Marlite/tileboard for tub/shower walls

Any verbiage/narratives or a helpful link on why this is a poor choice of material for a shower wall would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

I’m not familiar with the name “marlite”, but it looks like material that was designed for a shower but is now deteriorated. If that’s the case, then I’d just say it is deteriorated and needs replacement.


This type of material is usually not rated for direct water contact in a tub/shower because it is made up of wood/woodlike materials.
I’m looking for more information, narratives, recommendations, links, manufacturer recommendations/wording, etc.

It looked like it has a laminate surface over it and may have been designed for that purpose years ago. I don’t know however.

I’m not 100% sure as well, that’s why I’m hopin someone chimes in with some more info. Regardless, thanks for the replies.

I’m not either, but this is what I’ve found in a short search…

Doesn’t seem to be what you have.

Marlite is just a nickname, so to speak, for decorative 4 x 8 sheets of tileboard/paneling. At least, that’s what we always called it. Might be an Ohio thing.

Kind of like “ferncos”.

It was used extensively up here 30 or more years ago. It was a poor product then for showers/tubs and, especially with the surface deterioration that Joe pointed out, will allow water penetration and damage behind the wall surface. Replacement is advised.

As Larry said, this product was popular back in the early 70’s and installed quite a bit of it in my younger years.
As a matter of fact, that is the product I installed in my own bathroom in 1973.

It is still being sold today.

Bob Vila is still talking about it here. Marlite is a privately owned manufacturer of specialty wall systems and related interior building products. Facilities Primary manufacturing plant, 400,000 square feet in Dover, Ohio. Five additional fabrication/ distribution centers are located throughout the United States and Canada, adding more than 300,000 square feet of space. History Marlite was founded in 1930 by the Marsh family in Dover, Ohio. It became an operating division of Masonite in 1948 and was purchased by USG Interiors in 1984. In 1989, the company was spun off in a leveraged buyout by former Marlite executives. In 2004, the company was sold again, this time to Marlite executives who bring a renewed commitment to quality and innovation to the company. Markets/Customers Marlite provides products to distinct commercial markets, including retail chains, on a worldwide basis. Marlite’s customers include architects, interior designers, contractors, distributors and owners. Products Marlite manufactures retail and specialty wall systems and related building products for commercial markets on a worldwide basis. The company is also the sole North American manufacturing licensee and distributor for Visplay International GMBH.

Although still sold today for tub surrounds, it would not be recommended due to all the integeral mouldings that don’t make it a watertight surround and will deteriorate like the picture above.


Marlite was founded in 1930 as a manufacturer of wall products by the Marsh family in Dover, Ohio – its current world headquarters. Supported by an abundance of excellent craftsmen, the company produced award-winning architectural interior products that propelled its growth in Dover and additional fabrication/service facilities.

  • 1948: Marlite became an operating division of Masonite
  • 1984: Purchased by USG Interiors

Hope this helps.