Will my bark shingles fade or age over time?
Yes, they will. When we harvest a cylinder of bark from a tree and flatten it out, one will see color and textural changes from one side to the other. Most noticeable will be the contrast of the dark brown, sometimes moss-covered-bark on the northern side compared to the bleached gray and white highlighted southern exposure. Given that we process shingles out of the entire cylinder, you will have somewhat of a patchwork of many colors on your wall when installed. All shingles will have a general hint of tannish-brown that is a result of light scuffs from harvesting and processing.
After your shingles are installed, think of your home as acting like a tree. Over time, weathering will begin to re-paint the shingles in a manner consistent with what naturally occurs on a typical trunk. The tan-brown tones discussed will be the first to fade. The shingles on the north side of your home will darken while the south-facing elevation will bleach out to a gray tone. Lichen growth and mildews can attach but this is not harmful to the long term health of your shingles.
Another curious change will be at the lap line between rows. Over time, about a 2″ space just below each row can change to a deep chestnut brown before giving way to the typical graying. We can also expect after decades of weathering that the initial crusty surface can soften and smooth a bit on the most weathered exposures.
There is no need for concern for the color changes as it is what naturally occurs. While wood preservatives and mildewcides have been used to attempt to hold the initial patchwork look of freshly installed shingles, we consider this an unnatural and unnecessary action. Bark shingles have been used and are still functioning for over a hundred years. None of these historic structures with original shingles intact have ever done anything but let the bark age naturally and beautifully. If the environment or climate change remediation is on your mind, then you can maximize the benefits of your siding by leaving out the harsh chemical sealers and stains. Natural, unfinished Bark House® siding will biodegrade at end of life versus needing to be taken to the landfill due to chemical sealants. A unique quality that others can’t compare to is the ability of this product to naturally biodegrade, leaving nothing behind but clean soil.
The natural aging process is one to be celebrated as the shingles adapt to your distinct environment and become uniquely your own.