So you have a giant pile of firewood after days of cutting and splitting firewood, now you’ve got to find somewhere to store it. Stacking it up neatly near the house seems convenient since but are there any hidden dangers? Is it safe to stack wood next to the house?
You can store firewood against your house for easy access, but it will draw insects, rodents and other pests into your home. I recommend keeping your wood pile at least 30 feet away from the main door you use. That’s close enough for easy access, but far enough away to deter critters from entering your home.
Why do I see so many people with firewood stacked up along their house if it’s such a bad idea? It all boils down to convenience. Most people are lazy and don’t want to walk 30ft in the freezing cold. Continue reading to find the best place to store firewood if you’re willing to put in the extra work to keep pests out of your house.
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Can I Stack Firewood Against My House?
Nothing is more relaxing than a roaring fireplace on a chilly night. The warmth, smell, and general ambience makes you want to lay back and cozy up for the night. There’s just something about a good fire that puts us at ease.
If you plan on having a lot of fires this winter you’ll need to have a fair amount of firewood, but where are you going to put it? Wouldn’t it be convenient if you could stack wood right outside your front door? Nobody wants to trudge through the snow with their trusty log carrier (my favorite) and drag load after load of wood back to their fireplace or wood burner.
Lots of people stack firewood against the outside of their house. Stacking your wood against an exterior wall keeps them conveniently close and your houses eaves will provide easy protection from the snow/rain. It’s easy to see why so many people choose these spots for firewood storage.
I would always store a small pile of wood on my front porch for easy access on cold mornings, but things had to change. After years of dealing with insects and mice in my house a pest control expert finally told me that I needed to move that wood pile. A few months later my insect problem went away and I never had to bring him out again.
Here’s Why It’s Bad To Store Firewood Against The House
Knowing where to stack your firewood is just as important as knowing how to stack it. Everybody likes the convenience of stacking firewood just outside their door, but you can run into a lot of problems. There’s one huge reason why it’s a bad idea to store wood alongside the house.
Firewood piles are the perfect home for insects, spiders, mice, snakes, and other pesky critters. I used to regularly find snakes sunning themselves right next to my wood pile on my front porch(drawn to rodents/insects). I’m horribly afraid of snakes so that wasn’t fun.
Plus a giant pile of wood draining onto your house isn’t great for the foundation, but that’s another issue that I won’t get into. Here are a few of the many pests that you’ll run into in your wood pile.
1) Insects Call Firewood Piles Home
Carpenter ants, termites and other insects like to call firewood piles home. You don’t want them to move from their nice cozy wood pile and wreak havoc inside your home.
Carpenter ants are particularly destructive to any type of wood structure. They hollow out logs and boards to build nests leaving a path of destruction. Ants follow the wood grain on logs creating long, smooth hollows. You don’t want them to do that in your walls. You’ll notice small piles of sawdust alongside your walls if you have a carpenter ant infestation. Call an exterminator to take care of them fast before they do major damage.
Termite nests containing the queen are in the ground so they don’t pose the same danger as ants, but they will still tear up a house. They bore through wood leaving behind large tunnel trails. Store firewood alongside your home is like ringing the dinner bell. They will happily move on from their wood pile and tear your house a new one. Look at the picture of termites in the picture above. You don’t that to happen to the boards in your walls.
Bringing infested firewood into your home won’t cause problems if you burn it right away. Just don’t let bug filled firewood sit for several days before using it. You don’t want to give the ants enough time to warm up and leave their nest.
2) Mice Rats and Other Rodents
A neatly stacked wood pile is the perfect home for rodents. This is the main reason why I needed to move my wood pile off the porch. I couldn’t keep mice out of my basement. They would crawl under my porch and somehow find a way into the house. It didn’t matter what I would do they wouldn’t stay away.
Chipmunks, squirrels, and rats are another serious problem. We all know how nasty rats can be, but chipmunks and squirrels can cause serious damage. Get a squirrel in your attic and you’ll have expensive repairs. They’ll tear through your roof, walls, rip out insulation, and leave poop and nuts everywhere.
3) Beware of Snakes and Spiders
Insects and rodents in your wood pile will draw in snakes and spiders. I’m a 6ft 230lb chicken when it comes to snakes/spiders. I scream like a little girl and run away knocking down every man, woman and child in my path. Thank god my wife is a snake lover and can handle them.
So naturally I will do anything possible to keep snakes/spiders away from my house. Moving the firewood pile away from the house will remove their food source. They’re almost 100% food driven! So take away the food and they won’t come back.
How Far Away From My House Should I Stack Firewood?
I recommend stacking firewood 30 ft away from your main door. It’s close enough to not be a serious pain in the butt and far enough to keep pests away. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the pile has to be 30ft from the house, but farther is always better.
As a general rule, keep the wood pile at least 15-20 away from any exterior wall. I understand that’s not possible in every living situation. So try to keep the pile as far away from your house as space allows.
The Right Place To Store Firewood
Finding the perfect place to store firewood is easier said than done. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t consider firewood placement when buying my home. Here’s how I would choose the best firewood location in an ideal world.
- Look for a breezy area of your yard. Think about where your house/property forms a natural wind tunnel.
- Keep the wood 15-20 feet away from any exterior wall and within 30 ft of the main door you’ll be using. That will prevent pests from entering your home and minimize the inconvenience of needing to walk out for firewood.
- Stack wood a few inches away from any structure to promote airflow. Leave the sides exposed and get the wood up off the ground to prevent rot. Burning rotten wood won’t make you sick or anything, but it’s not ideal.
I highly recommend building a covered firewood rack or building a commercial product (costs less than $60 for rack/cover). At the very least you’ll want to keep your wood up off the ground by stacking it on pallets or 2×4’s.
Covering up your wood and getting it up off the ground will speed up the seasoning process and significantly reduce the chance of an insect infestation. You can kill insect infestations by spraying them with a boric acid based insecticide (Zap-A-Roach is my favorite). Boric acid is completely non-toxic to humans/pets unlike traditional insecticides. So it’s perfectly safe to burn both inside and out.
Buy or Build a Covered Firewood Rack
Building a firewood rack is the best way to deter bugs and take care of your firewood. The only problem is that it takes some skill and a little bit of money that most of us don’t have. The rack in the picture above cost $200-300 with current lumber prices. I was able to save some money by using pressure-treated fence posts ($1.80 each) on the sides/bottom instead of paying for traditional lumber.
If you don’t have the skill/money to build a wood shed you can always buy one. I really don’t like the metal firewood racks that you see in most stores. They feel really flimsy and tend to rust/rot away after a few years.
Instead of buying a ready made rack I recommend buying firewood rack brackets (my favorite) that you use with pressure treated 2x4s. It will take less than 5 minutes to build and your rack will be much sturdier. After buying the lumber your firewood rack should end up costing less than $50.
Pair that rack with a cheap firewood cover and you’re good to go. I highly recommend the REDCAMP firewood cover. It’s available in 4ft and 8ft sections and it’s really well made for the price. I bought one over 5 years ago and it’s a little faded, but still in excellent condition overall.