Where to Store Firewood – Choosing a Firewood Storage Location

Firewood can be stored in many places, and for the consumer, sometimes the best place is wherever it is the most convenient. As a commercial firewood producer I store it where I can get easy access to it, and where it will get the most sun to help it dry.

If you get your wood green, storing it in a sunny location is one of the best ways to get it to dry. But if it is already dry, or if you live in a climate where you have a whole hot dry summer for it to dry, that won’t matter so much. A wood shed or a cover like a patio, lean to, barn can be great places to store firewood. Even a garage can be good if you can spare the garage space and don’t mind the mess. But many of us have to store our firewood outdoors.

The first thing to do is check with your local zoning laws or fire department. In some areas there are laws or recommendations when storing firewood, requiring or recommending that firewood be stored a certain distance from structures for fire safety.

Keep in mind that moving firewood is a lot of work and you will probably want to minimise the distance and number of times that you will have to move it. Choosing a place that will be close to where the delivery truck can get access will save a lot of work in getting the wood to your storage area. If possible store your wood in an area that a truck can back up to.

Also consider bringing the wood into your house when it is time to burn it. The closer it is the less distance you will have to haul it. Also think about how bringing it in from your storage area will be in bad weather. Consider what it will be like if you have to walk through the rain and snow and cold weather. Or even muddy ground. Or maybe you will be wearing a path through your lawn or landscaping.

Make sure the wood is not going to be in the way to where you will have to move it someday before you burn it. Think about whether it may block access for future projects or repairs to your home. For example, having a new appliance delivered. Or blocking access if you have to repair or have your septic system pumped. Also be mindful of delivery vehicles driving over buried plumbing or utilities like leach fields and septic tanks.

Where you store your firewood is usually not a critical decision. But doing a little thinking ahead about where you store it can save you work and grief in the future.

Learn more about firewood storage. Get many tips and techniques for storing and drying firewood.

How to Store Firewood Outdoors

Knowing a few tips on how to store firewood outdoors can save you from some potential problems. Storing firewood in a shed or other covered structure is great, but many of us don’t have access to these areas. Or maybe we do, but we have better uses for them than storing firewood. This is not a problem since firewood can be stored outside just fine.

Storing Firewood Outdoors

Many things will degrade when left out in the weather, and wood is one of them. When exposed to moisture, untreated wood will rot. Repeated wet and dry and exposure to sun can cause wood to discolor, crack and degrade. But with firewood, you will probably not be storing it for more than a year or two. If stored right, this is not enough time for it to degrade enough to be a problem for its intended use. But if you follow these few simple tips, you can minimise the degradation, and more important, have drier wood to burn.

Store Your Firewood Off the Ground

One of the things that will cause wood to degrade faster than anything, is if it has direct contact with soil. Wood in contact with soil creates a natural habitat for the bacteria, fungus and other organisms that consume wood. But if you are only going to store the wood for a few months to a year, it’s probably not going to decay much. But it will become a huge mess. The dirt will stick to the wood in huge clumps bonded by fungi and microbial body slime. It will also help keep the wood wet. So anything you can do to get the wood off the ground will help keep your wood clean and dry.

Putting a tarp on the ground will help, or stacking the wood on stickers, concrete or asphalt or even clean gravel. Just about anything is better than soil. Things like old carpet can work well too.

Drying Firewood and Keeping it Dry

Many people think that covering firewood is the most important part of having dry firewood. But in many cases, covering wood is not always a good idea and can inhibit drying. The first thing I see a lot of people do as soon as they get firewood, is to throw a tarp on it. That may be a good idea if the wood is dry and it’s going to rain. But if the wood is wet or green, air circulation will be more important than covering it. Learn more about drying firewood.

If your firewood is dry, you will then want to cover it to keep it dry when it rains. The most common way to cover firewood is with a tarp or plastic sheet. This can work well but I see people making a very common mistake when doing this. Knowing not to make this mistake will put you ahead of most people when it comes to storing firewood outdoors.

What they do is cover the whole pile of wood in a way that eliminates almost all air circulation. They seal up the whole pile all the way to the ground. This prevents any moisture that gets in from getting out. When they uncover the wood, instead of finding the pile of nice dry wood they covered, they find a wet moldy mess.

The better way to cover firewood is to just cover the top of the pile and leave the sides open. This allows moisture to escape while keeping the majority of the wood dry. Even if the wood around the edges get wet, it will be worth it to have the wood inside stay dry.

When storing firewood outdoors, we are not dealing with rocket science. The main thing is to keep the wood off of the soil, and once it’s dry, cover it but make sure it gets air circulation. Read more tips on firewood storage, like where to store wood, how to stack it and how to dry it.