Asbestos Artex Testing – Textured Decorative Coatings

Asbestos artex testing 2

Why would you need asbestos Artex testing? First things first we need to explain that the word “Artex” is a trademark of Artex Ltd which is a company based in the UK. The word Artex is commonly used to describe a textured/decorative coating commonly used for interior decorating. Artex or textured coatings were frequently used on ceilings but have also been found on walls and other unusual surfaces.

The name Artex comes from “Asbestos Reinforced Textured Coating”.

Important note – Artex can contain asbestos

One of the most important facts to know about Artex is that it can contain asbestos. Therefore, if you have a property that contains Artex then you can find out if it contains asbestos by using our asbestos Artex testing service

What is Asbestos Artex?

Asbestos Artex is a dry white powder that is mixed with water to create a paste. The paste material is then applied to a surface to create a decorative textured coating. Asbestos Artex was made up of Calcium Carbonate and Chrysotile (White) asbestos.

Damaged asbestos textured coating to ceiling
Asbestos Textured Coating to window surround

How much asbestos is in Asbestos Artex?

The asbestos content of asbestos Artex averaged around 3% to 5% however the asbestos content could be as low as 1%.

When did Artex Contain Asbestos?

Artex (Asbestos Reinforced Textured Coating) started in 1935. Asbestos Artex was widely used throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. In fact, it was the go-to product during the 1970s as it became ever increasingly popular with homeowners during this period. Asbestos fibre was used and added to Asbestos Artex up to 1984. However, there is evidence that stockpiles of Asbestos Artex were still used for several years past this date.

Asbestos Textured coating to original ceiling
Asbestos Textured Coating to lounge ceiling

Why did Artex contain asbestos?

Asbestos was added to Artex to provide strengthening properties to the material mix. Asbestos also assisted in the dewatering and curing of the material.

Is there an alternative to Asbestos Artex? Does all Artex contain asbestos?

These are two questions we are commonly asked. Asbestos Artex was commonly used right up until its ban in 1992. However, it should be noted that the full and final prohibition of the import, supply and usage of asbestos was not until Nov 1999. Therefore, any properties built or refurbished during this time should be presumed to be asbestos containing.

Although Asbestos Artex was commonly used there was a non-asbestos Artex which was also commonly used from the 1970s. The non-asbestos alternative was used in similar properties and applied in a similar manner. In fact, it is impossible to distinguish the difference between the two with the naked eye. As previously mentioned, the asbestos content of these materials is very low and, in most cases, the asbestos fibres mixed within these materials are microscopic in size. It is only asbestos Artex testing and analysis that can determine if the Artex contains asbestos or not.

Asbestos Textured coating to classroom ceiling
Asbestos Textured coating to hallway ceiling

How to get Artex tested for asbestos?

If you’ve got a property that contains Artex, you’re probably wondering how to get the Artex tested for asbestos? You can purchase “asbestos testing kits” online which require you to take the sample and post it off for sample analysis. This method heavily relies on you following the instructions carefully, sampling the material correctly and safely, avoiding the risk of potential asbestos exposure to you and anyone else in your property.

That’s why we would always recommend using a competent, trained and experienced asbestos surveyor to attend to your property to collect the suspect asbestos material. Here at Acorn Analytical Services, our asbestos surveyors are fully trained, quality audited and accredited under our UKAS Accredited to undertake Artex Asbestos Testing.

Asbestos Artex samples should be obtained by prising off flakes of the coating and /or backing material, using a scraper. If applied directly to a resilient surface such as concrete, the removal of the flakes may be difficult and may be necessary to scrape the coating with a sharp chisel. The material being sampled should be directed into the sampling bag held below. As asbestos may not be uniformly present in the coating and the coating usually quite thin, an area of 20cm2 should be sampled taken from multiple points around the room, rather than one single sampling point. 

Asbestos Textured Coating to cupboard ceiling
Asbestos Textured Coating to bedroom ceiling

Once the samples have been collected, they will be taken back to one of our in-house UKAS accredited asbestos testing laboratories in either Northampton or Cleckheaton. The samples will be analysed utilising polarised light microscopy. Once the results of the analysis are complete a certificate of analysis will be issued directly to you.

The benefits of using a company who have their own accredited laboratories is you receive a streamlined, fast, efficient, and accurate service. We can provide you with direct feedback and guidance on the analysis of your samples.

How much does it cost to test Artex for asbestos – Asbestos Artex Testing?

The cost to test Artex for asbestos depends on a few variants. These will include the number of samples required, the location of the property and if access equipment if required.

Asbestos Artex sample analysis only cost start from £25 + VAT

Asbestos Artex sample collection & analysis cost start from £80 + VAT

Asbestos artex testing 3
Asbestos artex testing 4

What do I do if my Artex contains asbestos?

If your Artex contains asbestos, it is in a good condition and can remain undisturbed then it will be quite safe to leave in place. If the material is deteriorating or damaged, then you may need to get the materials either repaired or removed.

The repair or removal of asbestos Artex (textured coating) should be undertaken by suitably trained contractors. As a minimum they which be fully trained to work with non-licensed asbestos materials covering working with asbestos textured coatings. However, we would always recommend the use of HSE licensed asbestos contractor to undertake all works with asbestos materials.

If you need help with Asbestos Artex, we’re a professional asbestos consultancy helping businesses deal with asbestos compliance using asbestos surveysasbestos air testing, and asbestos removal management. Please call one of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice on asbestos and asbestos training, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or Contact Us

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

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