INSTALLING BARK HOUSE® POPLAR BARK PANELS
Considerations must be given to mounting surface, permanence or mobility of mount, and whether there is a desire for the concealment of fasteners. Finishes and sealers may also need to be considered. Given the myriad of possible presentations, we will look at a few of the more common.
First, we should discuss a few characteristics of these panels and how these must be addressed in installation. Our panels are unrolled and flattened large sheets of bark removed from a single log. Although we select and cut specific lengths for the sheets, the widths are somewhat random as we maximize a square panel out of whatever the tree trunk circumference will provide. Please check the online catalog for the sizes that are available and best suit your needs. All of our panels are pressed, kiln-dried, sterilized, squared, and carefully graded for thickness range. Even though Yellow Poplar has some of the straightest, smoothest, and roundest trunks, they are still not perfect cylinders. That means that even though to the casual eye our finish panels appear to be in a completely flat plane, there are subtle rolls and movements in the flattened sheet. These movements will be addressed below in installation examples. There are also limb scars, epicormic knots, and other natural surface features that disrupt the flat plane, but give the sheets dynamic visual impact and their distinct individual identity. * It is extremely important to note that bark is a natural wood product and all wood products are subject to expansion and contraction based on ambient relative humidity and temperature. Our bark panels will naturally move as much as ¼” due to fluctuations in environmental conditions indoors. This movement can be even greater if the job site conditions and handling expose them to opportunities for moisture absorption. Please ensure that you keep them in dry locations before installation and make allowances in your application for this movement. Remember to address lateral seam contraction that will occur during low-humidity seasons. Most contractors choose to paint a narrow flat black band up the substrate where two panels will butt. This tends to be more pleasing to the eye during the months that the panels contract.
For direct application to a plywood substrate: Panels normally require fasteners placed in a 6” to 8” grid pattern to ensure there are no “bubbles” of movement. Finish nails or crown staples set to a depth slightly below the surface are generally hard to see. This is the quickest of applications, but can occasionally leave a fastener visible. Ensure that all fasteners are driven through the tops of the bark ridges and not through the thin valleys. This ensures proper hold as fasteners punched through valleys don’t have enough material to grab and can sometimes cause cracks. You may also choose to employ the techniques below used for drywall applications.
For direct application to drywall; Assuming in this situation that the only nail fastening points we have are the studs that the drywall is attached to, we must take other measures to assist the firm hold of the panel to the wall. A typical wood panel adhesive using the manufacturer’s instructions will suffice to glue the panel to the substrate between studs. In this case, only a minimum use of nails, staples, or screws to the studs is required to hold the panel firm to the wall until the adhesive dries. Screws may be slightly countersunk and hidden with a small chunk of scrap bark glued and tapped in over the exposed screw head.
For a removable or floating panel: Some designs benefit from types of pronounced or floating panels. We offer our Bark House® Poplar Bark Laminated Panels vacuum-laminated to a plywood or MDF substrate for easy prepared use in these applications. Besides providing the flattest possible panel, this lamination process also eliminates the need for surface fasteners through the face of the bark. The exposed edges of these laminated panels will need to be addressed in your design. Previous clients have edge banded with a host of different materials or have simply used a mounting frame of their design for edge concealment. Z-clips may be used if a laminated panel is desired for a direct wall application.
For application directly to studs: This is not recommended if the panels are not laminated to plywood or MDF backing as they lack the strength required to span the openings between studs.
Bark House® Poplar Bark Panels are large, monolithic sheets and will have significant movement when exposed to the elements without lamination to a stable substrate. Therefore, we only recommend exterior application as a laminated panel. Our craftsmen vacuum laminate the panels to an exterior-rated MDF for maximum stability. We also offer the option of interlocking joints if the wall design calls for multiple panels requiring a waterproof barrier due to high moisture exposure. Call or email our technical team to discuss your project in detail to ensure the best design application.
*Important Note about Single Surface Lamination* Any substrate that has a bark veneer or 3D wood attachment has the capacity to warp or cup. We do not recommend that panels “float” as in cabinet door applications without an additional back side lamination to balance it out. This may be achieved by laminating our bark treatment to both sides or by laminating a separate finish wood veneer.
There is no concern with single surface lamination when panels are affixed to studs or wall surfaces per our installation guide.
