Nothing beats a roaring fire on a cold winter day, but what should you do with your firewood now that summers finally here. As temperatures start to rise, is it better to leave your wood exposed with the sun beating down on it, or should you cover the wood up with a tarp to protect it from the rain? So, should you cover firewood in the summer?
Firewood needs to breathe throughout the summer so don’t cover up the entire stack with a waterproof tarp. Improve ventilation through the sides of the wood by only covering up the top. This protects most of the wood from the rain, while still allowing proper airflow.
You might not be dealing with endless snow, but spring/summer can bring a lot of rainfall. Covering up your wood will keep it dry to make sure you have an optimal burn all year long. Here are a few tips to help you store firewood this spring and summer.
Why Would I Cover Firewood In The Summer?
You’ve made it through winter and have lots of leftover firewood that you didn’t burn through. What should you do with all that firewood now that spring/summer is rolling around. Do you really need to cover firewood in the summer? Dealing with a tarp every time you go to grab wood can be a serious pain in the butt.
It doesn’t matter how nice the weather is. You should always cover up your firewood. Build/buy a nice rack to get your wood up off the ground and find a way to cover it up. Just make sure you leave the sides exposed to the elements to promote airflow. The little bit of rain that lands on the sides of your wood will dry up in a day or two when exposed to the summer sun.
So why bother covering already seasoned wood? Honestly, a little bit of rain won’t hurt your firewood. The sun and breeze will dry out the wood in a day or two. Problems only start to arise when dealing with repeat rainstorms over a prolonged period of time.
Firewood Probably Won’t Rot From Summer Rain
I’m a bit of an optimist, but I’d be willing to bet that your firewood probably won’t rot if it’s only uncovered in the summer. Most people burn through all their wood within a 2-3 year timeline and that’s not long enough to develop rot. Unless the woods left on the ground uncovered throughout the winter.
There’s a lot of guys that don’t feel like dealing with a tarp. They’ll take a little bit of moisture not to deal with constantly covering and uncovering their wood. A cheap firewood cover (my favorite) would be a better idea, but some people are lazy.
So what’s the big deal if your wood probably won’t rot? You will end up with minor rot from prolonged water saturation and that leads to bugs. Carpenter ants and termites will move in and tear through your wood. You can still burn it, but nobody wants to touch that nasty infested wood.
How Should I Cover Wood In The Summer?
Covering up your wood in the summer is fairly straightforward. You’ll follow the same basic steps you’d use in the winter and throughout the seasoning process. Keep the wood up off the ground, find something to cover up the top, leave the sides of the wood exposed to promote airflow, and try to get lots of sun. Your wood will stay dry and burn optimally if you find a way to follow all those steps.
- Raise The Wood Off The Ground: Build/buy some type of rack to get your wood off the ground and out of pooling water. I like to build racks using pressure treated 2x4s and firewood rack brackets (these ones). They’re reasonably priced and you can put a rack together in less than 5 minutes. After buying all the lumber your rack should cost less than $50. It might be a little cheaper building a rack from scratch, but you can quickly hot swap boards after they start looking like crap in 5-10 years. I’m willing to bet I’ll save money in the long run.
- Cover It Up: Covering p your wood will keep off the rain and prevent pooling water. This will significantly reduce rot and speed up the seasoning process. It really doesn’t matter how you cover the wood. All it takes is a cheap tarp with the sides left open.
- Allow Proper Air Circulation: Leave the sides of your wood exposed to promote proper airflow. Build a rack with good side/back ventilation or only cover up the top of your wood with a tarp.
- Find a Sunny Spot: Try to find the sunniest spot in your yard that’s still convenient for loading and using wood. Having lots of sunlight will dry out your wood fast and make sure the wood lasts for years.
If you pay attention to the above steps your firewood should last for years(easily a decade). Keep reading to learn a few tips on building/buying a firewood rack.
Building/Buying a Firewood Rack
I like to keep two separate wood piles during the summer. One of the piles is for long term storage. That piles raised up off the ground on cheap wood racks that I built a few years ago and covered with tarps. I don’t go through that pile at all during the summer.
The other stack is stored on a convenient wood shed like the one pictured above. My wood stays covered, but I don’t have to deal with constantly tarping and un-tarping my wood. You can always buy a cheap commercial rack to use or build one using firewood rack brackets.
I actually bought 8 sets of Mofeez Rack Brackets when I was building the racks for long term wood storage. You can put together an entire rack in less than 5 minutes with the brackets and standard pressure treated 2x4s. Instead of the usual 45 minutes to make a traditional wood rack. Plus you can swap boards out after the wood starts to look like crap in 5-10 years.
You can either cover that rack up with a standard 6×8 tarp or buy a cheap firewood cover off Amazon. I would take a hybrid approach if you’re trying to save money. Cover most of your wood with tarps and buy a cover for one stack that you plan on using for fires.
I really like the REDCAMP Firewood Cover that I bought a few years ago. Being able to quickly unzip your wood for easy access is a game changer. I’ve been known to build 30 minute fires just because I’m bored and want something to do while I’m soaking a cigar. That would never have happened when I had to mess around with a strapped up tarp.