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Does Pallet Racking Rust?

Pallet Racking, also known as warehouse or storage racking, is a handling system for your materials; suitable for storage of mass goods. In turn, this allows for efficient space optimisation within your storage space, whilst ensuring easy access to items and other benefits such as inventory control.

Pallet racks consist of vertical steel frames which are connected by horizontal steel beams. Steel is an incredibly reliable material, offering safe storage for the goods within your warehouse. However, metal pallet racks that are continuously exposed to elements, such as water, will eventually rust due to processes of oxidisation – quickly risking the integrity of your pallet racking. Rust weakens the structure of the racks, and due to the main purpose of the racks being to hold heavy objects, this could result in the structure collapsing.

Pallet racking collapsing can be disastrous within industrial spaces. From the safety hazards of falling objects, to broken items – rusted pallet racking is a threat to the efficiency of your warehouse. Once the structure has weakened due to rusting, it is important to take precautionary safety measures to prevent further damage and consequences of leaving it worsen overtime.

Preventing Pallet Racking Rusting


Luckily, there are several approaches that can be used to prevent damage to your pallet racking by rusting. Perhaps the most common solution to this issue is using coating to protect the steel.

Paint or rubber is most commonly used for coating, and this covers the steel and prevents it coming into contact with moisture that can compromise the structure. However, the issue with paint or rubber is that they are both highly vulnerable to damage, and as such, do not offer long-term effective protection. Another issue with opting for paint or rubber as a short-term fix is that if the structure begins to rot from within, these types of coating run the risk of preventing you from seeing the rust that has formed.

The better option for coating is galvanised steel, or stainless steel. Both inhibit rust using additives. Important to note is that all steel will begin to corrode and rust but using preventative measures will slow the process down substantially.

Galvanised steel is generally accepted as the only true and effective way of preventing rust on pallet racks. The zinc coating offered by the galvanizing process acts as a barrier protection as zinc corrodes much slower than steel. This results in galvanised steel corroding at 1/30th the rate of regular steel.

Removing Rust

As aforementioned, steel will rust over time due to processes of oxidisation, but there are a multitude of measures to be taken to prevent this being an issue for the operations of your warehouse. If you find yourself in a position where rust has formed on your existing pallet racks, and if caught early enough, then additional measures can be taken that can halt the damage and ensure the rack is working correctly, and under safe conditions.

In cases where rust has formed, to halt damage you can use:

1. Acid

Strong acid such as hydrochloric acid can eat through rust without compromising the steel. Of course, when working with strong acid, it is always important to stay cautious , and ensure that once the rust is gone, new coating is applied to prevent the rust from returning.

2. Water Jetting

Another favoured method of removing rust from steel is through using high-pressure water jets. Ensuring that you have reached every particle of rust is significant here, before re-coating it as a preventative measure.

Our Promise!

With all of the things to consider within your storage space, the significance of checking and preventing your pallet racking from rusting may not always be your number one priority. However, rust on your pallet racking can result in serious costs for your warehouse: to both safety, and your pocket.

As a promise to our customers, DC makes it our mission to prioritise every part of the storage solution journey: from the planning, to the maintenance an inspection of your racking. That means we cover all areas – and as such, we are happy to answer any pallet-racking maintenance questions you may have.

Contact us today for a no obligation, free-estimate on the services you require on 01392 927096, or email us at

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