Do you store long and narrow, odd-shaped or bulky materials in your warehouse? If these types of items are eating up your floor space, you should consider cantilever rack. Sometimes called pipe rack or lumber rack, cantilever rack consists of beams anchored to an upright at only one end. It’s an excellent solution for storing items such as lumber, plasterboard, drywall, steel trusses, piping, tubing, and carpet or vinyl rolls. For storing large bulky items such as furniture and mattresses, decking can be added to create a full shelf that can be loaded from the front without obstruction.

Cantilever Rack Components

Cantilever Rack is comprised of horizontal load carrying arms extending from vertical columns or uprights. The lack of a vertical support on the ends of the arms permits uninterrupted storage of long lengths of material. Like pallet rack, cantilever rack can be designed to virtually any length, and it’s made in both roll-formed steel (for light to medium loads) and structural steel (for heavy duty/high capacity systems).

Upright Columns

The upright columns of the cantilever racking system are the vertical structural components and are available as single or double-sided.


The uprights connect to the bases (usually bolted on, but sometimes welded) to provide stability and support for the uprights to bear the load. Bolt on bases are often sold separately, with the base length determined by the arm length and the weight load.


The cantilever arms make up the shelf levels and are usually adjustable on four-inch centers to create levels at the desired heights. Arms can be straight or inclined. The straight arms are generally used for storing stable loads such as lumber and sheet metal; inclined arms are generally used for cylindrical objects or loads that tend to roll, such as pipes. Some manufacturers offer an optional lip that attaches to the end of the arm to prevent materials from rolling off.


Horizontal braces attach to the upright columns to stabilize the rack system. They are typically sold separately in sets and are either straight braces or X braces. The X braces are used to increase the stability of taller rack, usually over 15 feet tall. The number of sets needed is determined by the upright height.


Decking is an optional component for storing bulky, awkward items such as furniture. Adding decking creates a solid shelf level on the cantilever storage arms. This type of set-up is often called “furniture rack.”

Cantilever Rack Layouts

Like selective pallet rack, cantilever rack can be arranged as either single or double-sided. Single sided cantilever racks are typically placed against a wall, or they can placed back-to-back to form aisles. But there is another option to the back-to-back layout – a doubled sided cantilever rack has arms attached on both sides of the upright column, eliminating the need for two columns placed back-to-back. This double-sided systems is more cost efficient and will save space, too.

Configuring Cantilever Rack

While we strongly suggest you contact a material handling professional to help you configure your cantilever rack system, but you will need to know the length, depth, height and weight of the products being stored. To determine the number of arms needed to safely hold the load being stored, there is a simple test you can do: place your load on two evenly spaced wooden blocks (to represent the arms)* and if there is no deflection, a two arm system will work. If you see deflection with two arms, add a third block and so on, until there is no deflection.
*The load should overhang the end arms by one-half the distance from upright center-line.

Next Level designs, engineers, and manufactures structural steel cantilever rack that can withstand the toughest environments and applications. Contact us here or call 800-230-8846 to discuss your cantilever needs.