What is artex?
Artex is a term used for a type of plaster applied to walls and ceilings to create a textured finish. This technique was widely used in Britain in the 1970s, mainly with the familiar stippled and swirled patterns.
Is it dangerous?
Usually harmless, artex becomes hazardous when damaged or disturbed. Common between 1950’s and 1980’s, asbestos was a key component to the plaster and used as a strengthening agent. The danger arises when the asbestos fibres are airborne. Inhaled, these fibres can cause health problems that are potentially fatal. Highlighting the importance of handling and disposing of damaged or unwanted artex properly.
What to do if artex is found?
Actions depend on the condition of the plaster and intentions for the area featuring artex texturing. If intact with no intent to remove or disturb the plaster, it poses no health risks. However if the artex is damaged, precautionary procedures need to be followed.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommend if any artex is damaged or found incomplete, work should stop immediately due to the likelihood of asbestos fibres in the air.
How to remove artex?
Asbestos-containing artex is classified by the HSE as a non-licensed material. This means it does not require an HSE licensed contractor to remove it. However, when conducting large scale removal then a notifiable non-licensed work (NNLW) form must be completed and sent to the HSE.
For more information on HSE guidelines click here.
To suppress any asbestos fibres that become airborne during work, it is recommended to dampen the surface of the plaster (water is suitable for this) and cover surfaces below the work area.
It is essential that Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) and disposable Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) is worn whilst working with the plaster. This will reduce the risk of any airborne fibres being inhaled.
It may be advisable that the total works are conducted by a company that can safely remove and dispose of any asbestos due to health risks, disposal complications and legislation.
For more information regarding asbestos removal click here.