Masonite Innovation Center Tour Cracks Open the Door to Science and Innovation

By Amy Flanigan, remodeling market manager

In the snowy suburbs of West Chicago lies the Masonite Innovation Center (MIC) – one of the world’s largest, private research and development facilities in the door industry.

A team of 60 scientists, industrial designers, mechanical engineers and lovers of all things Star Wars and llamas (among other things) work tirelessly to keep this behemoth 144,000 square foot facility running like a well-oiled machine. Collectively, these individuals bring a wide variety of experience to the table, ranging from expertise in tech and design, to careers of over 40 years in the building products industry. Although they come from different backgrounds and experiences, there’s one thing they all have in common – a passion and constant curiosity for imagining, designing and executing a better door.

In February, Sherry Winchester Schultz, president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) of Greater Chicagoland, joined other members of the Chicago chapter of NARI for a tour of the MIC.

“Masonite has been around a very long time. Yet, many of us in the trades know next to nothing about the company. Tradespeople are always looking for a product that provides appealing form and superior function at a great price, and is made in the US,” says Schultz.


Masonite recognizes its responsibility to arm remodelers and builders with product knowledge and tools that help position them as resources to their customers. While the DIY revolution helped bolster the homebuilding category, making it fun and trendy to personalize a home, it also resulted in a severe lack of trust from homeowners towards trade professionals—why would I hire someone to do this for me when I can just watch a video on YouTube and do it myself? Remodelers and builders need the support of manufacturers like Masonite now more than ever to help build back that trust and reinforce themselves as the experts.

When a trade professional is making a product recommendation to a homeowner, what sets one apart from a competitor is being able to communicate the quality behind the brand and the story behind the product. Having a valid reason for choosing one brand over another makes all the difference in the world to a customer. Masonite wants every trade professional who uses their doors to understand the forward-thinking design, rigorous testing, high-quality craftsmanship, and attention to detail that goes into each and every one of its products, which is a story well-told when taking the tour of the MIC.

“The majority of NARI’s members understand that the integrity of a door is important to their work, so that they don’t get call-backs. But to see the depth and breadth of testing and craftsmanship that goes into creating each door would help them to make their clients understand why they need to consider more than just price when selecting their interior and exterior doors,” says Schultz.

Kayleen McCabe, licensed contractor, former TV host of DIY’s Rescue Renovation, and NARI brand ambassador, also joined the tour in February and was both impressed and surprised by the level of science and testing a door goes through at the MIC.


“Using quality products makes all the difference. Having that level of research and care from Masonite in these doors makes it well worth the investment,” says McCabe.

For McCabe, Masonite communicating the science that goes into building a better door not only helps professionals see the bigger picture, but it also helps the next generation get excited about the trades.

“We’re up against a perception that working in the trades is very unskilled and blue collar. I want to communicate that you can be a part of building a home in a variety of ways – it’s creating art. If we don’t encourage this next generation, we won’t have people to support our infrastructure, which is why it’s so important to encourage a mind shift of the trades.”

McCabe feels that exposing the younger generation to facilities, such as the MIC, will reinforce the message that working in the trades doesn’t always equate to swinging a hammer – you can be an industrial designer, a mechanical engineer or a material scientist with a doctorate degree and all work collaboratively under the same roof.

“Visibility is the first step toward introducing students to vocational careers. In addition to putting the onus on school districts to take vocational training more seriously, real-life examples of vocational success can help students realize that real, relatable, and successful adults work with their hands,” says McCabe.

Fifty percent of the employees at the MIC have over 10 years of experience in their field of expertise, while the other half are comprised of new talent from outside the door industry and the next generation, bringing a set of unique and targeted skills to the table.

With this bimodal distribution of experience, the MIC has stacked the deck with the best and brightest, holding true to Masonite’s blueprint—a company rooted in knowledge leadership, design integrity, and cutting-edge technology and innovation at its core.

With its message and mission being spread throughout influential organizations like NARI, the MIC plans to continue to innovate and grow alongside the ever-changing landscape of the building products industry, providing trade professionals with well-designed, high quality products for many years to come.

See for yourself. Take a walk through the Masonite Innovation Center in the latest video below.

5 Bright Palettes for Front Doors

By Jennifer Ott, Houzz contributor, principal designer, Jennifer Ott Design

Nothing welcomes guests to your home better than a bold, beautiful color on the front door. Many people have no trouble picking out a fun color to paint the door, but don’t know what to do with the rest of the exterior. And what about the trim?

The key to working with bold colors is to limit them to elements you really want to stand out, which makes the front door the ideal place to feature a vibrant color. Then select supporting hues for the rest of the house that don’t try to compete for attention.

