.Artex is a water-based covering, usually used to decorate ceilings, and generally
brought to a textured finish with the use of a brush or roller.
some older artex may contain asbestos and it is extremely unwise to sand down or scrape
without seeking the advice of an asbestos specialist. Contact your local council for help with this.
Artex can be "steamed" off using a wallpaper steamer. This is again very messy and also very slow. It cannot be done at speed or with the steam plate left in one area too long…if it is, there is a possibility of damaging the ceiling or wall and the artex just returns to liquid form.
This will enable you to soak and strip without damaging either yourself or the surface you are working on.
Artex can also be plastered over. Firstly make absolutely sure that there are no flaking or loose sections of the artex, or indeed ceiling/wall. Then remove all obviously "high spots" of artex, where the stipples hang down. The wall or ceiling can then be painted with a coat of
PVA adhesive, which can be bought in gallon containers from the builder’s merchants or larger DIY stores
Dilute the PVA at 1 to 1 with water and stir well. Paint this on the ceiling/wall with a large emulsion brush. This can be left to dry, which will only take about an hour. Make sure you have covered the entire surface. Untouched areas will produce
plastered areas that will be hard almost as soon as the plaster touches them! We suggest two coats of this pva solution will give an excellent seal to the ceiling.
Artex is very pourus indeed and "skim" plaster goes hard very quickly. The pva will not only help the adhesion of the plaster, but it will dramatically slow down the rate of moisture absorption, giving you more time to "work" the surface.
It is a good idea to wear an old pair of rubber gloves when dealing with plaster. It is not good
for your skin! Place dust sheets everywhere and be careful where you stand. If wet plaster gets on your shoes, before you know it the house is covered. If you are attempting a ceiling
try and get hold of a couple of milk crates, they are just the right height, and very stable when upturned. All of the tools and materials on display here can be found at Screwfix.com For those you cannot see, use their search box on site. Skim plaster is bought in bags of 25kg (Smaller bags can be bought for patching) and the mixing instructions are on the bag. Mix to a creamy consistency using an electric on slow speed and a "paddle" attachment that can be bought at most diy stores.
Apply to the ceiling/wall using a hand held board (hawk) and a plasterers trowel. No more that two trowels full should be placed on the hawk, then cut into a small section of this with the trowel held at 90 degrees to the hawk. Tilt the hawk towards you while pushing and "scooping" the trowel and plaster away. Once you have the plaster
on the trowel, spread it evenly on the surface. Do not attempt to smooth it at this stage. Before attempting the above, we suggest you first mix up an eggcup full of skim. Place this on an off cut of some kind that you have prepared with some pva. Spread it out and mark the
time it takes to go firm but not hard. This is the point at which skim can be made smooth and the trowel marks will disappear. Once skim is hard the only way of smoothing it is by sanding.
As with all of our projects, the money spent on practice is a tiny amount compared to the amount it takes to put a job right. "Stop end" beads can be purchased from stores. These are galvanised or stainless beads, which can be fixed to the surface and allow you to divide your
plastering area into smaller, more manageable sections. Their flat top gives you an edge to work to and finishes flush with the surface of the plaster. When decorated they are not visible.
All of the tools and materials on display here can be found at Screwfix.com For those you cannot see, use their search box on site.
All of the tools and materials on display here can be found at Screwfix.com For those you cannot see, use their search box on site.
Start smoothing where you started skimming, you will have to repeat this procedure over the surface two or three times to get it absolutely smooth. When the plaster gets quite hard, you can spray or flick a brush with some water on the surface, this will give you an extra couple of
minutes to work the surface.
Use a half-inch, wet (water), soft paintbrush to define corners and the abutment of the plastered surface to any other. Wipe any mess on non-pourus surfaces with a wet cloth, take up the lumps etc and it will dry to a fine dust. This can be wiped again and will go. Leave any
mess on pourus surfaces until the lumps are dry and then pick them off.
The most important things to remember are:
1: Do not attempt to put too much plaster on either hawk or trowel.
2: Spread the plaster to a ceiling not directly above your face.
3: Get a covering on that is uniform in thickness (no more than 5mm) so the whole area goes firm at the same time.
4: Do not attempt too large an area at once or mix too great an amount.
5: Wash your tools & buckets down regularly and especially between mixes.
6: It is impossible to get plaster smooth on its first application to the ceiling. Do not attempt to do this. Get an area covered uniformly and wait until it starts to get firm. Then it can be smoothed.