BENDING BARK HOUSE® POPLAR BARK PANELS
Bark House® Poplar Bark Panels are one-of-a-kind with wildly varying characteristics such as knots, limb scars, etc. Some clients desire to further manipulate this beautifully charactered material by bending it. We’ve provided some best practices below but can assume no responsibility if the panel cracks.
The maximum radius that Bark House® Poplar Bark Panels can be bent is 4’ before the tension begins to crack them. A tighter radius can be achieved by kerfing the back side of the panel. Kerfing permits the panel to bend in both concave and convex orientations.
Panels greater than 4’ widths can be rolled into a cylinder with aggressive kerfing. Bending the panel against its natural orientation requires skill and this directional movement will not produce as tight of a radius as bending it convex. This is due to the naturally occurring ridges on the surface. The tightest radius that can be expected in a concave application with kerfing is 6’.
Care must be taken so as to not cut kerfs too deeply into the panel, as this can cause the panel to break. The blade should not be plunged greater than half of the depth of the inner bark. Kerfing cuts should be no closer than ¼” apart.
Irregular features on the surface such as knots will limit the panel’s capacity to bend in any situation. Be sure to choose panels with straighter striations and use care when moving the panel before installation.
Bark House® Panels have been independently lab-tested and have achieved an E-84 Flame and Smoke Rating of Class B. These lab results may be obtained by calling our office and speaking to one of our customer service representatives.
May qualify for LEED points based on locally or regionally sourced product
RECYCLING POPLAR BARK HOUSE® PRODUCTS
Recycling Centers are available in every county in each state across the country. We’ll help you to identify the closest Recycling Center in your area that has Demolition and Construction Recycling Infrastructure. This decreases general landfill waste and improves the environment.
Simply mulch untreated BARK HOUSE® POPLAR PRODUCTS and allow them to add biological nutrients back in the soil.
What is a Bark House® Poplar Panel?
Bark House is the original design/manufacturer of Poplar Bark Panels. This product can be used on interiors or exteriors. The product is manufactured from the peeled bark of Tulip Poplar Trees (Liriodendron tulipifera). The bark, which is historically a waste product in lumber operations, is harvested to become siding before the logs reach the mill. A large full sheet of bark unrolled from the full height of a single log. Great care must be used when cutting, removing, and transporting the raw material. They are quickly cleaned, flattened, sterilized, kiln dried and squared. These are rare, and incredibly unique pieces of bark. Bark House® Poplar Bark Panels are a regenerative product.
Are poplar bark panels a rustic, modern or a high-design product?
Poplar bark is the perfect material for every design style. The muted tones juxtapose in commercial environments to add a natural element and a focal point, bringing a multitude of surfaces into context.
Why can’t I order more than one of the poplar panels that I like?
Because these are harvested from individual trees, there is only one of each panel that you see in our inventory catalog. No two panels are ever the same as they are all unique entities. You may find panels with similar characteristics if it’s your goal to make multiple units match up in color and texture. Details and photos of each panel can be viewed on our online catalog.
Do poplar bark panels have a standard dimension?
We standardize the heights of our panels, but the widths are random sizes. Because of the rarity of these panels, we try to maximize the size of each one that is harvested. Panel heights will be in one-foot increments from 6-12 feet. Widths will range from 24” to 96”.
Are the panels perfectly square?
We do our best to square the panels, and they should be within a 1/4” diagonal tolerance. If your installation requires perfectly squared panels, you should be prepared for onsite trimming for fit. We generally leave them a half inch greater than listed in height and width to give room for adjustment.
Can poplar bark panels be used outside?
Bark House® Poplar Panels can be used in an exterior application if they are laminated to an exterior-grade substrate. This is a custom fabrication process, so please reach out to [email protected] to learn more.
How are Bark House® Poplar Panels installed?
Bark House® Poplar Panels should be installed using a combination of panel adhesive and mechanical fasteners. Z-clips and other panel hanging techniques may also be used if the panels are laminated to a substrate. Please see our installation guide for detailed information.
Can Bark House cut the poplar panels for me?
We can make basic cuts on your panel for a small fee before it is shipped to you. If you need to cut them yourself, use the same techniques that you would normally use for finish-cutting any other wood panel.
Can a finish be applied to Bark House® Poplar Panels?
Finishes can be applied to your panel order if you choose to, and are priced by the total square footage. Surface planning and sanding as well as a diverse group of finishes are available for these panels. Custom work is also possible.
