How do you remove Marlite framing?

Kimberly Tapp
by Kimberly Tapp

My 1950's bath appears to have painted Marlite for walls. I plan to cover it with bead-board but need to remove the metal framing that's installed between each panel. Anyone have experience getting that out? I could figure it out if I knew how it was installed to begin with.

  3 answers
  • Dee Dee on Jul 05, 2018

    Marlite can be painted over, by ix a bucket of warm water with dish-washing soap. ...

    Rinse off the panel to remove any remaining solution, then dry the panel off with a towel or rag.

    Lightly sand down the surface of the panels. prime then paint.


    Place a chisel at a 45-degree angle on an abutment line between two sections of the Marlite paneling you're going to remove.

    Tap the chisel with a hammer to break the adhesive bond between the wall and the Marlite paneling, exposing the wall behind the paneling. If drywall is behind the Marlite, choosing to pry the drywall off along with the Marlite is an easier option, although with careful chiseling and prying the drywall is salvageable.

    Continue to chisel and chip away at sections. If a panel allows for room in between the Marlite and the wall, wedge a pry bar in between the panel and wall and pry Marlite off. Marlite will break off in pieces and may shatter. Continue until the walls are free of the Marlite paneling.

    Load medium-grit sandpaper into a belt sander. Sand off excess adhesive, then sand the walls with fine-grit sandpaper. Sand only the adhesive; do not sand deeply into drywall or it will become irreparably damaged.

    • Kimberly Tapp Kimberly Tapp on Jul 06, 2018

      Thank you Dee. I think this sounds (as William said) like a lot of work. Will rethink the redo. :)

  • William William on Jul 05, 2018

    The metal framing has a channel on each side for the panels to slip into. It would be hard to remove without removing or damaging the panels. Only way I can figure to remove would be to use an oscillating tool with a metal blade and cut them out. You can try to pry them out at the top or bottom of two panels. The panel seams may separate and pull off the wall enough for the strips to be popped out. Its a lot of work.

  • Dee Dee on Jul 06, 2018

    I would paint it.