Story at a glance:

  • Using sustainably sourced and reclaimed wood can help foster a deeper connection with nature, resulting in less stress and better overall well-being.
  • Delta Millworks offers beautiful, customizable, sustainable interior paneling solutions for all types of projects.
  • More people are considering heavily charred Shou sugi ban for interiors than ever before.

Considering the EPA’s estimate that we spend 90% of our time indoors, what’s in those buildings matters—aesthetically, sustainably, and health-wise. More architects and designers are looking at how materials in projects impact occupant health and well-being. Biophilic design is in high demand. Using sustainably sourced or reclaimed wood is one way to incorporate biophilic design into a project.

“With that in mind, we are committed to offering quality products that support health and wellness inside interior environments,” says Robbie Davis, CEO at Delta Millworks—the reclaimed wood and architectural millwork manufacturer established in 1985 and based in Austin, Texas.

Davis says, “Architects come to us—and come back to us—because not only are our products healthy, durable, and sustainable, but they are also engineered to be totally adaptable and customizable to the widest possible range of design outcomes.”

But Delta’s solutions don’t stop at exterior cladding and decking. They also offer high-quality sustainable interior paneling as well as soffits and interior ceiling products. We recently sat down with Davis to learn more about their interior paneling solutions.

What makes Delta’s interior paneling special?


Delta’s custom finishes involve charring, brushing, and coating to achieve Shou Sugi Ban Gator, hand hewn, burned and brushed, and barnwood textures. Photo courtesy of Delta Millworks

Beyond our commitment to sustainability and health, one of the other measurable differentiators is the long-term durability our products provide. The adaptability of Delta Millworks is also key to our brand. Every single one of our products can be used for interior application. We work with designers and architects to select from wood species, Shou sugi ban or charred textures, and coatings, and we are also able to create custom finishes to achieve almost any aesthetic.

For wood paneling in interiors, there are a variety of species and grades. Clear, vertical grain can lend a sleeker look, while other species and grades have knot features that are more rustic. Depending on what a client or designer is looking for, we have a wide array of options available.

We love to work with architects, interior designers, builders, and clients to create custom products for one-of-a-kind projects. If you browse our products you’ll find almost 200 combinations of species, textures, and colors that we’ve introduced.

How is your interior paneling sustainable?

Bob Davis, our founder, was a pioneer and trendsetter for using wood sustainably at a moment in history when cheap, irresponsible, and poorly made products made their way into many buildings. We have continued this long legacy of advocating for use of reclaimed wood for restoration millwork, which laid the foundational principles Delta Millworks still follows to this day, nearly 40 years later.

Sustainability has consistently been a core pillar of Delta Millworks’ company-wide ethos and drives us to continually push ourselves to source and create the most high-performing product on the market. As the world continues to evolve, so does our approach, and we are constantly educating ourselves to best accommodate our clients and the natural world.

What are some clever uses you’re seeing of interior paneling?

Something we love to see is when wood ceilings and soffits are combined with glazing, connecting indoor and outdoor spaces. It provides a visual representation of how durable and adaptable wood can be both inside and outside. Designers, too, have become so inventive in layering different textures, grains, species, and colors.

How is Delta Millworks pushing the envelope with wood?

We proudly source the most sustainable species of woods from North American and overseas to provide a diverse mix of offerings to our clients. Our ability to expertly finish all different kinds of wood that is harvested using the best practices enables us to remain extremely competitive with other mills around the world.

How are interior paneling products changing in the industry?

We are seeing a lot more people using heavily charred Shou sugi ban for interiors, whereas in the past this was seen more as a wood for exterior cladding only. The way in which people form such a strong bond with how a building looks on the outside is starting to be more directly reflected inside, which has been an interesting development to experience.

How can your interior paneling be customized?


At the San Antonio Botanical Garden, river-recovered Sinker Cypress was applied to the ceiling and soffit of the event space, adding to the connection with the surrounding gardens. Photo courtesy of Delta Millworks

There are many ways in which our interior paneling can be customized. For milling we offer standard sizes, but we also can mill a custom profile, allowing clients to specify the width of boards and the reveal or space between, profiles such as tongue-and-groove, shiplap, square or slats. Texture is also a key variable, and various nylon brushes are applied to achieve a rough sawn effect or what we call our barnwood texture.

With our Shou sugi ban woods, lighter burned wood is referred to as “tiger smooth,” which darkens the grain, while burned-and-brushed brings out the grain and lends a sleek texture, and more extensive charring achieves Delta’s “Gator” finishes, which are much richer and deeper.

As far as coatings go, our products have no/low-VOC coatings (commercial grade paint and stain), and they enhance color, tone, and texture, while protecting the wood throughout its lifetime indoors.

Where do these products work best, considering they’re low maintenance and durable?

As you can see from our extensive portfolio, these woods can be applied in almost any environment. Our wood product has been used in structures around the country: throughout the Rocky Mountains, the West and East Coasts, and throughout Texas and the Midwest. From hot deserts to snowy mountaintops, Delta wood has been engineered to perform in tough environments.

Why choose wood over another material?


At the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, wood welcomes patients and caregivers and lends warmth to interior and exterior spaces. Photo courtesy of Delta Millworks

As physicians and researchers better understand the impact of interior environments on personal health, natural material—wood, in particular—has come to be recognized for its role in wellness. This has many clients and designers looking for sustainable wood options.

It is also so diverse. Wood is a remarkable natural material that varies in color and grain pattern, so each application provides a distinctive and unique look. The singularity of wood, its durability, warmth, sustainability, acoustic properties, and aesthetic presence make it such an interesting choice for any project. The combination of these interconnected elements combined with the benefits of biophilia further prove the potential wood has to improve lives.

How does wood help architects tell a story?

For architects, the wood we offer is completely customizable, allowing design professionals to tell any number of stories, linking architecture to the natural world.

And for the clients who come to live, work, eat, and stay in these spaces, wood continues to tell stories. One of the most poetic elements of wood is its ability to change over time. The wood we make is durable, yes, but because it’s a natural material, it can reveal the passage of time. In this way, it tells a story of those people who have occupied spaces over years and generations.