The story behind thermally modified wood

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Thermally modified wood may be a relatively new concept, gradually gaining popularity among contractors, interior designers, and architects. Yet, did you know that the practice of thermally treating wood originates from an ancient Japanese tradition? Have you ever heard of “Yakisugi”? Keep reading to discover the fascinating history behind thermally modified wood…

Yakisugi (焼杉), known as “burned cedar” in English, holds a rich history as a traditional method of safeguarding timber siding surfaces. Initially employed for exterior cladding on traditional Japanese homes when chemical wood protection was yet to exist, this technique carries with it a legacy of preservation.

Thermally Modified Siding

Yakisugi (焼杉) can be literally translated as “burned cedar”. It has been used as a traditional method to protect timber siding surfaces, mostly for exterior cladding on traditional Japanese houses, when there was still no means of chemical wood protection. 

Yakisugi, also known as Shou Sugi Ban, is an ancient Japanese wood preservation technique that dates back centuries. This traditional art involves charring the surface of wooden boards, typically made from cedar, cypress, or pine, to enhance their durability and resistance to natural elements. The process begins with carefully selecting the wood and treating it with fire, which not only darkens the wood’s surface but also creates a beautiful, textured appearance. The charring process also renders the wood more resistant to pests, decay, and fire, making it a popular choice for various architectural and design applications.

Yakisugi has gained international recognition not only for its functional benefits but also for its aesthetic appeal. The charred wood texture showcases a unique play of light and shadow, creating a striking visual effect that complements both contemporary and traditional designs. This sustainable and eco-friendly technique has found its way into modern architecture, interior design, and furniture-making, adding a touch of timeless elegance and cultural heritage to spaces across the world. As a testament to its enduring allure, Yakisugi continues to be celebrated as a significant part of Japan’s artistic and architectural legacy.


Thermally Modified Wood, also known as Thermally Enhanced Wood, is a game-changing substance within the timber sector. This type of lumber goes through a groundbreaking high-heat treatment procedure that remarkably enhances its structural characteristics, rendering it appropriate for a wide array of construction applications. This technique entails subjecting the wood to controlled high temperatures ranging from 180°C to 300°C in a low-oxygen environment. The result is an end product that boasts remarkable durability, stability, and resistance to the elements – attributes that position it as a prime selection for builders and architects across the globe. Contrary to commonly held notions, the thermal enhancement procedure doesn’t incorporate any chemical substances. As a result, Thermally Modified Wood stands as a natural, chemical-free substitute for other treated timber, which frequently employs detrimental chemicals during production.

Yakisugi, or Shou Sugi Ban, stands not only as a testament to Japan’s heritage but as a crossroads of function and beauty. Its enduring popularity transcends borders, adorning modern architecture, interior design, and furnishings. With its captivating blend of practicality and aesthetics, Yakisugi perpetuates its role as a cherished component of Japan’s artistic and architectural narrative.