What Is Seasoned Wood?

Seasoned wood has been allowed to dry for an extended period before being used as fuel. The key is allowing the wood to undergo a slow and natural drying process.

Seasoning typically involves storing the wood in a well-ventilated area, off the ground, for around six months to a year. During this time, the wood naturally loses its moisture content through evaporation, making it dry and suitable for burning.

Stack of Split Logs

Trees are cut down, and the wood is typically split into manageable pieces. Here at Deeke’s, we use wood from our friends over at Abbott Tree Care. The wood comes from local tree removals, so you never have to worry about us contributing to deforestation.

After the initial preparation, the split wood is stacked in a well-ventilated area. Proper stacking allows air to circulate around the wood, helping the drying process.

The stacked wood is kept off the ground in racks or pallets to prevent moisture absorption. We typically use pallets for our seasoned wood process.

The wood is left to dry naturally in the open air for around six to 12 months. During this time, the sun, wind, and air gradually reduce the moisture content of the wood through evaporation.

Periodic testing determines when the wood has reached the desired moisture level, usually around 20 percent or lower. Once moisture in the wood evaporates, it can be stored in a dry place until it’s ready to use.

Does seasoned wood look different?

Other than moisture testing, there are a few indicators that wood is properly seasoned:

  • Color: Lighter color compared to unseasoned wood, often grayish or faded appearance
  • Bark: Loose or easily comes off
  • Cracks: Look for cracks at the ends of the wood
  • Scent: A more subtle, neutral scent
  • Sound: Seasoned wood produces a hollow sound when two pieces are knocked together
  • Weight: Seasoned wood is lighter because the water content has evaporated

When should you use it?

Seasoned firewood is best for a clean, efficient, high-heat burn.

It ignites more easily, burns more efficiently, produces less smoke, and generates more heat than unseasoned wood. That’s why it is commonly used in fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, and outdoor fire pits. Seasoned firewood is also more cost-effective because fewer logs are needed to achieve high heat.

Is seasoned wood safer?

Seasoned firewood emits fewer pollutants and reduces the risk of chimney fires. It produces less creosote than wet woods—a dangerous byproduct of burning wood and other fuels. This tar-like substance can accumulate in chimneys without regular maintenance.

The incomplete combustion of wood releases volatile gases. As they cool down, they condense and adhere to chimney and stovepipe walls. Creosote is highly flammable and can pose a significant fire hazard. There are three main types of creosote:

  • First-degree creosote: A light, fluffy deposit that can be easily brushed away. It's often a result of burning seasoned wood.
  • Second-degree creosote: More tar-like and harder to remove. It has a higher risk of igniting.
  • Third-degree creosote: A hardened deposit that is highly flammable and challenging to remove. It poses a severe fire hazard.
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