A mezzanine is a raised platform typically constructed within an existing building. Mezzanines can be used for various purposes, such as providing additional storage space or creating a workspace within a warehouse.
By adding a mezzanine to a warehouse, it is possible to double the amount of usable floor or storage space. This can be extremely helpful when planning for future growth or simply trying to use existing space better.
In addition to increasing your warehouse’s storage capacity, mezzanines can also help improve workflow by allowing easy access to elevated storage areas and simplifying travel across the warehouse. Mezzanines are a versatile and practical solution for making the most of your warehouse.
How to Choose a Mezzanine for Your Warehouse
There are a large number of mezzanines, so choosing the right one for your warehouse can be a difficult decision. Consider each of the following factors as you search for the perfect mezzanine:
The ideal mezzanine for your warehouse will depend on its intended use. There are various types of mezzanines available, each with a unique purpose. Some mezzanines are dual-purpose, combining shelving storage with catwalks. Other mezzanines are single-purpose, used primarily for transportation, as a workspace, or for storage.
One of the most important considerations when choosing a mezzanine for your warehouse is its maximum load capacity. Weight-bearing requirements will vary greatly depending on foot traffic and your specific loading requirements. The weight of your loads will dictate the appropriate materials and construction type for your warehouse.
Mezzanine Flooring Construction
The materials used to construct your mezzanine floor are another important aspect of choosing the right mezzanine for your warehouse. The flooring depends on the owner’s preference, but warehouses usually use industrial-grade steel.
Depending on the load requirements, the base layer can be solid steel or bar grating. Often, a layer of high-density wood or concrete is placed atop the steel base layer, depending on the intended use of the mezzanine.
The dimensions of your warehouse must also be considered when choosing a mezzanine. Mezzanines vary in size, so it is important to consider your ceiling’s height. The mezzanine should be tall enough to provide adequate room for additional storage while not interfering with the operation of your business below. You can opt for a custom-built mezzanine if your warehouse has unusual dimensions.
Installation and Maintenance
Just as they vary significantly in size and construction, the cost and difficulty of installing the mezzanine will also differ. Larger and more complex custom mezzanines require more extensive construction, while pre-manufactured mezzanines’ installation will be more straightforward.
Maintenance costs will vary depending on the complexity of the mezzanine; for example, a custom mezzanine that includes an elevator will require much more upkeep than a pre-manufactured one with a simple stairway.
Another important consideration is the design accessibility of the mezzanine. More straightforward examples may include a stairway for access; other access solutions include elevator-type lifts and conveyor belts. It is also important that the mezzanine offers multiple points of access for safety and workflow management.
Types of Mezzanine Storage Systems
Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. offers an enormous variety of mezzanine systems, including those used for storage, transportation, and as a workspace. We offer custom mezzanine solutions to fit the unique demands of your warehouse. A few types of warehouse mezzanines include:
Shelving Supported Mezzanine
Also called a rack-supported mezzanine, these mezzanines make efficient use of available space by supporting the mezzanine with storage shelving. This mezzanine serves two purposes: to enhance workflow by simplifying travel in the warehouse and to enhance overall storage capacity by efficiently using the warehouse’s vertical space.
The shelves are made from industrial-grade materials, such as heavy-duty structural steel, and can often accommodate storage solutions like pallet rack systems. They are also built with a modular design, allowing you to expand your storage as your operation grows.
Structural mezzanines, or mezzanine platforms, are intermediate partial floor levels commonly used to increase available floor space in a warehouse. They are composed of steel beams and columns and often feature metal decking with a top layer of plywood or concrete, depending on the weight capacity. They can be pre-manufactured, freestanding structures, or custom-designed to fit the needs of your warehouse.
These mezzanines are excellent choices for rapidly expanding warehouse operations that need to maximize their use of available space. They can be used as a work platform for warehouse employees or storage space.
Catwalk mezzanines help warehouses optimize workflow by allowing employees easier access and a direct route across the warehouse. These mezzanines can be used to connect structural mezzanines or to enable access to vertical storage space. They are typically less expensive than other mezzanines and made of highly durable materials.
Mezzanine Safety and OSHA Requirements
While mezzanines are a beneficial way to make the most of your warehouse’s space and optimize its storage capacity and workflow, they can also be dangerous. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates safety protocols for mezzanines in America.
OSHA’s complete mezzanine safety protocols are broken into three subcategories: fall protection, fall protection systems, and guardrail systems guidelines.
Under OSHA’s “Duty to Have Fall Protection” standard, warehouse administrators must determine the weight capacity of any surface used for walking. Any work surface at least six feet off the floor must include guardrails, personal fall arrest systems (like harnesses), or safety nets.
Fall Protection Systems
OSHA’s “Fall Protection Systems Criteria and Practices” spell out their requirements for fall protection systems. According to the guidelines, guardrails should be at least 42 inches above the mezzanine floor (measured to the top edge), and mid-rails must be no more than 19 inches apart.
Safety nets (if used) must be no more than 30 feet below the walking surface, support at least 400 pounds, and be inspected weekly. The floor or walking surface of the mezzanine must be capable of supporting at least 200 pounds, while the guardrail must be capable of supporting at least 150 pounds.
All guardrails and walking surface components must be free from anything that may snag clothing or cause puncturing or scratching.
“Guardrail Systems Non-Mandatory Guidelines for Complying with 1926.502(b)” outlines OSHA’s recommendations for guardrail system safety and compliance.
According to the guidelines, any wood used for guardrail systems must be 1,500-pounds-per-foot grade lumber. All wooden guardrail systems posts must measure 2-by-4 inches and be spaced eight feet apart. Similarly, all wooden top rails must measure 2-by-4 inches.
If the guardrail system is made of metal, the railings must be a 1.5-inch pipe spaced no more than eight feet apart; 2-by-2-inch angles made of steel are also acceptable and must similarly be spaced no more than eight feet apart.
Where to Purchase a Mezzanine System
Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. is a leading industrial mezzanine supplier. We offer an enormous variety of top-of-the-line and cost-effective mezzanine platforms, shelf-supported mezzanines, catwalk mezzanines, and related accessories.
If you are looking for ways to maximize your warehouse’s productivity and use of space, contact one of our project managers at (800) 589-7225 to learn about our custom mezzanine solutions.