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How to plaster over artex

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Artex can be considered old and difficult to remove. Plastering over the artex is another option. Plastering the artex over is more difficult than plastering a normal surface, such as plaster board, or a surface that was previously plastered.

I had to skim a 16’x13′ artex ceiling. This job required me to sweep the entire room, including the artexed ceilings and artex above the picturerail. This is how I skim artex.

If you are asked to quote for a job, and the job is a reskim over artex, and it needs to be scraped back, it might help to find out when it was originally artexed. Plaster over artex from 2000 onwards could have a little Asbestos. Before you start referring to the high points, make sure it is checked.

The ceiling was erected by a friend of customer in the 80’s.

The first thing you need to do is remove dust sheets. I scrim every crack I can, then I use a floor scraper to remove high spots and give the artex a coat with good quality pva. To help you remember where you are, you can add a bit of food colour to your pva. It is important to cover the entire ceiling.

Now, I take all my gear out and set up. Fill up the buckets and apply a second coat to the ceiling. Mix your plaster when the pva becomes tacky. You can check other parts of your ceiling to make sure it isn’t too wet. If you’re right-handed, start in the left corner and cover the ceiling. I aim to finish whatever I’m working on in about 10-15 minutes.

Don’t make it too wet. It will make a mess and make it difficult to cover the artex. After you have it all covered, take it off. Clean your tools and empty your bucket. Fill it with clean water.

After you have done this, check to make sure it hasn’t sagged a bit. If it hasn’t, go back to the original point and flatten it. Then clean your ceiling and wall angles. It is possible that the plaster will take the shape of your pattern as it flattens. Don’t be alarmed.

It should firm up in 7-10 minutes. Give it another flatten and you will see that the pattern is almost gone. I don’t think I’d flatten it again if I was skimming any other fabric than artex. I’d mix up the mixture and just go on with it. If you wait too long, your second coat will firm up faster than the first. Try to judge it correctly.

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Make sure to mix the second coat. Because the pattern is very deep, I used 1/2 bags to make the first coat. I then mixed the second coat with just under one bag. Mixing on your own is a good idea. Always use a little more than what you need. It’s not good to run out of paint when you only have 3/4. Once you have applied the second coat, don’t forget to clean your tools and buckets. When you are ready to trowel, grab a bucket for builders and add some water. You should now have everything under control. You can now check the ceiling. It should be dry if it took you less than 10 minutes to put it on. You can flatten it. There will still be trowel lines, but that’s okay. Clean all your angles. First trowel. This is the most important trowel for me so I take my time with it. Now that it’s firm, I return to my original point and begin troweling. Fill the hollows with trowel lines and flatten them. This will allow you to concentrate on the next trowel. Don’t forget your angles!

After spending a little more time with your first trowel, the ceiling should look almost done. After about 10 minutes, return to your starting point and begin your second trowel. You can use some water to clean it. If you find any imperfections, add some fat or gear to eliminate them. If there was only this ceiling, I would just pack my gear and leave my trowel with water brush, bucket of water and water brush. Use your water brush to brush your angles. Use firm pressure and some water to twirl it. Although my skimming is usually very smooth, you won’t be able to see my ugly mug. This will hopefully help someone who is attempting their first artex ceiling. You are very welcome!

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