How Long Does Firewood Take to Dry: A Foolproof Guide

Wood gets wet after absorbing environmental moisture and looks swollen.

Unfortunately, the high moisture content causes wood rot and fungi colonies if not dried properly.

But how long does firewood take to dry? What if you need the wood for a project that can’t wait?

This post will explore how to dry wet firewood faster.

Factors Affecting Firewood Drying

A huge log collection

A huge log collection

Usually, a piece of wood’s moisture content increases to about 30% after exposure to rain. But, we can call a wood dry when the moisture level is at 15%.

However, several factors can influence drying time. These often include:

Type of Wood

Generally, hardwood has less moisture content than softwood because they have less porous structures.

Unfortunately, this characteristic has its drawback. Liquid soaked in hardwood dries slower than softwood, increasing its drying time.

Hence, the type of wood is crucial to how fast it dries after rain.

Weather Condition

Do you live in dry and windy areas? Then, drying a piece of wet firewood will take two to three days.

But, moist and rainy regions will increase drying time significantly. As a result, it may take up to three weeks before the lumber is ready for use.


Regions with high humidity levels will only lengthen the average drying time. Because when the humidity level inside the wood and outside (the environment) are similar, it slows down the moisture elevation speed.

Thankfully, you can counter this by keeping wet wood in airy spaces with less humidity, preferably indoors.

Size of the Wood

The wood’s size also determines how long it’ll take to dry. Interestingly, smaller-sized lumbers have higher surface areas than larger variants.

So, high surface areas translate to speedy moisture reduction, allowing the piece of wood to dry faster. Also, covering your wood properly and piling them into smaller pieces (raised above the ground) will prevent additional moisture absorption.

How Can You Tell if Your Firewood is Burnable?

Heaped firewood

Heaped firewood

Here’s how to detect burnable firewood whether you cut your wood or you’re looking to buy from a local retailer:


Gray dry firewood

Gray dry firewood

Color is one of the best indicators of burnable firewood. Wood color transitions from bright & fresh to a dull, grayish, and dry hue. Lumbers with such color is often ready for throwing on a burner.


You can use a hatchet to cut out a piece from your lumber. Then, smell the freshly cut piece. It’ll be too damp for burning if you catch a strong scent.

Plus, if you notice that the piece is moist, it’s a solid indicator that the wood is not burnable.


Typically, dry wood has a lesser weight than fresh wood. For instance, a cord of dry wood weighs about 5,000 lbs, while green oak falls under 8,000 lbs–almost double the weight.


While wet wood keeps its bark, dry firewood has a loosened bark that falls off eventually. So, most lumber in a cord of burnable firewood doesn’t have barks.


If you see cracks, it’s a good sign that your lumber is burnable. Wood will start shrinking while it dries, causing cracks to appear on its surface. 

Using a moisture meter

Don’t want to stress? You can always opt for a moisture meter. It’s the best way to check moisture levels in lumber.

Further, moisture meters are hand-held devices with LCD screens showing the moisture percentage within a piece of wood.

Remember, the ideal moisture level is usually between 15% and 20%.

How to Make Wet Wood Dry Faster?

Need your wet wood urgently? No problem! Here’s how to speed up the drying process.

Cover the Wood Properly

Covering wood won’t expose them to extra moisture. Therefore, you can use plywood or metal sheet to cover the top of your stack. 

Securing your timber this way won’t allow them to absorb more water and will help quicken the drying process.

Note: Remember to keep the timbers off the ground.

Increase Air Circulation

Enhancing air circulation around your wood stacks can help boost the drying process. Stacking your lumber on a rack off the ground would also help.

In truth, increasing air circulation will allow air to flow through each piece and even underneath the stacks. Also, avoid stacking wood against the wall–as it may block air circulation behind the wood.

Stacking the Right Way

Since moisture mainly leaves from cut ends, we recommend exposing both ends to the wind–not the center.

So, a firewood rack stacked with both sides exposed will dry faster than those set against the side of a barn.

Use Fireplace

You can place your lumber next to a fireplace for quick warmth. The fireplace’s heat will help evaporate moisture and dry the wood faster.

Note: This method is perfect for rainy days.

How Long Does it Take Wood to Dry After Power Washing?

Usually, it takes around 48 hours for lumber to dry after power washing. However, since some moisture will remain in the wood, we recommend leaving it for two to three days.

How Long Does it Take Wood to Dry After Water Damage?

The drying duration for water-damaged wood depends on the location. Usually, it takes five days to dry completely. In short, living in a dry (sunny) area will reduce the number of days, while living in a wet region will take longer.

Wrapping Up

Firewood in a burner

Firewood in a burner

Wet firewood poses many problems when burning. For starters, you will find it tricky to start a fire and even more challenging to keep it burning. 

Also, wet firewood will create smoke and soot that poses a hazard. Further, you’d experience a strong woody aroma blanketing your entire home.

So, we recommend drying and reducing moisture content in your wood to about 15% to 20%.

Do you have more questions? Don’t hesitate to reach us; we’ll be happy to help.