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 competing businesses that sell similar products.
In the past, most of these coatings contained asbestos particles, these were added as a hardener to firm up the liquid.
Asbestos is now banned in the UK 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-1980’s, 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-1980’s, other manufacturers may have continued to use it up until 1999.
This is more likely to be the case with imports.
As a homeowner or tradesperson, you probably have no idea which type of textured coating was used prior to 1999, so you should assume it contains asbestos.
How to be 100% Certain
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 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).
The average turnaround time is 48 hours.
All kits come with personal protective equipment and you’ll get a certificate with the results, this is ideal if you’re planning to sell your home in the future.
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.
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.
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