There is nothing more satisfying during cold weather than a roaring fire in the fireplace.
The crackle of a good fire can be relaxing background music for an evening spent indoors with a good book or curled up under a blanket. Of course, there is one thing that is key to a good fire, and that is dry firewood.
Where can you store your firewood to keep it in great shape for the winter season?
If you have a fireplace and want to keep your firewood in good condition, then you might want to consider where to put your excess wood. You need some ideas on how to keep it dry, whether you decide to keep it indoors or outdoors.
For more information on how you can make the most of your firewood, here is our complete guide:
What is the Best Way to Store Firewood Outside?
Many people do not have space or the desire to keep their extra firewood inside their home.
It can be an eyesore or take up too much room that they need for other activities. No matter what your reason is, there is a right and a wrong way to store firewood outdoors.
There are a few things that you need to know before you start stacking up your wood.
Keep a Safe Distance:
First, your wood should never be close to another structure, including the exterior of your home. Experts suggest that you leave at least a five-foot distance between your pile of firewood and any other structure.
Keeping firewood too close to another structure is a major safety hazard. If it were to catch fire, it would burn down the adjoining structure as well.
However, this is not the only issue with storing your firewood too close to your house or shed.
Watch Out For Pests:
If the firewood becomes infested with termites, they can easily transfer to the foundation of your other building.
A small space between the pile of firewood and your structure can help you to contain a potential termite infestation without costing you thousands of dollars in structural damage.
Keep Your Wood Dry:
One of the other main reasons for leaving space between structures and your firewood is to allow for proper air circulation. You should be leaving both the front and the back of the pile open so that air can flow all around it.
This helps to speed up the drying process, but it may not be necessary if the wood has already dried. Dry wood can be stored inside of your shed or another building.
If you have to store your firewood outdoors, you should never keep it directly on the ground. You may choose to place it on a concrete slab, asphalt, or a tarp but never directly on the ground.
Placing firewood on top of the soil allows it to absorb moisture from the ground, rendering it both wet and useless. When you go to pick up your logs, wood can stick to the ground and leave behind chunks whenever you are ready to use it.
Storing your wood outdoors may make it more difficult for the wood to dry out if you live in an area that is prone to a great deal of rain.
You may be tempted to speed up the drying process by tarping your wood completely to keep the rain out, but you may be hindering things instead. Tarping your firewood completely reduces air circulation that can help to dry the wood out.
In situations where you absolutely must cover your firewood, make sure that the tarp covers only the top of the pile and leaves the sides open for airflow.
How High Off the Ground Should Firewood be Stored?
There are also some guidelines that you may want to keep in mind if you have to store your firewood outside on the ground.
Most people recommend that firewood be stored at least a few inches off the ground to allow for proper air circulation. This ensures that pieces on the very bottom have an opportunity to dry out.
Without this space, you run the risk of them absorbing moisture instead. Firewood that is placed directly on the soil can suck up water from the ground. This can lead to wet wood that is next to impossible to burn or even wood rot.
Chunks of the wood may be left behind when you go to pick up your logs, creating a messy pile.
If you do not have the capability of storing your firewood off the ground by two to three inches, then you might want to consider the surface that it sets on.
It should be fine to store it on a concrete slab, asphalt, or even on a tarp as long as it maintains a five-foot distance from other structures in your yard or around your house.
How Do You Dry Firewood More Quickly?
Unfortunately, the process of drying out firewood is rather long and tedious.
There are not many ways that you can speed up this process. Certain types of wood like oak may take more than one full year to dry out to the point where you can burn them successfully indoors.
Few options exist for those who want their firewood to dry quickly, but here are some tips that you might find helpful.
It is best to cut your firewood in the spring or early summer to give it the most time to dry out before you wish to use it this coming winter. When you plan for winter, you give yourself six to nine months where the wood can really dry out before you attempt to bring it indoors to your fireplace.
Another helpful thing is cutting the wood into smaller pieces that will conveniently fit into your fireplace, to begin with. When the wood has more surface area, it can dry faster.
Not to mention, it will be much more convenient for you when you go to use it. You can avoid pulling out the ax to trim it down a bit more.
Consider where you are going to be storing the firewood carefully. The best place to keep it is somewhere outside where it can get plenty of air circulation.
Store it in the sunshine so that the warmth can help to draw out the moisture. Placing it somewhere indoors, whether in your living room or a shed, can practically double the amount of time it takes for the wood to dry.
If you have the space to accommodate it, store all of your firewood in a single row a few inches off the ground in a sunny area.
This gives it the maximum amount of surface area exposed to the air circulation and the warming sunshine. If you have an area that is covered, such as a carport, this might also be an ideal place for it to sit so that it does not get wet with the elements.
While firewood can dry in a pile, it does take longer than if the wood were to be spaced out like this.
Should Firewood be Covered with a Tarp?
Many people mistakenly believe that they should place a tarp over their firewood to help protect it from the elements.
After all, each time it rains, your firewood is being exposed to more moisture and may have a more difficult time drying out. Unfortunately, tarping your firewood may create more issues for your air circulation.
