For some people the textured Artex ceiling is the epitome of class. It is easy on the eye, long lasting and easy to paint over. However, for the rest of us (and let's be fair, this probably means most of us) Artex is one big nightmare. When faced with acres of ceiling Artex and possibly miles of walls, it can be very off-putting if it is your job to either disguise it or get rid of it altogether.
So what are the best ways to approach it and is it ever a good idea to leave it where it is?
Artex is usually used to decorate ceilings and is a water based covering, given a textured finish with a special brush or roller technique. It was very popular throughout the 1950's, 60's and 70's and unfortunately much of the Artex from this period may contain asbestos. If your home is of an age where the Artex might be harmful, do not even touch it until you have had it checked. If you are unlucky enough to identify asbestos then it will have to be removed by a specialist. In this case, it might be better to simply paint it and learn to live with it.
If you are able to remove the Artex yourself, a wallpaper steamer can be very effective. Simply steam small areas at a time and use a scraper to ease the Artex off the walls. You need to take your time with this job as the heat can damage your walls if you hold the steamer in place for too long. This is a long job and not easy, but the results are effective.
DIY stores also sell products designed for removing Artex. You simply paint them on, leave them for a while for the structure of the Artex to break down and once again scrape the Artex off.
If you don't want the mess associated with the above methods then plastering over your existing Artex is the next best solution. Even for the average DIY plasterer this is a pretty easy job. Plastering does take a while to master, but if you get good instruction from a website, video or book you can expect good results.
The Artex will need to be sanded down to get rid of any particularly high points before the plastering begins. Then coat the walls with PVA to prevent the plaster from soaking into the wall or ceiling. The first layer of plaster will need to be thick enough to cover most of the existing surface and then add another layer or two until it is smooth. The great thing about plastering over Artex is that the surface is often quite rough allowing the plaster to adhere easily.
Regardless of what you are planning on doing with your Artex; removing it or covering it. You need to be aware that it will be a messy and time consuming job. Your room will have to be stripped and all floor coverings will need to be protected.
If you find all of this a little to laborious then a good strong thick wall paper over a lining paper may be enough to hide your Artex on certain walls. For ceilings a dropped ceiling of plasterboard might be an appropriate option to hide it away. For those with the problem of asbestos this might be your only option.
If you are one of those people who simply love Artex, then there are still tradesmen out there who can produce a good quality finish which will fulfil your Artex dreams.