Air Dried and Kiln Dried Logs

Kiln-dried vs seasoned logs

It may be too warm right now to be thinking about your fireplace or wood-burning stove, but it’s also the ideal time to stock up on logs for the winter ahead. If you are looking to buy now or simply trying to understand more about the difference between kiln-dried and seasoned logs, then read on. We’ve got everything you need to know right here for you.

Moisture content

We all know that burning wood that is wet doesn’t work. You end up spending ages trying to light it, it takes forever to burn, doesn’t give out much heat and, if you have a stove, you have probably noticed that the inside of the glass turns black. Getting the moisture content of your logs right is what ensures a great fire. The ideal moisture content is less than 20%.

Kiln-dried logs

Logs that are dried in a kiln ensure that the right conditions are met to get the logs to have the correct moisture content. It is a process that forces the moisture out of the wood from the centre outwards. It can take between 60 hours and a week, depending on the type of drying process and wood type.

Seasoned logs

When logs are left to air dry, they are known as seasoned logs. To do this properly, they must be cut to no larger than 25cm lengths and split down the middle, with a diameter of anything between 5 and 15 cm. They must also have a good air flow to encourage drying. They should also be placed under cover to avoid being rained on.

The length of time it takes for logs to be seasoned in this way will depend on the type of wood. In order to get to the right moisture level, each type will vary in the length of time it needs to dry properly. Ash is perhaps the quickest to dry – taking around 12-18 months – while oak will take much longer – anything between 3 and 4 years.

Why kiln-dried logs may be better for you

When you buy seasoned logs the chances are that you will need to continue the drying process for a little longer before you can burn them. This is because they are rarely at the optimal 20% moisture content when you buy them and burning anything above that, as we have seen, is not ideal. This means that you must have enough space and the right conditions to continue the drying process at home – and how many of us have that in our city houses?

We often hear that people choose seasoned logs because they are a little cheaper. That may be true, but if you have to continue drying them it is a false economy – not only do you need the space and conditions to do so, you also can’t burn the logs until they are ready or they will be inefficient and you’ll have to buy more sooner. For that reason alone, kiln-dried logs make better financial sense.

Ask us anything about logs, fireplaces or wood-burning stoves and we’ll be happy to help and guide you to the right ones for you. Get in touch with our Fiveways Fires & Stoves team on the phone on 020 8127 4747 or by email at and we’ll be happy to help.