How Many Square Feet in a Cord of Wood?

Buying wood could be difficult if you have never done it before. With all the different jargons used in the wood trade, it’s so easy to become confused with your purchase! What is a cord of wood? How much is a cord? This is a guide to help you understand the standard unit of measurement for firewood which is the cord.

What is the true measurement of a cord of wood?

The official measurement of firewood is a “cord.” However, this word can be used differently from different locations and can even be misused by some dealers. So how large is a cord of firewood? One full cord is a large amount of wood even a lot of wood that may be too much for a family of four for a season.

A cord of wood measures four feet high by four feet wide by eight feet long and has a volume of 128 cubic feet. The amount of wood in a cord may vary according to the size of the pieces and for firewood, it is about 85 cubic feet. The rest is all air due to the fact that wood has open voids.

A ‘full’ cord is the official, standard firewood measure. But you won’t be able to find four-foot pieces because these are never used for home heating. Another popular measure is one-third of a full cord.

This type of wood is 16 inches long. A face cord, on the other hand, describes a stack of wood measuring 4 ft. high and 8 ft. long with a piece length shorter than 4 ft. The most common firewood piece length is 16 inches, one-third of a full cord and you can also find other lengths.

Don’t be confused when buying wood

It’s quite confusing to purchase wood. If you are not careful, you will only end up paying for more. A winter’s supply can cost several hundred dollars and therefore you can’t just overlook the fine details when buying firewood.

You must compare prices from a number of suppliers before you make your purchase. A good idea is to take a tape measure to a firewood dealer’s yard and measure the average piece length. Dealers may or may not have a price for a standard full cord measure of wood so you must be ready to do some basic math. Convert the price to the basic unit.

If a dealer sells a ‘face cord’ for $75 and you find that the stack of wood is 4 feet high and 8 feet long, with an average piece length of 16 inches. Divide this into the full cord length of 48 in. and multiply by the price of a face cord. Therefore: 48 ÷ 16 = 3 x $75 = $225. You can say that the firewood dealer sells firewood for $225 per cord.

How to avoid getting a bad deal

No one wants to get conned. Buying firewood, especially something as huge as a face cord, should never be overlooked. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Avoid buying firewood in units which are not related to a standard full cord because you will only end up paying for more. Be wary of buying firewood in station wagon loads, pick-up truck loads or other units which can be too hard to find out how much you are really getting.

You might be tempted to by firewood via telephone. Although this is a very convenient thing to do, it is hard to determine if you are getting the best deal. So never overlook visiting a lumber yard to purchase your cord of firewood.

There are factors that can make a given volume of firewood more expensive. Take note that shorter lengths usually cost more due to more cutting and handling.

Firewood that is cut in consistent lengths is more convenient to use but may cost more because the dealer has given it more attention to detail. Drier wood costs more because this has been stored longer. And of course, cleaner firewood is more valuable because sand or mud makes the wood less pleasant.

Conclusion

A cord is a standard measure of firewood. Buying firewood should be a proactive activity; you must personally visit a lumber yard to make sure that you are getting the best deal. It is only through personally measuring a cord stack will you be able to get an accurate cord.

  • January 5, 2019
  • DIY
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