Tips for Buying Firewood


Maryland State law requires firewood sellers to provide an invoice (receipt) that shows at least the following information::

  • Seller's name and address;
  • Buyer's name;
  • Date delivered;
  • Quantity delivered;
  • Quantity upon which the price is based, if it is different;
  • Price;
  • Identity of the wood.

TIP: When you buy firewood write down the seller's phone number and the license plate number of the delivery vehicle.

The legal measure for firewood in Maryland is the cord or a fraction of a cord. Sellers may not legitimately use terms such as “face cord," "rack", "pile" “truck load” or similar terms. These terms have no legal definition and cannot, therefore, be used as a measure for the amount of firewood being sold. Only packaged wood, such as kindling or a small bundle of firewood (less than 16 cubic feet), may be sold by the cubic foot or a fraction of a cubic foot.

A cord is 128 cubic feet of "ranked and well stowed" wood. To stack in a “rank” means when pieces of wood are placed in a line or row, with individual pieces touching and parallel to each other, and “well stowed” means in a compact manner. Make sure the wood has as few gaps as possible. Then, you measure the stack. If the width times the height times the length equals 128 cubic feet, you have a cord of firewood.

TIP: If there is a problem, contact the seller before you burn any wood.

If wood is stacked in a crisscross or log cabin fashion it may be secure and stand freely, but it does not meet the legal definition. Most likely the stack will contain less wood than one that is stacked by the legal parallel method.

Estimate a cord by visualizing a 4 ft by 8 ft space filled with wood to a height of 4 ft (4ft X 8ft X 4ft ) = 128 cubic feet.

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