How do you stack your firewood? Bark up, or bark down?

The people of Norway are serious about their firewood. So much so that Solid Wood by Lars Mytting (title changed for English release) spent more than a year on the nonfiction best-seller list in Norway. The book even sparked a 12 hour long television program about wood in which 20% of the population tuned in. During this 12 hour show, people started texting in complaining about how the wood was stacked in the program.

What they found was that about 50 percent of people preferred to have the wood stacked with the bark facing up to protect the wood from rain and snow,

up wood

and the other 50 percent preferred the wood stacked with the bark facing down to protect the wood from moisture on the ground.

down wood (best picture I could find of this)

This even turned into a joke on the Disney movie Frozen where two citizens argue about which way the wood should be facing, which is where I learned about all this while watching with my daughter.


Some people even turn wood stacking into an art form.


Think this is all absurd? Read this New York Times article about it https://archive.md/nfaFd

So what is the proper way to store firewood? Well, in my opinion, I think bark side up is correct. If stored outside it will act like shingles and keep the wood dry from rain, also if you had the bark facing down, the U shape of the bark would trap moisture and encourage decaying.

Having proper airflow and spaces in between your wood is the most important factor however to allow drying.

How do you store your firewood? Bark up, or bark down? Exposed to the sky and ground or lifted up off the ground and covered? Indoors or outdoors? Stored in a circle or tower? Facing north, east, south, or west? Does any of this even matter? 


  • Comments (7)

    • 3

      Good morning Jay,

      In reply to questions;

      Only 1 of the questions applies to my storage method. Definitely kept off of ground. My fire wood is loaded on top of 2 horizontal steel fence posts that are elevated the height of the 2 concrete blocks they’re mounted on. The main reason for this elevated method is to minimize snakes. Prior to placing wood on outdoor grill, also will mist spray pile with ammonia … and allow time for evaporation … to chase any snakes away.. I’ve got a few of these loads of wood on steel fence posts and concrete blocks.

      Full disclosure:  I live in a forest next to Chesapeake Bay.

      If ever there’s an end of world scenerio, my forest will start to resemble Leningrad during the WWII attacks by Third Reich army. No parks had trees.  Benches long gone.

      • 1

         Does the ammonia spray work to repel them? How often do you treat the area? You don’t need a snake bite when you are trying to get your firewood.

      • 2

        Good afternoon Dragoon,

        To clarify, I only spray wood pile when getting ready to place a log on grill or outdoor fire place. Ammonia has been successful.

        Collecting supplies of wood usually only done in cold weather and still nothing touched on ground until banged around with my pike pole. Sometimes supplies come from fallen tree.  Same protocols.

        Snake bites require medical intervention. In practical terms, not available here.  

    • 3

      Mine gets stored bark up AFTER it has dried in the summer months when its stored bark down to help it dry out. I also store all my wood off the ground to keep the damp out and reduce insect infestation.  Most of my wood is dried out in the warmer months in my conservatory, drying it this way helps me get the moisture content to under the reccomended 9% moisture level.   Once dry I keep a reserve of good dry hardwood in containers protected from the elements. 

    • 2

      If you store wood in a shelter or under a tarp and don’t have to worry about rain, then I would prefer bark side down. You will have an easy to pick up wedge to grab hold of.

    • 2

      I did not know that there was a science behind stacking wood and “wood” probably just pile it up however it lands.

    • 4


      I stack mine bark up it seems. I never gave it a second thought to why but now you got me thinking.

      I need to restack it as it’s starting to look like a mess. Chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits run on top of this wood stack all day. It’s fun to watch them but I think they knock over a few every now and then.