1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

The value of covering wood piles

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by richg, Jan 16, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Messages:
    1,541
    Loc:
    Eastern Ma
    Oldspark: There have been posts claiming some "old timers" burned freshly cut wood, practically with the leaves still on the branches. Sounds like you are certainly not one of them, which is a good thing. Burning fresh cut wood efficiently defies physics.

    It seems like one person's successful practices are another person's mistakes.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. mtarbert

    mtarbert Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Messages:
    525
    Loc:
    Maryland
    I find that if I do not cover the tops leaves will accumulate and really hold the moisture in. Cover, cover !
  3. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,012
    Loc:
    West Friendship, Maryland
    I only have 2 trees on my property that drop leaves, not counting the 2 weeping willows, and none of these trees are anywhere close to my wood stacks. The 3 pine trees are on the back property line. So, all good with the living tree issue. They don't even shade the wood stacks.
  4. Richprint29

    Richprint29 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    Loc:
    Newton NJ
    I leave mine css but uncovered from May all through the summer. Then in September I cover the top with tarps. This works fine for me. The week it is burned it sits in my garage. ( attached to the house) So I don't have to go outside to fetch wood when I need it.
    ScotO likes this.
  5. westkywood

    westkywood Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    366
    Loc:
    Kentucky
    Rubber roofing rules. I got truck loads of it free. it was being torn off a hotel. They were going to throw it away anyway.
    Richprint29 and ScotO like this.
  6. westkywood

    westkywood Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    366
    Loc:
    Kentucky
    To comment on the 30 yrs plus of burning. I'm not singling anyone out, just making a general comment. Some people that have done "anything" for 30 years are set in their ways. With new EPA stoves, burning wood is different than 30 years ago. My brother is set in his ways. He has an old wood stove. He cuts Red Oak and Hickory, throws it in a pile ( no stacking ) in his wood shed ( so it is covered ), then he burns it the next year. Thats 1 year seasoned and not even stacking it. I tell him it takes 3 years to season even if it's stacked, but he wont listen. He says, " it heats my house just fine." But he has clean out his flew every 2 weeks.
    My point here is, things are different in wood burning that it was 30 years ago. I work hard ( as anyone does ) processing my wood so I want to get the maximum out of it. I'm sure the method not covering the wood works. But it certainly isnt a negative to cover it and I believe its an advantage. Especially if you've got years ahead on your wood stacks..
  7. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    This is the forth year with my summit so I know how the epa stoves work, I have never had a piece of wood sizzle since about 33 years ago when I learned water dont burn, the old stoves did not burn wet wood either (better than the epa stove but not that good, any one who tells you different is full of crap).
    So ya I am set in my ways because I like to burn dry wood, the wood I used in my old stove worked great in my summit.
    It is windy here in Iowa so that may have something to do with it.
    Did you read where I cover the wood that I will use for this winter is covered, I dont cover the wood while it is seasoning.
    I have a MM to play with and all my wood is dry and depending on type is 2 to 3 years old (some more) before it is burnt unless it reads 17% or so and then I dont care how long it has seasoned.
    So I will say it again and change it some, I HAVE BURNT DRY WOOD FOR OVER 30 YEARS!
  8. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Oh I forgot to mention there are some wood burning sites with people who are highly respected, (one guy from canada) who say on their site they never saw the need to cover their wood either, I will find the link for you, if you guys need to cover your wood fine but I dont need to, wind blows here all the time for the most part.
    Thistle likes this.
  9. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Yea I can understand that but with that Iowa wind the leaves dont stay on the wood for long.
    Thistle likes this.
  10. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Thank You
  11. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    From woodheat.org
    "Some people like to cover the drying wood pile. I do not. I’m basically a lazy guy and putting old steel roofing, plastic sheets or tarps over the pile means that I would have to chase them when the wind blew them off.
    The theory behind covering the wood is that it will dry faster because rain will not soak the pieces as they dry. My experience is that the wood is dry enough by the time I want to bring it to my wood shed. Of course I may have to delay my wood shed filling if my dry wood gets rained on. I may have to wait for a few days of sun after a rain to continue stocking my shed, but it’s a great excuse to put off a chore!
    If it makes you feel better to cover your wood, do it. If not, just make sure you pile it in the shed after a few days of sun.
    The most important rules for preparing good firewood are:
    Cut, split and stack the wood in the early spring and let it stand in the sun and wind until it is seasoned. For many people seasoning will take about six months. for others, it will be a full year, depending on climate and wood species."
    CW
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Right there in bold is the key. Less than 30" of rain and lots of wind. Makes a huge difference.
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan

    Humm. I've been burning over 50 years and have not made any drastic changes. Dry wood was the key 50 years ago but few learned that.
  14. westkywood

    westkywood Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    366
    Loc:
    Kentucky
    Absolutely agree on different areas of the country ( or world ) making a difference.
    ScotO likes this.
  15. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    The only time I cover my dry wood in the burning season is prior to rain,heavy wet snow or ice on the way.Otherwise they stay uncovered,especially any green wood,since it wont be burned for 12-18 months minimum anyway.

