Case study

Choosing the right decking type for your racking or shelving system

Decking is an integral part of a pallet racking or shelving structure designed to store smaller sized pallets or loads. It creates an infill between beams to prevent items with lower dimensions than that of the shelf breadth from falling between beams. Decking types vary, so like your storage system, choosing the right type of decking is important to meeting your storage needs. Here’s what you should consider when choosing a decking type for your storage system:

Weight Load Bearing – Different decking types will have their own maximum weight load capacity in the same way as your pallet racking or shelving system, so it’s important to give thought to the weight of your loads before you purchase your decking. If the decking weight load bearing is less than the weight of your loads, the results can be costly. For the heaviest load bearing steel decking would be the most sufficient, however it is the most expensive so timber is a great alternative.

Fire Safety – The unfortunate event of a fire, is thankfully rare however, different decking types are made from various different materials so depending on the type, decking can either falter under extreme heat or high volumes of water or it can’t maintain integrity against those elements. Chipboard material would show the least resistance against fire or water whereas steel would be the most resilient against extreme heat.

Durability – You may be looking for a long term solution, perhaps you a looking for decking suitable for external storage or maybe you’re looking for something short term to store lighter products. The durability of the decking material will vary depending on the type so if you’re looking for a robust solution a steel base decking which can be galvanised of extra strength or a strong timber decking solution will be most suitable. Chipboard although flexible and low in cost tends to wear over time so this would be an ideal solution for storing lighter products for the short term.

To help you understand the different decking types available and what each of them offer in terms of durability, strength and fire safety we have outlined the various options available:

Wire Mesh Decking

A great addition to your pallet racking system, wire mesh decking is perfectly suited to smaller pallet, boxes or tray storage. Made up of hard steel wire in a grid like format it acts as an additional layer of security, strong enough to hold the weight of your loads and wide enough to support their size.  The density of the wired steel varies to support different weight loads and can be made to suit the dimensions of your racking. Bridging the gap between the front and back beams the wired mesh deck slots over the beams then is securely fixed in place. The gaps between the cage like wires keep the shelves dust and debris free and items are visible from lower angles.  In the event of a fire, the steel mesh will hold its strength under the impact of heat and water making it a suitable option for upper level mezzanine storage configurations. It is also most suitable for a sprinkler system as it allows waters to pass through the levels and suppress the flames.

Mesh decks


Timber Decking

With a choice of closed or open slats fixed securely to the beams with the use of battens, timber decking is a versatile option because it can securely hold loads varying in size and weight. The risk of small items falling is eliminated and larger pallets can be securely placed above the beam to even out the weight. Timber decking is an all round comprehensive solution with the exception that it would be a less resilient material against heat and water in the rare event of a fire.It’s worth noting that open slats rather than enclosed ones may provide a little more protection against fire as it will allow smoke to escape through the gaps

Timber decks on racking system


Steel Decking

A heavy duty solution, steel decking acts as the pallet and shelf at the same time. Heavy bulky items are stored securely onto the robust steel panels which are fixed to the beams creating a strong solid shelf.  The robust steel panels will withhold strength when exposed to water and extreme heat and can be galvanised,increasing strength further for external storage use. Easy to remove you can take the panels away from the structure to be cleaned before being fixed back into place with ease.

Steel decks


Chipboard Decking

Chipboard decks are sleek panels fixed between the beams, extending from front to back ensuring that items are not exposed fall through gaps. Depending in the weight of the items you want to store the solidity of the boards varies and can be sized to suit your structure. The board themselves consist of tiny wood chippings bound together so it’s the least robust form of decking  with a shorter life-span, however it’s a low cost solution, perfect for cool, dry storage environments. Chipboard decking is less resistant to fire and water however it can be treated with coating to enhance its strength if desired.

Chipboards decks



Decking of all types offer extra flexibility for warehouses with various size, type and weight bearing loads. For many warehouses it’s an essential part of their racking or shelving system, adding sustainability and security for their products. Inventory is an expensive asset and if it becomes damaged or lost it will result in great costs to the business. With the right decking on your racks or shelves those items can remain safe and secure, giving you piece of mind.

WSL offer a full range of decking types so whether you’re looking for decking alone or a combination of pallet racking, shelving and decking we can provide the right solution for your needs. Decking is an important part of your storage system as it plays the vital role of ensuring the safe secure storage of your inventory.  Safe secure storage is what we specialise in so if you would like to discuss various decking options with one of our expert team members call us today on 0113 2045350 or email

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