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Artex On Ceilings & Walls Can Contain Asbestos

Artex Removal Services

Asbestos Artex Removal Specialist

Removal Of Textured Coatings On Walls, Ceilings & Everything Else

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Artex Removal Services

Artex on ceilings or walls first made its appearance in the UK in the 1970s, remaining popular for many decades.

Although it has now fallen out of fashion, as fewer homeowners these days are keen on textured ceilings, thousands of older homes still retain their original artexed surfaces. You can either live with this or have it removed.

So, how do you remove Artex* textured coatings from your ceilings and walls?

Well, you can either do it yourself or get a professional Artex removal service like Top Notch Walls to do the job for you.

Which one is the best option? We'll provide the facts about removing Artex textured coatings and let you decide.

*While the name 'Artex' is used as a generic term for textured coatings on ceilings or walls, this is only one brand, produced by Artex Ltd. The same rules and advice apply to similar products by other manufacturers, like Newtex, Pebbletex and Marblecoat.

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First Things First: The Dangers Of Asbestos

From 1879 onwards, this versatile heat-proof, sound-proof, flexible material was found in many products, including car brake pads, pipe and boiler insulation, floor tiles and roofing cement.

It was also added to Artex coatings as a stiffener, and this was applied to millions of homes around the country for several decades to add texture to rooms.

Concerns about health risks from asbestos fibres were raised fairly early on, but it wasn't until 1985 that blue and brown asbestos (the most hazardous types) were banned in the UK. And in 1999, white asbestos was finally prohibited from being used in the manufacture of products in the UK.

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First Things First The Dangers Of Asbestos

Exposure to asbestos fibres has been linked to a condition called asbestosis (lung disease) as well as certain types of aggressive cancer.

Artex manufactured before 1984 is highly likely to contain asbestos, although this is probably white asbestos - the least hazardous variety - and will be present in small amounts (between 1 and 4% total asbestos content). Even so, you are still at risk of harm if the asbestos is damaged and you breathe in the microscopic fibres.

Please bear in mind that it is impossible to determine whether Artex coatings contain asbestos without conducting an asbestos survey.

Textured coatings manufactured as recently as 1999 may also contain asbestos, so it's best to assume that any of these products applied up to this time (and even a few years afterwards) are potentially hazardous.

For this reason, Artex removal has to be handled carefully. If you have any doubts, contact an asbestos specialist or get in touch with Top Notch Walls for more advice.

Home asbestos testing kits are available for between £20 and £100 so that you can check whether your Artex does contain asbestos.

Top Notch Walls advises against these kits for the following reasons:

  • They are nowhere near as accurate or reliable as a proper asbestos survey carried out by professionals.
  • The test equipment is basic and can be difficult to use if you're unfamiliar with the process.
  • The test disturbs the asbestos, potentially releasing harmful dust, especially if the test area isn't sealed.

While an asbestos survey costs around £200, it really is the best way to discover whether this hazardous material is present in your textured coating.

Related post: How to tell if plaster has asbestos?

What Does Artex Removal Involve?

Basically, when you're fed up with looking at your outdated spiky, patterned or grooved ceiling, you can either cover it up or pull it down and replaster. There are a number of ways to do this, and we'll go over these each in turn.

Related post: How to cover artex without plastering?

It's up to you how you choose to do this, although there are issues to watch out for, with the possible presence of asbestos being the number one concern.

What Does Artex Removal Involve

This method is the most popular as it's the least disruptive and often the cheapest option. In relation to asbestos, an older Artex ceiling should only be covered if it is in good condition. If it has suffered damage or is compromised in any way, complete removal will be necessary.

Assuming that they are intact, Artex ceilings and walls can be covered using a couple of methods:

This is a quick and efficient method using plasterboard panels that are nailed or screwed into place over the top of the existing surface.

It is imperative that the boards are affixed securely to the ceiling joists or there is a high risk of the panels falling, and perhaps bringing down the old textured coating with it.

Alternatively, a thin layer of wet plaster can be applied to the existing Artex surface to disguise the textured finish. A 50/50 mix of water and PVA adhesive is painted over the entire area beforehand to ensure a good bond. You may need two or three coats of the PVA solution, as textured coatings are very absorbent.

Related post: Can you plaster over artex?

When the final coat of PVA has become tacky, it's time to apply the plaster. Two coats of skim plaster are generally enough to provide a good smooth finish.

