Tag Archives: shed

How to Store Firewood

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.

Ramada – More than Just an Inn

Much of the year I am a “road warrior” – spending two weeks out of every month on planes, trains and automobiles, the next two back at home. Our youngest daughter (now a college sophomore) has threatened more than once to stop by the house when I am away and paste my photo on a milk carton in the refrigerator with the caption, “Have You Seen This Parent”?

On my journeys, an occasional haunt is Ramada® Inn, which this article has very little to do with, other than the name. This morning Eric (one of the Hansen Buildings owners) messaged me to ask, “Is a roof only building referred to as a ‘ramada’”?

Ramada, in the building sense – not the Ramada Inn sense, is a term which originated in the southwestern United States. A ramada can be either a temporary or a permanent structure, generally being just a roof, but could also be partially enclosed.

RamadaOriginally ramadas were constructed with branches or bushes by early southwest inhabitants. In modern times, it is also applied to pole barns which are used to shelter objects or people from the sun.

Many public parks in arid areas of the country may make use of ramadas to protect picnic tables, rest rooms or water sources. As sunlight is more of an environmental hazard than snow, wind or rain in these desert and near desert areas, a roof alone provides significant shelter, even if there are no walls.

In the case of public structures, I’ve designed more than just square or rectangular ramadas – as six and eight sided structures (especially in small spans) make for very attractive picnic shelters.

There are some design considerations when it comes to roof only ramadas. The challenge of designing a roof only ramada is there are no endwalls to transfer wind shear loads from the roof to the ground. This causes the columns to have to do all of the work and increases the pressure they must withstand by a factor of four! The resultant is large dimension columns and very deep holes backfilled entirely with concrete.

Building height also plays into good ramada design. The design formula for the building columns includes the square of the ramada height. Lower height ramadas are going to be far more cost effective than taller ones.

The best ramada designs have one (and ideally both) gabled endwalls covered with structural siding to the ground, over wall girts. In many cases, it is less expensive to add the endwalls to the ramada, than to construct just a roof.

Like the Ramada® Worldwide tag line, “You Do Your Thing. Leave The Rest To Us.” – this applies equally well to the design of your new post frame ramada. The Hansen Buildings tag line follows this train of thought by stating: “Your Building. Your Way.”