Yakasugi (Sugi Ban)

Yakasugi (Sugi Ban) siding and design is where tradition, aesthetics and functionally meet. If you’re looking for the best combination of form and function and natural harmony, Yakasugi (Sugi Ban) siding is probably your best bet.

Yakasugi (Sugi Ban) is a traditional Japanese wood-burning technique that combines form and function. Also referred to as Yakisugi, it translates to “burnt cedar board” in Japanese. The process is an entirely natural way of preserving wood which involves charring the wood’s surface, cooling it with water, then sealing it with natural oil. The Yakasugi (Sugi Ban) technique was originally designed to make the wood fire-resistant with the added bonus of a beautiful, textured charcoal finish. Ironically, slightly destroying the wood makes it stronger, as the charring process treats the wood by carbonizing it. As a result, the finished material is resistant to weather, rot, fire and insects.

Yakasugi (Sugi Ban) wood lasts many decades due to the charring process, making it an ideal choice for Cladding. Traditionally, the top layer of textured charcoal is meant to wear away over time, eventually exposing the wood’s burnt smooth black under layer.

While some people appreciate this peeling effect as it adds character over time, nowadays many people prefer to lock in the aesthetic of the original textured charcoal layer and avoid the peeling effect, something made possible today thanks to advances in sealant technology. Whether you choose to let your siding show its traditional wear over time by using natural oil, or lock in charcoal look with a heavier-duty sealant, Yakasugi (Sugi Ban) is a great option if you are looking for a low-maintenance material designed to last a lifetime.

Many centuries ago, Japanese carpenters seeking material for their homes and fences originally used driftwood collected from the coast line. Driftwood was desired because it underwent a weathering and durability process through the sun and ocean water currents. This also produced a natural, artistic and unique finish. Demand for this type of product was high, but it was in short supply. So people turned to fire as another means of attaining the same look and durability. Hence, Yakasugi (Sugi Ban) become popular. It was popular for hundreds of years, but in the last century its popularity decreased due to the use of plastic and cement siding. It appeared to be a lost technique, but gained momentum in the early 2000s as green and eco-friendly building practices started to gain widespread popularity. Modern architects and western designers started to use this technique in their work. Now, designers and builders in America have found that American outdoor woods work just as well in achieving the Yakasugi (Sugi Ban) quality and aesthetic. Today, western artisans are producing many creative effects by brushing the wood, staining it, and sealing it, allowing for many interesting colours and textures. The lost art of Yakasugi (Sugi Ban) has become a perfectly modern and practical solution for anyone looking for a natural and eco-friendly cladding alternative.

We contacted the Carbon By Design team to help enhance our new kitchen with a durable long lasting wood worktop. After explaining in detail the various wood & burn options which would best suit our purpose we made the decision and gave the go ahead – within record time the worktop was installed. 100% happy with the finished product and will be using the team again for future projects.


Being a previous interior designer the aesthetic design of a product is just as important to me as the functionality. I have been a fan of the Japanese burning technique Shou Sugi Ban for a few years now but never purchased or tried it. A recent property development came up providing the ideal opportunity to which I researched and found Carbon by Design.  Within a few minutes on the phone to the owner Dwayne I knew him and his team were the perfect people for the job and they talked me through the whole process from choosing the correct wood to installation even within my tight deadline.