What do you do with Artex ceilings?
What is the best way to explain Artex Ceilings?
Artex is the name given to ceilings that have been covered with a layer of a cement-based material. The original material was called 'artificial render', but this name has now fallen out of use. This type of ceiling appears on buildings constructed between the mid-1950s and the late 1980s, but there are also examples dating from as early as 1914. Artex can be found on everything from old schools and hospitals to churches and warehouses - anywhere that building work took place during this period (and possibly before).
What causes Artex?
Originally, Artex build-up occurred when damp penetrated through plasterboard ceilings or directly into timbered roofs. It could then soak into the wood and expand, causing it to lift away from or rot at the ceiling.
The new 'Artex' plaster was then applied to cover up and seal this damage, but in many cases, it only served to add more layers of salt to the existing problem as moisture in the atmosphere reacted with the damp beneath. In effect, this is what made Artex so attractive to builders - it's cheap and easy to apply when compared to removing underlying damp problems.
Is it safe to plaster over Artex ceilings?
Unfortunately, most of the general advice you will find may say 'yes go ahead and plaster over Artex' or 'no don't do it, it will cause problems. These are both true statements depending on what state the existing Artex ceiling is in. If you have a ceiling where moisture has penetrated into timber above, then removing it is essential. In situations where water penetrates through thereby causing damp at a wall plate near the beams and joists then urgent attention is needed as it is a health concern for occupants that might have breathing problems due to long exposures to rising damp.
Most buildings will fall somewhere between those two extremes. For example:
What is the best way to cover my Artex ceiling without plastering?
You will need to strip off the existing surface work, which may be painted or decorated plaster. To do this:
Now that your Artex-free ceiling is painted, just add some new light fittings and accessories - perhaps with a retro theme for that authentic feel - and you're done!
Is it necessary to remove Artex before plastering?
This depends on what kind of finish you want, and what type of plaster you're using.
For a painted finish, all the Artex needs to be removed - even if it's only as much as can easily be chipped off (the ceiling should still look rough) otherwise the paint will flake off too. If the existing texture provides a suitable surface for your decoration then simply give it two coats of emulsion before applying your chosen motifs.
These days many people find it simpler just to apply wallpaper directly on top of Artex, however, this is not recommended by most manufacturers because the adhesive in Artex is designed to expand and contract with heat so that over time the paper may peel or bubble off. Whether or not you choose to use paper is a matter of personal choice.
What you do will depend on the effect you are seeking and the space available. If there are areas where Artex remains intact, then that's what you'll want to work with, so concentrate your decoration in those spots. For instance, if the ceiling is very high or if it is in an area where people aren't likely to look up such as a utility room then cover over most of the ceiling with paper but leave one section finished with Artex for contrast.
What should be a fair Artex removal cost?
The cost of taking it down will depend on the size of the room and what surface preparation has to be done.
For a typical Victorian 3 bedroom house with half-height bedrooms, you should be looking at between £250 and £500 depending on how long it'll take.
For instance, a bedroom ceiling that is 4m x 2m would take (working at a good pace) between 1 hour and an hour and a quarter to remove the Artex, repair the plaster underneath and plasterboard over it with new plasterboard. You need to figure out how long each part was taking.
But I'm not removing all of my Artex…I just want to paint it?
It's worth pointing out that most people prefer either entirely textured ceilings or entirely painted ones.
You need to look at the ceiling both from a visual and a practical point of view. If it's pretty much all textured then you can probably just paint over it as it doesn't have to be perfect. But if there is some plasterboard on the ceiling then things get more complicated. Supposing that there are about 100 m2 covered with new plasterboard that needs to be hidden by paint, then this will cost you about £20-£30 per m2 to do (for materials and labour).
If you're not sure of how to treat your Artex ceilings, then call the plasterer near me Watford, Watford Drywall for advice and guidance on the next steps. Our specialist plasterers will be happy to discuss your project and offer some great solutions. Call now or complete the contact form and a member of the team will be in touch promptly.