Like it or not, buying firewood is essential for a home with a fireplace or wood stove. However, it’s easy to get duped when you go wood shopping without any experience.
In this post, our resident experts will tackle how much is a cord of wood and other tips you must remember to get your money’s worth.
What is a Cord of Wood?
The term “cord of wood” is often used when you buy firewood in stacks. You may not know, but firewood sellers utilize it as a measurement standard to calculate how much wood price they can set for your order.
If you scanned the market as our team did, you’d notice that stack firewood is often referred to as face cord, stove cord, rick cord, bush cord, or standing cord. Because of these varying terms, customers tend to get confused when they go out and buy firewood.
Typically, a neatly stacked firewood has imperial dimensions of W: 8ft x H: 4ft x D: 4ft, which is equivalent to 128 cubic feet. In terms of metric measurement, its dimensions are W: 122cm x H: 244cm x D: 122cm that is equivalent to 3.62 m3.
The Volume of a Cord of Wood
As we previously mentioned, a cord of firewood has an overall volume of 128 cubic feet or 3.62 cubic meters. However, it’s crucial to note that the exact measurement of wood stacked in a cord could be less than this standard.
Why? Because there’s a high chance for air pockets to form between each firewood.
Although it’s possible to find a cord of firewood without air pockets, its volume could still play around 90 cubic feet.
Some would sell firewood in full cord volume, but it’s not unheard of for customers to buy a half-sized cord of wood or a third of firewood cord.
If you really want to save money, we don’t recommend buying wood in volumes labeled as pick-up truckloads, stone cord, and furnace cord. These volume metrics aren’t accurate, so it’s always better to go full cord when buying wood.
How to Measure a Cord of Wood
When you don’t indicate how much firewood you’ll buy, most sellers would assume that it’s a full cord you need. A full cord’s exact length, height, and depth are 4-inch by 4-inch by 8-inch, so it’s better to say it exactly as it is to avoid confusion on firewood prices.
The face cord is the smallest amount of stacked firewood you can buy in this metric. Typically, a face cord is only measured four feet tall, eight feet wide, and 1.4 feet deep. Based on this, we can say that face cords are only thirds of the full cord varieties.
If you buy a cord of firewood in this size, expect you’ll get an amount bigger than a full or face cord. However, remember that the exact size for this category varies per region.
How Much Does a Cord of Wood Weigh?
When you measure firewood mass, it’s affected by several factors. Their weight ultimately depends on whether you buy fresh-cut wood or a stack of dry wood.
But for the most part, hardwood cord could weigh up to 5000 pounds, and softwood ranges around 2500 lbs.
How Much Should a Cord of Wood Cost?
Not all wood is created equal, so it’s only natural to find a significant difference when you compare prices. A standard cord of firewood could be sold from $100 to the best firewood quality at over $500.
However, we’d like to note that the average price range is often determined through the factors discussed below.
The most obvious factor that’ll affect the prices when buying your own firewood is the geographic location.
In California, buying firewood in parts like Central Valley could cost around $100, but you’ll encounter some Southern California sellers who sell stacked logs for up to $480.
If you’re not personally picking up your order, getting your wood delivered to the doorstep could add to its actual cost. For this, you’ll be charged based on the delivery’s distance.
Hardwoods like oak and maple are more expensive than softwood as they have higher heat levels that suit tasks that include burning wood.
It’ll take at least eight months of storage before a well-seasoned wood can be achieved. Considering the time frame, it’s understandable why it’s expensive.
Unlike fresh-cut green wood with 52% water component, seasoned firewood has below 20% moisture levels, making it highly susceptible to burning.
For hardwoods, the drying process will take a year or two, which means it was in storage for a long time.
If you’re looking for something priced lower, you can try the semi-seasoned firewood. For this type, the sellers let the wood dry for only six months. Although it’s not the best recommendation for wood burning, our experts consider it an alternative if you have no other option.
There is also kiln-dried firewood, which could lower the wood’s moisture based on how many hours it’s in the heat and depending on the kiln’s temperature. Unfortunately, seasoned wood is cheaper than kiln-dried.
The driest wood could produce more heat, so it’s only natural that they’re more expensive. You should also consider buying clean wood if you want no hassle in burning it.
Although you can always use a log splitter to evenly thick firewood, it’s hard to get uniformed logs manually. That is, unless you have more professional splitters like from the Champion brand. Keep in mind that thicker logs are easier to burn, so they’re priced higher when sold.
When storing firewood, it’s important to ensure that the place has enough air circulation. You may not know, but airflow is a crucial part of seasoning for wood.
It’s also important to have a high-quality rack that can accommodate the volume of your logs. Don’t forget to split the wood and stack them in a criss-cross orientation for drying purposes.
On top of that, the logs should be six feet above the storage’s ground and covered throughout the process. The longer you keep the wood in storage, the drier it’ll be and more suitable for burning.
Firewood Heat Value
Did you know that every firewood species vary in heat content? However, this value may vary depending on the amount of moisture in the log.
Preferably, the moisture percentage should be below twenty percent. Because of this, we recommend using a moisture meter when going wood shopping.
If you continue using highly moisturized logs like green firewood, expect it to produce more smoke and less heat. Using it for your fireplace could risk creosote sticking to the chimney as it has shorter burning durations.
Where to Find Cords of Wood for Sale
You can find cords of wood for sale in your local Home Depot or hardware stores. They are available in cord of wood, ½ cord of wood, and ¼ cord of wood sizes. On top of that, there are big factories that specifically trade logs. However, they’ll most likely entertain bigger orders.
Where to Find Firewood Delivery Near Me
If you don’t have time to look around, we suggest doing a Google search before heading to the store and buying the wood of your preference.
All you need to do is enter the right keyword along with the place you reside, and you’ll instantly get the result you need. If you want more recent postings, it’s also worth checking Facebook communities.
How many sticks is a cord of wood?
A cord of wood has around 600 to 800 sticks. However, this estimation highly varies depending on how thick the logs are split and the tightness of their stacking. For face cords, you can expect around 200 to 266 sticks.
Why is it called a “cord” of wood?
It’s called a “cord” of wood because a string or cord is used to tie the logs together. It’s devised as a metric term as sellers would sell firewood in tightly stacked bundles.
Can you fit a cord of wood in a pickup truck?
Yes, you can fit a cord of wood in a pickup truck as long as you stack some of them above the bed rails. However, it’s crucial to note that they can weigh around 5000 lbs, and not all trucks can accommodate that mass.
Now that you know how much is a cord of wood and the other terms that come with buying logs, you can rest easy so that you won’t be duped the next time you go shopping.
Some people will tell you that it doesn’t matter what kind of wood you buy, but trust us when we say that being well-versed in logs could save you from spending more money in the long run.
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