How do I remove old artex from walls?

30 Aug 2011
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United Kingdom
I recently moved into a older style house and the walls in the living room,hallways and ceilings are really old artex, real thick stuff looks 1970ish!

I brought a steamer and have tryed steaming it off but its very hard and could be there for some time, does anyone have any suggestions how i can get it removed more easily, i want flat walls so i can paint them, have not really got the skill to skimm them myself and not enough funds right now to have the walls re-skimmed
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If you can't afford to have them skimmed - then better leaving them be.
Whoah there! Before you remove the artex, it may be best to get an asbestos removal comapny in, just for a removal quote, just to be on the safe side. Many textured coatings, both internal and external, contain asbestos. Be careful and dont underestimate how dangerous this can be. Once you start hacking the textured finish off, it will release DUST into the air and if it DOES contain asbestos, you, and whoever else lives in the house, could suffer big time. Please be careful.
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Steamers will remove Artex but if you apply too much concentrated heat you will pop the plaster skim off the base coat with it & the result will look even worse than the Atex. You can get Artex removers but no idea how effective they are. I used to remove Artex prior to re-re-plastering/skimming but no longer do so; as long as you know what your doing plastering over it is a much better option.

As stated some Artex contains asbestos but it’s in low concentration it’s removal no longer requires a license or the use of a licensed contractor which will likely cost you a small fortune;

Given what I’ve already said about using a steamer, it will remove Artex (eventually) & keep it safely damp while you do so as long as you take sensible precautions such as wearing a mask; whatever you do don’t start hacking it off dry or sanding it off. You will need to dispose of it at a licensed tip where you will be charged. As stated, a far better & safer option would be to leave it where it is until you have the money to get it re-plastered & skimmed.
Thank you all very much for your replys, especially your detailed one Richard,
I was doing it with the steamer yesterday and it was slowly very slowly coming off,
well i stopped for a spot of lunch and then went back to it, while i was waiting for the steamer to warm up i got my scraper and put it into the artex and the stuff came straight off,
I am not sure if the water that fell from the steaming was the cause but the stuff came off easier then with the steamer, so i got a decent chunk of it off, the plaster underneath is lovely and smooth, its a lovley finish (so far!)
Anyway hope that its ok to continue taking it off like this, and will be glad when its done as i can paint the room,
thanks again for all your replys
It's not steam that gets Artex and wallpaper off - it's hot water from the steam condensing. Try brushing warm soapy water on when you go for your lunch. ;)
If you do go down the route of steaming it, a normal dust mask offers no protection, it needs to have an FFP3 rating - they are available from larger sheds.

Before you get a removal compnay in to quote, get it sampled by an asbestos consultancy (UKAS accredited) to confirm whats in it. Removal will not be cheap.
If you do go down the route of steaming it, a normal dust mask offers no protection, it needs to have an FFP3 rating - they are available from larger sheds.

Before you get a removal compnay in to quote, get it sampled by an asbestos consultancy (UKAS accredited) to confirm whats in it. Removal will not be cheap.

What a load of cobblers. :rolleyes:
I'll be a little kinder than joe ;)

I agree that wearing a suitable filter mask rather than a paper dust mask but there is absolutely no need for sampling or licensed removal companies; it's not necessary & will cost an absolute fortune. You would have to be a complete idiot to take a sander to Artex & not wear any sort of mask, weather it contained asbestos or not. But removal using a steamer or water saturation is probably the easiest & safest method you can use; some of the chemical removers are rather toxic. As has already been pointed out, I no longer remove it & the best solution is to leave it where it is & plaster over it.

There is much hype & scaremongering about risks associated with products that contained asbestos & were in everyday use up until the early 80’s; mostly propergated by companies making absolute fortunes removing the stuff! As I have already pointed out, Artex has minimal asbestos content (3-5%) and it’s Chrysotile, the least dangerous of the three types commonly found. Only continued exposure to Chrysotile fibres (not painted Artex) over a long time period would be dangerous; everyone is exposed to asbestos & breathes fibres every day, they are present in the air. The nastiest stuff of all is Crocidolite, also known as blue asbestos which was used extensively to lag pipe work in boiler houses up until the early 70’s. If you worked with or were exposed to this stuff, you’re playing in the premier league & could be harbouring a problem but there is no way of knowing. I have taken a personal interest in asbestos & related diseases as I did play in the premier league & am on the “at risk” register. :cool:
joe - 90 / Richard C

Cobblers? What part would be Cobblers? The part where i said it would have to be an FFP3 mask to offer protection? The part where i said IF he decides to get it removed professionally as said above numerous times, at least get it sampled by a UKAS lab to make sure he is not throwing his cash away?

Come on smart arse, what part is cobblers?
Sorry for double post, Richard C. So the Control Limit for Serpentine is lower than for Amphibole is it in CAR 2006? Your comments about Crocidolite being more dangerous that Amosite or Chrysotile are very outdated, maybe you need a refresher course before you go spouting old legislation.

You are aware that removal of textured coating is going to be bought back into being a notifiable work in CAR 2012?

If you want any real advice please feel free to ask, advice from the quality manager of a UKAS Inspection Body who holds a CCP in Asbestos, and no i dont work for the removals side of the industry.

You may have guessed i am rather irked at having some no mark say cobblers to a post that was 100% factually correct. I was not advocating removal by a licensed contractor, i was stating if that was the choice it would make sense to confirm it was asbestos as right now we are all guessing. But hey what do i know, i only offer professional advice on this subject to people who manage portfolios of thousands of properties, not some internet warrior like Jo.
Live in the real world FFS.

I expect we'll see a link to an asbestos removal company before long. :rolleyes:
Joe - 90. The real world? The real world where 4000 people die of asbestos exposure in the UK annually?

If you want to talk nonsense feel free, but to try and dissuade someone from buying a £5 piece of RPE that would offer protection instead of a dust mask that would not, is stupid and arrogant.

To not have material sampled prior to spending lots of money on its removal is also stupid. I am spotting a trend.

As i said before i dont work on the removal side and my firm does not do residential / private work. We are slightly geared up to larger projects, feel free to PM if you actually want to be educated rather than act the class joker.

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