I have been producing firewood commercially, as well as burning it myself, for decades. After producing, hauling, storing and selling thousands of cords of wood, I have learned a lot about how to store firewood. In this article I will teach you some of what I have learned about firewood storage.
When it comes to firewood storage, keeping the wood dry is one of the biggest factors. Wet wood burns less efficiently, produces more smoke and creosote, and is just hard to burn. Wet wood will also decay and grow mold and other fungus.
One of the most important ingredients in keeping wood dry is air circulation. Firewood should be stored in a way that allows moisture in the wood to evaporate. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is to cover up wet wood in a way that prevents air circulation.
Covering Wood With a Firewood Tarp
Many people cover wood with a tarp or plastic sheeting and cover the whole pile all the way to the ground. Covering the whole pile may help keep more rain off but it also holds moisture inside. If there is enough moisture inside, the tarp will start to sweat and drip water back onto the wood.
If you cover your wood with a tarp, it is best to only cover the top of the pile. The edges of the pile should be left open. This allows air to flow under the tarp and through the pile. This way any moisture that gets inside can evaporate. Without air circulation, any moisture inside will stay inside and your wood will dry slowly if at all. These stagnant moist conditions can lead to fungus growth and wood decay.
Keep Firewood Off the Ground
If firewood has direct contact with soil it can become a mess. The wood will absorb moisture from the soil and the soil will usually stick to the wood, often in thick clumps. Where wood and soil make contact makes great habitat for microorganisms, fungus, insects and other things that will create messy decaying wood.
If wood is to be stored outdoors, a concrete slab or asphalt is a great surface to store it on. If this is not available, tarp on the ground or just about anything that will separate wood from soil will help. Even clean gravel is better than soil.
Stacking firewood is more work than throwing or dumping it into a heaping pile, but it can be worth the extra work. Stacking firewood helps to get the wood off the ground, positions it for better air circulation, and can make it easier to cover. It also can give the wood pile a smaller footprint and save space.
A common mistake people make when stacking firewood is to stack it up against a surface like a wall or fence, or another stack of wood. This is fine if the wood is already dry and stored in a dry place, such as indoors. But if it is wet or green, or has a chance of getting wet, you should leave a few inches of space between stacks or between the stack and any wall or other surface.
Where to Store Firewood
The best location for firewood storage will depend on whether the wood is green or dry. If the wood is green, it is best to leave the wood outside uncovered where it will get full sun. Sun and wind will dry wood faster than if the wood is stored under cover. Even if it gets rained on that is fine. Many claim that wood that is exposed to rain and sun both will dry faster. As hard as that may be to believe, it actually seems to be true. It may be that wetting wood keeps the outside pores open so moisture can better evaporate from deeper inside the wood.
Indoor Firewood Storage
If the wood is already dry, the best place to store it is inside a shed, lean-to or other covered area. Green or wet wood in an enclosed building will not dry as fast as it will outside in the sun. If you do dry it indoors, just make sure the building has good air circulation. An opened walled structure can be better for drying wood than an enclosed structure. Especially if the sunny side is open.
Storing Firewood is a Garage
You can store firewood a garage, but keep in mind you will likely be bringing bugs and debris into your garage. firewood also creates great habitat for mice, spiders and other pests that are best left outside.
Storing Firewood Under Eaves
Under wide eaves can be a good place for firewood storage, but this is best done on the sunny side of a building. This way the wood can quickly dry in the sun if the wind blows rain or snow on it.
Outdoor Firewood Storage
Many firewood users don’t have the luxury of having a covered area for firewood storage. If this is your case you will likely have to stack your firewood outside and cover it with a tarp. Just make sure you use the tips above about covering wood.
Choosing a sunny spot is best. Also consider how easy it will be for a delivery truck to get to the location. If you have to haul it all to your storage area with a wheelbarrow or by hand, that will be a lot of extra work. Also think about how convenient the location will be for you to bring in wood to burn it.