Frequently Asked Questions About Barkclad Poplar Bark Siding and Barkclad SmartBark Siding

Welcome to the Barkclad FAQ page! Here, we aim to address your most common questions and provide valuable information about our premium products, Poplar Bark Siding and Smartbark Siding. We understand that choosing the right siding for your project is important, and we’re here to help. Browse through our FAQs to gain insights into the benefits, installation process, maintenance, and more. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable team. At Barkclad, we are committed to providing you with the highest quality Poplar Bark Siding and exceptional customer service.

Poplar Bark Siding | SmartBark Siding

Natural Poplar Bark

Natural poplar bark requires very little maintenance over the long life of the product.  It does not require any coating or bug treatment.  In general and assuming proper installation, less than 10% of bark shakes will need replacement over a 30-year period.

Ring shank nails or colored exterior deck screws are the suggested methods of attachment.  Hardware length varies based on the thickness of the bark.  BarkClad recommends adhering bark shakes to rigid, plywood substrates.

Natural Poplar Bark overtime will age just like it would on the tree. The aging process takes place due to the amount of exposure to the elements (sun, rain, wind, snow, etc.). With time, natural bark ages to a darker black & brown color, making it look more rustic with time

Natural poplar bark can be painted or coated, but is up to the owner’s discretion. BarkClad does not recommend painting or coating your natural bark with anything because the elements will continue to make the bark look more natural over time. Please test a small amount before deciding to paint/coat your whole project

Yes.  Installation of natural poplar bark is crucial to ensuring your bark lasts for 30 years or more.  Correct moisture protection and attachment hardware must be used. Installation instructions are available in our install guide and can be downloaded here.

Every natural poplar bark shake is unique in color and texture.  This uniqueness, as much as we have strived to do so, can never be duplicated in an engineered panel.  Although SmartBark is exceptionally realistic, natural poplar bark will always be more “natural”.

No.  BarkClad is committed to sourcing bark only from stands that are scheduled for harvesting.  Harvested trees typically have all bark stripped off and used for mulch or burned for fuel.  By peeling the bark off of the tree prior to the tree going to a mill, BarkClad is able to repurpose the bark for use as exterior cladding.


BarkClad has been exhaustively testing the SmartBark product in all types of environments for over 7 years with excellent results.  Residential sales began in 2011 and commercial sales began in 2013.

BarkClad recommends spraying with a clear UV coating every 10 years to help maintain the original color of the shakes.

Installation of SmartBark is where our customers will save an average of $2 per square foot over natural bark.  The VaporLock design of SmartBark reduces installation requirements therefore reducing installation costs.

SmartBark is for the customer who desires a truly maintenance-free bark cladding without sacrificing the look of traditional poplar bark siding.  SmartBark is warranted for 25 years, is fire resistant, carries an insulation value of 4.7 and will not bleach, darken, crack, curl or rot. Smartbark is paintable also.

General Questions

Although the names are similar, BarkClad and Bark House are not the same company.  The primary difference between BarkClad and Bark House is our product offerings.  At BarkClad, we specialize in just bark, both natural and engineered, and we do it very well.

At BarkClad, we take great pride in our bark because bark is all we do.  Over 90% of our bark comes from trees that were carefully hand-selected by experienced owners from stands scheduled for harvesting.  We process our bark in a timely fashion and kiln-dry our bark in a certified kiln to ensure perfect moisture content and flatness.  Specially designed saws are used to hand-cut every piece and each shake is inspected prior to being offered for sale.  Our attention to detail and old-fashioned commitment to excellence ensure that BarkClad truly does produce bark of the “highest quality”.

Contact us today for more information