Air-dried and kiln-dried firewood are some of the most common types of firewood you can get in the market. There are pros and cons to both the processes, and both of them fit different needs. It is important to know about them.
Kiln-dried firewood is usually much drier when compared to naturally seasoned wood. Kiln drying method can be controlled including its humidity, temperature, and wind. It is also a quicker way of getting seasoned firewood. But naturally seasoned firewood is considered much better for cooking and for general purposes.
What is Air Dried or Seasoned Firewood
Before we start discussing the pros and cons of seasoned firewood, let’s take a look at what seasoned firewood actually is.
Seasoned firewood is achieved through prolonged drying of firewood till the moisture content is below 15-20%. Usually, sunlight and wind are used to slowly dry up the firewood.
What is Kiln Dried Firewood?
Kiln drying is another way of removing moisture from the firewood. But in this method, the log pieces are stacked inside a closed enclosure where the heat, wind, and humidity can be controlled.
The temperature inside the closed enclosure ranges between 120–190-degree F. It can take anywhere between 2 to 3 months for a 1-inch-thick log to properly dry up.
Pros and Cons of Air-Dried Wood
Although air-drying firewood is the most popular method used all over the world, it has its equal share of pros and cons.
Starting with the pros, air drying firewood can be very inexpensive. You can do it even in your yard as long as there is sunlight and ventilation in the area. It is recommended that you use a proper wood stack, which can also be pretty cheap to buy or build.
Because air-drying is a natural process, the drying happens very gradually which doesn’t put a lot of stress on the wood itself. This prevents any major cracking within the wood. You will also be left with a much better color on the logs.
When it comes to the disadvantages, air drying can end up taking a really long time, especially if you are dealing with a species that takes a couple of years to season like oak or locust.
The other con is the lack of control, the drying process and the time are dependent on the area you live in, the weather that particular season, etc. This can prolong the drying time and lead to improperly seasoned wood.
Pros and Cons of Seasoned Firewood
The major advantage of kiln drying firewood is to speed up the drying time. Kiln drying can drastically reduce the drying times to only a couple of months. This makes it perfect for mass drying firewood.
It also gives you much better control over the settings, you can regulate the temperature and the humidity within the enclosure. This also leads to much better-dried wood with lower moisture content.
This makes it perfect for preparing wood for furniture or indoor storage. Kiln drying also ends up killing most of the insects and the pests inside the wood.
But on the other hand, kiln drying can be much more expensive when compared to air drying. You will also need skilled labor to correctly dry the firewood.
Kiln drying also leads to pale and warn-out-looking wood which might also have a lot of cracks within them. This is because kiln drying creates a lot of tension within the firewood.
It is also observed that kiln-dried wood absorbs moisture much quicker when compared to air-dried seasoned firewood. Kiln drying wood also usually has a lower moisture content which makes them burn very quickly while generating an impressive amount of heat.
Suggested to read: Can firewood be too dry?
Which Type of Firewood Is Better for Cooking?
Air-dried or seasoned firewood is considered to be much better for cooking or for barbeques. They have a pleasant aroma and can sustain high heat for a prolonged amount of time.
How To Properly Season Firewood?
If you are looking to naturally season your firewood, keep in mind the following factors.
Find out the species of firewood you are dealing with, this will give you an estimate regarding the seasoning times.
Stack the firewood in an elevated region and leave a 4-6 inches gap between the ground and the logs. Stack the logs on top of one another, this is most commonly done in a criss-cross pattern.
Make sure the stack receives plenty of sunlight and ventilation and protect the stack from natural elements like rain, snow, and frost.
If it is going to rain or snow, cover the stack with a tarp.
Kiln-dried firewood is usually much drier, and its humidity, temperature, and wind can be controlled, it is also much quicker when compared to seasoned firewood. The latter is considered much better for general purpose burning including cooking and its appearance is also much better.
I am the guy behind Theyardable.com. I grew up on a homestead and I am here to share the knowledge I have and things I learn while living in the countryside.