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 Siding FAQ

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.

Poplar bark siding’s longevity relies heavily on proper installation. When following our installation guide, you can see the natural poplar bark siding lasts anywhere between 25-100 years. Shingles should be kept flat and dry until ready to install in order to ensure quality as well as longevity. Similar to cedar shakes, in areas with high UV exposure such as gable ends, natural poplar bark siding will age to a darker brown and black coloring over time. This is a normal and natural process for poplar bark. When shielded from the elements in areas like covered porches, the natural aging will be delayed.

Poplar Bark Siding gives a unique look as every tulip poplar tree has a variety of lichens, moss, and coloring.Individual trees can even appear different depending on which direction each side of the tree is facing (North, South, East, West). Each tree is unique, just as each piece of poplar bark siding will be unique. Bark siding can also be used in various ways outside of just siding material (planter boxes, furniture, picture frames, bird boxes, etc.). Poplar bark siding is specifically unique as it has natural waterproofing on the face of the bark. Poplar bark can be used on the interior of your home, under covered porches, and the outside with ease.

Poplar bark siding is peeled specifically from the Tulip Poplar tree. Tulip poplar is one of the fastest growing hardwood trees on the east coast. The natural brak can only be harvested for 2-3 months out of every year, creating a limited supply. Poplar bark siding is typically peeled from trees 30-100+ years old. Our timber is select cut to ensure proper age and promote sustainability. Once cut and peeled, the log is then used to make lumber and or veneer plywood. The backing of the natural bark is actually called the cambium layer, which is the live foundation of the bark.This thick backing is what allows us to harvest poplar bark.

Exterior poplar bark siding will naturally age overtime and can be hand washed if needed. We encourage our customers to let nature continue to do its thing for the lifetime of eth shingles and not to pressure wash. Nature will continue to grow lichens, moss, and coloring variations over the lifetime of natural bark. If pressure washed, the pressure could potentially damage the shingle so please use a gentle wash if desired. Interior natural bark is a little different. Overtime, interior bark will have some lichens and moss flake off onto the floor, especially if touched or rubbed. We recommend using a light brush to knock off any flakes to help minimize future particles.

In the simplest sense, poplar bark siding is a shingle of actual tree bark from the tulip poplar tree. Poplar bark siding has been used for centuries, dating back to native americans who also used it for siding on a variety of structures including wigwams. Poplar siding can be used for sheds, houses, indoor accent walls, planter boxes, and so much more. Poplar siding is made of 100% natural wood with no additives, sprays or backers. All of our poplar bark is select cut and harvested to ensure quality and sustainability of the product for generations to come.

Poplar Bark siding goes through an extensive harvest process where it is handled approximately eight times before it reaches the customers hand. Once the bark is peeled away from the tree and carried out, weight is applied, and the drying process starts. After the dry kiln process is finished, each piece is hand cut and graded out by thickness. Finally, each piece is stacked on a pallet and banded ready to go. During each step of this process, all bark shingles are inspected to make sure the shingle is up to our quality standard to be placed on the finished pallet.

Poplar bark siding ranges in cost depending on demand, volume, and supply of natural bark. Because natural bark is harvested by hand and is an extremely labor intensive product, the cost to produce bark siding shingles is high. Bark siding can range anywhere between $10-22 per sqft. However, prices are likely to change often due to harvest numbers. The cost of installation also will depend on location and availability of the installer. Cost of materials to install, such as nails and felt paper, are relatively low again depending on your location. For more information on availability and updated pricing feel free to contact us at

SmartBark Poplar Bark Siding FAQs

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 About Poplar Bark Siding

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