People often ask us here at Certainly Wood whether there is any real difference between kiln dried logs and seasoned logs. Ultimately, one of the main things that influences the quality and efficiency of the way logs burn is the moisture content. Some retailers suggest that logs which have been seasoned properly have as low a moisture content as kiln dried logs, so let’s take a look at kiln dried logs Vs seasoned logs.
If you take a look at the range of logs we offer, you’ll see we list seasoned logs amongst them. Take a closer look and you’ll find that we recommend only burning them on an open fire, but even so, they still need a further 4-6 months drying before you use them. This is because the moisture content of our air-dried seasoned logs (even though we season them for 6-12 months ) is 30%- 50%. We sell them because some people are looking to save money, but our fear is that they don’t really further dry them for long enough to ever be as good as kiln dried. We honestly believe that with only a 10% premium for kiln dried logs, it really is false economy to buy anything else. Kiln dried logs, dried to below 20% moisture content are guaranteed to perform consistently. Look for the Woodsure/Ready to Burn logo to ensure you are buying from an approved supplier and a guarantee that the wood is below 20%. Learn more about the Ready to Burn scheme here.
Despite a seller insisting their logs have been properly seasoned, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any with a moisture content below 20%, which is what is recommended for use in appliances. We often hear tales of people buying seasoned logs from a local garage or retailer and finding that the glass on the front of their wood burner soon becomes blackened (see our article on wet wood vs. ready-to-burn for more information on why this can prove damaging). There’s also the potential for a lack of consistency – we’ve just had one of the hottest summers on record that might mean logs bought now are a lot drier than the seasoned logs you buy next January. These might well have been exposed to the elements over the winter months or simply not been seasoned long enough if a retailer has had to buy in new stock.
Seasoned logs still need to conform to a specific size to ensure proper seasoning. Ideally, they should be cut into 25cm lengths with a diameter of between 5 – 15cm. Likewise, the rate at which logs take to dry depends on their species – ash, for example, seasons a lot more quickly than oak which can take up to four years to be ready to burn. So, unless you want to use a moisture meter on each seasoned log you buy before putting it in your wood burner, you might find kiln dried logs are the quicker option.
With kiln dried logs, you’re still burning a completely natural product, they simply have less moisture meaning a much cleaner, hotter burn for you and your family.