So, what is Masonite?
Let’s start at the top of the lumber food chain and move down. Masonite is a type of “engineered wood” which simply means man-made, usually by compressing together fibres and different materials in one way or another to make a board (more on that later!). Masonite, MDF, particleboard, and plywood all fall into that category.
Masonite is a type of hardboard, also referred to as HDF or high-density fiberboard, a type of fiberboard. As opposed to MDF or medium-density fiberboard.
Let’s move on to the types of fiberboards now…
Breaking down Masonite (HDF), MDF, and Particle Board (LDF)
So, we’ve got HDF (like Masonite), and MDF (just called MDF), and LDF (like particleboard) all distinguished by density!
Masonite is compressed the most and is similar to MDF except that it is denser because it has been highly compressed (as opposed to, let’s say…gently compressed).
Masonite is most often used in furniture making and in the construction industry and is most commonly used in the 1/8″ format.
Included in the fiberboard family is also particle board or low-density fiberboard (LDF) which is used sometimes instead of wood or plywood when appearance or strength does not matter. It can be made to look nicer with a little paint. We don’t sell particle board nor do we recommend using particle board for projects as it will easily expand if exposed to any water or moisture.
And now, the Mason Method, which makes Masonite, Masonite…
Hardboard (HDF) is produced in one of two ways, either a wet or dry process. Masonite is produced using the wet process only, and the wet process is known as the Mason Method!
The Mason Method, was patented by William H. Mason (Fun Fact: He was BFF with Thomas Edison) and uses steam pressure to compress fibers into boards.
Masonite boards are therefore kind of flexible, or bendy…which can sometimes be useful. See image below!
Okay, now that we have given you the breakdown, history, and more information than you ever thought you needed about Masonite…let’s talk about when to use Masonite.
When to use Masonite?
We do stock and sell a lot of Masonite, mainly to contractors. Most contractors use Masonite as floor protection on construction sites to prevent floor damage while working on other parts of the home. It is often used by moving companies or by maintenance crews to protect services when moving furniture in and out. Masonite is also used in the construction of sets for theater, film and television, and at Midtown Lumber, we use it as the surface for our table saw.
Masonite is a very thin and light material, so it can easily be moved around and / or re-used, like from one job site to the next.
Masonite is not a material we would recommend for any at home or DIY project, as the finished look is not very nice. It is also a very thin.
The typical size for Masonite is 4’ x 8’ (48” x 96”) sheets with a ⅛” thickness. For convenience and ease of use, we also cut Masonite into 4’ x 4’ sheets.
The material is paintable but it is not stainable. If you are looking to use Masonite on your next project, you should know that it can be nailed or screwed to other materials, but generally not itself.
Ready to order!
Simply go to our contact us page and tell us what you need! You can also email us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-675-2230 with any questions.
For more on FAQ’s check out this post, or check out How to Order Custom Cut Lumber for info on ordering other types of lumber we stock.
thank you guys , good info!
Thanks, Alexander, glad we could assist!
Needing a piece of Masonite for the bottom of my bag to carry my very lite sewing machine
Hi Mary, email us at email@example.com with the dimensions you need to fit your bag and we will get you a quick quote!
Nice of you to provide solid info for DIY’s. Thanks you.
Is masonite strong enough for protecting windows during a hurricane?
Hi Mark, Masonite is usually used for floor protection on job sites and is too thin to protect windows during a hurricane. It’s also not waterproof. Plywood would be better for this!
Thank you, Midtown Lumber! I was going to use Masonite to build a shipping crate for a large (4’x6′) acrylic-covered piece of art, as its lighter to plywood. However, it is really critical that nothing pierces, crushes or bows the exposed sides. Presumably, 1/4 plywood would do a better job with marginally increased weight.
Yes, plywood sounds like it would do a much better job for this, especially for a fragile work of art. Stop by to check out the options!
I am looking for a board to place under my futon to prevent the futon from “sinking” between the slats of the bed platform. Will masonite be firm enough for this application?
Hi Julie! So sorry for the delay! Plywood would be better for this, Masonite is more flimsy, and not as solid and sturdy. 1/4″ plywood cut to size to fit perfectly underneath your mattress would be best. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote!
I am looking for a surface I can pin into for my sewing table. Would Masonite be a good option?
It sounds like Homasote would be better for what you need. Homasote is better for pinning into, that is what we use for our order board, we pin printed tickets with push pins to Homasote.
You can also come by the store to check out the materials in person! Email us at email@example.com for more information or to place an order!
Our house (built in 1963) is sided with Masonite planks 3/4″ thick X 10 1/2″W X 12′ long. With nothing behind it but 2X4 studs. Winter winds draft through and I would like to know how to seal the boards. Secondly, can/ should I wrap the house or would that trap moisture, leading to mold? Can you then recommend a siding over the wrap ?
Hi Jim, we sell Masonite sheets for floor protection not for siding so we are not too sure about what to do in this scenario. We would recommend reaching out to a professional contractor in your area. If you are in the NYC area email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can recommend a great contractor!
This definitely helped me understand more about it before choosing the right substrate for my artwork. Thanks for the great info.
Awesome, thanks Jana so glad we could help!
Can you stain this material?
Hi! You cannot stain masonite as it is not wood, but you can paint it if you want. It is a dark brown so you would have to prime it first.
Can I cover my old paneling with Masonite? And then paint it?
Hi Frances, thanks for reaching out! You can paint Masonite, it is a dark brown so you would have to prime it first. But it is not the flattest and is somewhat flexible, and is usually used for temporary floor protection. For this we would probably recommend 1/4″ MDF which would be sturdier. Email email@example.com for more specifics!
I am impressed by the fact that you used masonite as a table for your table saw! Can you post a picture of your table saw with a masonite surface? I would like to do the same to my table saw.
Thanks for the great article on Masonite. Just want to share my Masonite experience. About 40 years ago my wife and I added a Masonite surface to a plywood-topped workbench, then coated it with shellac. The only maintenance it has required is a light sanding a couple of years ago and a new coat of shellac. Still looks great.
That’s awesome! Glad you enjoyed the article, thanks for sharing your experience with the material, it can be very useful.