Check out these Houzz homes with delightfully colorful front doors, along with potential palettes that incorporate a bold front door hue with other exterior hues.

This acid yellow-green front door shouts “Come on in!” and works nicely with the natural wood siding. If you have no choice but to paint your siding, you could go with a cooler brown/taupe shade to set off the brighter hue of the door.

Example palette. Get the same effect with (clockwise from top left, all from Martha Stewart Living): Lagoon MSL125, Lamb MSL225 and Bayou MSL237.

Example palette: Clockwise from top left (all from Sherwin-Williams): Red Tomato SW6607, Iron Ore SW7069 and Cityscape SW7067.

Tell us: What color is your front door? What color would you like it to be?

Related articles:
Browse Exterior Photos for More Front Door Ideas
Enhance Your Curb Appeal With New Outdoor Lighting
Quiz: What Color Should Your Front Door Be?

 

Homeowners Can Design Doors with New Interactive Display

Masonite Interactive Display

Masonite Interactive Display

The primary goal for any dealer is to understand a client’s vision, needs and obstacles, and deliver solutions that accommodate those requests. This can be a challenge on many levels: Understanding the project’s scope, style preferences, budget, space restraints, and more. The new Masonite Interactive Display hopes to minimize those challenges, and in fact, encourage more solutions.

Masonite’s trade show manager, Jack Thornton, saw an opportunity for Masonite to offer a more advanced, tech-savvy system that could assist both dealers and homeowners, showcasing the wide variety of offerings available and simplifying the sales process. Thornton envisioned a system that would allow homeowners to design their front doors, show the dealer exactly what they are looking for, and send that design to himself or herself via email and/or to the dealer.
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Five Homeowners Take Back Their Views

Masonite VistaGrande

VistaGrande doors are designed with 18 percent more glass than comparable products.

We are excited to announce the winners of the Take Back Your View Contest. These five – yes FIVE – people are getting brand new VistaGrande doors. Launched this year, the VistaGrande flush-glazed smooth fiberglass patio and entry doors are designed with approximately 18 percent more glass than comparable products so homeowners can truly enjoy their outdoor views.

These five winners submitted pictures of how their doors obstruct their beautiful outdoor views.


We are excited these homeowners now get to truly enjoy their views – and we get to be a part of that experience.

Thank you to everyone who submitted pictures of their obstructed views. Congratulations to the winners!

Masonite’s Ask the Expert Event at The Remodeling Show

askCHICAGO (Sept. 29, 2015) – Masonite hosts an Ask the Expert event on Oct. 1 from 2-3 p.m. located at the Masonite booth (#1211) at this year’s Remodeling Show in Chicago.

The Ask the Expert event includes an open panel discussion on why it’s important for remodelers to pay attention to their online brand. Hear from Masonite, Angie’s List and GuildQuality on why remodelers need to maintain an online brand for their businesses and how to customize it for maximum results.

Learn why it’s important to engage with customers online and leverage user reviews to enhance brand reputation. Discover how to capitalize on negative feedback and turn it into an advantage.

Attendees will be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card; one lucky winner will be drawn at the booth.

Hope to see you there! Participate in the discussion with the event hashtag: #MasoniteExpert.

5 Ways to Build a Modern Style

By Jason Walsh, senior industrial designer, and Patrick Ege, lead industrial designer

Masonite West End® Berkley®

A pair of Masonite West End® Berkley® doors with barn door hardware can hide the TV from out of sight.

Gen Xers and Millennials crave contemporary design with clean lines and bold colors. One way they create a modern look throughout their home is by installing stylish interior doors that sport crisp features and rich, dark colors.

Buyers within these generations often lean toward a decluttered home philosophy, and are buying smaller houses that are not overwhelming. Many are moving into existing traditional-style houses, but they quickly set out to remake the interiors to suit their modern tastes. They expect to live in the houses they buy for at least 10 years, according to a 2015 National Association of Realtors survey, and are willing to invest in modern updates.

Ranging from 18 to 50 years old, Gen Xers and Millennials are heavily influenced by retailers IKEA and Crate & Barrel, and popular inspiration websites Houzz and Pinterest. The retailers and online-only sites offer plenty of free expert advice and professional photography of jaw-dropping modern interiors.

Here are five cost-effective ways that Gen Xers and Millennials – and anyone with a preference for modern architecture, décor and furnishings – can employ modern-looking interior doors to give homes fashion-forward makeovers.

Say goodbye to the six-panel door.
Most existing traditional-style homes have six-panel interior doors throughout, but you can replace, for reasonable cost, those doors with modern-style ones. For example, Masonite’s new Heritage and Barn Door collections offer no-panel and sliding-door models that can be painted any color.

