Masonite siding, also known as hardboard siding, is a composite-style siding typically made up of resin, wax and wood fibers. The mixture is placed under heat and pressure and is either formed in to individual lap boards or assembled in to 4 foot by 8 or 9 foot panels.
Lap and Shiplap Boards
Installing lap or shiplap siding--lap boards overhang each other and shiplap boards butt up against each other--is more labor intensive than panel siding. Each board must be measured, cut and hung individually. Boards come in a variety of sizes, including standard 6, 8, 12 and 16 inch widths and are usually available in up 16 foot lengths.
Masonite siding can be purchased in pre-assembled 4 foot by 8 or 9 foot panels. Panels are generally easier to install than lap or shiplap boards. However, if a panel is damaged the whole thing will need to be replaced instead of just the damaged section.
Color and Style Choices
Masonite siding is available in a wide variety of colors, textures and wood finishes. Siding can also be painted to match a homeowner's desired shade.
Care and Maintenance
Hardboard siding is more susceptible to moisture than other types of siding, so precautions should be taken to ensure proper sealing. According to John Bridge, a retired carpenter and president of John Bridge & Associates LLC, the best way to seal Masonite siding is to apply a coat of primer on the underside of the siding. Bridge also suggests adding a second layer of primer to boards that will be closest to the ground. As siding ages, it is important to inspect areas around doors, windows and near the ground for signs of wear. Replace cracked or missing caulk and reseal and paint areas that are absorbing moisture.