How Much is a Cord of Wood

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Wood is a natural, renewable resource that can be used for anything from building homes to cooking. It’s hard not to wonder just how much wood is in a cord, and it turns out the answer depends on what kind of wood you’re talking about.

In this post, we’ll explore just how many logs are in a cord of pine and oak firewood.

What is a Cord?

A cord is a unit of measurement used for calculating the amount of firewood in a stack. It is a measurement of volume, not weight. It’s based on the height, by the width, by the length of an actual firewood cord.

A cord typically consists of 128 cubic feet of stacked wood logs, but the actual size of a cord will vary depending on what species and size of wood are being measured.

A cord is a unit of measurement that is equal to 128 cubic feet, or 4 x 4 x 8 feet. It is approximately the amount of wood needed to heat an average-sized home for one year.

Here are some examples of a full cord of firewood:

  • 4 rows of firewood 12 inches in length, 8 feet long, 4 feet high
  • 3 rows of firewood 16 inches in length, 8 feet long, 4 feet high
  • 2 rows of firewood 24 inches in length, 16 feet long, 2 feet high

These combinations have a total volume of 128 cubic feet (length x width x height).

Full Cord vs Face Cord: What’s the Difference?

There are two ways to measure firewood: a full cord and a face cord. A full cord is when firewood fills up 8 feet long, 4 feet high, and 4 feet deep. Most firewood in a full cord is 16 inches long.

A face cord of firewood is just what it sounds like: one stack that goes 4 feet high, 8 feet long, and however deep the wood is in that stack.

LengthWidthHeight
Full Cord8 feet4 feet4 feet
Face Cord8 feet16 inches4 feet

Average Cost of a Cord of Wood

If you’re looking to buy a cord of hardwood, it will typically cost between $150 and $250. That’s the average but many consumers can expect higher prices during winter months in some parts of the U.S.

The price may be higher in some parts though. Prices have been as high as $400 to $600 per cord.

Firewood Pricing by Type

Firewood TypeAverage Price Range Per Cord
Ash$340 – $460
Hardwood$320 – $520
Maple$300 – $460
Mesquite$320 – $680
Oak$180 – $540

The Types of Wood

There are many different types of wood, and each one is good for a specific purpose. Hardwoods like maple will burn slower than soft woods such as pine or fir branches which emit more smoke when burned in your fireplace.

Oak firewood is a great choice for those who want a dependable, practical fire that burns longer and has a strong heat. It’s been used as fuel for centuries and the timber from the tree is still used commercially today.

Hardwood vs Softwood for Firewood

There are two types of wood for firewood. Hardwoods are more expensive, but they burn longer and hotter. Softwoods are cheaper, but they don’t last as long or produce as much heat.

Here are some types of hardwoods:

  • Almond
  • Alder
  • Ash
  • Oak
  • Beech
  • Hickory
  • Maple
  • Pecan
  • Apple

Softwoods are good if you want a fire that heats up quickly. Softwood produces more smoke and sparks than hardwood. You will have to feed the fire more often when using softwood.

Here are some types of softwoods:

  • Spruce
  • Larch
  • Juniper
  • Southern yellow pine
  • Red cedar
  • Fir
  • Pine
  • Balsam

Firewood Storage

Firewood gets stored in a variety of different ways. While the correct type of storage will depend on where you live, the following guidelines should be helpful:

  • You can stack wood against a wall or fence to conserve space.
  • Make sure to store your firewood off the ground and away from any body of water.
  • Store it somewhere that is out of direct sunlight and not under trees.
  • Use a tarp to cover woodpiles if you have them.
  • Keep your firewood as dry as possible. This will help prevent insect infestation and mold growth, as well as ensuring that it burns at its best.

Tips Before You Buy a Cord of Wood

There are several things to keep in mind before you buy a cord of wood. One is for how long you plan to use it.

If you’re going to use the wood over a period of time, buying a cord will make more sense because you can begin using it as soon as it’s delivered and seasoned. If you want it all at one time, buying smaller quantities may make more sense.

