Things to Know About Cantilever Racks

cantilever storage racks

If you need to store long, heavy, oddly shaped inventory items or non-uniform-sized materials, you should consider buying and installing cantilever racks. Unlike pallet racking systems, cantilever racks are not designed to store palletized inventory.

Cantilever Racks

One of the advantages of cantilevered racks is that they offer more specialized storage systems than pallet racking. A cantilever system consists of the following components:


As in pallet-racking systems, cantilever racks have uprights — vertical support columns to which the other components attach. The uprights comprise the frame of the system.


The bases are horizontal steel beams that project outward from the upright. In a single-sided cantilever rack, the base will cause the system to appear as an “L” shape. These beams provide critical stability to the system.


Cantilever arms are beams that project outward from the uprights like the bases. However, the arms are narrower, spaced apart vertically to accommodate different inventory items or orders.


Bracing comprises horizontal or diagonal reinforcing beams (sometimes configured in an “X”). Sometimes a rack will feature a combination of the two. Bracing increases the strength and rigidity of the system and also connects the uprights.

Types of Inventory

Cantilever racking systems are ideal for storing materials for the aircraft, construction, and manufacturing industries.

In traditional pallet-racking systems, the upright frame determines the acceptable width of the inventory items. In a cantilever rack, there are no horizontal size restrictions. As a result, cantilever racks are suitable for different inventory types, from furniture and drywall sheets to bar stock, metal tubing, and lumber.

Types of Cantilever Racks

As with pallet racks, there are two types of materials used to manufacture and assemble cantilever racks:

Roll formed

Roll formed cantilever racks are composed of cold-rolled steel components that attach via teardrop-shaped holes and corresponding connectors. Roll forming is lightly constructed by comparison to structural racking, simpler to assemble, easier to reconfigure or adjust, and generally less expensive. If you need an affordable, medium-duty storage rack for low-traffic warehouses, roll forming is ideal. Roll forming also allows you to disassemble and relocate cantilever racks as needed.


Structural cantilever racks are composed of hot-rolled steel components that the manufacturer welds and/or bolts together. Structural racking is generally more expensive and difficult to assemble, reconfigure, and adjust. However, the primary advantage of structural racking is that it’s stronger and more durable.

If you need a heavy-duty cantilever system for high-traffic environments, structural racking is preferable. Structural racking is more capable of withstanding forklift collisions, suffering less damage in the process. Furthermore, structural racking is more appropriate for storing heavy inventory, as the weight capacities are higher, all else being equal.

Corrosion Resistance

cantilever racking solutions

It’s common for warehouses to place cantilever racks outdoors, especially in lumber yards. Cantilever racks, like most warehouse racking systems, are made from carbon or alloy steel. If exposed to the elements, bare steel can rust, compromising the appearance and structural integrity of the rack. Surface protectant finishes that you can apply include galvanizing, powder coating, and epoxy.

Rack Safety

You should consider implementing safety procedures to protect your cantilever racks. These include periodic retraining, regular inspections, and protective equipment. Forklift collisions can cause severe damage and deflection to rack uprights, weakening the structure and reducing the load capacity. Upright column protectors and guard rails are some of the tools available to you for protecting your racks against impact damage.

Cantilever Storage

If you store and retrieve inventory, there are a variety of storage systems available. Cantilever racks allow you to increase the available storage space in your warehouse. At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we specialize in racking systems for every application, including cantilever racks. Call us at (800)-589-7225, and we can help you decide whether cantilever racks are right for you.