You should not tarp your firewood unless you plan to cover just the top. The sides of the stack should remain open at all times so that air can flow naturally around the cut ends. This is where the moisture content is drawn out, so you want to give them as much space as possible.
A tarp can help to protect the wood a little bit, but covering the entire pile just seals moisture in indefinitely.
3 Creative Ways to Store Firewood:
If you want to help protect your firewood from the elements while still encouraging air circulation, one of the best things you can do is to place a roof over the top of it.
(See reference link for more information on these amazing builds!)
These triangular-shaped roofs are made from simple wood and cost very little to put together. You could even build them out of wood from old pallets.
The good news is that they allow air circulation on the sides of the wood and even allow for sunlight.
These simple structures are the perfect addition to your garden. Just make sure that you do not build them directly along the fence line.
This can lead to firewood that does not dry out properly. It can also prove to be a major safety hazard to your fence.
It can lead to a termite infestation or just simple wood rot that must be tended to carefully.
This creative built-in model might be for you!
Storing your dry firewood inside is an excellent option because it keeps you from having to traipse outside in the inclement weather just to get your fire started.
You can stay as warm and cozy as possible until you can get that roaring fire in your fireplace stoked.
This floor-to-ceiling built-in is perfect for storing your old and already-dry firewood. You can fit quite a few split logs in this small space. It serves a practical function and it lends an air of rustic charm to any living room!
How to Put One in Your Home!
If you do not know how to add built-in firewood storage to your home, you might be able to get a similar look with a bookshelf.
Purchase a tall and thin option with removable shelves.
Place one on either side of your fireplace and stack the firewood inside. While it may not sit flush with the wall, having one on either side will help to balance out the room.
If you already have a beautiful outdoor seating area, then you may want to consider how you can creatively work your firewood storage into it. If you have a firepit, consider storing your firewood for it beneath built-in seating that surrounds the firepit.
Not only does this make it very convenient for you to toss another log on the burning pile, but it also allows it to be spread out and dry faster.
As a bonus, the seat of the bench can be made from solid wood, which can help to shelter the firewood from some of the rain and other elements.
It is the perfect way to encourage your firewood to dry out faster.
Should Firewood be Covered in the Summer?
Firewood should never be fully covered because it cannot dry out this way. The best thing to do is to prop it up a few inches of the ground in a single layer, if possible.
It should be kept five feet away from other structures to ensure that air can easily flow in every direction all around the firewood.
By covering it, you would be sealing in the moisture content that it already contains.
Is it Okay to Store Firewood Near Your House?
It is not okay to store firewood too close to your house.
Many professionals suggest that you keep at least a five-foot distance between your firewood and the outside of your home. Many reasons exist for this recommendation. The first has to do with the firewood itself. You want to give it as much room for air circulation as possible.
By stacking it up against the side of your home, you will not be giving it the room to breathe that it desperately needs to dry out.
However, it is more important than simply drying out your firewood. Stacking the wood too close to your home can pose a safety hazard. If the pile were to catch on fire, it would be directly linked to your home.
Another safety reason has to do with the structural integrity of your home. Keeping a pile of firewood by your house is like an open invitation to hungry termites.
If there is no space between your firewood and your home, you might be asking for them to transfer to your home with no questions asked. This can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home.
Does Firewood Dry in the Winter Period?
It is ideal for homeowners to split their firewood during the spring and summer months because firewood can dry out easily then.
However, what about firewood that is cut during the winter months? Can it still dry out if the temperatures are chilly?
The good news is that wood will still dry, even in the coldest temperatures and subarctic conditions. The catch is that it will just dry out far more slowly. Do not expect to go outside and chop firewood that you can burn just a few weeks later.
You may be able to get the moisture content low enough to burn by late spring, but it will take some time.
Keep in mind that you still have to properly stack your firewood and allow for air circulation and exposure to sunlight for the best results. If you live in an area with a lot of precipitation during the winter months, you might have an extremely difficult time getting your wood to dry.
Consider storing it with a tarp on top (not covering the sides) or underneath a roof of some sort.
Do You Stack Firewood Bark Up or Down?
When storing your wood outdoors, you might not think that it makes much of a difference in how the wood is stored.
Does the bark of the tree go up or down? It seems like a silly question, but it can have real implications for how well your wood will dry out.
If you have split wood that you need to store outside, you need to keep it with the bark side up. Split wood is usually rounded on the side that has the bark and has sharp right angles on the opposite side.
Stacking the wood with the bark side down allows water to pool up in this rounded curve, almost like a trough. This slows down the drying process and can even lead to wood decay instead.
Always store your firewood with the bark side up so that the water can run directly off of it instead.
Final Thoughts: Storing Firewood Indoors and Outdoors
Storing your firewood properly requires a lot of planning and attention to detail. You need to consider how close it is to other important structures in your yard, how high it is off the ground, and even whether you should tarp it. Many creative storage solutions exist, so be sure to take some time to consider which ones might be the best fit for you, your yard, and your home.
Maria is the founder of GoDownsize. While studying architecture in Denmark she became fascinated with designing living spaces for boats, tiny houses, RVs, and other small spaces.
She mainly writes about space optimization, interior design, and downsizing. She’s also in charge of our YouTube channel. Read more about Maria here.