Is Tarping Firewood A Good Idea?

The debate between whether or not firewood stacks should be covered from the elements is definitely a common one, so on this article I’ll try my best to explain the both sides.

Really depends on the location

Firewood drying in a shed
Image by johnantoni via Wikimedia Commons

Should you tarp your firewood or not has a lot to do with how much rain the area you live gets.

Having the wood occasionaly rained on doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cover the stacks as they can easily dry out, but in case that the place you live is known for having often rains, covering the stacks is a lot better than not.

Covering firewood the right way

A tarp is not the only thing you can use to protect the wood – materials which can shed rain like wood boards, metal sheet roofing can work too, if not better.

Generally speaking, tarps are hard to manage: the cheaper ones deteriorate because of sun damage, rip, collect water and often need replacement, so even though a solid material can be more of an investment now, over the years it’ll probably prove to be a better choice.

Regardless of what choice you make, the only part of the firewood stack you should cover is the top. Tarping over the whole deal will prevent it from airing out properly, which will lead to the wood not seasoning much, if at all.

Sure, some rain will still come in contact with the sides of the stack, but considering the fact that there’s a constant amount of airflow going through it, it’ll dry soon.

You don’t need to tarp it year long

Covering the firewood, even just its top, slows down the drying process a bit, so letting as much of the wood be out on the sun can make it dry sooner.

What some homeowners do is leave their wood exposed up until months before it’s time to burn it, and only then cover. Others choose to keep them protected year long as it’s easier, so there’s that.

Build a shed instead

The best, although generally most expensive way to season and keep your firewood dry when needed is with a properly ventilated shed.

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