FAQs about Wood Racks
Why do I need a firewood rack?
When it comes to making the perfect fire, the most important factor is dry wood. Firewood racks are essential to maintaining proper wood for burning. They keep logs off the ground, properly ventilated, and protected from moisture and pests.
Firewood racks provide the necessary combination of airflow and water coverage to dry out fresh wood and keep seasoned wood protected. Wood racks also help prevent animals from grazing on your firewood. Insects like carpenter ants and termites love fresh wood, as do larger animals like beavers, rabbits, and rats.
Storing firewood properly also protects you. Recently cut wood can have 45% retained water, which will cause creosote to build up in your chimney if you burn it. Creosote is the biggest reason for chimney fires. Always burn seasoned wood!
How important is ventilation?
Proper air flow is the backbone of firewood seasoning. Moving air dries out any moisture in the wood and prevents mold from forming in between the logs. Stacking firewood in a rack instead of on the ground limits moisture from below and helps air circulate through the entire pile.
Where should I put my wood rack?
Firewood racks should always be placed at least 3-5 feet from your house and never inside. Storing wood too close to your home invites wood-boring pests over, who like to tunnel from wood into a house. The rule also applies to trees because insects can easily travel from trees to a stack of wood.
Keeping your pile away from any structures helps avoid drainage issues. Being too close to your home’s gutter runoff can saturate the wood during a storm!
It’s critical for your stack to stay dry on all sides. A cover keeps rain away, but you’ll also need to protect your pile against ground moisture. If you don’t have a patio or somewhere firm (not a lawn) to put the rack, try one of these methods:
- Build a concrete slab foundation
- Lay a few large patio stones
- Create a vapor barrier
Avoid any temptation to store your firewood inside, including a basement, garage, or attic. Bugs and rodents are attracted to wood sitting indoors, so skip the unwelcome visitors by keeping your pile outside. It’s not very risky to bring in a small amount for your fireplace, but don’t keep logs inside indefinitely.
Do I really need a cover for my wood rack?
Covering your firewood is necessary to prevent water from seeping in. When you stack wood in the open, it can easily become damp from rain, snow, and dew. Moisture slows down the seasoning process and wet wood shouldn’t be burned.
But be careful – if you’re storing completely fresh wood, it needs to dry. Covering fresh wood can create condensation and cause the wood to rot. Cover fresh wood if rain is coming, but otherwise, it needs to sunbathe.
If the wood is seasoned and ready to burn, you’ll need to cover it. Most firewood racks use half covers to leave room for air circulation. If you’re dealing with heavy snow and need extra coverage in the winter, consider a full-length firewood cover made of UV-treated fabric to prevent mold from growing.
A tarp will also work as a wood cover. Lay it over the top of your pile with a few inches hanging down. Don’t cover the sides as airflow is needed to dry the wood. Keep the tarp in place with some bricks/logs on top or rope/bungees.
Is there a method for stacking wood onto a rack?
Stacking firewood is your own work of art. Transforming a mess of wood into an orderly pile is something that fits every property’s aesthetic and it’s also crucial to your firewood’s drying process!
Firewood should be stacked into rows no higher than 4’. If you have wood that isn’t seasoned, stack it bark-side down to let moisture evaporate. If you’re stacking aged wood, layer it bark-side up to protect against snow and rain.
It’s always important to use the oldest wood first – called the “first-in, first-out” rule. Put the newest wood on the bottom and oldest on top so you use the right logs. This prevents pest infestations that occur when wood sits for too long.