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How will charred timber cladding look in years to come?

Updated: Mar 26

This first image is an example of full char Suyaki the day it goes on the house looking well-defined and precise. With a fresh coat of char oil post construction over the factory 4 sided oil coat, it is stunning. You can expect this alligator skin pattern to look great for years, and like all building materials, over time nature will start to have an effect. Slowly, nature's seasonal ebb and flow will start changing the look of a charred timber clad home, starting to reveal more of what lies below. As you see in the next photo, the char first reveals the curves of the timber grain and its inner, previously hidden beauty. This transition is embraced in the Japanese cultural thinking, referred to as Wabisabi.

This image highlights how the full charred timber starts to transition over time. Although the alligator skin pattern is still a prominent feature of the cladding, it is no longer the bold feature dominating the focus. Here we see the timber grain pushing through and adding a new element of interest. Erosion over time has added a new element of beauty, in Japanese culture the appreciation of these changes is referred to as Wabisabi.

This fence in Japan is estimated to be 80 years old, no oil coating has been applied during this time, which would improve the life span of the char. Yet even without any maintenance over 80 years it still has interest and beauty. The Suyaki or full char boards are replacement boards that are estimated to be 40 years old with most of the char intact. The time it takes to erode the char will vary depending on the site, aspect and local climate. Read more on Japan's climate vs New Zealand's climate here. This is the one unknown factor in New Zealand, how long will the char last. If you don't like the idea of a cladding finish that changes and evolves over time, then Yakisugi Gendai might be the finish for you. With Gendai we remove all the char, more to follow.

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