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How to Remove Marlite Paneling

Sal Marco

Marlite paneling is a brand-name, tile-like engineered wall covering. It's commercially available in many colors, sizes, designs and patterns. Installing Marlite on a wall employs the use of adhesive, which bonds the paneling to the wall.

Removing Marlite from drywall, you should be aware, will result in damage to the drywall that could require extensive repairs or replacement. Marlite hung on concrete block wall is easier to remove and leaves no surface damage. In either case Marlite will break, twist, bend and shatter, leaving it unsalvageable.

Marlite Over Drywall or Wood

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

  2. Tap the cold 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.

  3. Continue to chisel and chip away at sections of Marlite. 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.

  4. 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.

Marlite Over Masonry Wall

  1. Place a cold chisel at a 45-degree angle between two Marlite panels and tap with a hammer to expose the masonry wall.

  2. Apply heat with a heat gun along the broken Marlite line, moving the heat gun in a constant back-and-forth motion.

  3. Wedge a pry bar between the Marlite and the Masonry wall and pry. Continue to apply heat and pry, removing the Marlite and exposing all masonry walls. Heat will leave scorch marks and bend Marlite.

  4. Continue to heat the adhesive residue and scrape off with a metal scraper.

  5. Tip

    Wear safety goggles and a dust mask when removing Marlite panels.


    Overheating Marlite will cause a fire; only heat enough to free the adhesive bond.