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Firewood Guide – Everything You Need to Know About Firewood

Snuggling up in the home during the cold autumn and winter months offers different routines to people in their homes. For some, it means making a cup of tea or hot chocolate, then grabbing a book or turning on a comfort show on the television. 

One thing that elevates a cozy living space is a fireplace, offering a warm and inviting atmosphere for you and any guests in your home. The warm glow of embers and the flickering flames create a comfortable and relaxing space for people in the house to gather around. What’s better than a family movie night in front of the living room fireplace? 

A built-in fireplace can be the standout focal point of any room, adding character to your home. With some essential furnishings, a fireplace can be traditional or more modern.

There are different kinds of fireplaces to install in your home, like the traditional wood-burning fireplace or a modern gas-powered model. You may also have an outdoor fireplace for family barbecues in the summer or outdoor dinners any time of year. 

Whichever fireplace is in your home, it’s sure to be the standout piece of any room in your house or backyard, serving as a central area for creating lasting memories.

If you’ve recently moved into a home with a fireplace or just installed a fireplace, you may have overlooked a crucial detail in fireplace upkeep. The firewood that keeps the fireplace running is burned as fuel for heating your home. And it can be different from firewood for an outdoor fire pit, wood stove, or wood burner. 

There are plenty of things to remember when choosing the right firewood for your home, such as firewood type, size, cut, how much you’ll need, and how to properly store it in your home. Here’s everything you need to know about firewood for your outdoor and indoor fireplace.

Types of Firewood

First, you can use several types of firewood for your outdoor or indoor fireplace. It’s important to note that if you have an outdoor fire pit, you may want to purchase different outdoor firewood. Indoor firewood is often in smaller pieces and focuses on quality wood, and while this is important for an outdoor fire pit or wood burning stove, the aesthetics aren’t as necessary as for an indoor fireplace.

Freshly cut wood may seem like the best choice, but it isn’t suitable for burning yet. If wood is freshly cut from a log, it will contain high amounts of moisture, which will burn poorly and produce excessive smoke, which in turn is more flammable and can cause problems down the line for your chimney and the safety of your home. 

What to Look For


One type of firewood to look for is hardwood, which is denser than softwoods and can burn for longer. They’re great for cooking, so it’s the ideal type of firewood to buy if you have an outdoor wood burning stove. Since they burn slowly and produce a hotter and more intense fire, they’re also great for your indoor fireplace to keep your home warm.

Some types of hardwood to look for:

  • Oak
  • Birch
  • Ash
  • Elm
  • Hickory
  • Maple
  • Beech
  • Walnut

Ash is usually the priciest hardwood, but it can be worth the investment because it burns well without too much maintenance. 

Meanwhile, oak’s density means it can burn for a very long time, so it works great in an indoor fireplace to heat your home at night. 


While it seems like hardwood is the best option here, softwood also has its benefits. They are less dense than hardwood and burn more quickly than hardwood. They ignite quickly and burn more smoke, so if you need to start a fire, this is the ideal firewood to start with. That’s why they’re ideal for outdoor use, especially for your outdoor fire pit. 

For kindling, softwood is the way to go. Look for:

  • Cedar
  • Fir
  • Hemlock
  • Redwood
  • Spruce
  • Pine
  • Larch

Most softwood should be seasoned before burning; however, cedar can be burned unseasoned in small pieces. 

Screened brick fireplace with half-charred wood logs burning


If you’re looking for long-burning wood with a pleasant smell, walnut might be your best choice. This is particularly great for producing a cozy cabin feel for your indoor fireplace and is a clean-burning wood with a fantastic scent that wafts through the home. 

Wood Bricks or Pellets

Wood bricks can be an excellent alternative to firewood if you need a good supply of firewood for your fireplace. The bricks are made of dried and compressed wood chips and sawdust and can burn for a long time. 

They’re an excellent option for an indoor fireplace, as they leave less smoke and ash due to their low moisture content. Look for high-quality wood bricks like Bio Blocks for a clean, long-lasting burn.

You can also purchase compressed wood chips as wood pellets, ideal for small cookers or wood stoves.

How Much Firewood Do I Need?

Firewood stacked beside blazing indoor fireplace

The question of how much firewood you need to heat your fireplace depends on your home setup. A half-cord of wood is usually enough if you have one indoor fireplace and intend to use it throughout the winter months. 

One or two standard-size bags of wood for an outdoor fire pit will last for a single night. So, consider how often you’ll use the outdoor firepit and how much you will need. Regular trips can be inconvenient, so stock up on firewood every few months. 

Buying an entire year’s worth of firewood can sound like an easy solution, but when not properly stored, wood can change its moisture level and either become too wet and unable to burn or too dry and become a fire hazard. 

If you’re unsure how to stack firewood for storage, you can ask your wood supplier, as they are familiar with the local area’s weather and heating requirements. 

How Do I Order Firewood for My Fireplace?

When ordering firewood, two terms to look out for are seasoned and unseasoned firewood. 

Seasoned firewood means that the wood is dry and ready to burn. 

Unseasoned firewood or green wood indicates the wood still contains lots of moisture. Unseasoned wood can still burn, but remember to mix it with other types of wood to burn in your fireplace properly.

A cord of firewood refers to a unit of measurement. One cord equals an 8-foot by 4-foot stock of 4-foot wood logs or 128 cubic feet. Most firewood is purchased by the cord or in small amounts in standard bags. 

Make sure to look for firewood that is local to your area. Local environmental authorities usually regulate this, but it’s worth noting that burning even a small amount of wood that is non-local to the area could potentially release invasive environmental diseases.

This is why it’s essential to only buy firewood from local dealers. Purchasing and moving firewood from one state to another may be illegal, depending on where you live. 


After building a fire and getting it going for your outdoor gathering, why not add some must-have fire pit accessories to your space? You may need tools like fire pit tongs, a fire poker, or a fire shovel. Then, you can decorate your outdoor fire pit with outdoor furniture, like outdoor chairs and tables, to accommodate all your guests. 

An outdoor fireplace or fire pit is the perfect space for family time, where family and friends can come together to catch up and have fun.


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