Will Firewood Dry In a Pile?


Cutting, splitting and stacking firewood is a long process, but that’s not what takes up the majority of your time. You have to wait for your wood to properly season and dry out so that it’s easier to burn. So do you actually have to stack up your wood? Or Will firewood dry in a pile next to your logsplitter?

Yes firewood will dry in a pile, but it won’t dry evenly. Only the outside edges will dry within quickly. The wood on the inside of your pile will take forever to dry and the bottom may start to rot. Stacking your wood allows adequate airflow ensuring everything gets properly seasoned in about 6 months.

After a long day cutting/splitting firewood it can be tempting to walk away and leave your pile to dry on its own. Don’t be stupid and let all your hard work go to waste! Take the extra time to stack your wood so you don’t end up with a rotten mess.

Keep reading to find out how to properly stack and store your wood. You might be surprised that most people are storing their wood wrong!

Will Split Firewood Dry In A Pile? Does Firewood Dry Better Stacked or Piled?

So you just had a load of firewood delivered and it was dumped into a giant pile next to your driveway. It can be tempting to just leave the wood in the pile and pick off pieces as needed. Yes your firewood can dry, season and be ready to be burn in a pile, but there are some major issues with taking that approach.

The outside pieces might dry fast, but forget about the wood buried deep inside the pile. It will take so long for the entire pile to properly season. You won’t have sun and adequate airflow as you get deeper into the pile.

Wood on the top of the pile will season in the same amount of time as if it was in a neat stack. The middle will take a few years and the bottom will probably rot before it seasons. If you start to get leaves on top maybe the entire pile with rot before it seasons.

You don’t want to deal with rotten fungus covered wood. You can still burn fungus covered wood, but it may cause allergies. Burning rotten wood won’t cause problems, but it burns fast and it’s hard to light.

Stacking Your Wood So It Dries Fast

Stacking your wood isn’t that hard. Find a nice sunny spot away from the house and start stacking. This will allow the sun and wind to work its magic. Your wood stack will slowly season and dry out over the next 6 months(instead of years). Plus you won’t have to worry about fungus, mold and rot.

Always try to stack your wood so that the bottom row is up off the ground. Placing the wood directly on the ground will lead to moisture problems and cause the wood to quickly rot. I recommend stacking the wood on pallets, or a pair of 2×4’s spaced 12-16 inches apart.

You might even want to build a wood shed so it doesn’t get rained on. Make sure the outsides edge is open so there’s adequate airflow.

Most people recommend stacking firewood with the bark on top. It won’t make that much of a difference, but you won’t have to worry about water getting trapped underneath the bark. The rounded edge allows the rainwater to drain instead of soaking into the wood.

How Long Will It Take Stacked Wood To Dry?

It’s hard to say exactly how long it will take for your wood to dry. There’s a reason why it’s called seasoning wood. You have to wait one full growing season (1 year) for stacked wood to dry out. That’s assuming a few of those months will be cold and wet in the winter.

Your wood will dry in about 6 months during the summer. So if you cut/split all your wood in the spring it should be good to burn during the upcoming winter. Some species might take longer, but the majority of your wood should be good to go.

At the end of the day it’s hard to say how long it will take for firewood to dry. It all depends on where you live and how hot it is outside. I live in Ohio and I try to get all my wood split by the end of spring. That gives me all summer for the wood to season so it’s ready for winter. If I wait until summer to start cutting/splitting it won’t be done until the following season.

Plan on waiting at least 6 months for the wood to dry if you live down south. Some hardwoods might take longer.

Should I Cover My Firewood Pile With a Tarp?

This is one of those questions that’s hard to answer. I never cover up my firewood with a tarp. The wood still ends up getting wet from condensation and your trapping the moisture inside. It will take forever to dry without airflow and the sun beating down.

Use an open side wood structure if you’re worried about the wood getting wet. You will still get proper ventilation and it will keep rain from soaking into the wood. A little bit of rain shouldn’t be a problem.

Leaves Are The Enemy

I don’t care how neatly your wood is stacked. If the stack gets covered in leaves the wood will eventually rot. All the leaves fall in the cracks, decompose and completely eliminates airflow. There’s absolutely no chance of seasoning wood that’s covered in leaves.

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