Category Archives: Firewood Storage

Cover Your Firewood With Metal Roofing

Cover Firewood With Metal RoofingIf you don’t have a shed or other structure to store your firewood under to keep it dry, a simple way to keep your firewood dry is to cover it with metal roofing, sometimes called tin roofing.

One of the most common ways to cover wood is with plastic sheets or a tarp. I have covered firewood with plastic for a long time, but I get tired of pulling the plastic off and on all the time. It always gets holes in it, and it always gets pools of water that collect in the low spots, which gets everything wet when I pull it off.

And tarps, I really don’t like those things. They leak after a while, and then they start to shred into those little strips that get everywhere. They eventually make a mess after they start to degrade and there will be little bits of blue or whatever color pieces all over.

If your firewood is stacked, a piece of metal roofing can be a great way to cover it. If your wood is cut to standard 16″ long pieces, a two foot wide piece of metal roofing on top of the stack will have enough overhang to keep the stack nice and dry. Unless of course it’s raining sideways. But if the wind is blowing that hard, it may also rip a tarp or plastic off anyway.

Both plastic sheets and tarps can inhibit drying of wood since they can trap moisture in. But with metal roofing, there is plenty of air flow all around the wood to keep it dry.

Metal roofing is best used with one long single stack of wood. If you want multiple stacks side by side, you will probably want to space them apart so there is enough room so that the overhangs do not touch. If you want to interlock the roofing over multiple closer stacks side by side, that is another article for another day.

If the stack is longer than the roofing, you can overlap the ends of multiple pieces. It’s best if the roofing can slope a little and the piece on the uphill side can be on top of the down slope piece so the water will run from the uphill piece onto the downhill piece instead of under it and onto the wood.

Metal Roofing Firewood CoverYou will of course have to weigh the roofing down so the wind won’t blow it off. It’s just a matter of finding something to place on top that is heavy enough to hold it down. You could also tie it down somehow. I usually just place some pieces of firewood on top. It will get wet, but you can burn those pieces next year.

Unlike tarps and plastic, metal roofing can last for decades, and you won’t have to buy new ones every year as with plastic. And with any sheet metal, always be careful, the edges and especially the corners can be sharp.

 

How to Stack Firewood

How to Stack Firewood

Why Stack Firewood?

When you get a load of firewood the natural thing to do is stack it. But why do we stack it instead of leaving it in a big heaping pile? Although you could leave it in a pile, there are advantages to stacking firewood.

Firewood stacking is a good way to get your firewood off the ground and in a position where it can get good air circulation. This will allow it to dry faster, help it stay dry,and makes it easier to cover. Stacked firewood also takes up less space than a random pile and looks nicer. More about how to season firewood.

Firewood Stacking

Firewood stacking may seem like a simple job, and it is, but learning how to stack firewood can give you better quality firewood to burn and save you from a lot of unneeded work and potential problems.

Where to Stack Firewood

Stacking your firewood in the right place can save you a lot of work and help your wood dry. If your wood is green or wet, the best place to stack it is outdoors where it can be exposed to the sun. If it is dry, it’s best to stack it under cover in a shed, lean-to or other structure that is well ventilated. Covering firewood with a tarp works too when done properly.

If your firewood is wet or green, you can still stack it indoors, just be sure the structure has good air flow so it can dry. And know it may take longer to dry than if it was out in the sun.

firewood tarp
Firewood stacked with plastic sheeting or tarp only partly covering the sides to allow air flow.

If your wood is dry, and you don’t have a structure to put it in, you can stack it outdoors and cover it with a tarp or plastic sheeting, or other material to keep it dry. Just make sure you cover it in a way that allows air flow. Leave the sides of the stack exposed to the open air. If you put a tarp over the whole pile all the way to the ground it will hold in moisture.

See why covering your wood with metal roofing is a great way to keep it dry.

In selecting a place for your firewood keep in mind how convenient it will be to bring in to burn. Consider that it will probably be there a while and think of things you might be doing later and whether it might be in the way.

