Artex is the trademark name of an interior decorative finish manufactured by Artex Ltd. The name is also used generically to describe similar products.
It is usually applied to ceilings, and given a textured finish while still wet. A simple stippled finish is easy to produce, but a variety of decorative patterns can also be produced. Variations including whorls or wavy lines have been popular in the past.
Artex has been widely applied over plaster ceilings in older houses, where its ability to cover cracks enabled a ceiling to be easily renovated. It was also popular in newly built homes where it could be applied straight over plasterboard ceilings, covering the joins in the boards. Until the mid-1980s Artex contained white asbestos. This may not be a health hazard, unless attempts are made to remove it by sanding or the coated ceiling or wall is being removed. If asbestos is present then removal and disposal should be carried out by a licensed contractor. It is therefore often better to cover the Artex with a skim-coat of plaster, provided it is sound.
The existence of an Artex finish is apparent from visual inspection but, unless the homeowner knows exactly when the finish was applied, it would be necessary for a specialist survey to be carried out to discover if asbestos is present.