To be considering artexing my ceiling?

(73 Posts)
KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 11:36:29

We moved into this house 3 years ago. It is a lovely old cottage with the usual woodchip-holding-the-walls-up kind of decoration that you might expect. We are slowly sorting this out, but are really skint so having to do it ourselves.

My problem is the ceilings, in particular the hallway and sitting room. They are a pure vision in artex. It is like someone was trying to decide which pattern was the most horrible and couldn't decide, so went for a mix of all of them.

The sitting room has: fan swirls, thick combed lines, wavy fan lines, and wobbly pattern around the light fitting. It is appalling and despite us living with it for 3 years, it still hasn't faded into the background.

So, looking around it seems that my options are to either
a) pay someone to sort it out, which we can't afford for the forseeable future,
b) try and live with it which is failing miserably,or
c) sort it myself.

My recent plastering attempts are, um, well lets just say it's a good job it was inside a walk-in cupboard! So I am now considering buying more artex and going over the top, with a less in-your-face stipple effect instead. That would still be bad, but trust me it would be a whole lot less bad than currently!

I just can't seem to bring myself to buy artex! Would that BU?

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Mon 24-Mar-14 11:40:07

I don't think you should do it. I would wait and save to get it gone. Two wrongs don't make a right.

olympicsrock Mon 24-Mar-14 11:42:34

Pay someone to sort it out - would the local college course like practice?

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 11:45:11

We can't pay someone - it would be a couple of hundred to sort it out and it would be years before we could afford that, as there are so many other things we need to do!

There is no local college sadly, the nearest that does this sort of thing is about 17 miles away.

winklewoman Mon 24-Mar-14 11:45:22

Isn't it possible to plaster over Artex rather than re-artexing? Why not get a couple of estimates for having the hall and sittingroom done, it may not be as expensive as you think. It would be awful to spend time and money on DIY and and up with it looking just as bad. We had the same problem with a kitchen several houses and many years ago, and I did the re-artexing. I was hoping for reasonably smooth finish but ended up with a sort of Spanish rough-cast hacienda effect, not recommended.

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 11:47:31

No, I know it wouldn't be a smooth finish - I tried that with the plastering! That's why I was wondering about stipple. We have that in one of the bedrooms and it looks positively gorgeous in comparison!grin

I simply can't see us having more than £50 to spare on it for years, so there is no way we can afford it.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 24-Mar-14 11:49:40

God, don't even try, it's really quite a skilled job to get it right ime and best left to the professionals. It will need sealing first and then skimming, bad plastering looks awful.

We had it done in our front room, it took 2 plasterers a full day of non stop work on a ceiling that is 15 ft square and cost 800 quid but that included a wall too in another room.

We had a not do experienced plasterer do our bedroom ceiling and I wish we hadn't bothered, half of it fell down and once he'd fixed it the cracks began to appear...

PigletJohn Mon 24-Mar-14 11:50:40

Leave it. Why spend money making it worse?

You can usually get a ceiling skimmed for two or three hundred, so start saving.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 24-Mar-14 11:51:22

Sorry, that was to skim over rather than have new artex.

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 11:53:27

Dame - I wasn't going to try and plaster it myself - I know what my plastering is like!! I can seal it myself though, we have some UPA glue stuff already so wouldn't need to fork out for that as well.

I would still be planning on getting it done properly in time, but I need to not be looking at it for the next few years. It does my head in!

There must be another solution!?

PlumProf Mon 24-Mar-14 11:57:03

Not wanting to heap misery on you but be careful: lots of the older artex contains asbestos and you shouldn't start messing about with it before checking. Left in situ it should be harmless enough unless it is so old it is crumbling.

If I were you I would take on night shifts/ a third job/ drug running (slight exaggeration) to get the money to get rid of it!!

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 24-Mar-14 11:58:09

Ah right,I see. Oh just do it in a corner and see if it works, who knows,it could work and look fab. But I do think plasterers are paid a premium for a reason, because it's really hard work!

