The Best Wood for Your Fireplace

Posted by Jennifer on 1/26/2015
Many of us are now in the midst of the cold wintry months. It's the perfect time to grab your Grill King Tong Pro and some firewood as you build a warm, roasting fire. But what types of wood should you use? While any wood that has been seasoned properly will burn well each wood species does have its own set of burning characteristics. Let's explore some or the more popular choices of firewood. 

The Hardwoods 
Oak: Oak is abundant in the U.S. and it is often considered one of the best species for firewood. Dried properly, it can produce a very slow-burning and hot fire. But it does need to be seasoned—aged in a dry area, that is—for at least one year, preferably two. Like other hardwoods, oak is difficult to ignite, but you’ll be rewarded once it’s burning with an intense, sustained fire. 

Birch: Birch is very attractive and it gives off a lot of heat. It also burns fairly quickly. Though birch can be easier to find and cheaper than many other species, you’ll go through it faster. It’s best to use in combination with other types. 

Hard Maple: Hard Maple is readily available in the northern US and Canada. It is extremely dense and heavy, which allows it to burn very slowly, even in comparison to other hardwoods like hickory and oak. 

The Softwoods 
Fir: Fir is probably the best conifer for firewood. Douglas Fir has a medium heating value and it does not produce too much ash. Older trees are easy to to split and easy to start. Fir can produce a moderate amount of sparking. 

Pine: Pine is widely available and highly sustainable in northern climates. Pine seasons faster than hardwood varieties, is easy to split, and it is easy to start. Pine does burn very quickly, however, and it does not produce the heat that comes from hardwoods. Burning pine is also usually characterized by exploding sap pockets that cause sparking and can, in turn, cause creosote buildup in your chimney. Many people like to use a softwood - like pine - to get a fire started before switching over hardwoods. 

Whatever firewood you choose to burn, make sure you are storing your wood in a well-ventilated outdoor area and one that is protected from the elements. Be sure to only bring in only as much firewood as you plan to use in your fire at that time. Allowing wood to set inside for too long can encourage bugs in the wood to become active.