Wonderful wood storage: Dress up your stack

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The warmth and crackling goodness of a cozy fire doesn’t have to come with an eyesore of a log pile. Storing wood has never before been so fashionable.

One amazing thing about having an outdoor room are the impromptu gatherings around the fire. A night spent out in the cold air is good for our health and our spirits. As that distinct, deep aroma of fall wafts from our fire pits, we cozy up fireside and share a toast with friends and family. Clear skies are perfect for gazing in those quiet moments. We stir only to throw another log on the fire. Don’t let a messy cord of wood break your mood. Many solutions exist for tidy, even chic, storage for the fuel for your fires.

Convenient wood storage areas are small alcoves, baskets or racks that are physically close to the fire pit or fireplace. Long-term or bulk storage areas are large racks or structures typically situated away from the fire, for safety and aesthetic reasons. Close storage areas usually hold logs good for several hours of burning. Bulk storage holds cords of wood, measured in volume. (A cord of wood is 4 feet high, 4 feet wide, and 8 feet long, or 128 cubic feet.) Many homeowners will order wood in bulk, but the amount varies according to the storage available and the owner’s typical usage.

Built-in Wood Boxes

Some outdoor fireplaces include small wood storage areas built into the structure. Alcoves of a few feet deep, called “wood boxes,” are similar to cabinet without shelves or a door. Wood boxes are situated to the sides, above, or below the fireplace. Convenient storage is the goal of a wood box. Rarely will one be large enough to hold a cord of wood.

Racks

The main selling point of a rack is its ability to keep the wood raised from the ground. When a cord of wood sits directly on the earth, its lowest layers of logs can tend to take on moisture, mold, insects and wildlife, rendering the logs useless for burning. A few inches to a foot of space between the earth and the lowest tier of wood is required to keep it all as dry and as critter-free as possible.

Racks come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Choose a rack that fits with the design of the home and Hardscape. A shed-like rack made from recycled wood pallets may be the rustic look perfect for a country home. Wrought iron racks in “V” shapes may be best for Tudor style houses. Look for shapes and materials in your existing design for guidance. Storage can be a design element in itself.

Sheds/Garages

Keeping the logs away from the elements is important to some homeowners. A roof, walls, and critter-entry prevention are needed to keep a large bulk of wood completely ready for burning at all times. A rack of some sort will still be required inside a shed or garage. The air will need to circulate under that lowest layer of wood or the humidity will collect there and the logs will rot. An 8.5 foot length of 2 pressure-treated 2x4s, spaced 15 inches apart from and running parallel to each other, should be sufficient for storing wood inside a shed or garage. Keep several inches of space between the wall of the structure and the wood pile for ventilation.

Having a wood-storage solution saves a homeowner time and money. A cord of wood, or even a “face cord” of wood (1/3rd of a legal cord) is much less expensive than buying small batches of cut logs at the grocery or hardware store. But less expensive wood doesn’t have to mean a bulky mess. Invest in a log storage solution and you’ll always sit by the fire in style.