Turn Heads with Natural Bark Shingles

Nan-chase-bark-shingles

When searching for a green exterior cladding material, you may consider a corrugated, recycled, or composite material.  But if you're really looking to wear environmentalism on your sleeve, natural bark is gaining popularity these days.  The best bark shingles can last 75 years and contain no chemicals.  Recently, Nan Chase, co-author of Bark House Style, recently contributed an interesting article to The Christian Science Monitor about using bark shingles on her new home in Asheville, North Carolina. 

Poplar-bark-shingles

Chase explains that bark shingles are made from the tulip tree bark waste of timber operations that would otherwise get burned, mulched, or left to rot.  The material has good acoustic properties and insulates well, too. 

Moreover, bark shingles require less maintenance than, for example, cedar shingles.  But they're going to cost more. 

Chase also advises purchasers to look for shingles made from sustainably harvested forests and hire a contractor that's been trained to install the shingles. 

If you're looking for installation information, make sure to read this article by Chris McMurry, co-owner of Highland Craftsman Inc., a company that manufactures bark shingles, "Bark siding is the ultimate green-building material."  Read more about bark shingles at:

[+] Bark Houses are built with nature's shingles by CSMonitor.

Bark-shingle-exterior Bark-shingle-corner-detail

Poplar-bark-custom-home

Photo credits: Nan Chase (top); Bark House (rest). 


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  • Nexyoo

    Those look great! I’ve never seen bark shingles before. It’s great to know that they’re made from materials that would otherwise be thrown out. But if that’s the case, why are they more expensive?

  • Zero34

    the last picture does it the most justice, the first does it the worst! all in all a great looking product, if well used evidently. Interesting, and definitly worth looking more into it!

  • http://www.miamibeachrealestate.travel 2Go Media

    this house should be featured in extreme makeover home edition. Everything comes from nature awesome house

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=663973141 Anonymous

    This is a great house built with the help of a great company. Highland Craftsmen is Cradle to Cradle Gold certified. Check out more about the experts on manufacturing and installing Poplar Bark shingles. http://www.barkhouse.com

  • http://www.BarkHouse.com/ chrismccurry

    Cost is a question we like to explain.
    Bark shingles are crafted using hand tools, brute strength and very little grid energy or mechanized processes. The main mechanical attribute is kiln drying and heat sterilization. Our process is certified.
    When the manufacturer has third party certification that also verifies the material (such as Highland Craftsmen Inc’s Bark House brand shingles, http://www.BarkHouse.com) as legally sourced from sustainably managed forests, you are assured that you are in control of the power of your purchase dollar.
    Harvesting and manufacturing the product is not for the faint of heart. It is hard work. Just because it is recycled does not make it readily available either. The bark must be recovered in the forest by the logger as soon as the tree is felled to minimize damage and maximize recovery. He is interrupting his normal logging process as it would have been ripped off dragging it through the woods and mud. He then has less than 3 days to transport out of the logging site to our facility. Upon receipt, we have a race to keep the bark from drying out. Fermenting sugars in the bark can cause cellular breakdown and mold growth if the timelines aren’t maintained. Our rigorous exclusive 5 point Quality Control Program monitors the bark through the entire process. The harvest season lasts a maximum of 12 weeks. Long hours, multiple shifts and a furious work ethic ensures enough recovery to have a supply year round. It is one of the most labor intensive and grueling production processes in the forest product industry. By the way, the manufacturing will never be outsourced to other countries because the trees only grow in the Appalachian Region, an area badly needing revenue streams. The manufacturing timelines are too rigorous to send the material outside the USA, unlike many of the other cladding products on the market today. Hand crafting, scarce material sources, tight timelines and sustainable manufacturing in the US makes the product cost more, and we think it’s worth it. Plus, it will last up to 80 years maintenance free, making the life cycle costs significantly lower than other products.

  • http://mportlandrealestate.com/ Portland Condo Auctions

    Very good looking. What makes them last longer than a cedar siding?

    -Tyler

  • http://www.partonbarksiding.com Anna

    Great article – the south east is a hot spot for bark siding, particularly poplar bark shingles. Parton Bark Siding (www.partonbarksiding.com), a North Carolina bark siding manufacturer, is good source of sustainably harvested bark siding – their facility is just a couple miles away from my house!

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