Seasoning and Stacking Firewood
Heating & Cooling Air Quality

How To Super-Season Your Firewood For The Best Blaze

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Firewood can be a great way to add warmth and atmosphere to your home, but only if it’s properly seasoned.

What Does Seasoned Firewood Mean?

Seasoning firewood is the process of allowing it to dry out so that it burns more efficiently and doesn’t produce too much smoke.

Seasoned firewood is wood that has been cut and then left to dry for six months to a year to the point where it’s ready to burn.

This process is also called “curing”. Seasoning firewood makes it burn better and it produces less smoke. It also reduces the amount of sap and resin in the wood, which can create sparks and cause creosote build-up in your chimney.

How Is Wood Seasoned?

One of the most important things to consider when purchasing firewood is whether or not it is seasoned. Seasoned wood is wood that has been cut and allowed to dry for a period of time, typically six months to a year.

This process allows the moisture in the wood to evaporate, making it much easier to light and burn. Seasoned wood will also produce less smoke and smell better when burning.

Why Does Firewood Need To Be Seasoned?

One of the most important steps in preparing firewood for use is to season it properly. There are a few reasons that seasoning your firewood is vital:

  • Wet or unseasoned wood can cause creosote buildup in your chimney, which can lead to chimney fires. Seasoned wood burns hotter and cleaner, producing less smoke and creating less creosote buildup.
  • Seasoned firewood lights more easily than unseasoned wood and results in a more satisfying and productive burn.
  • Using seasoned firewood will be much more efficient, so you’ll use less wood overall.
  • Removing the moisture from the wood through seasoning also helps to prevent mold and rot from developing.
  • Seasoning also helps to prevent pests from infesting your woodpile.

How To Tell If Wood Is Seasoned

Green vs seasoned wood

To tell if wood is seasoned, look for these signs:

  • Seasoned wood is dry to the touch.
  • The ends of the logs should be cracked or splitting.
  • The wood should be a deep brown color, darker than green wood.
  • The bark should be peeling off easily.
  • The wood should be noticeably lighter than when it was freshly cut.
  • There should be no fresh sap on the surface of the wood.
  • Seasoned wood will make a hollow sound when you knock two pieces together. If it makes a dull thudding sound, it’s not ready to burn yet.
  • Another way to test the moisture content of your wood is with a moisture meter. This tool can be inserted into the end of a piece of wood, and it will give you a reading of the moisture content. Ideally, you want your wood to have a moisture content of 20% or less.

How Long Does It Take To Season Wood?

It takes anywhere from 6 to 24 months to season firewood, depending on the type of wood and the weather conditions. If you live in an area with high humidity, it may take longer for the firewood to season.

Hardwoods like oak and maple take longer to season than softwoods like pine and cedar.

How Long To Season Pine Firewood?

Pine firewood should be seasoned for at least 6 months to allow the sap to evaporate and prevent it from smoking when burned. The best way to season pine firewood is to split it into small pieces and stack it in a dry, sheltered area until it is ready to use.

What Wood Is Best For Burning?

There is no definitive answer to this question as different types of wood can burn differently depending on the tree’s species, age, and moisture content.

However, some woods are generally better for burning than others. For example, hardwoods like oak and maple tend to burn hotter and longer than softwoods like pine.

Also, softwoods tend to create more sparks and can be more difficult to control when burning.

How To Season Firewood

There are a few different methods that can be used to season firewood, but the most common is simply to split the logs and then stack them in a dry, sheltered location for several months. This allows the water within the wood to evaporate, leaving behind drier, lighter wood that will burn more easily.

This method usually takes a minimum of 6 months to season the wood, so it is important to be patient, but it will be worth it!

