How to Repair an Artex Ceiling

Ceilings are prone to lots of problems including the dreaded Artex, cracks and bulging. For safety purposes, it is not a good idea to use flammable materials to smoother ceilings and they have been proven to provide minimal sound and thermal insulation. “Smooth, plain plastered ceilings are the in-thing for most buyers in their homes and this can be incorporated with original lath and plaster”, according to IC Assist, one of the UK’s leading ceilings, walls, flooring or joists repair experts.

Lath and Plaster


How to Smooth Over unwanted texture

Lath and plaster are the traditional forms of ceilings that have been used for most pre-1930s houses and they have a pleasing texture that is irregular. Laths consist of thin strips of wood that are nailed together whereas plaster was applied to the underneath of the laths. Original ceilings provide incredible benefits such as enhancing historic interiors. When compared to modern plasterboard they have better insulating and soundproofing qualities. The odd cracks and bulging in these old ceilings are repairable at a significantly lower cost than replacing the whole ceiling.



Plasterboards are rigid gypsum plaster that is sandwiched in between heavy-duty lining paper. 9.5mm or 12.5mm are the available thickness for boards and they are fixed using drywall screws. Scrim tape is used to seal the joints and a thin coat of plaster is used to give the surface a skim finish.

Other Materials


Fibreboards are made from compressed wood fibre. They have a soft spongy feel, are tan in colour but are flammable. Asbestos cement sheets have been used to make ceilings and they don’t pose any significant risk. A new suspended ceiling or plasterboard can be used to conceal such ceilings.

Cornices and Roses


Beautiful plaster cornices and elaborate roses are characteristic of Victorian ceilings. These small works of art not only do they increase value but they add to the property appeal and they should be preserved and restored. To restore them to their original glory major restoration is needed, and it is not usually advisable to demolish the ceiling.

Textured Finishes

Steaming and careful scrapping are the most common methods to strip textured paints and appropriate precautions such as dust masks and goggles should be used. To achieve a smooth surface various plaster products are used for smoothening the surface.

Minimising Mess

To avoid all the mess you shouldn’t pull down old ceilings. If it is a must necessary precautions should be taken to seal the dust before the ceiling is taken down. For an upper floor ceiling, the insulation, lighting and stored items need to be cared for. Plastering is messy and the room should either be cleared or covered in dust sheets.

Sagging and Bulging Ceilings



The signs of sagging and bulging ceilings are cracked finishes, uneven ceilings and bowed surfaces.


For plasterboard, they warp when they are very wet and most often in extreme conditions they collapse. Lath and plaster ceilings when they are old, are uneven and this brings their charm. Fixing the laths too closely or mixing the plaster with insufficient reinforcement can cause these ceilings to fail.

Damage caused by pests, dampness, overloading, decay and vibration are the other common causes.

Remedial Work

Eradicate the cause of dampness, cut out the affected area and replace it with a piece of plasterboard. Additional fixing of the poorly supported boards using drywall screws will help. Another remedy is fixing new plasterboards underneath the damaged ceiling.

Cracks in the Lath and Plaster


Identification and Implications

Signs include small and irregular cracks that might be severe. Replastering doesn’t remedy ceiling cracks.

Remedial Work

Remove the excess weight in lofts and on the upper floors. Gently push over the cracked areas to determine how severe the cracks are. Patch repair is the remedy to cracked ceilings. Loose laths can be refixed or they can be provided with additional support. Poor condition ceilings can be reconstructed with the existing sound laths.

Mouldy Ceilings


Identification and Implications

Mould growth is a result of condensation on ceilings. Lack of ventilation and poor insulation in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms lead to moist growth.

Remedial Work

Clean off the mould with water, apply diluted bleach. Insulate the ceiling or you can use thick plasterboard. Also, improving ventilation is key in preventing mould growth.

Cracks to Unevenness to Plasterboard Ceilings


Identification and Implications

Signs include exposed nail heads and the appearance of thin, straight hairline cracks at the joints. They can also be caused by thermal movement of adjacent materials and the other common defect is round craters as a result of nails not being fr enough.

Remedial Work

Before applying joint filler and plastering over, rake out the joints and fill them using covering strips. Heavy-gauge lining can also be used to hide the joints too.

Final Thoughts

The above are handy tips on how to repair an Artex ceiling. They are essential in ensuring you install the best ceiling for your home.