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Pallet Racking Component Glossary

January 23, 2020

When purchasing used pallet racking there are lots of details to consider to ensure you choose the right storage system for your operation. The size of the products you’re storing, as well as the size and layout of your facility factor into every decision throughout the purchasing process. From what type of racking to choose, to what accessories you need.

At ASI, our knowledgeable sales team will walk you through everything from the quote to installation. That said, we know that shopping for used pallet racking can be overwhelming. To help simplify it, here is a glossary of common pallet racking terms. If you still have questions once you review this list, give us a call at (800)876-3736.

Pallet Rack Columns or Pallet Rack Frames

  • Also known as uprights or posts, these are the vertical supports at the end of racks

Pallet Rack Beams or Pallet Rack Crossmembers

  • Horizontal supports that run from column to column. Pallets that are large enough to span the depth of the rack will sit on two beams - one at the front and one at the back.

Pallet Rack Wire Decking

  • Used to bridge the gap between two beams on a single level of racking, pallet rack decking creates a level surface on which to store pallets. At ASI, we offer plywood and corrugated steel decking, as well as a variety of styles of wire decking.
Wire Decking
Column Protector

Pallet Rack Row Spacers

  • These are pieces of metal that are bolted on to the columns of two adjacent rows of racks. Row spacers are available in a variety of widths. In addition to providing a uniform space between each row they have the added benefit of increasing the overall stability of your racking.

Pallet Rack Column Protectors

  • As the name suggests, these upright pieces of metal are bolted to the floor and surround the base of columns. The purpose of column protectors is to prevent your rack from damage from passing forklifts

Pallet Rack End Of Aisle Guards

  • These provide slightly more protection than column protectors alone. End of aisle guards are pieces of metal that are bolted on the ground and span the entire depth of the rack, protecting both uprights as well as any bracing.

Pallet Rack Wall Ties

  • These are used to increase the stability of a rack that is located next to a wall. Wall ties bolt onto both the rack column and the wall.

Pallet Rack Stop Bars

  • These are used to increase the safety of your operation. Stop bars are attached to the back of racks to provide a stop point for pallets as they are being loaded. Due to the fact that they block off one side of the rack, stop bars are only useful in situations where a rack will be loaded and picked from the same side.

Pallet Rack Netting

  • This is another means of increasing the safety of your racking system. Netting, like stop bars, is attached to one side of the rack, preventing products from falling. This reduces the risk of both damaged products and employee injuries.

Splice Kits

  • These are used to create a connection between two cables. They can come in many configurations, depending on the type of wire or cable being joined. Cable splicing is used to create one cable from two different cables.

Bullnose Column Protectors

  • This is used in high tempo applications with severe forklift impact and significantly strengthen the connection to the slab. Bullnose protectors typically will have an additional 3/4″ anchor installed inside the front bullnose to reduce damage and column rotation.

Rub Rails

  • Are constructed to protect vulnerable surfaces in tight aisles and high traffic areas. They are often installed as a safeguard for the end of rack aisles, in-plant offices, and exposed equipment.
Pallet Rack Netting
Pallet Rack Wall Ties

Let ASI Handle Your Pallet Rack Installation

Used Pallet Racking System

At American Surplus, we do more than just sell you a used pallet rack system. We also take care of the design and installation process so you do not have to risk doing it yourself. Save time and money by calling ASI today! We will ensure your racking is assembled in a safe and timely manner.

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Pallet Rack Accessory Guide


From wire decking and wall ties, check out ASI's pallet racking accessory guide to brush up on your vocabulary!

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About Pallet Racking

Pallet racks store materials on pallets in horizontal rows on multiple levels. Pallet racks require the use of a forklift truck to load and unload pallets onto the racks. All pallet racks, no matter the style, will increase the storage density of your warehouse, retail centers, and any other storage facility.

Pallet Rack Brands

Some of the brands we sell are: Bull Dog, Husky, Burtman, Interlake, Dexco, Teardrop, Deltruie, Mecalux, Elite, Konstant, Excell, Penco, Frazier, Republic, Frick Gallager, Ridg-u-Rack, Structural Pallet Racking, and Speed Rack. If you are unsure of the brand of your current pallet racking please check out our Identification Guide

Pallet Rack Types

  • Warehouse Storage
  • Storage Racking
  • Industrial Shelving Racks
  • Industrial Pallet Racking
  • Used pallet racks
  • Pallet Rack Frames
  • Warehouse Racking
  • Pallet Rack Beams
  • Pallet Racking Systems
  • Pallet Rack Uprights

Choosing Pallet Racks

There are many factors to consider when choosing which style of pallet racks are right for you: Storage density required/desired; Building space, both floor space and height; placement of obstructions (doors, support beams, building columns, etc.); inventory size and weight; inventory accessibility and cost.

