Charred Timber Cladding & Burnt Larch Cladding – Design Ideas for Using Charred or Burnt Timber Cladding

Charred timber cladding and burnt larch cladding have become increasingly popular over the last few years. They have gone from architectural outliers to genuine building design considerations.

But what exactly is charred timer cladding or burnt larch, and what should architects know about it? It is just a trend, or is it here to stay?

We’ve put this handy little guide together to help reveal some useful insights if you’re thinking about going down this route.

What is Charred Timber Cladding?

Charred timber cladding is technique which is said to weatherproof the timber and offering protection from insect attack, as well as creating a striking finish.

The timber cladding boards are charred using a torch/open flame. This is a skilled art and requires a lot of patience and precision. Although it is only just becoming popular in the UK now, it is a technique that is thought to originate from Japan in the 18th Century. Known as “Yakisugi” in Japanese, this technique of charring wood means that the carbonisation that occurs creates wood preservation and durability.

In 18th Century Japan, effective modern-day cladding protection and stains weren’t available, so this technique was fantastic at helping protect buildings in a natural way. The burnt surface offers the timber cladding a natural protection against mould, insects, UV rays, and weathering. Ironically, it also becomes more resistant to fire too!

Burnt larch cladding is a common request and specifically uses larch cladding, whereas charred timber cladding could to be applied to any timber species (although some species will lend themselves to charring better than others for cladding purposes).

If done to a very high standard, charred timber can offer fantastic protection for cladding as well as creating a truly stunning finish. A word of caution though is that this a very technical skill and if it isn’t done to a certain standard, the cladding may not provide all the functional and aesthetic qualities you were expecting. Due to the work involved, most quality charred timber or burnt larch will be quite expensive.


Although most of us probably picture a completely blackened timber clad building when we think of charred or burnt timber being used, it actually comes in many appearances and aesthetics.

The process of charring the timber can range from slightly charred all the way through to heavily charred. For the wood to be naturally protected, the charring process may need to be more specific and reach a certain level. Lightly charred timber may need further treatment to ensure it is fully weatherproof.

Each timber species will react to charring differently and create different visuals. Each species obviously has specific characteristics and properties, so certain species may lend themselves better for charring or burning. In Japan, cedar was traditionally used due to its properties. Other species may not provide the same results, so it is worth ensuring the species is picked with care.


Charred timber offers architects and designers a lot of possibilities. From striking building exteriors, to limitless interior designs, burnt cladding offers a beautiful mix of art and functionality.

The bold blackened colour means designers can have fun creating drastic contrasts between or within spaces. This means thinking about lighting, building positioning and furniture become even more important, to bring out the full potential of any interior charred timber.

Charred timber can help create both a traditional look as well as a modern contemporary feel, illustrating its unique appearance.

As well as timber cladding, flooring is also a popular way to use charred timber within a home or building. Artists are also using charred timber for other furniture and household items, showcasing the artistic love of this style wood.

For charred timber ideas, De zeen have lots of examples of award-winning designs and inspiration.

For general timber cladding inspiration, make sure you check out our case studies, to see what some of our past clients have managed to do with timber cladding.

Tips for Using Charred or Burnt Cladding

Charred timber is somewhat similar to using reclaimed timber in building design – get it right and you can create truly stunning buildings, but get it wrong, and it creates a multitude of problems.

For all the benefits and intrigue charred timber presents, it does come with potential limitations.

Firstly, it can be hard for buyers to know the quality and lifelong expectancy for this type of cladding. Depending on the level of expertise and the knowledge, life expectancy for this type of cladding can vary dramatically.

If the charring was done poorly, it might not only have a short life span, but also flake off and erode quickly. This could apply to the whole building or just individual boards. The char depth is crucial too, as is the process of charring to avoid bending the timber during the heating.

The result is a building opportunity that isn’t without its own unique issues that need attention. The variability means the end results can be quite different. If going in blindly, property owners could be left with an array of problems and a feeling of disappointment (particularly for such an expensive type of cladding).

As a result, we don’t currently offer burnt larch or charred cladding as a product, as want to concentrate on what we do best, providing quality timber cladding to our customers.

Timber Cladding and NORclad

Here at NORclad, we have over 40 years of experience supplying specialist timber product solutions. We supply a range of specially developed timber cladding and associated product solutions, with superb environmental credentials and insulation properties to protect buildings and façades from a whole host of varying climatic conditions.

Our aim is to help support architects, contractors and individual buyers on their journey to using timber cladding.

View our range of cladding products here and be sure to get in touch with our expert team if you have any questions about using timber cladding for your building project.

Similarly, you can request a quote and we’ll help you get started right away.