Shou Sugi Ban: Japanese Wood Burning Technique


The popular Japanese technique, more than three hundred years old, called Shou Sugi Ban, is the treatment of wood used in construction through its carbonization of the outer layers of wood.

This technique was used in traditional fishermen’s houses in Japan, in an attempt to combat the possible damage caused by bad weather and natural aggressions from the sea to buildings.

Currently, the method consists of carbonizing the boards by means of a torch, so that the external fibers can react leaving the wood immune to the attack of insects, fungi and natural aggressions for decades.


It should be noted that this technique is quite complex, so it must be used by companies or specialists trained for this purpose.

This technique is nowadays widely used in the work developed by several Architects all over the world, mainly Japanese, and it is increasingly sought after as a final coating for house façades, as well as used in furniture and interior decoration.

Before we understand how this technique is currently applied to decoration, let’s explain the four stages of this process.

The 4 steps of the Shou Sugi Ban Technique


It consists of burning the wood, independently of the boards so that later they can be applied to the facades and internal environments, or even directly on the applied area


The wood is brushed using special sandpaper, in order to allow the removal of carbon superficially, and in order to show a new shade in the wood.


In a black tone, the wood receives a special waterproofing layer, with cedar oil, ensuring greater resistance to the pieces.

Seal up

The application of a sealant prevents stains as it would happen if it were pure coal.

It should be noted that there is also another version of darkened wood called ebonized wood. In this case, it is not burnt but dyed with a natural pigment. There is a lot of difference between the two processes and it is important to emphasize so that there is no confusion.

Shou Sugi Ban in decoration (with images)

See our selection of images about this technique in interior design.







Architecture Projects with Shou Sugi Ban

Below are excellent examples of the application of this technique in major construction and architecture projects.

Refúgio na Floresta / Uhlik architekti

TinkerBox / Studio MM Architect

Casa Plissada / Johnsen Schmaling Architects

Residência RT / Jacobsen Arquitetura

Residência Meijendel / VVKH architecten

Lara Oliveira

We are a graduated team in Architecture and Interior Design with experience in the development and monitoring of Architecture and Decoration projects, rehabilitation, remodeling, material counseling, choice of decorative pieces and others. We are passionate about aesthetics and refined and elegant environments, with a lot of character and personality!