Holz Hausen vs. The Normal Wood Stacks

We’ve all seen those round wood piles, Holz Hausens as some call. Maybe you’ve seen one in your neighbors yard, perhaps on the internet, but one thing for sure, it sparked your interest.

They say this method of stacking comes from Europe, and as far as i’m concerned, most things that come from that region must be good. Or am i?

Holz Hausen pros

A wood pile stacked in the Holz Hausen fashion.
Would you look at that!

“Holzmieten (Usedom)” by Gerhard Elsner is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Looks nice

I don’t know about you, but in my eyes a nicely built holz hausen is truly a work of art.

It really is a conversation starter – having one or two of them in your yard can truly add a lot to its look; the same can’t be quite said about the standard, square rows.

Needs less space

The reason why is because you can build one much taller than a regular stack.

The common wood rows can only go up so much, normally about 4 feet; after that point, they start losing much of the stability.

The holz hausens? You can build them as tall as you like, honestly.

I’ve heard of folks stacking some way up to 10 feet. Granted, going that high will make it much harder to comfortably keep piling the wood, but you get the point.

Being able to store the wood in a smaller footprint can be very much so crucial to a lot of homeowners. Not every one of us have big land to get those rows of firewood going.

Common row pros

Less work

Sticking to the classic, standard wood rows takes less thinking and doing (especially so when new at this), let me explain.

Holz Hausens are more of a thinking-person’s thing – you always have to be on the lookout for just the right splits to place in very much so particular order, to keep the wood going kind of inward.

If you fail to do so, the pile will simply fail and you’ll have to do it all again.

That’s not to say that traditional wood-row stacking doesn’t require any forethought, it’s just that i always find myself wasting more time cherry picking the right splits when making a holz hausen.

Dry quicker

This is a huge one. Holz Hausens season wood far slower, here’s the data:

Essentially even after more than 2 years, the oak that was stacked in a round pile was still not suitable for burning – 22% in moisture content.

The wood from the rows, on average, was about 5% drier – that’s the difference from being able to burn the firewood right away, to still letting it dry for more time…

And the guy hasn’t even taken the splits from the inside of the hausen! I can guarantee that the pieces there would be far worse.

Here’s more proof you can read about the same thing here.

All of this makes perfect sense, just think how a holz hausen is built.

It’s just a stack that goes around in a radius, with more wood piled in the middle. How can a pile of such sort work better than a single, long row of wood?

The moral of the story is…

Well, it should probably be clear by now that the well-known wood rows are just a better way to season firewood.

But don’t take this piece as just a negative review of those round piles – i do think they have their place.

In particular, they make a lot more sense for those who don’t have, or simply don’t want to use up that much space.

Aside from the seasoning speed, they really aren’t that bad to built. As a matter of fact, if you are many years in advance with your firewood prep, i think stacking a Holz Hausen can change things up a bit, in a good way that is.

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  1. HI Julius,
    I read you article here about testing holz hausen against traditional stacking. You referenced a video done by Eric on his channel “Life in Farmland” and an article done by David Soede. Unfortunately, there is a problem with both of these “tests”. Take a close look at the holz hausens these gentlemen built. In both cases the roof was built incorrectly. They both laid logs on the roof with the ends abutting each other instead of shingled. The roof on a holz hausen is made by shingling the logs (preferably flat splits) so the majority of the water is shed off the pile. Do an image search for holz hausen and you will see right away the difference between those that were done correctly and those that weren’t. The properly shingled roofs are easy to spot. Laying logs next to each other on the top isn’t going to work. If not shingled, the rain and snow melt runs right into the pile. They will perform no better than dumping the logs in a pile on the ground. I don’t know if a holz hausen is better or not for drying and I applaud their efforts but if you are going to test head to head you have to build the holz hausen the right way or it’s not a fair test.

  2. Round house stacking is really just a question of aesthetics, its not a way to dry wood faster it takes on average about 40% longer {2.5 to 3 years}, its more work to stack and unstack. and takes up more space than multi row block stacking. I’ve built many round stacks over the last 30 some years in every conceivable manner covered, uncovered vented , beehive. Having to Climbing a ladder to place every stick after 6 feet in height and then again when you go to use it is a major pain. The wood in the center area will mold and rot before it dries. The “chimney effect ” talked about is a myth as is the history of it being done in northern europe for ages. I’ve been there and they don’t do it except to store already dried wood and for the sole reason that it looks cool. Its easier to build a slat sided shed and just throw in seasoned wood for long term storage. Holz hausen is very cool to look at but isn’t practical in any meaningful way.

  3. I build small , quick, somewhat loose holzhausens with roofs of bark flats here in Alaska. Wood split/stacked in July is dry by October ( ~ 15% moisture ). Equal to row stacks. I put tarps on both once the weather gets wet. Lots of wind here.

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