One of the biggest plastering requests we receive is plastering over Artex ceilings! They are outdated, cheap and quite frankly, offensive to look at! However, is it a big job to get involved in and should we be asking if it’s worth the hassle?
In today’s post, we are going to discover how to plaster an Artex ceiling and show you how to do it. I must admit, it isn’t the easiest thing in the world but with some solid advice and direction, anyone can do it. You just need the right method.
This is one part of plastering that everyone does differently. There are serval approaches towards tackling this beast and we will show you the most effective ways to get over this burden. Here are the different methods you could take:
- Over boarding the ceiling and plaster
- Remove existing ceiling/board and skim
- Bond the Artex ceiling and skim
- Simply scrape back and plaster over Artex
This is the general overview of the ways to tackle Aretx. We’ll discuss the best options and show you the easiest way to do it. However, before we start I need to give a quick heads up.
Artex ceilings up to 1985 contained Asbestos which we all know is a highly dangerous material. It contained white Asbestos (which is the least harmful because it’s water-soluble which means it can leave the body), but still worth noting all the same.
Asbestos was found in Artex as late as 1999 so the only real way to guarantee safety is by getting it checked by professionals. With that said, make sure you follow the advice given with discretion. It probably isn’t a major risk but take care!
Let’s get to it:
1) Plastering over Artex
The simplest way is to just plaster over the Artex ceiling. It saves you time and cost in demotion and saves you money by avoiding plasterboard costs. This way is fairly simple but has a series of pitfalls to it. Here is a step by step list of the mechanics behind this method.
Scrape Back any high spots
Using a scraper simply scrape and hack any protruding sections. This can be the difference between a simple scrape or a lengthy, gruelling task depending on the style of Artex. Some are minimal whilst others require a lot more effort.
However, avoiding this step will only lead to failure. Try your best to get a nice flat ceiling ready for plastering with minimal change of levels. The more effort you put in this step, the easier it is at later stages.
PVA The Artex
This is an extremely important stage. You need to mix up some PVA (I would recommend a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part PVA) and roll it over your newly scraped Artex ceiling. When the first coat is dry apply another coat of PVA.
This reduces the rate of suction which prevents your plaster from drying out. Artex is very porous and will absorb any moisture at a very fast rate so putting 2 layers of highly concentrated PVA will give you more time for plastering.
You will regret missing this stage out. Trust me, this is one thing you want to get right because plastering over Artex is a nightmare without a prepared, PVA’d background. For more information on this stage read our article on PVA before plastering
This is where the fun begins. You are now ready to start plastering! As long as your ceiling is fairly flat and fully prepped you can start skimming.
The process of plastering over Artex ceilings is shown in the video below. It is a full guide on how to plaster a ceiling with instructions given throughout. Take your time, watch with care and get ready to begin.
For more information read our article on how to plaster a ceiling or join our Plastering For Beginners Welcome Course where we’ll teach you the full process of plastering. From mixing the plaster to plastering ceilings…we’ll show you the full everything you need to know, for FREE!
The other method is used in extreme circumstances where you can’t get away with a simple skim:
2) Bond the Artex
If the Artex in your home is prouder then the norm then you might have to Bond your Artex. A lot of the old school plasterers do this to avoid any issues. Its the exact same process as the method above except you use British Gypsoms Bonding to build and level your existing ceiling.
This is probably the safest way because it means you can avoid scraping the Artex which avoids releasing Asbestos.
This way you get over any high spots in your ceiling without any major hassle. It is a method that some people go through but to be perfectly honest I actually think it’s pointless. It’s hard to get right, it can be quite a timely route and it is often used by experienced plasterers.
The method I’m going to show is properly the best thing if your Artex ceiling is a bit of a problem. Knock it down and start again!
3) Remove, Board and Skim
Sometimes the best thing to do in life is to just start again. If your a beginner who’s learning to plaster then this could be an option. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t ideal, but it is always easier to plaster onto a fresh, new background then it is to perfect an old one.
This final method does require a bit more work but it is often worth it!
Rip down the existing ceiling
If your Artex is giving you agro then just get rid of it. It can be quite scary if you have never done it before but trust me, it’s worth it. Using a hammer and a crowbar I would rip the ceiling down!
Make sure you wear a mask because there will be a lot of dust and wear appropriate clothing because it can cause a lot of irritation on the skin. When the ceiling is down and completely clear you are ready for the next stage.
Plasterboarding your ceiling
You will need to purchase some plasterboard which is available in most builders merchants. They come in multiple size options but I would recommend you use the 1.8m x 0.9m plasterboards because they are easier to work with. You will also need to buy some plasterboard screws at a length of 32mm.
Plasterboarding is a skill in itself which makes this whole process a lot trickier to deal with. This is why plastering over Artex can be a hard job – its tough to plaster over but its equally hard to start over.
However, if you have a labourer or a friend to help, plaster-boarding is definitely doable. just take your time, stay focussed and use enough screws. You can never use enough screws so don’t be stingy. A screw at every 300mm on every joist is more than good enough. The next option is another alternative
4) Over boarding
Instead of ripping your ceiling down you can board over your existing Artex ceiling. This saves time, saves waste and still provides a fresh background to work on. You just have to use longer plasterboard screws when your working to give enough grip to the joists.
Find your joists, run a string line from one end to the other so you know where to screw and follow the same process as the last method. It takes more preparation but it is definitely worth the time. You then follow the process of plastering a ceiling and that’s it – job done!
Its always a tough scenario but these are the options to plastering over Artex ceilings. You either work on it or get rid of it completely. Thank you for reading and feel free to leave any comments.
If you want to learn more and take a real plunge into plastering then read our ultimate guide on Plastering. It will give you all the information you need!