Painting pallets can make them last significantly longer, keep termites at bay and even prevent rusting to a degree in metallic pallets. In terms of marketing, painted pallets can be made to stand out and catch intended business customers’ attention. However, since we are discussing industrial pallets here, a bit of guidance helps newcomers make the most out of painting pallets. Various materials are used to manufacture pallets, which means that your selection of color and methods will have to vary by the pallet material.
A plastic pallet can be painted only with colors rated as capable of sticking to plastic. Spray paint may work, but the pallet will then need to be primed first, or the color will soon fade away. Even then, plastic does not require as much priming as wood.
Oil-based acrylic paint, which has been created specifically for metallic surfaces, is ideal for metal pallets such as those made from aluminum or steel. However, to use the paint, at least one and preferably a double coat of primer would be necessary first.
Paper is the most versatile and easy to paint pallet material, but try to use a gentle water-based acrylic color that does not damage the paper. With paper pallets, the option to stand out from the rest with artistic innovation is excellent. It would help if you considered hiring a professional for a few designs, which can then be printed directly onto the paper during the manufacturing process.
Finally, we have wood, which is the most commonly used material for manufacturing pallets across the entire industry. Painting a wood pallet is not much different from painting any other wooden surface, but the techniques may vary slightly, depending on what kind of wood it is made from. Nevertheless, the following step by step guide should provide all the information necessary:
- Clean the surface/surfaces to be painted with very light sanding and wipe the dust away with a damp piece of microfiber
- You may want to fill in dents or even out bumps before applying primer.
- Prime the pallet surfaces to be painted.
- Applying two coats is advised with light-to-moderate sanding in between each coat and before applying the paint.
- Before sanding, ensure that the primer is dry first.
- Select an oil-based wood paint and use a roller to paint the pallet
- Seal the paint with a strong wood-sealant; it’s the essential step to ensure the pallet’s longevity.
- Apply your sealant and roll it gently in the same way as you did with the paint
We will consider wood composite only here, as that’s what is used to make composite pallets for industrial load bearing. Fortunately, if you have ever painted wood before, there’s not much new here to discuss at all. The steps are the same as above, but composite might be much harder to sand than wood. You will likely need 240-grit sandpaper to get this job done.
As an advantage, composite is a lot more resistant to water damage, so feel free to use a handy water jet to clean off the dirt before putting on your first coat of primer. However, the surface must be wiped clean of all moisture before you apply primer.
Do Wood & Co-Polymer Polypropylene Pallets Need Painting?
Co-polymer polypropylene & wood pallets from companies like Pallets LLC are lighter, cheaper, sturdier, and more ecofriendly than general wood pallets (GMA standard). These modular pallets only use a fraction of the natural wood required for manufacturing standard wood pallets, making them much easier to paint.
The GreenBlocks (co-polymer polypropylene blocks), which add sustainability and impressive strength to these lightweight pallets, do not need painting, of course. However, the wood might still benefit from a few coats of priming, painting, and sealing, just like any other wooden surface. The main advantage for manufacturers is that the total area per pallet, which needs to be painted, is much smaller, which helps immensely save time, effort, and money simultaneously with each new production batch.
Why Are Pallets Painted, To Begin With?
As mentioned briefly before, painting can help prevent or at least reduce water damage, wood rot, paper rot, rusting of metals, and moisture absorption. Additionally, there is also the marketing potential to be considered. We are all highly reliant on our visual perceptions while making key life and even business decisions. If you can deliver performance, cost-effectiveness, and aesthetics in one package to your customers, you are more likely to succeed even here. This holds particularly true for pallets that reach consumers (packaged, hardboard pallets mainly), but the B2B sector isn’t immune to the charms of good-looking products either.