How to plaster over artex
Artex is often considered outdated and removing it can be difficult. Another option is to plaster over the artex. Plastering over the artex is much harder than plastering over a normal surface such as plaster board or a surface that has previously been plastered.
Skimming a 16’ x 13’ artex ceiling. On this job I had to skim the whole room including the artexed ceiling and the artex above the picture rail. This is how I skim over artex.
When you go to quote on a job and it’s a re-skim over artex and it needs scraping back, try and find out when it was artexed, as artex up to the year 2000 could contain a small amount of Asbestos. If in doubt get it checked out before knocking off any of the high points.
This ceiling was artexed in the 80’s by a friend of the customer.
First thing to do is get the dust sheets down, I always scrim any cracks that I can see then remove the high spots on the artex with a floor scraper and give it a coat of good quality pva. A little tip here is put a little bit of food colour in with your pva so you know where you have been. It’s important that the whole ceiling has been covered.
Now I get all my gear out of the van and start setting up. Fill the buckets up and give the ceiling a second coat of pva. When the pva starts to go tacky mix up your first coat of plaster. It’s a good idea to check different parts of the ceiling as another part of the ceiling could still be too wet. Start in the left hand corner if your right handed and cover the ceiling. I always try to aim to get whatever I mixed up all on in 10-15 mins.
Another tip is don’t mix it up too wet. You’ll make and mess and struggle to cover up the artex. Once you got it all on leave it, clean your tools, empty and clean out your bucket and fill with clean water.
When you’ve done that check to see if has firmed up a little. If it has go back to your start point and give it a quick flatten, and clean you ceiling/wall angles up. You may notice as you flatten it the plaster takes the shape of the pattern, don’t worry about it.
After another 7-10 mins it should be firming off nice, so give it a flatten again and you’ll notice the pattern has all but gone. If I’m skimming anything else other than artex I wouldn’t bother flattening again, soon as I flattened for the first time I would mix up and go straight on it. Also you leave it too long and if has firmed right up you’ll notice your second coat firming up a lot quicker than usual. Just try and judge it right.
Mix up for you second coat now. I used 1½ bags for the first coat as the pattern was deep, so I mixed just under a full bag on the second coat. If your on your own always mix a little more than you need. There’s nothing worse than running out when you’ve only got ¾’s of it on. Now your second coat is on just leave it, clean tools and buckets. Get a builders bucket and put some clean water in the for when you start troweling. Everything should be under control now, hopefully! Check the ceiling, If it only took you 10-15 mins to get it on it should still be wet so drink your tea. Next give it a flatten, you’ll still have trowel lines all over it but don’t worry about it, all your doing is flattening the plaster and tidying it up a little. Clean all your angles. First trowel. For me this is my most important trowel so I take my time over it. It’s firmed off now so I go back to my starting point and start troweling. Aim to fill the hollows and flatten most of the trowel lines. Doing this now will let you concentrate on getting a good finish for you next two trowels. Don’t forget your angles!
As you spent a bit more time on you first trowel the ceiling should be looking nearly done. Go back to your start point after about 10 mins or so and start your second trowel. I flick a little water on it and keep an eye out for little imperfections, use a little fat or some gear to get rid of them. If it was just this ceiling to do I would pack up all my gear now just leaving my trowel, water brush and bucket of water. On the third trowel use your water brush and brush in use your water brush and brush in your angles so they are nice and clean. Trowel it using firm pressure and a little water. My skimming usually feels very smooth but you cant see my ugly mug in it. I hope this helps someone on their first artex ceiling. Good luck!