The Cheapest Way to Build a Firewood Storage Shed

by Scott Shpak, Demand Media
    One cord of firewood produces 25 percent more heat than 100 gallons of fuel oil.

    One cord of firewood produces 25 percent more heat than 100 gallons of fuel oil.

    Seasoned firewood may be an affordable alternative or supplement to fuel oil and natural gas for home heating during winter months. Further cost savings come if you purchase green firewood, which is cheaper still if you split it yourself. Storage solutions for firewood range from restraint systems that elevate and stack wood to complete out buildings.

    Storage Considerations

    The wood you use has an impact on storage requirements, but some elements are common to any situation. For full heating value, the moisture of the wood must roughly match the humidity of the surrounding environment. Air circulation is essential, and wood must be kept off the ground to prevent the wicking of moisture from the soil. Wood piles attract bugs and varmints, so make provisions for a structure that allows neat stacking to discourage larger animals. Keep firewood away from your house by at least 20 feet to prevent transfer of termites or other nasties.

    Basic Needs

    The minimum requirement of keeping wood stacked and off the ground can be met with careful stacking of green firewood on two lengths of 4-by-4 lumber to elevate the firewood. Metal fence posts driven into the ground at each end keep wood from tumbling off the base. The wood is completely exposed to rain and snow, but air circulation will allow the wood to dry in all but the wettest environments. If the pile is exposed to sunlight, that's even better. This rack will dry green firewood in six to eight months.

    Improvements

    Further protection from the elements may gain some seasoning time under ideal conditions. Use discarded wood shipping pallets to surround a three-sided frame made from 2-by-4 lumber. Place this structure on additional pallets. A lean-to style roof can be added if you desire. The pallets provide a barrier against ground contact and the gaps between the pallet boards allow free air circulation around the firewood. When possible, face the open side of the structure toward the south for greatest sun exposure.

    Split Seasoned Firewood

    Drying your own green firewood provides the greatest economy in purchase price, but you may have more storage options when you purchase split, seasoned firewood that's ready to burn. Stacking with sun exposure is less important. An existing garage or other outbuilding that is dry with sufficient room for air to circulate may allow you to store firewood completely out of the elements. The dryness of seasoned wood needs only be maintained. Further drying is not required. Keep in mind that the introduction of wood boring insects remains a danger anywhere firewood is stored near live trees or wood structures.

    About the Author

    Formerly operations manager with Kodak, Scott Shpak has written more than 600 articles on business, music and photography topics as well as feature writing for magazines and technical writing for the automotive industry. He holds associate degrees in recorded music and photography from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.

    Photo Credits

    • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images