Here is what you need to know to season your firewood:

  • Start the seasoning process in early Spring. If I have no wood at all, I like to source more than I need for this year, so I know I’ll have some ready to go for next year.
  • Choose the right wood. The best firewood is hardwood like oak, maple, or cherry. These woods burn hot and slow, giving you a longer-lasting fire. Avoid softwoods like pine or cedar, as they tend to burn quickly and produce a lot of sparks and smoke.
  • When you buy firewood, it usually comes in either rounds or split logs. Rounds are just what they sound like: whole logs that have been cut from the tree. Split logs have been divided into halves or quarters by a saw and are the most common type of firewood.
  • Cut the wood into uniform pieces that are a few inches less than the width of the firebox in your wood stove or a length that is convenient for the fireplace. This will help them dry evenly and they will be easy to handle when you’re feeding your fire.
  • Split the wood if necessary. This will help expose more of the surface area to the air, allowing it to dry more quickly. Use a wedge and sledgehammer to split the logs into pieces that are about 6 inches in diameter or use a log-splitter.
  • Store the firewood in a dry place where it will get plenty of air circulation. A woodshed or covered porch is ideal.
  • The wood should be stacked in a way that allows for good air circulation around each piece of wood. It is important to ensure that the wood is not stacked too tightly together, as this could inhibit the drying process.
  • The wood should be placed on a raised platform, rack or pallet to help promote air circulation. This will also stop the bottom layer from rotting and the growth of mold.
  • Cover the woodpile with a tarp or other breathable material. This will help protect it from the elements while still allowing air to circulate. Cover the top of the stack with a tarp or piece of plywood to keep rain and snow off but leave the sides open so air can circulate.
  • Avoid storing the wood indoors, as this can lead to mold and mildew growth. Only store enough wood inside for the next few days, or enough to last until the forecast storm passes.
  • Check the wood periodically to make sure it’s staying dry; if it starts to get too wet, it will need to be re-stacked. Remove any pieces that start to rot or mold. These pieces will not season properly and can contaminate the rest of the stack.
  • Have patience. The most important thing to remember when seasoning firewood is to be patient. It can take a long time for the wood to properly season, so don’t give up hope if it doesn’t seem to be drying as fast as you’d like.

Seasoned firewood should be used within 1-2 years of being cut to ensure that it burns well, but if it is stored well, it can last 3-4 years.

Once your wood is properly seasoned, it’s important to store it in a dry place so that it doesn’t absorb any additional moisture. A good way to do this is to build a woodshed, or simply stack your wood off the ground and cover it with a tarp.

Whichever method you choose, make sure that the wood is completely dry before you bring it inside to use in your fireplace. Otherwise, you may end up with a smoky fire that doesn’t produce much heat.

Should Firewood Be Covered While Seasoning?

Whether to cover the wood depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of wood, the climate, and how long you plan on seasoning the wood.

In general, however, it is a good idea to cover firewood while it seasons, to protect it from the elements and prevent it from getting too wet.

  • You can use a tarp or some old plywood.
  • Leave the sides open so the air can circulate and to discourage critters.
  • To hold the cover in place in the wind, tie the tarp down or pile some branches on top.

Firewood stacked and covered


How To Season Firewood Indoors (Or Not)

One way to season firewood indoors is to use a wood-drying kiln. These devices work by circulating air around the wood, which helps to evaporate the moisture from the wood. Most wood-drying kilns can be used either indoors or outdoors; if you’re using one indoors, make sure to vent it properly so that the moisture and fumes don’t build up inside your home.

If you’re planning on doing seasoning from green to dry, it will take at least twice as long inside as it does outside. I know that sitting your green wood by a roaring fire would seem like a good way to season it, but honestly, a nice breeze and sunshine will do wonders for your green wood.

And keep in mind that if you bring green wood into your house, you’ll bring in all the critters, mold, and lichens with it. Well-seasoned wood has none of these additions.

Unless you happen to have a wood kiln hanging around, seasoning your wood outside is the best idea.

If the wood has been seasoned, but it got slightly damp in the rain, you can dry it out by the wood stove, but seasoning from scratch inside? Bad idea.

How To Season Firewood Fast

Fast Seasoning Outside

If you need to use your firewood in a few months rather than the normal drying period, you can try one or more of the following methods to speed up the seasoning process outside:

  • Cut the wood into small pieces and split it. This will help the wood to lose its moisture faster. Using a log splitter will make the process easier.
  • Put the wood in a sunny spot. The heat from the sun will help to dry out the wood.
  • Check the wood regularly. Make sure that the wood is drying properly by checking on it periodically. If it doesn’t seem to be making progress, move it to a drier spot or add more protection from the elements.