Used selective pallet racks are the least dense and also the least expensive option, and allows for direct access to each product at each shelf height. They come in two main styles: roll formed and structural. Roll formed racking is typically lighter and has horizontal load beams that are held into place by clips, and are typically adjustable in 2 inch increments. This makes adjusting the rack heights very easy, but roll formed pallet racks cannot hold as much weight as other styles, and tend to be less resistant to impact by forklifts.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pallet Rack

Q: What is Selective Pallet Rack?
A: The most common style of pallet rack, selective pallet rack, is designed for high-density warehouses that store a large variety of products. Selective rack provides 100% access to all pallet positions at all times without having to move other pallets. Based on cost per position, selective rack is the least expensive type of pallet rack. Selective rack is easy to install and easy to reconfigure should storage dimensions change. While not as durable as structural steel pallet racking, selective pallet rack can do the job in most cases.

Q: What is Drive-In Rack?
A: Drive-in rack is a narrow storage system best for applications that utilize the "Last In, First Out" (or LIFO) method of inventory control. Pallets are stored on rails and access to the pallets is from the front. Pallets are stored back to back which creates a dense storage area. Drive-in rack is ideal for products that ship in and out of the warehouse quickly.

Q: What is Push-Back Rack?
A: Push-back rack, much like drive-in rack, utilizes the LIFO method of inventory control. Pallets are stored on carts which move along rails. Unlike selective rack, which stores in a single pallet deep system, push-back rack can store pallets 2-5 deep. When the first skid or pallet is picked, material behind gently rolls forward on rails. All levels are accessible individually.

Q: What is Pallet Flow Rack?
A: Pallet flow rack is a combination of elevated rails, wheels, and rollers. Pallet flow rack offers a high-density storage system which is ideal for operations using the "First In, First Out" (or FIFO) method of inventory control. Warehouses with minimal space are ideal for pallet flow rack, as aisle space can be reduced by as much as 75%

Q: What is the Difference Between Pallet Rack and Industrial Shelving?
A: Industrial Shelving is used for storing small parts and boxes that will be loaded by hand. These shelving units can be free-standing or bolted together. Pallet racks are heavy duty storage racks found in warehouses and big-box retailers such as Home Depot, Lowes, or Costco. Product is stored on pallets and loaded with a forklift or other powered industrial truck. Pallet rack is taller and wider than shelving.

Q: Is there a standard size for pallet rack?
A: The most common height for pallet rack frames is 16'. However, we have frames available from 8' all the way to 60' high. Depths range from 18"-72". Pallet rack beams range in length from 4' to 16', with the most common beams being between 8' and 12' long, depending on the application.

Q: What are Pallet Supports?
A: Pallet supports are used to reinforce a pallet rack system. Supports are installed onto the step of the beam allowing storage of heavy pallets without worry. It is our recommendation to use two pallet supports per pallet position; they are the best insurance you will ever purchase!

Q: What are Column Protectors?
A: Column protectors are installed on the bottom of a pallet rack frame and are designed to absorb impacts from forklifts and other moving equipment throughout the warehouse; protecting your employees, rack, and product from dangerous accidents. Column protectors are available at 12", 24", 36", and 48".

Q: What are the different types of Wire Decks?
A: Waterfall decking is the most common style of wire deck. This type of decking sits in the step of the pallet rack beam. The support channel rests on the step and the "waterfall" wraps around the top of the beam.
Flush waterfall decks fit similarly to standard waterfall decking, with the only difference being that they do not hang over the top of the beam, the sit on the step of the beam.
Inverted wire decks are another common type of wire decking. This deck has a flange at the end of the support channel, making it easy to fit on step or box beams.
Lastly, flush flat wire decking simply sits flush on top of the beam.

Q: Should I use particle board or plywood for the decking?
A: Particle board or plywood should only be used for light duty storage. Wire decking is the recommended material for decking, especially considering many municipalities have local fire codes requiring the use of wire decking.

Q: What are Row Spacers?
A: Row spacers provide a consistent amount of distance between two rows of pallet rack. Row spacers have a flange on each end to secure the spacer to the frame. Row spacers should be installed when there are multiple bays in a continuous row. The recommended number of row spacers per frame is as follows:

  • Frames 4' to 14': 1 Row Spacer
  • Frames 15' to 24': 2 Row Spacers
  • Frames 25' to 34': 3 Row Spacers

Q: What are Wall Ties?
A: Wall ties secure an individual section of pallet rack to the wall. The wall tie acts as a stabilizer for the unit. Two wall ties per upright are recommended.

Q: What is Pallet Rack Netting?
A: Pallet rack netting is hung underneath a pallet rack system, preventing product that has fallen off the racks from making it all the way to the ground. This protects your employees from injury as well as potentially reducing damage to fallen product.

Q: Do I have to anchor my pallet rack system to the floor?
A: You should always anchor your pallet rack to the floor. The footplates on your uprights offer specific locations to place your anchors, which are essential to prevent the entire rack system from falling over as well as for enforcing uniform aisle spacing.

Q: How do I determine what size racks I will need?
A. It is easy to figure out what size rack you will need! First, determine the load depth, width, and height of your pallets. Then, call an ASI pallet rack specialist at (800) 876-3736 who can assist you in getting the right pallet rack system for your application.

Q: Can I order pallet racking in non-standard sizes?
A: Yes, our racking department and fabrication shop can customize racking to meet your needs. We suggest discussing this with one of our pallet rack technicians who will determine your best options.


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