Modern exterior siding that is rot and fire resistant, but also rich in history.

If your architect told you they found a UV, weather, rot and insect resistant, exterior siding material for your new modern house that was also low maintenance, you probably would think it sounds “too good to be true.”

What could have all these amazing qualities? Charred wood! But we didn’t start the fire. It was started centuries ago by the Japanese.

History and Facts

SHOU-SUGI-BAN is the Japanese tradition of burning wood siding. It is a “natural/non-toxic way to preserve wood.” The essential idea is to burn the surface of wood to a varying degree of char. The charred surface is then soaked in water, cooled and brushed to remove soot and achieve a smoother texture. The wood is sealed with a clear coat/stain which creates numerous variations in the wood finish. The types of wood species used in this process are Cypress, Redwood, Douglas Fir, Yellow Pine and Walnut. The process is fascinating and the end result is stunning!

Charred wood is a low-maintenance, sustainable solution.

In the world of sustainable design, it is best to use natural resources for building materials that have lasted centuries, which this technique has proven to do. The charred wood has been said to last for more than 80 years with little maintenance. It is a smart energy efficient building practice if you use a non-toxic finish on the exterior of your home. This process eliminates the need for chemical preservatives or paint, thus decreasing environmental emissions that affect the water we drink and the air we breathe.
The architects at Vita Design Group are having this modern technique installed on the exterior of a custom home that is under construction in Westport, Connecticut. We have received some amazing samples from companies such as Delta Millworks and reSAWN TIMBER co. – CHARRED collection that are on display in our office library as well.

Check-out these photos of the Shou-sugi-ban method and if you would like Vita Design Group to design your modern home visit us at

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