Since time immemorial, humans have used wood as their trusted construction material. Research has shown evidence that the Neolithic man used timber as his primary source for construction material. Europe’s Neolithic longhouse, which was one of the enormous buildings of that period, is evidence of timber’s mighty strength. The structure was so large that it could host 30 people at once, which was a tremendous achievement for that era.
As time went on, so did everything else. Humans began to incorporate different construction technologies that required different construction materials. In the process, however, they also discovered ways of improving wood application in construction. Today, timber is still as valuable, if not more, as it’s widely sought after as a modern-day construction material.
What Are the Benefits of Using Timber?
So what is it about timber that people can’t seem to do without? Wood has numerous advantages over most construction materials. These benefits include:
- Natural beauty
- Energy efficiency
- Low production costs
- Excellent insulation properties
- Easy sourcing
- No limitations on size and design
- Quick construction
- Easy maintenance
To fully enjoy the benefits of timber, you have to treat it to extend its life. There are numerous methods you can use to preserve wood. However, most of them entail using harmful chemical preservatives such as chromated copper arsenate (CCA) and alkaline copper quat (ACQ), which in turn contaminate the environment. Water contamination and food poisoning are some of the ill-effects of using these preservatives. As a result, environmental protection organizations have had to intervene to stop the degradation. These organizations are encouraging manufacturers to practice sustainable preservation methods such as mud treatments, heat treatments, or using rot-resistant wood altogether. It is in this same spirit that Shou Sugi Ban was born.
What is Shou Sugi Ban?
Despite all its positive attributes, timber is, however, a hygroscopic material. This means that it contracts and expands due to the natural elements (snow, rain, and sunshine) interfering with its moisture content. Given the extreme climatic conditions in Japan, the Japanese had no choice but to devise a way of naturally protecting their timber structures.
Developed by the Japanese in the 18th century, Yakisugi, also known as Shou Sugi Ban, is a traditional technique of preserving cedar. Yaki in Japanese means ‘to heat with fire,’ while Sugi refers to ‘cypress wood.’ The rest of the world commonly knows this traditional wood preservation technique as burnt timber cladding. Charred timber has a striking dark look that adds a unique touch to any surface it is applied, whether outdoors or indoors.
Benefits of Burnt Wood
Shou Sugi Ban may sound outdated, but this traditional way of preserving wood offers several significant benefits over modern methods. Here are the most important advantages of Yakisugi:
Improved Fire Resistance
It may be hard to believe, but charred timber is highly resilient to burning. This “strange” characteristic is achieved by the controlled removal (burning) of the wood’s softer outer cells that ignite quickly. Once these cells are removed, the inner cells which are more resilient to burn are left behind.
This controlled wood burning method draws out natural resins, leaving behind a carbon layer on the surface. The charred wood is then coated with an oil finish to further improve its resilience, making it long-lasting and resistant to the harsh weather elements.
Logic dictates that “peeling” a layer from a surface should result in a weaker material. However, timber knows no such rule. When the moisture is drawn out during the controlled burning, the resulting burnt wood is much more durable and resilient than untreated wood.
Insects are one of timber’s biggest enemies. It is common to find timber logs full of holes created by burrowing bugs and ants. Most people are likely to apply chemical coatings on timber to reduce the chances of these troublesome infestations. On the other hand, charred wood repels all insects thanks to the carbon layer left behind after burning.
Charred timber is not only long-lasting but also very beautiful. The Japanese can create a range of different effects on cedar by varying their brushing techniques and altering the finishing process. Some planks may have a smooth finish, while others can offer a crackled appearance. In addition to cedar, other timber species, such as fir and pine, have been adopted to create outstanding and unique grain patterns.
A Perfect Blend of Traditional and Modern
Shou Sugi Ban timber boards can be used for a variety of purposes, not just for construction. These include cladding, flooring, decking, fencing, art, among other purposes. At Degmeda, you will find a variety of Yakisugi options to suit all your needs, ranging from Accoya, pine, and larch to spruce and cedar. You can pick from various colors and patterns to perfectly complement your décor scheme: dark brown, red amber, light grey, deep char, etc. Degmeda has incorporated this traditional technique into modern-day projects by creating timeless decking boards suitable for both the outdoors and indoors.
All our products offer premium quality finish, so our clients are encouraged to use their floors barefoot and feel the smoothness. The care and maintenance required for these products are almost non-existent, which is a great advantage for our clients. However, as with all valuable things, the better you treat them, the better and longer they will serve you. While charred wood requires a lot less maintenance than other types of wood, you should still apply a coat of oil every 10 to 15 years to ensure your decking lasts as long as possible.
Your Garden Decking Solution
When it comes to deck ideas for small gardens or any other type of project, Shou Sugi Ban deck boards have you covered. You can create your deck in the backyard, on your roof terrace, or even on your apartment balcony. No matter which deck idea you decide to go with, Yakisugi will add a charming and unique touch to your home. It’s waterproof, fire-resistant, environmentally friendly, easy to maintain, and will last for a long time. Let’s not forget the dazzling aesthetics that will have your family and friends alike envious. At Degmeda, we also offer wood charring services that you might find interesting. Visit our website and get in touch so we can start turning your ideas into reality.