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    Removing artex

    Summary: Learn how to remove artex or plaster over artex.

    Artex is the trade name for a water-based textured covering used on ceilings. Before selecting your method for removing Artex, remember that it may have been applied in the first place to cover a ceiling in poor condition and that removing it will result in you having to re-plaster or replace the ceiling. Also, consider that Artex applied to plasterboard can be difficult to remove without damaging the plasterboard.

    Removing artex

    Before commencing with any of the methods below, be aware that Artex applied more than thirty years ago may contain asbestos and it is extremely unwise to sand down or scrape without seeking the advice of an asbestos specialist. Contact your local council for more information.

    If working from a stepladder, be careful not to overstretch. You may need to prepare a work platform from which you will be able to reach the ceiling without over stretching.


    Steam removal

    Artex can be steamed off using a wallpaper steamer but this method is both slow and messy. Another disadvantage is that the steam plate can damage the ceiling if held against one area for too long. Painted Artex is not suitable for steam removal. If you wish to use the steam removal method here are some useful guidelines:

    • Hold the steam stripper against the Artex for about one minute.
    • Test the Artex is soft enough to remove with a stripping knife or scraper. If it is continue the process.
    • To avoid damaging to the ceiling's surface when scraping away the softened Artex you can use a plastic kitchen utensil such as a spatula.

    Textured coating removers

    The easiest way to remove Artex is with a purpose made textured coating remover. Simply paint over the Artex and scrape it off when it is sufficiently softened. 

    Plastering over artex

    Artex can also be plastered over, but the ceiling's surface must be prepared first.                        

    • Firstly remove any flaking or loose sections of Artex or ceiling. Then remove all the larger stipples of Artex. This can be done with a scraper, but wear protective goggles to protect the eyes.
    • The ceiling should be painted in manageable sections with a coat of PVA adhesive, which can be bought in gallon containers from DIY stores. As Artex is quite porous and skim plaster goes off very quickly, the PVA will dramatically slow down the rate of moisture absorption, giving you more time to work the surface.
    • Dilute the PVA at 1:1 with water and stir thoroughly. Apply this to the ceiling/wall with a large paint brush.
    • Make sure you have covered the entire surface and leave it to dry for one hour. Apply two coats of PVA solution to give the ceiling a sufficient seal.
    • Skimming plaster is sold in bags of 25kg (smaller bags are available for patching). Follow the mixing instructions on the bag to produce a creamy consistency. One method for doing this is to use an electric drill with a paddle attachment.
    • Apply to the ceiling using normal plastering techniques.

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    Tools Needed
    • Step ladder
    • Wallpaper steamer
    • Stripping knife
    • Paint scraper
    Materials Needed
    • Texture coating remover
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    Tools Needed
    • Paint scraper
    • Paintbrush
    • Safety goggles
    Materials Needed
    • PVA Solution
    • Finishing plaster