Good luck! I sympathise,I hated our artex, it was like a wedding cake icingshock

sashh Mon 24-Mar-14 11:58:53

Hire an industrial sander, it is the only way.

Or get some plasterboard, cut to fit the ceiling in the hallway, use long screws so there is a gap between the artex and the plasterboard so it lies straight.

You should add a coat of skimming but if you paint it you should get away with it for a year or so until you get it done properly.

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 11:59:08

I have read that about old artex Plum, thank you. I wasn't planning to remove it - it is so deep in places (the hallway is about half an inch thick in the pattern <shudders> so chipping it off would take forever anyway. Plus it's probably holding the ceiling up, if the woodchip was anything to go by!grin

HauntedNoddyCar Mon 24-Mar-14 11:59:32

You could try sanding it. It will be a dust apocalypse but it might look less awful. Or possibly more awful.

I don't think you will get new artex into all the troughs if you just bung it on.

HauntedNoddyCar Mon 24-Mar-14 12:00:49

Xpost sorry.

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 12:02:45

Oh wow - an industrial sander on the ceiling! I can't imagine what a mess that would make!!shock Plus if it does have asbestos in that's a big no-no! Don't think I'll try that, but thanks!grin

I don't want to plasterboard either, I don't fancy putting screws into the ceiling in case it falls down.

Thanks for all suggestions though - please keep them coming! Anything to stop my buying artex......grin

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 24-Mar-14 12:03:57

Can you not move? wink

PigletJohn Mon 24-Mar-14 12:04:48

Sanding old Artex would be an extremely bad idea.

It is now thought that the risks of the asbestos content are not high, and not all Artex and similar coatings contain it, but sanding it is the worst thing you could possibly do.

Your only credible option is to get a price for a decorator to flattern and plaster over it......but yeah prob will be a couple of hundred pounds but it will look lovely.

Artex is so dated, absolutely no point you going over it with more artex, would be like polishing a turd smile

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 12:05:40

Ghoul....the thought had occured to me!!

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 12:06:57

A polished turd on the ceiling would look better than the current artex, believe me!grin

firstchoice Mon 24-Mar-14 12:07:22

Have a go yourself.
Will be less than £50 prob for gubbins, and cant look any worse?
I would, in your shoes.
Good luck .x.

Haha - well you know the saying you can't polish a turd but you can roll it in glitter.

There you go, a turdy glittery ceiling would look lovely! smile

DH is a painter and decorator - he hasn't artexed for years.

ShellingtonsSister Mon 24-Mar-14 12:13:42

Artex must have been out of fashion for at least 20 years. It can't be long until it becomes The In Thing again, just bide your time and you will be at the cutting edge of home decor fashion. wink

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 12:15:49

B&Q do a 10k bag of powder for just under £14 plus I would need the brush tool thingy, which they don't seem to stock.

Homebase has a repair kit which is a bit more, £25, but it includes the brush. That would be enough to cover the hallway ceiling (very small area) and then I could keep the brush and just get the powder for the ceiling if it did look passable. I have brushes/sealant to put over first already plus buckets/plaster mixing thing for the drill etc.

So it would be £25 for one room, and maybe another £28 or £42 depending on how much powder it takes.

I must admit I am tempted - that's a cheap temp solution!

girlwhowearsglasses Mon 24-Mar-14 12:17:39

We had super-duper-scary artex in every single room in our house when we bought it. Its a long story but we knew we would be sorting it before we moved in, and also I know it contributed to a beautiful Georgian house not selling for a whole year before we bought it.

So: its not as difficult to solve as you might think. DO NOT try to remove it by sanding etc - seriously, if you are doing that you are better actually replacing the ceiling (we did this on landing ceiling).

