Charred Timber Cladding: The Complete Guide

Charred cladding, also known as Shou sugi ban or yakisugi, is a traditional Japanese wood charring technique that allows for a rustic, burnt timber look through lightly torching the exterior of wooden planks. This creates a beautiful, burnt finish on the timber cladding which provides additional benefits other than pure aesthetics.

What are the benefits of Charred Timber Cladding?

Charred timber cladding has numerous benefits that ensure the longevity and beauty of the stunning wood variety. Other than adding aesthetic benefits, charred timber is well known for its excellent durability.

How is charred timber made?

Shou sugi ban originated in Japan and is a centuries old technique that chars timber. The final product of this Japanese wood burning is a timber that has a visually appealing look that can range from a slight grey finish to a deep black depending on a range of factors and your preference. This method of timber colouring is conducted by applying flames to timber plans and boards, allowing them the char the exterior of the wood.

Our Popular Charred Timber Products

Newport Channel - Charred

The Newport Century Cladding system features proprietary corner stops and end trims – all manufactured from naturally-durable Australian hardwoods. The rough sawn face is perfect for applying timber stains, giving the project a natural look and textured feel.

Shiplap Charred Cladding

Our Shiplap boards are profiled to produce an overlap, which allows for a continuous cladding look and uninterrupted, clean lines. Shiplap charred timber lining boards can be used in both vertical and horizontal applications; including ceiling and wall lining panels.

Beachclad Channel Cladding

Designed to produce the effect of age-weathered or charred timber, BeachClad allows architects and designers to specify rustic, seasoned timber, resulting in yearned-after natural vogue effects. BeachClad offers distinctive styling and plenty of versatility.

Is charred timber water and fire resistant?

Charring timber creates a layer of carbon throughout the burning process, which in turn provides a higher level of water resistance compared to raw, untreated timber. This charring technique also provides a level of fire resistance, with the outer charcoal layer making the inner core harder to penetrate with heat, therefore reducing the burn rate.

Does charred timber repel rot & insects?

The charring technique is a great rot deterrent! Charring timber naturally removes some of the nutritional value found in wood that bugs, insects, and termites generally eat, making it less desirable.

Does charring wood make it stronger?

Charring wood does make the timber structurally stronger; this is because when timber is exposed to fire, the timber grains are fused tighter together resulting in more durable, stronger wood. This of course comes with the caveat of purposeful lengths of exposure, as when timber is left in fire for too long it will begin to deteriorate and produce unattractive burns and cracks.

How long will it last?

To determine how long your charred timber cladding will last, it really depends on which type of timber material you select for your next project. At Cedar Sales, we work largely with Western Red Cedar, a timber that is easy to work with and stands the test of time. Factors that will affect the lifespan of your charred timber will include where it has been installed, if it is sun-facing, weather conditions (how often it gets wet) and the quality of the installation. Western red cedar is generally a sturdy wood that requires little maintenance, but with the proper care, your charred timber cladding could last decades, potentially up to 50+ years!

House with BeachClad charred timber cladding

Which Timber is best for charring?

Western Red Cedar is ideal for charring as it is easiest to perform the process on without the occurrence of burning or scorching. Western Red Cedar in a Knotty Grade responds best to these transformative processes that create different visually appealing effects. Western Red Cedar is also fire rated, has acoustic properties, provides thermal protection as well as unrivalled structure, performance, and sustainability.

How do you finish Charred Timber Cladding?

Even though the charred finish adds a layer of natural protection, it is still recommended that you seal your cladding with a protective oil. At Cedar Sales, all of our timber cladding materials are custom made and come pre-finished, making it easier for you to choose the ideal style for your next cladding project.

Charred Timber at Modinex

The new BeachClad range in Knotty Grade Western Red Cedar is designed to produce the effect of charred or age-weathered timber. Our new rustic, seasoned timber allows architects to specify their desired aesthetic from the outset, resulting in distinct natural charred effects. There are many applications including external cladding, coastal areas, bars, pubs, clubs, retail fit-outs, and commercial spaces.

Set your next project apart and specify BeachClad, learn more about the range or request a free sample.

Charred Timber FAQs

What is Japanese wood burning?

Japanese wood burning goes by many names, but the principle and purpose remain the same – wood is burned in order to charr the surface and is then coated in oil. Japanese wood burning typically refers to Japanese cedar being treated in order to weather proof in.

What is Shou Sugi Ban?

Shou sugi ban in Australia follows the same process as Japanese wood burning, wherein wood is burned until the surface is charred. This is done for a variety of reasons, including the aesthetic appeal and to make the timber cladding itself more durable.

Is charred timber cladding expensive?

The question of if charred timber cladding is expensive does not have a simple answer. The cost of charred timber cladding can be influenced by a variety of factors. The main drivers that affect the cost include the type of timber used, the board size and the finish you select for your cladding. Other factors that can influence the final price are installation and labour costs. In relation to other cladding types, charred timber can still be an affordable option for your home or project. To fully understand the cost of your charred timber cladding, contact us now to discuss a quote.

How long does charred wood/cladding last?

As charred timber cladding is revered for its durability, with proper maintenance it can last decades. How long your charred wood will last depend largely on which type of timber material you select for your project. Additional factors that will affect the lifespan of your charred timber will include weather conditions like how often it gets wet of if it is sun facing, the quality of the installation and where on your property it has been installed.

Does charred wood need to be sealed?

Although the process of charring wood does give it a natural layer of protection, it is recommended you did still seal the cladding. Japanese charred timber cladding fares best when sealed with a protective oil, though we have a range of finish types you can choose from to ensure you get the best end result in terms of materials and final project.