(855) 321-7473

M-F 9am-5pm Eastern

Learn about Charred Wood Siding

Charred Wood Siding

Also called 'carbonized wood,' charred wood siding is solid wood planks or clapboard that is charred with a torch, scraped with a brush, and finished with natural oil. This is a traditional Japanese technique also called "Shou Sugi Ban," and it gives wood a beautiful finish, highlighting the wood grain.

Traditionally, the "Shou Sugi Ban" technique was applied to cedar planks ('Sugi' means cedar). However, the technique is now being applied to other species of wood, such as douglas fir, oak, cyprus, and pine. Try to use a non-fossil fuel based oil such as canola oil, tung oil, or linseed oil. Linseed (flax) is grown in North America and can be locally sourced.

Wood is a classic, easy to install, aesthetically desireable, and renewable material and is definitely a preferred material for those considering a more sustainable exterior shell for their home. In forested regions, it can sometimes be obtained from local sawmills. Charring wood is an interesting way to make wood more weather and bug resistant without using paints (note that natural oils finishes are still required). However, the charring process does require fossil fuels; increasing the embodied energy content.

The term "shou-sugi-ban” is a japanese word that translates to “burnt cedar board”. It has been practiced in Japan for centuries, but fell out of style in the 20th century with the advent of plastic-based siding and as wood became more scarce in Japan. It's seeing a rebirth in North America, where wood is still relatively plentiful.