You’re going to need a firewood rack with cover for anyone who uses a fireplace or a wood stove to keep their homes warm during winter. A firewood rack is an excellent solution for storing your firewood in an organized and convenient way, while a cover helps protect the wood from rain, snow, and other elements.
Some racks are made of sturdy steel, while others are crafted from more elegant and durable materials such as wrought iron or wood. The covers are usually made from waterproof and UV-resistant materials such as vinyl or polyester, and they are designed to fit snugly over the firewood, keeping it dry and ventilated.
Whether you’re looking for a small rack to store a few logs by your fireplace or a larger one to accommodate a whole season’s worth of firewood, a firewood rack with cover is a smart investment that will save you time, money, and effort in the long run.
How to Build a DIY 4×8 Firewood Rack
Building a firewood rack is a relatively simple woodworking project that can be completed in a few hours with basic tools and materials.
Here are the steps to build a 4×8 firewood rack:
(8) 2×4 lumber, 8 feet long
(8) 1×4 lumber, 16 feet long
2.5-inch wood screws
Waterproof wood glue
Cut the Lumber to Size… Cut the 2×4 lumber into (16) pieces that are 48 inches long and cut the 1×4 lumber into (16) pieces that are 96 inches long.
Make the Frame… Lay out (4) 2x4s on a flat surface so that they form a rectangle that measures 48 inches by 96 inches. Use the carpenter’s square to make sure that the corners are square. Apply a bead of wood glue along the joint where two boards meet, and then drill two pilot holes through the side of one board and into the end of the adjacent board. Secure the boards together with wood screws. Repeat this process to make a total of (2) frames.
Add the Crossbars… Place one of the frames on its side so that the long sides are parallel to the ground. Take (4) of the 2x4s and lay them across the frame, spaced evenly apart. The ends of the crossbars should overhang the frame by 2 inches on each side. Apply wood glue and drill pilot holes through the frame and into the crossbars, and then secure the crossbars with wood screws. Repeat this process with the second frame.
Connect the Frames… Stand the two frames up so that they are parallel to each other, with the crossbars facing each other. Place a 2×4 at each corner of the frame, so that it sits on top of the crossbar and extends up to the top of the frame. Apply wood glue and drill pilot holes through the corner piece and into the crossbar and the frame, and then secure the corner piece with wood screws. Repeat this process with the remaining corner pieces.
Add the Base… Cut the remaining (4) 2x4s into pieces that are 16 inches long. Lay them on the ground underneath the rack, with two pieces at each end. Space them evenly apart so that they support the weight of the firewood. Apply wood glue and drill pilot holes through the crossbars and into the base pieces, and then secure the base pieces with wood screws.
Add the Slats… Lay the 1x4s across the top of the rack, perpendicular to the crossbars. Space them evenly apart so that they support the firewood. Apply wood glue and drill pilot holes through the slats and into the crossbars, and then secure the slats with wood screws.
Finish the Rack… Sand the rack to smooth any rough edges or surfaces. Apply a coat of waterproof sealant or paint to protect the wood from moisture and extend the life of the rack.
That’s it! You now have a sturdy and functional firewood rack that can your firewood. Check out my article How to Build an Outdoor Firewood Storage Rack for more ideas.
Do you Need a Cover for Firewood Rack?
It is highly recommended to have a cover for your firewood rack, especially if you want to keep your firewood dry and ready to use. A cover protects your firewood from rain, snow, and other elements, preventing it from getting wet, moldy, or infested with pests.
Moisture is the enemy of firewood, as it can cause the wood to rot, mold, or become difficult to light. A cover helps keep the wood dry and well-ventilated, which in turn improves its quality and longevity. As well a cover also prevents animals, such as rodents or insects, from making a home in your firewood stack.
When selecting a cover, choose a material that is waterproof, durable, and UV-resistant, such as vinyl or polyester. Ensure that the cover is properly sized to fit your firewood rack and is securely attached to the rack. If you’re building your own firewood rack, you can even make a custom-sized cover to fit your specific needs. Check out my article How Do You Make a Simple Firewood Storage Shed? if you need to store several cords of firewood.
Should You Put a Tarp Over Firewood?
Yes, using a tarp to cover your firewood can be a good option if you don’t have a dedicated firewood rack with a cover. A tarp can help protect your firewood from rain, snow, and other elements, which can cause the wood to become wet, moldy, or infested with pests.
When using a tarp to cover your firewood, make sure the tarp is securely fastened and tightly wrapped around the stack of wood to prevent water from seeping in. Avoid using a tarp that is too big or too loose, as this can create pockets where water can accumulate and cause damage to your firewood.
