Your house is your safety net. It is the one thing among all your large-scale capital expenditures that you absolutely cannot cut corners with. Your house can be small or big, but each and every element used in its construction should be safe and long-lasting. You do not want to come back home one day from work and find out chunks of your abode falling apart.
So, if your house is having issues and looking a tad bit rough around the edges, you need to repair it immediately. Procrastination will cost you heavily in this case, and so will compromising with the cost of it.
A common mistake that a lot of people make when purchasing a new property is investing in a fix-upper because they come at a lower price. After all, how much could it cost to fix a roof here or mend the floor there once the house is yours? It could possibly all be done in an exciting DIY project over the weekend, right? Wrong.
Houses that need repairing, more often than not, require it on a large scale. One of the most common things to turn out faulty is the siding. And one of the biggest reasons that is Masonite siding. You must be wondering why Masonite siding has such a bad name to itself. Let’s find out what is Masonite siding first.
What is Masonite Siding?
Alternatively known as hardwood siding, Masonite siding is made of wood fibers put together by gum or resin under heat and compression. Masonite was considered a budget-friendly choice compared to real wood, vinyl, and aluminum siding. Homeowners loved this economical option, which was also low maintenance. They were also stronger than vinyl alternatives.
Unfortunately, these sidings did not hold well with the elements of nature. They wore down pretty quickly when exposed to a few seasons weather. Their service did not even cover the low cost that they could be acquired at. This led owners to look for Masonite siding replacement and installing them in houses.
History of Faulty Masonite Siding
The shortcomings of Masonite siding came into a larger public view when a lawsuit was filed. There was a time in the 1980s and early 1990s when Masonite siding was hugely popularized by manufacturers as budget friendly. But the customers were not made aware of the limitations of the product.
A few years into the purchase, the consumers would find out the truth when the sidings started to give away. The situation becomes so bad that the lawsuit was filed against the biggest manufacturers of Masonite siding at that time.
People won the case, and the manufacturers of Masonite to pay out consumers who suffered damages to property and person due to faulty siding. After this lawsuit, the manufacturing of Masonite siding was stopped, and several replacements took over the market within a few months.
Common Masonite Siding Problems
Known for its density and strength, Masonite reacts badly to moisture and is prone to various problems. Some of the more common Masonite siding problems are listed below, which will give you a rough idea about what to look for when you are caring for Masonite siding.
Even if you try to take care of Masonite siding and apply paint regularly, you cannot prevent your siding from discoloration. Once your Masonite starts to decompose and rot due to moisture, discolorations are inevitable, and these stains seep into your paint, too ruining the look.
When exposed to moisture, Masonite exhibits abnormal bulges and curves as Masonite is made up of wood fiber, which absorbs moisture. Ideally, Masonite should be stiff and straight. So, if you find bulges in your siding, then it might be time for you to call in a contractor for consultation.
Masonite deteriorates over the lifetime. And it is not uncommon to come across missing pieces in your siding. Cracks and holes may develop on your siding, which is when you know that it is time for a Masonite siding replacement.
Blistering can form on your Masonite siding, especially towards the end of its short lifetime. It happens when the compressed wood particles start to separate from within, causing blisters. You will know that blistering is tearing your siding apart when you will feel that your siding is no longer hard.
5. Insect Infestation
Since Masonite is susceptible to moisture retention, Masonite decomposes when exposed to rain and rots. This makes for a suitable habitat for bugs and insects. They breed in Masonite, especially near the bottom of the siding, and eat it. Excessive insect infestation can destroy the foundation of your house.
6. Faulty Caulking
Spaces between your Masonite siding is likely to absorb moisture if not sealed properly. And moisture is the death of your siding. It causes the Masonite to decompose and rot. So, the caulking of your house should be inspected regularly so that it can be replaced quickly before further damage is caused.
7. Mold and Mildew
Excessive dampness and moisture affect Masonite as they tend to absorb moisture and exhibit multiple problems. This moisture causes mold to form on your siding. This leads to stains forming on the exterior of your home. Often mold and mildew even seep into the interiors of your home too.
How to Fix Masonite Siding Problems?
If your Masonite siding is not damaged yet or only just showing signs of possible damage, then only regular maintenance can save your Masonite siding from damage and ruin. Masonite as a material is not very moisture friendly. Since it is susceptible to moisture retention, decisive steps need to be taken to repair Masonite siding.
1. Regular Checkup
Masonite is a delicate material by nature and can show damage very quickly if not kept under careful observation. Even though it was initially publicized as low maintenance, Masonite needs regular checkups if you want to manage your Masonite siding.
2. Scrape off Paint
Use a paint scraper and scrape off excess paint and debris from the affected areas. Scrub firmly on the damaged area and soft spots with a wire brush. Get rid of loose fibers that have come undone.
3. Elastomeric Compound
Use elastomeric compound to seal off places from where you have removed rotten Masonite. Keep reapplying the compound if empty spaces are left.
4. Get rid of cracks and holes
Look for cracks and holes and seal off empty spaces like nail holes, seams, and joints. Such cracks cause damage to the Masonite siding and should be repaired before they get worse.
5. Use Putty
Putty is water-resistant and can be used to seal off gaps and cracks to protect your Masonite siding from further damage.
6. Insect Repellants
Moisture soaked Masonite is an ideal place for insect breeding. Bugs and insects live in Masonite and live off them, destroying the foundation of your home.
7. Repeat Coating
Putting on an additional coat of paint over your last paint job is a great way to prevent damage to your siding. A paint job done well can close off many cracks and gaps.
Alternative to Masonite Siding
Homeowners with Masonite siding face a myriad of problems as Masonite is prone to damage. This had led homeowners to look for alternatives to replace Masonite siding. We have listed here some of the popular substitutes of Masonite siding.
1. Vinyl Siding:
This one is a pretty well-known option and comes in a variety of styles and textures and colors.
2. Wood Siding:
Though a little high maintenance, Wood siding is truly worth the trouble of regular upkeep because of its variety in styles.
3. Metal Siding:
Mostly made of steel and aluminum, metal siding is a viable alternative to Masonite siding.
4. Fiber Cement siding:
This is perhaps the best substitute for Masonite siding for houses. It looks like wood and can last a long time without any issues. Fiber cement is also low maintenance.
In some cases, the homebuyer might not even be aware of the usage of Masonite siding in the property. One way to find that out is to take a look in an unfinished area such as the attic or garage. You should be able to find the tar paper from the back of the siding. Pull that up and look for any specific markings.
You are in luck if you find the name of the manufacturer and product specifications mentioned. Otherwise, you might come across the American Hardboard Association code. Run a basic search online with the AHA code you found. The manufacturer of the siding, the material type, and the year and location of its production should show up immediately.
If it turns out that your siding is, in fact, made of Masonite, do not procrastinate. Give a call to a professional who provides any of the aforementioned alternatives to Masonite siding and get started with the renovations. Before you decide on a product or company for the replacement siding, do homework research on its durability, color lasting, engineering, and how it performs under climatic duress.