From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Mezzanine \Mez"za*nine\, n. [F. mezzanine, It. mezzanino, fr. mezzano middle, fr. mezzo middle, half. See{Mezzo}.] (Arch.) (a) Same as {Entresol}. (b) A partial story which is not on the same level with the story of the main part of the edifice, as of a back building, where the floors are on a level with landings of the staircase of the main house.


From the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) (2004)

A stand alone structure constructed within an existing building or structure which is designed to maximize clear space under and above the mezzanine.  Also referred to as a "free standing, wide span mezzanine", this type of mezzanine incorporates wide column spacing and high PSF (pounds per square foot) capacity.  Usually engineered for a specific need.


Are you confused yet?  I sure am.



Mezzanine, defined by the straight talking staff of Mezzanine-Info.Com

A mezzanine is a partial story within a building, built between two permanent original stories.  Mezzanines are generally free standing and can be relocated.


Whew! That wasn't so hard was it?



Now that we have a simple working definition we can expand upon it for a bit more clarity.


Mezzanines are generally constructed out of three main materials, steel, aluminum, and fiberglass.  I have seen mezzanines made from other materials but 99% of commercial and industrial engineered applications are made from those three.


By and large, mezzanines are made from steel.  These also break into three categories, hot rolled structural steel, cold rolled sheet metal and stainless steel.


There is also one hybrid out there that should be mentioned, the shelving/rack supported mezzanine.


Now we have six main categories of basic mezzanine materials.  Each type has it's own distinctiveness and uses. There is not a single one that is a match with every application.  It may not be critical to know all the differences between mezzanines but it is very important to know that differences exist.  It is these differences that will help you decide what type of mezzanine system you need. 


Let's take a closer look.