Covering firewood after it is cut and stacked is important if you want to be sure its quality will last for a long time.
Without covering firewood properly, you can easily ruin the wood and make it inefficient when burning.
The best materials to use to cover firewood are durable, water repellent, and breathable. Covers that are made of nylon or polyethylene are good examples of this.
Alongside these preferred materials, there are also specific ones that aren’t good for keeping firewood covered.
Just because a material is waterproof doesn’t mean that it’s designed for exposure to the elements for the long term, nor does it necessarily mean they are durable enough.
You must choose the material for your firewood covers carefully. Below, you’ll see what materials are best for the job.
In this article we will cover:
Why to Cover Firewood?
Though it might seem like a trivial thing at first, keeping your firewood covered is incredibly important to limit exposure to the elements. Below are a few reasons why this is true:
a) Ruins wood
If your firewood gets damp or wet in any capacity, it can cause mold to form or your supply to rot.
Wet wood on its own isn’t suited for burning, but wet wood that is moldy or rotting is even worse. In fact, if you have rotting or moldy wood, it’s best to just get rid of it.
b) Impedes use
When firewood is exposed to the elements, it is likely to be wet intermittently. This can slow down the process of natural seasoning.
Even when the firewood has been cured, it can cause safety issues due to the buildup of carbon monoxide and the excess smoke that is created.
c) Attracts insects and pets
Not covering firewood may make it more inviting to termites and other pests. Once termites have found their way into your firewood, it can be difficult to get them out.
Not keeping your firewood covered can cause a number of issues, so it’s always better to just play it safe and be sure that you are covering your firewood with the right materials.
Which Tarp Materials to Use?
As mentioned, the best firewood covers are ones that are easily ventilated and can keep the wood dry.
You’ll need to make sure the tarp cover can withstand inclement weather like rain, snow, and heat.
Ideally, a firewood cover should last for as long as six months, helping to protect the wood against the elements in the colder months. During this time, it is particularly vulnerable to moisture and dampness.
When you can, it’s better to opt for a strong material that can keep the firewood protected for many years at a time.
Below are a few properties of materials that resist water in some way:
Waterproof materials will not allow any water to get through.
The product you choose should have sealed seams for the best result as they can deal with a lot of pressure before they start to leak.
b) Water repellent
A water-repellent product is one that water has a hard time penetrating; usually, the coating applied to the product is what makes it repel water as opposed to the actual material itself.
Water-resistant materials can resist moisture but not at the same level as waterproof or water-repellent choices.
They won’t be much good for protection in any environment other than light rain.
It is ideal to choose a water-repellent or waterproof material to be confident of its performance.
Water-resistant materials can protect firewood during the warmer months that aren’t as wet, but in the fall and winter, they may falter in their purpose.
The best materials to use for covering firewood are:
|1- Polyethylene||This material is both waterproof and durable, so it is most commonly used to make tarps. It is also good at trapping and retaining heat as well.|
|2- Polyurethane laminate||Also known as PUL, this material is made of polyester fabric with a plastic backing. It is waterproof, flexible, durable, and breathable.|
|3- Gore-Tex||This material is super durable, waterproof, and quite breathable and is made of strong stretched Teflon.|
|4- Nylon||Nylon is very strong and water-resistant.|
|5- Vinyl||Much like nylon, vinyl is water-resistant, but it is not as long-lasting.|
These types of materials will do well to keep your firewood dry between uses.
Building materials including tin or shingles can also be used to protect and cover your firewood.
In some shops, you will find covers that are made specifically to protect firewood. These can be found in brick-and-mortar stores or ordered online.
Get a rough estimate of the typical size of your firewood pile before deciding on the dimensions of the product you need.
What Tarp Materials You Should Avoid?
When selecting a cover for firewood, avoid the following materials:
1- Laminated cotton
While this material is great to use to make clothing, it doesn’t do well when constantly exposed to the elements.
Even though this material is quite effective, it is better when used for smaller projects like purses and tablecloths.
Much like laminated cotton, this material is better used for clothing, even though it is naturally water repellent.
