Firewood can be a tricky thing to store, and there are many things that you should consider before deciding what to do with it. It is important to know the moisture content of your firewood, as this will dictate how often you need to cover your pile. Read on for more information about why we recommend covering our firewood!
Some people think that covering firewood is a waste of time and money. That’s not the case! In this blog post, we will go over three reasons why you should be covering your woodpile for winter.
- It protects the pile from precipitation
- It prevents bugs from living in your pile
- Helps prevent mold growth on the logs
Should Firewood Be Covered?
I love when leaves are falling because that means it’s time to buy firewood. Firewood is the best way to stay warm during the winter, especially if you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove inside your house. But there is one question I get asked frequently about our firewood:
Should it be covered? Our answer is yes! We would not recommend purchasing uncovered firewood for any reason whatsoever and here are three reasons why we cover ours in storage containers every year.
First, firewood can be a major mess. I know it sounds strange to say that about burnt-up wood but the reality is that there are many pieces of bark and another debris leftover after burning your logs or rounds in the fireplace. Covering them will help you clean up way less often. It also means fewer bugs (if any!) get into your home which can cut down on pest control costs if you have an issue with rodents like me!
Second, even though we live in Ohio where winter isn’t nearly as harsh nor long as some other parts of the country, our firewood stacks do get covered by snow sometimes especially when they’re stacked right next to each other inside one container unit. We want them protected so that means we always cover our firewood.
Third, you want to protect your investment! Our wood is a big purchase each year and if it’s not protected from the elements then it will be exposed for too long which can cause some problems with bugs or doing weird things like cracking over time. Covering them also keeps moisture out of the wood as well as debris that might fall into your stack while they’re stored somewhere inside your garage, shed, etc., during winter months!
Do I have to put my firewood in storage containers?
No – but after sharing these three reasons why we do it every single year (and seeing how messy those stacks are without covering), I hope you consider putting yours away under a shelter this year!
Should Firewood Be Covered Outside?
Most people would say no. But we cover ours, and here’s why:
- It is the responsible thing to do. You wouldn’t leave your garden hose out in winter (or summer), so you shouldn’t let your firewood sit outside either.* The wood will last longer if it’s covered when stored outdoors since rain makes it more likely that mold & bugs can get into the logs or kindling.
- A tarp keeps leaves from blowing onto the stack of wood – when these collect on top of each other they reduce airflow which also contributes to breakage/firewood rot.
- If you live near a road with salt trucks during ice & snow storms, covering your unseasoned firewood protects them further while still allowing it to breathe.
- If you cover your firewood with a tarp, it should be one that’s white–this color reflects the sun better & helps keep wood drier since UV light can also break apart logs over time.* Make sure there are no holes in the covering so water or snow doesn’t get into your stack of firewood.
Example of an Outdoor Covered Firewood
Storage Firewood should be covered if it is not being burned. You can use a tarp, fireproof container, or another type of cover to protect the wood from rain and snow.
If you are burning your firewood outdoors without protection, there’s one more thing to consider: what about all that ash? As the heat burns away at your logs, they will turn into ashes – which means that when you’re done with them, they’ll still contain some sparks! This makes outdoor fires dangerous even after the flames have died down. To prevent this problem, make sure to store any leftover ashes in an airtight container so these hot embers won’t escape.
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Is it necessary to cover firewood in the winter?
Many people wonder if it is necessary to cover firewood in the winter. There are a few variables that may determine whether or not your woodpile should be covered up during these cold months of the year.
The type of wood you have
Some woods retain moisture more than others, so covering certain types could actually increase their risk for mold and mildew growth! It’s best to avoid this by not covering any moist pieces at all if possible. If they do get wet, try laying them out flat on top of each other where air can still circulate around them (underneath under your shelter). On warmer days when there isn’t snow falling from above, take advantage of the sun shining through and lay them out in direct sunlight. The sun’s rays will help dry out any excess moisture.
Snow covers it, so why should I bother?
Snow can actually insulate wood from the cold outside air and cause a fire hazard, especially if your home is heated by an indoor fireplace or stove. If there isn’t snow on top of your woodpile then you probably don’t need to worry about covering it up at all! But when there is heavy accumulation on top of your supply, it could be risky not to cover them with some sort of shelter that allows for fresh airflow while keeping the precipitation off.
You may consider taking down one side of a three-sided shed or lean-to just enough to fit whichever pieces have been covered in snow inside before piling it back up to finish off the remaining woodpile.
Where it tends to get wet
This is probably one of the most important determining factors when deciding whether or not you should cover your firewood in winter! If there are frequent periods of heavy rain, snowmelt, or just constant moisture surrounding your home then keeping them covered could be very helpful for preventing mold and mildew growth on top of your logs. Just make sure that any shelter you create allows airflow underneath so they can still dry out if needed. The best place for these pieces would be inside where both ends have ventilation (such as an open garage), but this isn’t always possible depending on space constraints.
