Masonite siding

Photo by Charlie Vinz

Update: Masonite works as an excellent siding for the outside of your home as it is fairly easy to install and closely resembles wood – giving your home a beautiful, natural appearance while being a cheaper material than wood and much more water resistant. If you treat the material thoroughly before installation, it will last a long time and require minimum maintenance. So, what is masonite siding made of?

Masonite is a certain kind of hardboard siding made from wax, resin, and wood. The manufacturing process is quite complex, as the wood fibers undergo a process called inter-felting, then goes through a consolidation phase under heat and pressure. Masonite siding is made available for consumers and home builders in laps and panel-like forms with equal side strengths. These sidings are available in many colors and textures to help imitate the feel and look of lumber.


The thickness varies from 7/16th’s of an inch to 1/2 inch. Masonite lap siding length is usually available up to 16 feet, but can be cut to any required size. Masonite panel sidings are up to four feet in width and nine feet in length. They are available in four unique finishes including pre-stained, pre-finished, primed, and pre-painted. However, it is important to note that Masonite products are supposed to be repainted every five to six years or so. The best painting materials to use for this are acrylic paints and exterior latex.

The best part about Masonite siding is that it is very easy to install. However, consumers and home builders have to know some of its disadvantages. Masonite products are prone to rotting in damp conditions, peeling, fires, cracking, and even insect attacks. Therefore, Masonite siding needs to be properly primed before it undergoes the application and its maintenance should involve the use of insecticides and fungus repellents. It is not so surprising that Masonite siding has been shelved in some places.

Although we have mentioned that Masonite sidings are very easy to install, it is best installed by someone who is a professional home builder or carpenter. There have been cases of faulty installations with Masonite, so if this happens to you, then the manufacturer’s warranty is void.

When installing Masonite, the following points should be noted:

• Nails in Masonite siding should be placed so that they butt to the Masonite siding. Masonite siding fibers will be exposed if the nail head was pushed beyond the designated flush position. This is a common place for the siding to absorb water.  Even if the nail head is sunk at less than 1/8”, they spot should be caulked.

• With lap siding, the bottom rows should be hand-painted to ensure that the the siding’s bottom edges are well covered, as this is where water droplets accumulate and are absorbed.

• Uncut siding boards are to be installed with the edge painted. If the board needs to be cut, the exposed edge (which is also unprimed) must be caulked.

• Masonite siding should be installed at not less than six inches above ground level so as to prevent it from absorbing the ground’s moisture.