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Smith & Fong Co. today introduced PalmShell, a highly durable and sustainable palmwood cladding product for commercial and custom residential projects.

Derived from the same Indian black palm resource as the company’s Durapalm interior products, PalmShell provides an entirely new, exciting look for modern exterior wall applications, particularly rainscreen systems.

“PalmShell is a non-wood, all-natural cladding, the first of its kind in the Western market,” Smith & Fong founder and CEO Dan Smith said. “The material’s durability and capacity to adapt to moisture make it ideal for humid or wet climates.”

The new cladding range is made from solid palmwood with an easy-to-install groove/lap system—ideal for rainscreen or exterior cladding applications. Given its inherent weather-resistant quality, PalmShell can be installed and finished using standard exterior grade clear finishes or natural products such as linseed oil for a raw natural look.

“There are only a handful of woods that weather well outdoors, and there has been a growing demand for an exterior-use Durapalm product,” Smith said. “We are excited to launch this product and to enter the expanding market for rainscreen and exterior cladding materials.”

Black palm is similar in density and hardness to Ipe and is harvested from both agricultural and residential environments. Frequently grown near homes and used for property demarcations, black palm timber, thatch and fruit provide a wide range of uses and leave an indelible mark on rural India. Like other exotic woods, palm weathers over time, taking on a rich deep patina.

PalmShell groove/lap cladding is milled in 96” lengths with a 3 ¼” width and ¾” thickness. It will be in stock next month; samples are available now.

Palm is a highly sustainable natural material, durable and easy to work with. PalmShell is produced 100% urea-formaldehyde-free and can contribute to USGBC’s LEED Credit for Low-Emitting Materials. Other credits may also apply.