Hardwood vs. Softwood: What Is the Best Firewood? - Colonial Excavating

Home and business owners rely on fireplaces to keep indoor environments warm. A fireplace creates a comfortable living space, but you’ll need plenty of wood available to keep the flames going.

The wood that makes the best firewood depends on several factors. Our guide below explains the differences between burning hardwoods and softwoods and what might be the right decision for you.

Identifying Types of Wood

There are two main varieties of wood — hardwoods and softwoods.

Hardwood trees generate flowers. These woods have seeds concealed inside fruits. During the colder months, hardwood trees shed leaves. Also, hardwoods grow slower compared to their softwood counterparts.

Softwoods are incapable of creating flowers. Instead, the seeds of softwood trees live within cones. The majority of softwood trees are green in color. Rather than having flat leaves, softwood varieties are known for their needles. Softwood trees have a year-round life and will not shed seasonally like hardwoods.

Hardwood vs. Softwood Log Burning Characteristics

You should consider lighting ease and heat generation before you buy firewood for your home or business.

Those wondering what wood makes the best firewood should know hardwoods burn longer than softwoods. The density of hard firewoods like oak, maple and cherry woods make it possible for fires to burn for hours or overnight without much work required.

Softwoods are typically less expensive than hardwoods. One of the main advantages of soft firewood is that fires start easily due to the high levels of sap. Softwoods are better for outdoor applications because they burn quickly and produce smoke.

How to Burn Hardwood

Hardwoods like oak, elm, maple, birch and cherry burn clean. You should let these woods dry out before burning. Keep hardwoods out of damp environments for best results.

Be sure to prime the flue in your fireplace to start a fire safely using hardwood. Light some crumpled-up newspaper to get air and heat moving in the right direction.

How to Burn Softwood

It is recommended you use softwoods for outdoor campfires. Softwoods are excellent for producing larger flames and they work well when you have to light fires manually with matches or kindling.

How Much Heat Can Hardwoods and Softwoods Produce?

To explain the thermal capabilities of hardwoods and softwoods, note that one cord of wood equals 128 cubic feet of supplies.

Dense hardwoods including white oak, yellow birch and maple produce the same amount of heat energy per cord as 200-250 gallons of petroleum oil. Softer woods like red cedar, redwood and white pine will produce the same level of heat per cord as 100-150 gallons of the same oil.

Considerations for Burning Firewood Safely

Keep these items out of your fireplace to burn hardwoods and softwoods responsibly:

  • Particleboard and plywood
  • Woods with paint or polished surfaces
  • Driftwood
  • Flammable gases and fluids

Contact Colonial Excavating for Split Firewood Deliveries in the Capital Region of New York

Contact Colonial Excavating for Split Firewood Deliveries in the Capital Region of New York

Colonial Excavating is your premier excavating and landscaping company serving the Capital District, New York, area. We offer you split firewood delivery services so that you can get the best hardwood and softwood for your applications. Contact our team to learn more about how we can help you!