What’s not to love about buying in bulk? It certainly beats having to waste all that gas making multiple trips to the store! This is especially true when it comes to stocking up on firewood.
But you have to be careful when you’re dealing with bulk logs for sale. What you don’t want is to buy a whole bunch only to realize the wood is junk or you bought too much or have nowhere to store it.
We’ve learned these lessons the hard way from nearly 30 years of experience in the firewood industry. So, we’ve put together this short guide to help you avoid those nightmare scenarios.
Follow these seven tips and your bulk firewood treasure trove will runneth over.
Oh, and by the way, if you’re looking to buy some firewood after this, we can help you with that too. We deliver kiln-dried firewood in bulk throughout the Chicago region and would be happy to drop some off at your home or business.
But more on that later. For now, let’s get to those expert buying tips.
1. Find a Firewood Seller You Can Trust
Obviously, you’re buying in bulk because you want a lot of wood. But it’s crucial that you resist the urge to buy from the company that promises the most wood at the lowest price. At least resist it long enough to do some research on the business first.
After all, firewood is only as good as the company selling it. If a business cuts corners during production, then your wood will fizzle quickly. And if it uses crisscross stacking methods when delivering your wood, then you’ll probably wind up with less wood than you paid for.
That’s why you should have a healthy skepticism and do your own research rather than taking a company at face value. If an offer seems too good to be true, then it very likely is.
Your research doesn’t need to take long. It can be as simple as checking off these items:
- Check if the seller has reviews on Google and Facebook.
- Ask around to see if anyone you know has had a good experience with the business.
- See if the company lists its address and visit it to view the wood for yourself.
These steps will help you gauge if a firewood seller is worth your trust. Always go with your gut on these things because it rarely steers you wrong.
After all, it’s better to choose a trustworthy source than to wind up with a pile of useless wood in your driveway!
2. Ask About the Wood-Drying Process
You may find multiple bulk firewood suppliers that seem trustworthy. In this case, how do you determine which one is worthy of your business?
The crux of your decision should be how the company dries its wood.
The drier the wood the better it will burn. No other quality matters quite as much. Sure, hardwood species like oak and hickory burn better than softwood species like cedar and pine. And of course, you want the firewood to be the standard length of 16 inches. But if that wood contains too much moisture, then any hope of having a great fire goes out the window.
So, before you purchase from any seller, ask them straight up, “How do you dry your wood?” They will likely use one of two methods: seasoning or kiln drying. Seasoning is the practice of leaving wood out to air dry for months on end. Conversely, kiln drying speeds up this process by drying the wood for 48 hours in massive ovens.
We recommend avoiding a business that uses seasoning and going with one that uses kiln drying instead.
Kiln-dried firewood is better than seasoned firewood for many reasons. But the biggest one is it guarantees a moisture content of below 20%. Seasoning can’t make this guarantee because there are too many variables involved with drying wood outside. Kiln drying takes out these variables by bringing the wood into a super-hot enclosed environment.
As a result, your entire bulk kiln-dried firewood order will be in pristine burning condition. It may cost more than seasoned firewood because of the superior drying process. But we think that extra expense is worth it for the superior performance.
3. Determine How Much Wood You Need
Now it’s time to determine how much wood you need in your bulk order. This step can be tricky because firewood measurements have a language all their own. Therefore, it’s important to understand the terminology so that you’ll know how much wood you’re ordering.
Most companies use a unit called a cord to measure firewood. Unfortunately, there is no universal standard for how much firewood is in a cord, so the exact volume can vary depending on who you ask. But most people in the firewood industry agree that a cord contains 128 cubic feet of wood.
Depending on how much wood you plan on using, a cord of wood can last 5-12 weeks or about an entire winter.
But most businesses don’t sell their bulk orders by the cord. Instead, they use a smaller measurement called a face cord. This usually contains one third the amount of wood contained in a full cord. Once again, the exact volume of a face cord can vary from seller to seller, so it’s important to ask the seller how they measure their face cord before buying in bulk.
Once you find out how much wood a company has in its face cord, estimate the amount of wood you’ll use per week to determine how much you’ll need to last through firewood season. You may need multiple face cords or only a fraction of a face cord.
4. Prepare for Storing Your Wood Ahead of Time
Have you thought about where you’ll store your bulk firewood order? It’s crucial that you do it before it gets here because you can end up wasting a lot of quality wood if you don’t, especially if you’re ordering kiln-dried firewood!
