What Is Artex?

  • Artex is a textured surface coating used for interior decorating, popular for its ability to create various patterns.
  • Some older Artex contains asbestos, which can pose health risks if disturbed and released into the air.
  • Safe handling and removal of Artex should be done by professionals to avoid asbestos exposure.
  • Alternatives to removing Artex include plastering over or painting it, which can safely encapsulate any asbestos.

Artex is a surface coating often used for interior decorating, particularly on ceilings and walls. It was widely popular from the 1970s to the 1990s due to its ability to add texture and pattern to surfaces, creating a distinctive aesthetic. The application of Artex allowed homeowners to achieve various decorative effects, such as swirls, stipples, and fans, which added a unique touch to their interiors.

While Artex was once a favoured choice for many, its composition has raised concerns, especially regarding the potential presence of asbestos in older applications. This aspect has led to increased caution and scrutiny when dealing with Artex today.

In the next section, we will delve into the history and uses of Artex, exploring how it became a staple in home decoration and the specific applications that made it popular.

History and Uses of Artex

Artex first gained popularity in the mid-20th century as a versatile decorative finish for ceilings and walls. It emerged as an alternative to traditional plastering methods, offering a quicker and more aesthetically varied option. During its heyday, Artex was seen as a fashionable choice, with many homeowners opting for its textured patterns to hide imperfections and add visual interest to their interiors.

The primary appeal of Artex was its ease of application and the variety of patterns it could produce. Professionals and DIY enthusiasts appreciated its flexibility, allowing for creative designs ranging from simple stipples to intricate swirls. This versatility made Artex a common feature in many homes, particularly in living rooms, bedrooms, and hallways.

Next, we’ll look at the common applications of Artex and why it was favoured for certain types of projects and areas within the home.

Common Applications of Artex

Artex was predominantly used on to disguise minor imperfections such as cracks or uneven surfaces. Its thick, durable coating made it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas and spaces where walls might suffer from minor wear and tear. The ease with which Artex could be applied and its quick drying time meant that it became a go-to solution for both new constructions and renovations.

Ceilings were the most common application for Artex, as the textured patterns helped to draw the eye upward and create a sense of height and space. In living rooms and hallways, it was often used to add character and detail without the need for elaborate decorations. Some homeowners also applied Artex in bedrooms and bathrooms, although its moisture resistance was limited, which made it less ideal for consistently damp environments.

In our next section, we will explore the risks associated with Artex, focusing on the presence of asbestos and its implications for health and safety.

Does Artex Contain Asbestos?

One of the major concerns with Artex is its potential asbestos content. During its peak usage, asbestos was commonly added to Artex and other textured coatings to enhance durability and fire resistance. Asbestos, however, poses significant health risks, especially when fibres are inhaled, leading to serious respiratory conditions and diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.

The presence of asbestos in Artex varies depending on when it was manufactured and applied. Generally, Artex produced before the mid-1980s is more likely to contain asbestos. Identifying asbestos in Artex is crucial for ensuring safety during any renovation or removal process.

Next, we will discuss just how dangerous Artex can be, particularly focusing on the risks posed by asbestos.

How Dangerous Is Artex?

Artex itself is not inherently dangerous, but the presence of asbestos in some older formulations can pose significant health risks. Asbestos fibres, when disturbed and released into the air, can be inhaled, leading to severe respiratory issues and long-term health problems. It is this risk that makes dealing with old Artex potentially hazardous.

How Much Asbestos Does Artex Contain?

The amount of asbestos in Artex varies, but it is generally a small percentage, typically between 1-4%. Despite the seemingly low percentage, even minimal exposure to asbestos fibres can be dangerous over time. Therefore, any amount of asbestos in Artex is considered a health risk and must be managed carefully.

In the next section, we will focus on identifying asbestos in Artex, helping you understand how to recognise and test for asbestos in your home or property.

How to Tell if Artex Contains Asbestos

Determining whether your Artex contains asbestos requires careful examination and testing. Visually, it is impossible to identify asbestos in Artex just by looking at it. The safest and most reliable method is to have a sample tested by a professional asbestos testing laboratory. This process involves taking small samples of the material from different areas, which should only be done by someone trained to handle asbestos safely.

What Does Asbestos-Containing Artex Look Like?

Asbestos-containing Artex looks the same as asbestos-free Artex to the naked eye. Both types come in a variety of patterns and textures, which were popular in homes and commercial properties. This similarity underscores the importance of professional testing to confirm the presence of asbestos.

Next, we’ll cover the safe handling and removal of Artex, providing guidance on whether you need to remove it and how to do so safely.

Do I Have to Remove Artex?

Removing Artex is not always necessary, especially if it is in good condition and not likely to be disturbed. If the Artex is damaged, peeling, or you plan to renovate, removal might be the safest option to prevent asbestos exposure. Always consider the condition and location of the Artex before deciding on removal.

Can I Remove Asbestos Artex Myself?

