What You Should Know Before Making That Pallet Project

Pallets are used for quite a few things and in a number of different types of industries. Apart from general uses, a new trend is to turn these pallets into your very own piece of decorative artwork or use them for outdoor patio furniture, indoor coffee tables, or headboards for your bed. Having these pallets indoors means making sure these pallets are actually safe for use. There are things you should know before using them, and there is some prep-work that should be done before bringing these pallets into your home. See below for a few helpful tips.

Is My Pallet Safe?

  • Look For Stains. Pallets can be treated with a number of chemicals and pesticides, depending on how they are used. Look at the pallet to see if there is any signs of spillage on the pallet. If you notice large stains, or if it is oily, it may be best not to use it.
  • Check The Codes. You can also check the numbers and codes on the side of the pallet to be sure if it's safe. The pallet should have an IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) logo. This logo shows that there is no invasive insects or plant species on the pallet. It also means that the pallet has been treated with either Heat Treatment (HT) or Chemical Treatment (MB) -- do not use pallets treated with the latter -- and has been Debarked (DB). Pallets will also have the country code listed on the pallet with a 2 letter code such as CA for Canada, US for United States, or MX for Mexico. Pallets with these logos and identifying information will tell you where the pallet came from and how it was treated and can be traced using the manufacturer numbers also listed.
  • Avoid Painted Pallets. Painted pallets are used with pool products, which means they were probably around chemicals and should be avoided.

Prep Work:

  • Dismantle. Disassembling your pallet requires a few tools such as a couple different size crowbars and a hammer. Use the crowbars and gently hammer them in between your planks. Once firmly in place, you can pull on the crowbar to pull the planks apart. Be gentle so you don't crack the planks.
  • Remove Nails. Use your hammer to remove nails. If large staples are used, you can use either a hammer or pliers to remove them. 
  • Sand. Sand down the planks and other boards using an electric sander, as pallets are usually pretty rough.
  • Clean. Clean your planks and wood with a wet rag. This will help remove dust from sanding and clean any other dirt.
  • Prime. If you are planning on painting your pallet wood, be sure to prime the pieces first, as the wood is very porous. Paint will just absorb into the wood, and priming will help make your paint job even.

Be sure your pallets are safe, no matter what your pallet project is. Remember to look for the IPPC logo, and check to be sure it doesn't have large stains. If you are worried about finding a safe pallet, you can purchase brand new pallets direct from a manufacturer like All Pallet Inc instead.