Mezzanines and steel platforms are commonly used in warehouses and distribution centers for efficient storage or to support material handling equipment, such as conveyors. Catwalks and crossovers are related products used to access elevated equipment or storage areas, or to efficiently cross over equipment.
The type of flooring specified for a mezzanine or platform depends on the intended use of the structure. Factors include load requirements, lift truck or other equipment use, foot traffic safety, ventilation needs and cost.
Flooring options include:
— Floor plates, commonly referred to as diamond plate or checkered plate
— Engineered panels made from wood fibers, resins and coatings
— Bar grating
— Specialty wood panels
We recommend a minimum 20-gauge steel Type B (wide rib) roof decking. While a load chart might show a lighter gauge (22, for example), might support 125 PSF, 20-gauge steel can provide a more solid feel. Such a feel is enhanced by limiting the joist spacing.
Bright white paint on a roof deck enhances light reflectivity, which reduces the amount of lighting needed to illuminate the space under the mezzanine.
Diamond plate or checkered plate steel floor plates provide durability and safety on mezzanines and platforms. As a steel product, floor plates can withstand constant travel of forklifts and other machinery. The diamond or checkered patterns of steel floor plates provide slip resistance which is crucial for foot-traffic safety.
For mezzanines and platforms that get heavy use, quarter-inch floor plating directly over the framing is appropriate. When used in conjunction with a steel roof deck, a 12-gauge floor plate can be used.
In many applications, engineered wood fiber panels are the most economical option for decking on mezzanines and platforms. These panels are connected via the tongue and groove method and gain durability from the resins mixed with the wood fibers and from panel coatings. That composition makes engineered panels, such as those made by Resindek, more durable than plywood or strand board.
Bar grating is a commonly used decking for mezzanines, platforms, catwalks and conveyor systems. Welded steel bar grating offers strength and reliability, with the added advantage of allowing light and air to pass through.
Two common misconceptions about bar grating are that is the least expensive option for mezzanine decking and that using bar grating eliminates the need for sprinklers below. In most cases, roof deck and wood will be more economical and, in most mezzanine applications, sprinklers are required by insurance carriers and building departments.
Bar grating is not recommended where pallet jacks are used.
A mezzanine can be designed to support precast concrete planks or panels. Alternatively, concrete floors could be poured over a Type B (wide rib) roof decking. Concrete flooring can provide strength and noise absorption, and may be required where fireproof materials are needed.
If the mezzanine is to be disassembled and moved, a concrete floor is the most difficult floor type to remove.
Specialty wood planks or panels are sometimes used as mezzanine flooring. Plywood over Type B decking also is an option.
Kevin O’Neill is Sales and Marketing Vice President at Steele Solutions, a mezzanine system designer and manufacturer based in metropolitan Milwaukee. More information on mezzanines for warehouses and distribution centers can be found at www.steelesolutions.com.