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.