Free Wood For all Your Building Needs!
Whenever I start a new project I like to look for ways to reuse what is already available before buying new. So when we needed a couple sheds built on our property, we decided to save both money and trees by using recycled wooden pallets as our main building material.
Wooden pallets can be found all over town, for free. You can try home improvement stores, feed stores, breweries, etc. as a source for pallets. Sometimes you will find them near dumpsters or on the roadside just waiting for someone to take them.
Pallets are made out of really strong wood and usually come in a standard size of 40 in. x 48 in. You can find them larger and smaller, but if you would like to build a structure try to stick to one size for ease of use.
Building Sheds with Wooden Pallets
We've used pallets all over our homestead- as building material for animal shelters, compost and trash bins, and to make stalls in the barns. It is a free source of wood, that is easy to work with and very versatile.
If you are going to build a large structure like a barn or shed you will need something fairly strong to connect the pallets. For our 10' x 10' goat shed we used 2-3 lag bolts and washers to connect the pallets to each other, as well as to the corner posts. Scrap boards were used to connect the upper and lower levels of pallets. This barn was not on level ground so it needed the extra support of in-ground corner posts and blocks at the base. The only wood we purchased for the frame were 4- 4x4 corner posts. As a less expensive and more visually appealing look we sided the barn with rough saw lumber.
Need a Quick Shelter?
As we expanded our homestead we realized we needed a second shelter but we didn't have the time or money to build another permanent one. And as time ran out, we quickly made what I refer to as the "procrastinator's goat shed". It cost about $100 from start to finish and consisted of t-posts, pallets, cattle panels and a tarp. It ended up being about 10' x 10' too and provides a a great shelter for our growing herd.
Since this building was not intended to last year, and only buy us time until we could afford a large barn we did not secure the pallets as strong. We only used 2 lag bolts for each pallet and decking screws to attach them at the corners. We also used pallets to form a stall within the shed for locking up the baby goats and used 2 additional pallets on the front as a half-wall.
If you are low on money, or simply need a shelter now, I would highly recommend a project like this one. It has served its purpose well at our home.
Small Jobs for Pallets
Once you start building with pallets it can be sort of addicting. I have found that I ask myself how I can use them for any thing we need around the homestead. We have made a compost bin and trash bin using just pallets and decking screws. And we've made a hay feeder using 2 pallets and a free plastic barrel. The possibilities are endless when it comes to building with pallets. Use your imagination before heading off to the lumberyard and see if pallets can be a solution that can both save you money and help reduce the need for cutting down the more forests for lumber.
Jason from Indianapolis, IN. USA on December 12, 2017:
To keep in theme with reclaiming a recycling, I have salvaged a few pounds of wood screws and other fasteners from discarded furniture. Even the junky particle board stuff. Sometimes I salvage a few genuine boards from the frame or trim. Screws can be just as costly as lumber in my experience.
TMHughes from Asheville, NC on September 18, 2012:
I love the pallets uses! I build chairs, birdhouses, fences, compost containers and whatever else I can think of..... and of course I hub about them!
Healing Herbalist from The Hamlet of Effingham on July 03, 2012:
Great hub. My friend just went to Turkey, where his friend built his whole house out of pallets. It was awesome. Thanks for sharing. I knew pallets could come in handy. I've been trying to convince my husband to use them as a fence. Free, and cheap works for me.
Natasha from Hawaii on July 02, 2012:
Nice! There's a great, new looking double length pallet across the street from me right now. I was looking at it earlier today but didn't pick it up because I currently don't have a drill.
Thanks for the awesome ideas! It never occurred to me to build structures with pallet wood.
sadie423 (author) from North Carolina on June 30, 2012:
They are very useful! Our compost bin is holding up great! Thanks for commenting
Deborah Neyens from Iowa on June 29, 2012:
Great ideas! Now that I've starting raising chickens, I will need a new bigger and sturdier compost bin. Using wood pallets is a fantastic idea!
sadie423 (author) from North Carolina on May 19, 2012:
Thanks! They really are great for building, and are very strong. Now anytime we have a need around here we see if we can use them first- like as trellis in the garden or our recently built hay feeder.
Heidi from Gulf Coast, USA on May 19, 2012:
Also - shared on Facebook. I think there will be a lot of interest. :)
Heidi from Gulf Coast, USA on May 19, 2012:
I have often wondered about using pallets for construction. I am glad to learn you have used them successfully to build strong structures. I see pallets all over town and have thought, too, "Free materials, maybe?"
Rated useful and interesting.