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How to remove artex SAFELY explained by the manufacturers of X-Tex

Artex® is a brand of textured surface covering to decorate ceilings and, or walls which are generally brought to a finish with the use of a brush or comb resulting in a textured finish. Textured coatings are used to produce decorative finishes on ceilings and walls which was previously very fashionable. 

A textured coating allows a professional plasterer or decorator to add a raised texture and patterns to a ceiling or wall which can then be painted. The name Artex is a trademark of Artex Ltd and the Artex name has become commonly used for all textured surface coatings, however, there are several other manufacturers who sell similar products.

Until 2000 Artex and other textured wall coverings contained asbestos which is now classed as a dangerous substance. Asbestos is a term for a group of minerals made of microscopic fibres and if the fibres are inhaled it can damage your lungs and cause other serious diseases. Many buildings have the presence of asbestos in their artex or other textured coatings on walls and ceilings as the laws around the use of asbestos only changed in 2000. After 2000 all textured surface coatings legally had to be asbestos-free artex.

When people first hear the word asbestos and find out it could be present in a coating that’s often found on the ceilings of bedrooms and living areas in homes, it’s normal to be worried about the effect this may have on your health. The good news is, providing these materials are left undamaged, they are not a threat to your health.

The biggest risk is not the artex itself, but the deadly asbestos fibres that could be in it and by leaving it undisturbed your health won’t be affected.

Artex surfaces which were added prior to 2000 are likely to contain asbestos and it is extremely unwise to sand or scrape without seeking the advice of an asbestos specialist, as this can potentially damage your health and anybody around you. Contact your local council if you need help with this. 

If you have any questions about Artex please visit our FAQ page

Once confirmed that the artex® does not contain asbestos fibres and it can be removed safely with no risk there are a number of different ways that artex ceiling removal can be done. Firstly it can be “steamed” off using a wallpaper steamer. This can be very messy and is also a very slow process. It cannot be done at speed or with the steam plate left in one area for too long…if it is, there is a possibility of damaging the ceiling or wall behind it and also the risk that the artex® will liquefy and run everywhere.

If done carefully and with some care, steaming will enable you to soak and strip an artex surface without damaging either yourself or the surface you are working on. Place the steamer plate on the surface for several seconds at a time, testing very frequently with a handheld scraper to monitor how soft it is getting and then scrape it off once soft enough to do so. Once the artex has been removed using a steamer it will dry and become a powder which in turn can produce a dust which is extremely hazardous. A steamer can be used in conjunction with X-Tex which would prevent this from happening

The only way to be 100% sure if your Artex textured coating contains asbestos is to have a sample taken and sent off for analysis as having artex® tested for asbestos on-site can be costly. If you work on the fact that it more than likely has asbestos in it then steaming is not a safe route to take as it will dry during and after removal and then can create a cloud of dust which if inhaled can be extremely dangerous to your respiratory system.

Removing Artex® using Eco Solutions X-Tex® WORKING WET SYSTEM

One of the quickest and easiest ways that we have found to remove artex® is with this amazing product from Eco Solutions which is a safe artex ceiling removal product. 

Simply paint over the artex®, on a horizontal or vertical surface, and scrape off when softened. It is called a working wet system and means that the artex® is wet at all times which results in no asbestos fibres becoming airborne. When it is scraped it will fall directly to the floor due to its wetness (we recommend you cover the floor with lots of old newspapers and when you are finished just wrap the artex® up in the paper, bag and dispose of at your local council recycling centre. Most refuse sites do now take asbestos waste but you should always check with them first).

Most artex® will have been painted over the years with various coats of emulsions and this does need to be removed before you start removing the artex®. The most difficult of these coatings is vinyl silk which contains plastic polymers which when softened by any type of paint remover it can turn it into a gooey mess!  Vinyl silk is hard to penetrate with any type of paint remover, so the first recommendation is to lightly score the surface with a blade to let the Eco Solutions X-Tex penetrate the paint and lift it from underneath. You do not want to score too deeply as you do not want to disturb the Artex® underneath. You can also apply X-Tex prior to scoring the surface which will prevent any dust from becoming airborne if you score below the surface.

Removal is made easier with a long-handled blade scraper which helps to lift it from the surface rather than spreading it around the wall, which usually happens when using a standard steel scraper.

Another great tip is to apply X-Tex® and cover with foil or plastic film and leave overnight. The foil prevents the X-Tex® from drying out and also forces the product down and in most cases softens both the emulsion and the artex® in one application. This is highly recommended to obtain the best results and to save the amount of product you use.

Demo video for Eco Solutions X-Tex® – How to remove artex® safely

Plastering over Artex®

If you decide that artex remover is not for you then Artex® can be plastered over. Firstly make absolutely sure that there are no flaking or loose sections of the artex®, or indeed ceiling or wall. Then remove all obviously “high spots” of artex®, where the stipples hang down. You can do this using a hand scraper or wall scraper and if you want to go the extra step you can also sand it down to get it as flat as possible which will further aid in the final finish, as well as the ease it can be plastered over. 

Again, before you do this, you MUST ensure that the artex® you are working on does NOT contain any asbestos. Artex containing asbestos can be dangerous if you don’t remove it correctly and safely. If you are unsure, get it checked with an asbestos specialist before you start. We would highly recommend not plastering over if it contains asbestos materials. If it does have asbestos the best and safest option is to get an asbestos specialist to remove it so you have peace of mind it has gone completely.

In summary, the best artex remover is Eco Solutions X-Tex®. It is easy to use, non-toxic, non-hazardous. One product does all with no pre or after treatment needed. Like all Eco Solutions products, it is water-based, therefore, safe to use with no need to wear rubber gloves and no risk of burns to the skin or eyes. It is non-caustic, non-flammable, PH neutral, solvent-free and No H or P precautions on the label. 

Many tradespeople now use X-Tex® as it is quick, easy and safe to use in whatever setting they are working in and many homeowners are now also using it as an artex or textured coating remover when renovating a property.

Eco Solutions products, including X-Tex® textured coatings remover, are made in the United Kingdom and are available worldwide for trades, businesses and homeowners.

Have a look at our demonstration video above to see how easy it is to remove artex or any other textured ceilings or walls using X-Tex®.

Artex® (*registered Trade Mark of BPB UK Ltd)

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