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Masonite Discontinued Their Siding, Now What?

Last updated 5/9/24

So, what is Masonite siding? Hardboard or “Masonite,” as most people call it, was a type of siding developed as an alternative to either real wood or vinyl siding. Masonite was one of many companies that produced hardboard siding. What is Masonite hardboard siding made of? It was made from a mixture of wood chips and resin, and it looked more like natural wood than vinyl. It was “supposed” to be lower maintenance than its counterparts and last longer; however, time showed that this product was not living up to its hype. After about 20 years and class-action lawsuits, it is no longer manufactured.

Water Damaged Masonite Siding

Understanding the History and Issues with Masonite Siding

Masonite siding, once a revered choice among homeowners for its wood-like appearance and affordability, has a complex history. This section aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of Masonite siding, highlighting its rise, the challenges it faced, and its eventual decline.

Background of Masonite Siding

As I stated above, Masonite was a wonder product. Cheap and easy to install, that’s what caught builder’s attention as they started installing the product everywhere. Fast forward to the present and the headaches started to add up.

collage of water damaged Masonite siding

Why was masonite siding discontinued?

Masonite siding revealed significant durability issues. Homeowners started encountering problems with the product becoming water damaged. This issue was so widespread that it led to class-action lawsuits, significantly tarnishing the reputation of Masonite siding. The lawsuits highlighted the material’s failure to live up to its promises of longevity and low maintenance, leading to its decreased popularity and eventual discontinuation.

What can I replace masonite siding with?

The discontinuation of hardboard siding left many homeowners in a dilemma. Those who had this siding installed on their home face the challenge of trying to find suitable replacement materials all in vain as there isn’t a true match. The unavailability of Masonite siding also posed difficulties in repairing or maintaining existing installations, forcing homeowners to consider fully replacing their siding completely while others work to replace individual sections as the material continues to rot on their home.

This historical context is crucial for homeowners currently grappling with Masonite siding issues. It offers insight into why they might be facing certain problems and helps in making informed decisions about maintenance, repair, and replacement.

Tips for Temporary Siding Fixes

A section of Masonite siding being replaced

For homeowners asking “Can Masonite siding be repaired?”, I have a few tips to offer practical, temporary fixes that are quick and cost-effective solutions to address issues. These measures provide immediate relief and can help maintain the integrity of your siding until you’re ready for a full replacement.

Fixing your hardboard siding the right way is super important. Doing it wrong can cause big problems and cost a lot more than getting a pro to fix it.

  1. Find the Problem Spot: First, check for water damage on your masonite siding. Look for paint that looks bubbly. That’s usually the first sign. Not sure if it’s water damage? Try poking the siding with a pocket knife. If it goes in easy, then yep, there’s a problem.

  2. Water Can Be Sneaky: Water doesn’t always get in where you think it does. It can sneak in one place and move to another inside the wall. You might find water damage far from where the water first got in. It’s really important to have someone who knows a lot about siding help find where the water’s coming in.

  3. Stop the Water: Once you find where the water gets in, like near the roof edge or gutters, you need to stop it for good. You might need to add flashing or fix shingles. If you don’t stop the water first, it can get trapped in the wall and start damaging the wood inside, not just the siding.

  4. Fix the Siding: Here’s where it gets tricky. It’s hard to find something that matches masonite siding perfectly. Even if someone says they have something similar, it’s usually not a great match. I’ve tried different things for people, but they often don’t like how it looks, or it just doesn’t last. From what I’ve seen, the best choice is to switch to Hardie siding, the really good kind! If you can’t change all the siding right now, at least replace the whole damaged section.

Seeing cracked caulk in masonite siding tells you it's time for a paint job

Tips to prevent further damage to your siding

  • Regular Inspections: Periodically inspect your siding for signs of damage, especially after severe weather conditions.

  • Seal Cracks and Gaps: Use caulk to seal any small cracks or gaps you find during inspections. This prevents water from seeping in and causing further damage.

  • Trim Overhanging Branches: Overhanging branches can scrape and damage siding during windy conditions. Trimming these branches helps protect the siding.

  • Ensure Proper Drainage: Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear and functioning properly to prevent water accumulation near the siding.

How do I identify masonite?

If you think you have Masonite siding installed on your home but aren’t quite sure, use this simple guide to identify what it’s called.

Photos of all 5 types of hardboard siding

Triple Four

Triple Four masonite is identified by measuring how many laps are in each twelve inch section. It will have three laps. Each lap will be four inches wide and that’s where we get the name, It has three four inch laps per piece.

Double Six

The same concept as Triple Four is used for Double Six masonite. It is identified by measuring how many laps per twelve inches. This siding will have two six inch laps per piece.

Twelve Inch Smooth

Smooth Masonite can look at lot like Hardie siding. Because of that it can be hard to identify. Luckily I have two easy methods

  1. Use a pocket knife to stick the blade poke the siding. If it gives at all, bingo, you have Masonite.

  2. The other is to look for bubbling paint at the bottom of the laps. The closer to ground level the better. A lot of Masonite that is installed close to the ground starts to rot. You’ll know it’s not Hardie because it simply doesn’t rot.

