ISSUE 29  |  Urban Escape

Hardscaping 101: Shou Sugi Ban, Charred Wood Siding

July 24, 2014 1:30 PM

BY Margot Guralnick

Repeat after us: Shou sugi ban. Devised as a way to make wood less susceptible to fire and to keep away insects and rot, this longstanding Japanese method involves torching your building materials. The charred wood is long-lasting and hauntingly beautiful. And now charred wood for siding–and flooring–is widely available for domestic use.


Above: Lumber retailers of late have begun to specialize in shou sugi ban. Shown here, a sampling of the shou sugi ban finishes offered by Delta Millworks in Texas, which focuses solely on burnt woods and works directly with private and commercial clients. Another provider is the reSawn Timber Co. of Bucks County, PA. In the UK, Shou-Sugi-Ban supplies, designs, and installs shou sugi ban cladding, flooring, and wall coverings in colors that it compares to “the dying embers of a log fire and the charred effects of a burnt wooden board.”


Above: A Brooklyn townhouse with a charred wood facade. Photograph via reSawn Timber Co.


Above: Delta Millworks and reSawn Timber Co. specialize in using cypress, as well as yellow pine and vertical grain Douglas fir, all grown in the southern US and treated with variety of burned finishes. Photograph via Delta Millworks.


Before and After: A Charred Wood Cottage, on a $45K Budget-media-8

Above: On the coast of Brittany, architects Lucie Niney and Thibault Marca of Paris-based NeM Architectes created a dark addition for a white vacation cottage. Photograph courtesy of NeM Architectes. For more, see Before & After: A Charred Wood Cottage on a $45K Budget.

Before and After: A Charred Wood Cottage, on a $45K Budget-media-3

Above: Preparing wood for siding. Photograph courtesy of NeM Architectes.


Above: Charred larch on a facade in the Czech Republic. Photograph courtesy of A1Architects. For more, see A Teahouse, Charred and Blackened on Purpose.