It’s also important to ensure that your firewood is properly seasoned and dry before covering it with a tarp. Wet or green wood can still rot and mold even if covered, so it’s best to store only well-seasoned firewood under the tarp.
While using a tarp to cover your firewood can be a temporary solution, investing in a dedicated firewood rack with cover is still the best way to ensure your firewood stays dry and protected over a longer period. A rack provides proper ventilation and allows air to circulate around the wood, which can help keep it dry and prevent mold and rot. Check out my article What is the Best Way to Store Firewood Outside? for ideas and tips on storing your firewood outside.
Does Firewood Dry Faster Under a Tarp?
Firewood may dry faster under a tarp compared to being completely exposed to rain or snow, but it may not necessarily dry as quickly as when it is properly stacked and seasoned.
A tarp can help protect the firewood from direct exposure to precipitation, which can reduce the amount of moisture it absorbs. However, if the tarp is not properly fastened or if there are gaps in the coverage, it can trap moisture and prevent the wood from drying out. The heat generated from the sun may also be trapped under the tarp, which can create a humid environment that slows down the drying process.
Properly stacking and seasoning firewood is the most effective way to dry it out. Stacking the wood in a way that allows for proper air circulation and exposure to sunlight can help it dry more quickly and efficiently. The ideal moisture content for firewood is around 20% or less, and it can take several months to a year for freshly cut wood to reach this level of dryness.
What is the Most Efficient Way to Dry Firewood?
The most efficient way to dry firewood is to properly stack and season it in a well-ventilated area.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure efficient firewood drying:
Cut Firewood to the Appropriate Size… he smaller the pieces, the faster the wood will dry. Aim for logs that are no more than 6 inches in diameter.
Stack the Wood Properly… Stack the wood in a single row, with the cut ends facing up and down. Leave some space between the logs to allow for proper air circulation. A raised platform, such as a pallet or a dedicated firewood rack, can help keep the wood off the ground and prevent it from absorbing moisture.
Choose a Sunny, Well-Ventilated Location… Place the firewood stack in a location that receives plenty of sunlight and is well-ventilated. Avoid stacking the wood in damp or shady areas, as this can slow down the drying process.
Monitor the Moisture Content… Use a moisture meter to monitor the moisture content of your firewood. The ideal moisture content for firewood is around 20% or less. It can take several months to a year for freshly cut wood to reach this level of dryness.
What is the Best Wood for Firewood
The best wood for firewood depends on your specific needs and preferences.
Here are some popular options:
Oak… Is a dense hardwood that burns slowly and produces a lot of heat, making it a good choice for colder climates. It also produces a low amount of smoke, making it a good option for indoor fireplaces.
Maple… Is a hardwood that burns hot and produces a long-lasting fire. It also produces a sweet aroma when burned, which can be pleasant.
Birch… Is a hardwood that burns hot and fast, making it a good option for starting fires or for use in wood stoves. It also produces a bright flame and a pleasant aroma.
Ash… Burns hot and produces a low amount of smoke. It also produces little ash residue, making it a good option for indoor fireplaces.
Pine… Is a softwood that burns quickly and produces a lot of heat. It is often used for kindling or for starting fires. However, it produces a lot of smoke and can create more creosote buildup in chimneys.
It’s a good idea to keep in mind when selecting firewood, it’s best to choose dry, well-seasoned wood with a moisture content of around 20% or less. Green or wet wood can produce more smoke, less heat, and more creosote buildup in chimneys.
What’s the Best Size to Cut Firewood?
The best size to cut firewood depends on your specific needs and preferences.
However, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
Length… Firewood should be cut to a length that fits easily into your fireplace, wood stove, or outdoor fire pit. A common length for firewood is 16 inches, but some people prefer shorter or longer logs.
Diameter… Firewood should be cut to a diameter that allows for proper air circulation and efficient burning. Logs that are too large can be difficult to split and may take longer to dry. Logs that are too small can burn too quickly and produce less heat.
A good rule of thumb is to cut firewood to a diameter of no more than 6 inches. This size is easy to handle and split and allows for proper air circulation and efficient burning. However, if you are using a larger fireplace or wood stove, you may be able to burn larger logs.
***Note*** Many folks ask me why I cut my firewood 16 inches and split it smaller than others do… This is so the wife and kids can carry the wood into the house easily.
It’s important to note that firewood should be cut evenly and cleanly to prevent splitting or cracking. This can help ensure that the wood burns efficiently and produces the maximum amount of heat. Avoid using firewood that has been treated with chemicals or paint, as these can release harmful fumes when burned.
Building your own firewood rack can be a fun project, well I have a large firewood shed to store 10 cords of firewood I always stack fresh wood outside so it can dry further before moving into the shed.