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Remodeling 101: Shou Sugi Ban Charred Wood

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Remodeling 101: Shou Sugi Ban Charred Wood

October 14, 2014

Repeat after us: shou sugi ban. Devised as a way to make wood less susceptible to fire and to keep away insects and rot, this longstanding Japanese method involves torching your building materials. The results are long lived and hauntingly beautiful. And the good news is that charred wood is now widely available for domestic use. Here are 13 examples of charred wood put to use (for both interiors and exteriors) and where to buy it.

13 Charred Wood Houses

A series of charred wood cabins in northern New Zealand by Cheshire Architects from Top of the Lake: Tiny Cabins in Dark and Light.
Above: A series of charred wood cabins in northern New Zealand by Cheshire Architects from Top of the Lake: Tiny Cabins in Dark and Light.
A single shou sugi ban wall in a Tuscon, Arizona, house designed by Dust from Steal This Look: Sonoran-Style Bedroom/Living Room in Tucson, Arizona.
Above: A single shou sugi ban wall in a Tuscon, Arizona, house designed by Dust from Steal This Look: Sonoran-Style Bedroom/Living Room in Tucson, Arizona.
A passive house in Hudson Valley with a charred cedar facade from Architect Visit: A Natural Pool and Passive House in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Above: A passive house in Hudson Valley with a charred cedar facade from Architect Visit: A Natural Pool and Passive House in New York’s Hudson Valley.
The shou sugi ban exterior of a riverside cabin in Devon, England, by Rupert McKelvie from The Off-the-Grid Riverside Cabin, Rental Edition.
Above: The shou sugi ban exterior of a riverside cabin in Devon, England, by Rupert McKelvie from The Off-the-Grid Riverside Cabin, Rental Edition.
A charred wood cottage attached to a bright white house on the coast of Brittany by NeM Architects from Before and After: A Charred Wood Cottage, on a $45K Budget.
Above: A charred wood cottage attached to a bright white house on the coast of Brittany by NeM Architects from Before and After: A Charred Wood Cottage, on a $45K Budget.
Designer Nicole Hollis used the shou sugi ban technique in the interior walls of her San Francisco studio from A Noirish Studio for a San Francisco Design Star.
Above: Designer Nicole Hollis used the shou sugi ban technique in the interior walls of her San Francisco studio from A Noirish Studio for a San Francisco Design Star.
Burnt cedar siding on a house in Los Gatos, California, by Schwartz & Architecture, submitted to this year&#8
Above: Burnt cedar siding on a house in Los Gatos, California, by Schwartz & Architecture, submitted to this year’s Remodelista Design Awards.
Charred larch cladding on the exterior of a Japanese-style teahouse in the Czech Republic from A Teahouse, Charred and Blackened (On Purpose).
Above: Charred larch cladding on the exterior of a Japanese-style teahouse in the Czech Republic from A Teahouse, Charred and Blackened (On Purpose).
Architect Boor Bridges applied the technique to some of the interior walls of Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco from Architect Visit: Sightglass by Boor Bridges Architecture in San Francisco.
Above: Architect Boor Bridges applied the technique to some of the interior walls of Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco from Architect Visit: Sightglass by Boor Bridges Architecture in San Francisco.
A charred wood headboard by London designer Mark Lewis in a house in Dorset, England, from Blue Period: An English Manor House Channels Picasso.
Above: A charred wood headboard by London designer Mark Lewis in a house in Dorset, England, from Blue Period: An English Manor House Channels Picasso.
A modular studio (for use as a home office, guest room, or play space) made from shou sugi ban siding by Sett Studio of Austin, Texas.
Above: A modular studio (for use as a home office, guest room, or play space) made from shou sugi ban siding by Sett Studio of Austin, Texas.
The ceiling wood of the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, shop Joinery was hand-charred by owner Angela Silva from Joinery in Williamsburg.
Above: The ceiling wood of the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, shop Joinery was hand-charred by owner Angela Silva from Joinery in Williamsburg.
A cabin designed and built for under $40,000 in Belgium makes use of charred wood as exterior cladding from An Architect-Designed—and Built—Lakeside Cabin for Under $40,000.
Above: A cabin designed and built for under $40,000 in Belgium makes use of charred wood as exterior cladding from An Architect-Designed—and Built—Lakeside Cabin for Under $40,000.

Where to Buy Charred Wood

US lumber retailers of late have begun to specialize in shou sugi ban. Shown here, a sampling of the shou sugi ban finishes offered by Delta Millworks, in Texas, which specializes in burned woods, among other offerings, and works directly with private and commercial clients. Another provider is reSawn Timber Co. of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the UK, Shou-Sugi-Ban supplies, designs, and installs shou sugi ban cladding, flooring, and wall coverings in colors that it compares to &#8
Above: US lumber retailers of late have begun to specialize in shou sugi ban. Shown here, a sampling of the shou sugi ban finishes offered by Delta Millworks, in Texas, which specializes in burned woods, among other offerings, and works directly with private and commercial clients. Another provider is reSawn Timber Co. of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the UK, Shou-Sugi-Ban supplies, designs, and installs shou sugi ban cladding, flooring, and wall coverings in colors that it compares to “the dying embers of a log fire and the charred effects of a burnt wooden board.”
Charred cypress for use as siding, fencing, decking, and flooring. Photograph from reSawn Timber Co.
Above: Charred cypress for use as siding, fencing, decking, and flooring. Photograph from reSawn Timber Co.
Delta Millworks and reSawn Timber Co. specialize in using cypress, as well as yellow pine and vertical grain Douglass fir, all grown in the southern US and treated with variety of burned finishes.
Above: Delta Millworks and reSawn Timber Co. specialize in using cypress, as well as yellow pine and vertical grain Douglass fir, all grown in the southern US and treated with variety of burned finishes.
Yashu, a charred cypress, for interior and exterior applications from reSawn Timber Co.
Above: Yashu, a charred cypress, for interior and exterior applications from reSawn Timber Co.
ReSawn Timber Co.&#8
Above: ReSawn Timber Co.‘s Kujaku cypress with a subtle char.

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N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran October 14, 2014.

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