If your home has Masonite siding, make sure you inspect it thoroughly at the end of each season. Masonite can delaminate, rot and invite mold into your home when not properly taken care of. Inspect often to stop problems before they begin.
What Is Masonite Siding?
Masonite is siding made up of wood chips held together with resins, similar to fiberboard that makes up some kitchen cabinets. It can resemble real wood, be painted in any color and was originally sold as an alternative to true wood siding.
Masonite was first introduced as a lower maintenance and lower cost alternative to wood. For homeowners that wanted something lower maintenance than wood, but disliked the look of metal and vinyl siding, Masonite was made to fill the gap.
Approximately 20 years after it was first introduced on the market, class action suits were brought against the manufacturer. The result being that Masonite is no longer being produced due to problems arising after installation.
What Problems Can Masonite Cause?
Masonite is not real wood, and therefore is not as durable and long lasting as wood, nor is it completely water-proof the way vinyl or aluminum siding is. When exposed to moisture, the surface of the Masonite can begin to peel away from the siding, exposing it to the elements. When this happens, the inner core begins to rot, leaving your home exposed.
When the damage is widespread, peeling Masonite siding can lead to mold and interior rot and damage. To prevent this, the siding must be weatherproofed with wood caulk and inspected regularly.
How to Maintain Masonite
If your home has siding made of Masonite, there's no need to panic. You simply need to stay on top of its maintenance to prevent problems.
Walk around your home's perimeter at least twice a year. Look for the areas where each plank of siding ends and connects with windows and doorways. Apply a bead of exterior, water-proof caulk into these areas and into every visible nail head. Caulk doesn't last forever, so if you see it cracking, cut it out with a utility knife and replace it as soon as possible.
Every six to eight years your siding will need to be repainted. Choose the highest quality exterior paint you can find to help protect it and prevent delaminating from occurring.
If some of the boards have begun to delaminate, it's time to replace them. While Masonite siding is no longer produced, fiber-cement siding makes an excellent substitute. There is no need to replace all the siding at once, unless the damage is widespread. Remove only the damaged boards and replace them with fiber-cement boards as needed.
The Masonite Lifespan
When Masonite is caulked well and regularly, it can be expected to last for more than 20 years without any problems. Damage occurs when proper maintenance has not been followed up on. If you own a home with Masonite siding, make sure to inspect it regularly.
If you are truly worried about the siding, have vinyl siding installed right on top of it, covering the entirety of the home's exterior. Only take this step if there is no visible damage and a thorough inspection has been taken to check for mold.
When properly cared for, your Masonite sided home can continue to look beautiful for many more years to come.