A major snowstorm named Jonas has its sights set on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast this weekend. Could be snow. Could be rain. Maybe you're thinking about dusting off your snow shovel for the first time this winter. But... have you thought about how severe winter weather impacts your pallets?
- Snow and Frozen Conditions
After snow blankets your wood pallet stacks, it may not look like your pallets are experiencing change. What you don't see is that wood (even when frozen) acts like a slow sponge absorbing the water from the snow. Because wood can hold water just like a sponge, ice can form on the surface of the pallet boards making a slick and potentially dangerous surface area. Further, the moisture from snow exposure can promote the growth of mold. Similarly, if you're waiting for new wooden pallets to be manufactured, a bigger problem awaits. Winter conditions can freeze lumber. Building pallets from frozen lumber is difficult and slow, impacting everything from sawing to nailing.
- Rain and Wet Conditions
Unlike snow coverage, rain can produce quick changes in the appearance of your wooden pallets. Exposing pallets to rain opens up opportunities for mold growth, staining of the wood and may even damage product sitting on the pallet. Moisture-sensitive products including food or pharmaceuticals will not work well with a wet pallet. Keeping your pallets dry can reduce the need for a moisture barrier between the pallet and the product. Luckily, the strength of a pallet isn’t drastically changed with added moisture since most are made from green lumber. However, as pallet lumber dries out, the boards become more brittle over time and do not flex like a freshly-processed board.
What about extreme heat?
Even though many of us will be facing a deep freeze, your wooden pallets may be exposed to extreme heat during transport or storage. Should you be concerned? Yes and no.
Extreme heat generally has little effect on wooden pallets. Under normal shipping conditions, the only area of change will be moisture in the wood. As the wood heats up, moisture will try to escape the wood and will come to the surface of the lumber. This creates a formidable home for mold to grow on the wood. Also when exposed to extended periods of heat, the wood can severely dry out causing the boards to twist, crack, and warp. This can limit the strength of the pallet if the nailing joints are compromised due to the boards splitting.
Will your wood pallets survive the storm? Most likely. For best results, look for ways to keep them dry to help protect them from damaging conditions resulting from moisture.
What storm conditions are you expecting and how do you plan to protect you wooden pallets? Tell us in the comments below.
Post by: Jonathan Haynes, Regional Sales Manager
Use of Tidy Stack of Pallets licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.