How to Store Pallets Properly To Maximize Their Life
In the pallet industry the term ‘life cycle’ refers to the total amount of time a pallet will last. This could be as little as 6 months if the pallets are not stored properly, or in excess of 12 years if they are handled and stored correctly. As a pallet can cost anything from $8 to $30 per piece, it makes sound economic sense to ensure the pallets last as long as possible.
6 months is generally considered to be the minimum recommended life cycle for outside storage conditions (assuming no treatment). This should include inside storage for part of the year. If you store your pallets outside, make sure they are protected from the elements at all times, stored on hard ground (paving slabs/tarmac), and covered with a tarpaulin or similar when not in use.
Store Pallets on Their Side
Always try to Store pallets on their side, stacked in rows of three or four. This will help to prevent warping and splitting. Make sure the pallets are dry at all times, and that they don’t have any wet or damp patches, as this can encourage wood decay.
Why rows of three or four? We’ve found it’s easier to handle and move two stacks of pallets as opposed to one long single stack. If you keep pallets upright, you may find that collisions occur as people walk past the stack. The reason we recommend rows of three or four is simply because it’s much easier to move a stack of 3 x 4 pallets than a single tall one.
Save Them from the Seasons
If you need to store your pallets outside over winter, we would suggest treating them first by impregnating them. You should then store them inside during the warmer months and then bring them back outside over winter. The seasons are the biggest killer of pallets, and to minimize this effect you should also consider hosing down your pallets or sealing them with a moisture barrier spray.
Treat Your Pallets!
One of the easiest ways to help extend the life cycle of your wood pallets is by treating them. We recommend impregnating (pressure-treating) your pallets with a non-toxic wood preservative. This will help to prevent fungal attacks and prolong the life of your investment.
If you would prefer not to use pressure treatment, then any quality wood preservative should be adequate for most applications. However, please bear in mind that you will need to apply a new coat of wood preservative at least once per year.
Use Your Pallets Wisely & They Will Last!
Once you have your pallets, it’s important that you use them wisely. This means using them in the correct manner for their intended purpose. Pallets are designed to be used by machines and so they do not react well when subjected to abusive handling techniques by manpower alone.
We recommend treating all pallets before use and then always stack them in dry conditions. You should lift from underneath when stacking and avoid dragging the pallets across surfaces as this can cause damage to the wood.
Again, if you take care of your pallets and store them properly then they will last for many years! This is a great opportunity to reduce your environmental footprint. We estimate that you can save more than 70% on the cost of new pallets by re-using older ones!
For more information about how to store pallets properly, or for any questions regarding our other products and services, please feel free to get in touch with us. Unaka Forest Products are committed to offering you a service that is second to none and we look forward to assisting you with your pallet requirements.