Artex was a very common decorating material several years ago with its spirling, swirling and stippled designs still adoring houses across the land. It was used extensively on ceilings and walls, mainly to hide rough patches of plaster, damp and any multitude of past decorating sins. Up until 1984 Artex had a small amount (3-5%) of asbestos in. Anything used past this date is asbestos free.
The main problem with artex removal (assuming that you can overlook the designs chosen by the houses’ previous owners) is this asbestos risk (although it is classified as a low risk). This means that you cannot sand off the artex as the asbestos fibres will be released. So you need to do one of two things:
1. Plaster over the top
2. Remove using non abrasive techniques
Plastering over the top is generally seen as the easiest, but it does not remove the artex. This can be done by using plaster boards or by applying a new skim over the top. Skimming though can be difficult, especially with more textured patterns. So generally be prepared to plasterboard and then skim over the top.
2. Removing the artex can be a good option, but on ceilings this becomes more difficult as they artex remover has to scraped off once it has softened the artex. Removing artex from walls is certainly easier using this technique.
Artex removal is probably best done using the Eco Solutions X-Tex product. This is very low VOC, safe and easy to apply, so a real DIY product.
If in doubt, you should be very careful with the artex and consult with a specialist (or have the artex sent for analysis).