What Is A Cord Of Firewood And How Should You Store It?

For those who love the sights, smells, and sounds of the home fireplace, there's nothing like tossing a fresh log onto the fire. Listening to the pop and crackle of the wood as it sets alight is enough to soothe your soul and get you in tune with the natural elements around you or to bring that sense of nature indoors.

If you are a self-proclaimed fire pit professional and have access to an abundance of free wood along with an ax or saw for every log splitting scenario, then you may already know the ins and outs of cutting and storing wood. For those who just don't have the time to hack away and sort out your own lumber, then you might consider ordering some firewood to your home. This task in itself may seem a bit daunting because you don't just order wood in increments of wood size or weight, per se. You may, in fact, be asked to order in a measurement called "cords," according to the Government of Vermont, and there are many options when it comes to sizes of cords and how you should be storing the wood once you receive it.

How much is in a cord of firewood?

Now that you have decided to order some fresh firewood for your home, you need to know how much to get. As a baseline, a full cord of wood is measured by stacking split wood in an area that is 4 feet high by 8 feet long by 4 feet wide, per The Spruce. The amount of wood that you can fit into this allotted space varies on how the wood is split by the seller and how much of the wood can be stacked.

If a full cord of wood sounds like a bit too much for you, then this amount can be broken down into fractions. For example, you could order one-third or one-half of a cord of firewood. Other terms that are thrown around are "face cord," "rick cord," or "Sheldon cord." A face cord and rick cord can both refer to a measurement that is roughly half of a full cord. This means that the area is 4 feet high by 8 feet long, but this time only 16 to 20 inches wide. A Sheldon cord can indicate an order that is a bit larger than a full cord. Consider it almost like the "Baker's dozen" of firewood. Because these measurements may vary from region to region, it is always a good idea to check with the company and get confirmation of their measurements before confirming a firewood order.

How to store your firewood

So you've placed your first order of a cord of firewood, and now you're sitting back daydreaming about curling up on the couch with a good book, letting the warming heat of a few logs on the fireplace wash over you. But wait. How are you going to store all of that wood? Luckily it only takes a quick internet search to find either handy DIY storage ideas or a list of professionals that can easily set up an area for all of your newly purchased or freshly chopped firewood. However, there are a few basics to keep in mind before building a storage area of your own or setting up a space to have one built for you.

First and foremost, do not store your cords of firewood indoors. Although there may be many home designs that could make it look fancy and decorative, it is probably not a good idea. Because fresh wood contains moisture in it, the University of Kentucky Department of Forestry and Natural Resources recommended that you dry your wood outdoors for at least twelve months in order to get the best burn for your buck. That extra moisture needs room to evaporate which is why you don't want it collecting in your home. Also, all of that wood can be incredibly heavy which could cause problems to your flooring and even the foundation of your house. Freshly cut wood can also be a good home for tiny critters and insects, and the last thing you want is uninvited pests roaming around the inside of your home.

Your cord of wood should be stacked off of the ground, so no added moisture is absorbed. Setting down lengths of cut two by fours or using a wooden pallet can be an ideal base for your stack of wood as long as the bottom is level, per The Washington Post. From there you can use a tarp to cover the woodpile from the rain, but make sure to allow room on the sides for added airflow. Ensure that the ends of your storage are made from a sturdy material such as metal or a thicker wood so that your pile does not tip over. The main recommendations are to keep storage of your wood outdoors, off of the ground, covered from the elements, and safe from tipping over. With these in mind, you can easily access your cord of firewood so that you can enjoy many comfy moments by the fire.