What Wood is Not Good For Fireplace? 6 Picks to Avoid

A roaring warm fire is the best feeling you can get on a cold winter night. You can enjoy just the sight and smell of a fireplace for hours. The patterns are hypnotizing, leaving you warm and happy. However, all the comfort depends on what type of wood you burn in the fireplace. 

Wood can be bought or harvested from trees around your home. So, which types of wood exactly are the worst to use in a fireplace? Different types of wood will give different experiences. Everyone wants the best experience with a fireplace. Here are 5 types of wood you should avoid using in a fireplace.

  1. Softwoods

Trees are classified into two according to the method of reproduction. Hardwood trees reproduce by dropping seeds and shed leaves once a year. Softwoods on the other hand reproduce by dropping cones and are evergreen. 

Softwoods have a high resin content thus should not be burnt in a fireplace. This will result in the production of thick and dark smoke. The smoke will make your home dirty and end up clogging the chimney. Softwoods also burn for less time compared to hardwoods.

  1. Green Wood or Wet Wood or Unseasoned Wood

Avoid burning wet or green wood in a fireplace at all times. If the wood is not dried properly, burning it produces a lot of smoke. This is because the high moisture content prevents the complete combustion of wood. Also, unburnt particulate matter may get released into the air polluting the environment. 

All types of wood contain moisture. You should however be able to identify where the wood contains too much water. Wet wood increases the risk of creosote buildup. This will inhibit proper combustion in the chimney. Creosote can also lead to large combustions in the chimney after a while. Such can cause a house fire.

  1. Pressure-Treated Wood
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What is pressure-treated wood? This refers to preserving wood by adding one or more chemicals under high pressure. The chemicals are infused into the wood and become part of the structure. Yes, the chemicals are good at restraining insects but they are very toxic to human beings.

You should never burn this type of wood in your indoor fireplace. When burnt, they release all the toxic chemicals into the air. The quality of air in your living room will reduce. Sometimes the toxic chemicals can suffocate you. 

  1. Rotten and Moldy Wood

Rotten wood can be used to mean your piece of wood has been overseasoned. With time, wood will pick up moisture and start decomposing. If you discover this with your wood, do not burn it in a fireplace. Rotten wood is less dense and has a high moisture content. You should toss such firewood outside to decompose naturally. 

Moldy wood should never be used in your fireplace. Wood tends to provide the best home for mold and fungi. This is because there is water, food, heat, and oxygen. To prevent mold, go for dry hardwood pieces. When you burn moldy wood, toxic gases are released into the room. Do not burn moldy wood in a fireplace.

  1. Driftwood

Driftwood produces beautiful blue and lavender flames when burning. However, it is not worth it. Driftwood from the ocean contains a lot of chlorine. It is gained when wood absorbs the salty ocean water while floating over time. 

When burned, the chlorine in driftwood is converted into toxic chemicals. You will never wish to inhale such chemicals. Freshwater driftwood should not be ignored either. The wood will take in the moisture thus becoming a poor fuel choice. Driftwoods are best used as house decorations. 

  1. Poisonous Wood
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Why would you burn any wood that is considered poisonous in your fireplace? Examples include Poison Oak, Poison Ivy, Oleander, Poison Sumac, etc. 

They release poisonous oil with the smoke when burned. You can get allergy attacks if you are allergic to them. Breathing in the smoke can cause severe respiratory problems and lung irritation. 

What are the Other Bad Fuels for Your Fireplace?

Here are the bonus materials to avoid burning in your fireplace;

  • Trash
  • Cardboard
  • Plastic
  • Magazines
  • Paper 
  • Styrofoam
  • Coal

Best Wood to Burn in Fireplace

People prefer different types of wood depending on the intended function. Hardwoods are preferable for heat production. Some people prefer flames only and thus softwoods suit them. However, here is a list of the best wood to use in your fireplace regardless of the function.

  • White Oak
  • Black Locust
  • Hickory
  • Ash 
  • Beech 
  • Mulberry
  • Black Cherry
  • Birch
  • Sycamore
  • Hard Maple


The above information can help you identify bad wood fast. Do not go for the wood because your neighbor has gone for it too. You may be surprised that you have been stocking toxic wood. Burning such wood will release harmful gases. This endangers the health of your family and yours. Do more research where you are unsure. 

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