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How To Remove Artex & Test For Asbestos

Artex is a coating marketed as an alternative to plaster that allowed for the creation of decorative textures, most often on ceilings. Until the mid-80s white asbestos was used in the creation of Artex. The asbestos strengthened the material and enhanced its sculptural qualities. Once the negative health effects of asbestos became widely known asbestos was phased out as an ingredient in Artex. Defenders of Artex today claim that as long as Artex remains undisturbed any risk is negligible. Health advocates counter that the presence of asbestos in any form in an occupied building represents an unacceptable risk.

Identifying and Removing Artex

Artex is still being produced today although it is older batches of the material, particularly those produced before the year 2000, that pose a potential risk. Therefore the first thing to do if you have Artex in your home or business is to identify when it was installed. If the installation date indicates it may contain asbestos you can hire any one of numerous companies to test the material for you or you can acquire one of our asbestos test kits and test it yourself.

If the presence of asbestos is confirmed removal typically entails hiring an experienced asbestos removal contractor. While there is more than one accepted method for removing asbestos-containing Artex the following Steam Method is one of the most widely used and typically proceeds as follows:

  • The Area is Secured – Steam removal can be a messy process so furniture and decorations are typically removed and any remaining items are covered thoroughly using a plastic drop cloth.
  • A Wallpaper Steamer is Set Up – There are many different makes of wallpaper steamer so the exact process of setting up the steamer for use will depend on the make and model. Once the steamer is ready…
  • Steam is Applied to the Artex – An area is selected and the steam plate is held against it for several seconds. Care is taken not to hold the steam plate in place for too long. If that happens the Artex may liquefy and drip onto other surfaces.
  • The Artex is Scraped Away – Using a standard scraping tool the removal technician presses into the Artex using controlled pressure and scrapes the material away. (Note: If the Artex is too hard to scrape more heat is applied until it reaches the desired malleability.)
  • The Process is Repeated as Needed – The removal technician methodically works their way across the entire surface being sure not to miss anything. The removed Artex will fall onto the plastic drop cloth where it will be gathered up later.
  • Examination and Clean-up – The technician carefully examines the scraped area to ensure no Artex remains. After that clean-up ensues. Since Artex becomes dangerous once it dries and becomes dusty the clean-up technician handles the debris carefully in order not to create or disturb any dust.

If you believe you have asbestos-containing Artex in your home or business make sure any remediation efforts are conducted using prescribed methods by asbestos removal specialists.