Wooden pallets will always be our winners when it comes to pallet types. They are easy to repair and reuse, often lasting for years and years. They are stronger and cheaper than plastic pallets (and more hygienic), much stronger than chipboard, and a fraction of the cost of metal. The only real downside is that they can weather in appearance when left for more than a month or two in damp conditions. But does this weathering affect performance?
What causes weathering?
When pallets are stored outside, they’re exposed to water, warmth and oxygen. As they don’t easily shed water in their stacks, they can make a nice damp home for white and grey mould, which will settle on them (from spores on the wind) when the temperature is above 5 or 6 degrees Celsius.
This weathering can be more intense for full-perimeter pallets, as a third of all the boards on each pallet are pressed flush against the next pallet in the stack. There’s no air to dry out the timber in this case, so certain spots can become extremely moist and will remain that way for weeks. This creates the perfect breeding ground for sapstain (a more unsightly blue mould).
Does this weathering affect performance?
Luckily, the strength and performance of these pallets isn’t remotely affected if weathered from being stored outside.
The British Standard BS EN 350 states that when softwood is permanently damp, with over 20% moisture content, it will only start to decay significantly after three years. Therefore, if the pallets are brought under sufficient cover and left to dry after only a few months, they will look weathered but retain their full structural integrity.
Are weathered pallets marked?
No, it’s a simple matter of judgment based on experience. In terms of EUR pallets you’ll notice that we often refer to them as Grade A or Grade B. They are the same in every way, except that Grade A pallets are newer looking and Grade B pallets have had more time outside and so are darker and more heavily weathered.
You can take a look at our full range EUR pallets, including Grade A and Grade B weathered pallets, here.