    Freezing rain after midnight here,about 1/10" so far,it stopped but roads are very dangerous & most church services/other events were cancelled for today.Warming to upper 30's later today,more light rain expected later,so this will be melting & roads back to normal.

    Glad I covered the truck & dry wood with tarps late yesterday afternoon.:cool:
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    That rubber roofing saved my ass this year, big time! We had literally MONSOON AFTER MONSOON this past fall, the wood that is covered with the rubber roofing is bone-friggin-dry. I will be using that stuff, even after I get the shed built, to cover the wood that's 2 years seasoned.......I'm three years ahead to date.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  17. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Yep brought wood in yesterday, slicker than deer guts on door knobs here.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  18. Butcher

    Butcher Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    530
    Loc:
    N. central Ia.
    We're gettin that ice up here right now. I could play hockey on the gravel road we live on iffn I wanted to. As far as covering wood goes, the only reason I cover up what I need to burn is so I dont have to dig it out of the snow. But like I said before, with the winds we get out here it's damned tough to keep anything on a wood pile.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  19. BEConklin

    BEConklin Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    340
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    Here in coastal CT our average rainfall is around 50" per year and our average humidity rate is 76%. I don't know what it's like in Iowa but the only "drying" winds we get are in Autumn and Winter - otherwise our winds generally come directly off the Atlantic and since we're the first land they meet, they're loaded with moisture. In the hottest part of summer our humidity is often 90%. I have a small stack of red oak out in my backyard, stacked single, off the ground in a open spot with sunlight from 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon in summer. We live on top of a hill..highest house in the neighborhood and it's always breezy up here....the oak is uncovered and it's got mushrooms growing all over it. Uncovered - it just doesn't seem to dry well at all.

    It's friggin, DAMP out here.
    ScotO likes this.
  20. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I think the key here when we talk about covering up is that you gotta do what's best for your location. Now, bear , you may as well just leave it uncovered and hose it with water every other day.

    Like BEConklin, it rains an awful lot here, too. Very humid most of the summertime as well, except for the occasional dry spell. I'm nestled in a valley between two mountains and while we DO get wind, it isn't constant. I've tried uncovered and covered, and covered wins hands-down for me.

    As for what to cover with, I've used tarps and dealt with the frustration of it.....from wind blowing them off, to them getting UV damage and shredding to bits (ended up ALL OVER THE NEIGHBORHOOD), finally got a great deal on used rubber roofing from a local demolition business and wow what a great thing to cover the stacks with.....

    I keep it on the stacks by using drywall screws with small washers on them, fold the roofing down over the top split and screw it to the splits on the top row around every 4' or so. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy in October, I had to install around 2000lbs of sandstone boulders on top of that roofing, but it worked. For the average breeze and even most big gusts, just the screws worked fine. But non-stop consistent hurricane forced winds, you need a backup plan (like the rocks). Backwoods Savage uses tin roofing and that would be awesome too. Again, you could use an occasional drywall screw and rocks to keep it on the stacks.

    I do NOT topcover the stacks until late summer (usually around September), letting the summer sun and wind do their thing. And I usually only topcover what I plan on using in a given winter season, but I had enough of that roofing to do next years' wood as well, so I went ahead and covered it too. It's looking very dry, no mushrooms or punk at all in there.

    If you live in the drier, windier climates, consider yourself lucky. I wish it was drier here in the fall (not TOO dry), but it usually isn't the case, in fact that's been quite the contrary the past several years.......
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  21. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,096
    Loc:
    Richmond, VA
    Just a thought: maybe the answer depends on the type of wood, size of the splits, average temps, average humidity, frequency and speed of wind, orientation of the stacks, amount of rainfall, length of time before burning. In other words, "Why just one answer?". It's possible covering makes a lot of sense for some and no sense for others...
    AJS56 and Backwoods Savage like this.
  22. OldLumberKid

    OldLumberKid Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2012
    Messages:
    281
    Loc:
    Sandyland
    I'm in humid and wet southeast New York near the ocean, too, and anything that keeps the rain off here is good news.

    As I read this, I am trying to figure out a better, cheap and effective way to keep my tarps from getting blown off, without putting steel stakes in the ground for the wide and kids and dog to trip over. Usually I just put a few pieces of off-cut wood on top of the tarps, but get a good wind and it blows up and the rain, sleet or snow gets in.

    The tarps have eyelets, so I could tie some weights, but nothing is coming to mind. Fishing weights I lost to seaweed at the bottom of the ocean years ago ;)

    Any ideas appreciated :)
  23. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,096
    Loc:
    Richmond, VA
    If you don't mind driving to West Virginia, you can have all the free rocks you need...

    P1020244 (1024x575).jpg
  24. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Some body on here suggested bunji straps between milk jugs filled with water on each side of the row of wood, it worked well for me, once in a while I had to readjust the jugs and straps due to the high wind here.
  25. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Agreed.....that is my whole point. I guess in one sentence the best advice I could give is "don't knock it 'til you tried it". I've gone the 'uncovered' route for several years, then started top covering. For my climate, it made a night and day difference......
    AJS56, OldLumberKid and Brewmonster like this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page