Over the past few years, there has been a surge in popularity for Shou Sugi Ban in architectural design with its striking charcoal black colour and unique textural finish. This ancient Japanese wood charring method has been rediscovered and re-invented with modern innovations to enhance the beauty and durability of timber cladding installations. Read on to find out why this traditional Japanese wood preservation technique has become one of the hottest trends in Australian home design.
What is Shou Sugi Ban?
Shou Sugi Ban, also known as Yakisugi, originates from an ancient Japanese technique used to preserve untreated wood by charring the surface with fire. This process was traditionally performed on a Japanese cedar, called Sugi. However, there are many other Australian hardwoods that can also be transformed with this natural wood charring method, such as Cypress. Each timber reacts differently to the burning process and will produce different results.
Is Shou Sugi Ban suitable for exteriors?
Absolutely! This fire-treated wood finish is tough enough to withstand harsh weather conditions, is fire retardant and can provide a watertight finish for the exterior facade of your building project. This timber cladding is also perfect for interior designs to create a cohesive style that flows seamlessly between the indoor and outdoor living spaces in your home. Take a look at Merricks Farmhouse for a perfect example of this charcoal finish unifying the interior and exterior areas in an award-winning home with ease and effortlessness.
What are the benefits for using Shou Sugi Ban?
There are many advantages for choosing Shou Sugi Ban over other types of timber cladding. Some of the benefits from using charred timber cladding in construction can include:
- More weatherproof and water repellant
- Deters mould, fungi and decay
- Naturally repels insects
- Increased fire resistance
- Less maintenance required
- Stronger timber durability
- Long lasting and sustainable
- Less chemical additives
- More environmentally friendly
- Aesthetically appealling
Does Shou Sugi Ban need sealing?
Fire-treated timber is usually sealed during the manufacturing process but will require any sawn edges to be sealed during the installation. A second coat of sealant may also be required after the timber cladding is installed so we recommend checking with your supplier to ensure you get the best results for your project. It is unlikely that any further coats of sealant will be needed to maintain the strength or appearance of this charred timber cladding for a very long time.
Is Shou Sugi Ban difficult to maintain?
Shou Sugi Ban is a great choice for home owners that are wanting a low maintenance property with long lasting durability. This type of timber cladding will not require ongoing cleaning, sanding or sealing during its lifetime. The real beauty of this charred timber cladding is the way it ages gracefully. Some changes to its colour or finish are expected but this will not affect it's aesthetic appeal or strength.
How long does Shou Sugi Ban last?
Burnt timber cladding is extremely hardy, can withstand harsh climates and will last for a very long time without maintenance or repair. Eventually, the timber surface may erode after many decades of UV degradation and may start to split if the timber gets too thin. Although, that could take more than a century of harsh sunlight and will be beyond our lifetime. Once it has reached its lifespan, the charred wood can be recycled or disposed of without any concern of harming the environment.
Are there any disadvantages with Shou Sugi Ban?
There are very few disadvantages with charred timber cladding if it is supplied from a quality manufacturer, it is properly installed and all maintenance instructions are followed. One possible disadvantage is the initial costs involved since this natural wood charring method is more dangerous and labour intensive to produce than other timber finishes. However, these upfront expenses are likely to be a better long term investment compared to other timber cladding options, since there are very little ongoing costs involved to maintain its finish.
At Design 10, you'll find Shou Sugi Ban architectural cladding by Hurford's which is ethically and locally sourced - making it a perfect solution for our Australian climate and architectural styles. It is no surprise that Hurford's Shou Sugi Ban has featured in many of our builder's projects recently, including Evolv Homes at their Nagambie Project and ATMA Builders at the award-winning Merricks Farmhouse.
Book an appointment with one of our Design Consultants in Melbourne or Geelong to find out more. Alternatively, you can request a callback from our timber flooring and cladding specialists to discuss your project further.
Image credit: Hurfords