Check with local building and fire codes, in some areas outdoor firewood is recommended or required to be stored a certain distance from structures for fire safety.

How to Stack Firewood

When firewood stacking you will want to keep it off the ground. If you are stacking it on a hard floor or concrete slab that is fine but you can put stickers down to help air flow under the stack. If you are stacking it directly on the ground you will definitely want to put something on the ground first to keep the wood away from soil contact. Two parallel 2×4’s or similar objects placed the length of the firewood apart work great.

stacking firewood
Firewood stacked with plenty of space between the stacks to allow the air to circulate and dry the wood.

If you are stacking against a wall, fence or other structure leave a few inches space to allow air flow. Also if you are making multiple stacks keep a few inches of space between the stacks.

Start stacking the pieces fitting them together as tightly as you can to make the pile stable. Notice the taper of the wood and invert the pieces so thick ends can be next to thin ends as needed so the pieces fit together well. Stack the pieces with the ends as even as you can to ensure a vertical stack. For a more stable stack keep the it no more than 4′ high or it could become unstable and fall over.

If you have a firewood rack or stakes at the ends or something to stack the ends against this will help you get nice vertical ends to your stack. If not you can criss-cross flat edged pieces like a log cabin on the ends to make them vertical. Otherwise you can just slope the ends but make sure the slope isn’t too steep or you may end up with a firewood avalanche. This can be dangerous especially if there are small kids or pets around. How to build a firewood rack that is simple and inexpensive.

Keep in mind that wood shrinks as it dries and the stacks may shift some over time. If one side gets sun exposure that side will shrink faster and can cause the stack to lean in that direction. When stacking green wood you may want to stack it so it leans a little away from the sun to compensate. Same with stacking against a wall or against other stacks. The out facing side of the stack will often dry faster and lean away toward the open space.

Keep safety in mind when firewood stacking and know that woodpiles can fall over. Keep children off of them.

Should Firewood Be Stored In a Garage?

A garage can be a great place to store firewood as far as keeping the wood dry and clean. Many people do store their firewood in the garage, but there are some reasons why you might want to think twice about it.

Disadvantages to Storing Firewood In a Garage

One of the biggest problems with firewood storage is the mess it creates. Firewood is inherently messy with dirt, sawdust, bark, moss, lichen and all the other debris that accumulate in the woods. It can also have insects, spiders and other small crawling critters. Even if the wood is clean and free of such things, it will make great habitat for them in your garage and they will likely move in on their own. Debris from wood always seem to find their way around the garage.

Wood piles can also attract mice, snakes, lizards, scorpions and other small critters that you may not want living and breeding in your garage. But if your garage door is kept closed and there are no openings for these animals to get in, then this may not be a problem for you.

Another thing to consider is the value of your garage space. Unless you just have a few pieces, firewood can take up a lot of space. Since firewood can be stored outside just fine, you may have more valuable uses for the garage space.

Firewood is meant to be burned so obviously it can be a fire hazard. If your wood pile is close to any ignition source it could catch fire. Keep it away from work areas where there may be sparks or open flames from things like welders, grinders, torches, car, motorcycle or other engines and exhaust pipes, etc. If you commonly have ignition sources in your garage, it is probably best to store your wood somewhere else.

Advantages of Storing Firewood in a Garage

Storing firewood in a garage does have advantages that can outweigh the disadvantages for some people. A garage is great for keeping your wood dry. Not only because the wood will have a roof over it, a garage is usually a drier climate than outside and will have drier air in cold weather. Especially if connected to your home where it will be warmer inside.

Bringing wood in from the garage is convenient, especially if the garage is attached to the home. No covering and uncovering the pile as you might have to do with a tarp covered outdoor pile. You can bring in the wood without going out in the rain and cold. No putting on a jacket and boots.

