A fire pit in the backyard can set the scene for a family’s most cherished moments. Start a fire in the summer to help the endless nights extend further, or create a hearth to warm up a chilly night in winter.
Homeowners have the choice of gas or wood fire pits, each offering their own perks. Wood fire pits, in particular, tap into our primal instincts and conjure a multi-sensory experience.
Keep in mind that not all wood is created equal. To get the most out of your wood fire pit, it’s important to select the best type of wood.
The Joys of Wood Fire Pits
Fire pits are versatile in function and add a unique aesthetic to the home. Serving as a focal point of entertainment, an alternate cooking method, and warmth - a wood fire pit has plenty of benefits.
Some of the most noticeable pros of a wood fire pit include;
- Quick and easy to install
- Affordable installation
- Spectacular heat output
- Beautiful in appearance
- A grounding, sensory experience
Before you invite guests over and attempt to impress them with your glorious fire pit, you need to make sure that you have the correct wood.
Best Types of Wood for Fire Pits
Contrary to common belief, not just any wood can be used in a fire pit. Here are a few suggestions on the best woods to enhance the experience, as well as those to avoid.
Hardwoods as Fire Fuel
Dry, hardwoods are the best choice for creating a roaring fire with a long-lasting flame. Hardwoods are known to have a longer burning time, create less smoke, and reduced residue.
Keep in mind that hardwoods can be trickier to ignite. A starter is all that you need to kickstart the flame. Once the fire is going, it demands less attention than other forms of wood.
Are you confused by what qualifies as hardwood? Here are a few types of wood as examples.
- Fruit trees
If you prefer to buy wood in bulk and keep it handy, then make sure that you store your logs in a dry area, off of the ground.
Seasoned Woods and Benefits
Freshly cut wood contains a large amount of water, contributing to roughly half of its weight. The term “seasoned wood” describes wood that has been dried over a period of time. As it takes time to dry out the wood, seasoned wood is normally more expensive - but worth every penny.
When the moisture is evaporated, it results in a material that is quick to ignite and produces a stellar burn. As an added bonus, burning seasoned wood decreases the amount of smoke and creosote.
Softwoods as Kindling
Although hardwood is the top choice, certain softwoods can also do an effective job, especially as kindling. One of the most common types of softwood is seasoned fir which ignites quickly (and smells good too).
Softwoods aren’t recommended to maintain a fire. Instead, they are used to ignite a fire and as an aid to keep it going.
Wood to Avoid in the Fire Pit
Just as certain wood is recommended for a fire pit, there are others that are best avoided. When lighting a fire pit, it’s best to avoid the following materials.
Greenwood includes freshly cut timber that is still full of moisture. If the wood is logged with moisture then it will be more difficult to light. In addition, greenwood produces a lot of smoke that makes it uncomfortable to be around.
As a guideline, wood should be seasoned for more than six months for optimal burning.
Softwoods may be quick to ignite and great as kindling, but they are not recommended for long-term burning. Softwoods burn fast and create a lot of smoke. Another downside is that they don’t leave much coal behind to keep the fire going.
Driftwood and construction wood may be easy to access, but they are not recommended as fuel for a fire pit. Driftwood tends to be saturated with salt and water which makes it difficult to ignite and releases toxic chemicals.
Construction material should also be avoided. Most construction lumber has been dipped in chemicals and treated. Burning this wood can release these harmful toxins in the form of smoke.
Wood with vines is best avoided, especially if you’re uncertain about the type of plant. If you burn a plant that is poisonous, then the toxic smoke can cause serious health risks.
Create an Amazing Wooden Fire Pit Experience
At Mancave Backyard, we offer a selection of stylish and convenient fire pits. Browse our selection of fire pits and choose the one that best suits your unique needs and preferences.
Contact us to find out more about our family-centric business and how we can create a social atmosphere in your home.