IRO architectural timber, the latest product range from BSW Timber, uses the traditional method of Shou Sugi Ban to create a heat-enhanced wood that can be used both internally and externally.

First developed in the 18th century, the process of Shou Sugi Ban uses heat to enhance the surface of timber and results in distinct lines and textures unlike those seen in traditional cladding and decking. In the case of BSW’s external IRO cladding, the timber species is home-grown larch, while the interior cladding (and decking) is imported redwood.

After the ‘heat-enhancing’ (charring), the product is brushed, treated and then coated in a selection of Rubio Monocoat wood creams. This has enabled the company to create a suite of 15 exclusive colours, with each designed to blend with this year’s trends.

The current colour palette comprises charcoal, chestnut and claret, along with the descriptive tones of dolphin, dragon fruit, driftwood, forest, lagoon, mountain, piglet, poppy, sunflower, sunset and woodland, as well as natural.

“Until now, products using the Shou Sugi Ban treatment have been limited to natural colours, or have found that applications of more vibrant colours have faded quickly,” said Dave Chapman, sales director for BSW’s IRO products.

“We wanted to ensure that the colours we offer are vibrant for longer, and our partnership with Rubio has allowed us to do just that.”

While alternatives will fade over time, IRO is coated in creams that guarantee a longlasting, UV-stable finish,” said BSW. IRO products have a self-cleaning, water-repellent surface and are also 100% eco-friendly. Its HVOC-free properties mean that it is also 100% safe for children and animals.

The Rubio creams have never been used in the UK before and are exclusive to BSW. They have a three to five year warranty on vertical cladding (horizontal applications are currently being tested).

“Both the decking and cladding are perfect for commercial and residential settings and so we’re confident in offering the range of products to landscapers, architects, interior designers, home builders and self-builders,” said Mr Chapman.

“While landscapers and interior designers will be attracted to the products’ appearance and long-lasting finish, architects and builders are likely to be impressed by the sustainability of the product, which is extremely hard-wearing.

“Although only on the market for a couple of months, we’ve already seen the products used in a number of homes across the country,” said Mr Chapman. “Statement pieces in kitchens and living rooms have proven to be extremely popular.

“We’ve also seen a great example of cladding used on a store front in London, which really makes the property stand out on the high street.”

IRO is also available to the end consumer, but it is recommended that a professional joiner or landscaper fits the products. And while BSW is targeting the specifiers market for the IRO products, they are being sold through the sawmiller’s merchant and distributor partners.

The complexity of the process means IRO cladding is a premium product, said BSW, but it maintains that it is a cheaper alternative to composites.