Artex is a type of interior plaster coating usually applied to ceilings, but also found on walls. It was popular during the 1970s and 80s and was applied using a thick raised effect to create decorative swirls and patterns. Now generally considered to be outdated, many people choose to have it covered up or removed from their homes and replaced with a modern smooth plastered look.
The word Artex is actually a trademark for the UK company Artex Ltd, but the name is synonymous with any heavily textured interior plasterwork.
Should I remove my Artex?
Many people decide to get rid of their Artex purely in order to update their homes and move away from such an outmoded look. The heavy patterns and swirls of Artex have long been replaced with the smooth sleek look of modern plastering and an old Artex ceiling does not sit well with most contemporary room styles.
There is, however, an far more important reason why it's a good idea to replace your Artex. The word 'Artex' is an acronym for Asbestos Reinforced TEXtured coating, and up until 1999 most types of textured coatings usually had white asbestos fibres added to them. That means the majority of Artex ceilings and walls in houses today are likely to contain asbestos particles.
But don't panic, if you currently have Artex in your house, you are perfectly safe! While it remains undisturbed and undamaged on your ceiling or walls, it's harmless. So long as you leave it alone you can live with it for many years and it won't pose any danger to your health. Artex only becomes hazardous while it's in a powdered form when small dust particles released from it could be inhaled into your lungs.
This unfortunately creates a problem when Artex has to be removed. If it is damaged or destroyed in any way, hazardous and toxic asbestos particles can potentially be released into the air. It is therefore extremely important to never try sanding or drilling it yourself and any work that interferes with Artex should only be conducted by a trained professional. Even the release of fine dust particles from more recent, non-asbestos Artex can be a problem as these may still enter the lungs without proper precautions. It is highly recommended therefore that no Artex should ever be removed by non-experts.
Because of the health risks involved, removal of a Artex is covered under the government's Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. This sets out the requirements for working with any sort of asbestos materials. There is more information available at the Health and Safety Executive website. This informative blog post has more information on removing Artex and textured ceilings.
You may be wondering at this stage why Artex ever had asbestos added to it in the first place. The reason is because prior to the dangers of this chemical being realised and better understood, the lightness, strength and thermal insulation properties made it an ideal choice for interior walls. Houses could be made attractive and warmer at a very cheap cost to the consumer. The health problems weren’t fully appreciated or acknowledged until many years after it had already made it's way onto the ceilings and walls of numerous properties throughout the country. The company Artex Ltd itself stopped adding asbestos in the mid 1980s, but several other manufacturers continued it's use up until around twenty years ago.
There are many ways to deal with your unwanted Artex so give the Plastering Doncaster team a ring and we can carry out an assessment of your needs. Let us take the stress, danger and worry out of your hands and give you new ceilings or walls to be proud of.
What are my options for professional Artex removal?
If you decide to have your Artex removed, Plastering Doncaster have a range of options available. Give us a ring and let's discuss what you need. Here are a few suggestions that we might consider.
For many ceilings, the simplest solution is often to apply a new skim of plaster over the existing Artex to create a new smooth and even surface. For this the Artex must first be clean, dry and firmly bonded to the ceiling boards or walls. This may throw up a few problems as Artex was often used in the past as a cheap fast method to hide cracked or damaged plaster. It may not be an easy thing to identify, but if this has been the case in your property, adding more plaster is not a good idea as the additional weight may lead to a collapse. This may also be the case if the Artex was not properly bonded to any underlying plaster. A detailed prior inspection of the condition of the structure is therefore a necessary precaution before starting any work. If the ceiling is deemed suitable for skimming, all loose plaster must be removed along with any prominent peaks in the Artex pattern. Depending on the enthusiasm of the original plasterer, some peaks can stand proud by over 10mm from the surface, and these may be visible through a skim coat unless they are either sanded or chipped away beforehand. Unless you know for sure that the Artex contains no asbestos this will be a potentially hazardous job.
Once the preparation is complete a bonding layer is usually applied to the surface of the Artex as well as several layers of PVA glue. The skim coat is then applied and the result should be a perfect smooth surface with no hint of the horrors beneath!
Hiding Artex with a skim coat is a relatively simple way to create a flat even ceiling and modernise a room, but it nevertheless requires careful preparation and strict adherence to the regulations around working with asbestos materials. Plastering Doncaster can plaster over your Artex for a great price so you don't have to worry about a thing.
Scrape, Sand and Skim
If the Artex has to be removed for whatever reason, it can be done so by repeatedly chipping away at the surface until it is completely gone, or until it is level enough for a new skim of plaster to be applied. Although this has the distinct advantage of removing the majority of the Artex for good, the damage inflicted on the plaster means the release of a lot of potentially hazardous asbestos dust into the environment. This is a procedure therefore that needs to be done carefully and professionally by trained experts.
If you would prefer complete removal of your Artex Plastering Doncaster will do it for a great price. For an even more complete measure, the entire ceiling can be removed, re-boarded and plastered. This is quicker than chiselling off the Artex but is likely to be more expensive and still requires careful adherence to the asbestos removal regulations.
This is a relatively easy and quick option for hiding Artex and the result is a perfectly smooth modern plaster. Plaster boards are laid over the existing Artex ceiling and fixed to the joists then sealed and skimmed over for a perfect finish. As there is no damage caused to the Artex there is no risk of releasing any asbestos into the environment. There is also the added benefit of being able to add inset features such as holes for light fittings. This is particularly useful in kitchens and bathrooms where rows of modern downlighters can be installed at the same time. Plaster boards also offer additional sound and heat insulation in your home, by creating double thickness ceilings.
Although this is a fairly straight-forward process and doesn't require any asbestos management procedures, it is still a job best handled by professionals. Plaster boarding requires at least two strong people to handle the heavy sheets, and a skilled plasterer to ensure a perfectly bonded and flat surface on top for painting. Plastering Doncaster will expertly plaster board over your Artex ceilings or walls for a great price and a job well done.