How To Stack Firewood

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Understanding how to stack firewood is important to keep it dry and away from insects.

Throwing a bunch of split firewood in a pile and coming back to it in 6-12 months is not how you want to store it.

Firewood that comes into contact with the ground is exposed to the moister it picks up from the earth.

This moisture will start to decay the wood and prevent it from properly seasoning.

Moisture also promotes mold and fungus growth on the wood which could be unhealthy to bring into your home.

Insects will also invade the wood if its lying on the ground.

Spiders, especially the dangerous black widow spider, like to build nests in piles of wood left on the ground.

I cut down a big maple tree once and left a pile of logs sitting in the woods for about a month.

I came back to split the wood and load it in my truck.

When I picked up a piece that was laying the ground I found a large black widow nest full of hundreds of baby black widow spiders, and of course the adult.

How To Stack Firewood - Ideas

Unless you're stacking directly on concrete you should start off by laying a couple 2x4's on the ground parallel to each other about 12-14 inches apart.

2x4's work good because they get the wood off the ground and they are inexpensive. Wooden pallets also work good.

Next, lay the wood in a row on top of the 2x4's.

Stack the wood tight together to make it stable.

The row can be any length but try to limit the height to around 4 feet.

Anything taller could get unstable and fall over.

If you don't have a tree or a post on each end of the pile you will have to taper the ends back gradually to prevent an avalanche of sliding wood.

Using a metal t-post pounded in the ground on each end works well and they're fairly cheap to buy.

Firewood On Pallets Using T Posts

Stacking the split wood in a criss-cross pattern, like a log cabin, works well too.

It tends to be more stable that just stacking it in a row, plus it gives better air flow to the wood allowing it to dry quickly.

You can use this method to make end supports to replace the metal t-posts.

If you're stacking more than one row of wood, keep the rows approximately 6-12 inches apart to allow the air to flow between the stacks.

If you're stacking under a lean-to or near another structure, stack the wood 6-12 inches away from the structures wall to allow the air to reach the backside of the stack.

Firewood Covered With A Tarp

If your stack is not under a shelter you can cover the top of the stack with a tarp.

Only cover the top and don't rap the entire stack with the tarp.

Air needs to flow around the wood to dry it and moisture needs to be able to escape.

Wrapping the whole stack without airflow could cause mold to build up and the wood won't season properly.

Do You Stack Firewood With The Bark Up Or Bark Down?

There's a lot of different schools of thought as to stacking your firewood with the bark facing up or the bark facing down.

Is one way better than the other?

I've stacked firewood both ways and I really can't tell the difference, and I've never noticed one way outperforming the other.

When you stack firewood with the bark down, it's believed the wood dries faster because the split top of the wood faces up, allowing moisture to quickly evaporate.

Stacking wood with the bark facing up is believed to help shed rain off the wood, keeping it dry.

As long as you stack your wood on something elevated, and cover the top 1/3 portion of the firewood stack with a tarp or similar device, it won't matter which way the bark is facing inside your stack.

How High Can You Stack Firewood?

Avoid stacking firewood any higher than 4 feet tall.

You can make your firewood stack any length you want, but if you go higher than 4 feet the stack will become very unstable.

An unstable firewood stack is not only dangerous, but there's a good possibility it will fall over and you'll have to spend time re-stacking the wood.

To help prevent the wood from falling over, stack the logs as evenly as possible.

If the row starts to slant towards you, simply find a log that's larger on one end and use it to straighten out the row so the wood is level.

How To Stack Firewood In A Circle

The holz hausen method of stacking firewood uses a circular design similar to the shape of a beehive.  

Understanding how to stack firewood in a circle not only creates a unique look, but it works great for drying out the wood while shedding water away from the stack.

You begin the holz hausen by laying a circle of wood down on the bottom row.

Then you stack the firewood up, gradually slanting the edges towards the middle so it won't fall over.

Any loose wood can be thrown right into the middle of the holz hausen.

When you reach the top of the stack, just slant wood in the shape of a roof which will help shed rain water away and keep the wood dry on the inside.

How To Stack Firewood - Overall

Learning how to stack firewood is not difficult but sometimes it can seem time consuming and repetitious.

Taking the time to properly stack the firewood from the start will save a lot of headaches later on.


About the Author

Nick Greenway

Obsessed with firewood, Nick is behind over 350+ of Firewood For Life's articles, as well as countless reviews, guides and YouTube videos to help readers like you reduce heating costs and create the perfect fire.