Category Archives: Technology

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.

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.
Continue reading

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.

Masonite Innovation Center Drives Industry Trends, Technology, Performance

At first glance, a beautiful door is simply a beautiful door. But at Masonite, it’s more than that—it’s the unprecedented amalgamation of years of research, design, engineering, and development to ensure products are on trend, offer the most advanced performance, and deliver the highest quality possible.

Every product Masonite sells begins as an idea at the Masonite Innovation Center in suburban Chicago, the only facility of its kind among door manufacturers and one whose pioneering work and technology influence the entire industry in its approaches to aesthetics, product construction and materials, and installation techniques.

Behind the walls are a host of comprehensive science and engineering labs, a replication of the manufacturing process, full-scale test facilities, and on-site tooling. Perhaps even more remarkable is the brainpower at work, with 58 team members that include 11 advanced degrees and a broad range of disciplines across material sciences, chemistry, engineering, industrial design, and market development. They work in a truly integrated design process that helps transform ideas—whether they originate on the jobsite or the fashion runway—into doors that stand the test of time in appearance and durability.

Masonite’s dedication to innovation and quality can also be seen in many of the machines, from a massive CNC milling machine that cuts huge plates of high-grade steel into door facing dies to an electron microscope purchased to troubleshoot a product challenge to a formaldehyde testing machine, one of only seven in the country, that allows the company to take customer health assurance one step further than competitors. On-site testing capabilities allow Masonite the freedom to test all in-development products to failure point under heat, cold, water, wind, and saltwater with more efficiency than using third parties. Similarly, in-house dies further ensure product quality and help avoid supply issues down the road by improving speed of product adjustments.

This level of dedication to back-end, full-scale R&D is rare in the industry, but is one that assures customers they are purchasing a product that is fully engineered to exacting design and performance standards at every stage, using the most up-to-date technologies and techniques.

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

MAX: Design it. See it. Price it.

Virtual design tools are a terrific way for homeowners, designers, architects, builders and more to unleash their creativity and consider all the options. That’s why Masonite is excited to introduce the new Masonite Xpress (MAX) ConfiguratorSM, a web-based door design and pricing resource that’s easily accessible from most any computer or tablet.

The breakthrough technology of MAXSM allows dealers and their customers to virtually design doors while keeping an eye on the overall costs. Now dealers, builders, remodelers and interior designers can provide their customers with an instant quote while accelerating the design process. Continue reading