Or You Spend Some Money And Do It The Easy Way….

You can buy a wood drying kiln, which speeds up the process by circulating air around the wood. This method is often used by commercial firewood suppliers to speed up the seasoning process. Wood kilns can be used inside or outside.

The wood is placed in a controlled environment and heated to a certain temperature for a period of time. This helps to draw the moisture out of the wood more quickly than other methods.

After the wood has been seasoned in a kiln, it will be ready to use immediately.

Stacking Your Firewood

How Far To Stack Firewood From The House?

You should stack your firewood at least five feet away from your house and never in contact with the walls or foundations of your house. This will help to prevent pests from coming into your home and will also reduce the risk of fire. If you have a lot of firewood, you may want to consider storing it in a shed or other structure that is further away from your house.

How Long Will Stacked Firewood Last?

Stacked firewood will last a long time if it is properly seasoned and stored. Seasoned wood has been cut and allowed to dry for at least six months. The best way to store firewood is in a dry, well-ventilated place. Covering the wood with a tarp or plastic sheeting will help protect it from the weather. Stacked firewood can last for several years if it is properly cared for.

Firewood Stacking Techniques

Criss Cross Method For Firewood Stacking

One of the best ways to stack firewood is by using a technique called the “criss cross method.”

The crisscross method of stacking firewood is a great way to maximize space and keep your woodpile neat and tidy. It also ensures that there is good air circulation around your wood.

To stack your wood using the crisscross method, simply lay pieces of wood perpendicular to each other at the bottom of your woodpile. Then, alternate stacking subsequent pieces of wood in a cross pattern on top of the first set of pieces. Depending on how many pieces you start with, you may end up with a square or rectangular “tower”.

This method of stacking ensures that all of your wood is easy to access and helps prevent your woodpile from toppling over.

You can either stack all of your wood this way, or you can build two “towers” using the criss cross method and stack the rest of your wood in between in a less formal way. The towers should ensure that the pile won’t fall over, but if you’re worried about that, you can drive a stake into the ground at either end of your woodpile.

Firewood criss cross pattern

Stacking Firewood Between Trees

If you’re looking for a way to store your firewood that is both space-efficient and aesthetically pleasing, stacking it between trees is a great option!

Benefits Of Stacking Firewood Between Trees

  • It can help to protect the wood from the elements, thereby keeping the wood dry and out of the reach of moisture.
  • It can provide protection from pests and other animals that may otherwise damage the wood.
  • Using this method will this save you valuable storage space in your shed or covered porch.
  • Stacking firewood between trees can help to create a barrier against strong winds, which can prevent damage to your home or property.
  • Stacking firewood this way can also make it easier to access when you need it, as opposed to having to climb over a pile of wood that is stacked on the ground.
  • It will also add a rustic charm to your property.

Disadvantages Of Stacking Firewood Between Trees

  • If the wood is not properly seasoned, it can attract insects.
  • The weight of the wood can damage the tree’s bark.
  • In some cases, the tree’s roots can be damaged if the stack is too heavy, but hopefully you’ll use the wood fairly quickly.
  • Consider the animals that live around you because stacking firewood using this method can potentially make it difficult for animals to get to the food and water they need.

Firewood stacked between trees

Firewood Racks

You might want to purchase or make a rack for your firewood. A firewood rack gives you easy access to the wood, ensures it won’t topple over and stays neat, and it looks good. These racks from Amazon will give you some ideas:

Combining Wood Types

If you’re looking to add a bit of variety to your woodpile, you can try stacking two different types of wood. This can give your woodpile a unique look and can also be helpful if you want to use dual woods when you’re feeding the fire.

Whichever method you choose, be sure to place the wood on a level surface and leave plenty of space between each log so that air can circulate freely.


By following these tips, you can be sure that your firewood is properly seasoned and ready to use. Seasoned firewood will burn more efficiently and produce less smoke, making for a better experience all around.

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