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How can I tell if artex has been skimmed over in my house?

(11 Posts)
EllyGee85 Wed 05-Aug-15 16:45:24

We've had some down lights put in the kitchen and lounge of our house. The house has smooth ceilings everywhere but I know the people we bought the house from had themselves done a lot of modernisation themselves.
I've suddenly had a panic that they might have had artex ceilings skimmed over at some point as it's the sort of property that's bound to have had them in at some point. Obviously concerned about the asbestos risk here - so does anyone know the best way to find out if they are hiding artex?would the electricians have spotted it when they were sawing the holes? In the event that it was there would it be a hazard to our health?

EllyGee85 Wed 05-Aug-15 20:42:29


MsThePoint Wed 05-Aug-15 20:46:21

I don't think artex involved asbestos.
Didn't they just add the plaster onto the existing plasterboard back in the day?
Same goes for plastering over artex. A layer of plaster is applied over the existing artex.

EllyGee85 Wed 05-Aug-15 21:06:11

Thanks for your message. Older artex can contain asbestos and it's not advisable to cut through it.

gamerchick Wed 05-Aug-15 21:21:35

My house was built in the 60s and has artex in every room apart from the kitchen now...( That was taken down by a company when it got damaged by a leak. )that has asbestos in it. Always fun when repairs need doing and risks disturbing it. Low grade but it's there.

You probably need to get someone in to test it to find out.

LetTheHayfeverBegin Wed 05-Aug-15 21:23:56

Apparently it's very low risk, according to the asbestos survey people I spoke to, as the type of asbestos used in artex is the lowest risk asbestos,but I realise this might not necessarily be reassuring.

Sometimes if it's just been skimmed over, you can vaguely see bits of artex poking through, but I suspect this is not particularly good plastering! If they were genuinely wanting to cover it up then it could be covered by board first, and then that plastered over, so I'm not sure you'd know unless the whole thing was drilled through.

Could you get an asbestos survey done? (£100 ish where we live). Or at least give a company like that a ring so they could advise you on whether a survey is possible in the situation you describe.

EllyGee85 Wed 05-Aug-15 21:28:05

Thanks for the replies. I don't actually know whether any would have been there but I find it hard to believe that the place ever escaped the dreaded stuff. I know lots of people have it plastered over now and it seems a bit immoral as future inhabitants of the house wouldn't know of the risk

PigletJohn Wed 05-Aug-15 23:26:35

take out one of the downlighters and look at the cut edge of the plaster. Is it plasterboard with a skim? Can you see a layer of nearly white artex? The skim coat will probably be pinkish, and the plasterboard will be a greyish white with a coarse paper coating top and bottom.

If you know the age of the house and can guess when it might have been artexed you can look up the year when the asbestos content was discontinued.

It is possible to chip or scrape a bit off and send it to be analysed.

EllyGee85 Thu 06-Aug-15 10:06:10

I replied to this but it seems to have disappeared - apologies if I'm saying this twice.

Great idea PigletJohn - so any artex layer would be off white (and a bit wiggly I'm guessing)? How thick is it likely to be?

There is also another ceiling I would like to check that hasn't actually had any down lights put it but does have the bathroom above. I'd like to be informed in the event of a leak and damage to the ceiling. Would it be clear from removing the central light fitting do you know?

PigletJohn Thu 06-Aug-15 12:22:03

Dimpled or combed artex is a quarter inch or less. Stalactites are deeper but are usually knocked off before skimming.

bilbodog Thu 06-Aug-15 15:40:11

we had this in our victorian cottage and my DH got a testing kit off the web, took some samples and sent them away to be tested. Cost around £30 I think. Asbestos was very, very low. I'm afraid we have skimmed over most of it.

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