How to Plaster over Artex

Many older homes have artexed ceilings – that is, ceilings that have been treated with a water-based coating that has then been textured and painted. Quite fashionable in its day, nowadays ridding themselves of the artex “look” is one of the first tasks many DIYers face when remodelling a home or building. While removing artex is fairly simple, in cases where artex was applied pre-1980 (and may contain asbestos) or was applied to cover a damaged ceiling, it may be wisest to leave artex in place and plaster over it.

The first task in plastering over artex is preparing the surface. Loose and flaking bits must be removed, along with all of the bigger stipples. It is strongly advisable to wear protective eyewear (goggles) while doing this to avoid injury.

Once the surface is prepared, two coats of diluted PVA adhesive (1:1 water/PVA) should be applied; leaving an hour of drying time between each coat. Do not be tempted to skip this step and go straight to skimming. Artex is extremely porous and without the PVA, your plasterwork will be a disaster. The PVA coats will seal the Artex, thus giving you more time to work.

Once the PVA coats are dried, it’s time to apply your skimming plaster. Plastering is a difficult art, so work in manageable areas. Mix your plaster using a wooden stick or mixer drill, adding the water first and then slowly adding the plaster until you have a creamy consistency. Because plaster dries quickly, always work in a cool room.

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