What Pallet Rack Decking Is Right for Me?

What Pallet Rack Decking Is Right for Me?

With a wide variety of pallet rack decking options available, it can be difficult to find the right option for your storage needs.

We’re here to explain all your options and make that choice as easy as possible.

Do I Need Decking?

While not using any sort of decking for your pallet rack is an option, for safety reasons, we don’t recommend it. If the pallets are not set onto the beams perfectly, they can fall through the racking and hurt the product or people underneath. This is a major safety concern, and safety is an area you never want to cut corners.

In addition to safety, most decking options give you the versatility to store more than just pallets. Decking allows you to store boxes, bags, bins and more on your pallet rack. Consequently, we highly recommend installing decking on your pallet rack.

Wire Mesh Decking (Recommended)

Wire mesh decking is the standard when it comes to pallet rack decking options. Many companies choose this decking option due to its great balance of support, load capacity, and cost.

Wire decking easily sets on the beams, covering the full length of the rack. It usually has a standard load capacity of 2,000 – 2,500 lbs, and higher capacity options are available. Wire decking is one of the most cost-effective and versatile solutions which is why it is the decking of choice for most companies. 

2 x 6s / Plywood

For general use of lightweight products, using 2 x 4s or 2 x 6s as wood decking could be a viable option. Depending on the wood used, it can be one of the cheapest options, particularly if you do not need to purchase the wood. However, wood may not provide adequate strength for your needs. If you are storing heavy pallets or products, we highly suggest an alternative to wood.

Also, most buildings are inspected regularly by the Fire Marshall. Due to fire safety concerns, Fire Marshalls prefer not to see flammable wood decking on pallet rack.

Pallet Supports

Metal pallet supports (sometimes called cross bars) appear similar to 2 x 4s, but provide a lot more strength and eliminate the fire hazard issue. They are more expensive than their wooden counterpart, but due to the increased load capacity and long term durability, they are a great investment for a lot of companies.

Pallet Supports can also be used underneath the wire mesh decking to provide additional strength to the wire deck.

Bar Grating

Bar Grating Pallet Rack Decking

Bar grating is one of the most heavy-duty options. It can be manufactured to meet nearly any loading requirement. It handles point loads very well, and can have a very high capacity. Bar grating is one of the most expensive decking options, but it is certainly one of the best for storage applications that require a high capacity or point loads.

Punch Deck

Punch Deck Pro Deck 50

Punch Deck (also called Grate-Lock, safety grating, Pro-Deck 50, or corrugated decking) is another metal decking option that provides good capacity, though not as high capacity as bar grating. It comes in a variety of styles. Like bar grating and wire mesh decks, the design of punch deck allows water the flow through. This makes it a preferred choice for fire safety inspectors.

Steel Decking

Solid steel decking is a great option when you require a smooth surface top. Many people use it for workstations or table tops. Solid steel decks also support point loads nicely. Solid decking can be manufactured with multiple supports welded to the bottom to provide a high capacity smooth storage surface.

Perforated steel deck is very similar to solid steel decking, but has holes in the deck to allow water to flow through. This improves fire safety, and may be beneficial when storing flammable products. Perforated steel decking is usually only a little bit more expensive than solid steel decking.

Carton Flow

Carton Flow is a specialty decking option, often called Gravity Flow or Span-Track. It comes in a variety of styles, and is typically installed with an incline to allow for packages to automatically roll to the front of the bay. It can be used by either loading from the back, or loading from the front in a push-back style.

Pallet Flow

Pallet Flow

Pallet Flow allows you to load pallets with a forklift on one end of the rack and have the pallets gently glide down the incline to the other end of the rack. It is a great solution for FIFO (first in, first out) pallet storage that allows for a very high density.


Can You Help Me Choose?

Absolutely! Speedrack West is always here to help you evaluate your needs and design a racking solution for your company. You can start a conversation with us here.

In most cases, we do end up recommending wire decking, and here’s why:

        • Wire decks don’t burn like wood does
        • It allows you the flexibility to store boxes and other items, in addition to pallets
        • Wire decks have adequate capacity for most applications
        • You can easily add pallet supports underneath the wire decking to increase the capacity if needed.
        • They are relatively inexpensive.


If you are unsure which solution is right for you, don’t hesitate to send us an email or contact us. There are major safety concerns when dealing with pallet racking, so we always recommend taking the time to make that call!

Was this post helpful?

  • Taylor Bishop
    Posted at 08:24h, 20 May Reply

    Thanks for helping me learn more about different types of pallet rack decking. I didn’t know that there are metal pallets that have long term durability while also having an increased load capacity. I’m interested to learn if these should only be used for much larger items or if they can still be used for smaller ones.

  • Harrold Black
    Posted at 08:09h, 25 October Reply

    what is the load capacity difference between a wooden deck and a welded wire deck. Our material group is looking to go to 2 X 6 wooded decking on the racks and as the EHS manager I foresee issues.

    • srwadmin
      Posted at 17:07h, 25 October Reply

      The capacity of wood decking is hard to determine, which is one of reasons a lot of people avoid it. There are wood capacity calculators (or this one). However, the capacity of the wood changes depending on the species, which you may not know. I agree with you on the potential issues with wood decking. Fire marshalls don’t like it for the fire safety concerns (wood burns, and wood burning on pallet rack is especially bad). There’s no engineered capacity ratings, and if you load it too heavy, they’ll deflect enough to fall straight through the rack. Wire decks solve those problems, and a lot more, without costing much more than wood.

  • Sam Piethe
    Posted at 00:12h, 02 April Reply

    This article is well written.

  • Liza Bell
    Posted at 18:49h, 13 May Reply

    A good article!

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