Whether you have a brand new fire pit or simply a chimney that you like to use in the winter, chances are you will want to store wood somewhere to keep it dry.
Now if you buy pre-seasoned wood from a responsible source you can keep some of it by the fireplace ready for use.
But most firewood you buy will come to you from having lived outside to be seasoned, which means that there is always a chance of bugs and critters making their way into your home. And when you buy 50KG of wood, there’s not always the space to store it inside.
To make sure your wood is always ready to be used when you need it, whether that’s larger or small quantities, storing outside is always a good option – as long as you do it right.
How do I store firewood outside?
Chiminea and Fire Pit wood and fuel need to dry or be seasoned, to burn well and be more eco-friendly. When wood is first chopped down it contains around 60% moisture. A seasoned log will only have 20% moisture, preferably less to ensure a smooth smoke-free burn.
So getting some outdoor firewood storage seems topsy turvy. If it needs to dry, why place it outside to the elements? Because the natural sunlight and air are the perfect properties needed to keep your wood perfect for burning.
But in order to have logs ready to throw on your favourite Chiminea, you will need to make sure it stays dry – and no, wrapping it all up completely in a tarp won’t work.
1. Pick the right location for your outdoor log holder
Don’t forget that a stack of wood is a great place for spiders and ants to roam. So try and find a location that is close enough to your home that you won’t need to trudge for miles to get firewood, but not so close that you bring unwanted crawlies near your home.
Ideally, any outdoor firewood racks should be placed:
- Off the ground and not touching soil
- In a sheltered spot, with natural or man-made cover
- In a well-ventilated area. Don’t place it too near a wall as you need the airflow to ensure it doesn’t keep moisture and rot
- At least 20 feet from your nearest door to avoid any pests coming in
- Ideally in full sunlight so it dries quickly after rain or storms
Can I keep outdoor firewood in a shed or garage?
Absolutely, though if the wood isn’t already seasoned, it will take longer to dry. If you are placing it in a shared space, make sure there are no other wooden items nearby.
Why? Because when wood begins to decay it can attract pests such as termites or carpenter ants. These will then go through all the rest of the wood nearby, including sheds, tools and precious memorabilia.
2. How to store your firewood safely
Half the battle is in stacking your wood. Don’t believe us? Well, you could leave your wood in a neat stack on your patio, with no cover, and it could probably be used for a summer BBQ fire pit burn if you’ve had enough dry days.
Leave it in a half-hazard pile to rot and even seasoned logs will burn like green wood and create a mountain of smoke at your latest family gathering.
That’s if you haven’t created a termite and bug hotel by the time you get to burning the wood.
How to stack fire logs outside properly:
- Firewood stacks should be off the ground, laid in neat rows, with both sides of the cut wood facing and open area – ends facing front and back.
- Never stack firewood more than 4 feet high for safety
- Wood should be at least an inch away from any buildings to avoid the build-up of moisture and bacteria
- Greenwood should be stacked bark side down so the moisture can easily evaporate
- Season wood (most wood logs you buy from Amazon) should be stored bark side down to shield the wood from rain and snow
Related: Check out some of the best Chimineas to buy
3. Pick the right outdoor firewood storage for you
Maybe you own a large fire pit you like to bring out every weekend and go through 10 logs each week, maybe you just occasionally throw a couple of logs in the fire on a cold winters days.
You don’t have to spend much on a firewood rack. Some can be as simple as some pressure treated boards and a good tarp. But whatever you choose, make sure you consider:
Outdoor log store with a cover
Whilst it’s always good to cover stacked wood, make sure any tarps or plastic sheeting blankets the top and only extends a few inches down the sides.
Better yet, use a lean-to wooden structure with protects from the rain, but provides ventilation both at the front and back of the logs. Any rain exposed logs will only be wet at the front and will soon dry in a day.
If you live in a particularly wet climate, keep an indoor firewood rack by the fireplace and move your outdoor wood to the indoors within 24 hours of wanting to use it.
Seasoned wood Vs green wood storage
Seasoned wood will fare better in a sheltered, shady spot, inside sheds, or containers. But wood is a natural material, so placed anywhere where it can be left to rot, and it will.
If you completely cover a wood pile, the cover will keep the moisture and the wood will absorb it. Even seasoned firewood can burn like green wood if you don’t give it plenty of ventilation.
Green log stacks will require more sunlight and air ventilation to be ready to be used. Generally, green wood will be seasoned within 6 months to a year, depending on how it’s stored.
Never ever leave your logs in direct contact with soil. That’s how bugs and rot sets in.
Related: Find out what’s the best type of wood for a fire pit
What’s the best outdoor firewood storage?
We’ve written a whole post about the best types of outdoor firewood storage for your garden and patios. And we said it then and we’ll say it now: the best depends on what you need – small, large, something in between.
For something that is budget and space friendly, but will allow the most ardent chiminea aficionado plenty of wood to burn on a cold spring evening, we recommended a good lean-to.
These are timber build structures with airflow at the front and back, and a slanted roof to protect from the rain, all made with treated wood to prevent rot.
We recommend you don’t buy a huge wood store unless you plan on using logs to heat up your home on a daily basis. Stored wood starts to decay after four to five years, so you want to make sure you replenish your piles with seasoned wood often.
We hope you find your best way to store firewood outside and enjoy all that warm glow of a wood-burning stove in your garden or home.