Masonite Siding: Benefits, Styles & Maintenance [Comprehensive Guide]

In the early 80s, Masonite siding made a significant impact on the siding market, introducing a fresh and innovative look along with its unique set of benefits.

This material, also referred to as pressboard or hardboard, provided homeowners with the advantages of customization and a uniform exterior appearance that suited various architectural styles.

Although it’s no longer as widely popular as it once was, many homeowners continue to utilize Masonite siding in modern times.

In this article, we will delve into the world of siding, exploring its composition, advantages, installation process, maintenance requirements, and more.

What Is Masonite Siding? 

What Is Masonite Siding?

Masonite siding is a form of engineered wood hardboard siding crafted from a mixture of resin and wood chips, closely resembling fiberboard wood.

Its inception aimed to offer homeowners the authentic appearance of real wood without the associated expenses and maintenance requirements.

The term “masonite siding” serves as a broad descriptor for hardboard siding, yet it carries a more specific historical connotation. It was initially linked to a company known as Masonite, which was a prominent producer of these sought-after boards. 

Typically, Masonite board manufacturers use sustainable materials, such as responsibly sourced wood fibers, obtained from managed forests. It reduces the need for frequent replacements, making it an eco friendly siding and conscious choice.

Today, a diverse array of Siding types and styles is readily available in the market, meeting a wide range of aesthetic preferences and functional requirements.

Siding StylesCommon Masonite Siding Problems

  • Smooth: This type features a sleek and uniform surface, providing a modern and clean look to the exterior of a home. It can be painted in a wide range of colors, allowing the customization to suit individual preferences.
  • Wood-Textured: Designed to mimic the appearance of natural wood, this type of siding offers a warm and rustic charm. It provides the aesthetic appeal of wood without the maintenance challenges associated with it.
  • Stucco-Textured: It replicates the texture and appearance of stucco, a popular exterior finish. With an unique visual dimension to a home’s exterior, offering the durability and benefits of Masonite.
  • Lap Siding known as horizontal siding, consists of long, horizontal boards that overlap each other, creating a classic and timeless look for residential properties.
  • Panel siding comes in large sheets or panels, offering contemporary and sleek appearance to the exterior of a building. It can be installed vertically or horizontally, providing flexibility in design options.

Note that Masonite siding is available in different thicknesses and dimensions, allowing for versatility in installation and design choices.

Common Masonite Siding Problems

Common Masonite Siding Problems

Choosing Masonite siding? Watch out for these common problems:

  1.  Pest Infestation: Termites, ants, and bees can burrow in. Look for mud tubes and hollow sounds.
  2. Warping: Water absorption can cause boards to bow and curve.
  3. Rotting: Overexposure to moisture can lead to swelling and rot. Check for soft spots.
  4.  Mold: Dampness can foster mold and mildew growth, potentially spreading beyond the siding.

Benefits Of Masonite Siding 

Masonite Board

Masonite siding has several advantages worth considering:

  • Affordability: It’s one of the most cost-effective siding options, often cheaper than fiber cement, brick, and even vinyl.
  • Durability: The combination of wood fibers and resin binders, compressed under high pressure, creates a strong and sturdy material that can withstand various weather conditions and resist impact damage.
  • Customizability: You can easily achieve your desired look with a variety of paint colors and finishes, allowing you to match your personal aesthetic.
  • Crack Resistance: Engineered siding like masonite is highly resistant to cracking, thanks to its dense composition and the compression of wood fibers during manufacturing.
  •  Easy Installation: Masonite siding is known for its straightforward installation, requiring basic tools such as galvanized nails, a hammer, level, saw, and caulk. 
  • Weather Resistance: Masonite siding is engineered to be highly resistant to moisture, making it suitable for regions with high humidity or frequent rain.  
  • Low maintenance: It does not need regular painting or staining to maintain its appearance.

Masonite board doesn’t warp or rot like traditional wood siding, providing long-lasting protection for your home. The insulation properties of the siding help regulate the temperature inside the house, reducing the reliance on HVAC systems. This can lead to energy savings and a comfortable living environment.

The lifespan of masonite siding greatly depends on maintenance. Neglect may result in around 20 years of durability, while proper care can extend it to up to 40 years.

These qualities make it a compelling option for homeowners seeking a reliable and aesthetically pleasing siding solution for their homes.

How Is Masonite Siding Maintained? How Is Masonite Siding Maintained?

