If you’ve purchased an older home, you may be met with Artex on the ceilings. It was used internally and externally in properties up until the mid-1980s to create a textured coating and pattern to surfaces.
But what you may not realise is that this previously popular coating used to contain asbestos to strengthen the material, meaning that in certain cases it could pose a health risk to you and your family. So, how do you know if the Artex in your property is safe and what can you do if you believe it to contain asbestos?
Is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos in Artex doesn’t pose a health risk if it’s left undisturbed. But if you hammer nails, drill holes or disrupt it in any way, it could be incredibly dangerous. The risk to this material comes when we inhale asbestos fibres, as it has been connected with a host of health concerns including the chronic lung disease asbestosis and cancers including pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma.
The quantity of asbestos in Artex is relatively low – usually around 1-2%. But in ready-mixed products made for trade use, the figure can be closer to 4%. The type of asbestos used in Artex is known as white asbestos, or chrysotile.
Does all Artex contain asbestos?
No, not all Artex will contain asbestos. It was banned in building products in 1999. During the 1960s, 70s and 80s, most of the Artex available did contain this harmful component, but there were still products that didn’t contain it.
Therefore, without professional sampling and testing, it’s impossible to know whether the Artex in your home contains asbestos. It’s best to assume that there is asbestos present until it’s been tested, just to protect yourself as much as possible.
Can you tell the difference?
You can’t tell from simply looking at Artex walls or ceilings whether they contain asbestos – it requires sampling to be completely sure whether the material in your home is safe. Since all forms of asbestos were banned in 1999, asbestos might be part of any building built or refurbished prior to the year 2000.
If you are planning on renovating your home or you have maintenance work scheduled, and the Artex is likely to be disturbed in the process, then an asbestos survey should be carried out to know for certain whether it’s present.
Can Artex be removed?
While removing textured coatings is technically classed as non-licensed work, it’s highly recommended that you don’t take on the work yourself. There are certainly risks to removing Artex, as it disturbs the material which can lead to fibres entering the air, so you should seek out a professional to carry out the work. They’ll have the skills to minimise the release of fibres and will know how to remove the Artex as safely as possible.
Asbestos is a high-risk material and specific PPE is needed, as well as the right level of cleaning and disposal to minimise the threat it poses, so a licensed contractor should complete the job for you.
What’s the law on asbestos?
Asbestos is now banned in products, but the law doesn’t state that it has to be removed. However, it does say that it needs to be managed properly. This means that if it’s being removed, it has to be removed in a strictly controlled way.
If you’re planning on carrying out construction work in your home, you need to advise any contractors of the asbestos-containing materials present. Providing the Artex is in good condition, and it’s not being disturbed, it won’t pose any increased risk to your health. But if you want to have it removed to be on the safe side, you should seek out advice from a licensed professional who will help you plan the work as safely as possible.
For further advice about textured coatings containing asbestos in your home, get in touch with the team at Crucial Environmental today. We’re a leading UK asbestos company with extensive experience in all aspects of sampling, testing and removal.