Pallets are wooden structures that play an essential role in the transportation of items from one point to the next. They ensure that the items remain stable, especially during lifting by a forklift, a front loader, a pallet jack, an erect crane, or a jacking device. So, are pallets pressure treated? It’s a question I come across almost every other day.
Many rumors are going around about the potential dangers of using wooden pallets in the home because they are pressure treated. They are NOT pressure treated, and most pallets you are going to interact with, are safe for usage in and around your home.
Wooden pallets, especially those manufactured in the United States or Canada for international trade, are subject to pest control treatment known as heat-treating. This treatment involves heating of the pallet to a minimum core temperature of 56°C if it’s softwoods. For the hardwoods, the temperature stretches to 60°C for at least 30 minutes in a kiln.
This heating kills any pests living in the wood hence reducing the possible risk of cross-border pest contamination.
Note: Heat-treated pallets do not pose any harm to your health.
How Do I Know if a Pallet has Been Treated?
Once the pallets no longer needed for shipment, they are often discarded or sold at throwaway prices by the shipping companies/business to hobbyists and DIYers who are looking for inexpensive material to build different wooden structures or even garden projects.
You cannot rule out that these pallets are not chemically treated. So how do you know whether or not your pallet has undergone some chemical treatment? Here are a few steps to determine that.
Wear your gloves such that in the event where the pallet has some chemical treatments, you won’t be touching it with your bare hands.
Inspect the pallet for a stamp. Usually, this stamp is in black ink and mostly enclosed in an oval or square shape.
Assess the code stamped on the pallet. If you notice letters HT on the stamp, it means that the pallet has only been subjected to heat-treatment; hence you should feel safe to use it in any way that you would like.
If you see the code bearing the letters MB, it means that the pallet is fumigated using methyl bromide, which is a harmful chemical. Therefore, you should not use it anywhere that it can come into contact with your bare skin or food materials.
Are Pallets Safe to Burn?
Generally, most pallets are subjected to heat treatment, which makes them safe to burn in fireplaces. However, some are treated using a fumigant called methyl bromide (labeled with the initials MB), which is not safe to burn. Therefore, read the stamp on the pallets’ surface to know the form of treatment on them before deciding to burn or not.
Furthermore, pallets may have been contaminated by different chemicals during shipment, so be keen on the pallet that you are looking to burn.
How long will a pallet deck last?
This question depends on the usage and maintenance of the pallet. A well-maintained pallet indoors can last a lifetime. Untreated one and in the exterior environment may only survive a few seasons.
A well made and covered pallet sofa can last between 6-20 years.
What are the Dimensions of a Pallet?
Well, there is a lot of variation in the dimensions of pallets. However, generally, they measure 1200mm by 1100mm. The euro pallet, for example, measures 800mm by 1200mm. Whenever you are buying a pallet for your different projects, note that they come with various measures.
At one point, I decided to build a couch using the pallets; in the process, I realized that some pallets had different dimensions to the others. The ones with different dimensions did not suit my project. However, I found a use for them later on.
Can I make a Deck out of Pallets?
Yes, it is okay to use a pallet to make a deck. Here is the process of making a deck using wood pallets
Before you lay your deck, prepare the area for the work; usually, this is the most time-consuming part of the entire process.
- First, clean the area you intend to lay your deck by removing all the unwanted weeds as well as plants.
- Be sure of the size of the block you will need for your project. I decide on using a Half Block, with cost playing a significant part in the decision. You don’t necessarily need a full block, all you need is something that supports the corners of the pallets.
- Know the exact number of the concrete blocks that you will need. In my case, I used 12 for the 8 x 12-foot deck. Have 1 block for every corner of each pallet.
- Position your blocks 4 feet apart.
- Dig a hole that is twice as deep as the block.
- Add some gravel plus sand to the hole
- Place the block to the hole then level.
- Level every block in the process.
After all the above steps, lay down the Pallets to come up with a Deck. Lay them over the blocks, ensuring that the corners are on top of the blocks.
Choose any direction that you’d want to lay the pallets.
Watch the video on how do build a deck using pallets
How do You Weatherproof a Wooden Pallet?
Well, there are three surefire ways in which you can waterproof your wooden pallets for many years.
- Use linseed to give your pallet a beautiful and protective hand-rubbed finish. Alternatively, you can use Tung Oil
- You can as well seal the wood using a coating of polyurethane, wood varnish, or lacquer.
- Finally, you can use a stain-sealant combo to finish the surface of your wooden pallet.
Wooden pallets present one cheap way of obtaining wood for your DIY projects considering that mostly they are discarded at low prices.
Are Pallets Pressure Treated?
At this point, I’m glad that you know that pallets are not pressure treated and are safe for your different usages. Mostly they are treated using Heat to kill the pests present in the wood. In some cases, methyl bromide is used in the treatment of pallets; hence, it is a harmful chemical; therefore, you should use the precautionary measures to stay safe.
If you have found this article helpful, please share your opinion on the comment section below.