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Modern Technology Makes for long Lasting Masonite Siding

Masonite siding was once primarily a tongue and groove hardboard that was made of wood fibers and glue or a resin to hold the fibers together. It looked like wood but was supposed to be stronger and more durable. However, like wood, it required regular repainting and would last longest if painted on both sides with extra coats on the bottom two feet of the material. Today’s masonite siding is pre-stained, pre-primed and pre-painted, after being bound together through a process of heat and pressure. Because of the denseness of the material and its artificial nature it is less prone to insect damage and resists swelling or cracking common to wood siding.

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Masonite board has the look of wood but is stronger and more flexible. The better quality brands may need to be painted eventually, but you can count on 8 to 10 years especially if you seek out a manufacturer who pre-coats the inside of the product as well as the exterior. It comes in a wide variety of colors as well as textures and can be made to resemble many different types of wood.

People use masonite boards for siding primarily because of the lower cost when compared to other sidings. There have been some complaints regarding the durability of the material, but if it is installed and treated properly it is generally very long lasting and dependable. The bottom edge of the panels should not be on the ground, and the nails should be flush rather than countersunk. Cut edges should be primed or caulked, and the siding should not be installed airtight as it will need to allow the walls to breath or rid themselves of excess moisture via airspace.

A search will reveal that there were some early lawsuits over moisture, mold and swelling problems that occurred with masonite. However, since the 1990s, those problems have been addressed, and companies that still make it insist that the boards no longer warp, swell or come apart, and when properly maintained, there are no more mold issues. With proper care, one can expect masonite siding to last the life of the home. However, if not properly maintained, it can deteriorate, a problem noted on older homes. If you are purchasing an older home that was sided with hardboard, you should have a thorough inspection done. As long as any deterioration is minor it is possible to repair the siding without residing the entire structure. 

Since proper initial installation of masonite is critical, it is wise to hire a professional unless you yourself are skilled in the installation of siding.


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