Because of its cost-effectiveness and appealing wood-like look the siding was a hit for many decades of popularity. The flaws in the siding started to show homeowners who had bought it began to be disappointed and eventually filed a class-action suit against the makers.
Today, virtually no manufacturer makes the siding made of hardboard, but you may still see it on 1960s-through 1990s-era houses. If your house has this siding, it is possible to keep it in good working order by keeping it clean and maintaining it regularly.
How Hardboard Siding is Created
Hardboard siding is also referred to as synthetic wood, pressboard or masonite siding. Some refer to it even jokingly known as cardboard siding. The various varieties of pressboard are made from treated wood and adhesives that are press-fitted to form an wood composite. The Masonite hardboard is constructed from wood chips and steamed into a board shape.
Hardboard siding is often coated with a texture and stained to resemble wood. From the distance, it appears exactly like wood siding. It’s typically seen in horizontal lap patterns.
It is not to be confused with OSB, also known as oriented Strand Board (OSB) plywood, Fiber cement siding. These are also referred to as hardboard siding. They appear similar however, they are different in terms of maintenance requirements and levels of durability. It is created by combining the two materials, is more durable than hardboard.
The rise and fall of hardboard Siding
Hardboard siding first came on the market in the 1920s, and it gained its popularity during the 70s, as an affordable alternative to wood siding. When stricter environmental laws came into effect, the use of hardboard started to lose popularity however it was utilized in about 30 percent of homes during the 1980s and later through the 1990s.
However, over time the weaknesses in this kind of siding was evident. Pressboard is a very absorbent and, if not well maintained, it absorbs water and is prone to deterioration. In 1994, dissatisfied homeowners filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit against the largest producers of hardboard siding. They later getting the right to a fair compensation for the products that did not meet the requirements.
In the aftermath, many manufacturers have stopped making hardboard siding completely. However, those that continue to produce it typically offer 15to 30 years guarantees to limit the risk. Durability is different between manufacturers, most likely due to variations with their tempering (heat process) process. Installing new siding made of wood on your property is an option, however it is important to know the negatives before making the decision.
Issues with Performance and Maintenance
The strict requirements for maintenance of hardboard siding is the reason it is so difficult. The siding has to be perfectly painted and caulked around the seams and joints. If any aspect of its water sealing fails even just a bit it will start taking in water. After it has been wet, its durability will be diminished. The material expands, becomes soft and then begins to breakdown. The growth of mold and the infestation of insects are also possible.
Therefore, while it’s cheap to purchase however, maintaining it will cost more in terms of materials and time as compared to other siding alternatives made of synthetic such as vinyl and fiber cement. If it’s maintained and installed properly, however it will appear nice for many years.
In reality certain manufacturers have claimed that the low performance of the siding made of pressboard was due to poor maintenance and installation, not the siding itself.
Even if it’s maintained in a perfect way but, hardboard isn’t the best siding material. It’s not an efficient insulator and doesn’t do much to increase the efficiency of your home’s energy use or reduce street noise.
Care for older Hardboard Siding
If you’re thinking of buying an entire new house with siding made of hardboard, you should consider trying to negotiate a lower price to cover the cost to maintain the siding, or replace it with a stronger alternative.
Before you make any decision check the siding for any signs of moisture or degradation, like expanding, softening, blistering or warping. Particular attention should be paid to the siding that is near the foundation, as this will likely to begin to degrade in the first place. Ideally the home inspection company is required to conduct an inspection of the moisture level to test the wall sheathing on the exterior for any water damage. If signs of damage are evident it is recommended that the siding be replaced.
A small portion of damaged hardboard siding may be removed and replaced by a new one such as vinyl siding, with the same design. If larger sections of siding are damaged it is necessary to relocate the house.
Hardboard siding that’s in good shape can last for a long time by regular maintenance.
Check your siding regularly Check the siding once each year. Examine for cracks in the sealant and paint, chipped and missing caulk flashing that isn’t firmly attached, nails, as well as holes or other damages.
Repairs should be completed quickly In order to stop the infiltration of water, repair any damage as quickly when you are able to. Repairs that are completed quickly could result in the quickest touch-up and siding replacement.
Enhance drainage – To prevent the water from pooling close to the foundation, the ground around your home must move toward the foundation with a slope of at least 5 per cent which is 6 inches more than 10 feet. Be sure that your downspouts are at least 4 feet from the foundation. Use splash blocks to direct the water away from the home. Keep your gutters clean to avoid flooding and leaks.
Remove obstructions Mulch, plants and soil around the foundation of your home can hold moisture that could leach into your siding. To avoid this, keep a clean space of at least 6 inches between your foundation and your siding, or plants, which includes plants and trees. Avoid planting climbing vines on the outside of your home.
Take it care of Use lawn sprinklers in a way that the water doesn’t be able to reach the siding. To clean the siding, you should avoid the use of power washing. Instead, you can use an ordinary house wash detergent and a soft sponge to scrub the siding off, and wash it off using water from the garden hose.
Although it’s inexpensive and attractive when it’s first put up, it’s quite high maintenance compared to modern siding options. If you’re thinking of installing new siding made of hardboard, placing it on areas that are protected like an enclosed porch and deck, will make to prolong its life.
If your house has hardboard siding that’s in good shape You can keep it looking gorgeous by ensuring you’re on top of maintenance and shielding it from destruction. The large areas of damage are a sign that it’s time to upgrade.
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