Few people realise that the Artex company used white asbestos as a hardener in their products.

Their surface coating, Artex, was commonly used to give a textured finish on ceilings and, less frequently, walls.

The risk from asbestos fibres suspended in Artex is very low, particularly if it’s covered with emulsion paint. Potential problems arise however if the fibres are disturbed by drilling through the coating or sanding and neither of these activities should be undertaken if there is any chance that the coating contains asbestos. The only way to tell conclusively is to have a survey carried out by a specialist contractor however in general any Artex applied prior to 1985 is very likely to contain asbestos.

Artex Ltd stopped using asbestos in their products in the mid-1980’s however other manufacturers, particularly those overseas, continued to use the material for some time. Artex-type coatings applied to properties between 1985 & 1999 therefore shouldn’t contain asbestos but may do. The use of white asbestos was banned in 1999 so properties built after this date shouldn’t contain asbestos. The identification of asbestos-containing material is very difficult and if you are any doubt, speak to a specialist contractor before carrying out any works that may disturb the fibres.