Yakisugi (or Shou Sugi Ban) in full char.

How does it change over time?

shou sugi ban full Char Suyaki

The first image is full char Suyaki the day it goes on the house looking clean and precise.


The second image is Suyaki that has started to evolve and erode into Gendai. A beautiful transition with both the full char and the timber grain visible. This will eventually become a Gendai finish with no char remaining.

The key to appreciating and enjoying yakisugi is understanding how it evolves over time. The full char or Suyaki finish is the traditional Japanese finish that will erode into Gendai over time.


The purpose of the full char is to be a sacrificial layer that gives full UV protection to the timber and erodes over time. As the char erodes the beautiful textures of the timber grain become more and more visible.


This evolution over time has the Gendai emerging from its char chrysalis presenting a new hidden beauty. 

Elements of erosion:

Driving rain, hail and seasonal change are the core factors in char erosion. The time for erosion of the char is greatly affected by the site location and every home will differ. Minimum expectations are 5 years with no reapplication of oil stain. 

Oil staining:

In recent years the Japanese now oil stain their shou sugi ban after installation which gives the char a longer life. We factory oil coat all sou sugi ban products and advise a second application after installation. The oil stain we use for full charred cladding is a Tung Oil Based product that sets as a resin in the char over 2-3 days giving the char further strength.  If you reapply the Char Oil every 3-5 years the char life span is greatly lengthened.   

Wabi Sabi

Shou Sugi Ban full char is designed to erode eventually and that is part of its appeal. The appreciation of this evolution and impermanence is referred to as Wabi Sabi in Japan.  It is important to understand and embrace this cultural thinking.  

This fence in Japan is estimated to be 80 years old.


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 and is site and climate dependent. 


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.