How Much Is A Cord Of Wood:
Face Cord vs Full Cord

How much is a cord of wood

It’s no longer news that firewood remains an important part of homes especially when winter hits the atmosphere. In fact, in the countryside, people use firewood for other things than to provide heat. Some of these other uses include cooking and also to make indoor and outdoor fires. However, the supply of firewood depends on how much is a cord of wood.

The same way you measure oil in barrels, wood becomes quantified using cords. In essence, people buy woods in cords for their personal use. Actually, you can refer to a cord as a measurement of volume. Furthermore, the wood cord has been diversified to suit different purposes and definitions. We have two types of wood measurements, which are the face cord and full cord.

Consequently, you can either purchase a face cord or a full cord depending on what you need the wood for. Sometimes, people’s inability or ignorance of this form of measuring wood could costs them. This might lead to purchasing more or less than the required amount needed. Although different people call cords of wood by varying name, the legal definition in the US and Canada is a full or bush cord.

The rate at which you make fire should remain the determining factor for the type of cord you will buy. For instance, if you make several fires, you can either purchase 2 face cords or a full cord to last the season. On the other hand, if you rely on firewood as the site source of heat indoors, a face cord should suffice for the whole year.

In short, the question of how much is a cord of wood becomes subject to your needs. And of course, the local regulations governing the sale of firewood in the region.

How Big is a cord of wood?

Although the question of how much is a cord of wood remains an important one, especially for people who make firewood purchases a lot. You also need to know how big a cord of wood is. Remember, how much is a cord of wood is subject to local regulation, so also the size.

However, by standards, a cord of wood measures four feet in width, four feet in height and eight feet in length. Contrary to these standards, when wood becomes sold for firewood, rick or face cords are used. Rick or face cords simply refer to a stack that contains wood pieces of less than four feet.

The size of the cord plays a more important role than how much is a cord of wood. This is because the amount of wood you purchase in a cord varies depending on how tight each piece become stacked. Another thing you should know revolves around how the woods become stacked. You would observe a tighter stack when the pieces originate from split wood.

In essence, a cord of split wood packs more potential energy than a cord of un-split wood. It’s easy to point to these differences but this energy difference and additional cost spent on processing usually increases the purchasing power of a split cord.

How many pieces of wood in a cord?

Remember when discussing how much is a cord of wood, we mentioned that “cords of wood” is a measurement by volume. Therefore, you can have a different number of wood pieces in one cord since the cord refers to volume and not quantity. This depends on how the wood becomes cut and also the type of wood used.

However, an average value observed in cords of wood ranges between 220 – 240 pieces of wood. I mean who goes to count the number of wood pieces as long as you have the right measurements. In most instances, the full cord can have up to 700 pieces of wood because it has around three times the size of a face cord.

The most important thing to know, however, doesn’t revolve around the number of wood pieces, but rather on meeting the required rack standard and local regulations. Also, there not a set number of pieces of wood you should expect in a cord. But if curiosity sets in and you truly want to know how many pieces you have in a cord, you can get busy by counting them one after the other.

Cord of wood weight

The same way we have no fixed number of wood pieces in a cord, we also can not determines the weight a cord should have. This also stems to the fact that cord of wood remains nothing but volume measurement. The weight of a block of wood has no fixed value but depends on the species of wood, how green or wetness of the wood.

As expected, the water content increases the weight of the cord. Consequently, every cord of wood will have different weight. Since we cannot determine the exact weight to expect, an expected weight range remains the only solution to making the right purchase.

Hence, you should be on the lookout for a cord of seasoned firewood which weighs around 2,000 to 3,000 pounds. Recall that the standard measurement of a cord stands at 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet, which equals 128 cubic ft. Unfortunately, in reality, not just the wood species or moisture content that determines the weight of the cord.

You will always have to air any unit of stacked wood. The air content usually equals around 25 percent of the space, which means you can have more in a stack of uneven logs.

Standard Wood Weight Measurement

The California Energy Commission's Consumer Energy Center provides the weight per cord of firewood for different types of wood. The following are just typical examples of weights of dry wood in pounds.

  • Alder 2,000 to 2,600
  • Sycamore -- 2,390 to 3,080
  • Maple, Big Leaf -- 2,350 to 3,000
  • Douglas Fir -- 2,400 to 3,075
  • Oak, White -- 2,880 to 3,710
  • Dogwood -- 3,130 to 4,025

Obviously, people desire to know the weight of a cord to determine if their pickup can carry the whole cord all at once, or will need to make double trips. Cargo weight helps to rate a truck and gross vehicle weight is the total weight of the truck, cargo, and passengers. If you exceed the gross vehicle weight, you expose yourself to a safety hazard, for instance, braking.

Popular compact trucks like the Ford ranger rated for around 1,500 pounds of cargo cannot carry a cord all at once. So, split the load into two unless it's very light dry wood and doesn’t exceed the gross vehicle weight. Some other pickups like the popular Ford F150, Dodge Ram and Chevy Silverado belong to the half and three-quarter tons’ class.

These can carry around 2,000 to 3,000 pounds conveniently at a go. Many of which can carry a full seasoned cord in one load of the pickup. Most importantly, check your pickup specifications before using it in carrying cords of wood.

Cord of Firewood Uses

Asking why you should buy firewood in cords is similar to asking why oil is sold in barrels. The sole use of cord of firewood revolves around it existing as the official measurement for firewood. Once you can answer the question how much is a cord of wood, you will know that it depends on the standard means of measurement.

