A Guide on How To Measure Pallet Racking

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Let’s face it, the average person is only vaguely familiar with pallet racking — and they probably have no idea how to measure the stuff. We even find warehouse professionals who mix up component names and measurements.

That’s why we wrote this guide on how to measure pallet racking, including some terminology conventions.


Uprights are the primary, vertical component of any selective racking system. Read carefully because this pallet racking component has many terminologies and measurements to account for.

Many people also call them frames, but upright is the standard industry term. Uprights carry all the weight of your product to the floor. They anchor to the floor for stability. The height is key to maximizing your storage volume while assuring you are not oversized for you ceilings.

The depth of the upright (front to back) is important because it affects how pallets will fit and be supported. An upright has two posts (or columns) connected by cross braces. Post dimensions are important because they relate to the overall capacity of the upright.

Measuring Uprights
A typical upright measurement looks something like this:

42” x 120”, 3” x 1-5/8”

OR (depth) x (height), (post width) x (post depth), typically shown in inches.

  • Depth – measure the distance from outside of one post face to the outside of the other post face. Note: this dimension will affect the size of wire mesh decks or pallet supports you will use.
  • Height – measure the distance from the bottom of the foot plate to the top of the post.
  • Width – measure the width across the outside face of the upright post.
  • Post Depth – measure from the outside face of the upright post to the inside edge of that same post.


Beams are the primary horizontal component that carry product and transfer the product load to the upright. A beam is comprised of a beam member and two connection flanges, welded onto either end. Additional details tell you beam applications. Beam members come in a range of section types, the most common of which is roll formed step-beam.

Measuring Pallet Racking Beams
Typically a beam specification will look like this:

96” x 5” step beam, 4,500 lb capacity / pair

OR (beam length) x (beam face height) (beam section type), (beam capacity / pair).

Beam Length (Measure end-to-end from inside flange)
  • Length – find the distance from the inside face of the flange to the inside face of the other flange (SEE ABOVE IMAGE).

Note: The desired measurement is the same as the distance between uprights when the beam is installed. Do not measure the overall beam length (tip of outside flange to tip of the other outside flange).

How to Measure Beam
Beam Face Height
  • Face Height – measure the height of the beam member itself on the outside face (do not measure the flanges) (SEE IMAGE ABOVE).
  • Beam Section – compare the beam to this diagram above. Step beams (roll formed) are the most typical because they support standard wire decks and pallet supports. Channel beams are also common, while box beams are less so.
  • Note: Manufacturers proved capacity charts. For now, it’s helpful to understand that the weight shown will represent the capacity for a set of two beams.

Wire Mesh Decks

Wire mesh decks (decks for short) sit on beams and provide added support for product. Measurements are related to the uprights they are compatible with. A wire mesh deck is constructed from wire mesh welded to channels.

Measuring Decks
A typical wire deck measurement looks like this:

42” x 46”, 3 channel, waterfall

OR (depth of upright that deck is compatible with) x (width of deck in direction of beam), (number and type of channels), and (type of front and back edge).

  • Depth – it is the same as the depth of the upright the deck is being used with. Or, for waterfall decks (most common), measure the overall depth, in the direction of the channels, and subtract 1” (see image above).

Note: Deck depth is nominal. For instance, if we say a waterfall deck is 42” deep, that means it is compatible with a 42” deep upright. However its actual depth will be 43”, because it has an overhang which adds 1”.

  • Width – measure the actual width of deck, perpendicular to the channels (or in the direction of the beam which the deck sits on).
  • Channel specifications – count the channels and check the images below to determine the channel type.
  • Edge style – check the images below:

Pallet Supports

Pallet supports are an alternative to wire decks that span two beams, supporting a pallet above. Typically roll formed from a single sheet of steel, they may include a flange (or tab) for engaging the beam.

Measuring Pallet Supports
Measurements often look like this: 42” (38-1/4”) double-flange

OR (depth of upright that deck is compatible with) (actual length of channel portion of support) (type of support)

  • Actual length of the channel – measure the portion of the support that sits between beams or the roll formed section.
  • Type of pallet support – see the diagram above. Examine if the pallet support has flanges, how it engages the beam, and what type of beam it works with.

Row Spacers

Row spacers connect back-to-back rows of racking by attaching to an upright on either side. The space create between uprights determines the row spacer dimension. There are many styles of row spacer, so it’s not critical you know them all. What you do need to know is the spacing measurement.

Measuring Row Spacers
A typical specification will look like this: 12”, 4-bolt

OR (length), (total number of bolts or style of racking).

  • Length – measure the length of roll formed portion of row spacer or the space between uprights.

Note: this length is usually not the overall length of the row spacer, because the component usually has flanges that extend past the spacing dimension

  • Bolt holes – how many are incorporated in the row spacer.


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