Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray
Artex ceilings were popular a few decades ago but now they’re pretty much outdated. Many people who still have Artex ceilings want to either remove them or cover them up with something like wallpaper.
So, can you wallpaper over Artex ceilings? Although you can wallpaper over Artex ceilings, it is NOT recommended. The wallpaper may eventually crack over time. The Artex ridges beneath the wallpaper can also create unpleasant protrusions in the wallpaper.
If you want a more permanent solution, there are a couple of ways to update your Artex ceiling. These include covering it with drywall or wet plaster. Another option is to simply remove it entirely.
Continue reading to understand the details on why wallpaper is not the best idea for covering Artex ceilings, and what other solutions you can use to cover or remove it.
Wallpapering Your Artex Ceiling
You get two types of wallpaper. There’s a thin wallpaper application that comes with adhesive on one side, and a pattern or color on the other side. With this, you simply peel and stick. Then there’s a much sturdier type of wallpaper that’s thicker and requires a special wallpaper paste.
Keep in mind that if you choose to wallpaper your Artex ceiling, you will not be able to use the thin type of wallpaper. Instead, you will need the sturdier option that uses wallpaper paste.
Wallpaper paste is a material you mix with water to produce a paste that you apply to your walls before applying regular wallpaper (or the wallpaper that does not have an adhesive on one side).
Applying wallpaper to an Artex decoration, either on the ceiling or on your walls, may give you the fresh updated look you desire. However, there are a few drawbacks.
Problems with Wallpaper
Wallpaper is not the best solution for covering up your Artex for a couple of reasons.
First, the excessive ridges in the Artex may cause the wallpaper to move around or shift over time, thus causing breakage in the wallpaper. This makes it a bad long-term solution as it can poke through the wallpaper or make rough spots.
Another thing to consider is that wallpaper may not totally conceal the Artex patterns on the ceiling, as it can simply sink into the ridges. This will be especially noticeable on a wallpaper that is a solid color. You may have better luck concealing the Artex underneath if you use a wallpaper with a busier pattern, but that is more suitable for a wall, not a ceiling.
Other Solutions for Covering Artex Ceilings
Instead of using wallpaper and paste to cover up your Artex ceiling, there are other options you can try. The most permanent option though would be to remove your Artex ceiling entirely.
However, you have to be careful with the way you do a removal. Many Artex designs contain a material called asbestos. This is a group of minerals that, once dispelled in the air, can be dangerous and damaging to respiratory health if breathed in.
You can read more about the dangers of asbestos in this article from the Oregon State University website, as well as this article from the Minnesota Department of Health website.
In fact, asbestos has been banned in many countries, but older buildings may still contain some asbestos in materials like Artex. This means that you should call or consult a professional to identify whether your ceiling has asbestos in it before you start trying to remove it.
You can also test for asbestos yourself, and I talk more about this in another article I wrote – you can check it out here (just scroll down a bit until you reach the “Asbestos” section).
Figuring out the age of your ceiling can be a helpful clue, as younger Artex ceilings (those that were built less than 30 years ago) are less likely to have asbestos in them. However, to be entirely sure, you should get your ceilings tested.
TIP: Before attempting any removal, you should make sure all of your furniture and belongings are either outside of the room in question or, if that’s not possible, moved to the center of the room and put plastic sheets over them.
1. Removing Artex: The Scrape and Sand Method
One way to remove the Artex is by simply scraping it off with a utility knife. Before doing this, gear up with gloves, goggles, and a dust mask. You can also use a steamer to loosen up your Artex before you get to scraping.
After scraping off the greater portions of the Artex, you can move on to smoothing it out by applying a layer of prepared joint compound, which will remove remaining blemishes.
After the compound is dry, sand the ceiling carefully with a 220-grit sanding block. While cheap and fairly uncomplicated, this technique is time-consuming and tiring. Plus, if done incorrectly, it can damage your ceiling.
NOTE: You should only use this method when you are certain your ceiling contains no asbestos! Since you are literally chipping away at the ceiling, you will be expelling any asbestos that may be lurking there.
2. Covering Artex with Plasterboard or Drywall
Instead of removing it, you can also cover your Artex ceiling with plasterboard or drywall. These materials are commonly used on walls and ceilings to provide a sleek finish.
This might be a better option if you have asbestos in your ceiling because it means you won’t risk releasing it into the air.
The downfall of applying drywall or plasterboard over your Artex ceiling is that it isn’t quite as simple as scraping it off or wallpapering it.
This method can be demanding and requires teamwork, though it will leave your ceiling with a smooth finish. However, it will be more costly than scraping and possible more expensive than wallpaper.
3. Covering Artex with Wet Plaster
Wet plaster uses the same basic process that goes into plasterboard – the method and materials are just slightly different.
While cheaper to buy than drywall, wet plaster requires more skill and a lot of patience. Many homeowners prefer to hire a professional to apply the multiple coatings. However, that obviously adds to the total costs.
I found a helpful article explaining in further detail how you can plaster over Artex.
Getting rid of your Artex ceiling in favor of a sleeker more modern look is a desire of many homeowners. While there are several options at your fingertips, using wallpaper to cover it up may not be the best one.