Tongue and groove masonite siding, referred to as "hardboard", has the appearance of natural wood, but is a stronger and more flexible product. This type of siding is common, especially in relatively dry climates, however it requires a substantial amount of upkeep and maintenance. With the proper amount of care, masonite siding can provide an inexpensive option to natural wood or other siding products.
Masonite siding is a combination of wood fibers and glue or resin. It can be installed in a vertical or horizontal pattern, purchased in a variety of colors, or painted to obtain the desired effect, depending on the preferences of the homeowner. If the siding is properly maintained and correctly installed, the typical life span of masonite siding is 5 to 6 years.
Masonite Siding: Low in Cost, High in Maintenance
There are a few steps to follow when installing masonite siding. Typically, the product is spray painted on the outer side when purchased. Prior to installation, the inside and bottom edge of the board should be painted as well. Extra layers of paint or primer should be applied to any siding that is two feet from the ground in order to properly seal the boards. Any pieces that are cut will need to be painted or caulked along their edges.
If you choose to have the siding professionally installed, perform this additional painting on your own. This will save time and costs, and ensure that proper care is given to your masonite siding.
While it is being installed, you should make sure that the nails are driven flush, rather than countersunk. If the nails are countersunk, the nail head will create and opening for mildew and rot, due to a breakdown of the wood fibers. Also, siding should not be installed less than six inches off the ground.
During installation, the masonite siding should give the exterior walls of the home sufficient room to "breath". The installed siding should not be airtight, especially when overlapping wood shingles are used. The natural airspace that is created will cause moisture to build and rot the siding from the inside out, if it is not installed properly.
After the masonite siding has been installed, there are still additional maintenance tasks. Every 3 to 4 years, a fresh coat of paint should be applied to the siding, prior to the point that is obviously requires serious attention.
Eventually, masonite siding will need to be replaced, regardless of the attention paid to it. At a certain point, the color will begin to fade and the siding will begin to swell around its nail holes. However, with the sufficient level of maintenance, masonite siding will last long enough to be worth the price paid for it.