Freestanding vs Rack Supported Mezzanines


Mezzanines are a great way to increase square footage and expand your work area. They support office space, equipment handling, and storage and manufacturing operations.

However, to maximize your building’s space, you need to select the right method for building your mezzanine. Generally, there are two main types of mezzanine construction. They include:

  • Freestanding mezzanines
  • Rack supported mezzanines

Freestanding mezzanines

Also known as Industrial Work Platforms (IWP), freestanding mezzanines are flexible structures that can be reconfigured to meet your business growth needs. Typically, a freestanding mezzanine is designed to handle busy operations such as heavy foot traffic, and they’re moisture-resistant.

These types of mezzanines can be customized with stairs, heavy-duty rails, gates, and lifts to suit your requirements.


  • They’re more flexible and can accommodate changes such as adding shelving, offices, and conveyors.
  • You can add sprinkler systems to the webbing in girder and joist system modules.
  • Compared to rack supported mezzanines, they have fewer columns.
  • Provide more versatility with drop gate, stair, handrail placement and modifications, and column placement and design.

What to consider

  • They’re more expensive than rack supported mezzanines
  • For pallet flow or carton flow applications, a support structure may be required
  • There’s less clearance under the module when compared to rack supported structure
  • You may need footing depending on the number of mezzanine levels and concrete

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.


  • They allow you to support cantilever shelving, stairs, carton flow, and pallet flow.
  • They’re more cost-effective than freestanding mezzanines.
  • With a racking system, they’re visually appealing.
  • If you want to construct multiple levels, there’s no need for footings.

What to consider

  • They’re less flexible in the long run
  • Expanding on the footprint cross-aisle direction is harder
  • They have more columns

At IPP, we can help you find the right solutions for your operations. Call us and get a free quote for Warehouse and Material Handling Solutions.