Believe it or not, there’s a bit of science behind putting away the wood you cut for fires. Pole building owners with fireplaces should take heed – while central heating and ventilation options are available for pole barns in the winter, stoking a fire keeps an even and natural heat in a centralized location at low cost.
There are a handful of principles to keep in mind when storing firewood:
Find or Build a Specialized Location
The burnability of stacked firewood benefits from air flow and elemental protection. Each log can also weigh quite a bit, and most people won’t want to carry one or two logs from a remote storage location back to their homes several times a day.
There are 3 ideal places where to store firewood:
1. Close to home – Porches with overhangs make fantastic wood storage locations; they have protection from rain and snow, they are elevated from the ground, and they are right next to the front or back door.
2. On a solid palette – You can create an improvised wood storage area using palette-sized solid pieces of wood or lining up 2x4s to create a wood floor.
3. In an outdoor storage shed – Sheds offer protection from 3 sides and can even provide superior moisture control under the right conditions.
Pick a place that will make it easy for you to refuel your fire when the embers start to fade. Make sure you won’t have to squeeze the firewood into a narrow corridor or questionable corner – jamming firewood anywhere is detrimental to storage for a host of reasons.
The floor of your storage area should be made of wood, concrete, gravel, or asphalt, as long as the material is clean. In desperate situations, you can temporarily place your wood on a tarp to keep ground moisture away from it.
Elevate and Stack
Stack your firewood so that air can flow across as much surface area as possible. Wood doesn’t grow in perfectly round logs and it’s not always easy to stack, but if you try to cut your wood pieces to approximately the same length, they’ll balance on one another with better precision.
Elevation from the ground is vital to keeping wood in burning condition. If left on the ground, logs will suck up moisture and spread it across your stack. Bugs and bacteria love the moisture and the natural nutrition of the wood, so they won’t hesitate to start feasting on the bottom of your stack. The wood will rot quickly and the wood higher in the stack will retain too much moisture to burn well.
Protect the Wood
Try to keep stacks that sit outdoors away from walls or rails. They need air flow to help balance their moisture content. Leave at least a few inches of space between wall surfaces and wood. If you’re stacking wood indoors, it’s okay to stack against a wall.
Put a tarp over your wood once it has finished drying. Do not place a tarp over freshly collected firewood. You can make an exception when rain threatens to soak your firewood since it will benefit more from the moisture resistance of the plastic than suffer from rot and bacteria.
Keep in mind: dry firewood is gray and will have cracks along the edges. Its color will be noticeably lighter than that of wet firewood. Make sure your wood has finished drying before using it in a fireplace.