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Should Firewood Be Stacked Bark Up Or Down?

should firewood be stacked bark up or bark down

Stacking firewood splits bark up is the preferred method of firewood storage. It protects the wood frond rain and other weathering elements while letting the air circulate between firewood splits. However, if the splits will be stored in a covered area, you can use either stacking option. Don’t forget to let good airflow to your stack to get all the moisture out of your wood. 

We all have a natural approach when it comes to solving visual stuff like stacking firewood. Whether you agree or not, there is a perfectionist within ourselves that likes wood stacks to be perfectly aligned and clean-looking. According to the USDA Forest Service, there is a debate among Norway wood splitters. Should wood splits be stacked bark up or bark down? Which method can produce seasoned wood faster? 

At a first glance, this debate seems unimportant and doesn’t really make any sense for wood stacking. After all, given the right time, a wood stack would definitely dry out and be safe for fuel usage.

However, according to natural resources specialist from FPL, Mark Knaebe, a certain stack placement can protect your firewood and also help in the seasoning part. What are the most cost and space-effective methods or seasoning? Let’s find out.  

The Purpose Of Seasoning Your Firewood

Using unseasoned wood (or freshly cut wood) as a fuel source is not recommended for barbeques, campfires, and more. It can produce heavy smoke and leave accumulated creosote inside your furnaces and chimneys. When there is too much smoke and heat in one place, the accumulation can even cause a fire.

Heavy smoke also degrades the quality of air, which is a danger for people with respiratory conditions. Avoiding health problems is another reason why seasoning your firewood (a.k.a., drying moisture out of the logs) is an essential part of securing fuel supply for tons of households each year. 

But seasoning firewood can take a while, especially if your area doesn’t have sunny weather. It can take up to 6 to 12 months before you can use your wood for fuel. If you don’t season your firewood properly, you might end up with an infested pile of wood splits this coming winter.

Good airflow is what makes wood splits dry easily. Air and sunlight make the moisture in the wood evaporate faster. And to achieve an even better result with a shorter time, stacking log splits is the ideal way to store woods for seasoning. 

Bark Up Or Bark Down? 

There are several ways to store firewood splits. One of the most efficient and space-saving methods is stacking them all up. If it’s your first time stacking up woods, you might be tempted to place any wooden piece in a layer and align the splits in one direction. 

For efficiency and the best result, you might want to consider the bark placement when stacking your firewood supply. According to Mark Knaebe, the best placement for wood splits is to stack with bark up. And this is due to several good benefits for both space, your wood supply, and your time. 

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.

Storing Your Firewood Bark Up

The bark is an important part of the tree’s body. It is the outermost layer of the plant’s tissues that protects the overall plant and aids in photosynthesis. Even if you split a log or a branch in two, the bark will remain attached to the wood. When stacking up, storing your wood with the bark side up will protect it from water and other weathering elements. 

The “bark up” method should be used if you’re storing your firewood supply outside without any roofing and walls that protect the stack. This method will let the moisture come out via air and sunlight exposure. Even if stacking woods “bark-up” is not the most stylish method, it is the best option for efficiency and additional wood protection. 

Storing Your Firewood Bark Down

The “bark down” approach, on the other hand, is not recommended for outside wood stacking. Since the log splits form a “u” shape when stacked, the moisture is retained in the trough, which can cause decay. Besides, there is no additional protection that keeps your wood dry during rainy days. 

Storing your firewood bark down is still doable, but only if you have proper storage with sufficient roofing to protect your wood. The park placement is inconsequential in the seasoning process.

When storing indoors, the bark placement depends on your personal preference. But remember to give a bit of space per stack to avoid molds and insect infestations. 

Does It Have to Be Perfectly Aligned?

Did you know that during the 19th century in Maine, the ladies would often observe their suitors’ wood piles? A person’s woodpile can say a lot of things about a suitor’s character. This might be the reason why some people find a perfectly-aligned woodpile attractive and look better. 

But according to Jan Wiedenbeck of the US Forest Service Northern Research Station, a perfectly-aligned woodpile is not the most efficient one. To allow better airflow, the best method of stacking wood is to lay the first row of the wood, then change the direction perpendicularly for the new layer.

And due to the smaller point of contact, any bacterial or fungal infestation has a lesser chance of happening. 

Other Firewood Stacking Things To Consider

Apart from bark placement and stacking techniques, there are other things to consider when piling up your winter wood supply. The tips below will help you get your seasoned within a faster time frame possible. Keep these tips in mind while making your wood storage to prepare for the upcoming cold season. 

Split Your Wood Into Smaller Pieces

Cutting the wood into smaller pieces exposes more of the wood split’s surface area. More wind and sun exposure make your wood dry faster. It will also allow more flexibility when it comes to the positioning of your pile. This can be extremely helpful when you’re indoors wood storage is running out of space. 

Use a Wooden Platform for Your Wooden Splits

Using another wooden platform as a “stool” for your woods will minimize or completely prevent ground contact. Mold and other infestation will likely start if the woods are near the ground. Keeping your supplies away from the ground as possible will keep it safe from insects and more.  

Don’t Add Cover to the Sides of the Stacks

As the moisture from the wood dissipates, it will go to the immediate surrounding until completely evaporated. If you covered the side of your woodpile, the moisture would not have any way out, making it trapped and retains inside the wood.

Another reason for skipping the covers is air access. The cover will block the air breeze and sunlight, which dries up the stacked woods’ moisture. As long as the woodpile is uncovered, the drying rate is faster (even after a rainy day.) 

Avoid Mixing Hard Wood to Other Types of Wood

And last but not least, avoid mixing hardwood with other types of wood while seasoning. Almost all firewoods can dry up in one season, while hardwood like oak needs at least two seasons to be ready for usage completely.

Final Thoughts

Stacking your firewood bark up is the preferred and most optimal way to store your firewood. Not only does it help protect your wood from the elements, but it also helps during the seasoning of your wood.

If you plan on storing your firewood in a rack with a covered area, you can easily store the wood bark up or bark down as both stacking options will still benefit from a cover.

Along with stacking, it is also essential to make sure that you stack your firewood in a way to maximize airflow and circulation. This will help prevent moisture buildup to help keep your firewood as dry as possible.

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