As domestic plastering contractors we get asked this question over and over, along with a multitude of others mainly concerning asbestos. Here we will highlighting the most relevant points about artex, asbestos and what to do with it.
How to remove artex
Firstly, understanding what might be in your home and how to evaluate it is paramount. Artex is what we commonly call a textured finish on a ceiling and sometimes walls, but artex is in fact a trade name for one of the commonly used products in the 70s and 80s. Up until 1984 manufacturers of various textured coatings and paints used between 3 - 5% of Chrysolite white asbestos in their products. So any coated surface you believe to be pre-1984 could very possibly have asbestos content. Another date to remember, which is sometimes confused with the 1984 removal of asbestos from 'artex' is 1999, which is the date white asbestos was finally banned in the UK.
Now you need to know what to do. There are various products on the market that can remove artex, they are chemically based and will turn the coating to mulch allowing you, (when wearing the correct safety equipment, goggles, gloves etc) to scrape off. A wallpaper steamer can also be used as it will dampen the coating and thus eliminating the harmful dust and also allow you to scrape off. If you believe any waste contains asbestos please contact your local council's waste management and obtain the relevant disposal bags, or at least double bag using strong plastic bags and inform the staff of your local tidy tip/ waste management centre of the contents of your bags.
Other alternatives are to get the contents of your textured coating professionally tested and removed, by a licensed contractor. This method is usually unnecessary and can prove very costly, with tests alone ranging from A�30 to the A�100's. The least disruptive and often best method of how to remove artex, is to actually leave it in place and use the services of a plasterer to either plasterboard over the 'artex', then re plaster, or re plaster over artex directly thus encasing the artex.
Finally, don't allow the problem of how to remove artex bog you down, the methods are there and if you have genuine fears please get professionals advice. Also a worthy note, it has long been recorded that the main dangers of asbestos related illnesses are from prolonged exposure to asbestos. We are not belittling asbestos exposure, only putting into context the dangers for anybody who has had limited exposure as a result of removing artex.