Shou Sugi Ban, or charred wood, is a traditional Japanese manner of preparing wood for use as siding, decking, flooring, fencing, and more. The wood is burned at high heat, then washed and oiled to make it durable and resistant to weather, fire, and pests. Here we will look at the best woods to use for burnt wood cladding.
Oak – Is It the Right Material?
Oak has a natural beauty that really shines in Shou Sugi Ban. In fact, oak’s luxurious color and appearance make it a popular choice for all kinds of wood projects. However, it is not ideal for outside use because it is generally heavy. Even after charring, oak doesn’t seal up like other woods.
Types of Charred Oak
- Red oak is extremely porous, even after the charring process. Using it in exterior projects like fences and decks would only lead to rotting.
- White oak weathers tremendously when exposed to the elements. Even in a smaller application like a front door, white oak can’t withstand the sun and the rain. There’s a high rate of replacement with white oak when used in outdoor projects.
- Natural oak is a heavy wood. Using it for cladding adds extra weight and stress to the architecture, which can lead to structural issues long-term.
But just because oak isn’t a good fit for outdoor use doesn’t mean you need to abandon its use altogether. Oak’s beauty truly shines through in a floor or interior siding. Even a piece of wooden artwork would be magnificent in oak.
Best Alternatives for Shou Sugi Ban Approved by Professionals
If you’re looking for charred timber exclusively for outdoor projects, there are four types of wood that are favored by professionals. Whether you need a fence, a deck, or even siding, these woods are sturdy and stand up well to the high temperatures required of Yakisugi.
Pine is a top customer choice for Shou Sugi Ban because of its price point. Compared to other wood types, pine offers more bang for your buck. This makes it a great option if you want the beauty of charred wood without the higher costs of woods like Accoya. You can paint and stain pine easily, and it has a smooth finish that looks amazing. This makes it a popular choice for siding, but because pine comes in different lengths, it can be hard to find boards long enough for your specific project. You might be better off using pine for a fence or a deck, especially if your heart is absolutely set on it. However, pine is a very soft type of wood, which means that it’s not completely resistant even with burning. You can use it outdoors, but it requires more frequent attention than hardwood Yakisugi.
Spruce is a member of the pine family. It shares many of the pine’s characteristics, most notably that it doesn’t withstand the elements very well. This can be handled with regular scheduled inspections for rot as well as touch-ups to ensure that water isn’t getting to it. If you love pine’s look and finish but need longer planks for siding, spruce is your wood. Like pine, it handles being stained or painted very well.
Accoya cladding is a contemporary, sustainable product that is exceptionally versatile. It is a durable wood that is fairly resistant to weather changes even before charring takes place. The heating and cooling cycle does not affect Accoya – it doesn’t swell or shrink, making it an ideal choice for climates with dramatic weather shifts and large swings between summer highs and winter lows. Treating Accoya with stain or paint means that it will increase the lasting power of the wood. Because Accoya doesn’t require the continual maintenance of softer wood, its long-term cost is relatively low. However, that durability means that Accoya can be initially expensive. It is also hard to find in the commercial market.
Larch has many features that make it an excellent choice for charred timber. It is very dense, highly stable, and is exceptionally resistant to decay. These features make it an increasingly popular choice for climates with very wet weather, like the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Like pine and spruce, larch maintains a clean, smooth finish. You can’t go wrong with larch, especially if you prefer a more natural look to your wood. Be aware, though, that the starting price point for larch is higher than spruce and pine.
Burnt Wood – Where to Order?
Degmeda provides quality charred wood products for cladding, flooring, decking, fencing, etc. Browse our catalog to see our wide selection of woods, including Accoya, larch, pine, spruce, cedar, and more. We also offer wood charring services and worldwide shipping.