We get this question all the time:
Can I store pallets outside?
It’s a great question – and we’ve got the answers to help decide what works best for your warehouse.
Where To Store Those Pallets!
Storing empty pallets inside your warehouse, where space is precious, presents challenges.
Maybe you’re increasing inventory levels for your finished goods to get ready for your (hopefully) busy season?
Maybe you’re just running out of room in general?
If your storage equipment isn’t being used and is taking up limited space, you may be considering storing it outside, subjecting it to the elements.
But is this the right thing to do?
Great Question! The answer is not as straightforward as you might think – but we can break down your decision points to help you find what works best for your situation.
The Greatest Advice For Storing Pallets Outside
First, let me share one of the best pieces of advice when you have no option but to store pallets outside – because sometimes you don’t have a choice!
FIFO – First In, First Out
Use a FIFO (First In First Out) material flow by moving pallets that have been outdoors for the longest period of time indoors and into your indoor production environment.
This way pallets that have been outdoors the longest get a break at the earliest opportunity.
Should You Store Pallets Outside?
There are many decision points involved and factor to consider when assessing if storing pallets outdoors is a good solution for your material handling operation.
We’re going to focus on two important factors:
* Pallet Material
A pallet’s material may make it more or less suited for outdoor storage. We’ll focus on wood pallets vs plastic pallets.
Storing Wood Pallets Outside
Storing wood pallets outside presents a unique set of challenges, especially in moist and rainy climates. Moisture can cause pallet boards to swell (displacing nails) and rot prematurely.
Rotten pallets can fail unexpectedly and may result in injuries, inventory damage, and operational inefficiency.
Using tarps to protect wood pallets from rain can help. However, care must be taken not to limit airflow that can otherwise trap moisture and prevent it from being carrier away from stored pallets.
If storing wood pallets outside is your only option, make sure to follow these simple tips:
* Elevate Wood Pallets from the ground to reduce moisture from wet surfaces
* Allow Proper Airflow by stacking pallets with sufficient space surrounding them
* Use a tarp to divert rain from contact with the wood pallets (but without limiting airflow)
Storing Plastic Pallets Outside – Works Pretty Well!
Generally speaking, plastic pallets are able to withstand much more exposure to the elements than wood pallets.
Over time, the sun’s rays can weaken the plastic material, but this is a slow process that can be drastically reduced with tarps and other placement strategies that limit pallet exposure to direct sunlight.
So generally speaking, plastic pallets are particularly well-suited for outdoor storage.
But there’s a catch – make sure the pallets are not made of ACM material. Pallets made from ACM material will lose some integrity when wet.
Another important factor to consider when storing pallets outdoors is security. Like any asset, pallets can walk away on their own. So if you have to store them outside, it is ideal to do so in a fenced or gated area.
Let me know how I can help!
* What’s the greatest challenge you face in your warehouse?
* We’re here to help meet unique challenges in your warehouse!
Share your Comments!
We’d love to hear from you – please let us know what other tricks you’ve used to save on freight – and check our our article on other ways to save money on pallet shipping charges.
Need Help Selecting A Pallet?
Our Plastic Pallet Experts are happy to help you find the right plastic Plastic Pallet and send you a quote that includes shipping costs.
Please contact us to find the perfect pallet at the best price.