mezzanine

What are Storage Mezzanines?

When you’re searching for ways to add more space to your warehouse without moving to a new facility, consider installing a storage mezzanine. These structures allow you to save money and increase the functionality of your facility. A mezzanine adds a floor to your warehouse that extends over a portion of the building’s layout.

There are three primary types of mezzanine structures you can install in your warehouse, which include free-standing, rack-supported, and shelving-supported mezzanines. Free-standing mezzanines provide extra storage space above and under the structure. They are highly durable and can be moved to different areas in your warehouse depending on your needs. These mezzanines are supported by structural columns instead of racks and shelving. A free-standing mezzanine offers more flexibility than the other types.

Shelving-supported mezzanines are elevated platforms that use existing shelves to add more storage to your facility. These mezzanines are designed to enhance vertical space by placing another floor above your shelving. If installed correctly, a shelving-supported mezzanine can make order-picking processes more efficient. These mezzanines can be made to match the load capacity of your shelves. They can also be seamlessly integrated with picking stations and conveyor systems.

As for rack-supported mezzanines, they are installed alongside pallet racking systems to provide warehouses with extra storage levels. You can use a rack-supported mezzanine to optimize vertical space, improve material flow, and maximize storage capacity. When buying a rack-supported mezzanine, you’ll likely have several decking options to choose from, which include solid steel plates and steel grating.

Benefits of Using Storage Mezzanines

There are numerous advantages associated with installing storage mezzanines in your warehouse. For example, you can maximize your vertical space by adding single-stage or multi-stage mezzanines to your facility. You’ll increase your storage capacity as well, which will help you scale your business without running into roadblocks.

These mezzanines are also highly cost-effective compared to expanding your physical warehouse. Adding space to an existing warehouse can cost anywhere from $35-$70 per square foot. The expenses associated with mezzanines are considerably lower.

These platforms should also improve your facility’s optimization and efficiency. When running out of space, a warehouse can become crowded, which makes it more difficult to find items and complete tasks efficiently. Keep in mind that mezzanine structures offer considerable adaptability and flexibility. You can use these structures for many applications, which include the following:

  • Observation deck
  • Catwalk
  • Work platform
  • Office space
  • Shelving or racks
  • Equipment access
Pallet Rack Platform Mezzanine

Key Components of a Storage Mezzanine System

Before you buy a mezzanine, there are numerous components you must consider, such as:

These mezzanine systems are highly customizable, which means that you have many options to select from. For example, the framework can be made from steel or aluminum. While aluminum mezzanines have a lighter weight and are easier to move around, steel structures offer added durability and should last longer.

When looking at the different flooring options at your disposal, the two that offer the most durability are steel decking and grated floors. You can also select synthetic plywood for the flooring. Grated floors have low maintenance requirements and can withstand practically any load weight.

Steel decking is ideal for mezzanines that forklifts and other vehicles are going to spend a lot of time on. Synthetic plywood offers many of the same advantages as the other two flooring options but isn’t as durable.

Make sure you consider safety features as well. Mezzanines can be equipped with staircases, gates, handrails, and guardrails, all of which are designed to protect personnel and goods. You can choose between two loading and loading options to transport items and vehicles, which include lifts and conveyors.

Designing a Storage Mezzanine

When you’re designing a storage mezzanine, there are numerous factors you need to consider to make sure it’s right for your facility. Assess your warehouse space and requirements to identify the ideal mezzanine size. If you’re using the structure for storage purposes, consider the square footage of the mezzanine and how much it will help you free up space on the main floor.

You must also consider load capacity and weight. If you intend to drive forklifts and other vehicles on the mezzanine, the flooring material needs to be sturdy enough to support the weight. Forklifts weigh an average of 9,000 pounds.

As mentioned previously, you’ll have access to a lot of customization options when designing your mezzanine storage system. These options include everything from height and width to shelving and racking systems. Identify what you’ll be storing on the mezzanine to make sure it has the right height and width. Before you complete the design, determine whether the mezzanine will integrate properly with your existing warehouse systems and workflows.

Installation and Maintenance of Mezzanine Storage

The installation process for storage mezzanines depends on the type you choose for your facility. The main steps you’ll need to adhere to include the following:

  • Site preparation: Inspect the entire area to ensure it supports the project.
  • Foundation, column, and framework installation: Make sure the foundation is set before you install the columns that will support the mezzanine. You can then install the framework.
  • Floor installation: The flooring material you choose needs to be installed properly before you attempt to store anything on the structure.
  • Handrail and guardrail installation: Once all other aspects of the structure are built, you can add safety features like stairs, guardrails, and ladders.

During the installation process, you could run into issues like a lack of materials or not having enough space. You can avoid these issues by properly planning the mezzanine installation. Once you install the structure, inspect it regularly to ensure its longevity and the safety of your personnel. Look for areas that might be buckling under the weight.

OSHA will likely perform routine inspections to ensure you comply with all safety regulations. You can pass these inspections by making sure every employee is aware of these regulations.

Applications of Mezzanine Storage Systems

Mezzanine storage is used in a wide range of industries. While these structures are commonly found in warehouses, the added storage can also be highly useful for logistics, retail, and manufacturing industries. Along with warehouse storage, you can use mezzanine systems as production areas or extra office space. You can change how you use the mezzanine based on your needs.

Pallet Rack Mezzanine

Cost Considerations and ROI

Adding a mezzanine to your warehouse can be costly. However, it might also provide a high return on investment (ROI). Many factors can influence the cost of mezzanine storage systems, which include the materials, design complexity, and installation.

When considering the costs of these systems, calculate your return on investment. It’s possible for a mezzanine floor to double or triple your space at around a third of the cost that comes with a standard building extension. While the upfront expenses are high, you’ll save a lot of money over time by reducing the need for warehouse expansion.

Safety and Compliance

There are specific safety standards and regulations for mezzanine structures that your employees must follow if you want to avoid substantial fines. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that managers must implement and maintain fall protection systems on mezzanines, which include everything from safety nets to gates and guardrails.

The top edge of the guardrail needs to be at least 42 inches above the walking level. It also needs to withstand at least 200 pounds of force in any direction. Make sure your facility has fall protection equipment on hand for anyone who works on the mezzanine. You can only install a mezzanine in your facility if there are at least 14.7 feet between the ceiling and the ground floor. You must have seven feet or more of clear height below and above the mezzanine.

The platform must be properly designed and installed to ensure your personnel stay safe while using it. Provide your employees with training and education on safety protocols before you allow them to work on the mezzanines in your warehouse.

Conclusion

Storage mezzanines can provide your warehouse with additional space that effectively extends your layout without requiring a cost-prohibitive expansion. You can design your own mezzanine to make sure it matches your facility’s specifications. Before you finalize your design, review the safety features, floor material, and mezzanine type. Consider mezzanine storage solutions to optimize your space, increase efficiency, and boost productivity.

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