Also, you can create a big statement in a small space with the crisp vertical lines of the new Melrose West End door.

Turn underutilized rooms into useful spaces.
A recent Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate survey of 1,000 Millennials showed that 20 percent refer to their dining room as a home office and 43 percent want to transform their living room into a home theater.

Consider installing modern-style interior doors to turn a dining room into a productive study or a living room into a cool space for movie watching. The doors not only are attractive, but they also keep noise at bay.

Decorate with trendy dark hues.
Black and other dark colors top the interior design color charts. For example, bold blue is the hot color on HGTV’s 2015 list of home trends. Designer Susanna Salk, in an article for House Beautiful this year, said that rich blues paired with white creates a modern twist on an enduring traditional color combination.

A modern-style interior door can be painted deep black or another dark, saturated color in a matte or gloss finish quickly and inexpensively. For example, you can opt for a sleek Hamel West End door painted a vibrant shade that reflects your unique style.

Create a uniform look.
Keep in mind that some modern styles don’t complement each other. For a seamless look, it’s best to install the same interior doors throughout your home. But as long as the interior doors are similar, you can use one style of door on the first floor and another style on the second floor.

In addition to updating your interior doors, you can enhance your home’s modern style by replacing the entry door with one that has a sleek look. Masonite, for example, recently introduced eight exterior door collections that allow consumers to easily navigate panel and glass combinations to create their own unique looks.

Masonite’s Belleville Smooth Entry Door Earns Consumers Digest “Best Buy” Rating

Belleville Smooth is one of just four fiberglass doors to earn distinguished label in recognition of materials, quality, and warranty.

TAMPA (August 26, 2015) – Consumers Digest, a publication that provides unbiased evaluations and recommendations across a range of product categories, designated Masonite’s Belleville® Smooth a “Best Buy” in its July report on entry and storm doors. Belleville Smooth is one of only four fiberglass doors to receive the Best Buy rating, which is determined through evaluation of materials, quality of construction, and warranty.

In its report, Consumers Digest highlighted Belleville Smooth as the least expensive fiberglass door with a polyurethane core and a lifetime warranty. “It also is the least expensive such model that has laminated veneer lumber stiles, which make the door stronger than are doors that use plain wood stiles,” the publication noted.

Belleville Smooth fiberglass entry doors are crafted with specially engineered fiberglass door facings for maximum protection and durability, along with a high-definition panel profile for authentic shadow lines and a square edge design for a wood-door appearance. The doors’ high-performance smooth surface is ideal for painting and is resistant to rusting and denting.

“Masonite’s entry and interior doors are crafted with an ideal combination of beautiful aesthetics, long-term performance, and value, and those qualities shine in our Belleville Smooth line,” said David Perkins, vice president of channel marketing for North America residential for Masonite International. “We’re honored to see those attributes recognized by Consumers Digest.”

Subscribers to Consumers Digest can access the full report at www.consumersdigest.com/home.
For additional details on Belleville Smooth and an overview of available profiles and glass options, click here.

6 Steps to Defining and Incorporating Your Style

By Jason Walsh, senior industrial designer, and Patrick Ege, lead industrial designer

Masonite Heritage Series Door

Heritage Series Door, Winslow

Homeowners and home buyers today are blessed with seemingly endless options across numerous product categories. But amid all those choices, many find themselves overwhelmed, unable to narrow down home designs and styling to meet a specific focus.

No need to stress. Follow these six tips to help gain an understanding of your style–and how to design your house to meet it.

1. Browse, browse, browse.
Peruse décor websites and style magazines. Window shop. Take note of features in other homes that you like. This will give you an idea for what grabs your attention. Once you’ve noticed a common theme, specifically search those styles. Exposure gives the greatest ability to understand your style.

2. Draw inspiration from your favorite things.
Compile together all the possessions you treasure. These can be picture frames, books, trinkets, clothes, fabrics, etc. Anything from large to small, but all important to you. Then study them as a collective and consider what drew you to them. This can further help determine what common themes appeal to you.

3. Don’t feel constrained by design rules.
Remember it’s your house, and it’s OK to express yourself even if it doesn’t fit into a specific style definition. It’s not a science; have fun with it.

4. Consider making changes in specific areas such as doors.
Simply changing the door can significantly enhance a home’s design and even shift its overall feel.

Exterior and interior doors offer different opportunities, however. Complement the home’s architectural style by choosing an exterior door that falls into that style. For example, if the house features Georgian/Federalist architecture, then choose a paneled door to complement the home.