How To Cover and Store Your Firewood to Avoid Termites?
There are a few methods to consider when you’re covering your firewood:
1- Consider the sides
It’s important to let the cover hang down several inches on either side of the firewood pile.
In doing so, it can help keep snow and rain away from the firewood instead of allowing it to drip along with the cover and get all over the ends of the wood.
2- Secure it on top
The cover needs to fit over the top of the firewood and be secured in place.
The top of the stack of wood is thought to be the most vulnerable to snow, rain, and wind, so it’s imperative to make sure it’s properly covered.
3- Slanting the cover
Make the cover slanted so that it naturally provides an angle for snow, rain, and other elements to slide off.
This will stop the elements from pooling up on the top of the firewood cover.
Allowing water to sit on top of a flat cover will eventually ruin it.
You can use practically anything to tie down a cover from bricks to ropes and beyond. Just like the cover, it is ideal to use a material that is strong enough to withstand the elements.
For instance, nylon and polyester ropes are more durable than cotton ropes that will fray more easily.
When storing the firewood, keep in mind that termites can very quickly ruin them. These insects can even move from the firewood to your home and its foundation.
For the purpose of avoiding the possibility of attracting termites, it is best to store your firewood away from buildings and up off of the ground.
Follow the above information for covering your firewood.
Termites will nest, reproduce and live in the ground but show up in wood most often because that’s what they eat.
Keeping your firewood off the ground at least a few inches will make it more difficult for termites to get to it.
Alongside separating it from the walls and the ground, you should also keep your firewood stack far away from living trees.
The pests can easily jump from the trees to your wood in the same way they can leap from the ground to the woodpile.
Stacking Your Firewood – Tips and Best Practices
Purchasing firewood, whether it’s in a cord or a rick, can be a pricey venture, so the last thing that a consumer needs is for the quality and integrity of the firewood to become compromised.
When making such an investment, it is important to adequately prepare proper storage in order to not lose money or firewood.
First of all, if the delivery did not include stacking, the consumer should seriously consider stacking the firewood accordingly.
Wet vs dried logs
When the firewood is split and has dried, it needs to be stacked in a place that will be accessed conveniently, especially during the potentially snowy and cold winter months.
However, if the firewood delivered is either wet or still green, it needs to be dried and then split into pieces that are more readily usable for their intended purposes.
Drying the wood before stacking
One of the main reasons woods dry slowly is when it is stacked on the ground.
So, to expedite the drying process it is important to stack firewood off the ground. It can be kept off the ground in a variety of ways including stacking on pallets, bricks, or even wood logs.
The most common method tends to be to row-stack. This simply means that two stakes are inserted on opposite ends of the pile, and the firewood is then cross-tied between them.
To best stabilize such a stack, it is advised that during the wood splitting process, some of the pieces are cut into a square form and positioned on the sides of the stack.
This helps the entire stack to be more stable with the square pieces surrounding the perimeter.
Stacking Odd Shaped Firewood Pieces
One of the most frustrating things to deal with when attempting to store rounded or unevenly shaped firewood pieces is to have them persistently roll off the stack due to insufficient security.
Because these do not work nearly as well in terms of securing the pile’s integrity, some people believe that storing between trees yields a high level of stability for the stacks, but this is counterfactual.
Trees do tend to move and as they do, the sides of the stack become less secure, and slips occur, resulting in the pile falling apart, even if partially so.
Not only will the slipping pieces be frustrating to replace, but they will also look sloppy and careless, not a fine choice for impressing one’s neighbors.
Covering up your firewood with a dark plastic tarp is a good way to repel them, as it creates heat and will deter the termites while evaporating any moisture at the same time.
The only place you should never store firewood is inside your home. Firewood can attract rodents and insects that will then make their homes in the pile.
Hi, I am Mark Garner a professional carpenter, woodworker, and DIY painter. I live in the small city of Peoria, Arizona as a semi-retired woodworker. I have started this blog with a simple motive to help you with my wood experience in this sector. If you like to know more about what I love doing and how it all got started, you can check more about me here.