Artex is the name of a company that produces textured wall and ceiling coatings. The name has become synonymous with all textured coatings but there are in fact, several businesses that sell similar products under different brand names.
In the past, most of these coatings contained asbestos particles, these were added as a hardener to firm up the liquid, making it easier for the operator to form patterns on ceilings and walls.
Asbestos is now banned in the UK and has been since 1999, but there are millions of homes that still contain this harmful material.
Obviously, there is a significant risk to homeowners and tradespeople who disturb asbestos-containing products in the home but how do you tell if your wall or ceiling contains asbestos?
We’ll start with Artex itself as they were the most popular brand during the asbestos heyday.
As a General Rule of Thumb:
If your home was constructed prior to 1985 the textured coating is very likely to contain asbestos.
If it was built between 1985 and 1999 it shouldn’t contain any but may do so – Artex stopped using asbestos in the mid-1980s, however stockists or tradespeople may have kept the asbestos-containing versions in stock for several years after production stopped.
If the home was built after the year 2000, the Artex shouldn’t contain any asbestos.
Other Manufacturers of Wall and Ceiling Coatings
While Artex (the company) stopped using asbestos in the mid-1980s, other manufacturers may have continued to use it up until 1999.
This is more likely to be the case with imported products.
As a consumer or tradesperson, you probably have no idea which type of textured coating was used prior to 1999, so you should assume it contains asbestos.
Can I Tell if My Artex Ceiling Contains Asbestos Just by Looking at it?
Once a textured coating has hardened, there’s no way to tell if it contains asbestos just by looking at it or by touch. Also, many of the fibres in old Artex coatings look very similar to harmless fibres that can be found in safe, modern products.
How Can I be 100% Certain My Artex Ceiling Doesn’t Contain Asbestos?
The only way to be 100% sure of the content of your Artex textured coating is to have a sample taken and sent off for analysis.
You may think this is a costly procedure but it isn’t.
Here we explain how to do this and you’ll be pleased to know it isn’t expensive at all.
You can also get the results online in a matter of days, sometimes within 24 hours.
You can do this yourself if part of the material has already broken off or if there’s no chance of the asbestos contaminating the home. Otherwise, you should get an accredited person or company to do it for you.
The cost for a DIY sampling kit is around £30 for a single sample and £40 for a two-sample kit (see current prices here).
How To Safely Remove Artex
If your Artex or similar textured coating doesn’t contain asbestos then it’s quite easy to remove.
If the Artex contains asbestos and you want to get rid of it, you’ll have no choice but to get a professional in to remove it safely.
Are There Alternatives to Artex Removal?
Did you know that asbestos is perfectly safe if left undisturbed?
It’s only when the material is cut, broken, sanded or drilled that harmful dust is released.
You can also safely encapsulate or plaster over most types of Artex. In fact, many experts feel it’s safer to leave asbestos in place, rather than removing it.
Some plasterers choose to cap over the ceiling with plasterboard while others apply two or three layers of plaster skim to seal in the asbestos, leaving you with a smooth surface.
As asbestos sampling costs less than £30 and you can get a certificate of the results, there’s no excuse for risking your health or that of anyone else that lives in the property.
Personally, I would test any suspect material that’s found in a home constructed prior to the year 2000.
Feel free to explore similar and related pages on our site. We have a ton of helpful guides for you, for example, on this page we’ve published information on how much asbestos surveying costs.
(You can also use these testing kits on asbestos garage roofs and other products that you suspect contain this dangerous material.)