How much room do I have?
If you live in a house with plenty of spare room then leaving them out uncovered during winter is probably fine. Just make sure they are stacked neatly to allow for airflow and that there isn’t any snow or heavy precipitation surrounding the area where you keep your woodpile. On the other hand, if you have limited space available inside (like in an apartment), it might be a good idea to cover up your firewood supply even when it’s not being used so mold doesn’t grow on top! Also, consider keeping them covered when storing them outside to prevent theft from occurring while also protecting against rain and snowfall.
Who uses the wood?
This final factor should definitely be taken into consideration depending on who will actually use these pieces throughout their lifespan!
If there are children or pets in the home, then keeping them covered can prevent accidental ingestion. Anyone who suffers from allergies should consider covering their woodpile due to the increased risk of breathing problems if they inhale too much mold and dust floating around on top.
Other factors you might want to include here!
If you have a specific shelter that works well for your firewood supply please feel free to share it with us in the comments below along with any other helpful tips you may have! Also, be sure to check back soon as we will continue updating this blog post throughout the winter season so everyone has access to all relevant information about protecting their outdoor fireplace supplies during cold months of the year!
Is it necessary to cover firewood with a tarpaulin?
When you buy firewood it may or may not come with a tarpaulin. If the firewood is covered, this means that underneath the tarpaulin are all of your wood pieces neatly stacked together so they are already ready to be used right away. This will save you time because there’s no need for further stacking and organizing when trying to keep them dry under cover from rain/moisture damage once delivered home.
The only downside I can think of is if someone buys wet wood thinking it was just recently cut but in reality has been sitting around collecting water for some time before being sold off as “dry” by an unscrupulous supplier. That said, it’s always best practice to ask upfront if the supplier has recently cut the firewood or if it’s been sitting around for a while.
If you don’t want to cover your wood with plastic tarpaulin, here are some other options:
- Buy kiln-dried wood which is naturally dry and can be used right away. You can also stack them in an open space but keep them covered from rain/moisture damage at all times. This will save time because there’s no need for further stacking when trying to keep them dry under cover from rain/moisture damage once delivered home (only this time you would leave them uncovered)
- Build or buy storage sheds that provide protection against moisture and wet weather conditions so they will last longer.
- Buy firewood from a reputable supplier who is known to have dry wood all year round so you don’t need to worry about covering them with anything as it will be ready for use right away upon delivery.
- For us, we always buy covered firewood because of the following reasons:
If left uncovered and exposed to water damage, I estimate that our entire stack would rot within two years which means more money spent on buying new ones every couple of seasons or less due simply to poor storage conditions (ie wet wood). Adding another 50 bucks worth of tarpaulin each time effectively adds up over time! This way it saves me money in the long run by keeping my stacks dry and lasting longer by protecting them from the elements.
It’s so much easier to unload covered firewood because all I have to do is simply lift off the tarpaulin, take out what I need for that particular season (which usually takes under a minute) then cover it back up with no further hassle involved, unlike uncovered wood which requires more work in order to keep it dry due to constant exposure of rain/moisture damage when not being used at any given time.
So should you buy covered or uncovered? For me personally, there are only benefits that outweigh having your own personal stack of firewood without buying coverage each time…unlike other people who would argue otherwise!
Is it necessary to completely cover firewood? Is it harmful to leave exposed wood?
No, you should never cover firewood. If this is done, then the moisture content of your seasoned or cured firewood will be adversely affected. This means that there are two scenarios for under-covering: either your wood won’t dry quickly enough (which can cause fungus development), or it may become too waterlogged and rot away before use! You need to keep in mind that some species (such as oak) require a longer drying time than other types such as ash – so better check first.
- You should only cover the top surface of firewood with a tarp or other breathable material. This is to keep the rain off and protect from debris such as leaves, dust, etc.
- It’s important to note that it is never advisable to cover firewood with plastic, which can trap moisture and cause rot.
- So in summary: only ever cover the top of your woodpile or stack (with a breathable material) and don’t subject it to any standing water.
Is it necessary to cover firewood during the season?
To each their own, but we cover ours. Why? Because we cover ours. Is it necessary to cover firewood during the season? There are a lot of differing opinions out there, and each individual has their own reasons for covering or not covering their firewood pile. But what does science have to say about this controversial subject matter? Let’s break down some facts:
- Firewood that is covered in snow will retain its moisture content because less air can get in (to evaporate water). This means you’re getting more bang for your buck when using smaller pieces; they’ll burn slower but longer.
- Covering wood keeps the rain off and reduces rot by keeping bark dry. However, if there is too much bark on the piece of wood (more than 50%), it will reduce the total BTU content.
