Artex Asbestos Ceiling - The Complete Facts (2023)

Artex Asbestos Ceiling - The Complete Facts (1)

Textured decorative coatings such as for an Artex asbestos ceiling used to be very popular a few decades ago.

They were used on walls and ceilings to make them look more aesthetically pleasing.

But did you know, Artex used to contain asbestos?

Until the year 1984, asbestos used to be present in these textured decorative coatings.

So if you have any ceilings which date back then, you should be careful.

Table of Contents

Which Types of Ceilings Contain Asbestos?

Artex Asbestos Ceiling - The Complete Facts (2)

Artex containing asbestos was considered to be a very versatile product, as it could easily be applied to ceilings and walls.

The asbestos was added to make the material stronger, as it was good as a binder.

The asbestos content in such coatings varies, but it could amount to up to 3%.

If the property had the walls or ceilings finished in this way before 1984, then chances are that it could contain types of asbestos.

Artex was particularly popular during the 1960’s, 70’s and early 80’s.

The name Artex was synonymous with textured coatings, but similar products with other names were also popular, including Suretex, Wondertex, Marblecoat and Pebblecoat.

All of these contained chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos.

Asbestos containing Artex continued to be produced until 1984 in the UK.

So there’s a strong possibility that it could still have been installed several years later, even if it was no longer legal to produce.

(Video) Artex Removal Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) | Eco Solutions

What Do They Look Like?

You cannot really be completely sure whether Artex decorative coating contains asbestos or not by simply looking at it.

The main reason is that asbestos was mixed with various other materials to produce the compound.

The fibres are microscopic, and even if they were to be released in the air they would neither be seen nor smelt.

Hence, to be completely certain, one would need to carry out asbestos testing in a professional lab.

However here are some pointers which you may wish to consider:

  • The colour is white, although it may have been painted over.
  • If the ceiling is textured, and if it was done prior to 1984, then it may contain asbestos.
  • It is also referred to as popcorn ceiling due to the texture.

What is Artex?

Artex Asbestos Ceiling - The Complete Facts (3)

This interior decorating product originated from the name of the company that used to produce it.

But there are also several other brand names as mentioned above.

This coating was applied in a decorative pattern, and it used to be very popular both in residential as well as commercial properties.

Is Asbestos in Ceilings Dangerous to Health?

Artex Asbestos Ceiling - The Complete Facts (4)

Work carried out on any type of asbestos containing materials can be dangerous.

However when it comes to Artex coatings, it is not too dangerous as the asbestos content is not that high.

It is important to consider the level of deterioration that will occur if works were carried out though.

If the work is expected to cause significant break up or deterioration, and if the removal is large scale, it is best to have a professional take care of the job.

In such cases, certain specialised methods would be required, such as steaming or gelling.

Hence it is not something that one can handle without the necessary expertise and equipment.

As long as the ceiling is in good condition and not deteriorating in some way or another, you do not really need to worry about the dangers associated with asbestos too much.

Hence, even if it’s been confirmed from tests that your property has textured decorative coatings which contain asbestos, it’s perfectly fine to leave them in place, just as long as they remain undamaged and in good condition.

This is because the fibres within will be well bonded, and only disturbance would possibly lead to the asbestos fibres getting released in the air.

(Video) Here's Why Asbestos Popcorn Ceilings aren't That Scary.

Asbestos related illnesses can take several years to become evident, as symptoms of asbestos exposure take a long time to develop.

When asbestos fibres are inhaled, they are trapped in the respiratory system such as the lungs.

They remain there without causing complications, until after several years one may start to feel shortness of breath, and various other problems.

Serious and life threatening diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma can emerge.

While chances of developing such health problems and illnesses as a result of being exposed to Artex containing asbestos is not that high, it’s still very important to be careful should one have such a ceiling or wall at home.

When Was Asbestos Used in Artex?

Asbestos was used to manufacture Artex coatings several decades ago.

The material was popular in construction and interior decorating from the 1930s right up until the 1980s.

It was sometimes referred to as popcorn ceiling.

It was a great way to add a decorative finish to ceilings and walls, and it was affordable too.

It was also ideal to hide away any imperfections.

Asbestos was added as it helped to make the Artex much stronger.

