For firewood to keep well—especially in places with heavy rain or snowfall—it needs to be properly stacked and stored.
A haphazard pile of firewood can easily soak up ground moisture. Should that happen, the wood may not properly season or it could even develop rot. And, when temperatures drop, these conditions may snuff out your hopes of kindling a fire.
Want to make sure that you always have a tinder-dry fuel supply? Check out our 5 tips for stacking and storing firewood.
#1 Pick a Stacking Style
There are several different ways to stack firewood. The optimal stacking method depends on the amount of firewood needed and the local weather conditions.
Many people who purchase pre-seasoned firewood will store it on commercial wood racks or in a shed. If you do plan to stack your cord wood outside, there are three natural ways to prevent the elements from taking their toll:
- The American Stack – The American method is to stack wood in a long, narrow, rectangular row with the direction of the wood changing with each additional layer. With this method, the initial layer is placed upon a pallet or water-proof material that prevents the firewood from touching the ground surface. Ideally, the stack should have at least a few inches of clearance between the woodpile and any structures.
- The German Holz Hausen – The German firewood stacking method may be the most complex (albeit efficient) method for stacking firewood. It allows you to store lots of firewood in a compact spae. With this tactic, you build a circular house of firewood, hence the name: holz hausen. Its design utilizes external airflow to keep the inner-facing pieces dry. Traditionally, the official German holz hausen is 10 feet in diameter and 10 feet tall, but if you don’t have enough wood or space, you can erect a smaller version.
- The Scandinavian Round – Similar to the holz hausen, the round stack is a compact method that’s designed to shed water. On the outside of the round, you create a circular stack of wood with the bark facing downwards. The inner circle is then filled with odd-sized or smaller pieces.
#2 Expose the Firewood
Wind and sun are good for wood. Rain is not. And this is especially important for unseasoned wood, which relies on the sun and wind to dry out the logs.
Ideally, firewood should be exposed to as much wind and sun as possible. Therefore, it’s better to keep the firewood in the open than inside a shed or barn.
#3 Keep Wood Elevated
Firewood, particularly cut firewood, is susceptible to moisture from the ground. That moisture can prevent the wood from properly seasoning or cause it to rot.
To prevent this, a stack’s base layer should not be touching the ground. Instead, place it atop a pallet, 2x4s, or a tarp.
#4 Leave Space Between Pieces of Firewood
Left in the elements, a firewood stack will inevitably be subject to inclement weather. Snow and rain is largely unavoidable. Accepting that, your goal should be to minimize water entry and maximize airflow so the stack can dry out faster.
When placing firewood, be sure to leave spaces between the pieces for circulation. Also, stack the logs with the bark facing upwards to add extra protection from the rain.
#5 Cover the Top with a Tarp
Finally, after you have made your stack, cover the top with a tarp and then anchor it down so it won’t blow away in bad weather. But, as Cabin Life warns: “Don’t completely cover a wood pile or stack with a tarp, as the moisture from the ground and firewood itself will not be able to escape, essentially steaming your firewood.”
So, cover the top third of the pile with the tarp. Doing so will help shield the stack from the worst of the rain and snow.
Find Your Firewood At Kurtz Bros., Inc.
If you want your firewood to be usable whenever you want to stoke a fire, you need to stack and store your firewood properly. By following the tips above, you can ensure that your wood is properly dried and ready to burn.
Do you need firewood to warm up your home this winter?
At Kurtz Bros., Inc., we sell high-quality seasoned wood that’s been cured and split. Whether you need firewood cord in full, 4x4 firewood, or a bundle, we carry all your home heating and firewood supplies.