Got an Artex Ceiling or Wall in Your Home That You Want to Remove?

Do you have Artex ceiling or walls in your home and are you looking to get rid of them?

This page is all about Artex and the options you have.

Artex is, in fact, a trading name of a company that sells textured wall coatings in the United Kingdom.

These products became so popular that the name Artex has become synonymous with all textured coatings, regardless of the type or manufacturer.

Textured coatings were very popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s but have fallen out of favour in more recent times.

Many homeowners choose to get rid of these coatings and replace them with a smooth plastered ceiling or wall.

A Heads Up… About Asbestos

Does Artex Contain Asbestos?

Asbestos is an extremely dangerous fibrous and dusty material that can cause cancers and other serious health conditions if it enters the lungs.

These fibres were once used in the manufacturing of Artex and similar textured coatings.

Not every textured coating or Artex contains Asbestos, but older ones do.

While asbestos is perfectly safe when left alone, the danger is during removal and refurbishment work when dust and fibres are released into the home.

If your home was constructed prior to the 1980’s, there’s a good chance that the Artex will contain asbestos. Homes constructed between the mid-1980’s and 1999 may contain asbestos while those built after 1999 shouldn’t contain any, although some builders still used Asbestos even though it was banned in 1999.

How Can I Be 100% Sure My Artex Coating Doesn’t Contain Asbestos?

If you’re not sure if your textured coating contains asbestos or not, you can buy an Asbestos sampling kit online – just post a tiny amount to a specialist lab who will tell you if it contains Asbestos.

The kits cost around £40 and you’ll get the results online in a matter of days.

Related: This page contains a very insightful guide to the 8 most common places to find asbestos in the home.

Photos of Artex Textured Coatings

Artex pattern

Swirl pattern


Broken leather Artex

Broken Leather Artex


Popcorn ceiling – popular in the United States and sometimes seen here in the UK

What Alternatives Are There to Removing Artex?

There’s no doubt about it, removing Artex textured coatings is a challenging task that will produce a lot of dust and mess.

But do you really need to remove it when you could plaster over it?

Here are your three options:

  • Complete removal of the textured coating
  • Plaster skim over the top of it to hide it, leaving a smooth finish
  • Plasterboard over the top, with a smooth plaster finish

1 – How To Remove Artex Ceiling

The most popular way to remove Artex is to use a steamer to loosen it and then ease it off with a scraper. This process is slow but effective, if you hold the steamer in the same place for too long, however, the Artex will liquefy and run everywhere making a mess. At worst, you’ll damage the plasterboard behind the textured coating but if you’re careful and take care, you should be fine.

Another option is to use a product such as Fuze’s Artex Remover or Eco Solutions X-Tex. These chemicals work by turning the Artex to gel so it can be scraped off.

Here’s a short video explaining how they work:

2 – Plaster Over The Artex

Many homeowners choose to leave the Artex in place and just apply two coats of plaster over the top of it. This is usually enough to create a smooth surface.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Using a scraper or another instrument, knock off any large pieces or Artex.
  • Apply two coats of PVA solution to the existing Artex. As textured coatings are very absorbent, you may even need a third coat.
  • When the final coat of PVA goes “tacky” trowel on the first coat of plaster, flatten and smooth off as it starts to firm up.
  • As the first coat of plaster is firming, prepare the second batch and start applying.
  • Firm up with a trowel as required as the second coat starts to firm.

The secret to achieving a good plaster finish is to avoid the temptation to smooth off the surface while it’s still very wet and soft. It’s better to wait a short while longer until the plaster is firming before you flatten it and smooth over with the trowel.

If you have Asbestos Artex, plastering over it will seal it in, this is a safe option. However, if you forget the asbestos is there or if you sell the house, it could be disturbed at a later date by accident.

3 – Plasterboarding

Although this method is a little extreme, it will certainly hide the Artex and provide a smooth surface for replastering.

Securing new plasterboards directly over the Artex and then plastering over it is a job best left to a professional or at least someone with at least some experience of this type of work.

Don’t Want To Do This Work Yourself?

We don’t blame you, that’s why we’ve teamed up with a partner who can provide you with a quote for this type of work.

Just tap the button below to get started:

Get a Quote Online

This guide to Artex removal was written by and was last updated in August 2019.

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Author - Danny Woodley