A Guide to Pallet Rack Wire Decking Finishes
Pallet rack decking comes in multiple finishes. What works best for you?
There is some confusion about the different finishes that can be applied to a pallet rack wire deck.
Various manufacturers offer different finishes, and you may have need of more than one of them for different types of storage applications. This primer on the common finish options can help you make decisions about your warehouse, load, rack and application.
Powder coating: Ideal for most warehousing applications
Far and away the most common single finish for a wire deck is powder coating, specifically gray, the color we all know and love. Powder coating applies a free-flowing, dry powder to a cleaned metal part. The part is then heat cured to allow the powder to flow and form a “skin” that encapsulates the part. It is a tough, durable finish.
All of Cisco-Eagle’s stock decking is powder coated, but we can provide any of the following finishes as needed. It’s great for everyday, all day warehousing and pallet storage applications. Use it for
Colors & finishes
Powder coatings biggest benefit, apart from its cost effectiveness, is its ability to produce parts in virtually any color. A variety of colors are available, with the most common being black, white, and beige. (our standard rack decks are speckle gray). Typically a color scheme other than the standard gray will increase lead time and could increase costs – contact us for assistance if you are interested in custom or uncommon colors.
Hot-Dip Galvanized: for outdoor or other harsh environments
With this finish type, the entire wire deck is submerged in a bath of molten zinc during the manufacturing process.
The finish produces the familiar thick, durable matte gray finish that you see on highway barriers, light post, and chain link fencing. This is the most common finish applied to metal products that are used in an outdoor environment. While it is the most durable and offers the highest level of corrosion resistance it is also the most expensive.
The bottom line: if your application is outdoors, or in a corrosive environment, it’s an ideal finish. It will withstand washdowns, rain, elements and many types of chemicals and harsh environments.
Pre-Galvanized: a more economical corrosive finish
This is a twist on the hot-dip process described above. Here the wire deck is fabricated from hot-dipped galvanized wire and coil steel.
Since the zinc was applied to the raw materials before they were turned into a wire deck, anywhere where the wire and coil steel are cut or welded the zinc covering is compromised. Despite this weakness this is still an acceptable finish for most applications.
Exposed, raw steel on the deck is still protected from corrosion by the remaining zinc. This finish is comparable in cost to powder coating in terms of looks.
The zinc of electroplated coatings is thin and brightly reflective due to its thinness. Here the entire part is plated but the protective layer of zinc applied to the part is extremely thin and as a result it is quickly depleted by the oxidation process making this finish unsuitable for outdoor applications in all but the driest climates. Because of the chemical waste produced by this process it is highly regulated here in the U.S. As a result, this finish on a wire deck is most commonly found on imported product.
Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Vice President of Marketing with more than thirty years of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. His work is published in multiple industry journals an websites on a variety of warehousing topics. He writes about automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations and those who operate them.