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Can You Plaster Over Artex

15 June 2023

Artex ceilings have long been a common feature in homes, but as design trends have evolved, many homeowners desire a sleek and contemporary look. The textured surface of Artex can pose challenges when it comes to painting or decorating, making plastering an attractive option for achieving a smooth and modern finish.

Whether you're looking to update the appearance of your space or address damaged or dated Artex, we aim to provide valuable insights to help you make informed decisions.

With help from Top Notch Walls, you can discover the possibilities of transforming your property and knowing the steps involved in plastering over this textured coating.

Understanding Artex

Artex is a textured coating commonly applied to ceilings, and sometimes walls, to add visual interest and texture to a space. It comes in various patterns and textures, such as swirls, stippling, or patterns resembling peaks and valleys. The popularity of Artex peaked in the mid-20th century, but many homeowners now seek a smoother and more modern aesthetic.

Reasons To Consider Plastering Over Artex

Plastering over Artex offers several advantages for homeowners.

  • It allows you to achieve a sleek, flat surface that is easier to paint or decorate compared to the textured Artex finish.
  • Plastering provides a blank canvas for future decoration, allowing you to adapt the style of your space as trends change.
  • If Artex is damaged, discoloured, or simply outdated, plastering offers a practical solution to refresh the overall appearance.

Assessing The Feasibility Of Plastering Over Artex

While there are many things to consider when determining whether you should plaster over Artex, the condition of the surface and the presence of asbestos are factors to take on board.

Can You Plaster Over Artex

Surface Condition

Before embarking on plastering over Artex, evaluate the condition of the existing Artex surface. Assessing the surface condition will help determine its suitability for plastering. Stable and well-adhered Artex is generally more conducive to a successful outcome.

If an Artex ceiling is loose, crumbling, or in poor condition, it may require additional preparation or alternative solutions.

Asbestos Concerns

Asbestos was commonly used in construction materials, including Artex, until its ban due to health concerns. If your property was constructed before the mid-1980s, there is a higher possibility of asbestos-containing Artex.

It is crucial to have a professional asbestos test conducted before undertaking any work on Artex. Professional asbestos testing will determine if the Artex contains asbestos fibres and guide you in taking the necessary precautions or alternative approaches if asbestos is detected. For more learnings, you can check out our post "How To Tell If Plaster Has Asbestos".

Plastering Over Artex

Before you start plastering over Artex, thorough preparation is crucial to ensure you safely remove Artex and enjoy a successful outcome.

Cleaning: Begin by thoroughly cleaning the Artex surface to remove any dirt, dust, or grease. This helps the plaster to properly adhere.

Repairing Loose Artex: Inspect the Artex for loose or damaged sections. Carefully remove any loose material and repair those sections using a suitable filler or patching compound. You need a stable base for the plaster to adhere to.

Stabilising The Surface: Ensure the Artex surface is stable and securely fixed to the underlying substrate. Address any structural issues or movement that may affect the plaster's durability.

Plastering Techniques

Plastering over Artex involves applying multiple layers of plaster to achieve a smooth and even finish.

Bonding Agent: Apply a bonding agent, such as a diluted PVA adhesive, to the Artex surface. This helps the new plaster bond effectively to the textured surface.

Base Coat Plaster: Apply a base coat of plaster, also known as a first coat, backing, or bonding coat, to create a solid foundation for the final coat. Work the first coat into the textured surface, ensuring even coverage. If you require a second coat, do so now, with two coats creating a better finish and smooth surface.

Skim Coat: Once the base coat has dried, apply a thin layer of finishing plaster, known as a skim coat, to achieve a smooth, flat surface. Use a plasterer's trowel to spread the plaster evenly and create a seamless finish.

Alternatives To Plastering

Two alternatives to consider are removing Artex or skimming over Artex.

Removing Artex: One alternative is to remove the textured coating entirely. However, it's important to note that removing Artex can be a labour-intensive and time-consuming process. It typically involves scraping or sanding off the textured surface, which can be physically demanding and may generate a significant amount of dust.

Additionally, there is a risk of damaging the underlying surface during the removal process, especially if it is delicate or prone to damage.

Skimming Over Artex: Skimming over Artex is another alternative to consider. This involves applying a thin layer of finishing plaster directly over the Artex surface. However, you must recognise skimming over Artex presents certain challenges. The textured nature of Artex can make it difficult to achieve a perfectly smooth finish through skimming alone.

The texture may still show through the skim coat, resulting in a less uniform appearance. Skimming over Artex is typically more successful when the finish is minimal or shallow.

It's advisable to consult with a professional plasterer to assess the feasibility of skimming over your specific Artex surface and to determine the best approach for achieving the desired results. You can also check out our post "Plastering Or Skimming Whats The Difference" for more additional insights.

Is It Worth Plastering Over Artex?

Deciding whether it's worth your time to plaster over Artex depends on factors such as aesthetic preference, the condition of the Artex, budget, and convenience. Plastering can provide a smoother finish and is generally more cost-effective than complete removal or extensive repairs.

However, the Artex should be stable and in reasonably good condition. Hiring a professional plasterer is recommended for achieving a high-quality result.

Can You Just Plaster Over Artex Asbestos?

It is generally considered safe to plaster over Artex asbestos as long as:

  • It is contained
  • You avoid damaging the surface in a way that releases fibres

If you have any doubts, hire an asbestos expert to review the surface and allow them to make an expert judgment.

How Much Does It Cost To Skim A Ceiling Over Artex UK?

The cost of skimming a ceiling over Artex in the UK can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the ceiling, the complexity of the Artex pattern, the location, whether you need two coats, whether you need equipment to reach high spots and the specific rates charged by plasterers in your area.

On average, the cost of skimming a ceiling over Artex in the UK can range from £200 to £575, according to recent estimates taken from the Checkatrade website. Obtain quotes from multiple plasterers in your area to get a more accurate estimate based on your specific requirements. Our post "Is Skimming Cheaper Than Plastering" maybe interest you. You can check it out.

Is It Safe To Buy A House With Artex Ceilings?

Buying a house with Artex ceilings is generally safe, but it's important to consider the possibility of asbestos in older properties. Artex itself is not dangerous, but if the house dates from before the mid-1980s, there is a chance that the Artex coating contains asbestos.

If you test and asbestos is present, appropriate measures should be taken, such as professional removal or encapsulation.

For a perfect finish for your whole ceiling or parts of an Artex project, plasterwork is simple and effective.

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