Due to the asbestos properties, it was also great as a fire retardant and as an insulating material.

Does My Artex Contain Asbestos?

Artex Asbestos Ceiling - The Complete Facts (5)

As noted earlier, you would need to carry out an asbestos survey and test various samples in order to know for sure whether asbestos is present or not.

As a general rule of thumb, if your ceiling or walls were finished with Artex in the 2000’s or later, you should not worry as the ban in the UK came into effect in in 1999.

However if it dates up to 1984 or before, then you should carry out a test.

Any Artex applied between 1984 and 1999 could also have a good probability of containing asbestos, as during that period there wasn’t a complete ban, but only a prohibition.

Even if most manufacturers of Artex ceased to include asbestos in their products, there were still some which might have, as well as the issue of importation from other countries, and any stocks that were still present.

How to Test Artex for Asbestos Presence?

Artex Asbestos Ceiling - The Complete Facts (6)

(Video) How to Plaster over Artex and Textured Ceilings

The decorative coatings will need to be sampled and taken to a lab for testing.

Samples will need to be obtained by a professional as in the case of decorative coatings, it is a bit trickier to be completely sure whether asbestos is present or not.

This is because these textured decorative finishes are non-homogenous.

They used to come on site in a powdered form and then mixed before being applied.

Hence the content of asbestos depended on the mixture.

Some areas may contain asbestos, while others may not.

As a result, several samples will need to be taken from different parts of the ceiling.

This is because the lab may not manage to pick up the presence of fibres, due to the sample having a very minimal frequency of the asbestos present.

Experienced asbestos surveyors will also appreciate the importance of carefully sampling Artex, because of the micron sizes of the fibres, which need highly sensitive equipment to be detected.

The samples will then be taken to a laboratory to be tested and results will be issued thereafter, which will confirm whether asbestos is present in your ceiling or not.

When Did the UK Ban Asbestos in Artex?

Artex was commonly made with asbestos to make it stronger.

It was also great as a fire retardant and an insulator.

Back then it was also much cheaper than wood, making it even more popular.

Asbestos-free Artex was made available back in the 1970s, but one can really not be completely sure whether asbestos is present until a test is carried out on a sample.

And it could also be possible that Artex containing asbestos might have been applied to walls and ceilings a number of years after it was produced.

Artex containing asbestos ceased to be produced in the UK in 1984.

However it took several years, as late as 1992 for it to be prohibited by the EU and UK legislation.

Some usage is still known to have continued back then, especially since there were still stocks present.

However, asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999.

(Video) DIY asbestos testing

So Artex coatings applied thereafter should not contain asbestos, although only a test can verify that.

Does Modern Artex Contain Asbestos?

Most manufacturers ceased to use asbestos in their products back in 1984.

All asbestos use was banned in 1999, although imported products might have contained asbestos, or used from stocks manufactured prior to the ban.

Having said that, it is safe to assume that such coatings manufactured thereafter are safe, as even those that contained asbestos were low risk since the asbestos content was very low.

It is important to avoid removal procedures or activities that might release fibres into the air however.

This includes sanding and drilling.

As a general rule of thumb, ‘modern’ Artex produced and installed after 1999 is safe to work with.

How to Remove Asbestos Ceilings

Artex Asbestos Ceiling - The Complete Facts (7)

If the ceilings or walls contain asbestos, it’s best to leave their removal or handling in the hands of a professional asbestos removal company.

While the Artex is in good condition, there is nothing to worry about.

But in case it is disturbed, then it is hazardous.

Any activities or works such as sanding, drilling, scraping, grinding or chipping the material could easily lead to asbestos to become airborne, and hence easily inhaled.

In cases where you’re considering changing the appearance of the ceilings or walls, and the Artex is in good condition, you may wish to consider plastering over it instead.

This could help to make it safer as the new layer of plaster will basically be sealing and hiding it underneath it.

Having said that, if you opt to do this, you need to bear in mind that there will still be asbestos containing Artex underneath.

So in case you decide to undertake other work that requires drilling, demolition or removal in the future, you need to make sure that it is tackled safely.

If the work you’re planning involves refurbishment, extensive work or removal, you should have a professional handle it.

An expert in asbestos removal will be able to manage and dispose of the material safely, while using the proper equipment, and with professionals who are wearing the correct safety gear.