7: Plastering is very hard work indeed. Mostly because of the speed it has to be carried out at & also because it involves a lot of body movement. Please make sure you have divided the
room onto manageable areas. You really do only want to do this once.
For an absolute novice we would suggest that a ceiling area of 2m x 2m is the maximum that should be attempted in one go and a wall area of 2.4m x 2.5m. Make life easy with this mixing bucket and paddle which fits in all electric drills
Proper plastering is not easy. But DIY plasters are designed with ease of use in mind, and ArtexTM is no more difficult to apply than thick paint.
It is best to wear gloves when mixing up dry plaster-based products - disposable plastic gloves are fine. Wear a face mask when mixing up fine powder.Being able to use Artex and plaster can help keep the walls and ceilings in your home looking good.
A professional plasterer will normally use gypsum-based Carlite plaster applied in two layers, undercoat and finish.
The skill to do this properly takes years to acquire and the amateur should start with DIY plasters. "ArtexTM" is the best known make of textured coating, used on internal walls and ceilings to cover up cracks and uneven surfaces or fashioned into patterns. Some people may want
to remove the patterned effect.
Choosing the right product to Consider what you want the plaster and/or textured coating to do. If a wall or ceiling is basically in good condition, but
has a few holes or hairline cracks, there are many different wall fillers that you can use to make the surface smooth for decorating.
Where an area of plaster is seriously damaged or has come away from the wall ('blown'), you can use a 'repair' plaster (a DIY plaster undercoat) once all the old loose plaster has been removed. This has a good enough finish for papering ortiling, but if you want to paint it, apply a DIY plaster finish (also known as plaster skim) first. DIY plasters are ideal for repairing the damage to walls
created by holes made for electric wiring and plumbing waste pipes. If you have rough or uneven walls, and using a wall filler will
not be good enough, the whole wall can be given a coat of DIY plaster finish (it can be applied up to 3mm or 1/8in thick). Alternatively, you could apply a textured coating, with or without a patterned finish. A new masonry wall can either be covered with plasterboard (often the best choice for a DIYer) or can be plastered using DIY plaster undercoat followed by DIY plaster finish. Only when you have had success with the DIY products should you attempt to use the professional products, though the technique is basically the same.
Any wall can be covered with textured coating to provide a patterned decorative finish. It has the advantage that it covers up damaged and unsightly walls, but can equally well be used on a wall in good condition if you want the decorative effect. Textured coatings are available in smooth,
fine-textured and coarse-textured finishes.
Using DIY plaster undercoat
The most likely time you will use a DIY plaster undercoat (repair plaster) is to repair damage to existing plaster -
either damage you have created (perhaps by installing pipes or electric cables) or damage that has happened through accident or old age. It is also ideal for finishing off where you have bricked up a fireplace or a door opening. The first thing to do (especially with blown plaster) is to lay
a dust sheet on the floor and cut back all existing loose plaster until you have a sound surface with solid edges. Use a club hammer and bolster chisel to do this (1) and remove all loose dust and debris with a stiff brush (2). Unless the plaster undercoat comes ready mixed, use a largeclean bucket to mix up the powder with water. Use a clean wooden stick to do the mixing. It is easier if you add the powder to the water rather than the other way round. The plaster should have a thick creamy consistency. If the repair (or new plasterwork) includes a corner, fit metal angle bead to this first. Not only will it give a neat corner, but the bead will provide a guide for your levelling board. Cut the bead to length (with a hacksaw) and prime the cut ends. Fix it to the corner wdabs of plaster (3). Checkis vertical and leave the plaster to dry.
Before you apply the plaster, dampen the wall surface, usinga large paint brush - this will help adhesion and make it easyto 'work' the plaster. On very absorbent surfaces (aerated concrete blocks, for example), add one part PVA adhesive to five parts water.
Transfer an amount of plaster to a hawk - a flat board about 30cm (1ft) square. You can buy a ready-made hawk or make your own from a piece of plywood nailed to a block of wood with a short handle (a bit of broom handle, for example) attached to it. Carry the hawk to the wall and hold it in front of the area you want to plaster. In one movement, tip the hawk towards you, lift off an amount of plaster with the edge of a steel plasterer's
trowel and press the plaster against the wall with an upwards sweep of the trowel
The method of application is crucial - you start with the trowel at quite an angle to the wall and gradually reduce thisangle as you move it up the wall. Do not allow the trowel to get flat against the wall or you will pull off the plaster you are trying to apply.
