Many structures built in the 1980ís-1990ís used hardboard
siding; not all of these buildings were maintained properly,
and many may have severe siding problems due to neglect and
lack of information about the issues that can arise from the
presence of bad hardboard siding.
Deficiencies and Effects on the Home
Hardboard siding naturally absorbs water and swells
slightly. With proper sealant application, caulking and
regular paint maintenance, this process can be controlled
and kept at a safe level. However, improperly manufactured
and installed hardboard siding can undergo serious
deterioration, the effects of which can include:
- Severe swelling
This can cause severe damage to homes and surfaces.
Further damage can occur in the form of:
- Irremovable mildew
- Bowed wall studs
- Indoor leaks
- Buildup of toxic mold within the walls
- Cracked exterior stucco
- Cracked exterior paint
- Damaged nails
These effects can allow large amounts of rainwater to
enter the walls and cause further deterioration.
Masonite and the Class Action Suit
Prior to the 1980ís, Masonite had manufactured
high-quality hardboard siding (also known as
"Georgia-Pacific siding"). However, due to cost-reducing
changes in the production of their hardboard siding, the
products manufactured during the 1980ís and 1990ís were of a
low quality, loosely-pressed and susceptible to extreme
swelling, buckling, etc.
During the 1980ís through the early 1990ís, many homes
were constructed using hardboard siding products
manufactured by the Masonite Corporation. Millions of
structures were built using the defective hardboard siding,
which then began to exhibit the signs of early
deterioration, causing millions of dollars of damage to
homes and businesses.
In 1994 a lawsuit was filed against Masonite contending
that the product had failed to meet its warrantee; the
result of the original lawsuit was a class action suit and a
settlement which stated that the anyone who owned property
that had been constructed using or fitted with Masonite
hardboard siding between January 1, 1980 and January 15,
1998 was entitled to reimbursement for any damage caused as
a result of the faulty siding.
Following the class action suit, Masonite ceased
production of their hardboard siding. Millions of dollars
were paid out to claimants who had taken part in the
lawsuit, as well as other property owners who proved the
presence damage from the use of Masonite hardboard siding.
Protecting Your Home
Not all structures that used Masonite hardboard siding
(or similar brands which also demonstrated the deficiencies
of lax production measures) were repaired or had the siding
replaced. It is possible that a property that you purchase
could have unseen damage if it has been constructed using
hardboard siding. It is important that you look for and be
able to recognize Masonite hardboard siding and/or the signs
of severe siding deterioration so that you can protect a
building from further damage.
Masonite hardboard siding will usually have the name "Masonite"
stamped on the siding itself, sometimes accompanied by the
If the deterioration of any
kind of hardboard siding is not severe, the process of
deterioration can sometimes be slowed by the regular
application of paint and/or caulk. Unfortunately this is not
a permanent measure, and without replacement, defective
hardboard siding will incur problems in the future.
To ensure the minimum risk of deterioration, siding should
be a sturdy variety such as vinyl siding. Some types of
siding can be examined and replaced by a homeowner, but for
absolute certainty that there is a minimal risk of siding
deterioration or damage from incorrect installation, contact
a licensed contractor.