William Henry Mason. (Walter William Ouless)
1944 Quebec license plate made of masonite. This was done due to metal conservation during World War II.
Skateboard ramp covered in masonite.

Masonite is a type of hardboard invented by William H. Mason.[1]



Masonite was invented in 1924 in Laurel, Mississippi, by William H. Mason.[2] Mass production started in 1929. In the 1930s and 1940s Masonite was used for many applications including doors, roofing, walls, desktops,[3] and canoes. It was sometimes used for house siding; if kept painted at regular intervals, it will last the life of the house.[citation needed]

Similar "tempered hardboard" is now a generic product made by many forest product companies. The Masonite Corporation entered the door business as a supplier of facings in 1972,[4] and was purchased in 2001 by Premdor Corporation, a door maker, from its former parent International Paper; it no longer supplies generic hardboard.


Masonite is formed using the Mason method,[5] in which wood chips are disintegrated by saturating them with 100psi steam, then increasing the steam or air pressure to 400psi and suddenly releasing them through an orifice to atmospheric pressure. Forming the fibers into boards on a screen, the boards are then pressed and heated to form the finished product with a smooth burnished finish. (Later a dry process with two burnished surfaces was also used.) The original lignin in the wood serves to bond the fibers without any added adhesive. The long fibers give Masonite a high bending strength, tensile strength, density and stability. Unlike other composite wood panels, no formaldehyde-based resins are used to bind the fibers in Masonite.


A chessboard made of Masonite.

Artists have often used it as a support for painting,[6] and in artistic media such as linocut printing. Masonite's smooth surface makes it a suitable material for table tennis tables and skateboard ramps. Masonite is also popular among theater companies as an inexpensive way to resurface stage floors.

Moving companies are large users of Masonite. Among other things, they use it to protect the walls of buildings they are working in, and lay it on floors to enable smooth rolling of dollies loaded with goods.

Masonite is widely used in construction, particularly in high-end renovations where floors are finished prior to other work and require protection. Sheets of ⅛" or ¼" Masonite are typically laid over rosin paper on finished floors to protect them. The Masonite sheets are taped together with duct tape to prevent shifting and to keep substances from leaking through.

Masonite is also used extensively in the construction of sets for theater and film and television. It is especially common in theaters as the stage floor, painted matte black.

It is also considered one of the best materials in the making of a musical wobble board.

Masonite is also a popular choice for cake boards for professional cake decorators, due to its being a natural product and being strong enough to support multiple tiered creations, such as wedding cakes.

In Europe, this product is also known as Isorel.

To a lesser extent, Masonite is used in guitar bodies, most notably by Danelectro.

Masonite was also a popular protective backing for wooden console stereo and television cabinets, from the 1960s to the 1980s.


Masonite swells and rots over time when exposed to the elements, and may prematurely deteriorate when it is used as exterior siding. In 1996, International Paper (IP) lost a class action suit brought by homeowners whose Masonite siding had deteriorated. The jury found that IP's Masonite siding was defective. [7]

See also


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Masonite — prop. n. [trademark.] A type of fiberboard. [trademark] [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • masonite® — {{hw}}{{masonite®}}{{/hw}}s. f. Nome commerciale di materiale da costruzione formato da un impasto di fibre di legno e collanti, laminato in fogli; usata come isolante termico e acustico …   Enciclopedia di italiano

  • Masonite — 1926, proprietary name of a type of fiberboard, by Mason Fibre Company, Laurel, Mississippi, U.S. As a word in mineralogy for a type of chloritoid, it honors Owen Mason of Providence, R.I …   Etymology dictionary

  • Masonite — ☆ Masonite [mā′sən īt΄ ] [after W. H. Mason (1877 1947?), U.S. engineer] trademark for a kind of hardboard made from pressed wood fibers, used as building material, insulation, etc. n. [also m ] such hardboard …   English World dictionary

  • Masonite® — /māˈsə nīt/ (N American, Aust and NZ) noun A kind of dark brown hardboard ORIGIN: William H Mason (died 1940), its US inventor …   Useful english dictionary

  • Masonite ® —    A trademark used for a type of fiberboard employed as a surface for painting, but manufactured principally as wallboard for use in insulation, paneling, etc. It is dark brown, with one side that is very smooth, and the other bearing the… …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • Masonite — trademark used for fiberboard …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Masonite® — m Marca registrada de un cartуn duro recocido …   Diccionario de Construcción y Arquitectur

  • Masonite{™} — n [U] a US make of board or sheet consisting of small pieces of wood that have been pressed and stuck together. It is made to look like smooth sections of wood and is used to build doors, walls, roofs, etc. * * * …   Universalium

  • Masonite — /may seuh nuyt /, Trademark. a brand of hardboard. * * * …   Universalium

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