In order for firewood to be of any use, it has to be incredibly dry. If it is not dry, it will have trouble catching on fire. This begs the question of how you should store firewood and how long it will last when it is covered.
A good rule of thumb is that firewood will typically last between three and five years, but a lot of factors will affect the exact lifespan. If you cover the top of firewood but leave the sides exposed, the firewood will last for about three years. Covering the sides can allow your firewood to last as many as ten years.
Properly seasoned firewood can last a long time. It is important that the firewood is properly seasoned. The seasoning is what allows it to last a long time. If you just cut down a tree, the decaying log will not last for many years.
Can I Leave Firewood Uncovered?
If you live in an area that is incredibly dry and hot, it is completely fine to leave your firewood uncovered. Typically, the best way to store firewood is to cover the top of it, but you should leave area around the logs open so that wind can air out the logs. Once again, hot environments may not even need a top covering.
If you live in an area that is cold or rains, you certainly should invest in a covering to put above your firewood. This will just prevent rain from coming directly down on the wood, helping the firewood to last longer.
How Should I Store Firewood Outside?
Storing firewood outside is actually pretty simple. First and foremost, make sure to find the best location for stacking your wood. Even if you intend to use firewood inside, you certainly should not store it there. Since bugs may be inside the firewood, you don’t want to bring them inside until right before you burn them.
Instead, find the perfect location outside. The best location should be in a dry and breezy area. It should also be about 20 feet away from your house door. This will prevent insects from coming into your home while leaving the firewood.
You can place firewood next to other structures, though. When stacking wood beside a structure, don’t place the wood directly on the building. Allow a few inches between the two so that air can flow nicely between them.
Properly Stack Your Logs
Once you find the perfect location for your firewood, you need to stack the logs. The pile should be no more than four feet high. Placing them higher can create a safety risk and prevent proper ventilation. For optimal stacking, opt for a log rack or pallets with posts. These items will elevate the bottom level off the ground while preventing the logs from rolling away.
How you stack the firewood will depend on how far it has matured. In the case that it isn’t seasoned completely yet, place it with the bark facing down. This allows moisture to evaporate as it is stacked. Whenever the firewood is properly aged, you can turn them the other way so that the bark protects the inside wood from any rain or snow.
The easiest way to store your firewood is with a firewood log rack like this one by Woodhaven. Its structural integrity is very sound, and will keep your firewood off of the ground. It also comes with its own cover that will cover the top 12″ of your firewood.
If you decided to use the pallet and post method, place your pallet on the ground. Then, hammer posts at each corner. This will keep the firewood from rolling off the side of the pallet. Continue to pile the logs up. As for a log rack, just place it where you want the pile to go and set it up as described.
The worst thing you can do is toss your logs in a pile. A pile will not provide ventilation, especially not to the middle pieces. Improper ventilation causes the wood to rot.
For the top layer, it may be a good idea to put an awning. The awning will protect from direct snow or rain, but it will not prevent ventilation from the sides.
How Long Can Firewood Be Stored Outside?
How long fire would last outside depends on a variety of factors, such as the wood type, humidity, elements, and your storage methods. You can extend the lifespan by following the steps described above. With this method, you can expect most wood to last for at least three years, but it will likely last for more.
Should I Cover Firewood With a Tarp?
You can cover firewood with a tarp, but you need to do so correctly. You should not cover the entire firewood pile with a tarp unless it is raining or snowing heavily. In this case, the tarp will protect the firewood and help it to last longer. Simply remove the tarp whenever the weather has improved.
You should not leave a tarp over the firewood all the time, however. Draping the entire firewood pile with a tarp will prevent proper ventilation. As we explained above, improper ventilation leads to rotting. Only use a tarp when it is raining and do not leave it there when the weather is pretty again.
If you are concerned about covering the top layer of your firewood, either invest in an awning or a firewood cover. Both of these options will provide ventilation while still protecting the topmost layer of your firewood pile. The reason for this is that they have full air flow from the front, sides, and bottom.
One way that you can use a tarp, however, is to drape it as an awning. Connect it to posts so that it simply covers the top layer of the firewood pile without draping over all of its sides. This is a super economical way to protect the firewood while allowing proper airflow.
Can You Store Firewood Inside?
Generally speaking, you should not store firewood inside your home. Once again, that is the perfect way to invite spiders, insects, and other critters into your home. Place them somewhere else where insects can crawl around freely.
You can store firewood within an open barn or enclosure. This will allow proper ventilation, protection, and not your home a hotspot for bugs. It is important to emphasize that the barn or enclosure must be opened.
You cannot place firewood inside a closed barn or shed. This will prevent firewood from getting the airflow it needs, resulting in aging and bugs.
Even though a lot of factors will affect how long your firewood lasts, most firewood should last at least three years if it is stored properly and covered on the top.
If you choose to cover your firewood, make sure that the covering is not directly touching the log pile or preventing proper airflow. If you block airflow while covering the firewood, you’ll be doing more harm than good.
If you store your firewood directly on the ground, especially ground that is already wet, it will likely only last a year or so, even if you cover the top of the firewood. This is why it is recommended to store firewood off the ground.