What Is Masonite Wood?

Masonite wood is an artificially engineered hardboard that is similar in properties to particle board and plywood. It is made from finely shredded chips of wood that are heated at high temperatures to form fibres. These fibres undergo further heat treatment and are pressurised to make flattened sheets of solid masonite. Unlike other types of hardwood, masonite contains no gelling adhesives or glue--although, some manufacturers may use resin to improve durability and strength.


William Mason invented Masonite in 1924 in Lauren Mississippi. He went on to invent Masonite International Corporation---specialising in masonite wood products.


The two main types of masonite wood include untempered and tempered. Tempered masonite is darker and stronger than untempered masonite. It is added with oils to improve its resistance to water and wear. Tempered masonite is rigid and harder to flex than untempered masonite.


Masonite is a stiff, flat and uniform hardboard with no grooves, voids and knots. Its density lies between 22.7 and 36.3 Kilogram per cubic feet. Density is the mass (or amount of matter) in a given unit of volume. Masonite wood has a specific gravity that ranges from 0.9 to 1.1 (specific gravity of a substance is its density divided by that of water). Its density is homogeneous throughout the entire surface of the board, making it stronger than other engineered wood products.


Masonite wood is used for a variety of indoor and outdoor applications, including doors (wood panel, moulded panel, MDF panel, French doors, louvre doors, veneer flush doors and hardboard flush doors), panelling (including insulation panelling), desktops, wall roofs, house siding and floors. Untempered masonite wood can be used for acrylic and oil painting.


Masonite wood is easily cut to form different shapes, is easy to maintain and resists swelling and splitting. Its fibrous components improve its tensile strength and bending. Finished masonite wood products have a characteristic smooth finish, making it very popular as an indoor decorative wood product. Masonite wood is environmentally friendly (since it is made from natural products) and completely biodegradable.


Masonite tends to swell and buckle under excessive moisture and is not practical for outdoor applications. Moisture leads to mildew, damaged nails and cracked exterior wood paint. Masonite is susceptible to insect attacks, cracking, peeling and rot. Masonite doors and panels require proper installation and periodic maintenance. Masonite wood is brittle and tends to be heavy, increasing the chances of fracture.

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About the Author

Natasha Gilani has been a writer since 2004, with work appearing in various online publications. She is also a member of the Canadian Writers Association. Gilani holds a Master of Business Administration in finance and an honors Bachelor of Science in information technology from the University of Peshawar, Pakistan.