Wood stacking is the process of assembling wood into stacks or piles. The wood may be stacked for purposes such as storage, sale, or transportation.

Many homeowners are unaware that they’re stacking their firewood incorrectly, which can lead to big problems in the future for your home and safety. If you have any ash buildup or creosote build-up inside your chimney, this could cause them to get hot enough which can eventually lead to chimney fires as well.

If you want to get the most out of your fireplace, make sure that stacking wood is done correctly. This will protect the small pieces from falling into the cracks and getting lost in crevices and provide you the long-lasting heat. Here are a few tips on how to stack wood in a fireplace or stove so you can enjoy your fireplace all season long!

Why Does Fireplace Wood need to Be Properly Stacked?

People often use lighters or matches to start a fire in their fireplace or stove. The basic idea is to slowly grow the pieces of wood and stack them in such a way that they can hold the flame, and there is enough space for it to reach the air (oxygen). 

Oxygen is needed to light a fire but a common mistake people make is when they overstack all their hardwood floors without leaving room for any other material in the vicinity, such as paper towels or newsprint. This not only complicates things because now you have lots of small logs under each big log addition but if there is too much pressure on these small logs, it can even break the pile.

When dealing with a fire that is fueled by wood, it’s important to have the right order. If you stack your logs in proper order inside of the fireplace, every inch will be utilized and nothing will go wasted! Your fire lasts all night with balance!

If you don’t have enough air in the woods arranged around your fireplace, then the fire will not burn efficiently. This is because it won’t be able to reach all of its fuel and distribute heat evenly. Some, and the result? More smoke than usual!

What Kind of Wood Should Not Be Burned in a Fireplace or Stove?

If you have a stove or a fireplace, you must know what type of wood you shouldn’t burn. Certain woods will produce hazardous fumes indoors as well as chimney emissions which would be an environmental concern and some also pose additional risks to your stove or fireplace metals or can creosote buildup in your chimney. Also, burning these materials won’t provide adequate heat for the space they are intended for. So don’t risk damaging both health and home with one apathetic decision!

Don’t Use Unseasoned or Greenwood 

If you want to keep your chimney free of smoke and creosote, seasoned wood is the best choice for burning in a fireplace. Unseasoned or green wood will produce high amounts of these toxins during combustion because it contains more oils that are released when burned than other types of wood.

Avoid Unknown/Toxic Fuelwood

If you’re buying firewood, make sure to buy locally sourced and suitable wood only.  All woods are not good for burning, some woods are toxic! Ironwoods in particular have been known to release cyanide when burned so be wary of these if they ever come up as an option. 

Maple is a great choice and can easily replace oak or ash because it burns hotter than either one without being too hard on the throat; mesquite offers another type of flavor with its light smoke that will complement meats well while giving off lots but little heat which may be better suited for those who dislike strong flavors like bacon. 

Avoid the Christmas Tree

Christmas trees are a tree that is both beautiful and dangerous. The needles can catch on fire quickly, the sap has been known to set houses ablaze, and chimneys clogged with creosote will not be able to provide proper ventilation when you light one inside your home. So it’s inappropriate to question the burning wood of your fireplace/stove.

Avoid Pressure Treated Lumber

Pressure-treated wood is often used for outdoor structures like decks. Although it seems safe, there are toxic chemicals in the wood that can be released when burned and inhaled into your home. You should never burn pressure-treated lumber inside a fireplace because of this risk to you or anyone else who breathes the fumes produced during burning!

Avoid Driftwood, Oleander

You will have beautiful blue and lavender flames burning the driftwood, oleander but you shouldn’t burn it in your fireplace. Burning this wood is a big source of dioxin that can be toxic to humans. Instead, use the driftwood as decoration for memories from trips to coastal areas instead of using them with fireplaces.

Painted or stained wood

Burning painted or stained wood in your fireplace can be dangerous to you, as they may contain chemicals that are released when burned and could harm the health of anyone who breathes them. So think more than once before burning painted or stained wood in your fireplace.

How to Stack Wood in a Fireplace or Stove?

Wood is a good fuel for the fireplace/ stove, but it can also be used to create a great ambiance. If you are inexperienced in stacking wood, there are some effective ways of creating an attractive and safe fire that will still provide warmth and light to your home while looking stylish.

Wood is typically stacked by hand, using either a manual or powered log splitter. The wood may be stacked in a variety of ways, depending on the type of wood and the intended purpose of the stack. Here’s how to stack wood in a fireplace or stove.

Step 1: Prepare the Fireplace

For a great fire in your fireplace, make sure the grate is clean and you have an adequate stack of wood. To create this new stack, remove any burnt pieces from previous fires as well as large logs or other byproducts that are on top of it. This will give room to lay down some fresh logs for tonight’s heat!

Step 2: Select the Right Wood

If you want to make your stove/fireplace free of smoke and creosote, select seasoned or dry wood. Unseasoned or green wood will produce high amounts of these toxins during combustion it. So try to select seasoned or dry wood because unseasoned/greenwood will produce more creosote than other types, which is bad for your chimney and makes your room smoky.

Step 3: Stacking Kindling

Be sure to stack your kindling in a crisscross formation. The small bits of wood should be arranged such that they’re all interconnected and still provide enough space between the pieces for airflow, while also stacking them high so as not to smother any potential flames with too much fuel. You can place either a fire starter or newspaper under the grate (or at its base) before lighting, depending on what you have available.

You can also read here how to start a fire without kindling.

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Step 4: Stacking Logs

When stacking logs,  follow the same rules as stacking kindling. Smaller-sized logs will catch and burn more easily than larger ones. Therefore it’s easier to build multiple small fires rather than one or two large ones. The number of wood pieces needed can vary depending upon fireplace size but should typically be in the range of 2 – 3  when stacked traditionally. Use smaller sticks found within arm’s reach around your home such as newspaper, cardboard, twigs, and pine cones for starters.

Step 5: Arranged the Woods

Stack the woods in a way that they are connected but not tightly attached. This is because for the wood to burn efficiently, there must be adequate airflow between them. Place smaller pieces of wood horizontally under the fireplace grate so it will light easier and help spread fire from one piece of wood to another larger piece on top or nearby which also helps create more heat during wintertime when you need it most!

You may add more wood to the fire once the initial bits of wood have burnt through, it’s good practice to place two or more logs at a time on the fire. Remember, if the large pieces are stacked on top of the smaller pieces and at a slight angle, the wood in it will burn efficiently.

Risks Associated With Wood Stacking!

If done improperly, wood stacking can pose a serious fire hazard. It is important to stack wood away from buildings and other combustible materials. In addition, wood stacks should be regularly inspected to ensure that they are stable and do not pose a risk of collapse.


Stacking wood allows for more efficient use of wood-burning appliances, such as stoves and fireplaces. The bottom line is that you’ll need to stack your logs in a way that leaves some space for air circulation. It also helps to have an open fireplace, since the fire will create a draft and make it easier for oxygen to circulate through the pile of wood.

This article is written to guide how to stack wood in a fireplace or stove ​to get the best results from your next fire. The thing we always recommend is, Inspect and clean your chimney at least once a year with a certified chimney sweep. Using chimney sweep logs can also be good practice for you.