Firewood stored in a garage will also tend to be cleaner. It will be off the ground and out of the weather, away from falling leaves and other outside debris. And even though it may attract pests like insects and rodents, as mentioned above, it will probably attract fewer in the garage than if it was stored outside.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to storing firewood in a garage. Where you store yours all comes down to your preferences and what you value most.

Forget Firewood Rack Plans, This is Easier

If you are looking for firewood rack plans, you should first take a look at this simple way to build a firewood storage rack. It is so simple that you don’t even need plans. You can quickly build a rack that is very strong, and adjustable from low cost materials.

All you need is some 2×4 lumber and some firewood rack Brackets. And if you want to make it extra string you can add nails or screws, but they are not required.

You take two 2×4’s and cut them to the length that you want your rack to be. Then cut four to the height you want the rack to be and two to the width, which will typically be the length of your firewood pieces. Put the ends of the 2×4’s into the slots in the brackets, and you are done.

The brackets create sturdy right angles between the sets of 2×4’s that can easily hold up your stack of wood. The wood will be held up off the ground and the end uprights will help to make a stable stack.

This type of rack is easy to move and easy to disassemble and reassemble. It is very versatile in size, and you can adjust the size by cutting or replacing the lumber with the size you want. These racks are great for other types of racks, storage racks, work benches, tables, and many things where you need a simple strong right angle between 2×4’s.

How to Store Firewood Outdoors

There is no one right way to storing firewood, but knowing a few tips on how to store firewood outdoors can help you decide which way will be best for you. When storing firewood outside, the challenge is going to be in keeping it dry. But the advantage is, wood can dry faster when it is outdoors from exposure to sun and wind.

Methods of storing firewood can be different, depending on whether the wood is already dry or not, and what the weather will be like that time of year. If your wood is already dry, the main things are to store the wood so it is off the ground, has cover to keep it dry in wet weather, and is in a convenient and safe location. Be sure and check with local codes and fire department recommendations, since some areas require firewood to be stored a certain distance from structures.

If the wood is already dry, it doesn’t matter that much if you decide to stack it or not. Stacking it is more of a matter of convenience for you. Stacked wood takes up less space, looks nicer and can be easier to cover. Keeping the wood off the ground is important, especially away from soil contact. Wood will absorb moisture from the ground and dirt will stick to the wood and make a mess. It can also cause the wood to decay.

A concrete slab or even putting a tarp on the ground will help greatly. But don’t expect the bottom pieces to stay dry. This is where a firewood storage rack can be a big advantage in keeping the wood off the ground.

Dry wood should be covered if there is gong to be any wet weather. A passing rain shower followed by a stretch of dry weather well before it will be burned, is not going to be much of a problem. But dry wood should be covered before any stretch of wet weather if it is close to time to burn it. Covering firewood with a tarp is probably the most common way to cover it. This can work fine, but it is best to leave the sides of the pile uncovered for air flow. Only cover the top of the pile so any moisture that does get in can escape out the sides.

If you get wood that is wet or green, it is best to choose a sunny location to help dry it. And if you can put it in a place where it will also be exposed to more wind, that is all the better.

It is common for people to want to cover wood that is stored outside when they get it. If the wood is already wet, this is not always a good idea. Covering wet wood will slow down the drying process by blocking air flow and sun exposure. If the wood is green or very wet, sometimes it is best to just leave it out in the rain since it is already saturated anyway. If the wood is covered by a tarp, it is not going to dry much, if at all, and it can hold moisture in and lead to mold, fungus and decay. If it is already partly dry, you may want to keep the rain off but be sure it can still get air. If you feel you need to keep the rain off, only cover the top of the pile, leaving the sides exposed so air can flow through. After the rain is passed, it is best to uncover it so it will dry.

There is also debate about whether to stack the wood or to leave it in a heaping pile. In side by side tests, I have found that stacking wood does allow it to dry faster outdoors, but only if there is space for air to flow between stacks, and especially if there is only one long stack out in the open air and in the sun. The advantage of a single stack is you don’t have multiple stacks shading each other.