For homeowners with masonite siding:

  1. Regularly inspect for damage and make prompt repairs.
  2. Gently hose down siding to prevent mildew.
  3. Repaint every 5 to 10 years for a fresh appearance.
  4. Ensure water sources like downspouts and sprinklers are away from the siding to minimize prolonged exposure.

Cons Of Masonite Siding

Cons Of Masonite Siding Before choosing masonite siding, consider these drawbacks: 
Water Intrusion: The most significant concern is moisture damage. Improper caulking, installation, or constant water contact can lead to serious water intrusion issues, even affecting interior walls.
Low Production: The discontinuation of Masonite Corporation’s production, due to a lawsuit, has somewhat tarnished the reputation of masonite siding. Finding these exterior boards may be more challenging, although other companies now manufacture them.
Meticulous Upkeep: The threat of moisture damage demands meticulous maintenance. Regular siding inspections and quick repairs can be labor-intensive, making it less low-maintenance than many homeowners prefer.

Cost Of Masonite Siding

Comparing Masonite Siding

Masonite siding presents an attractive middle ground, frequently preferred over authentic wood due to its cost-effectiveness. Here’s a breakdown of the associated costs:

Material Costs: Masonite siding typically ranges from $3 to $7 per square foot, making it a budget-friendly option for homeowners.

Labor Costs: The labor expenses for installing Masonite siding can vary significantly, spanning from $3 to $14 per square foot, depending on factors such as location and complexity of the installation.

Painting Costs: Additionally, it’s important to factor in the cost of painting the siding, which averages around $3,000, contributing to the overall affordability of this siding choice.

In summary, Masonite siding strikes a balance between cost and aesthetics, offering a cost-effective alternative to real wood siding while still providing an appealing appearance for your home’s exterior.

Wood siding provides excellent insulation and a unique aesthetic appeal. However, it demands regular maintenance, including painting or staining to preserve its appearance and protect it from rot or pests.

Furthermore, the siding’s versatility in design options and customization allows homeowners to achieve their desired architectural look and style. 

Siding Contractor Chicago

Masonite Hardboard

In summary, James Hardie Siding emerges as the top choice among siding materials, primarily due to its eco-friendly attributes. It excels in durability, weather resistance, low maintenance, and design flexibility, surpassing vinyl, wood, and fiber cement.

When deciding on siding for your home, it’s crucial to consider specific factors. These include your budget, local climate conditions, desired aesthetics, and long-term maintenance requirements. Ultimately, your choice should align with your preferences and your home’s unique needs.
When it comes to finding a siding contractor chicago consider EcoBuild +
Ensure that your decision is well-informed, guaranteeing your satisfaction for years to come. Your home deserves a siding solution that combines durability, aesthetics, and practically.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is caulk applied to masonite siding?

To caulk (or re-caulk) masonite siding:

  1. Use a high-quality latex caulk designed for outdoor use.
  2. Thoroughly apply caulk to all visible cracks and seams, ensuring comprehensive coverage to safeguard against rot and mold.
  3. Pay particular attention to areas where siding boards meet trim pieces.
  4. Remember, caulking is a crucial defense against water intrusion, so it’s not a step to skimp on. Prioritize thorough caulking to protect your siding effectively.

What are common issues with Masonite siding?

If not maintained or installed correctly, common issues that may arise include the risk of rot or water damage.

Regular inspections and prompt repairs can help address such issues and prevent further damage.

Can Masonite siding be repaired if damaged?

Indeed, if Masonite siding sustains damage, it can undergo repairs.

The extent of the damage determines whether specific sections of the siding need replacement to restore its integrity and appearance.

It is advisable to consult with professionals for complex repairs or extensive damage.

Is Masonite siding environmentally friendly?

Masonite siding utilizes sustainable materials, including responsibly sourced wood fibers from managed forests.

Its long lifespan also reduces the need for frequent replacements, making it an environmentally conscious choice.

Where to buy Masonite siding?

Masonite siding is available at major home improvement retailers like Lowe’s and Menards. Currently, it remains accessible under the name “Masonite board” although it is still commonly referred to as Masonite. Call your local store to check for product availability.

Is Masonite same as vinyl?

Hardboard, commonly known as “Masonite board” emerged as a siding option intended to provide an alternative to real wood or vinyl siding. 

It is made from a mixture of wood chips and resin, and it looked more like natural wood than vinyl.

Can you put vinyl siding over Masonite siding?

Installing vinyl siding over Masonite should be avoided. Certain vinyl siding replacement companies may opt to directly attach the new vinyl to the existing Masonite siding, which can lead to future complications.

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