We did pay someone, and this is what he did - he painted it all over with a special PVA sealant - it was blue in colour and is there to bond new plaster to the Artex. He then plastered over the ceiling. You need a wet edge, and you need to put the plaster over the sealant stuff within a certain time window so it's tacky. This is what I remember. Don't worry about how thick it will be, our was really thick and nasty - it all looks lovely now.

I'm not sure you'd want to do it yourself though - but I could imagine it would be possible, especially if there were a lot and you learnt as you were going. It took about a day per room.

girlwhowearsglasses Mon 24-Mar-14 12:21:31

I think this is the sort of thing they did - PVA provides a key for new plaster to skim, and seals old plaster meaning the new plaster dries slower - allowing you time to work it easier.

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 12:23:30

Thanks girl - will have a look at that link after

I really wouldn't do it yourself - you'll just go from the fat to the fire.

Just put it on your list of things to save for and prioritise. I think if you do it yourself the ceiling will end up looking like that polished turd, just without the polish.

BornFreeButinChains Mon 24-Mar-14 12:24:11

what about lining paper and wall paper?
for celiing
we got rid of a house fill of wood chip ourselves with steam remover took a while but was no big deal

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 24-Mar-14 12:25:53
mrsleomcgary Mon 24-Mar-14 12:33:19

DON'T try chipping it,sanding it or removing it in ayway! Artex is notorious for being full of asbestos and asbestos wasn't banned in this country until 1999 so no guarantees you don't have it (i used to work in the building trade so have experience with asbestos removal)

Could you get some polycell smooth over,I just used it in my spare room to smooth the walls but it does over artex as well. We managed with two tubs in a pretty big room, cost about £80 and gave a good finish, really easy to apply as well.

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 12:34:01

Oh I have just seen that link is for plastering over it, there is absolutely noway I can plaster it myself - as someone said upthread there is a reason plasters are paid a good wage! I was only considering putting artex over the top as if I stippled it then it doesn't need to be a smooth or flat surface.

I did spot those smoothover products but we tried something similar in our old house and it looked awful. I think realistically, if I am going to try something myself, the only way it stands a chance of working is to try and aim for an uneven/stippled finish. 'Cos it won't ever be even!

badbride Mon 24-Mar-14 12:44:18

I feel your pain: my house is heaving with sodding Artex and I hate it!

A cheap quick fix is to paint the ceiling with matt white paint to make the Artex less shiny. We tried that and it did seem to make it less noticeable. Quick and cheap to do too.

On no account should you sand or chip Artex, as others have said, it is likely to contain asbestos, which can be deadly.

HoVis2001 Mon 24-Mar-14 12:49:38

When I first saw the thread title I thought you were asking if you would be unreasonable to artex a previously un-artexed ceiling. I was thinking you were VVU! grin I hate the artex ceiling in our (rental house) bedroom and it isn't even an offensive pattern...

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 12:54:03

Bad - I have tried to paint it matt. Sadly due to the pattern we missed loads of bits and kept spotting random shiny patches! We have tried to patch those up with paint on no fewer than 4 subsequent occasions but there are still small shiny bits. I have now officially given up!

softlysoftly Mon 24-Mar-14 12:58:14

Buy a shed load of cheap floaty material. Pin in swathes to ceiling.

Pretend you are living in a yurt.

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 12:59:43

grin Inspired!

PigletJohn Mon 24-Mar-14 13:18:36


KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 13:24:22

Yup, probably! Not quite the look we want either, and with our low ceilings might be a touch impractical too. Lovely idea though!

I am teetering on the edge here.....seriously considering just popping to Homebase to buy the artex.......!

Any further attempts to talk me out of it?!?! Better be quick!grin

Fresh artex smells like someones arse....there, that should put you off, haha smile

softlysoftly Mon 24-Mar-14 13:35:05

Aw you can get some lovely tie die non flammable polyester these days.

I wouldn't try and do it yourself.

