Do Not Try This At Home: Burnt Timber Cladding

10 May 2017

Why it is best to let the professionals create Burnt Timber Cladding

A current and very popular trend when designing the home is to integrate Shou Sugi Ban onto the exterior of your home to create a unique and interesting finish. But what exactly is Shou Sugi Ban?

Shou Sugi Ban

Shou Sugi Ban is the term used for burning timber to use as a cladding which is a technique used by the ancient Japanese which was believed to enhance the beauty of the timber and add longevity to it. Using this technique increases the resistance to insects and decay, as well as making the cladding have a Class 1 or 0 fire rated certified.

Over the last few years, this unique process has been supplied to many unique and one-off projects. The manufacturing process for Shou Sugi Ban is very detailed, accurate and dangerous so it is best to leave the creation process to the experts. There is a range of finishes and textures available for interior and exterior projects including a traditional highly burnt fragile look to a sleek and contemporary brushed finish.

This beautiful product can be made with many different species of timber including Cedar, Siberian, Larch, Oak and modified timbers. When deciding on which timber you would like to use, it is best to think about where this cladding will be placed and the hardness and durability of each type of timber. The harder the timber, the more durable it will be to withstand the weather whilst keeping its finish and colour.

Cedar is a very common timber to use for this cladding. Western Red Cedar is the softest of all materials supplied by Exterior Solutions and is best brushed, so if a more durable finish is required then it is best to use a harder timber. The softest to the hardest materials to use are Cedar, Larch, Douglass Fir, Modified Timber, Siberian Larch and Oak.

House 19 - Shou Sugi Ban

Heavily burnt finished cladding

This type of finish is usually used for external cladding as well as internal wall coverings. This cladding has a delicate finish which will transfer black onto the hands if it is left untreated. Even when treated, it is not recommended in an environment where children will touch and scratch the surface. This product should also not be used for flooring as it is very delicate. This finish has a deep crackled finish which can be left untreated or oiled in various finishes including matt, satin or gloss. It can also be treated with a fire rating of Class 1 and 0.

Clear Burnt Cedar - Neil Dusheiko Architects

Burnt and Brushed Finish

This finish is used for external cladding, internal wall coverings and furniture. This finish has a more durable finish than the heavily burnt finished cladding. Brushing this cladding can result in a dark board with a smooth finish in a dark effect. If it is brushed further, the natural timber will be exposed and present a combination of burnt and natural timber. These brushed timbers can be coloured.

The timber Exterior Solutions use for this cladding is selected from certified sources including FSC or PEFC depending on the species. If you require a specific cut (for grain) lots of knots or no knots then you must let them know as well as if you require Saw Falling 4ths or Unsorted, rift sawn or quarter cut.

Clear Burnt Cedar - Credit Neil Dusheiko Architects

Further tips and advice from Exterior Solutions

Burnt timber products are to be treated as a specialist product. Purchasing any burnt timber product cannot guarantee that it will be best suited for your home or that the installation will be correct.

The process is done specifically for each project after samples have been approved. Any size or shape is available with a standard thickness of 19mm for Cedar and thicker for other timbers.

If Exterior Solutions supply a finished product, you should not re-burn or apply any further chemical treatments to the timber. Trimming the short board ends should not be a problem as they can then be sealed or painted as required prior to the installation.

Special dimensions should be requested with the drawings presented, this will allow a definition of what is required and your products can be manufactured. By following these steps you are ensuring the cleanest work and maximum efficiency of the installation.

If you receive traditionally burnt products which are not chemically treated, there may be a large amount of loose carbon on the surface. This should be handled with care as it is fragile. It is common to see knocks and what looks like damage as this is part of the nature of all untreated products. Boards that may have been treated, brushed and treated or similar will still have to be treated with care as they are a finished product.

Exterior Solutions cannot provide a warranty for Shou Sugi Ban as every environment, use and application are completely different. Most of this burnt timber cladding is affected by the weather which cannot be predicted.

Burnt Timber Cladding

If you have any further enquiries about Shou Sugi Ban then please call Exterior Solutions on 01494 711800 or email venetia@exteriorsolutionsltd.co.uk .


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