May and A Passion for Homes ‘How to’ – plaster over Artex (with safety warning!)

Monthly ‘How to’ from and A Passion for Homes

Our very popular monthly ‘How to’ blog in conjunction with the online trades vetting company and their panel of experts continues with how to plaster over Artex, by Lloyd Fry, Owner, Gem Ceilings and Walls Specialists.

‘For many decades, Artex was a very popular textured finish used on both ceilings and walls. However, as with most things, home interior fashions have since changed leaving Artex looking dated and unattractive.

As Artex is a rough finish, it is a style that is very difficult to alter or cover. The process can be laborious and will take more than one day to complete. If you cannot commit to the duration of the task, you should consult a professional plasterer before beginning.


SAFETY WARNING: Some old Artex coatings may contain asbestos. For this reason, you should never chip away at or sand an Artex coating as this may release toxic particles into the air. Before touching artex please contact your local council or an asbestos removal specialist to check that is safe to do so!

The necessary tools will include:
• Asbestos testing kit
• Skimcoat plaster
• Plasterer’s trowel
• PVA sealant or adhesive
• Masonry brush
• Carrying board
• Protective sheets and protective gear

The step by step guide below provides a brief guide to removing Artex from a wall…
1. Prepare the room
Undertaking any DIY job can be a messy process. As this task involves using plaster take extra care to protect the room and its furnishings before work gets underway. Remove as much furniture as possible from the area, cover all floors with protective sheeting and free the wall of any screws or nails.

Once the wall is clear, use an asbestos testing kit to assess the composition of your Artex. It is recommended that you seek professional advice first before using the kit. If it contains any traces of asbestos, seek professional assistance immediately.  Only if the plaster is asbestos free then proceed by chipping off high spots and large protrusions, wearing protective safety gear such as gloves, eye goggles and face mask.
Wash the wall with warm soapy water to remove surface grime. This must then be allowed to dry completely before attempting the next step.

2. Apply adhesive
Create a mix of PVA sealant/ adhesive that is 1 part PVA to 4 parts water.
Apply a generous coat to the wall being renovated, ensuring that all nooks and crannies are well covered. Once dry, this will ensure that the new layer of plaster sticks to the surface.

3. Apply plaster
Consult the tub instructions before starting to use the skimcoat plaster – particularly if you have not used a product of this ilk before. If you are confident that you can proceed safely, transfer the mixed plaster to a carrying board. This will allow for the plaster to be close on hand throughout the job.

Apply a thin layer of plaster over the Artex, no thicker than 4mm, using a plasterer’s trowel to produce the smoothest finish. Creating a smooth surface using this type of plaster is difficult; practicing in advance of the task is highly recommendable.
Once the wall has been entirely re-plastered and is beginning to harden, lightly dampen the surface with clean water. Using the trowel edge at a slight angle, gently skim across the wall to give the surface a final smoothing.

4. Finish
No further decoration can be done until the plaster has fully dried, so when you are happy with the finish of the wall clear any debris from the work area and remove all protective sheeting. If you notice any stray plaster, remove this as soon as possible, the task will be easier if the plaster is not fully dried; simply wipe clean, or if the plaster has set chip it off.

Once the fresh coat of plaster has dried, replace the furniture and redecorate the newly smooth wall as you wish.

For larger areas or more complicated jobs, it is recommended that you use the checkatrade website to find a qualified professional in your area.


To find genuine tradespeople in your local area, visit helps combat the UK’s rogue trader problem by continuously vetting and monitoring local tradespeople such as builders, plumbers and electricians as well as service providers. has grown to employ 130 staff with a turnover in excess of £7.5m. It has over 13,000 genuine trade members, growing by an average of 300 new members every month. Over the past 12 months, Checkatrade-certified tradesmen carried out a combined total of £1.4b worth of work, with complaints at just one in 215, compared to the national average of one in four.

Also, don’t forget to visit the main A Passion for Homes website for interior design, home staging stories, home products, dream homes, estate agent and show home search facilities, celebrity interviews and beautiful buildings – thanks, Jo


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