Even if you don’t know the name of the technique, you may have seen pictures of yakisugi siding. Shou sugi ba is the Western name for yakisugi. This term was created from a misinterpretation of the Japanese word. Yakisugi, a centuries-old method that chars wood’s surface to increase its resistance to moisture and make it more durable, is called Shou sugi ban. Satoshi Kimura (operations director at Japan Yakisugi), said that yakisugi was like champagne for the French. Kimura gives more information about the benefits and origins of yakisugi, and shows some projects from his company.
Satoshi Kimura, operations director at Japan Yakisugi is responsible for manufacturing charred wood by the Yakisugi method.
There are many benefits to yakisugi. Kimura explained that the yakisugi technique involves burning the wood’s surface to improve performance in adverse weather conditions, prevent decay, rotting and insect infestation and make the wood more resistant against fire. Kimura pointed out that Japanese carpenters have been using Japanese cedar (known as “Sugi”) to build since the early 1800s.
He explained that the technique has been more popular in other countries over the past 11 to 12 years. Kimura stated that the authentic Japanese heat treatment process was a gift from Mother Nature and not a science-based construction technique. Yakisugi has been a popular choice for centuries in Japan. Kimura stated that it was used to “exterior siding and fencing” traditional Japanese houses because of its extraordinary durability.
Kimura said Yakisugi offers many benefits including its durability. He explained that Yakisugi can be used to create an elegant and dramatic visual with a often-reptilian texture. It also has incredible scientifically proven benefits. The technique can be maintained well and will last between 80 and 90 years. He also noted that “you still find old Japanese houses with Yakisugi structures over 120 years old.” Traditional wood siding, on the other hand, is expected to last between 20 and 40 years.
Why is Yakisugi so long-lasting?
Kimura has outlined some of the factors that make the yakisugi technique so durable when it is properly maintained. First, yakisugi wood is highly weather-resistant. Kimura stated that the carbon layer created by charring wood is extremely resistant to weathering or fading. It doesn’t matter what climate it is. It is also extremely resistant to water. Kimura explained that wood pores shrink when it is charred. This means that the board is less able to absorb and take in water.
Kimura explained that the yakisugi method makes wood fire-resistant, in addition to the previously mentioned qualities. He explained that by lightly charring the wood’s surface, you basically get rid of its soft outer layer. The wood becomes more durable and stable when it is burned. The wood’s outer layer becomes carbonized, which prevents it from burning quickly. Kimura also noted that wood can be burned to prevent it from rotting or pest infestations. He stated that termites and other wood-eating insects dislike the carbon layer created by charring.
Yakisugi’s Aesthetic Appeal
Authentique Design/Japan Yakisugi
Kimura described yakisugi wood treatment as “Striking, very attractive, and a combination of the modern and elemental.” Kimura said, “It’s chic and elegant, with a touch more drama, and a kinda matte-ness and fineness in the grain in the charcoal that is unlike any other in the building industry.” He said that wood can be customized during the burning process. It can take a wide range of colors depending on the depth of your burn and the depth of your brushing… it can also be stained.
26 Design/Japan Yakisugi
Kimura says that yakisugi is a long-lasting wood but requires some maintenance. Kimura stated that yakisugi should be oiled every 10 to 15 year if it is going to be outside. This is a common practice for exterior wood treatment. It will keep its color longer and be more resistant to water if it is well maintained. Using wood indoors? It won’t take much to make wood indoors! Kimura said, “For interior purposes, where it will mainly be seen and not touched,” that it would require almost no maintenance.