Premier Plastering Service
Seriously Smooth Plasterers
Premier Plastering Service
Seriously Smooth Plasterers
Artex is a form of interior plaster coating usually applied to ceilings but occasionally also found on walls. Although the name itself is actually a trademark for the company Artex Ltd, it has been commonly used for years for any form of heavily textured interior plasterwork. It is applied using a thick, raised effect to create decorative swirls and patterns, and was a popular choice in Britain in the 1970-80s. It is now generally considered to be outdated and unfashionable, and many people with houses that still possess it, want it removed and replaced with more modern plaster styles.
Should I remove my Artex?
The outmoded look of Artex means that most people today want it removed purely on stylistic grounds. The heavily patterned busy look of Artex doesn't sit well with the smooth flat look of contemporary room styles. There are however, even more important reasons why it's a good idea to replace your Artex. The name 'Artex' is an acronym for Asbestos Reinforced TEXtured coating and up until 2000 it often had white asbestos added to strengthen it. If you currently have Artex in your house, don't worry you are perfectly safe! While it sits on your ceiling or walls it remains harmless and only poses a potential risk when it's in a powdered form. But this is the problem, the moment it is damaged or destroyed in any way it becomes potentially hazardous and toxic. It is therefore advisable to never attempt to sand or drill it yourself, and although it only contains the less dangerous white asbestos, it is still important to use professionals when attempting any removal of this product. Even modern, non-asbestos Artex can be a problem to remove because of the fine dust particles that are released into the air. It is recommended therefore that no Artex should be removed by non-experts.
You may be wondering now why asbestos was ever added to plaster in the first place. This was because before the dangers of this chemical were realised and understood, it's lightness, strength and thermal insulation properties made it an ideal choice for interior walls. The dangers of this chemical weren’t fully appreciated or acknowledged until many years after it had already been added to plaster and used in 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.
Because of the dangers involved, removal of an Artex ceiling is covered under The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. This lists the requirements for working with any sort of asbestos materials. There is more information available at the Health and Safety Executive website.
Should you decide to have your Artex removed, there are a variety of methods that can be used. DIY enthusiasts will find that searching on YouTube or Google will bring up a variety of videos and how-to guides on the different ways possible. One method is to use heated wallpaper strippers to melt the Artex allowing it to be peeled away from the wall underneath. It stops the majority of fine asbestos dust particles from being released into the air, but it is messy and time-consuming. It's a method often tried by people looking to save money by doing it themselves rather than using professionals. There are a great many risks involved with this process because although it reduces the amount of dust, even a small amount of asbestos released into the environment is dangerous and has the possibility to endanger the health of everyone in the building. For those who still think it's a good idea, it's worth noting that it is a legal requirement to notify the Health and Safety Executive before attempting to melt any form of Artex because of the dangers involved.
This informative blog post has more information on removing textured ceilings.
Because of the dangers and risk to health associated with handling asbestos, it is highly recommended that you use only trained professionals to attempt to remove any Artex in your home. The Health and Safety Executive also advises home owners to only hire trained personnel rather than attempting to do it themselves.
The team at Plastering Wigan are here to remove your Artex cleanly and professionally for a price you'll love. And once it's all gone we'll even replace it with smooth modern plasterwork to give your home a wonderful contemporary look.
What are my options for professional Artex removal?
If you decide you want your Artex removed then Plastering Wigan are here to help you. Here are a few options we might consider.
The simplest solution is often to apply a new layer of plaster over the existing Artex to create a new smooth even surface. This is possible however only if the Artex is clean, dry and firmly bonded to the wall or boards underneath. Unfortunately, Artex was often used in the past to hide cracks or damage in ceiling and walls and it may not be advisable to use this method if this is the case with your property. It is of paramount important therefore that a thorough inspection of the condition of the structure is conducted before any work begins. The added weight of an additional plaster layer on a ceiling may produce disastrous results if the underlying Artex was not correctly bonded. Any loose plaster must therefore be painstakingly 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. If the Artex contains asbestos this will be a potentially hazardous job as asbestos particles are likely to be released into the environment during this process.
Hiding Artex with a skim coat is a relatively simple way to modernise a room, but it nevertheless requires careful preparation and strict adherence to the regulations around working with asbestos materials. Plastering Wigan will plaster over your Artex for a great price and leaving you free from the dangers of attempting to do it yourself.
This is a method that requires the Artex ceiling to be covered over with successive layers of a bonding agent. Each layer is applied separately, smoothed and then dried before the next one is added over it. Bonding layers are extremely sticky so will easily bind to the Artex. The final layer has a layer of plaster skim applied to create a flat smooth ceiling.
This is a very safe method of covering your ceiling because the Artex is left intact so there is no danger of releasing asbestos into your home. It does however require your ceiling to be strong and in good condition beforehand.
Scrape, Sand and Skim
Where Artex needs to be removed it can be done so by gradually chipping away at it with a knife until the surface is flat 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, it does release a lot of potentially hazardous dust into the environment which needs to be dealt with appropriately and professionally.
If you would prefer complete removal of your Artex this is probably the best option to choose. For a 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.
This is a popular choice amongst our customers as it's less time-consuming than other options and the result is a perfectly flat modern-looking ceiling. In this method, plaster boards are laid over the top of the Artex, fixed to the joists, then sealed and plastered. Because there is no removal of the Artex there is no risk of releasing any asbestos into the environment. There is also the added benefit of being able to add holes for light fixtures. This is particularly useful in kitchens and bathrooms where rows of modern downlighters can then be installed. 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 involve 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 Wigan will skilfully plaster board your Artex ceiling for a great price and leave you safe in the knowledge of a job well done.
Here at Plastering Wigan we have successfully dealt with many Artex ceilings and walls over the last few years.
We are experienced and well versed in asbestos safety precautions, and up to date with current legislation.
Plastering Wigan are happy to give free advice on the best and safest options for your home.
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