Painting An Artex Ceiling: The Ultimate Guide

From swirls and waves to shells and stippling, the funky textured Artex ceiling was all the rage back when velvet furnishings and carpeted bathrooms were the hottest interior décor features in town. Are they due to come back in vogue?

Some people love their nostalgic appeal while others, they can bring out in a rash. Whichever side you find yourself on, if you have Artex ceilings in your home, old or new, you will need to take a special approach to paint them.

Textured ceilings may have fallen out of favour for many people’s aesthetic taste these days but it’s easy to see why they were so popular. With sound absorbing qualities and the forgiving nature of the rendering that helps to hide all sorts of bumps and cracks and little flaws, Artex is also easy to apply, with no expertise required and is really very versatile and tough.

And now the retro design might well be coming full circle in interior design trends. So whether you’re painting a newly acquired textured ceiling or bringing an original Artex ceiling back to its prime with a little TLC, the instructions and tips here will help you to get the best results.

Can you paint over Artex?

While there are some challenges to it the short answer is yes you certainly can. Artex is an especially porous material that absorbs a great deal plus it’s a bumpy surface so it does require a different approach to your regular plastered ceiling to achieve the best finish. But fear not with a little preparation and with the help of our step by step tutorial below you can have your artex ceiling looking fresh and beautiful with no stress.

What Paint Should You Use for Artex Ceilings?

You’re going to need a good quality white emulsion paint and you should expect to apply a minimum of two coats to effectively cover your Artex ceiling. Dulux Trade Supermatt paint is a good choice for high-opacity coverage on interior surfaces. For kitchens and bathrooms, you might want to consider a stain-resistant emulsion.

What Roller Should You Use for Artex Ceilings?

Using the right roller is key to the success of your project. For best results use a long pile roller that has a ¾ inch thick nap or pile compared to your standard ⅜ inch nap roller.

How To Paint An Artex Ceiling

What you’ll need

White emulsion paint25mm cutting in brush
Masking tapeRoller & tray
Dust sheetsExtension pole
Sugar soap

Step 1: How to Prepare

Remove as much furniture as possible and put down plastic sheeting and a drop cloth to protect your floors and furnishings. Then carefully position and press into place strips of painters tape in short sections along where your wall meets the ceiling.

You can also protect fixtures with masking tape. Remove loose dirt and dust on the surface with a stiff sweeping brush or wash with sugar soap if there is a build-up of grease.

Step: 2 Grab your brush

Using a small brush apply paint all around the edges of your ceiling, right up to the painters tape to achieve a clean line between ceiling and wall. Then take your roller, attach an extension pole if required for high ceilings, and dip the roller into the paint tray or scuttle. Make sure to load your roller up liberally with paint, removing excess on a paint screen.

Step 3: Just Roll With It

Using your roller, apply the first coat of paint in long straight strips. Avoid overworking any sections as getting the Artex too wet can lead to flaking or chipping. Allow a minimum of 3 hours for this coat to dry.

Step 4: Get an even finish

When the first coat has dried you can go ahead and apply the second. Again using long straight strokes with the roller but this time in a direction perpendicular to your first coat. This helps achieve the good even finish you are looking for on your textured ceiling.

Important Considerations When Painting Artex Ceilings

For many, the name Artex is synonymous with Asbestos. A valid connection as the naturally occurring mineral was used to strengthen it right up until the mid 80s. But did you know it’s actually only when the tiny fibres in asbestos are released and made airborne that they pose a danger to health?

The fibres remain safely locked up inside the Artex until you go sanding it back, drilling into it or attempting to remove it. So if you’re planning on getting rid of your Artex ceiling or sanding it back you must have it tested for asbestos before starting.

If you’re only wanting to freshen up your textured ceiling with a coat of paint and you’re not sure whether or not your ceiling has asbestos it’s best to err on the side of caution and wear a dust mask when preparing and cleaning the surface. You can also purchase reliable asbestos home testing kits from Amazon for roughly £20.

If you have a newly applied Artex textured surface make sure to allow 24 hours for the material to dry fully before painting

If your ceiling has never been painted before you can dilute the first coat of paint with approx 10% water to allow for the high absorption of moisture in older, previously unpainted Artex

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been living with textured ceilings for some time you’ll be only too familiar with the way the lumpy textured and porous surfaces can become a magnet for dust and dirt, which can then lead to discolouration.

The good news is giving your Artex a new coat of paint diminishes the ability of the Artex to absorb moisture considerably, making it less permeable so it won’t be getting discoloured or dusty as easily in future.

Whether you know them as stucco or acoustic ceilings or the food-inspired, cottage cheese or popcorn ceilings, or indeed by the brand name Artex, your textured ceiling has the potential to be a really great feature in your home.

Taking the time and the tips and recommendations here onboard you can get the best out of your Artex by making it really pop with a fresh coat of paint.