How to remove Artex from walls and ceilings

Read on to discover how to remove Artex or plaster over it, to leave walls and ceilings smooth.

Updated 29 August 2019

Wall, ladder and infant bed

Key steps 

  • You can use steam to remove Artex.
  • Alternatively, try a specialised product, following manufacturer’s instructions.
  • To plaster, sand the surface.
  • Add two layers of a 50/50 mix of PVA adhesive and water.
  • Skim the area with plaster.
  • Apply at least two layers of plaster.
  • The last layer smooths and perfects the surface.

Artex is a style of patterned plastering on walls and ceilings that features in many homes. The texture makes it difficult to redo walls and ceilings without the Artex coming through. Here we’ll provide a simple guide to make them smooth, by learning how to remove Artex or alternatively, how to plaster over Artex.

 Ensure you always cover the floor and furniture beneath the area you’re working and keep products like Cif handy to help in the clean up after the job is done.

How to remove Artex: a step-by-step guide

If you want to know how to get rid of Artex instead of plastering over it, these steps will help you do just that.

  • Check for asbestos. In buildings built before the 1980s, asbestos was often used within walls and ceilings. It is important to have a survey done before attempting to remove Artex; after all, it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • If you have plenty of time, steam can remove Artex. This method requires patience, as it is very time-consuming.
    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. This could damage the wall behind the Artex.
    4.  Once the Artex is damp from the steam, remove it using a handheld scraper.
  • If you are a little short of time, you can buy specialist products for Artex removal. These simply need painting over the Artex, leaving to dry and then the Artex will peel away. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these products.

Now you have your walls Artex-free, move onto our guide to preparing walls for painting.

How to plaster over Artex: a quick and easy guide

Can you skim over Artex? Yes! We’ve got you covered with this simple guide for how to plaster a ceiling over Artex or even your walls if you choose not to remove it.

  1. Be aware that plastering over Artex is a more difficult job than plastering on other surfaces, such as plasterboard.
  2. As with the removal, it is important to have an asbestos survey if your house was built prior to the late 1980s. You are not allowed to cover any Artex surface containing asbestos.
  3. Cover the floor and furniture in dust covers or tarpaulin.
  4. Ensure the surface of your wall or ceiling is clean.
  5. Use a stripping knife to remove any loose or prominent textural nibs. You could also use a sander to get the surface as smooth as possible.
  6. Cover the wall or ceiling in a mix made of equal parts PVA adhesive and water. You should apply two layers of this mix, which will help the plaster to set evenly.
  7. Skim plaster across the surface, taking your time to avoid making mistakes. Ensure you cover the entire area.
  8. Apply at least two coats of plaster, using the final layer to perfect and smooth your wall or ceiling.

So, the answer to “can you plaster over Artex?” is yes! Now you know about this technique as well as how to remove Artex, you can get your walls smooth ready for redecorating.

Originally published 22 August 2019