There is much more freedom on interior doors because you aren’t constrained by curb appeal and resale value issues. You’ll likely feel more comfortable doing something different on the inside. For example, that same Georgian home might have modern interior doors throughout the house.

Express your style by painting the doors–exterior and interior, or choosing a specific decorative glass. From ornate to modern, decorative glass can add to the style of a front entry. For example, Masonite’s Tanglewood glass creates an elegant and ornate appearance, and the Masonite Optimus features clean, sharp lines.

Consider changing out an interior molded panel door with a barn door to make your specific style stand out. Pick between modern or rustic hardware to complement your barn door to take it a step further.

5. Blend carefully.
Still, even though you shouldn’t constrain yourself to rules, do keep in mind that some styles work well together while others don’t. “Farmhouse modern” is an example of two styles that can coexist. Also known as “transitionally modern,” it mixes the old with the new; it’s a rejection of the seriousness and starkness of modern while appreciating modern’s simplified features.

Craftsman and Victorian, on the other hand, are two styles that don’t mesh. Developed around the Industrial Revolution, Victorian was a creation of very ornate and decorative styling. Craftsman is a rejection of that philosophy; therefore, mixing the two would create a confused style.

6. Go neutral for large items, trendy for accessories.
Playing it a little safer for large items, such as furniture and appliances, prevents these more expensive wares from going out of date quickly. You can still stay with the times through smaller, more affordable objects. For example, accommodate the hot trend of eclectic design by adding bold, mix-and-match accessories with relatively low cost and risk. Invest in major items that suit your tastes and build around that with accessories.

Terms like contemporary, traditional, and the like are the foundations from which to play. Once you understand what those foundations are, have fun with your designs. Remember, if you really like it, then have at it—there are no rules.

Have other tips for understanding what your style is? Share in the comments!

The Affordable Home Improvement That Adds More Value Than Anything Else

Masonite Exterior DoorIf you’re looking to add value to your home, look no further than the humble front door. According to the latest Cost vs. Value report, simply upgrading your entry door adds more value to the house than any other single home improvement project.

The annual report, a joint research project between Remodeling magazine and the National Association of Realtors, compares changes in how much home improvement jobs cost with Realtors’ perceptions of how those jobs influence a home’s price at resale. The exhaustive report is based on surveys of thousands of Realtors nationwide, looking at 36 popular remodeling projects and the value those projects retain at resale in 102 U.S. markets.

This year, entry doors ranked no. 1 in holding the most value—beating out other high-ticket home improvement projects such as bathroom and kitchen remodels and even master bedroom additions. In fact, when adding a steel entry door to the home, more than an average of 100 percent of the cost is recouped.

The report shows that no matter where you live in America, the cost of adding a door is minimal compared to the value it provides. In fact, based on national averages, a steel entry door costs $1,230 to install but adds $1,252 to the value of the home—for a cost vs. value of 102 percent. By comparison, a bathroom remodel that costs $16,724 has a resale value of only $11,707, or a cost vs. value of only 70 percent.

Wondering what a door upgrade will add to your home? Use the report’s regional drilldown to see how much value a front door adds to a home in your area.

Why are doors adding so much value? Experts say it comes down to two simple but increasingly powerful words in real estate: curb appeal. And few home improvements add as much bang for the buck as a front door. At the same time, as more people are looking to spruce up their home rather than move, upgrading the front door is an easy way to add new life to tired old designs. So if you’re looking to amp up your home’s exterior—and its value—let Masonite’s bevy of options help you step into a doorway of possibilities.

New Heritage Series Interior Doors Offer Design Versatility, Breakthrough Design

Masonite Heritage Lincoln ParkWhat’s your style? Traditional? Craftsman? Modern? If you’re like many homeowners, your preferences may cross multiple design tastes. Masonite® recognizes this new trend—and a growing desire for consumers not to be confined to a single design moniker—with the introduction of Heritage® Series interior doors. Featuring a recessed panel with the classic lines of a wood Shaker door, these new molded doors are designed to complement a range of styles.

Entering the market are two options: single-panel Lincoln Park and three-panel Winslow. The panel inset creates the appearance of trim and provides a shadow line not seen on other doors. The smooth primed surface is ideal for painting to match or accent the home’s interior.

What’s more, the recessed panel design of Heritage represents a significant breakthrough in the molded door industry; Masonite’s integrated R&D team found a way to offer the design flexibility of a recessed panel while avoiding structural integrity issues previously found in the industry.

The Heritage Series coordinates perfectly with Masonite’s new VistaGrande exterior doors, allowing homeowners to carry a design theme throughout the house.