- Firewood exposed to rain or snow may have a higher moisture content than firewood that isn’t exposed, which means less heat produced and more smoke when burning; keep this in mind for your next campfire!
So if you’re looking forward to having some warm fires on those chilly autumn nights, we recommend covering up your woodpile before winter rolls around (and definitely don’t forget about chopping down fresh trees!). It’ll help ensure good quality of burn and make sure every night is a cozy night by the fire with friends and family. Plus, who doesn’t like doing things out of habit? We cover ours—why not try it out yourself 😉
Environmental Protection and Firewood
One of the biggest concerns with firewood is that it can introduce into an area invasive species, such as insects or plant diseases. This means that if you buy your wood from a different state and then burn it in your home located in another state, there are some environmental risks involved. That’s why most states have laws against transporting untreated cut wood across their borders without inspection.
Aside from this risk, burning firewood also releases more greenhouse gases than using natural gas to heat your home. We recommend using pelletized stove fuel instead of traditional logs whenever possible because they use recycled sawdust pellets made by local manufacturers which reduces transportation costs for everyone while limiting global warming effects on our planet.
While we do sell heat-treated firewood, which eliminates the risk of introducing invasive species into a new area and is considered safe to ship across state lines. The wood has been treated with an environmentally friendly treatment that kills any bugs or diseases while leaving the wood practically unchanged from its original form. It also means you can avoid those expensive inspections required by other states for untreated cut logs.
- If you are going to burn wood, make sure it is dry. Not fully seasoned or aged but dry enough that the bark separates easily from the log with a sharp tip of your hand. This will reduce smoke and creosote buildup in your chimney which can be extremely dangerous if not careful!
- Another tip is to always have your fireplace/chimneys cleaned before using them again after the winter months. Creosote doesn’t happen overnight so neither should its clean-up process! A professional sweep does this for you at various intervals based on what type of product they use (which ranges widely). Ask about their maintenance program when hiring someone out next year – we’ve used ours once already and all I did was buy more pellets with the money saved!
- Don’t burn scraps or greenwood. I know some people are against this but if you have a shredder, making kindling is easy and convenient for next year’s fires! Plus it all gets used so nothing goes to waste. Burning anything other than seasoned firewood generally produces more smoke which causes creosote buildup faster. This comes from personal experience as well – just ask my dad about that first cold spell in October….
- One last thing on safety: never leave your fireplace/woodstove unattended when lit – even during winter months (and especially not right now). It takes less than an hour for our basement to go up in flames due to its to where we were burning…
Should firewood be covered?
Yes. Firewood should be covered when you’re not using it to protect it from the elements and bugs. Wood is porous, so if left uncovered in rain or snow for an extended period of time, mold growth can occur on its surface which isn't safe to burn. The fungus (a type of mildew) that grows on wood also emits a gas called 'creosote' during hot fires - creosote deposits will build up inside your chimney causing dangerous flue blockages over time. Covering your wood prevents this! We recommend covering all logs with either canvas tarps or vinyl covers (with an elasticized bottom), such as our Vinyl Log Covers.
How much firewood should I buy?
You can estimate a cord of wood will provide you with about 80 hours of heat, so consider the size and type of your fireplace when buying logs for your home – different types burn at different rates! For example, if you have a smallish log-burning stove that heats one or two rooms comfortably then get yourself a face cord (a smaller pile) to supplement any other heating sources in your house during cold weather days. If you're looking for something more efficient which provides consistent warmth throughout an entire room choose from our selection of larger diameter premium cut hardwoods such as sugar maple, white oak, or red oak to name a few good choices. More info on estimating how much firewood to buy here.
How should I store the firewood so it stays dry?
We recommend cutting your logs into convenient lengths, stacking them in a pyramid, and covering them with one of our Vinyl Log Covers for optimal protection from bugs & weather damage. If you're going away on vacation or want a little more space during colder months then stack your wood off the ground using cinder blocks as support - this way air can circulate all around the logs allowing any moisture to evaporate without causing mold growth! More info on storing wood here. What's better seasoned (dry) or green (freshly cut)? Green / freshly cut is best because droughts lead to shorter summers which reduces the wood moisture content. This means that freshly cut logs contain less water than seasoned ones which are more likely to cause your fire to smoke - very dangerous! More info here on dry vs green firewood...
If you are someone that enjoys sitting outside at night, enjoying the warm weather, and watching a fire crackle in your fireplace or pit, then perhaps this is not for you. However, if it seems like every time you go to start up your fires there is an enormous amount of smoke billowing out around them before they even get going; by all means, keep reading! We have two small kids who play on our porch regularly (and we’re constantly having to pick popsicle sticks off of our outdoor furniture), so I put my foot down about covering our wood after another winter full of hauling kindling inside covered in ashes only to try again later.