Choosing The Right Firewood

Published January 08, 2013


Photo courtesy of the North Shore News

weather is cooler now and I’m sure we will get our share of snow soon.

It’s always nice to curl up by the fire during the winter months. If you have a natural burning fireplace in your home and your wood supply is low you may want to order a cord of wood to get you through the winter months ahead. There is nothing like the sound and smell of a real wood-burning fireplace. These days many of us have gas fireplaces in our homes but when we get a chance to sit by the real thing, nothing compares.

There’s no question that a wood-burning fireplace takes a bit of work to run. It’s best to have a good supply of firewood on hand for the winter. Most people order their firewood by the cord. If you are not familiar with the term “cord of wood,” here are a few guidelines to keep in mind before ordering one.

A “cord” is the official measurement of firewood. A “full” measures four feet high by four feet wide by eight feet long and has a volume of 128 cubic feet. This is a large amount of firewood.

Basically it measures two full-size pickup truck loads (eight-foot box). If the wood is stacked carefully, it can probably be level with the truck box sides.

A “face” cord or “rick” of wood is four feet high by eight feet long and it averages 16 inches wide. Looking at it a different way, a face cord is equal to one-third of a full cord.

You may find firewood suppliers sell their cords according to their own terminology. This can be confusing to the buyer so always clarify your purchase to know what you are really getting for your money.

The best scenario is to stick to dealers who sell their units of firewood that are related to the standard, full cord. Loads of woodpiles in minivans and station wagons are difficult to assess and price accordingly.

Metro Vancouver would like to remind you to only burn properly seasoned or dried wood and uncontaminated materials in your fireplace this winter. Materials that should not be burned are wet wood (causes excessive smoke and cools down the fire), pressure-treated wood, painted wood, particleboard and plywood, driftwood (as it is salt-laden), household rubbish, plastics, cardboard and coal. Only clean, dry-seasoned firewood is environmentally friendly and therefore it should be the only material burned in your fireplace.