Charred Timber Finishes Explained

Overview of Charred Timber Cladding

Charred timber cladding, also known as burnt timber cladding, is a distinctive technique that involves carefully burning the surface of wood to enhance its durability and aesthetic appeal. This age-old method, rooted in Japanese traditions known as Shou Sugi Ban, not only fortifies the timber against environmental elements but also provides a stunning visual effect. The degree of charring can be adjusted to create various finishes, commonly categorised as rare, medium, and well-done. Each level offers a unique look and serves different functional benefits, making charred timber a versatile choice for modern and traditional architecture.

Rare Finish


The rare finish in charred timber cladding is characterised by a gentle application of the charring process. This method lightly darkens the timber’s surface, preserving the natural grain and texture of the wood. The subtle enhancement enriches the wood’s original beauty, giving it a delicate, smoky patina.


Opting for a rare burn strikes a perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality. It provides moderate protection against weathering, UV rays, and insects, while maintaining the wood’s natural appearance. Ideal for those who appreciate a hint of rustic charm without overwhelming the senses, the rare finish is a tasteful nod to traditional craftsmanship blended with contemporary needs.

Medium Finish


A step deeper than the rare, the medium finish offers a more noticeable charred effect. This level of burning results in a richer, darker hue, with the wood’s grain still peeking through the blackened surface. The outcome is a striking contrast that stands out against other materials, adding depth and texture to any facade.


Medium charring not only boosts the visual appeal of the wood but also significantly enhances its resistance to decay, pests, and harsh weather conditions. It serves as an excellent compromise between maintaining the natural attributes of the timber and fortifying it for increased longevity. Architects and builders often favour the medium finish for its versatility across various design styles and its robust protection profile.

Well-Done Finish


The well-done finish takes charring to its most intense level. The wood undergoes an extensive burning process that transforms the surface into a deep, opaque black with a pronounced texture. This bold, dramatic look is unmistakably modern and instantly elevates the architectural design.


With the highest level of charring, the well-done finish offers supreme protection from environmental stressors such as moisture, UV exposure, and insect activity. Its robust nature makes it ideal for areas requiring maximum durability and minimal maintenance. This finish is particularly suitable for those seeking a powerful, enduring statement in their building’s exterior.

Explore Your Options with The Larch Cladding Company

At The Larch Cladding Company, we specialise in delivering high-quality, bespoke timber solutions that meet the unique needs and styles of our clients. Whether you’re drawn to the subtle elegance of a rare finish, the balanced beauty of a medium char, or the striking impact of a well-done burn, we are here to help you select the perfect finish for your project. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss your charred timber cladding options or any questions you might have. Contact us today at 01352 746293 or send an email to [email protected]

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