June 4, 2021

Are Pallets Pressure Treated? Not As Obvious As You May Think

Are pallets pressure treated? The short answer is yes, pallets are pressure-treated wood, and U.S. law requires that you treat your pallets, although this is often not done. However, municipalities use their discretion in deciding whether to treat pallets.

To understand how to construct the pallet garden, it’s essential to understand the material they are made of. Although the wood pallets are similar to wood pallets, they are made of pressure-treated wood. The treatment process makes the pallets immune to termites, rot, and decay. Before they are treated, the wood pallets are soaked in a water solution, which is made up of wood preservatives and other chemicals, which kills the bacteria and fungal spores on the wooden pallets.

How to tell if a pallet is treated

The IPPC stamp tells you if a pallet is treated and how. Pallets labeled HT are treated with heat. Unmarked pallets are not treated. Pallets marked MB are methyl bromide heated. 

When getting ready to examine the pallets, put on the gloves and not expose yourself to treated pallets. Look for the stamp that comes in black ink. It is in a square and oval shape. Pay attention to the contents of the stamp. 

How to Tell if a Pallet Is Safe to Reuse?

You never know if a pallet is safe to reuse until you test it. The surface of the pallet is safe for reuse. However, you must be aware of toxic chemicals and harmful bacteria contaminants. 

Toxic chemicals resulting from the choice of chemicals used to treat the pallets. Sometimes you do not have control over the type of chemical used to treat your pallets. The origins of the pallet play a pivotal role and what has been shipped on it. That is a process to undertake unless you are the one who transported it. 

What you are going to use in the pallet contributes to its safety. However, you are allowed to run tests. If it tests positive for listeria, it is not safe. It is treated before transit. Heat-treated pallets are safer to use than methyl bromide, which is poisonous to human lives. 

There is a question posed if it is safe to clean the pallets first and reuse them. Ways of cleaning pallets are not effective. Wood contains numerous pores, and you will not get rid of all the contaminants.

How to tell if a pallet is safe to burn

Start by assuming pallets are unsafe to burn unless you know what chemicals they were treated with. I advise you to take pallets to only burn pallets after examining the wood. Harmful contents vent into the living place if you burn them in the fireplace. 

Even if you burn it outside, it spreads a wildfire you cannot control. Not only does that bring damage to the environment but also the machinery. Pallets treated with methyl bromide are not safe to burn. Treated pallets have chemicals. Hence it would help if you did not burn them. 

Pallets produce a hot flame because they are dry and thin. If pallets are untreated and exposed to chemicals, they are safe to burn. Disposal in areas far from fire and heat. 

How long will a pallet deck last?

Pallets are strong. The life of a pallet deck depends on several factors. That includes the type of products used and maintenance. Regular maintenance makes your pallet deck last longer. A combination of wood treatment and wood preservatives keeps your pallet deck strong. 

If you decide to use a spirit-based wood preserver that has wax, an oil-based topcoat is ideal. Water-based paints work with water-based wood preservatives that do not contain wax. 

What are the Dimensions of a Pallet?

Pallets vary, but the standard size is 48 X 40 inches. Pallet sizes are known as GMA pallets. You customize your pallets, but the standard size is perfect if you are unsure. The pallet is 6inch tall and weighs up to 4,600 lbs.

Can I make a Deck out of Pallets?

You are allowed to make a deck out of pallets. The decks require building materials such as pallet boards, concrete blocks, stains, sand, and gravel. However, they should not be a contact surface. Decks require a wide range of hardware, such as hanger brackets and screws. 

Making decks out of pallets requires a budget before you start. Look for a design and plan your achievements. Pallets are strong enough to make a deck. The standard sizes of pallets take away the confusion in sizing.  

The Relevance of Pallet Stamps

Pallet stamps indicate the type of treatment given to the pallets. The ISPM 15 stamps inform you about the certifying agency, the country of origin, and the numeric code of the producer. 

The HT symbol means that the pallet has been heated and treated. Pallet models are represented by the stamp as well as the owner. The stamps are for reuse. That allows you to control the quality of the pallet and its durability. 

Are wooden pallets waterproof?

Wooden pallets are waterproof when heat treated or treated with a chemical. Extension of life is through painting after the treatment. Using wooden pallets for outdoor furniture exposes pallets to weather conditions. Amongst the weather conditions, water is more corrosive. 

Treatment only is not enough since it does not stand harsh weather and climate conditions. The process of making the pallets waterproof involves cleaning the surface. That is mixing water and dish soap. Scrub the surface with a cloth. Water does not affect the pallets since they dry out.

 Sand the pallets and seal the pallet wood using a stain sealant. It makes the pallets waterproof and beautiful at the same time. Varnish or lacquer is ideal for water protection. Apply it at room temperature. The working area has to be ventilated due to the strong chemicals. 

Types Of Pallets

Stringer pallets

They have boards known as stringers. The stringers stretch between the top and bottom deck boards. They increase load support and come in two designs. That is the two-way and four-way. Two-way pallets work with forklifts, allowing them to enter from two sides. They are also known as unnotched. Four-way pallets are versatile since the forklift can enter from any side. 

Block pallets

These are four-way pallets that stabilize the top deck using cylindrical posts. Block pallets vary depending on the configurations for each block. The models come with or without top or bottom boards.

Solid deck pallet

The solid deck pallet has a single solid sheet of wood. The sheet of wood does not come with spaces on its top and bottom. They are easy to clean and transport. They are for transporting and storing items that slip between boards.

Double face pallet

Double face pallets have decks on the top and bottom. The bottom deck distributes the weight of its load. That strengthens the pallet. There are reversible and non-reversible models. Reversible models hold a load on either side. The difference lies in the density of the board placement on each side. Non-reversible pallets have one.

Double wing pallet

It has the top and bottom deck boards that go beyond the stringers. They make the pallet look like it has wings.

Be sure to check out our post on staining pressure-treated wood.

David D. Hughes

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