Artex should never be scraped, sanded or drilled into.

(Video) Where is Asbestos Hidden? ⚠️😷 @nicholaswallwork-propertyf685

While the year when it was manufactured and applied matters a great deal on whether it contains asbestos or not, it is still important to be careful.

And as always, it is advised to seek professional advice and guidance on asbestos testing, removal and disposal is critically important too.


Should I remove Artex ceiling? ›

If your home has textured wall or ceiling coverings then the risk of asbestos poisoning is minimal as long as there are no major cracks in it, however, it will significantly reduce the value of your home so it is always best to remove it before you put it on the market.

Is it safe to skim over asbestos Artex? ›

Plastering Over Artex with Asbestos

Providing the artex is in a good condition and you're not planning to sand, grind or chip the material prior to plastering it should be completely safe for you to either skim over it with a new layer of plaster or cover it with a layer of plasterboard.

How do you remove asbestos Artex safely? ›

One is through the application of steam which gently removes the asbestos Artex along with hand scraping. The other is through chemical gel application which when left to soak allows the asbestos Artex to be scraped away.

Are Artex ceilings old fashioned? ›

Artex ceilings

Sometimes referred to as 'popcorn' or 'cottage cheese' ceilings, they fell out of favour years ago, not only because the look was no longer considered fashionable, but also because until the mid-80s Artex was made with white asbestos to make it stronger.

Is it safe to live in a house with Artex ceiling? ›

If I have artex in my house, am I at risk? No. Artex and other textured coatings can contain small amounts of asbestos, but the fibres are well bonded and not easily released. As artex is often found on ceilings it is not easily damaged in building occupation, and providing the artex is not damaged you are not at risk.

Can you sell a house with Artex ceilings? ›

So while nothing prevents homeowners from selling a home that has Artex asbestos in it, there will be certain things to take into account as well as having to disclose it's presence to any potential buyer. For example, the state of the discovered asbestos will probably have an effect on the buyer's decision.

Is removing Artex safe? ›

Is it safe to remove Artex? Yes, you can remove Artex or other textured ceiling or wall coverings using the X-Tex product. X-Tex keeps the covering wet whilst it is being removed and ensures there are no harmful dust or asbestos dust fibres that can be inhaled.

How do you deal with Artex ceilings? ›

If you have plenty of time, steam can remove Artex.
  1. Use a steamer.
  2. Move your steamer slowly but steadily along the area of Artex you want to remove.
  3. Do not leave the steamer in any one spot for too long. ...
  4. Once the Artex is damp from the steam, remove it using a handheld scraper.
Aug 22, 2019

Can you paint over Artex asbestos? ›

Asbestos containing materials such as Artex pose no risk at all if left undisturbed. No drilling holes, hammering nails into it and so on. It can be painted over with regular emulsion paint. It is only when older Artex textured coatings are removed or damaged that there is a potential health risk from asbestos.

How much does it cost to remove Artex with asbestos? ›

You should expect to pay between £150 and £350 to steam remove Artex from a specific surface. On the other hand, a straightforward scrape and sand removal will likewise cost between £150 and £250 for one surface. Expect to pay between £280 and £480 to have plasterboard coated over an Artex surface.

How much asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma? ›

There is no safe amount of asbestos exposure. Even one-time asbestos exposure can lead to asbestos-related diseases such as pleural thickening, lung cancer or mesothelioma.

Can an Artex ceiling be repaired? ›

Hi, artex is fairly easy to patch if its a small area and it wont be to noticable. however if it has been damaged due to a leak or other problem you will need to rectify this first.

Does Artex have a shelf life? ›

Stored correctly Artex Texture Finish Powder has a shelf life of 12 months. Bags are marked with a “use by” date in order to assist with stock rotation and a batch number for manufacturing traceability.

Does Artex crack? ›

When Does Artex Become Risky? Artex containing asbestos only becomes risky when in powder form; in this state the asbestos fibres in it can be disturbed. If you have a cracked Artexed ceiling, the asbestos fibres in it can be released when the coating starts crumbling.

Does Artex crack over time? ›

This tends to be quite normal. I would presume the cracks that appear are dead straight and either 1200 from the wall or 1200 apart. The cracks you tend to see are usually the plasterboard lines behind the artex.

