As we’ve heard constantly in our personal lives, “Why is firewood so expensive?” Isn’t it just wood? Doesn’t it require little to no effort to make? Well, no. It doesn’t materialize out of thin air. A lot of painstaking labor goes into extracting regular pieces of firewood from entire trees.
If no labor was necessary to make effective firewood, we’d be out of a job! In fact, creating firewood is such an involved process that prices can change in response to season, size and location. In this blog, we’ll show you how price is determined for kiln-dried firewood.
What Affects the Price of Firewood?
From the forest to the lumber yard, the production of effective firewood involves a lot of hard labor. In addition to this labor, state regulations and other factors can influence the price of firewood throughout the year. Here are some of the major players that exhibit the most profound effects on the best firewood prices near you.
Supply and Demand
In autumn, prices inevitably rise as more and more people remember to purchase firewood before winter arrives. Very few vendors forget to take advantage of this annual explosion in demand. To purchase high-quality firewood at a lower-than-usual price, consider stocking up early in the year, instead.
In fact, to earn the biggest bang for your buck, buy firewood in early spring. Not only will you save money on what you’d otherwise purchase in the fall, but your firewood will have extra time to season. Further seasoning won’t make a difference if you purchase kiln-dried firewood that’s already dry enough. But it can make a difference for seasoned firewood.
As long as you store your firewood in a place that enjoys plenty of shelter, sun and airflow, you can continue the seasoning process yourself.
The immediate geography of where you live can also influence prices. If you live in a wooded area, firewood will be cheaper. If you live in an arid area, vendors have exerted a lot of effort to ensure their firewood is available near you.
Buying as locally as possible is another way to reduce costs. All dependable firewood vendors shouldn’t be more than a couple hours away from you.
Any further, and distance may increase the price of the delivery. Either you’ll pay for your own gas, or you’ll have to pay for someone else’s gas and labor.
We encourage you to buy firewood by the cord or fractions of a cord, as these denominations are not likely targets of price gouging.
Piles, ricks, ranks and other sizes are much more likely to vary erratically in price. A good way to avoid being ripped off is to buy cords exclusively, though “bundles” of 5-7 logs are also fairly consistent.
What’s the Price of a Cord?
Split, seasoned firewood (including labor, delivery and so on) can cost anywhere from $120 to $180 per cord, which includes 128 cubic feet of wood, so we’re talking about a substantial quantity that lasts for several months. Kiln-dried firewood will typically be more expensive due to its much higher quality and greater production costs.
Some prices can be as high as $200 or $300 for seasoned cords alone, and ordering firewood delivery to the most urban areas can cost $400.
Though firewood prices can be fickle, use the local average price for a cord of wood as a starting point when evaluating potential vendors. A deal will be much easier to spot once you have a sense of how high the cost of firewood should be in your general area. But you should also take into account the wood production process as well as the quality of the wood.
What’s Wrong with Cheap Firewood?
Sometimes, firewood is so cheap because it’s no better than what’s in your backyard. Vendors might try to sell you fresh wood, which doesn’t burn, or softwood, which struggles to burn and produces tons of smoke.
You could salvage these options for free, but vendors may try to sell them at the same price as conventional, seasoned firewood. If you want cheap firewood, go outside. The only difference is that you don’t have to pay for it.
Cheap firewood may also house pests that infiltrate your home. Your stack of firewood is going to sit there for a while, giving insects plenty of time to invade.
After a big storm, municipal crews may be looking to get rid of wooden debris as firewood. Construction companies and sawmills may also be looking to offload wooden debris that isn’t fit for sawing.
But don’t use anything that’s not raw wood, like a pallet. Not only can pallets house plenty of nails, but they’re often treated with chemicals that’ll spread through the air upon burning.
Why Is Kiln-Dried Hardwood Worth a Higher Cost?
There are two major reasons why kiln-dried firewood is more cost-effective than any other type of firewood: dryness and density.
As you may have gathered, seasoning is among the most common processes to make firewood dry enough to burn, but it leaves a lot of moisture behind. If it doesn’t keep fires from starting entirely, remaining moisture can produce excess smoke and creosote, neither of which is good for us to inhale.
Heat-treating firewood at hundreds of degrees for two days is a lot more thorough, lowering moisture levels to below 20%, while seasoning brings moisture content down to 30%. Kiln-dried firewood is easier to start and burns for more time. You won’t have to worry about any “duds.”
But kiln-drying is only part of the puzzle. Remember how we told you that shady vendors might try to sell you softwood? Make sure you’re buying hardwood.
Like moist wood, softwood produces tons of smoke and doesn’t burn well. This is because the key difference between hardwood, like oak or hickory, and softwood, like pine, is that hardwood is infinitely denser, providing more heat and allowing for much longer fires.
To combine the impeccable dryness of kiln-drying with the high density of hardwood species is to create truly exceptional firewood that’s actually worth all the money you’re spending.
A Good Price for Firewood in Woodstock, IL
For those looking to burn firewood at a one-time event, price shouldn’t be much of an issue. Whether you’re preparing for a single event or the entire winter, we recommend investing in firewood that’s effective, no matter how hefty its price may seem. After all, anything less than kiln-dried hardwood is something you might even be able to get for free.
Lumberjacks has been proud to deliver kiln-dried hardwood across Chicagoland since the ‘90s. In the truck, we stack our firewood deliveries as tightly as possible to make sure customers get everything they pay for.
Our available species include oak, hickory, birch and cherry, the last of which is perfect for filling your home with the delicious scent of cherries (shocking). To enjoy a good price for firewood, please call us, email us or fill our online form, and we can start your order.