The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => General Board => Topic started by: metalspinner on April 08, 2008, 08:23:40 PM

Title: bark siding
Post by: metalspinner on April 08, 2008, 08:23:40 PM
Is anyone familiar with bark siding?  The local building supply had some on display in their showroom, but they couldn't tell me anything about it. ???  Didn't even have a pamphlet. ::)

I found a place online.  Here is their link...

Does anyone have first hand experience?  It looks really cool. My questions have to do with the longevity of the product.  Does it split or crumble?  Seems like a really cool way to finish off a timberframe.
Title: Re: bark siding
Post by: Ironwood on April 08, 2008, 08:50:51 PM
It was commonly used in the Adirondack great camps, CAN YOU SAY HIGH MAINTAINENCE! I have an aquaintance who is the caretaker at the National Historic Site, Great Camp Sagamore, (I used to teach rustic building there every summer)it is a never ending volunteer project there. Bugs, rot, on and on. PErhaps there should be some man made prodcut that looks like real bark.

Title: Re: bark siding
Post by: WDH on April 09, 2008, 12:00:52 AM
Wow, I have never seen that before.  Interesting.  Down here, that bark would be a bug magnet for sure.  Bugs simply love bark, especially if it is left on green lumber.

Don't ask me how I know this ::).
Title: Re: bark siding
Post by: solodan on April 09, 2008, 12:35:28 AM
Lots of bark siding on the old summer cabins in this part of the mountains. Incense Cedar is what was used here in vertical or horizontal longer lengths. ::) I have to imagine lots of  bugs have been living under that furry red bark for the last 100 years. ??? ::) They  look like  fairy tale  structures. The Mi Wok  here used to use it for there houses, but they were only temporary shelters. I'll try to get some pics.
Title: Re: bark siding
Post by: Don P on April 09, 2008, 07:24:30 AM
The house we framed this winter is supposed to get the KD poplar bark siding that's out now. I saw some samples and was not shy with my opinions but the sales folks had done their job too. I did talk our owner out of putting it on the fascias. I do remember a poplar clad historic building, I think in Courtland VA. It was used in the past but on what were generally considered temporary or low importance buildings from what I understand.
Title: Re: bark siding
Post by: metalspinner on April 09, 2008, 08:08:53 AM
I knew there were some additional "features" the websight did not include. :D

My wife and I are going over some options for remaking the exterior of our home.  I will rule out the bark siding. ;)  It does look cool, though.
Title: Re: bark siding
Post by: Furby on April 09, 2008, 02:46:14 PM,13403.0.html
Title: Re: bark siding
Post by: TW on April 11, 2008, 01:49:08 PM
The Sami people in northern Scandinavia sometimes used birchbark siding to protect the log walls of their food storehouses. Birchbark sidings were never common and have not been made in at least a century.
Title: Re: bark siding
Post by: Ironwood on April 11, 2008, 02:18:19 PM
After looking at their website I would say that they MUST saturate the bark in Borax salt and then dry. I am sure it is a good process, and the salting would be the equivalent of salted meat (you could hang it out for years with no degrade). It looks like they have their act together, so that would my assumption.

Title: Re: bark siding
Post by: Dodgy Loner on April 11, 2008, 04:41:16 PM
The poplar siding is becoming pretty common on the "rustic" mansions in the north GA mountains.  I suspect it will last a good while after treatment.  Poplar bark used to be a common roofing material for cabins in southern Appalachia in the 19th century.  Closer to the coast, cypress bark was a preferred roofing material.  It could easily last 15-20 years, almost as long as asphalt shingles.  I suspect the untreated poplar bark roofing was not quite as durable.
Title: Re: bark siding
Post by: KGNC on April 11, 2008, 11:05:48 PM
We see a lot of that in this area. It started some years ago when they were trying to duplicate the look of the old American chestnut bark siding. There are a few old cabins around that still have the chestnut bark siding, most of those are coming up on 100 years olds. I don't know if the poplar will last that long or not.
Title: Re: bark siding
Post by: estiers on April 16, 2008, 08:40:39 AM
I seem to remember as a teenager going to Bois Blanc Island - near the Straits of Mackinaw and seeing birch bark sided cabins.  Of course, that is the island's name sake, so it makes sense.
Title: Re: bark siding
Post by: natural child on November 26, 2008, 07:22:39 AM
Bark shingle siding is actually a NC innovation dating back to 1895 when the designer of the Lincoln Memorial in DC, Henry Bacon AIA along with prominent land owner, engineer and frugal Scotsman, Hugh MacRae (whose family purchased 16,000 acres in NC and started the Linville Land Improvement Company) created the first use of the material in Linville NC.  Bark shingles vary from bark intact slabs used in the Adirondacks (from the first cut of the tree) and are different than early Native American and Pioneer uses because they have a squared bottom edge. 

The American chestnut blight halted the production of bark shingles for 60 odd years.  A company in NC, Highland Craftsmen Inc reintroduced the bark shingle from yellow poplar, after they located structures with the bark from that specie that are now over 80 years old.  The siding shingles are strictly manufactured by that company.   

Today bark shingle siding is made from reclaimed waste material from trees that are already being cut by the forestry industry.  The bark would have been left in the woods or ground into low grade mulch that landscapers do not use because the color is too light for most preferences.  The bark shingles use extremely low embodied energy to produce, no water in their processing, do not require paint, stains or sealers (chemical additives) ever and when they are finally ready to be replaced after 80 years of no maintenance, they can be turned into mulch (if desired) and placed in the earth with no un-natural additives or chemicals.  This is a super-green high quality cladding product and it is green practice at its best.  Plus, it has created an income from a material that once had no real value for hundreds of hard working people.
Bark shingles from made from yellow poplar actually resist bugs and offer no nutritional value to them, so they have no reason the bore through the bark.  Like any cladding product bugs may seek shelter behind the material, but no more so than anything else
To learn more, you can read the newly released book, Bark House Style: Sustainable Designs from Nature.
Title: Re: bark siding
Post by: Cedarman on November 26, 2008, 07:32:39 AM
natural child,  interesting.  Thanks for the info.  I bet you have a lot of other natural ways of doing things and there are a lot of folks on the forum that would be glad to hear about them.

A Big Welcome!