On a side note, the fact that Hardie lap siding looks a lot like Smooth Masonite makes Hardie a great repair option

Carolina Bead

Carolina Bead Masonite looks smooth and has a small bead at the bottom of the lap. Each lap is around seven and a quarter inches wide.

T1-11 Masonite

T1-11 Masonite looks like traditional plywood panels. They are installed in large 4’x8’ sheets. If you have this type of masonite, you’re in luck because T1-11 Plywood siding is also made and look like a reasonable match when a repair is made

The questions my clients ask most, FAQs

  • Who sells masonite siding near me? The hard truth is that Masonite siding is totally discontinued. It hasn’t been sold for years and all stock are completely sold out.

  • Is masonite siding asbestos? No, Masonite is made of wood chips and resin and it doesn’t need extra personal protection equipment to work with other than standard PPE. The product is similar to OSB plywood but uses much smaller wood chips that are basically sawdust.

  • Is masonite siding the same as hardieplank? No “Hardie” is a brand of cement fiber siding that is far superior in every way. Hardie is completely water resistant, doesn’t rot, and lasts for 40 years or longer. Hardie siding is my personal recommendation for any homeowner who wants the best siding replacement material.

  • How much does it cost to replace masonite siding? Assuming you want Hardie siding installed, small spot repairs can be $3000 to $5000, Replacement of sections can be $5000 to $15000, and Full home Replacement can be $25000 to $60000. There are a ton of factors that go into the cost of a siding job such as structural damage, condition of sheathing, square footage, number of stories, and ground access. The only way to get a true number is to give call a professional so they can evaluate your particular situation but I hope this information helps you understand the ballpark numbers involved.

  • Can masonite siding be painted? Yes! If you have masonite siding, I would encourage you to drop everything and get it painted right now. Paint is the best way to keep water from damaging your siding. It’s important to know that painting over rotten masonite won’t help in any way. Rotten spots must be repaired before you paint.

  • Where can I find masonite siding? It truly is discontinued and there isn’t a suitable replacement in my opinion. There are replacement options that include, cement fiber siding, wood, and vinyl.

So, now that Hardboard siding is discontinued, what do you do?

How to patch masonite siding

Not to worry! While there is not always a one-for-one replacement option, here are strategies you can use to fix your siding problems.

  • Some siding patterns can be matched after all. So, you might be lucky enough to have a small repair option.

  • You can always replace a section at a time. There is nothing wrong with spreading the project out to make it easier to afford. I can’t tell you how many clients have replaced their chimney siding with Hardie without replacing the rest of the house. Once it’s painted, it really looks great.

  • Seal and paint for now. It’s not a very pretty option but, let’s face it, sometimes we need to focus on stopping the leaks and damage in the short term to allow time to gather our budget for a better replacement option.

We’re the siding and deck repair experts in Birmingham, AL. Get a fast and easy quote for your siding repair today! Dial (205) 858-1658

Beautiful Spot Repair:

What replaces masonite siding?

Some replacement options for you to consider are James Hardie Siding, Traditional T1-11 Plywood, Cedar lap siding, and Versetta Stone.

Masonite siding replaced by Hardie siding, a popular replacement material

James Hardie Siding: 

Concrete fiberboard is an excellent option to replace dated or rotten hardboard siding. Concrete fiberboard is a super-durable siding that looks amazing, is long-lasting, and comes with a great warranty. It is made of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers combined to create the ideal material to protect and beautify homes.

  • Hardie Board is also economical, and right now, it’s one of the most affordable options.

  • There are many styles to choose from, including; Lap, Shake, and Vertical panels.

  • If you are looking to sell your house in the near future, it’s a desirable choice for home buyers.

Traditional T1-11 Plywood

T1-11 Plywood is a low-cost option that is not vinyl siding

  • It has a solid, strong, quality look.

  • T1-11 Plywood holds paint very well, and when quality paint is used and maintained, it can last 30 or more years

  • It is fast to install and gives a traditional look to the exterior of your home

Versetta Stone

Versetta is a panelized stone system, installed like siding but without the mortar, mason, or mess of traditional stone.

  • Versetta Stone is a premium option.

  • It is a beautiful, modern, and luxurious look for the exterior of your home.

  • It can provide a fantastic accent to your home when used to highlight features like a chimney or the front section of your home.

Home Repair Service is trusted by Versetta as a preferred installer. We’ll make sure your home gets the care and attention it deserves. Click or call (205) 858-1658 if you’re in need of a simple quote for your home exterior project

The collapse of the hardboard siding industry has left a large hole in the siding market, but there are many economical and beautiful options to choose from. If you are unsure of what is best for your home, call us today, and we can walk you through all the options.

With over 40 years in the industry, we know what to do, how to do it, and what it will take to get it done.

Give us a call today at (205) 858-1658 or contact us online!

T.j. Beckham

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