Either of these options is okay even if your Artex does contain asbestos. Still, it is essential that the surface isn't disturbed during the process as this can release dust particles containing harmful fibres. That means that the surface should not be sanded, scraped or disturbed in any way during the process.

If there's no asbestos present, plastering over textured coatings isn't a problem. First, any large pieces of Artex or any really uneven areas can be sanded or scraped level. This will be messy. If you do this yourself, you will need suitable PPE.

Several layers of plaster will soon cover that unwanted Artex, leaving you with a perfectly smooth surface.

Removing textured coatings is a trickier and potentially messier process, and there are basically two ways to do this.

Several Artex removal products are available from DIY stores, such as Eco Solutions by X-Tex and Artex Remover by Fuze. These water-based products are non-toxic, non-flammable and non-caustic, so there's no risk of fumes or skin burns.

They are also pretty easy to use: simply paint the surface of your Artex ceilings or walls and leave it to take effect. The chemical reaction turns the coating into a gel-like consistency, allowing you to simply peel or scrape it off.

But what if there's any asbestos present? The trick here is that the material is kept wet throughout the removal process and the gel traps any dust and harmful asbestos fibres, making it safe.

This method can be time-consuming, frustrating and messy!

A wallpaper steamer is used to make the entire surface of the wall or ceiling wet, then the Artex is scraped off. It's vital that the room is cleared of all furniture and other items, or at least that they are protected with dust covers, as the wet debris will fall down as the work continues.

It can be a tricky job: if the steam plate is left on the surface for too long it can damage the substrate beneath. It's a slow process that requires elbow grease and patience, and you really need to watch that steamer plate!

Finally, this method is not recommended by many experts if the Artex contains asbestos, as there is a risk that the steam clouds will contain harmful dust particles and fibres that cause lung problems and cancer.

Only use a wallpaper steamer if you are absolutely certain that your textured coating does not contain asbestos!

All in all, it's one of those jobs that nobody enjoys, which is why most people leave it to experts like Top Notch Walls.

Now we come to another problem that you'll encounter when you remove Artex yourself: disposing of the debris.

Whether it contains asbestos or not, this isn't something that you can simply throw into your dustbin.

All the waste from this job must be bagged carefully - particularly if it has got asbestos in - and taken to your local council refuse and recycling depot.

If you know for definite that your Artex has asbestos in it, dumping it in your general waste bin is irresponsible and puts the refuse collectors at risk, as well as anyone else who comes into contact with the rubbish.

The waste should be double-bagged and taken to the recycling centre where it can be dealt with properly.

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What's The Best Way To Remove Artex?

Having seen the options, it's really up to you as to which way to go: while we are happy to advise, we can't make the choice for you.

Our best advice is this:

  • If your property was constructed prior to the year 2000, you need to arrange for an asbestos survey to be carried out before removing or covering your Artex ceiling.
  • If asbestos is discovered, call Top Notch Walls and we'll advise you further. We can cover the existing Artex, or carry out a complete removal, depending on your wishes and your budget. If we remove Artex from your home, we will also handle the disposal.
  • If asbestos isn't present, or your home was built after 2000, then the process is simpler but still can be messy and laborious. We can re-plaster the surface for you, cover it over, or remove it completely.
  • Overall, the best way to remove Artex yourself is to use a chemical removal product, although, again, this isn't a job that everyone enjoys or can manage easily.

Our final piece of advice is that you should get in touch with Top Notch Walls and discuss the problem with us. We can handle everything for you, from removing Artex to plastering the surfaces perfectly.

Whether it's on a wall or ceiling, we'll provide you with a beautiful smooth finish.

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How Serious Is The Risk From Asbestos In Artex

How Serious Is The Risk From Asbestos In Artex?

We've stressed the importance of harmful asbestos particles enough, and maybe this has made you anxious. However, while it's an important subject, don't be too paranoid about this!

Remember:

  • If your Artex coating contains asbestos, it is perfectly safe unless it is damaged or disturbed.
  • If your property was built or renovated from the year 2000 onwards, the chances of asbestos being present are extremely low.

And if you want your Artex removed safely, Top Notch Walls are the best people to call.

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How Much Does Artex Removal Cost?

Artex removal costs vary from region to region, with London and the southeast being generally more expensive.

