Pallet Rack FAQ

Here are a few of the commonly asked questions we get from customers about pallet rack. We hope the answers are helpful. If not, please feel free to contact us.

Here is another post on pallet rack that may be helpful.


How Do I Measure Pallet Rack Beams?

When measuring pallet racking beams, we are talking about the horizontal steel beams that run between, and fasten to, the uprights. These beams span between the uprights.

Here is how to measure pallet rack beams. Measure the distance inside to inside the rack uprights – NOT the overall length length of the beam – NOT the dimensions from outside to outside of the upright.


Generally, the beams lengths will be in even foot dimensions, like: 4 ft, 6 ft, 8 ft, 10 ft.

The beam width is the measurement of the beam face, or across the outside front of the beam. 

Refer to the diagram, hopefully it will make things very clear. 

What Is Pallet Rack Decking?

Pallet rack decking is the supporting material for each of the pallet rack shelves. 

While the pallet racking has beams for each shelf level, pallet racks are rarely just set on these beams without some other type of support, or decking.

The decking can be made from all types of materials, such as: solid wood planking, plywood, particle board sheets, welded wire, corrugated sheet metal, slotted steel decking, formed steel decking, molded fiberglass grating, and many types of poly decking.


types of pallet rack decking


The type of decking you choose will depend upon cost of the decking, and the materials being stored on the racking. Many warehouses steer clear of wood decking due to the potential flammability in the event of a fire. 

You can read all about wire decking here.

Many warehouses also prefer decking that is not solid, so that light can pass through and also so that the decking does not collect dust.

What Is the Pallet Rack Spacing for a Forklift?

Pallet rack spacing for a forklift is a critical design aspect when determining the layout for pallet rack storage. The spacing we are talking about is the aisle spacing between the racking where the forklift will be operating.

There needs to enough room for the forklift to position and retrieve any pallet from any rack shelf.

The pallet rack spacing for a forklift is 12 to 14 feet between the racking.

Now that is the short answer, based on a standard 4 wheel counterbalanced forklift. But, there are different types of forklifts designed to operate in narrow aisle-ways, and then the spacing can be much more narrow. So, the aisle spacing will depend on the type of forklift.

There are forklifts designed to operate in aisle-ways as narrow as 4 feet.


aisle spacing for forklift types

Here is a formula for determining pallet rack spacing for a forklift to enable you to make an informed decision. Start with the basic right-angle stacking width of the forklift that will be operating (found in the machine’s manual). Add your load’s length. And then add 12 inches for clearance. 

Example: A typical 4 wheel counterbalanced forklift may have a basic right-angle stacking width of 93 inches. A typical load width is 48 inches. That equates to 93 + 48 + 12 = 153 inches, or 12 ft – 9 in needed for aisle spacing.