When you want to purchase firewood, you will have to calculate the price by cords. Hence, its best to familiarize yourself with cords, face cords and full cords to know the real value of your purchase. On the contrary, some dealers sell firewood using truckloads and station wagon loads.

Since you have different means of measurement doesn’t always mean more value in price. In the real sense, you can actually end up paying much more and get less on other types of measuring firewood. 

Asides from the fact that buying firewood in cords allow you to have an estimate of the weight and wood pieces. You can easily communicate with other people without having to explain what you meant by truckload or station wagon load.

How long does a cord of wood last?

Since you purchase firewood in cords and will most likely have more than what you can use at the moment. There arises the need for you to store the wood pieces. Therefore, you should know how long the cord you purchase will last.

In some situations, a half cord can last for as long as 2 months when used to heat a small house. Ultimately, this means you can use a cord of wood to heat a small home for as long as 4 months. For homes with a rocket mass heater, you can possibly use a cord of wood for as long as 6 months in cooking and in heating water.

For houses that span over 1,600 square meters, you should definitely expect more firewood usage. In fact, to heat such a house during winter, you will need as much as 8 cords of wood to keep the house warm. This doesn’t account for other activities like cooking or heating water. This means that in such houses, their specific needs only will exhaust one cord in less than a week.

When considering how long a cord of wood will last, you should also take a look at the structure of the home. In a 1,500 sq feet home with no leaks and proper insulation, you only need to prepare three to four cords of wood. This is because insulation plays a very big role and helps to keep wood consumption down to the barest minimum.

Some homeowners who have 1,100 square foot claim that they can use one and half cord of wood just to keep the house warm. In essence, how long you can use a cord of wood depends on the size of your house and the things you use it for.

Face Cord Vs Full Cord of Firewood

Having said that Full Cord or Face Cord remain the two most common ways to measure firewood. We need to put a clear distinction between the two forms of measurement. A full cord of firewood refers to an amount of wood that can conveniently fill a space equal to eight feet in length, four feet in height and four feet in depth.

The standard length for a wood piece in a full cord stands at 16 inches. Furthermore, a full cord of firewood usually consists of three rows of wood pieces stacked four feet in width and eight feet in length. Typically, a full cord is three times as deep as a face cord.

A face cord of firewood, on the other hand, refers to a single stack of firewood that measures four feet in height, eight feet in length. However, the depth or width of a face cord stands at a few inches lower than its height of 4 feet. This means that each wood piece in the pile has a length less than 4 feet.

However, you can use each of these measurements to your wish. Deciding which firewood storage option best suits your need depends on the amount of firewood you want to store. For instance, you can use a firewood rack to store firewood for a few single wood burning sessions. You can also use a firewood rack to store firewood for maybe a week’s worth of burning sessions at a time.

On the other hand, if you want to store enough firewood to take you throughout the entire winter season, you should consider a firewood storage shed.

How much is a Cord of wood?

A concise read through this post would reveal to you that the question how much is a cord of wood cannot receive an exact answer when asked. The cost of a cord varies across countries, but on average you can expect to pay between $120 and $200 for a cord of split and seasoned hardwood.

Although an average cost, many sellers expect you to pay more, especially in winter. In fact, a cord of wood can cost up to $400 in some places in the U.S. The best way to determine the cost of a cord in your area is to do some comparison-shopping.

You can hold some other factors responsible for the additional cost paid on cords of wood. For instance, if you want your wood delivered and stacked, it comes at an additional fee. In short, you will pay more for conveniences. Sellers might charge differently for conveniences offered, such as:

  • Wood cut into shorter lengths (more labor intensive)
  • Neatly stacked wood due to uniform cut sizes so that it stacks nicely
  • Clean Wood
  • Dry Wood

However, many people consider the convenience services worthy of the price paid.

Types of Wood

As you already know, all woods don’t have the same origin. Some types of wood make much better for firewood than others. Therefore, before spending a dime on firewood, be sure you know the type of wood you’re buying.

For most home burning sessions, you can purchase hardwoods. Largely because they burn slowly and emit little smoke and few sparks occasionally. Some of the hardwood you can purchase include:

  • Ash
  • Maple
  • Black birch
  • Oak
  • Walnut

No matter how good the price is on a cord of wood, or trustworthy you find your dealer, always check and confirm the wood type before making your purchases.

Conclusion

The question of how much is a cord of wood lingers in the heart of many homeowners, however, there exist more to cords of wood than the cost. The cord of wood stands as a useful volume form of measurement and so with it, you can always purchase the right amount of wood.

Irrespective of how much is a cord of wood, always ensure that you purchase a cord that meets the required standards.

Talking about standards, ensure you purchase the correct weight, check the air content and observe the moisture content. Most importantly ensure it meets the standard set by local regulatory bodies.

Never expend or be cheap on prices. Therefore, when you want to make a purchase, deciding on how much is a cord of wood shouldn’t stand as the determining factor. Rather consider the size of your home, the number of burning sessions you make, and also the duties you would need it for.

How much is a cord of wood should be the last factor to consider as the efficiency of the wood has more importance than the price. Lastly, get a look at the firewood firsthand before making payments.

Finally, ensure you stock up with a winter season’s worth of firewood before the cold comes hitting. Proper preparation ensures you don’t have to scramble and pay top dollar when demand for firewood reaches is highest.