Removing asbestos-containing Artex yourself is not recommended due to the health risks involved. Disturbing Artex can release asbestos fibres into the air, which are hazardous when inhaled. It’s best to hire a licensed asbestos removal contractor who has the expertise and equipment to handle the material safely.

How to Safely Remove Artex

Safe removal of Artex involves sealing off the area, using protective clothing and equipment, and following strict safety protocols to prevent asbestos fibres from becoming airborne. Licensed contractors are trained in these methods and will ensure the removal process is carried out with minimal risk to you and your property.

Do You Need a Licensed Contractor to Remove Artex?

Yes, if your Artex contains asbestos, it is essential to hire a licensed contractor. They are trained to handle asbestos safely and comply with regulations, ensuring that the removal process does not pose any health risks to you or others in the vicinity.

Correct Disposal of Artex Containing Asbestos

Disposing of asbestos-containing Artex must be done according to specific regulations to prevent environmental contamination. Licensed contractors will handle the disposal, ensuring that the asbestos waste is sealed in proper containers and transported to designated disposal sites.

Next, we’ll explore alternative solutions for dealing with Artex, such as plastering over it or painting it.

Alternative Solutions

Plastering Over Artex

If removing Artex is not a viable option, plastering over it can be an effective alternative. This method involves applying a new layer of plaster directly onto the Artex surface, which seals in any asbestos fibres and provides a smooth, modern finish. Plastering over Artex is a popular choice as it avoids the disturbance of potentially hazardous materials and can be done quickly and efficiently by professional plasterers like those at Prestige Property Solutions. Our team ensures a flawless application, transforming textured surfaces into sleek, contemporary walls and ceilings.

Is It Safe to Paint Artex?

Painting Artex is another viable solution, especially if the surface is in good condition. Applying a coat of paint helps to seal the surface and can refresh the appearance of the room without the need for extensive work. However, if the Artex contains asbestos, it’s crucial to use a paint designed to encapsulate asbestos fibres to prevent them from becoming airborne. This method is particularly useful for minor cosmetic updates and can be a cost-effective way to enhance your home’s interiors.

Next, we will delve into the legal and safety considerations surrounding Artex, including the regulations you need to be aware of and your potential risks if your Artex contains asbestos.

Legal and Safety Considerations

The legal framework surrounding Artex, particularly those containing asbestos, is stringent. In the UK, the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 mandates that a licensed professional must carry out any work involving asbestos. These regulations ensure that asbestos-containing materials, such as some types of Artex, are handled safely to prevent exposure. Non-compliance with these laws can result in significant fines and legal consequences, so it’s crucial to adhere to all guidelines and seek professional help when dealing with Artex.

Are You at Risk if Your Artex Contains Asbestos?

The risk posed by asbestos-containing Artex largely depends on its condition and whether it is disturbed. If the Artex is intact and in good condition, the risk of asbestos exposure is minimal. However, if the material is damaged, peeling, or subject to renovation work, the risk increases significantly. Asbestos fibres can become airborne and inhaled, leading to serious health issues. Therefore, it’s essential to assess the condition of your Artex and take appropriate measures to mitigate any potential risks.

In the next section, we will address frequently asked questions about Artex, providing clear answers to common concerns and misconceptions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Peeling or Cracked Artex Dangerous?

Yes, peeling or cracked Artex can be dangerous if it contains asbestos. Damaged Artex can release asbestos fibres into the air, posing a health risk when inhaled. It is essential to handle any damaged Artex with care and seek professional advice for safe repair or removal.

Can Asbestos Artex Be Left in Place?

Asbestos-containing Artex can be left in place if it is in good condition and unlikely to be disturbed. However, it should be regularly inspected for any signs of damage. Encapsulation, such as plastering over the Artex, can also be an effective way to manage the material without removing it.

Next, we’ll provide information on how you can get in touch with Prestige Property Solutions for a free, no-obligation quote.

Get In Touch Today For a Free of Charge No Obligation Quote

At Prestige Property Solutions, we understand the complexities and concerns associated with Artex, especially those containing asbestos. Our team of professionals is here to provide expert advice and high-quality services to ensure your home is safe and beautifully finished. Whether you need Artex testing, removal, or plastering, we offer comprehensive solutions tailored to your needs. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote, and let us help you achieve the perfect results for your home renovation or repair project.


Throughout this blog post, we’ve explored the essential aspects of Artex, from its history and common applications to the potential risks it poses, particularly regarding asbestos content. We’ve discussed how to identify asbestos in Artex, the safe handling and removal practices, and alternative solutions like plastering over or painting Artex. We’ve also covered the legal and safety considerations you need to be aware of and answered frequently asked questions to clear up any lingering concerns.

If you need professional help with Artex in your home, whether it’s testing, removal, or simply advice, Prestige Property Solutions is here to help. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote and let our experienced team ensure your home is both safe and beautifully finished.

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