I would use a matt paint on it and make the walls a feature so you arnt drawn to it.

RoganJosh Mon 24-Mar-14 13:43:38

I would try and smooth it over as much as possible and then paper it with a tasteful anaglypta if it would suit the age of your house.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 24-Mar-14 13:45:43

I'd save the £50 you're planning on spending and put it in the kitty for getting a plaster to sort it all properly. I do think it would be hard to do it right. Worst than doing the flat plastering I reckon.

EvenBetter Mon 24-Mar-14 13:47:23

Don't do it! It'll still look really shit, and you'll have paid and laboured for the privelege.
My first memory is of my uncle throwing me in the air as a baby and I banged my skull off the disgusting stippled shite on the ceiling.
THis house had it when we moved in and I had genuine feelings of anger towards it. Didn't clean it, didn't paint it, sneered at it. There was also wood chip in another room, including on the fucking ceiling.
Just don't.

PigletJohn Mon 24-Mar-14 13:49:42

" It is a lovely old cottage with the usual woodchip-holding-the-walls-up "

It's my guess that the artex was put up to hide sagging, cracked ceilings. Quite likely lath and plaster. So they will fall down sooner or later, probably while you are doing something to them. I wouldn't spend much on them until either they do, or you can afford to have them overboarded with plasterboard screwed to the joists.
If you look at the upper surface of the ceiling from the loft, or by taking up an upstairs floorboard, you can see what state it's in.

vexedfoxy Mon 24-Mar-14 13:50:46

Anyone who artexes a ceiling or anything else for that matter should have a full live sentence in a cell with artex on all walls and ceiling. Sensible polices for a happier Britain.

BarbaraPalmer Mon 24-Mar-14 13:53:41

either ignore it or get it sorted properly
no point in spending time or money on a bodge

i feel your pain, by the way
we're in a little Victorian terrace, where the plaster is held onto the walls on ceiling only by thick layers of anaglypta. Each time we've decorated a room it's taken us a fortnight to scrape the stuff off, and then £££ for a reskim, which explains why we've only done 3 rooms in 5 years.

HappyAgainOneDay Mon 24-Mar-14 14:05:20

I hope the OP is able to come to a decision with all the ideas posted here.

Unfortunately, what caught my eye was the knowledge (if it's correct) that artex of a certain age that's been in place for years could have asbestos in it. How old does the artex have to be to have asbestos in it? We have stipple-type artex ceilings and have been here since new 40 years ago. We replaced our garage corrugated roofs about 10 years ago and the workmen didn't wear masks. A (same sort of house) neighbour recently made his ceilings nice and smooth and they didn't mention asbestos....

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 14:09:41

Actually the artex hasn't completely hidden the sagging, or the cracking for that matter! That's what 'character property' is all about, right?

Can't really get to the floorboards to lift them up, but did change all the lights when we moved in and they do have thickish plaster on the ceiling, not plasterboard, downstairs at least. Both hallway and sitting room have had replacement lights and I had trouble putting a screw in because a clump of ceiling fell out!grin

(In case you hadn't realised, 'Bodge' is my middle namegrin)

Definitely not liking the wallpaper I'm afraid, and now I've clicked on that link I am getting adverts for hideous wallpaper all over the screen!!shock

You lot are far too sensible you know. Where's your sense of adventure?

Where's your sense of adventure?

I artexed over it in 1992....still trying to find it smile

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Mon 24-Mar-14 14:23:00

I'd be careful about just going over the ceiling as well - if it's an old property there's a good chance it's lath and plaster, which has a nasty habit of failing as it gets old. Adding extra weight by filling it in with more artex or plaster might not be a good idea.

