Correct installation prevents damage, ensures a beautiful finish and keeps your timber looking fantastic for longer. So, what do you need to consider if you plan to use Shou Sugi Ban® timber cladding on your self build or renovation project?

The Benefits of Charred Timber Cladding

Our Shou Sugi Ban® charred timber cladding is inspired by the traditional Japanese wood preservation technique, Yakisugi. The controlled burning process draws out natural resins in the wood which protect it from damage.

Charring is not a surface application which peels off over time. Instead, it is an alteration in the cell structure. As such, charred timber cladding is considerably more resistant to moisture, rot, UV weathering and insects than untreated wood. Our range also includes Accoya® and Kebony. These modified woods are treated to enhance stability and strength.

In Japan, it is usual for no additional application or maintenance to be given to charred timbers. Despite this, Yakisugi buildings, constructed over a century ago, are still standing. Japan has a similar climate to the UK, so this illustrates the benefits of charred timber.

Our Shou Sugi Ban® range is given a final application to seal the timbers. This reduces the transfer of black charcoal dust when the wood is touched. It is a noticeable benefit when installing the cladding. Also, because the finish is so tactile, you can’t help but reach out and touch it! We can also apply a fire-retardant coating if specified.

Timber Cladding

Charred Timber Cladding Quality Assurance

Shou Sugi Ban® is a market-leading product. Therefore, it is important to us that it looks fantastic when it is used in construction projects. To achieve this, we manufacture each order to the exact dimensions requested. This minimises the number of cuts that need to be made on-site and aids installation.

In addition, we inspect the quality of all timbers before shipping. In addition, we work with trusted, local delivery companies, who understand how to handle our timbers. When deliveries are made, we request customers thoroughly check their order. If any signs of damage are noted, we provide a responsive service. However, this is rarely the case.

Wood is a natural, grained product and each plank is hand-crafted. For this reason, there will be variety, even along the same plank. This is part of what adds character to the build project.

As with all timber products, it is important to store our cladding in a dry, clean space between delivery and installation. We advise that the handling of the timber be kept to a minimum and the separating membrane layers remain in place. Equally, avoid other work in the area to reduce the risk of the timbers being knocked or scratched.

Timber Cladding Installation

Shou Sugi Ban® is a premium product and we recommend installation by competent carpenters or cladding specialists. Their expertise in this field will minimise handling and optimise the finish. We provide installation instructions to inform on the use of batten frames, insulation, fixings and correct plank spacing.

In terms of the finer details, colour matching is important.  Our range includes blackened timbers, but also light and even coloured finishes. Therefore, to disguise the fixings, we can supply surface-fixed, colour-headed screws. These stainless steel screws are recommended over hidden fixings, which can cause the timber to move and split.

In addition, we supply a small tin of finish to be applied on sawn ends to complete the job. We strongly advise against attempting to char our timbers on-site and will not cover any damage caused by DIY burning.

Embracing Wabi Sabi

Shou Sugi Ban® is a low-maintenance building material. As such, it doesn’t need repainting or varnishing every year. We do advise on basic maintenance to help keep it in good condition and maintain its longevity.

We also encourage customers to embrace the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi; The Art of Impermanence. This principle is an acceptance of non-perfection. Wood is a natural material and it will age over time. Subtle changes to the tone or texture add character. They help tell the story of the building.

Charred Timber Cladding Advice

Our timbers have been specified by architects for a wide range of residential, commercial and public buildings, including RIBA Award Winners, heritage renovations and Grand Designs.

If you have questions about Shou Sugi Ban® charred timbers and their suitability for your project, please get in touch. We are happy to advise on appropriate internal and external applications. In addition, we can send samples from our range to inform your decisions.

Call us on 01494 711800