Warehouse operators face many challenges and one of them is maintaining flexible storage while maximising capacity. This can be particularly demanding where different sizes of pallet and non palletised, individual products of different shapes and sizes are part of the product range.
When standard pallet racking is simply not flexible enough, an effective solution for storing poor quality pallets and/or varying pallet sizes is to use timber decking. This provides a solid platform on which to store pallets or individual items whether large or small.
This can be installed in several ways. However, in every case, the boards are fixed to or rest on the pallet racking beams.
Open timber racking has spaces between each board allowing for airflow and reducing cost.
In closed timber racking, the timbers are butted up against each other allowing storage directly onto the boarding. This can be very useful for the storage of smaller loose goods.
Before ordering timber deck racking, it will be important to know the loading that the timber is likely to take. Timber is graded according to the maximum loading and will only be guaranteed to a certain weight.
Timbers can provide either Class 0 or Class 1 surface spread of flame protection. These are not fire tests but classifications from The Building Regulations 1991 – Fire Safety. In summary, Class 1 protects the surface from the spread of flames; Class 0 protects the surface from the spread of flames and limits the amount of heat released from the surface during a fire.
If required, timbers can be coated with fire retardant coatings to upgrade the surface of the timbers used for the pallet deck.
Alternatives to timber
Chipboard decks are an alternative to individual timbers. More cumbersome to fit and possibly a less flexible option, heavy density chipboard is available in very heavy duty thickness to meet most weight specifications.
External use for timber decking for pallet racking
For external use, ideally timber should be tantalised. Tanalisation is a chemical process which forces biocides and copper into the timber, meaning that the timber is less likely to be attacked by rot, fungi and insects.
It is worth noting that in in certain circumstances, fire officers may feel that open slatted decking is a preferable option because in the case of a fire, open slats allow the smoke and heat to rise but also allow water from the sprinkler system to fall though the slats. However, each warehouse is different and it is worth talking to your fire safety officer before making a decision.
Adding timber decking to pallet racking to some or all of the racking adds a great deal of flexibility to warehouse storage allowing for poor quality pallets, different sized pallets and also for individual items that cannot be or are not palletised.