Masonite was a type of engineered wood (made from wood fibers) combined with resin. The resulting product was very strong and was used for a variety of applications, including flooring, cabinetry, and doors.
The material was also very easy to work with and can be cut, drilled, and shaped to fit a variety of different needs including exterior home siding.
However, due to some regular problems with the product, masonite siding was discontinued and is no longer in production. But if you still have it in your home, repairing and repainting the siding is still possible with some preparation and caution.
The type of paint you can use on masonite siding is generally acrylic latex paint which should be painted over exterior alkyd primer once it has been dried completely.
Below we will go over a few critical points to keep in mind when repairing and painting over masonite siding. So get ready to transform your old siding with the fresh modern paint colors of your choice.
How to Paint Masonite Siding (Step by Step)
If you still have masonite siding installed in your home, it’s crucial to keep it dry and apply a protective finish to maintain its pristine appearance for many years to come.
Depending on how well you choose your colors, it will also help infuse style and personality into your outdoor space.
Let’s dive into the steps you need to follow…
Step 1- Protect yourself and spread drop cloths
Before you begin, remember to wear a dust mask and protect your eyes with safety glasses.
Also, use drop cloths or tarps around the area you’ll be working in to protect your landscaping from paint drips. These are available in various materials such as plastic and canvas. Depending on your requirements, you can get one from the market.
Step 2- Make any necessary repairs to the siding
Take a close look at your masonite siding, keeping an eye out for any sneaky cracks or pesky damage that might need fixing.
Don’t worry though, patching up those gaps and holes is a breeze with some trusty wood putty and a handy trowel. Just remember, when you’re reaching those higher sections of siding, it’s ladder time. Stay mindful of safety to prevent any accidents or falls.
Step 3- Remove existing paint from the siding
Use a sander or wire brush to remove any existing paint so that the new coat of paint will adhere properly. Be sure to work gently to avoid any damage to the Masonite and also clean up all the sanded dust and the old dried paint chips using a vacuum.
Step 4- Apply a layer of exterior alkyd primer
After the cleanup, apply exterior-grade alkyd primer evenly to ensure that your siding is properly sealed and ready for paint. Be sure to follow the instructions on your primer carefully and apply multiple thin layers using a paint roller or a brush rather than just one thick layer.
Pay particular attention to the siding’s edges and bottoms, as they tend to absorb water and paint more readily. Use a brush to clean out tiny places and apply the primer there with a brush. Then allow the primer to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Step 5- Apply acrylic latex paint to the siding
Apply a coat of acrylic latex paint over the dried primer using a clean roller. For painting in tight spaces and corners you may again need to use a small brush, so keep one handy near you.
Wait for the first coat to dry completely before applying a second layer using the same method.
Step 6- To finish off the look apply clear polyurethane
The final step is to give your masonite siding the VIP treatment -seal the deal with multiple layers of varnish to shield it from the elements.
A polyurethane-based finish will not only provide a glossy look but also protect against UV rays, ensuring your paint stays vibrant for years.
Tips and Warnings
Consider using a paint sprayer (rather than a paint roller) to apply paint, primer, and varnish to a large home.
For the best results with Masonite, roll over the paint after it has been sprayed to ensure that it is evenly distributed throughout the surface. This technique is known as “back-rolling,” and it’s great when you need to cover uneven or roughly-textured surfaces.
Most importantly BEWARE OF LEAD PAINT if your home was built before 1978.
If you suspect there may be lead-painted masonite siding in your house, buy a lead paint test kit from your local hardware store and hire a professional contractor to safely remove and dispose of any lead paint.
Repainting vs. Replacing the Masonite Siding
Like all siding materials, masonite siding will eventually get damaged and need to be repainted or replaced.
The decision to replace or repaint old masonite siding will depend on the severity of the damage and whether or not the underlying substrate is still in good condition.
If your siding is still in good condition and the damage is limited to the paint, then repainting is probably the best option. However, if the siding is damaged beyond repair or the substrate is rotted, then replacing it will be necessary.
Here are some signs that can tell you that it’s time to replace your masonite siding:
- Cracks or splits in the boards
- Warping or buckling of the boards
- Loose or missing boards
- Rotted or damaged substrate
If you are unsure whether your siding needs to be replaced or not, it’s good to consult with a professional contractor who can inspect the damage and give you their opinion.
Depending on your budget they will also be able to advise you on the best materials and techniques to install new siding.
What Can You Use to Replace Masonite Siding With?
As I mentioned earlier, masonite siding is no longer produced, so it can be difficult to find a perfect match for your home. Fiber-cement and vinyl are, however, two of the most popular replacement options for masonite siding that are durable and require low maintenance.
Fiber-cement boards are made from a mix of wood fibers and Portland cement, so they are very strong and can withstand extreme weather conditions. It’s also fire-resistant and termite-proof, so it will protect your home from pests and the elements.
Vinyl siding is another widely chosen alternative to masonite siding due to its low maintenance requirements once installed. Crafted from durable PVC plastic and designed to withstand strong winds, vinyl is particularly suitable for homes located in hurricane-prone or severe weather areas.
Since both the options mentioned above are waterproof, with minimal upkeep these can endure for decades while preserving their pristine appearance. However, if you want to replace any damaged or rotted sections of your siding with something else you can also consider options such as wood, aluminum, brick, stucco, stone, or faux stone.
Be sure to consult a professional who will be able to help you find the best possible match for your home and make sure that the installation is done correctly.
The Bottom Line
Masonite siding is still a reliable material that has stood the test of time in old homes. However, if you notice any signs of damage on your worn-out masonite siding, it’s a good idea to think about giving it a fresh coat of paint. In general, painting over masonite is a relatively straightforward task as long as you use the appropriate products and techniques.
So, don’t delay any further -start exploring your options and discover the perfect color to rejuvenate your masonite siding today.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.