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Masonite board
Back side of a masonite board
Isorel, с. 1920
Quartrboard,[1] Masonite Corporation, c. 1930

Masonite (also called Quartboard[2] and pressboard) is a type of hardboard (a kind of engineered wood) made of steam-cooked and pressure-molded wood fibers in a process patented by William H. Mason.[3]



In 1898, a product resembling Masonite (hardboard) was first made in England by hot-pressing waste paper.[4]

In 1924, Masonite was patented in Laurel, Mississippi,[5] by William H. Mason, who was a friend and protégé of Thomas Edison.[6]

In 1929, the company initiated mass production of its product.[citation needed]

In the 1930s and 1940s, Masonite was used for applications including doors, roofing, walls, desktops (e.g., Danelectro), and canoes. It was sometimes used for house siding. Similar "tempered hardboard" is now a generic product made by many forest product companies.[citation needed]

In 1972, the Masonite Corporation entered the door business as a supplier of facings.[7]

In 2001, the Masonite Corporation was purchased by Premdor Corporation, a door maker, from its former parent International Paper. It no longer supplies generic hardboard.[citation needed]



Masonite is formed using the Mason method,[8] in which wood chips are disintegrated by saturating them with 100-pound-per-square-inch (690 kPa) steam, then increasing the steam or air pressure to 400 pounds per square inch (2,800 kPa) 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.[citation needed]


A chessboard made of Masonite

Artists have often used it as a support for painting,[9][10] and in artistic media such as linocut printing. Masonite's smooth surface makes it a suitable material for table tennis tables and skateboard ramps.[citation needed]

Masonite is used by moving companies. Among other things, they use it to protect the walls of buildings where they work, and lay on floors to enable smooth rolling of dollies loaded with goods.[11]

Masonite is widely used in construction, particularly in renovations where floors are finished prior to other work and require protection. Sheets of 18-or-14-inch (3.2 or 6.4 mm) Masonite are typically laid over red 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.[citation needed]

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

It is considered one of the best materials for making a musical wobble board.[citation needed]

Masonite 4-by-8-foot (1.2 by 2.4 m; 120 by 240 cm) panels are sometimes sawn into 4-inch (100 mm; 10 cm) by 8-foot (2.4 m; 240 cm) strips. These strips are used to form the edge of sidewalks where curved shapes are desired when pouring concrete.[12]

Masonite is a popular choice for cake boards for professional cake decorators, since it is a natural product and is strong enough to support multiple-tiered creations such as wedding cakes.[citation needed]

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

Due to its low cost and flexibility, Masonite is widely used as the curved surface of skateboard ramps.[citation needed]

Masonite was a popular protective backing for wooden console stereo and television cabinets from the 1960s to the 1980s.[citation needed]

Due to its flexibility, Masonite is commonly used by model railroaders for their layouts as fascia, to cover the structural materials used for the layout.[citation needed]



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.[13]

See also



  1. ^ Quartrboard. First Use Anywhere Date: 1927-05-13
  2. ^ Masonite: insulation, presdwood, quartboard, lath, tempered presdwood, tempritile, cushioned flooring. (1935)
  3. ^ "The History of Masonite". Archived from the original on October 20, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  4. ^ Akers, 1966, p. x
  5. ^ "1925 - Masonite Europe". Masonite Europe. Archived from the original on August 5, 2009. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
  6. ^ SouthBear (March 23, 2002). "William H. Mason: The Man Who Went to Lunch". Archived from the original on April 13, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  7. ^ "The History of Masonite". Archived from the original on October 20, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  8. ^ U.S. Patents 1,578,609 and 1,586,159.
  9. ^ "Joan Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927-1937". Online exhibition catalogue. MoMA. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
  10. ^ Christie's, Louis Valtat, "Child on the Carpet", 1910
  11. ^ "How Movers Prepare and Protect a Home". moversville.com. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  12. ^ Home Depot Prodesk
  13. ^ "Jury finds International Paper's Masonite siding defective". Thefreelibrary.com. September 13, 1996. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
  • Media related to Masonite at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of masonite at Wiktionary