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 14:24:49

Betty grin

"Or get some plasterboard, cut to fit the ceiling in the hallway, use long screws so there is a gap between the artex and the plasterboard so it lies straight." this is what my Dad did with one of the rooms in my house. I also remember him artexing he other rooms and how bloody long it took very interesting to watch for a while as a child though!) He's a builder and just couldn't be arsed with the faff of reartexing. I'm not sure what he did over the plasterboard though, plastered it or re-artexed it or something? confused

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 24-Mar-14 14:45:46

Skimmed the seams with plaster probably to patch it up then painted it.

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 15:08:41

Right, off to do the school run which co-incidentally goes past Homebase........should I or shouldn't I?

Decisions, decisions.......................

winklewoman Mon 24-Mar-14 15:18:24

Such a pity you did not put this on Chat, you could have posted before and after pictures; we would all have loved that.

It always bemuses me when estate agents proclaim that a house has Artex ceilings, as if buyers will flock there and fight each other for the privilege of ownership.

oodyboodyboocs Mon 24-Mar-14 15:50:38

We had an artexed ceiling sealed and plastered over by a plasterer, cost us £60 so may be worth getting a quote.

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 15:53:15

Well I didn't get it - it was chucking it down and I was too cold to leave the car!

I will have a chat with DH later as I suppose I ought to mention it to him before I go ahead and do anything! Not that I ever have before - he got quite used to coming home to different coloured walls and new curtains etc.grin

Wouldn't dare post after photos and you really wouldn't want to see before's the stuff of nightmares!

PrimalLass Mon 24-Mar-14 15:53:15

I got the living room ceiling skimmed for £120.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Mon 24-Mar-14 16:00:17

you can add pics here too y'know.... just sayin.

KittensoftPuppydog Mon 24-Mar-14 16:07:54

I gave a nasty bit of artex a few coats of Dulux 'once' paint. It's really thick and it kind of filled in the grooves and flattened it all out a lot. Didn't totally disappear but looked a lot better.

PigletJohn Mon 24-Mar-14 16:28:25

An L&P ceiling

whereisshe Mon 24-Mar-14 16:39:50

Wouldn't it be cheaper just to replace the whole ceiling with plasterboard? Pull down what's there and start again?

(I have to admit that most of my DIY knowledge comes from Australia where the housing stock is much younger!)

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 16:55:22

Oh Piglet you're such a pessimist!grin

I have given the hallway ceiling a couple of thumps and it seems fairly sound. Should hold the weight of it I reckon.....?

<itches to get stuck in>

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 17:19:49

OK I will try and upload some pictures. Never done this before so hope it works!

Firstly here is the lovely sitting room. The majority of it is the fan/swirls but there are these random wavy fan bits too, and the swirly bit around the light in the middle.

Then there is the delight that is the hallway....last pic.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Mon 24-Mar-14 17:34:10

ahhh tis not that bad, we have the random swirly fan pattern in our bedroom, I was told it is a proper pattern (wtf) not one that the last occupants made up. I amuse myself by picking out pictures in it like starring at weird clouds. grin save up and get it done properly, it could end up costing more if you add to it making the job harder in the long run.

iamaLeafontheWind Mon 24-Mar-14 19:11:38

There's a product called X tex that you paint onto artex & it takes it off. Literally dissolves after a couple of days. Satisfying but messy.

KirstyJC Mon 24-Mar-14 19:46:24

Interesting IamaLeaf - just read some reviews and it does seem quite good. The hallway would be fine to try but tbh the sitting room is large so the messy aspect of it really doesn't appeal.

Mmm...maybe I should just move house after all?!?!

Pippilangstrompe Mon 24-Mar-14 19:57:12

Goodness, that is truely hideous. What on earth were they thinking??

splasheeny Mon 24-Mar-14 22:34:31

Lol Kirsty those photos are so hideous it is hilarious..

I don't know how anyone can look at that and think it can be attractive? Fashion is one thing but what happene to taste??

In your situation I would save up, even just 2 pounds a week, till you can afford it, then pay a professional. This is because putting time and money into a bodge job isn't a good idea.

Can you work some overtime to pay for it?

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