Why Wire Decks for Pallet Rack? What You Need to Know

Popular Pallet Rack Accessory Examined – Wire Deck

Wire Deck - Pallet Racking Apex Warehouse Systems

Wire deck is a common pallet rack accessory. It is made from a metal mesh that is designed to fit securely into place between the front and rear rack beams. It forms a foundation for placing inventory, most often non-palletized product, preventing it from falling through the rack. The mesh design is unique in that it allows for water and light to pass through as opposed to a solid surface like plywood, for example. Yet, it provides a firm foundation particularly for cartons, cases, eaches, non-standard-sized pallets, etc.

Advantages of Wire Deck:

  1. Versatile storage option
  2. Improved employee safety
  3. Helps support broken or bad pallets
  4. Ideal for hand stacked applications (non-palletized)
  5. Supports odd-sized pallets
  6. Meets fire safety requirements
    • Mesh material allows fire to be detected quickly
    • Improves sprinkler effectiveness
    • Can reduce insurance premiums

There are a variety of wire gauge options available depending on your inventory needs. Gauge options range from 2, 4, 5 and 6. You can also choose from several finishes including powder coat, oven-baked enamel, hot-dipped galvanized, pre-galvanized, or electro-zinc plated. Choosing your finish will depend on the environmental conditions within the warehouse.

Types of Wire Deck

Wire deck design is divided into two general types – Flared Channel Deck and Step Deck. Flared channel deck is used for structural or box beams and occasionally for step beams. Step decks are designed for use with step beams, as the name suggests. Within those two categories are specific channel designs which serve as the supports for the deck. The channel options vary with the types of pallet rack beams on which they are installed, such as, step, ledge, box or structural.

An example of a standard wire deck is: 42” deep x 46” wide for step beam with three channels and a stated capacity of 2,500 pounds. Standard number of support channels is typically 3, and 4 for wider decks.  See below for measurement steps to determine the appropriate deck size.

Your rack type and application will determine which style of wire deck you need. Here are some ideas to help you choose the right wire deck configuration for your application:

Flared Channel Deck - Apex Warehouse Systems
Flared Channel Deck

Flared Channel Deck:

Flared channel deck is a waterfall design where the wire wraps around the outside of the beam, but the underneath support is flared out and rests upon the top of the beam.



Step Deck Options:

  • Outside waterfall deck is a standard design where the wire wraps around the outside of the beam but the underneath support rests on the step inside the beam.
  • Inverted channel deck also has the wire wrap around the outside of the beam, but the underneath support is flipped over (as opposed to standard deck) so that the support is not open to the top. This style is often used for food storage and other clean applications.
  • Inside waterfall deck allows for the beam face to be unobstructed and the wire deck and channel are rested upon the inside step of the beam. Tek screws are used to adhere this deck in both front and back position to prevent the deck from falling through.
  • Flush (or drop-in) deck is similar to the inside waterfall deck but without the bent edge.
  • Upturned deck is designed with the waterfall facing up upon the rear beam to serve as a backstop for the pallets or cartons.


Flue Decking:

Wire decking can be used between back-to-back rack configurations to prevent product from falling through the flue space in the rear of the racks. See photo below.

The channels that run beneath are a significant element of the wire decking application. They provide the primary determinant of the rated capacity of a given deck and support for odd-sized pallets and point loads.

Wire Deck Channel - Apex Warehouse SystemsThere are two designs for the channels. They are either V-shaped or U-shaped.


Wire Deck Styles

As there are several styles of wire mesh deck design, there are also several common patterns to satisfy your inventory needs. Here are the most common:

1” x 2”
1” x 4”
2” x 2”
2” x 3”
2” x 4”
4” x 4”
2 ½” x 4”

Measuring & Securing Wire Deck

We mention above that the deck must fit “securely” between the front and rear beams, so here’s how to properly measure for your wire deck:

  1. Measure length of pallet rack beam
  2. Measure your upright front to back – done by measuring from the outside of one end of the upright to the outside of the other end of the same upright.
  3. Measure the width of the top of your beam.
  4. Measure the depth of your beam step. (Not necessary for box or structural beams).
  5. Determine if there is any point loading. Wire decking is rated at a UDL (Uniform Distributed Load). If you have point loads or the pallet is resting on the deck NOT the beams, then the wire deck must be designed to support this. (Contact the wire deck manufacturer or a rack design engineer to discuss a point or line-load application).
  6. Secure the wire deck to the rack with Tek screws in both the front and rear positions

Loading Wire Deck

The main determinants of wire deck stability are the load dimensions, shape, and size/density. Stock decks are designed and rated for a “uniformly distributed load” (UDL), however, custom decks should be used in cases where load specifications are outside of the UDL (see point loading, below). The UDL is established when the load is set over all the support channels and the majority of the deck surface and comes within 2” of the front and rear load beams.

Point loading (or line loading) is defined as any load that has its weight concentrated on individual points versus uniformly distributed as described above. Think, for example, of footed pallets or containers as opposed to standard GMA pallets with horizontal boards. If all points are not resting evenly over the wire deck it could potentially cause deflection and potential failure.

Wire Deck Accessories

There are several options to help provide unique storage and picking areas on the wire deck shelf. Organized SKUs provide more efficient and accurate put-away and picking.

Wire Deck Accessories:

  • Hanging dividers – hook to the deck above
  • Freestanding dividers – clip to the deck and protrude up
  • Carton stop – provides a divide between cartons

Wire Deck Accessories - Apex Warehouse Systems

If you have any questions about wire deck or other pallet rack accessories and applications, give the Apex team a call. We have a large inventory of new and pre-owned Quick Ship Rack Accessories that may be just right for your needs and your budget.