Seven Reasons You Should Use Wire Decking (Not Plywood) On Your Racks

Feb 15, 2022
pallet rack wire decking

Wire decking is superior to plywood in many ways, and a small investment up front can pay big dividends in the future.

Although the Rack Manufacturers Institute design code (ANSI MH16.1-2012) does not explicitly prohibit the use of plywood, there are a number of significant advantages to using wire decking.

Chief among them are safety, long term cost and ease of use.  Here are a few reasons you should strongly consider wire decking for your racking equipment. 

Fire Safety

Flammable wood planks can speed the spread of flames in the event of a fire. Furthermore, solid planks obstruct the flow of water from fire sprinklers, lowering the facility's fire suppression system's efficacy.

Worker Safety

In any warehouse, falling objects are an ever present concern. Plywood decking on overhead racks can be hazardous, because plywood is much more likely to slip when the items on top are moved. This can result in falling products and plywood, either of which can result in bodily injury, product damage or both.

Contamination Hazard

Plywood decking creates an unbroken plane, which is not advantageous when it comes to product storage. Solid surfaces can collect dust, debris, spilled products, pests and bacteria.  Solid surfaces can also make it easier for rats and mice to hide and move about.  


Wire mesh decking lets some overhead light through. Solid plywood decking doesn’t. Facilities with solid decking can be significantly darker, which can impact both employee morale and safety. 


While plywood may appear to be a cheaper option, the time it takes to measure, cut and install wood decking can easily be equivalent to the extra cost of steel. Additionally, plywood decking will need to be replaced far more often than wire deck. 


Wood decking can splinter and warp, and is susceptible to water damage.  Wire decking, on the other hand, is nearly impervious to these things. Forklifts and pallets can quickly render plywood unusable while wire mesh can last for decades. 


Obviously, metal is stronger than wood. Steel decks can support much heavier loads than plywood. As wood decking wears and ages, it can become brittle and weak, further reducing its load capacity. 

Ease of Installation

Wire mesh comes in prefabricated panels built to standard sizes.  It fits perfectly on racks without having to modify it or use any tools. Plywood, on the other hand, requires cutting to size and can only fit between step beams. 

Talk To A Racking Expert

If you’d like to learn more about decking options or other industrial storage topics, talk to an expert at Raymond West today!  Our team can help you design the perfect storage solution for your warehouse or other industrial facility.