The final cost will depend on the size and complexity of the task as well as the method used by the contractor.

Other factors include:

  • The type of Artex (That is, whether it contains asbestos or not)
  • The condition of the Artex - is it damaged and cracked?
  • Its depth (thicker coatings are sometimes applied, and these will take more time and effort to remove)

The average cost of Artex wall or ceiling removal is around £17.50 per square metre, but this will change depending on the points mentioned here.

Also, bear in mind that these prices don't include the application of fresh plaster once the removal process is finished, which will be somewhere around £20 per square metre.

For more information on our pricing structure, and for a free quote, why not give us a call? When we have a better idea of what your project involves, we can put together an estimate that's specifically tailored to your circumstances.

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A Few Artex Removal FAQs

There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding Artex removal, particularly if there's a chance that it does contain asbestos.

This can be seen in the type of questions that people ask online, so let's try to put you at ease with some common sense answers:

No, absolutely not. There are no such laws in the UK and anyone suggesting otherwise is scaremongering and completely wrong. This is, of course, referring to textured coatings that contain asbestos. A special license is required for removing materials with high asbestos content, but these are unlikely to be present in most homes these days.

Yes, Artex does not pose a health risk under normal circumstances. If it was installed after 1999, it is perfectly safe (although plaster dust can cause respiratory issues when sanded, and appropriate protection must always be worn). And if the Artex is older, it is fine unless damaged or disturbed.

Yes, it is safe. If the property is less than twenty or so years old, asbestos won't be an issue. And in houses built prior to 1984, the risk of harm is still extremely low. For any house built between then and 1999, the risk is even lower. However, an asbestos survey should be carried out during the sales process anyway, just as a precaution.

No, a license isn't required for removing Artex. Again, this is asked in relation to asbestos content, and although the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) have strict rules and regulations about handling asbestos, low-risk products are a bit of a grey area.

While you, or your contractor, don't need a license for Artex removal, the law states that this task "Must be undertaken safely". This is open to interpretation, but the very safest way to remove Artex is to hire a professional company, like Top Notch Walls, to handle the job for you.

Definitely! After removing the old textured coating, the surface won't look very good at all. Whether it's scraped off using the chemical method or a steamer, the surface can't be left as it is. A beautiful new coat of plaster will make your walls and ceiling look fantastic, and Top Notch Walls can do this for you as part of the Artex removal project.

Potentially, but this isn't as big a problem as it's made out to be. Interior design fashions and fads change just like any other trend. Some people hate Artex and prefer a smooth surface, while this feature will be attractive to other buyers. The main issue is the possibility of asbestos being present, which could be off-putting for some people. However, an asbestos survey will determine whether it is present and whether it needs attention.

If you believe that it might be a problem that will potentially damage your chances of a sale, then removing Artex textured coatings is a sensible choice.

Top Notch Walls Specialist Artex Ceiling Removal

While this is a job that some people will feel confident that they can handle, it's not always the best decision.

To begin with, you need to know if you're dealing with asbestos. Once this has been established, you have two choices: deal with it yourself or get a professional in to do the job for you.

As trusted experts in the field, Top Notch Walls is perfectly equipped and experienced to handle your Artex removal project. If you have any questions or worries about your textured coating - particularly about asbestos content and the associated health risks - get in touch with us today and we'll bring you peace of mind.

We will also provide a free quote and guide you through all of the options available.

At Top Notch Walls we believe in offering the complete package of friendly advice, excellent service and perfect results.

Top Notch Walls
Top Notch Walls Specialist Artex Ceiling Removal

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frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions

At Top Notch Walls, we often find that homeowners want to remove Artex because of its outdated aesthetic appeal and the potential health risk associated with asbestos. It's also a textured finish that collects dust easily, so removing it can help improve indoor air quality.

Not all Artex contains asbestos, but it was a common additive in Artex products until the mid-1980s. At Top Notch Walls, we recommend having a professional asbestos test performed on your Artex before any removal attempts to ensure safety.

Yes, at Top Notch Walls, we do offer services to plaster over Artex as a less messy alternative to removal. However, keep in mind that this does not eliminate the potential risk of asbestos if it is present in the Artex.

Absolutely, our team at Top Notch Walls is skilled at removing Artex from ceilings. It's a more challenging task due to working overhead and gravity, but we have the right tools and techniques to get it done safely and efficiently.

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