Let’s say, hypothetically, that you don’t plan where to store your kiln-dried firewood. When your order gets here, you realize you don’t have any room inside or outside your house other than a spot in the corner of your yard. So, you dump the woodpile there. As a result, what once was super dry, clean firewood very quickly becomes damp, muddy scrap wood. It no longer burns like a jet engine and is a home for all sorts of creepy crawlies.
We think you get the picture.
So, to keep your bulk kiln-dried firewood order pristine, you’re going to want to securely store it. The best place to do this is in a cool, dry indoor place, such as a basement or garage.
But if you don’t have space in your home, you can also keep the wood protected outside. A great way to do this is by stacking the wood in a log store or rack.
At the very least, make sure you elevate the wood off the ground and stack it with space between the pieces to allow for airflow. You could also put a tarp over the wood to protect it from the rain.
By taking precautions like these ahead of time, you’ll set yourself up for a firewood season full of the best fires possible!
5. Decide How You Want to Get Your Wood
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: getting all that wood to your home. You may be tempted to haul the wood in your own truck to save on delivery costs. If you are, then you’ll want to make sure your truck can handle the size of your bulk order.
A standard 6-foot truck bed can typically hold a face cord of wood, and an 8-foot bed can handle half a cord. If you’re getting a cord of firewood or more, then you’ll need a larger truck with high racks to handle all that wood.
But being able to fit the wood is only half the battle. You also need to check that your truck can handle all that extra weight. A cord of wood can weigh as much as 5,000 pounds and a face cord, 1,200 pounds. So, be sure to read your owner’s manual to see if your truck is strong enough to take on all that extra weight.
If you don’t want to go to all that extra trouble, then you can opt for firewood delivery. Most companies offer to deliver the wood to your home. And the best companies work with you to ensure the delivery process goes as smoothly as possible.
The business should ask for instructions about where you’d like the wood placed and give you an ETA for when to expect your order to arrive. If anything changes in that schedule, someone should call and let you know. That’s how we do it here at Lumberjacks.
6. Stack the Wood to Check for Quality
We recommend stacking the wood yourself once it arrives at your home. This may seem strange to you. After all, if you get the wood delivered, shouldn’t the company stack it for you?
You would think so, but the most trustworthy companies don’t insist on stacking the wood for you. This is because those businesses have nothing to hide.
Companies that insist on stacking the wood may use deceptive stacking methods to make it look like you’re getting more wood than you are.
So, by letting you stack it yourself, the company is saying, “Go ahead. It’s all there. We have nothing to hide.
Stacking the wood by yourself also allows you to get an up-close look at the wood to check for quality. Kiln-dried wood should have the following characteristics:
- Not too heavy
- Pieces make a hollow sound when hit together
- Cracks on the edges from the kiln-drying process
- No mold, fungus or bugs to be found
You can also check the moisture level of the pieces using a moisture meter, which is a tool you can buy at most hardware stores. Each piece should have a moisture level below 20%.
If the wood doesn’t live up to those standards, you can bring it up to the company.
You may be a little hesitant to stack the wood yourself because you don’t know proper firewood stacking methods. To help you with this, we’ve also put together this handy guide to proper firewood stacking.
7. Use Your Wood Sparingly to Make It Last
The nice thing about bulk kiln-dried firewood orders is that they can last a lot longer than bulk orders of seasoned wood. This is because you don’t need as much kiln-dried wood to get the fire started or keep it going.
So, we recommend being conservative when using your kiln-dried firewood. You’ll only need to use three or four pieces to get a fire started, and then you can add a piece occasionally to keep it going. You shouldn’t need to add as many pieces as you do for a fire with seasoned wood.
The exact amount of wood you’ll use will vary from fire to fire and will depend on the size and duration you want. But no matter the situation, you can err on the side of using less wood. The quality of the fire should live up to your expectations, and you can get the most out of your bulk firewood order.
You’re Now Ready to Buy Bulk Firewood for Sale in Chicago!
As you can see, it pays off to have a plan before you buy firewood in bulk. By including each of these seven steps in your plan, you’ll have an amazing experience with your bulk firewood order.
So, how do you feel? Are you ready to get all the good wood you need for an awesome firewood season?
If you want to learn more about kiln-dried firewood, you can read our comprehensive guide on the subject.
As we mentioned above, we offer bulk firewood delivery in Chicago suburbs like Arlington Heights, Highland Park and everywhere in between. You can call 815-337-1451 to place your order or get your questions answered by a helpful firewood expert!