Should you plaster over Artex ceilings?
How did Artex ceilings come about?
Artex ceilings are also known as popcorn or cottage cheese ceilings. They were quite popular many years ago but are no longer in great demand. Artex is a textured plaster that contains asbestos and is applied by spraying onto the surface of the ceiling. It was originally used around the 1950s to cover up previous layers of badly applied or cracking paint, and on its first application would take away the need for painters coatings for between 10-15 years, depending upon how much usage it received.
Is Artex dangerous to humans?
Inhalation of Artex spray can cause asbestosis (a form of lung disease) which was becoming more prevalent during those times due to workers overuse of this material. Inhalation however isn't an issue with this product now, as the product is no longer sprayed and instead brushed and trowelled on. Any paints used nowadays do not have any asbestos within their content.
Is it advisable to plaster over Artex ceilings?
In general, Yes! You just need to use a traditional or new formulation of an Artex killer and then scrape the existing Artex off to a minimum depth of at least 20mm. This is so that any contaminants are removed from the plasterboard and not left to cause air quality issues during its later usage by anyone else. This can be done with a paint scraper or a scraping trowel.
If the existing Artex is very extensive, it's best to get an asbestos testing company to check out the ceiling first so that any further precautions can be taken as necessary. Although this is unlikely in most cases since most of the material was removed during the removal of Artex itself. After you've scraped back the ceiling sufficiently, sand down and remove all dust and debris thoroughly, making sure that there are no loose particles left behind which could cause an issue at a later date.
Is removing Artex before plastering necessary?
You can get away with leaving the Artex plaster behind in many cases as it's possible to apply a skim coat directly over the top in order to hide any bumps, bulges or cracks. However, it isn't recommended to do this in an area where you'll be living unless it has been checked out first by a professional.
Covering up Artex is easy and cheap to do provided that you have cleaned back all of the material before starting work. You may need access to a scaffold tower if working from above so double check before attempting anything dangerous. Use plenty of joint compound on new areas – fill gaps between ridges properly so that nothing will come loose or fall off in the future.
It's also worth checking if any water pipes are behind the ceiling as they could be damaged by plastering over the Artex. You can do a quick check of your loft with a simple DIY insulation test kit (which you can buy at any decent hardware store) to see if there is any moisture in there that needs ventilating before you cover up the Artex on top of it.
If you're using plasterboard then make sure that the board overlaps any holes in your previous material so that nothing will fall through cracks into your home – gaps, even small ones, need filling properly with joint compound and sanded down afterwards.
How do I cover my Artex ceiling without plastering?
One of the most popular ways to do this is with a spray-on paint, such as emulsion paint. Nowadays, there are many different colours to match your current style. You can get some really good deals for emulsion paint now which looks perfect for covering Artex ceilings due to the way it comes out in layers which you can build up.
It's also worth considering using a textured finish which adds character and stops any small bumps and ridges from getting too noticeable, if you're really concerned about disguising them all together then this may be one of the best options.
In fact, many people go down this route because they don't want to have any plastering done at all so opt for a textured finish with a view to repainting the entire room down the road.
It's also much better for those of you who don't have the time or inclination to do it yourself and may get nervous about messing up your ceiling, this is where it might be worth hiring someone else in perhaps (if you're not too sure) but then what does a professional charge to plaster over Artex?
What is the estimated Artex removal cost?
While most people know, that they have Artex in their ceilings there's a good chance you don't actually know what it is. Estimates to remove Artex from your ceilings are between £250-£500 per room. Again you should probably budget around the same as what it would cost to have your entire ceiling replastered.
Does plastering over Artex look good?
In some cases Yes, while in other cases No. It all depends on how many coats of paint you end up covering it with and whether or not you sand it down properly before painting, if this isn't done then even after several coats of paint later on, parts of the original texture will still be visible through the paint finish; these are known as 'ghost marks'.
What is the best way to cover my Artex ceilings?
Artex is a textured plaster that often leads to unsightly patches of flaking off. It can be removed by sanding and repainting, which, depending on the age of your home, may simply be too much hassle - especially considering most reputable builders or plasterers will charge you for the labour involved in doing it, but not give you any guarantees that the surface underneath isn't about to come away at any time anyway.
As an alternative to complete removal, you could try covering the Artex with a skim coat of plasterboard.
This creates a smooth surface that can be painted over, hiding any existing imperfections and creating a contemporary look; it's hard to go wrong with white plasterboard - modern and clean in appearance, without being too clinical or sanitised.
It is good for people who are used to working with plasterboard because they know what thicknesses and joints are needed for different ceiling heights or spans. They also already have the correct tools available to them, such as trowels (plaster or builders) and jointing compounds that work well on plasterboard.
What is your motivation for covering your Artex ceilings?
In many cases the loss of head height or unsightly appearance make Artex ceilings a very unattractive feature and covering them gives an easy opportunity to quickly improve the overall appearance of a room or property. Doing this at an earlier stage means less disruption much later when the plasterwork needs updating.
If you want to take advantage of recent government changes in legislation that now allow you to increase your floor space without affecting building regulations insulation levels- covering over your Artex roof will reduce its thickness thereby increasing compliance with current building regulations requirements.
Have an Artex ceiling and are not sure of what to do? Call Winchester Plastering and Drylining, your plasterer near me for all your enquiries.