Storing firewood indoors and outdoors – what do you need to know?

Firewood requires safe storage to keep it free from reabsorbing moisture or igniting.
This article explores good practices for storing your wood both indoors and outdoors, providing tips to prevent the risk of a fire and keep your wood Ready to Burn.

Storing your wood indoors

Your entire store of firewood should be kept separate from the room where your wood burner is situated, usually outside or in a garage, but a small quantity of firewood can be kept indoors if it has already dried. Storing a small amount of firewood indoors makes refuelling your stove a lot easier, but there are some safety tips to follow:

Do not store firewood near your wood burner – storing combustibles near your stove, even when it is not in use, is extremely dangerous. Keep your firewood away from any heat sources to prevent the risk of ignition. The manufacturer’s instructions for your stove will contain guidance on minimum distance to combustibles, but it is best practice to keep your logs stored as far away as possible.

Only bring wood indoors that will be burned over the next two days – this prevents excessive amounts of wood being kept indoors and increasing the risk of a fire.

Do not store firewood on your wood burner – whilst this may sound like a good way to speed up the drying process, storing firewood on your wood burner is extremely dangerous and can result in the wood setting alight. Combustibles should not be stored on your stove or hearth – including firewood.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions if your appliance has an integrated log store – the manufacturer’s instructions will detail appropriate distances and load capacities, keeping you safe and preventing the risk of a fire.

Storing your wood outdoors

Firewood stored outdoors has the potential to reabsorb moisture and can even begin to decay if stored incorrectly. Some good practices to follow when storing your logs outdoors are:

Keep your firewood protected from the elements – using a slatted log store with a roof will prevent your wood from absorbing excessive amounts of rain. Some rainwater coming into contact with your wood isn’t an issue; the minimal amount of moisture should dry off by the time you bring your wood inside to burn.

Store your wood from the bottom up – keep your newest wood at the bottom of the pile and your oldest wood at the top. This ensures that your wood will have time to dry if it needs to and is especially helpful if you source your own wood.

Provide sufficient ventilation for your wood – Elevate your logs (a pallet or a raised log store can achieve this) and don’t tightly stack your logs together, allowing airflow throughout. Your log store needs air to circulate so your logs can dry sufficiently. Even if you have purchased Ready to Burn wood, your logs could have reabsorbed some moisture whilst being stored. Providing ventilation, allowing air to circulate, dries your wood and keeps it ready to burn.

Consider the location of where your logs are stored – if you store your logs outside, make sure there is nothing that could drip rainwater directly onto them, such as gutters or trees situated above. It is also wise to store your logs in an area where, ideally, they are frequently in direct sunlight and aren’t exposed to high winds. This aids the drying process and prevents too much rain from being blown onto your wood. When stored in a garage, your wood can absorb some exhaust fumes and emit a faint smell when burning. Storing your logs outdoors can help avoid this undesirable smell.

If you are ever unsure if your wood has reabsorbed too much moisture whilst in storage, it is best to measure your firewood with a moisture meter to ensure it has a moisture content of 20% or less.

The Woodsure Advice Hub has a range of tips and advice to keep you burning safely and responsibly.

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