Can you get a mortgage on a house with asbestos? ›

While the discovery of asbestos is undoubtedly worrying, the good news is that there are lenders that will still consider approving mortgages for properties with asbestos if you're advised not to get it removed.

Can you cover up asbestos ceiling? ›

Asbestos floor tiles may be covered with carpeting, new tiles or even wood flooring. Encapsulation may also be an option for asbestos ceiling tiles. Workers may add drywall over the tiles to encapsulate them and prevent human contact. Encapsulation is not always a long-term solution.

Should I cover or remove Artex? ›

It is safer to remove completely with a specialist company for asbestos removals, but you could just cover it with a tight coat of bonding and then skim over it you like. Artex with asbestos in can be covered safely, but this involves no scraping.

Is it safe to paint an Artex ceiling? ›

We don't recommend you paint straight over Artex, it'll take several coats no matter how good the paint is. But, if you level out the Artex first, then you can paint it. There are plenty of smoothing products available which can make evening your Artex easy.

Do you have to declare asbestos when selling a house? ›

Absolutely not, although you will have to disclose its presence if you are already aware of it. The Property Misdescriptions Act of 2013 states that it is an offence to withhold such information, and failing to abide by the law could invalidate the sale and result in prosecution.

Is it illegal to plaster over Artex? ›

Testing Artex for Asbestos

Asbestos was originally added to plaster to create the texture for patterning. This practice became unlawful in 1999, but ceilings created prior to that probably contain asbestos. It's important to find out because plaster containing asbestos needs to be removed by licensed specialists.

What is the point of Artex? ›

Artex is a surface coating used for interior decorating, most often found on ceilings, which allows the decorator to add a texture to it.

Can Artex be covered? ›

There are many different ways of dealing with interior surface coatings, but the short answer is: yes, you can plaster over Artex, or any other products designed to work in a similar way.

How do you dispose of Artex? ›

The other problem you face is that once you have removed an asbestos Artex ceiling then you can't simply throw it out with your household rubbish. It must be bagged up in appropriate material and disposed of in an environmentally safe manner at a licensed disposal point.

Can you sand off Artex? ›

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.

Does Artex walls devalue a house? ›

Unfortunately for homeowners wishing to sell a property with this kind of feature, Artex ceilings are known to put buyers off – and may lead to disappointing offers or difficulty selling at all.

Can you drywall over Artex? ›

It was up until the mid-1980s that Artex coating contained asbestos to help strengthen it. The good news is if the coating/Artex is in good condition then it is safe to apply a sealant, skim over it with a new layer of plaster or cover the coating with new plasterboard.

Is Artex thick? ›

Artex is generally applied like a creamy custard to blancmange thickness, doesn't have grit in it.

Is it safe to paint over asbestos ceiling? ›

So technically, you can “paint” over asbestos paint, textured ceiling, and siding, as long as you do it with a compound that satisfies legal encapsulation criteria. The other options are to build a structure that completely covers the dangerous asbestos or completely remove it from the structure or material.

How long does it take to remove Artex ceiling? ›

To remove your Artex entirely, you are looking at an estimated supply cost of between £200 to £500, with an added labour cost of between £150 to £250 per day. With the job lasting between one to four days to be completed, the total estimated cost for this service comes in at around £400 to £2,000.

Do N95 masks protect against asbestos? ›

A: An N95 mask is a disposable filtering facepiece respirator with two straps. When worn properly (with the mask making a tight seal with the user's face), it can protect against hazardous airborne particles. N95 masks do not protect against gases, vapors and cannot be used for asbestos, and they do not provide oxygen.

What are the first signs of asbestos poisoning? ›

Symptoms of asbestosis
  • shortness of breath – this may only occur after physical activity at first, but it can eventually become a more constant problem.
  • a persistent cough.
  • wheezing.
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • chest pain.
  • in more advanced cases, clubbed (swollen) fingertips.
Jan 31, 2023

Can a single exposure to asbestos cause mesothelioma? ›

One-time exposure to asbestos can cause diseases, including mesothelioma cancer. Researchers have found repeated exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing asbestos-related cancers. The risk to individuals who have a one-time exposure to asbestos is generally lower compared to long-term or repeated exposure.