Carry on adding plaster until the whole area to be repaired iscovered. Remember always to keep the trowel at an angle tothe wall and leave the plaster slightly proud of the surrounding surface. To get the surface level, use a piece of straight-edged timber held at an angle (or if you have one, a metal rule) moving it up the wall with a side-to-side action, holding it firmly against the existing sound plaster as a guide (5). When plastering a whole wtimber screeds are attachto the wall (and levelled) before plastering to act as the guides for this straightedge. Take care removing the straight-edge or rule from the surface together with the plaster you have scraped off. You should now be able to see any hollows which can be filled
with more plaster before ruling off again. Keep a bucket of cold water handy at all times, so that you can keep tools clean - especially the plasterer's trowel. Allow the plaster surface to harden (but not completely dry) before dampening it and smoothing it flat with the trowel (still held at a slight
angle) (6). If you are applying a finishing coat, scratch the surface of the undercoat with the edge of the trowel to provide a 'key'.
Using DIY plaster finish
A DIY finishing plaster should be applied to the undercoat before the latter is completely dry. It can also be applied directly to plasterboard and to an existing plaster surface, provided this is roughened slightly (all paint and paper should be removed). Mix up the plaster finish if necessary
with clean water as for undercoat. Application methods vary for DIY finishing plasters. Some are applied in the same way as DIY plaster undercoat (with a plasterer's trowel) in two layers (1mm followed by 2mm),whilst others are applied with a paint brush (7) and then smoothed with the plastic spreader supplied (8). Check the instructions for your plaster. If you have used a plasterer's trowel to apply the plaster, give it a final smoothing with the trowel after it has started to harden. Dampen the surface with water as you do this - a simple spray bottle will help to apply this.
Applying a textured coating
A textured coating will level up uneven surfaces and cover cracks up to around 3mm (1/8in) wide - the coating is flexible, unlike normal paint, and reduces the possibility of cracks reopening. Textured coatings can be used to provide a number of different finishes which, if required, can be
painted in a colour of your choice. As with all decoration, proper surface preparation is vital. Wallpaper (including painted wallpaper) must be removed and the surfaces thoroughly cleaned (in particular, getting rid of grease and nicotine stains). Sound paint can be left in
place, but all loose and flaking paint (and all distemper) must be removed before you start. Remove any tiles from a ceiling along with their adhesive. Porous surfaces should be treated with special sealer and cracks larger than 3mm (1/8in) should be filled with wall filler: a special caulking tool is available to make this job easier. Filled cracks and joints between new plasterboard should be taped over with joint tape (tape should also be used on the edges of filled areas). If any parts of the wallare powdery or 'chalky'applying theMix up powder, following the manufacturer's instructions. Tospeed up this process, whisk attachments are available for both hand and powered drills. Ready-mixed products can beapplied straight from the tub. Use masking tape to protect electrical fittings, timber paintwork anpipeTextured coatings can be applied with a large paint brush (wall brush) or roller. The application method is different to paint as the coating is applied more or less in one go ratthen being 'worked' once it is on the surface. Apply the coating to the wall or ceiling in bands around 60cm (2ft) wide; if you are applying a the brush or roller will leave a relatively flat surface (its texture depending on the type of coating being used), but if you want to provide a decorative pattern, this is done
the coating is on the wall. There are several different texture patterned rollers for producud bark and stipple patterns.brushes and stippl
textured effects. combs for creating artistic combed textures (including flower and rose standard linear ones). lacers (triangular plastic hand-held blades) for smoothing tips of heavier random textures (broken leather, bark and swirls, for example) to reduce tsharpness of the peaks; a standard set includes medium and small sizes. The tool is kept damp with water and is used before the texture has gone firm. margin brush for creating borders around textu patterns and also for painting around fittings. You could also use a damp sponge to crea
Unwanted textured coating?
If you have moved into a different house and want to remove at least some of the patterned textured coating fromthe walls and ceilings, there are two choices: cover or strip. Covering is the easiest choice. You can get specific productdesigned for doing this and all you do is to apply them ontop of the existing patterned coating (with a plasterer's float) so that the surface is restored to a smooth flat surface which you can then paper or paint. Remember, though, tyou will now have quite a thick coating. Stripping is the alternative. There are specific products made for stripping textured coatings, though they may not work on all types.the chemical stripper does not work, you can try a steam wallpaper stripper to soften the coating so that you can strip it off by hand. A large hired type will work better than a DIY wallpaper stripper, but the job is messy and jolly hard work!
Some old textured finishes may contain a small propoasbestos.