When you buy from a local supplier, they will likely cut your firewood to order which means the pieces are all the same length. However, if you’re purchasing from an online site or even a retail store, this isn’t always the case.

One more thing to keep in mind is that different species of wood have different densities and weights. So, not only will you pay for the volume of wood in a cord but also its weight.

How Much Cord of Wood Does a Typical Pickup Truck Hold?

A cord of wood is typically split into four quarters. This way, you can fit it more easily in your vehicle and the pieces are easier to carry up to your house.

A small pickup can haul about half a cord of firewood. Larger trucks and those that have racks around the bed are good at hauling one to two cords per trip.

How Long Should Wood Sit Before it’s able to be Burned?

Logs that are too wet will not burn well, as they contain water in their sap. It’s important to know the difference between seasoned (dry) vs green wood because it’s hard for a firewood to pile up when one type of logs generates more smoke than another.

This makes diagnosing whether your log is good enough before burning difficult. If your logs have sap coming out of them, they are green and will not get dry in time for you want a fire.

To be safe, wait 6 months to 1 year before burning these types of woods. Well-seasoned trees make an echoing sound when knocked together like steel drums.

How Much Cord of Wood Do I Need for Winter?

A full cord of wood can last you 6-10 weeks when used as your primary heat source. However, this will depend on a number of factors and you must always be prepared with more than the expected amount needed for winter.

You can use these guidelines to figure out how much firewood you need. You have to take into account a few things, such as where you live, what type of heater you use, and the size of your home.

In general, if your main source of heat is firewood, you should count on using at least 5 cords over the winter. And if you live in a cold part of the world and do not have enough other sources of heat besides firewood, then expect to use about 8 cords. For occasional usage (if your home has another main source for heating), it would be good for someone who lives in a colder area to go through 2-4 cords over winter break.

What is the Best Type of Firewood to Buy?

Oak is the best burning type because it only needs minimal effort to keep going strong. The trouble with oak? Getting your pile started in any event.

To start your oak wood, you will need some pine mixed in at first and when using this type make sure not too much gets thrown on or else things could go up in flames quickly.

How Many Trees to Make a Cord?

If you have a large backyard where the trees are spread out, measuring their diameter at breast height (DBH) will give a good estimate of how many it takes.

A tree with DBH 16 inches has enough wood for half a cord of wood. If they’re about 10 inches DBH, then two or three trees should do it.

Where to Buy Firewood?

If you are looking for a reliable and affordable source of firewood, there are several places you can buy it. Firewood can be bought from hardware stores, lumber yards, and even online. However, not all sources of firewood are created equal.

When choosing a supplier of firewood, it is important to consider the quality of the wood. Cheap firewood can be difficult to light and may not produce enough heat to keep you warm. In addition, it can also be full of moisture, which can cause your fireplace or stove to smoke.

If you are looking for a high-quality source of firewood, consider buying it from a lumber yard. Lumber yards are often involved with the processing of wood, so are likely to have access to good quality products. Lumber yards will measure their products according to volume per cord, which can vary between suppliers. It is important you know exactly how much wood you are getting for your money, rather than simply looking at prices.

You can also do an internet search with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). Type in “firewood” for your area and all of the businesses associated with firewoods will be listed on their website.

How Do You Stack Firewood?

The simplest way to stack firewood is the free-stack method. You can lay each log next to and on top of each other, forming a long row of firewood. To maintain the height and configuration of the firewood stack, you can use two – 4 ft. poles in the ground at either end or “crib ends” (which are like alternating rows).

You should also make sure that your stack is far away from your house so it can dry out during wintertime.

Firewood General Tips

In order to have a good fire, you need dry wood. Dry wood has a lot of heat value and is easier to light. It doesn’t throw dangerous sparks and is less likely to make creosote in your chimney if it’s wet. You can dry out your green wood for one year during the spring, summer, and fall.

Conclusion

When it comes to firewood, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for how many logs are in a cord. The best thing you can do is get out and take a look at your wood, then you’ll be able to determine just how much of the material you need.