Using pallets can be a great way to save money on your project. Because they have already been used to move construction materials, they can be acquired with no cost. However, you should be careful in how you choose the pallet.
First of all, there are nine styles available in pallets that are used. They vary in whether they have slats or not and whether they have wings or base boards. If you want to tear the wood off the pallet to use for something, selecting a pallet with slats will be most useful. However, if you are planning to use it to create something as is, you can choose among the variety of styles to suit what you are most looking for.
The negative part of these pallets already being used is that they may have been used in a toxic situation. Something may have spilled or fallen onto a pallet, making them unsafe for use. Check these aspects to assure you are selecting a safe pallet:
- spills: If there is something that has been visibly spilled on the pallet, it could be something dangerous, and it is best to leave the pallet as is to avoid danger.
- stamps: Companies who use a pallet will often stamp it with their logo. If it has a stamp, this does not mean you cannot use it. However, knowing who has used it and for what purpose can help you decide whether or not it is safe. The stamps can indicate international use if the stamp has a country's abbreviation or number.
- IPPC: You will want this seal of approval. It will help you know that the pallet, while used internationally, is safe for further use.
- other codes: You should see a code that ranges from two to four letters which will let you know how the wood was treated. Most of the codes you will see simply indicate that the wood was treated against bugs, etc, and will be fine for use. The one code you should watch for is MB. MB is a chemical that has been banned in some countries. While it has a positive purpose, it has been known to make users sick. You should avoid a pallet marked in this way. Additionally, if a pallet is colored, it has probably been colored that way due to submersion in chemicals. Avoid pallets that are colored.
Now that you know which pallets are and are not safe for use and you know which style you would like, you are ready to select a pallet that will best suit your needs.