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Increasing the Life Span of Your Pallets

Increasing the Life Span of Your Pallets

Regardless of how often you ship pallets, learning how to keep your pallets safe and healthy will help prevent damage and will essentially save you more valuable money further down the line.

Not to mention that, when shipping goods directly to your customers, time is money. Implementing a method of keeping your pallets strong and healthy is likely to result in saving you time, thus even more money.

But first, you need to know how to get as much life out of your pallets as physically possible. Luckily, we have shared our expert advice and top tips on how to increase the lifespan of your pallets; and you wouldn't believe how easy it is!

Increase Lifespan Of Your Forklift

When it comes down to it, the way you handle and move your pallets plays a massive part in how long they last in the end.

For this reason, you should make sure the tools and equipment used to move your pallets are in good condition and that those who operate them, know how to do this properly and safely.

Ensuring your workers know how to handle pallets without causing damage is the key to increasing the lifespan of your pallets.

Those who handle pallets every day, determine their fate and whether they will reach the delivery point intact or whether compensation will be due.

Before even attempting to move pallets, particularly those that are significantly larger and heavier than others, do your research and familiarise yourself with how to handle the appropriate tools.

The best way to do this is to ensure you (or anyone who handles pallets for you) know how to use the machinery required to shift pallets. If you struggle with this, you can find guidance and safety instructions online, or even ask the courier for advice on this to ensure you are doing things properly.

Here are a few tips on how to prolong the life of your forklift to promote safe handling and healthy pallets:

  • If you allocate workers to move your pallets, train them! Make sure they know how to use the machinery. The more they know about the machinery and how to operate them safely, the fewer accidents happen and hopefully, less damage to the forklifts.
  • Complete regular battery maintenance - we recommend creating a schedule for battery maintenance and recharging. This will allow a longer working period for your forklift without the battery running flat or the machine even malfunctioning and causing you more problems than it's worth.
  • Complete preventative maintenance - having someone look at your forklift regularly will help make sure any small issues do not turn into much bigger problems further down the line. More so, this is the easiest way to prolong the life of your forklift, thus helping to increase the lifespan of your pallets.

Completing Pallet Repairs

Rather than spending double the money on new pallets all the time, completing small repairs can prove to be the cheaper option.

But before you do this, you need to know what this involves and how to do it as well.

To begin with, you must check for damaged pallets regularly - particularly if you ship goods via pallets often.

At the first sign of wear and tear, repairing should be at the very top of your list as it's the cheapest option you have at this point.

A damaged pallet is not necessarily a broken one. For example, if one of the stringers is loose or has broken off, refrain from throwing it away. 

Save the pallet and the stringer and simply reattach. This will help provide additional security.

Remember, you would be better off securing the stringer with nails and glue. That way, you can be sure that the stringer won't come loose again. 

On the flip side, if your pallet is very badly damaged, you can use its scraps to repair other pallets.

You can pick apart broken pallets and use them as spares and repairs, patching up any damaged pallets you've been holding onto.

Once you have finished repairing your damaged pallets, you may even consider treating the pallet wood to prevent them from damaging again.

Treating them will also help protect against weathering and rot should your pallets be kept outdoors for a while, or during adverse weather.

Treating Wooden Pallets

When it comes to treating wooden pallets, you may need to spend a little money at first but this will save you more money in the long run.

Treatment is especially effective when there are obvious signs of wear and tear. In which case, treating the pallet wood can increase the lifespan of your pallets quickly.

Not to mention that untreated pallets are more easily affected by adverse weather, bugs and moisture.

When pallets are exposed to these elements, they become weaker and subsequently last a shorter period of time before they start to splinter and become unusable.

By treating your pallets properly and taking extra care, you will find yourself not needing to buy new ones after only a few months, or even weeks.

Treated pallets can last years if done properly - not to mention that doing this will help reduce your spend on buying new pallets, too.

However, that's not to say that you won't need to replace your pallets eventually. You will, of course, but not as often as you would need to if your pallets were left completely untreated. 

If your pallets have been treated and they still show signs of damage beyond repair, then it's time to put your hands in your pockets and invest in some newer models!

On the flip side, if you struggle to find the perfect recipe or method, it wouldn't hurt to do a little online research. 

By doing this, you will find that some pallet treatment methods and recipes are cheaper than others and vice versa. 

But keep in mind that these methods and recipes are just a temporary fix until you need to look at replacing your pallets! 

Our Conclusion

Keeping your pallets strong and healthy is far from difficult, for anyone. 

While you may have to check on their condition regularly, doing this will effectively save more of your valuable money and time. Both of these you can put to good use elsewhere! 

But, if you simply don't have enough spare time, you could also joing a pallet recovery program. Such programs are based on a closed-loop system that consistently repairs pallets when the time arrives.

Moreover, finding a reliable pallet courier to deliver your pallets is also a very big part of prolonging the lifespan of your pallets. 

Ideally, you should aim to source the best pallet courier through word of mouth. This is generally who other people are currently recommending as they are more likely to handle your pallets with care, plus you get extra peace of mind that everything is in safe hands!

If you, your workers and the courier handle your pallets with care then they are more likely to live longer and remain undamaged.

However, when moving through a pallet network, your pallets can be moved up to 8 times and are likely to show small signs of wear and tear as they are normally moved using heavy machinery.

For more information regarding the safe handling of pallets, please call and speak with us directly or send a message through our Live Chat service.

Alternatively, you can get more of our expert advice and top tips by heading over to our Help Centre

Questions & Answers

Firstly, keep your pallets off the ground as this can lead to rotten bottom boards. Pallets also need proper airflow, so leaving them outside for the air to dry out the wood is the best way to keep pallets from rotting.

Weatherproofing wooden pallets can be done using linseed or Tung oil for a protective finish. Seal the wood with a coat of varnish and then waterproof the wooden pallet and finish with a stain-sealant.

Yes, you can seal a wooden pallet using a polyurethane wood varnish.

Pallets can last up to at least 10 years if they are kept fairly dry. Wooden pallets are naturally very durable if kept in a dry environment and should last their entire lifespan as long as they are not exposed to rain or left outside for long periods.

If storing pallets outside, you should make sure they are stacked straight and flat, and that different sizes are never mixed in each pile. You must also make sure your pallet stacks are at least 7 metres away from any buildings, flammable materials and compressed gases.

Most pallets are usually weather treated before you buy them, but in some cases they can be untreated. If you want to weatherproof untreated pallets, the best way to do it is by staining the wood using a varnish or lacquer.