What is the alternative to Artex? ›

Artex is a brand of textured paint used to make decorative patterns on plasterboard, or to cover up cracks in old ceilings (although this is rarely successful). Other brands are Wondertex, Suretex and Newtex, but they all tend to get referred to as 'Artex'.

What Colour does Artex dry? ›

Artex Repair Texture dries to a white finish, but may be painted when dry with a good quality emulsion paint to match the existing surface colour. Note: Always follow the paint manufacturer's instructions for porous surfaces.

Is Artex flammable? ›

Suitable extinguishing media The product is not flammable. Extinguish with alcohol-resistant foam, carbon dioxide, dry powder or water fog.

What happened to Artex? ›

Artax dies in the Swamp of Sadness, but is brought back to life when Bastian re-creates Fantasia.

How long does Artex take to dry? ›

Normally 4 – 12 hours depending on atmospheric conditions. It is essential to provide adequate through ventilation during the drying time. Artex reserves the right to revise product specifications without notice.

How can you tell the difference between plaster and Artex? ›

Most textured coatings are painted white. However, if a small area is damaged, it may reveal the true colour of the coating beneath the paint. For example, an orangey-brown or grey colour will usually indicate that the coating is plaster (as opposed to a true Artex coating).

Why are cracks appearing in my ceiling? ›

What causes cracks in ceilings? There are two main causes of ceiling cracks: Structural damage and the natural settling that happens as a building ages. Ceiling cracks can also be caused by poor workmanship. Your home is getting older.

How long does it take to plaster an Artex ceiling? ›

It takes around 4 hours to plaster a new plaster board ceiling, this includes taping joints. This time could be extended if plastering over artex as the ceiling may need some prep work carried out and would need to be coated in PVA first. Then followed by 2 coats of finish plaster.

What should I do with Artex ceiling? ›

First thing to do is knock any dipples off with a large scraper then pva the ceiling two coats. First coat to seal the artex,once dry a second coat applied and whilst still tacky a bonding coat to level the ceiling..then your ready to skim the ceiling for a lovely flat finish ready for painting.

How much does it cost to skim over an Artex ceiling? ›

Expect to pay between £280 and £480 to have plasterboard coated over an Artex surface. Typically, each panel costs between £5 to £7. Expect to pay between £250 and £550 to have Artex removed from a wall or ceiling by plastering over it.

Is it worth plastering over Artex? ›

Skimming Over Artex.

We wouldn't recommend scraping artex with asbestos in it, even with masks. If you have patterned Artex, it's possible to coat it with PVA to achieve a flat surface, and then skim it. Stippled Artex can't be treated effectively in this way.

Can Artex ceilings be repaired? ›

Hi, artex is fairly easy to patch if its a small area and it wont be to noticable. however if it has been damaged due to a leak or other problem you will need to rectify this first. A good plasterer should be able to sort it for you at a relatively low cost.

Can you Replaster an Artex ceiling? ›

Plastering over artex is no different to normal plastering - but it is one of the hardest aspects of skimming. First you need to decide if it will be easier to first apply a base coat. If the highest point of the artex is 5-10mm then it will be easier to apply a base coat of 'Bonding Coat' to the surface.

Can you sand Artex off ceilings? ›

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.

How much does it cost to cover Artex? ›

The Size of the Area

If you're opting to seal and coat the Artex, your ceiling will cost around £125, while an entire house can demand costs over £325. Whether you opt for a plasterboard cover or a plaster finish will impact your cost too, with plasterboard being the more expensive of the two options.

How do plasterers remove Artex? ›

Chemical removal: A common chemical used is X-Tex. This gel softens the old Artex which can then be removed by scraping, leaving the old plasterboard exposed and ready for new plaster to be applied.


1. Plastering Over Artex Ceilings (Plastering For Beginners)
(Plastering For Beginners)
2. Eco Solutions X-Tex Artex Remover - Instructions and Demonstration
(Eco Solutions Ltd)
3. Plastering over Asbestos Artex
(ADCAR Plastering)
4. Artexing ceilings and walls
(DIY Doctor)
5. video guide series - Textured coating sampling for asbestos analysis.
(Artisan Environmental)
6. Drilling into asbestos walls and ceilings


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated: 08/14/2023

Views: 5818

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.