Building a Solid Foundation: The Importance of Flooring in Pallet Rack System Design

Warehouse Pallet Rack Design - E-DistributionThe integrity, quality and durability of your warehouse pallet rack system design starts from the ground up. A warehouse’s floor bares literal tons of static and dynamic load day in and day out, including pallet racks, and it’s critical that a floor’s composition and foundation are equal to the task. Rack Manufacturer Institute (RMI) guidelines dictate that pallet rack columns should be anchored, or secured, to the floor with bolts. Imagine, for a moment, what would happen if your racks were fixed to a floor that was cracked or uneven. Even the slightest deviation can have facility-wide implications, leading to rack collapse and jeopardize your employees’ safety, your inventory and your equipment. 

The type and quality of floor you install in your warehouse is particularly important in seismic pallet rack design, where the ground on which your warehouse is built is prone to shifting on a regular basis due to heavy and frequent seismic activity. Your warehouse’s floor plays a larger role than you may think in the safety of your employees, and the security of your inventory and your equipment.  

Why Is My Warehouse’s Floor So Important?

Adequate flooring for pallet rack systems must be able to withstand and transfer static and dynamic loads from the surface of the floor downwards until they reach the subsoil level. For multiple reasons, warehouse floors are generally made of concrete so there are multiple opportunities for chips, cracks and divots that create uneven surfaces and create the risk of collapse. Many warehouse pallet rack systems are often situated in incredibly narrow spatial parameters. On top of that (literally and figuratively), racks are built situated incredibly high up. For drive-in pallet rack systems, in particular, uneven floors create the risk of friction and impact on machine suspension that can lead to disastrous collapses and falling items. 

What Are The Components of Suitable Floor for Pallet Racks?


Warehouse Pallet Rack Design - E-DistributionThere are several factors to consider when installing a floor that can accommodate your pallet rack systems, some of the primary of which include: 

  • Substrate (the floor below the floor) – Substrate is the stabilizing layer beneath a finished floor. Substrate can vary in critical factors like elevation, flatness, water absorption and other factors, even within the same facility or plot. These analyses can all be conducted by an expert prior to “laying the groundwork”, so to speak. 
  • Composition – A solid warehouse floor’s composition should consist of a mixture of a sub-base of agglomerated material for tensile strength and a concrete slab to support the pressure is placed onto the sub-base. This combination of tensile and pressure strength will compensate for any seasonal expansion and contraction of the concrete. 
  • Securing the Floor Joints – Joints must anchor to the floor with mechanical or epoxy anchors. Seismic racking may require multiple anchors per column depending on the engineering design requirements. Improperly secured joints can leave floors vulnerable to movement and fracturing. 
  • Finishing Layer – The finishing layer of a floor is the part that gets the most traction, wear and tear, so it’s important that it’s comprised of a durable mixture of materials. The finishing layer of a floor should consist of a granulite concrete mixture around two inches thick. The smoothness and solidity should ensure that the flooring can withstand the conditions that exist any and all conditions, including foot traffic, vehicles, falling items and more. 

Warehouse Pallet Rack Design - E-DistributionThe method of installation depends on a variety of conditions, including size, climate, seismic activity and more. Typical warehouse flooring installation consists of laying concrete strips next to one another, which are finished as they’re poured. 

You can turn to E-Distribution for ALL of your storage and material handling install and project management needs -We have a large crew of experienced rack installers and project foremen each with between 15-30 years of warehouse systems integration. We install all major material handling manufacturer systems and system types for ambient, cooler and freezer facilities and adhere to strict compliance of food & pharmaceutical, and safety regulations.

E-Distribution is here to provide experienced and valuable insights into the floor that houses your pallet rack systems. Once you ensure you have a solid foundation, we will help you move forward with your pallet rack system installation or redesign. Contact our team now so we can start the process.