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

Do you have Artex ceilings or walls in your home that you are looking to remove? I don’t blame you, I’m not a fan of these ceilings and they certainly have fallen out of fashion in recent years.

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

Asbestos testing kit

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 extremely popular in the 1960s and 1970s but started to fall out of fashion by the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Many homeowners now choose to remove the Artex coatings and replace them with a smooth finish.

A Heads Up… About Asbestos

Does Artex contain asbestos?

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

Once trapped in the lungs, these fibres become trapped where, over several decades, they cause scar damage which reduces the lung’s capacity to function correctly. They can also cause cancers and other life-threatening ailments.

These dangerous fibres were a key ingredient of Artex and other similar textured coatings, their purpose was to stiffen the coating so it was easier for the installer to form patterns.

Not every textured coating or Artex product contains asbestos. In fact, safe asbestos-free Artex is still on sale now.

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

While asbestos can be very dangerous, it’s perfectly safe if it’s not disturbed, it’s the loose fibres that pose the risk to health. Asbestos that’s contained inside Artex coatings only poses a risk if it’s disturbed by:

  • Sanding.
  • Drilling.
  • Cutting.
  • Removal.

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 their specialist lab which will tell you if it contains asbestos.

The kits cost around £30 and you’ll get the results online in a matter of days.

Photos of Artex Textured Coatings

While it’s impossible to tell if a textured coating contains asbestos just by looking g at it, here are a few photos of Artex, taken inside a property built in the 1980s:

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 is the Best Way to Remove 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 an 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 work slowly, 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

Due to the dangers of asbestos and the cost of removing it, many homeowners choose to leave the Artex in place and instead 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 it over with the trowel.

3 – Plasterboarding

This is also a popular method and is guaranteed to hide and encapsulate any asbestos.

New plasterboard is secured over the existing ceiling and finished with plaster.

Options 2 and 3 are the quickest methods and produce the least amount of mess, unfortunately, they also leave the Artex and any asbestos in place. You’ll need to be careful in the future as any work you do to the ceiling, such as drilling a hole for a light fitting, could release the dust.

Don’t Want To Do This Work Yourself?

We don’t blame you, that’s why we can help you get a price from a professional Artex remover.

Just tap the button below and fill in the form to get started:

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This guide to Artex removal was written by and was last updated in April 2022.

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Author - Danny Woodley
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