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Like most questions, the answer to will firewood dry under a tarp is not so black and white and a simple yes or no as there is a lot of different things that can affect the answer. The answer is something you will eventually learn when you have some experience under your belt which is something we don’t all have the time for.
This is why I wanted to share my experience in hopes that it might help someone not make the same mistakes I did in my early years of storing firewood. When you’re first starting out it can be difficult to find the correct information since there is a lot of it out there with not all of it being right.
The number of different factors is what makes this a difficult question to answer and one I will hopefully be able to help you with.
To Tarp Or Not To Tarp?
With this being the burning question of the hour I thought I should answer it first and go over the reasons why afterward since that’s what people really want to know. The answer can be either a yes or no and will change depending on what you prefer.
In most cases, you shouldn’t use a tarp to cover your wood if you’re wanting it to dry as a tarp can trap moisture in which prevents the wood from drying. So you don’t want to cover your wood with a tarp and would be better suited to putting something like a piece of ply on top and paint it black to absorb the heat.
You want the sides of your wood to be getting plenty of air and wind as this is what drys your wood the quickest when it’s outside. While you can technically set this up in such a way with using a tarp it’s still not something I fully recommend if your wood hasn’t dried already.
I did say there is a time you can use a tarp for your firewood and I did mean it but it requires your wood to be dried thoroughly first. The only time I would recommend using a tarp is when you’re planning on burning the wood within a few days and rain has been forecast and you want to make sure it doesn’t get wet.
With that in mind, I think it’s best if you keep your firewood protected in a different way and only use a tarp in an emergency situation. The risk of moisture getting in your wood from a tarp is too high for me personally, and I’d rather make sure my wood is dry and ready to burn instead of being filled with moisture.
What Alternatives To Use?
As we found out tarps don’t make the best cover for firewood and only really work in certain situations which makes them all too unreliable in my opinion. So what are the alternatives you can use to help to not only dry your wood but keep it dry as well.
One thing I mentioned above is to use something like plywood and make it overhang a bit on top and paint it black. This is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to keep your firewood protected tho I do recommend using something to keep it off the ground as it can add moisture to the wood as well.
there is some evidence to show that you don’t actually need to cover your firewood in some climates. The rain will be the biggest issue but depending on when you will be planning on burning the wood it could have the time to dry in-between. I still prefer to have something to cover the top and bottom to be on the safe side, but it’s an option.
There is the option to build your own firewood storage area which can take a little time but well worth it if you want to take the next step into using firewood. There are a number of options you can go with this with there being plenty of different and useful designs online.
If you don’t want to spend the time building a storage area, you can opt for the more expensive but far easier option of buying one. There is a number that you’re able to buy but often they can be a little on the small side and better suited for people who don’t burn a lot of wood unless you get multiple.
How To Dry Firewood With A Tarp
If your options are extremely limited and you only have a tarp to use to protect your wood then you’re not out of complete luck. There is a way to use a tarp to protect your firewood if that’s your only option.
The first step is either folding or cutting your tarp to the point where it’s only going to just overhang a little bit. You don’t want it to go too far down since you want the air to circulate to help season the wood.
The next step is going to require a few bricks and some rope to help keep the tarp in place. You will want to tie a piece of rope between the two bricks so the bricks will hang either side of your log stack.
You will want to do this several times and have them be on different parts of the tarp making sure it does blow away. The number of bricks you will need will differ depending on how long your stack of logs is.
A very simple and easy technique that practically anyone can do tho I recommend checking on your wood quite often to make sure water isn’t pooling anywhere or leaking onto the wood since that can cause headaches.
Why Is This Important?
I feel like this should go without saying but I’ve seen a few people constantly ask why it’s important even tho there’s plenty of evidence telling them why. So I wanted to add this to let those people know the importance of the question and that it matters a lot.
Drying wood is an important part of burning and if not done properly it can create a number of frustrating issues that can easily be avoided. This includes the wood being filled with moisture that trying to ignite it is near impossible or if you manage to, there will be a lot of smoke.
Wood is also expensive and wasting it something I don’t think anyone would want to do and not drying it properly can ruin the wood. Make it rot and die which makes it become close to useless which if you paid for the wood you might as well have just burnt the money to get better results.
So it’s exceedingly important to dry your wood properly and while it’s possible to do it with a tarp, it’s much easier to go with a number of different options. So learning how to dry your firewood is essential in getting the most out of your wood.
General Tips On Storing Your Firewood
If you’re just starting out with firewood there are a few general tips I think everybody should know to make life easier and in some cases potentially save you. Most people don’t realize that firewood can be dangerous if it’s not stored in the right place.
One of the first things I recommend is keeping the firewood at least around 30′ away from your house. This is for if there was a fire, it would help with preventing the fire jumping from logs to your house since it does seem that stray embers like to find their way into log stacks.
The number of times I’ve seen someone’s log stack just resting on the ground is too high to count and is something I don’t recommend doing. Keeping the wood off the ground will help it dry quicker and help with keeping termites out of it. It won’t completely prevent termites but it can help with fighting them.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again keep the sides of your log stacks free so it can get plenty of circulation which will help in drying the wood. An important step that all to often gets overlooked and is something that’s pretty essential in drying wood.
If you’re in a rush and can’t wait several months or even years for your wood to dry then you do have an option. This is to dry your wood in an oven which is something that you can do but can be a little tricky and you will need a guide if you’ve never done it before.
Final Thoughts On Using A Tarp To Keeping Firewood Dry
As I said at the very beginning, this question isn’t a straight yes or no answer and has some variables. You can use a tarp but the results aren’t reliable which is something I believe to be important, especially if you’re someone who is relying on firewood for heating.
It will come down to your budget, how much you require, and how long you’re willing to wait if you want to use a tarp to protect your firewood. If it’s your only option to use a tarp then that’s what you need to do since all our situations are different. I just recommend folding it several times so it leaves the sides free.
I will always recommend either building a storage area for your wood or to purchase a log rack to help dry your wood if you have the time and money to be able to do that. This will always be the better way of drying your wood and will eventually make your life easier.