Stacking and Storage of Firewood: A Comprehensive Guide

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The efficient stacking and storage of firewood is a crucial aspect of maintaining a functional and aesthetic fireplace or wood-burning stove setup. Properly stacked and stored firewood ensures a steady supply of dry and seasoned wood, which in turn leads to easier igniting, efficient combustion, reduced smoke emissions, and enhanced overall heating performance. In this newsletter, we will delve into the key principles and methods for stacking and storing firewood to ensure optimal results.

Part 1: Selecting the Right Firewood

Before diving into stacking and storage techniques, it’s important to choose the right type of firewood. Proper firewood selection plays a significant role in the overall success of your heating system:

Hardwood vs. Softwood: Hardwoods like oak, maple, and cherry are dense and burn slower, providing a longer-lasting heat. Softwoods like pine and fir, on the other hand, burn faster and are great for kindling and initial ignition. As a general rule of thumb we recommend customers use mostly hardwoods for burning inside their homes. Softwood is a great option for those who like to burn in outdoor firepits as it doesn’t generate as much heat so it can be used in the summer time as well as it offers a cost savings.

Seasoning: If you are ordering ahead of the season try ordering green firewood. It offers a tremendous savings and you get to season it at your home. If you’re ordering in the fall or winter season ordering fully seasoned firewood is a better bet. The ultimate option is our kiln dried firewood which goes through a kilning process to remove even more moisture than traditional seasoning. There is a cost premium to the kiln dried wood but it preforms excellently and late in the winter it can be the only option. ] Seasoned wood burns more efficiently, producing less smoke and creosote buildup.

Size: Cut firewood into manageable sizes, our standard wood is 16-18 inches in length. This ensures easier handling and stacking. If you have a wood stove that requires smaller wood we offer a custom cut option for an additional fee. If your wood stove takes very large wood 20+ inches or so in length let us know and we can come up with options for you as well. The larger wood will take longer to season but you’ll be able to use fewer logs to fill the stove and take less trips to the pile.

Part 2: Stacking Techniques

Proper stacking is essential for both efficient space utilization and optimal drying of the firewood. The following techniques offer guidance on effective stacking:

Location: Choose a dry, well-ventilated area for stacking. Elevated locations like pallets or racks prevent moisture from seeping into the wood. If possible pick a location that gets sun, wood will dry in the shade but the more sun it can get the faster it will dry and the sooner it will dry out from rain. Ideally you can also stack your wood in an area that has the prevailing wind, if possible stack the wood so the cut ends are exposed to the prevailing wind. This will help the moisture to wick out of the wood.

Orientation: Stack the firewood with the cut ends facing outwards. This encourages better airflow and drying.

Criss-Cross Stacking: If you are stacking the wood on pallets or some other way where they don’t have vertical supports consider cross crossing the last rows of the wood. Orient 3 or 4 pieces going east-west and then place 3-4 pieces north-south etc. until you’ve reached your desired height. This method locks the wood in and helps to stabilize the stack.

Part 3: Storing Firewood

Proper storage complements effective stacking, ensuring that your firewood remains dry and ready for burning:

Covering: Leave your wood uncovered for as long as possible. A good rule of thumb is to check the weather around Thanksgiving and get it covered up before any rain. Leave it covered all winter until around Easter time and then uncover again. Use a waterproof cover or tarp to shield the top of the stack from rain or snow. Attach the tarp in such a way that any rainfall will direct away from the stacked wood onto the ground. Ensure the sides are left open for ventilation.

Airflow: Adequate airflow is crucial to prevent mold and rot. Avoid tightly enclosing the stack, as this can trap moisture.

Spacing: Leave a gap of at least a few inches between the stack and the ground or wall. This prevents ground moisture from affecting the wood. If you have wood siding you may want to avoid stacking the firewood near your house altogether and find a different location.

Elevation: Elevate the stack using pallets, bricks, or racks. This prevents ground moisture from seeping into the wood and helps in airflow.

Distance: Keep the firewood stack a reasonable distance away from the house to prevent insects and pests from easily accessing your home. At the same time try consider what your yard will look like in the winter with snow on the ground. Locating wood in an easily accessible area will make your winter burning much more enjoyable.

Indoors: A great pro-tip is to keep a few days worth of firewood inside your home. Instead of trying to light a fire with wood that has been stored outside in the wet and cold you’ll be giving it a head start as the moisture levels and temperature in your home will be much better than outdoors. We recommend keeping the wood in a small rack in the same room as your fireplace or woodstove and restocking this rack with wood from outside. An additional benefit is you can save the restocking for better weather and not have to trudge through the brutal cold should your fire need more wood on a cold night. If you only burn wood on the weekends try and get a rack that can handle 2-3 nights worth of burning. That way you can burn it during the weekend and restock your indoor rack on Monday or Tuesday so you’re ready to go for another weekend of fires.

Part 4: Maintenance and Safety

Maintaining your firewood stack ensures a steady supply of high-quality fuel and minimizes safety hazards:

Regular Inspection: Check the stack periodically for signs of decay, mold, or insect infestations. Remove any compromised wood promptly.

Rotating Stock: Use the oldest wood first. This prevents wood from becoming overly seasoned and ensures efficient utilization. It also gives any wood that isn’t quite seasoned a chance to catch up. A good rule of thumb is to burn your birches and maples early in the fire and then place a piece of oak on top of nice hot coals to enjoy a long burn.

Keep It Neat: Re-stack any fallen or shifted pieces to maintain stability and ensure proper airflow. Any wood that is left on the ground will quickly wick moisture back inside the wood fiber.

Safety Clearances: If storing firewood indoors, follow recommended safety clearances from combustible materials to prevent the risk of fires.


Proper stacking and storage of firewood are essential for maintaining an efficient heating system and enjoying the comforts of a well-kept fireplace or wood-burning stove. By selecting the right type of firewood, employing effective stacking techniques, and adhering to proper storage practices, you ensure that your firewood remains dry, seasoned, and ready for use. With these principles in mind, you can make the most of your firewood supply while minimizing waste, maximizing heating efficiency, and maximizing your enjoyment of the fire.