Is there an easy way to remove Artex? In short, No…
Artex is the devil, it really is and when it comes to decorating or renovating a room that has it, this can be a complicated situation if you don’t how to deal with it.
You should always treat Artex as dangerous. Artex containing asbestos was banned in 1999 but that doesn’t mean they stopped using it. Artex is well known to contain asbestos which is very harmful to your health. So the best and most practical way to deal with it, is get it tested first, and then decide whether to cover it, or remove it, based on your test results.
Artex containing asbestos was widely used within the building trade as early as 1960 and was still legally used until it was banned in 1999.
Bearing in mind that from 1975 asbestos free Artex was available……Unbelievable, must of been expensive!
So any house built after year 2000, should be asbestos free including the Artex.
Searching through the plasters forum (which I’m a member) I came across a discussion on Artex, and I was shocked when I read it…
It is always best practice to test any Artex in your house for asbestos for future reference.
Just incase you have to drill into the covered over area later on, you will know what precautions to take.
It’s also a great thing to mention to any trades person working on your home, If they are drilling into the said wall or ceiling they are fully aware if contains asbestos or not.
What About Shelf Bought Artex Removers?
They do state they are easy to use, just paint on the remover and let soak for a period of time and then scrape away.
The only downside would be the mess.
A few other trades people I’ve spoke to, which have used the Artex removers, mentioned that sometimes the Artex ends up liquifying and going everywhere when scraping it away.
Making the job twice as messy and twice as long to clean up.
The lads also mentioned they WOULDN’T ENTERTAIN using the removers on Artex that CONTAINED ASBESTOS.
They also went on to say “…there is always chance that some of the remover won’t soak deep enough into the Artex coating to stop all the dust, which is the reason we wouldn’t use it on Artex containing asbestos”.
They also agreed that testing the Artex before any work would be a good idea to determine whether it would be safe to use an Artex remover or not.
And bearing mind that asbestos free Artex was available from 1975, you may fall lucky and your old property my not have any asbestos in the Artex….Fingers crossed, see what the test says!
Can You Use a Wallpaper Steamer to Remove Artex?
Yes of course, a wallpaper steamer will have the same effect as the liquid removers by softening the Artex, making it easy to scrape away.
The process will take longer, and if you’ve stripped wallpaper before, you will agree, it isn’t a fast process.
Once the steamer is heated up and steaming away, hold it against the Artex, and every 10-15 seconds remove the paddle and check if the Artex is soft enough to scrape away.
If not, repeat, and keep repeating at the same 10-15 second intervals until it is soft enough.
Also be very careful when using a scraper, you run the risk of damaging the plasterboard underneath the Artex if you are too rough.
Again, I would not recommend using a wallpaper steamer on Artex that contains asbestos.
What About Plastering Over Artex?
Plastering over Artex is the quickest way to cover it.
The process is very straight forward but some skill will be required, so you may want to hire a plasterer if your not sure.
The process involves making sure the Artex is asbestos free first, then scraping off the high spots of Artex with a trowel.
Then traditionally you then Seal the Artex with a mixture of PVA and water, two to three coats maybe needed (Artex is very absorbent). The PVA helps the plaster to adhere and not dry out too quickly.
I personally use Bostik Cementone Plasterers Stabilising Primer (green grit for short) instead, because it is a better primer and adhesive than PVA, it contains a small aggregate for the plaster to grip too, and also gives you piece of mind.
I say this because there can be instances when people don’t mix the PVA correctly, then a month later the plaster uncouples itself and falls to the floor!
A product called ‘Blue Grit’ which does the same job as green grit and is cheaper, the only downside is that blue grit’s larger containing aggregate can make it difficult to apply.
Green grit has smaller aggregates which helps it roll on the wall like a thick emulsion, making it easier to apply.
Mix up the first skim coat thicker than normal (this will help fill in between the rough texture) then apply the first skim coat.
Let it go off slightly, longer than normal so you have a hard backing to press against when applying the second coat of skim.
Mix and apply the second skim, taking your time and keeping it neat, but still with haste.
Wait for it to go off until most of the wet shininess has gone and then trowel it up nice and smooth.
Blaine Gray who owns and runs Plastering for beginners shows the the above process being done within this video below…
Boarding Over Artex
Boarding over Artex can be difficult , that’s why I’ve left this option until last.
Using boards to cover Artex can be very hard on your own, but you can do it using a plasterboard hoist (which I highly recommend!) or plasterboard/drywall props, or even a good mate that is willing to help.
The whole process involves, finding all the joists above the ceiling, then marking them at each end of the room.
Then join these marks up from each end of the room using a chalk line, these lines will indicate where you need to screw.
Once all the boards are up, grab some scrim tape and tape all the joins, then two coats of multi-finish and you will have nice flat ceiling.
There is alot of preparation that goes into overboarding Artex, but can sometimes be worthwhile.
The only risk that comes with overboarding an Artex ceiling, is the risk of screwing into cowboy builder pipes and electrics.
Did This Post Help?
Is there an easy way to remove Artex? Hopefully this post has gave you some insight that it’s never going to be easy to remove Artex.
It’s worthwhile getting the Artex tested, especially if your living in a house between 1960 and as far as 2005.
As you seen in the plasterers forum discussion post, a plasterer having tested Artex in a 2002 property which came back positive for asbestos, is quite worrying.
Let me know in the comments section below if you’ve tested the Artex in your house and it came back positive and what age your house is.
This will hopefully spread awareness that every homeowner should use their due diligence when dealing with Artex.
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