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Removing Artex

Guide To Removing Artex

Artex is the generic name given to a textured coating on a wall or ceiling, it is a water-based covering, most commonly used to decorate ceilings, that is generally brought to a textured finish with the use of a brush or roller, and it is not to everybody’s taste.

If you have inherited some textured surfaces in your new home that you are not particularly fond of, this guide should help you understand why it was applied in the first place, and inform you of your options with regard to getting rid.

Why is it there?

Artex may not have been applied for reasons of taste but to give stability to an unsound ceiling or wall, in which case it will be helping to keep it intact and removing it will mean that the ceiling or wall it has been applied to may have to be replaced.

This will involve removing all of the old, damaged plaster and re-plastering or replacing it with new plasterboard.

If you do not suspect that there is any damage to your walls or ceilings and that the Artex was applied onto the plasterboard for taste, or efficiency, reasons then you should still be prepared to have to replace the whole wall, as it can be extremely difficult to remove Artex that has been applied directly onto plasterboard without damaging the plasterboard.

Danger! Warning!

If you have Artex in your home it may well contain asbestos! Therefore, you must not try to sand it off!

If you are unsure about anything you should contact your local council for advice.

An alternative option

Instead of removing the Artex it may well be worth considering just covering it up, or flattening it out, with a skim from a plasterer, or with the application of a specially prepared caulk.

Polycell Covertex is an easy to use example of this type of caulk which is applied with a roller and smoothed of with a plastering trowel.

This disguising method, as opposed to removal, is often cited as the best option due to its efficiency and lack of damage and disruption.

Preparation for Removal

If you are happy that the Artex is safe to remove you should wear a dust mask, gloves, and old clothes, and cover all items in the room (if you can’t remove them altogether) with some sheets.

In addition, as with any DIY undertaking you should, of course, read the instructions properly for any material or tool that you are using and be sure to take extra care if you are using a ladder.


Artex can be removed using a steam stripper. Hold the head of the steam stripper onto the Artex for about a minute then use a stripping knife to test if the Artex is soft enough to remove.

If you feel that it is, keep using the steam stripper to soften the Artex and remove it with the stripping knife as soon as it is soft enough. Many instructions will suggest using a sharp metal stripping knife; however, you could try using a plastic tool like a spatula as this is far less likely to damage the surface underneath.

Be warned, this is a very messy job! And remember, there is every chance you will need to re-plaster once the Artex is removed anyway, so we would advise that you seriously consider just skimming over it in the first place and saving yourself the hassle.

Alternatively, a textured paint remover might be worth a try, although these are expensive so we would advise that you do your research before you purchase a product and try to get some recommendations. If you do decide to go for this option be sure to follow the specific instructions for the product that you choose.

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