Shou-Sugi-Ban: Perfect Form and Function for Small Homes
August 13, 2019
Hundreds of years ago, Japanese architects and carpenters were looking for a practical, but visually appealing material to use as siding on the small homes that were scattered throughout mainland Japan. These builders found their artistic muse by utilizing recovered driftwood that commonly washed up along Japan’s massive coastline.
The weathering process inflicted on the wood by the Pacific Ocean not only improved the outward appearance of the wood, but also enhanced the wood’s durability. Japan’s driftwood was highly sought after throughout the region due to its ability to be used throughout the home and over many different carpentry disciplines.
This driftwood quickly became the carpenter’s best friend, but demand quickly outpaced supply. Cunning home builders in Japan quickly turned to an alternative method for procuring rugged and artistic building materials. This new method became known as “Shou-Sugi-Ban.”
Shou-Sugi-Ban translates to “burnt cedar wood.” With driftwood in short supply, Japanese carpenters began weathering their wood by charring planks of cedar, brushing them down with a strong bristle brush, and then coating the planks with mineral oil. This process not only preserved the wood, but created the unmatched durability and unique look that Japanese homeowners and craftsmen wanted.
North American builders discovered they could use indigenous varieties of cedar including Western Red Cedar and Southern Cypress to create a charred wood siding that surpassed the original Shou-Sugi-Ban in durability while maintaining the beautiful aesthetic of the wood.
Not only is this wood aesthetically pleasing, but it is also durable, natural, unique, and affordable. Durability is one of the main benefits of charred wood because of its ability to withstand decades of use untouched. While painted siding generally lasts for about 10 to 15 years, Shou-Sugi-Ban siding can last anywhere from 80 to 100 years without repair.
The style is also more effective when it comes to repelling insects. Over time, termites and other insects will eat away at normal wood and diminish the exterior. Using the Shou-Sugi-Ban technique offers a more insect resistant siding that helps keep your home in great condition.
When a homeowner buys traditional siding, paint, and figures in labor costs, the costs can become quite expensive. Shou-Sugi-Ban creates a unique feel to your home while staying affordable. It is also faster than putting up other siding because you don’t need to paint it or treat it with chemical preservatives.
At Mighty Small Homes, we take our inspiration from ancient, tried and true design such as Shou-Sugi-Ban as well as the latest in modern, sustainable materials to create tiny and small homes that are built to last for generations. From design to implementation, each Mighty Small Home kit is built with strength, sustainability, and simplistic beauty.
Contact us for your free consultation today.