How much is a cord of wood?
It’s a question you’ve got to ask if you’re buying firewood and don’t want to be ripped off.
You don’t want to get less wood than you’re paying for, nor do you want to pay more for the wood you’re getting! Whether you want to know the volume of a cord of wood, or just the price, we’ve got the answer for you.
My family goes through about 3 cords of wood per year. We process around 2 cords of wood for ourselves and usually end up buying in another cord. We work from home though and live in a cooler climate, so probably use more than the average household.
Consider how much firewood you will need and try to buy it all in at once. This usually makes it a bit cheaper!
What Is A Cord Of Wood?
A cord is a standard unit used to measure a stacked pile of dry wood.
A cord of firewood has to fit specific measurements known to all who buy and sell firewood. There are also other terms used when referring to different quantities of firewood. Such as running cord, face cord, stove cord, standing cord, or bush cord.
These terms are likely to confuse a new buyer, and some sellers don’t follow the rules when selling their woods. So, we recommend you do your research before buying firewood.
Ask the seller a lot of questions to know what you are getting.
What Is The Volume Of A Cord of Wood?
A cord of stacked firewood is:
- 8-foot x 4-foot x 4-foot – this works out to 128 cubic feet
- 2.44 m x 1.22 m x 1.22 cm – this works out to 3.63 cubic meters
The actual volume of wood always works out to be less than this because of air pockets between the wood. If it were possible to have zero air pockets, a cord of wood would be closer to 90 cubic feet in volume.
Most often, when buying wood, you will buy it by the full cord. However, some businesses will sell their wood in fractions of a cord as well.
It’s not uncommon to hear of buying a half cord or even a third of a cord of wood.
You should avoid buying wood in these units:
- rick cord
- pick-up truckloads
- stone cord
- furnace cord
These are terms sometimes by sellers, but they are not as accurate as official standards of measurements.
Some dishonest sellers may use these words to confuse. Always use the term full cord when ordering your firewood.
How Much Does A Cord Of Wood Cost?
It is best to call around several operators to determine the average price of a cord of wood in your area.
Generally speaking, you can expect to pay around $300 for a cord of seasoned hardwood delivered.
However, the price will vary depending on:
- your location (state/city/town)
- the type of wood
- whether or not the wood is seasoned
- whether you pick it up or have it delivered
- if you want it stacked or dumped
Where you live plays a big part in how much a cord or rick of wood costs.
Factors that can lead to firewood price fluctuation in different areas include:
- fuel prices
- taxes and fees
- regulatory burdens
- level of supply
- available competition
Prices can vary wildly.
I’ve heard from people who live in areas where there are very few suitable trees for firewood, and they have to pay an astronomical amount of money to get it in.
On the flip side, my neighbor processes and sells a lot of wood. Because I’m so close (literally next door!), he gives me a considerable discount.
If you only have a miniature wood stove, such as the Cubic Grizzly (for tiny homes), you can probably pick up sufficient wood at a decent price from the likes of Home Depot or your local big box store. It’s doesn’t take much to keep these burners running.
Type Of Wood
There are two types of wood, hardwood and softwood.
Softwood burns fast and is much cheaper than hardwood. Softwood gives off less heat, but it is easier to start a fire. Pine is one example of softwood.
Hardwoods have a denser structure compared to softwoods. The trees take a longer time to mature, making them harder over time. They are more challenging to split, but they put out a lot more heat. Gum is one example of a hardwood.
I like to start my fire with softwood and then switch to hardwood once the fire is well established. This helps the fire to get well established and then burn hotter once there’s a good base.
If the firewood is seasoned, it will cost more.
It takes about seven months to season firewood – depending on where you live and how you store it.
Well-seasoned wood means that it has low moisture content ranging between 15% to 20%, and you can use a moisture meter for firewood to test it.
Green firewood can be a bit cheaper to buy. This is fresh-cut wood that is not ready to burn, and it has a higher moisture content of about 50%. Green firewood produces more smoke when burnt and will require you to clean your chimney more frequently, unlike seasoned wood.
When burning wood, you will sometimes hear popping sounds. This means your wood has a lot of moisture in it. Unseasoned wood doesn’t put out as much heat either, so it’s always best to wait until it’s ready.
Sometimes you can also buy semi-seasoned firewood, which will take less time to dry.
Firewood Delivery Near Me
If you’re new to buying firewood or have just moved to a new area, it’s best to ask others for recommendations on where to buy firewood.
I often see people asking ‘where is the best place to buy firewood’ in my local Facebook groups. There are always one or two dealers that get mentioned again and again.
Don’t be afraid to ask for complete measurement and price details from the person you are buying from – if they can’t answer your questions honestly, then move on!
To get the cheapest firewood for your wood burner, buy it green a year or so in advance of when you need it. Season it yourself, and you’ll save a lot of money over time.