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Frequently Asked Questions

How long will shou sugi ban last? In terms of expected years in service for charred timber, the proof is found in the 1000s of old buildings clad in Shou Sugi Ban all over Japan. Many examples can be seen that have over 40-year-old charred timber cladding and are still strong and weather tight. Shou sugi ban will improve naturally durable timber cladding. As to how long depends on the timber type, and local weather patterns. The charred finish is designed to slowly erode away, but you can expect the charred surface to last many years. Subtle visible erosion is expected around 4-5 years but 20 years is our estimated lifetime of the char subject to local conditions. The service life of the timber cladding will differ based on the durability rating of the timber species and the correct installation of the building. The carbon layer of the burnt timber slowly erodes outdoors under the influence of wind, rain and hail.

Does charred timber cladding have lower maintenance? Yes, the traditional full charred finish has a much lower maintenance cycle due to its UV protective qualities and with some selected timbers you never need reapply oil. The charred timber becomes more bug resistant, hydrophobic and is given UV protection. The charred timber cladding arrives to your project with a 4-side factory oil coating. After installation, you will need to apply a second coat of oil, and for some timbers this can be the last time you oil stain cladding. We advise a reapplication every 5 years for full char to add strength to the char layer, and for charred and brushed finish every 3-5 years to keep the colour looking fresh. Low Maintenance should not be confused with stain colour fading. With our brushed finished colour fade will happen due to UV breaking down the colour pigments in the Oil stain. To be maintenance free comes down to the timber selection which we can provide you with advice for this decision.

What will the charred timber look like over time? When using a traditional full charred finish, you must embrace an admirable cultural thinking of the Japanese, where they embrace the evolutionary changes of nature. In a word, Wabisabi. This is the Japanese acceptance of the changes of nature and the love of its impermanence and imperfections. Read more on Wabisabi on this website.

Can you offer Shou sugi ban in light colours other than black? Yes. Our double brushed finish (Pikapika) was developed specifically for this purpose. It is a highly textural finished product that has been double brushed to remove all the char from only the softer early growth while leaving the black on the hard late growth. This finish leaves a distressed look to the timber and shows the beauty of the textured undulating surface but additionally the stunning contrast of the black late growth rings against the light colour of your choosing.

Is your shou sugi ban made in New Zealand? Yes it is! We are located in Putaruru Waikato. All our charred timber cladding is produced from our local factory. In addition, all our feed stock is supplied from local New Zealand timber mills, and importers. Our timber oil is made by a local New Zealand manufacturer and tested to meet the harsh demands of our climate.

Will shou sugi ban (traditional full char finish) leave black char marks, will it stain the house every time it rains? No as the char is a very clean material. Charcoal is used in toothpaste to remove stains and very little char comes away from the timber due to the factory oil coat we provide. The first couple of rainy days will wash any residual loose char from the installation process away. It is important to note that Char or charcoal does not stain most surfaces, it's a natural product that is used in a wide range of health products. It simply washes away. Some more porous surfaces may hold the char but should be able to washed clean. (We recommend testing surfaces if your uncertain, we can send a bag of char dust)

What are the documents required for council consent when using Shou Sugi Ban? Your installation guide is for the weatherboard profile and timber species not the shou sugi ban finish. It is important to note that councils consider Shou Sugi Ban as a finish to your weatherboard like an oil stain. It is the feed stock or timber cladding that the council is concerned with. When you are supplied timber from one of The Blackwood Project's Mills we supply you with their Producer Statement and Branz or Codemark. This is a document verifying the timber species and weatherboard profile as suitable for timber cladding and durable for New Zealand conditions.

Do you have an installation guide for Charred timber cladding? Yes we can provide you with the appropriate weatherboard installation guide for your project. The installation of charred timber cladding does not actually require an installation guide, but the timber profile and the timber species are what the installation guide are needed for. These are available for downloading.

What weatherboard profiles are available as charred timber cladding? In short, all of them. Shiplap is the most popular weatherboard profile in today's market followed closely by Bevelback and Rusticated. There are few profiles we do not char, please ask us about this.

I like the full traditional Japanese charred look but, is it possible to get this done as a light char?" Yes a light charred board is possible. However, we do not recommend this for an exterior use as the char will fade very quickly. You also do not get the full protective characteristics of the shou sugi ban process when the char layer is less than 2mm.

How long does it take to process my charred timber cladding order? The charring process time varies from 2-3 weeks from time of the timber arriving. The acquisition of the timber will be the main factor in the timeframe needed to get your charred timber cladding. At the time of writing this (April 2024) our timber mills offer 4 – 6 weeks. Its best to inquire directly with us for accurate timeframes.

Do you supply timber, or can I send you my timber for charring?" Yes we char timber supplied by our customers. We also work with long-standing timber mills who produce high quality timber cladding. We will make this process very easy and liaise with them and you to help arrange your timber and the desired specied and profile.

Can I get samples of your shou sugi ban finishes? Yes. We have a shou sugi ban order form on the website in which you can receive samples of all the charred timber finishes.

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