Kurowood®: A modern solution to the pitfalls of real charred timber
In recent years, Yakisugi, the ancient Japanese technique of charring timber, has seen a resurgence, with the dark and striking aesthetic proving popular among architects and homeowners alike. Ancient techniques, however, come with ancient problems and a new modern solution is needed. Russwood have developed Kurowood®, an innovative alternative to charred timber cladding that gives the same striking look, but with a finish that is more consistent, higher-performing and more durable. We explore the benefits of Kurowood® versus real charred timber in this blog.
What is Kurowood®?
Kurowood® is a modern alternative to charred timber cladding, which can be used both externally and internally. Inspired by Yakisugi, the name is a nod to the Japanese technique, with ‘Kuro’ being the Japanese word for the colour black. Produced by hot embossing thermally modified Scots Pine in an authentic charred pattern or modern barred alternative, it is then coated with our matt black paint system to achieve the final look.
Real charred timber involves using a blow torch to char the individual boards. It’s a labour intensive (and potentially dangerous) process and the results can vary dramatically. Different timber species will react in different ways and the results are often unpredictable. The correct depth of charring can be difficult to achieve consistently, with mistakes being costly.
Kurowood® on the other hand, ensures a beautifully consistent finish every time. Boards are processed in controlled conditions in our state-of-the-art production facilities, first being embossed with a hot roller which imprints a consistent pattern on each board, before being factory-coated with our industry-leading, matt-finish paint system.
Species and profile choice is critical when it comes to charring, as some timbers can become brittle and fragile when exposed to flame. Whichever species is used, the timber will need to be sealed, usually with an oil, to maintain the colour and provide weather protection. Regular maintenance will be required as the building is exposed to the elements.
The thermal modification of the Kurowood® timber – which is done using only heat and steam – burns off resinous substances, improves durability and enhances the stability of the timber versus non-modified products such as larch. This stability and lack of resin makes it ideal for coating black, with paint coatings expected to last up to three times longer than on non-modified timbers. This will substantially reduce the maintenance requirement and ultimately, the lifetime cost of the product.
The mess that can result from charred timber is something to be considered too, especially for those with young children or pets. Charred timber can easily stain and, mixed with small hands or furry paws, this can be a recipe for disaster! Chipping and flaking are also common occurrences, leaving the cladding unsightly, as well as leaving a mess.
Kurowood® eliminates this problem entirely. The surface is perfectly safe to touch without risk of staining and it won’t chip or flake like charred timber either. Factory production means that on-site mess is virtually eliminated, as no on-site treatment or processes are required before installation.
The versatility of Kurowood® makes it ideal for a variety of project types. Externally, Kurowood® provides a dark and striking look to modern facades. Used internally as a feature wall, it can create a stunning focal point. It could also be used both outdoors and indoors to achieve continuity throughout a build. You can choose from an authentic charred-look pattern, or a modern barred alternative, which is akin to a band sawn finish. Both come in an ultra-modern matt black finish.