How do I clean interior poplar bark panels?
Interior wall panels can be dusted or vacuumed like any other wall covering, but be careful with the moss and lichens!
Are poplar bark panels fragile?
You should use great care when unloading your panels upon delivery. While they are sturdy, rough or unbalanced handling can damage the panels. It is important to have at least two people to handle a panel. We repair major stress fractures with mesh tape and epoxy before making available for sale, but smaller superficial surface cracks may still exist on the backside of the panels.
What are the different grades of poplar panels?
The only difference between Interior, Standard, and Premium Grade bark is the thickness of the material. Interior Grade will range from 3/8”- 1/2”, Standard Grade will range from 9/16″-7/8″, while Premium Grade will range from 15/16″-1 1/2″.
Can I apply Poplar Bark Panels to a block or cement surface?
Assuming the wall application is vertical and has proper overhangs, you would need to attach pressure-treated wood strips to the block or cement surface first. For exterior applications, poplar panels are laminated to Extira (for an additional fee). In this case, you can attach this product directly to the PT strips without the plywood.
Can Poplar Bark Panels wrap around a column?
Panels can be kerfed on the backside. Divide the width of the panel by Pi (3.1416) to determine the diameter that maximizes the sheet. We do not recommend trying to bend the panels in diameters less than 16″. Standard Thickness is recommended for this.
How do I order Bark House® Poplar Bark Panels?
If you have selected the panels that you are interested from our catalog, reach out to Bark House for pricing and shipping information.
Is there a standardized cost for bark panels?
Each Bark House® Poplar Panel is a unique piece that tells the story of a specific tree. These panels may show evidence of limb scars, vine marks, bird peck, or other natural features. The texture of the bark will vary, as well as the amount of moss and lichens present. Our pricing will differ based on a panel’s grade, dimensions, and unique features. Please see our catalog for pricing information.
Are poplar bark panels in stock?
Poplar bark is harvested during a narrow window each year between May and July. Our availability will depend on the time of year and the size of that year’s harvest. We stock panels each year during the bark harvesting season. If you see a panel in our catalog, then it is available in our warehouse and for sale.
Can bark panels be laminated to a substrate?
Bark House Poplar Panels can be epoxy laminated to ½” or greater MDF substrate to simplify your installation. Lamination will add rigidity to your panel, and we can laminate sizes up to 5’ x 12’.
Are poplar bark panels kiln dried?
Panels are kiln dried while they are still fresh off a tree. Each panel that you order has been kiln dried to 8% to 10% moisture content and organic sterilization level in our custom engineered kilns.
Do you offer a warranty on Bark House® Poplar Panels?
Because these panels are a natural product, we are unable to offer a warranty on them. If you have concerns about their durability in a certain application, please reach out to [email protected].
Are Bark House® Poplar Panels rated for fire resistance?
Poplar panels have been tested to be ASTM E-84-05 Class B Fire Rated, and a detailed report is available upon request.
How are Bark House® Poplar Panels shipped?
These panels are shipped laid flat on a crated pallet. We are able to stack multiple panels for a shipment, and they will be protected with a layer of foam between each panel.
How much does a pallet of poplar bark shingles weigh?
Premium Grade weighs 2.25 lbs per sq ft
Standard Grade weighs 1.75 lbs per sq ft
Interior Grade weighs 1.5 lbs per sq ft
The packaging material is of nominal weight, but if you’re concerned, ask your customer specialist.
Does Bark House offer a trade or volume discount?
We are unable to offer volume discounts on poplar panels due to the rarity of the product, but many of our distributors do offer trade discounts.
How much will my bark panel order cost to ship?
Bark Shingles are shipped in the most economical way possible for the size of your order. Most shipments will be done via Less Than Truckload (LTL) freight, and the cost will depend on your order size and shipping location. We are happy to provide you with a quote. Please email [email protected].
Can I customize the poplar panels?
Product Options makes your fit and customization finish unique. As you scroll down on our Bark House® Poplar Panel page you will get to choose your thickness, height, and multiple finish options. If you need this product laminated to a substrate for your specific application, we can do that too!
Can Bark House help me to share my unique project with others?
Projects with Bark House products have been featured in over 250 well-positioned media outlets. We want to celebrate the completion of your unique project. Share your project with us!