The most frequently asked questions about wooden pallets, answered

Plain Pallets on 4 November 2020

Wood pallets are more sustainable and durable than plastic pallets. While plastic pallets definitely have a place in the industry, wood pallets are generally more sustainable and durable — which is why they are so popular.

But just how durable are wood pallets? What happens when they get wet? Are they waterproof? These are some of the most frequently asked questions, and we're going to answer them.

At Plain Pallets, we care about the environment. We provide high-quality new wooden pallets and used wood pallets in a range of sizes.

Frequently asked questions about wooden pallets

Wooden pallets are essential in packaging and distributing goods. They are built to last and are more affordable than plastic pallets. They hold more weight than the plastic variety and can be recycled.

Do pallets rot?

In the short-term, most wooden pallets can withstand weather conditions like rain and sun exposure. However, if pallets are stored outdoors for long periods of time, the wood will rot. To prevent pallets from rotting, you should:

  • Keep pallets off the ground
  • Ensure proper airflow
  • Rotate the stock
  • Move the pallets periodically (every few months)

To find out if the wood in your pallet is rotten, hit the boards with a hammer. Rotten boards will break in a straight line and look brittle.

How long do wooden pallets last outside?

If you want to store your wooden pallets outside, you can do so for a few months before noticing signs of mould or rot. If you're planning on storing them long-term, however, it's best to store them in a dry area, protected from sun exposure.

Can wood pallets get wet?

Untreated wood cannot get wet. But if you use wooden pallets which have been treated with weatherproofing chemicals, the wood can get wet as long as you move it to a dry place after.

Are wood pallets weatherproof?

All pallets used for imports and exports must be treated to comply with the International Plant Protection Convention (IPCC) regulations. Domestic pallets, however, may or may not be treated.

How do you weatherproof wood pallets?

Most wooden pallets will be heat treated, but this only serves to kill any bugs present in the wood. If you want to weatherproof wooden pallets, you need to use varnishes or finishes which will make it last longer outside. 

Packing and distribution companies won't bother with applying finishes to wooden pallets, but DIY upcyclers and recyclers will want their pallet outdoor furniture to last. In this case, linseed or Tung oil create a beautiful protective hand-rubbed finish.

Wood versus plastic

People have been arguing over which type of pallet is better for years. But the truth is, both types of pallets are useful in different ways.

Wood pallets

Wood pallets can be made out of brand-new wood, but they're usually created from recycled or reclaimed timber. Often, wooden pallets can be sold on to be used for firewood, or DIY projects.

  • More affordable
  • Easy to repair
  • Can be resold
  • Can be made out of recycled materials
  • Can be recycled into mulch
  • More slip resistant than plastic pallets

Plastic pallets

While some argue plastic pallets are less environmentally friendly, now many manufacturers are creating products made out of recycled materials. Plastic pallets are also:

  • Safe to handle — no screws, nails, or splinters
  • Can be picked up by forklifts via four entryways
  • Able to be used in all weather conditions
  • Stack together compactly
  • Easy to clean
  • Lighter than wood pallets

Why choose Plain Pallets?

At Plain Pallets, we pride ourselves on our range of high-quality pallets. We back all our workmanship with a guarantee, and use second-hand and reclaimed materials wherever possible. We also:

  • Custom build pallets to any shape or size you need
  • Offer fast delivery all over Melbourne and Victoria
  • Hold full public liability insurance which covers all custom made pallets

We care about the environment

Every year, we recycle 500 tonnes of recycled timber boards, which we use in creating new pallets. We also repurpose 6,000 pallets every week, and transform excess timber into garden mulch. Our efforts have diverted thousands of waste materials from ending up in landfill every year.

Get in touch with our friendly team if you'd like to find out more about our range of wooden pallets or receive a detailed quote.