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Hardwood Logs vs. Conifer

There is a lot of misunderstanding in the UK about which types of wood are best to burn and which should be avoided, and we frequently get inquiries about burning conifers. As long as the wood is sufficiently dried and seasoned, it can be burned in a stove. Keep in mind that Scandinavians mostly burn fir and that they also provide many of the stoves we put in our homes.

Although a kilo of hardwood produces roughly the same amount of heat as a kilo of softwood, hardwood is denser and requires fewer logs per kilo than softwood, hence softwood is typically less expensive to purchase.

Many people think that conifers shouldn’t be burned because their sap and resins can gum up the chimney or flue. Most of this is untrue. Burning unseasoned wood is more likely to result in a chimney or flue blockage because the high water content reacts with other gases and particles and prevents the fire from burning hotly. This results in the condensation of a substance called creosote, which hardens as it cools to form a tar lining. The condensation’s acidic nature will corrode a flue’s inner liner, which is the other issue. To keep their chimneys/flues safe and unrestricted, anyone who burns logs should have their chimneys/flues swept on a regular basis by a skilled professional.

Hence, the quality is more important than the species. Softwood has its place when bursting logs because it works well to start a fire. The only exception is for persons who burn on an open fire since some wood species spit, making species choice as crucial as quality. This also applies to some hardwoods, including horse chestnut, sweet chestnut, and willow.

Clarifying exactly how many logs you are buying is another important factor when buying logs. To ensure that you receive 1m3 of loose logs, our loads are always measured. I find it amazing when new customers call to enquire about the cost of a “load”; how can you compare a shallow layer of logs in a big dump van to a deep trailer load or the back of a pick up? You would be shocked at how simple it is to give the idea that you are giving more logs simply by the type of vehicle or bag it is brought in, as we have tested by putting the same number of logs in different delivery vehicles/bags. The builders’ dumpy/1 tonne bundles of logs may seem like a good deal, but they only hold about 0.6-0.75 m3, and they do not allow moisture to escape, preventing the logs from drying out. Moreover, keep in mind that huge logs (diameter greater than length) will provide you more air space in your load; therefore, even though you must put more logs on the fire, it can be worthwhile to purchase smaller logs. It all relies on what each client considers to be important. In order to utilise as much of the tree as possible, Ross Giles Tree Surgery uses a variety of sizes, ranging from small branch wood to massive split lots.

In order to drive that moisture content right down, giving you the most efficient burn and consequently the best value for your money, Ross Giles Tree Surgery strongly advises that you purchase your logs well in advance of when they will be required (even the year before if possible) and store them in a log store or garage.

Call us at 01305 581 812 or 07860 598 315 if you have any questions or to place an order for firewood. We tailor the size and species of each log to the requirements of each individual client, and all of our logs are locally procured through sustainable woodland work or tree surgery arisings, minimising the carbon footprint.

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