Artex is a water-based textured paint applied to walls or ceilings by brush or roller. Because of the texture, Artex can be messy and time-consuming to remove. While a paint stripper alone can do the job sufficiently, removing much of the texture and paint with a steam cleaner beforehand can reduce significantly the labour involved, though at the cost of a longer removal process to avoid damaging the subsurface with the moisture created with the steam application.
Cover any baseboard, trim or moulding surrounding the painted surface with masking tape to avoid removing any paint from those surfaces. Cover the floor beneath the surface with a dropcloth to catch any paint spills.
Open the water reservoir of a steam cleaner and fill it with water up to the fill line marked on the container. Close the reservoir cap tightly. Place the steam plate on the end of the steamer hose, and then turn on the steamer. Wait 10 minutes to allow the water contained in the steamer to heat up.
Place the steam plate against the painted surface beginning at the edge of the surface in a corner. Trigger the steam then slowly drag the steamer along the texture paint in an even row across the surface. The steam will liquefy the Artex textured paint as you move the steamer.
Scrape away the liquefied texture with a paint scraper, taking care not to damage the surface beneath the paint by scraping into or scratching the surface with the scraper's edge. Dump the paint scraped from the surface into a large disposal bucket. After clearing the loosened paint from the row, apply the steam to the next section of texture paint, scraping that away as well.
Continue to steam and scrape the textured paint away, taking care not to saturate the surface as this could cause damage to any drywall or plaster beneath the paint. After removal, allow the surface to dry completely. There will be a colour residue of the paint remaining.
Brush the surface with a paint remover formulated to remove the water-based coloured residue. Let the remover sit on the surface for about 10 minutes to penetrate the paint completely, and then wipe the paint from the surface with a piece of cloth.
Rinse the surface clear of the paint remover using a damp sponge, and then wipe the surface dry with a clean dry cloth.
Artex applied before the mid-1980s may contain asbestos. Have a chip of the paint tested prior to removal. If the tests are positive, then have the paint removed by a licensed professional.