Freestanding vs Rack Supported Mezzanines



Mezzanines are a valuable addition to any facility, offering a smart way to increase square footage and expand your workspace. They provide versatile solutions for supporting office space, equipment handling, and storage and manufacturing operations.

However, choosing the right method for constructing your mezzanine is crucial to maximizing your building’s space utilization. In general, there are two main types of mezzanine construction to consider: freestanding mezzanines and rack-supported mezzanines.

Freestanding Mezzanines

Also known as Industrial Work Platforms (IWP), freestanding mezzanines are renowned for their flexibility, making them ideal for businesses with evolving needs. These structures are designed to withstand heavy foot traffic and are moisture-resistant, ensuring their durability over time.

Freestanding mezzanines offer a wide range of customization options, including the addition of stairs, heavy-duty rails, gates, and lifts to suit your specific requirements.

Advantages of Freestanding Mezzanines:

Flexibility: Freestanding mezzanines can easily adapt to changes in your operation, whether it involves adding shelving, offices, or conveyors.

Sprinkler System Integration: You can enhance fire safety by adding sprinkler systems to the webbing in the girder and joist system modules.

Fewer Columns: Compared to rack-supported mezzanines, freestanding mezzanines have fewer columns, providing more open space for your operations.

Versatility: Freestanding mezzanines offer greater versatility in terms of drop gate placement, stair and handrail configurations, and column placement and design.

Common Applications of Freestanding Mezzanines

Office Spaces: Freestanding mezzanines are often utilized to create additional office space within industrial or commercial facilities. They provide an efficient way to expand office areas without the need for major structural modifications. Companies looking to accommodate growing teams or provide dedicated workspace for employees frequently opt for freestanding mezzanines. These mezzanines offer a comfortable and separate environment for tasks such as administrative work, meetings, or break areas.

Storage Facilities: Freestanding mezzanines are excellent for adding storage capacity to warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities. They create a second level for storing goods, inventory, or equipment, optimizing vertical space. This can lead to increased storage efficiency and organization. Industries with fluctuating inventory levels or seasonal demand often benefit from freestanding mezzanine storage solutions, as they provide scalability and adaptability to changing needs.

What to Consider:

Higher Cost: Freestanding mezzanines tend to be more expensive compared to rack-supported counterparts due to their versatility and customization options.

Support Structure for Pallet Flow: If you plan to use the mezzanine for pallet flow or carton flow applications, you may need to install additional support structures.

Reduced Clearance: There is typically less clearance under the module in freestanding mezzanines compared to rack-supported structures.

Footings: Depending on the number of mezzanine levels and your building’s concrete foundation, you may need additional footing support.

Rack-Supported Mezzanines:

Rack supported mezzanines can be installed over the top of the racking uprights, within the pallet racking, and over the aisle space. Rack supported mezzanines ensure cost-effective use of the pallet rack as pallet storage is accessible below and perimeters.

The mezzanine frame is secured by bolting it to the uprights before fitting the decking to the frame. Rack supported mezzanines vary to accommodate the platform’s function, and you can attach stairs, railings, and conveyers to it.

Advantages of Rack-Supported Mezzanines:

Versatile Support: Rack-supported mezzanines can accommodate various needs, including cantilever shelving, stairs, carton flow, and pallet flow systems.

Cost-Effective: They are generally more cost-effective than freestanding mezzanines, making them an attractive option for businesses on a budget.

Aesthetically Pleasing: Rack-supported mezzanines, when integrated with a racking system, provide a visually appealing solution that blends seamlessly with your warehouse environment.

No Footings Needed: If you plan to construct multiple levels, you won’t typically need additional footings, reducing construction complexity.

Common Applications of Rack Supported Mezzanines

Warehouses: Rack supported mezzanines are particularly popular in warehouse environments. They make efficient use of vertical space by integrating the mezzanine with pallet racking systems. These mezzanines serve as a platform for additional storage or order picking areas. Warehouses dealing with diverse products, varying storage requirements, and limited floor space find rack supported mezzanines invaluable for optimizing storage and operations. They’re an ideal choice for businesses looking to maximize storage density while minimizing the need for a larger facility.

Distribution Centers: Distribution centers that need to manage high volumes of goods often turn to rack supported mezzanines. These structures enhance the organization of products and improve accessibility for order fulfillment. Rack supported mezzanines are designed to seamlessly integrate with existing pallet racking systems, allowing distribution centers to make the most of their available space. The ability to store goods both below and above the mezzanine level optimizes storage capabilities and streamlines logistics processes.

What to Consider:

Flexibility Limitations: Rack-supported mezzanines are less flexible in the long run compared to freestanding mezzanines. Expanding in the cross-aisle direction can be more challenging.

More Columns: They tend to have more columns, which can impact the layout and accessibility in your facility.


In conclusion, mezzanines offer a strategic solution for expanding your facility’s workspace and storage capacity. Choosing between freestanding mezzanines and rack-supported mezzanines depends on your specific needs and budget. Freestanding mezzanines provide flexibility and customization options but come at a higher cost. On the other hand, rack-supported mezzanines are cost-effective and maximize storage efficiency within your existing racking system.

At IPP (Industrial Products Plus), we specialize in helping businesses find the perfect solutions for their Warehouse and Material Handling Solutions. Contact us today for a free quote and expert guidance on optimizing your workspace with mezzanines.