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to cover or not

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by mattjm1017, Apr 12, 2013.

  1. mattjm1017

    mattjm1017 Feeling the Heat

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    Corapeake NC
    Im building up my supply for the next couple of years Ill be stacking the majority of the wood out in the field near my barn which should give it plenty of sun and wind. The question that is coming up is should I cover the top with something or leave it completely uncovered? What are the benefits of both my biggest concern is when it rains or we get a hurricane would that impede the drying process?

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  2. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Depends on when you plan to use it. Best to stack in single rows the first year or 2 and top cover only. Don't drape the cover down the sides. That will tend to trap the moisture you're trying to get rid of.
    I don't cover, but I'm more than 2 years ahead. The wood stays uncovered until the year of use, then gets put in the shed after we've had at least a few dry days.
    I'd like to cover the drying stacks, but it's beyond me right now, and really isn't needed......in my situation.
    firefighterjake likes this.
  3. USMC80

    USMC80 Minister of Fire

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    This is my first year top covering, I still roll it back when I know its going to be nice for a couple days.
  4. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I'm with Papa . . . it may matter more depending on where you live in terms of climate . . . and when you plan to burn the wood.

    I have several stacks outside uncovered that sit in the rain and snow . . . but after a year or two outside they go under cover in the woodshed for another year and then in Year 3 or 4 they get burned.
  5. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    Beavercreek Ohio
    I'm top covering right now, but I am also in my first year of getting ahead so I will be burning it next year. I'm almost 2 years ahead so I am going to stop top covering once I get 3 years ahead. I plan on just keeping dry what I plan to burn next season.
  6. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I think my order of preference for seasoning firewood, if I had unlimited materials and space, would be 1. Covered in a nice airy shed or with a rigid top cover that allows lots of air movement; 2. uncovered; 3. covered with a tarp or plastic that hangs down the sides, holds in moisture, and keeps out fresh air. Strangely, method three seems to be the most popular method around here.
  7. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I started out not covering at all, then put a tarp cover on my "this winter" pile to make it easier to keep snow from packing in. Last spring I covered my entire "this year" pile with a tarp and I believe it helped quite a bit. Mind you, the tarp is a top cover only, comes down the sides about 1/2 to 1 split worth and is stapled all around in this manner. That pile is a large one - about 12'x8'x5' giving me somewhere between 3.5-4 cords in one place. Having it covered all summer and into the fall I do believe made a difference in terms of how dry the splits were when I burned. I certainly didn't find any signs of problems (mold in center etc) that I had feared would be the worst case so I think the air circulated well enough through sides of the 'wood borg' to keep that from happening.

    My other piles are typically double-stacked in rows about 12' long (4 pallets). As I had noticed quite a bit of leaf mulch in the tops of these piles when I moved them over I top-covered my new double stack last fall after I built it (same tarp stapled into first layer of splits). This seems to be working well enough at letting leaves etc blow off the top and not work in between the two rows of wood. I don't know if it will actually speed up drying or not, but I don't think it will hurt.

    I plan to top-cover all my new piles as I build them now and perhaps in a couple years I'll know if it really helps or not.
  8. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I think top covering if a long rainy period is coming is good, but most of the time leave it uncovered.
    I leave mine out in double rows, uncovered for a year then 2 years under a "wood-port" type shed
    until it's burned.

    But top cover for a Hurricane, would you, could you ?
    Not much chance the cover would stay on, most stuff would become flying objects

    If I had more time uncovered, I'd have to top cover the birch here,
    Mid Aug thu Sept is usually rain & a few years of that on birch & it's getting punky.

    Wood type,weather & when will it be burned are all factors to consider.
    Definitely cover the wood to be burned a month or so before burn season,
    Should be dry when you cover it ;)
  9. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I've been impressed actually that my tarps stayed on over the last year - we had 50+mph winds on several occasions and I believe 70+ was recorded not too far from me as well. Not quite "hurricane" but about as close as I've seen here (remnants of Sandy etc).

    I wish I could build a shed of any kind for the wood - but the only place I could do that would be down a significant hill in the back yard - not where I want to go for wood in the winter. My "this winter" pile is next to my driveway and anyone who sees it would believe it is on my land, but it technically is on my neighbors so I can't even put a shed there. The joys of being in 'the burbs' eh? The close neighbors also make it necessary to keep things neat/square and low visibility - my tarps are brown to help blend in...
  10. mattjm1017

    mattjm1017 Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks guys I guess Ill just have to assess what's what and go from there. I'm planning on over the summer building a pole barn off of a shed near the house to store the wood for the upcoming season thinking I can get 3-4 cord in it but I wont be moving it there until about September or October and Ill leave everything out in the field uncovered. I do like the idea of using some kind of corrugated roofing for covers maybe Ill make some type of removable tops to put on in case of inclement weather.
  11. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I top cover all my stacks all winter. Don't move them from where they are drying ever. One step stacking for me. Use heavy duty folded tarps, roofing material, plywood, whatever I have handy. Keep everything uncovered Spring, Summer and Winter, just keep the covers stacked/folded beside the stacks, and topcover when any significant rain is expected. Just takes a few minutes, not any longer than our other storm prep: tools inside, clothes off the clothes line, car windows closed, dog inside, etc. Last summer we never had to cover the stacks at all...no rain:(.

    I bring a few days worth of wood in at a time...have a circular rack that holds about three days worth, and also fill a few "President's Boxes" with splits...generally start with four days worth, don't bring more in until that is gone unless we are expecting a storm. This gets my wood to room temp before I put it in the fire, dries any surface moisture that has gotten on the end of splits from snow (I knock any actual snow off before bringing the splits in).

    Works very well for me. My wood is nice and dry. I find not top covering 3/4 of the year except during bad weather
    keeps the stacks a bit dryer, and also far less hospitable to mice. May be just because they aren't covered; may be because I move covers off and on, and so am doing stuff to the stacks from time to time.
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Top covering and no covering both have some advantages depending upon your climate. Imagine the stack below without covering and that was just from one snowfall. We top cover but not the first summer. We typically have our wood split and stacked by now and leave the stacks open until late fall or early winter when we then top cover them. They stay covered until moved into the barn and we usually move the winter's supply into the barn in October.

    Christmas-2008a.JPG

    Old wood.JPG
    BobUrban likes this.
  13. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    I top cover but I put a pallet on the top of the pile, then a cover and then another pallet on top of the cover. The first pallet lets the stack "breathe" and the section pallet keeps the cover from flying off in the wind. I always make sure the pallets hang out a bit longer than the firewood to keep most rain and snow off the pile.
    Woody Stover likes this.
  14. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    This season I burned oak that's been split, stacked, and tops covered with rubber roofing material for 5+ years.

    I split it, stack it on pallets, cover the tops with rubber roofing, and forget about it for a couple years.

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