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Bridger Steel Project News, Highlights & Helpful Tips

What is Charred Wood (Shou Sugi Ban)?

[fa icon="calendar"] 05/23/2018 / by Steve Collins

Steve Collins

Charred Wood is the process of lightly applying an open flame to a wood plank to char the surface of the board. The charred exterior not only helps to weatherproof the siding and act as a deterrent to insects, but it also looks extremely stunning!

Shou Sugi Ban is a commonly used variation of the Japanese word Yakisugi. In Japanese, Yaki means to heat with fire, and Sugi means Japanese Cedar. Ban translates to a plank, and in this case, a wood plank. 

Shou Sugi Ban was first seen used in 18th century Japan as a technique for charring the outer layer of a wooden plank (usually cedar) to help protect the façade against weather and insects. In recent years, the visual appeal of this technique has been adopted by architects and designers around the world.  Commonly referred to as Charred Wood or Burnt Wood, this technique can be applied to a range of wood siding panels.

Charred Wood Siding - Charring Wood Finish

Image courtesy of J. Tobias

How Long Does Charred Wood Last?

If properly created, a charred wood siding that uses optimal materials and techniques can last over 50 years. However, if poor materials are chosen, the technique is rushed or completed by an inexperienced craftsman, or steps in the charring or sealing processes are skipped, the lifespan of charred wood may drop dramatically. Additionally, when used in an exterior application, environmental conditions will also play a large part in the lifespan of the product.

How Much Does Charred Wood Cost?

The cost of charred wood can vary from region to region, but often tends to range from around $5-10 per square foot. However, please keep in mind that the construction material market is extremely volatile, so expect pricing to vary from place to place.

When choosing a contractor or craftsman to create a charred effect, be cautious to select those with experience in the technique. Shou Sugi Ban can be a beautiful appearance when done correctly by experienced craftsman, but can quickly turn into a over-budget disaster when done incorrectly.

Charring Wood Finish Alternatives — Metal Siding

New techniques that replicate the appearance of charred wood have been applied to alternative materials. Using a single pass process with a textured roll, Bridger Steel has created a metal siding version of the product. This finish combines the aesthetic appeal of charred wood, with the durability, consistency, and longevity of metal siding. This makes metal siding an excellent alternative for designers and builders looking to replicate Shou Sugi Ban in a residential or commercial project with an unbelievably tough material.

Due to the structural stability and high performing characteristics of metal panel systems, this alternative version to burned wood siding provides equivalent lifespans to charred wood created by experts and used in ideal environments. By switching to metal siding as an alternative, it allows for a consistent application of the finish, and can be applied in a wide range of environmental regions.

Charred Wood Siding - Charring Wood Finish

Interested in trying to create Charred Wood Siding yourself? Here’s a great video on how to master the technique using supplies available at any hardware store or lumberyard: Japanese Shou Sugi Ban Charred Wood Technique.

Want to learn more about Charring Wood Finish metal siding? Visit our product page for additional information including paint system information and available panel profiles: Bridger Steel Charred Wood Metal Finish.

Topics: Metal Siding, Interior Metal, DIY, Colors

Steve Collins

Written by Steve Collins

A big fan of understanding how things work, and why they do what they do.