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When we moved into our house it was in a right state, it's a council house in the middle of no-where. Not the sort of place which would suit everyone but it's my ideal place to live, in summer it's loverly, the house backs onto fields and the kids have had a happy time growing up here. I used to live in a caravan moving around with other travellers, picking fruit on farms and working on the land. As the kids got older it was time for them to have the privacy of their own rooms, so a house was then needed. The first house the council gave me was a brand new house just built, with electric storage heaters and brand new double glazing. When we woke up every morning the house was so hot you couldn't breath and had to throw open all the windows for fresh air. Having lived in a caravan for years you get used to the open air, with outside fires and windows open in summer, with the kids playing out in the fields as you pick apples, or other fruit. So when one of my friends who used to live in this house I'm in now wanted to swap for a newer house I agreed. The only thing about swapping a council house is that you have to agree to take it in it's present condition, so we ended up with a house in the right place for us with lots of work needing doing We didn't mind as we knew we'd be happier here with an open fire place, multi fuel burner and a huge garden backing onto fields. The first job had to be the kitchen, as this is the place you all have to sit to eat. I love to relax in the kitchen first thing in the morning with my coffee, in summer I sit under the gazebo in the garden. As the kitchen ceiling was in a bad way, cracked and looking like it wasn't goinjg to stand up for much longer, we decided to Artex it. This stuff hides all the cracks and strenghtens the ceiling. You can also paint it whatever colour you like and it will last for years. Off we trotted to B&Q and
bought a box of Artex for £9.50 this was for a 8kg box which has a plastic bag of the artex powder inside. Be careful when opening the bag as this stuff is like dust and will get everywhere if spilt, not to mention make you cough if it gets in your throat. This is suitable for ceilings and can also be used on walls, it's a one coat artex and when you use it you'll be glad it is. So back home we have the bucket for mixing the artex in and the box of artex, you then need a mixing tool. My partner being the sort of bodge it person that he is, came up with the ideal tool. One side of a baking whisk, you know the sort you use in an electric whisk, he stuck this onto the end of his drill and round it spun. I'm sure there's a proper tool you can buy, but my partner always seems to try and make these gadgets himself. Mix the power with water, a not too thick a consistancy, but not runny either. You can judge the consistancy as you stir it in the bucket. Then leave it to stand for a few minutes before you apply it to the ceiling. Here comes the really messy part. As our kitchen ceiling isn't too high I decided to help out with the artexing, I now know never to offer to help again. You'll need a trowel to smooth it onto the ceiling, I think they are called trowels, a sort of square metal flat thing with a handle. ( Yes, you can tell I'm no good at D.I.Y.) You can spread the artex onto the ceiling using this tool. I'm not going to say this is an easy job, quite the opposite really, with the artex falling onto the floor, in your eyes, in your hair and all over your clothes. Try picking this out of your hair when it has hardened This job took us both nearly all day to finish, there was just as much artex on the ceiling as there was on the floor and over us both. Not only is it a very messy job, but then if you want a nice pattern on the ceiling like swirls or waves then you have to go ov
er it with another comb like tool. This can take up more hours and leave you wondering why the hell did you ever start this job. On the brighter side though, this stuff is made to last. Our kitchen is now five years behind the artexing experience and you cannot see any cracks in the plaster boards underneath it. I have painted over it numerous times and it always looks good after the paint job. It might have ruined our clothes and tested our patience on the day we artexed but it was worth every penny of the money we spent. On hindsight, I'd recommend you get your ceiling artexed if it's looking like it's cracked. My only advice I'd give you is to pay an expert to do it for you. Around our area you can pay £30 for a room the size of our kitchen to be done. I wish that an advert had been there when I needed it.
Fed up with that old flat ceiling and wish to change it to a more decorative look then why not Artex it, Artex is a chalk based plaster that gets mixed with water to form a creamy mixture. You can buy a bag of Artex from wicks for under £9 a bag that should do a small room. There are several patens to choose from the comb, different rollers and a stippling brush (recommended). Artex can set very quickly especially when applying on a pours surface that’s why it should have a coat of unibond or building adhesive applied before you start Artex the ceiling, unibond will leave a film on your ceiling that gives you more time to work with the Artex. The ceiling should be prepared first, free from all types grease. After reading someone else’s opinion on Artex they paid £60 for materials and done it for themselves by using a pre made mixture. It is cheaper doing this way if you have the confidence in doing so. Remember the cost of this is as follows: Bag of Artex £9 Small tin of unibond £3 Total £12
Artex is a great way to brighten up dull flat ceilings. Many different patterns can be easily achieved these days by using inexpensive tools, the comb and stipple brush are 2 of the cheapest and can be used to give a variety of different finishes. Special rollers are also available to give more complicated patterns. Artex / textured finish is available ready mixed or in powder. The bags of powder are so cheap, from £9 for 25 kg, this is enough for a few ceilings. The mix has to be right though, not too thick or too watery. For anyone new to it it's best to practice on an old peice of plasterboard to get used to handling it and decide on what pattern you will use. Once mixed it can be applied by brush or floated onto the ceiling before doing the pattern. With a little practice you can transform your ceilings for little cost.
Artex, is brilliant for cracked ceilings. If you have large cracks fill them first & allow filler time to dry, then use Artex & a textured paint roller with sponge sleeve(large holes) you will find the cracks are covered. Small cracks need not be filled, I only use the ready mixed Artex in the plastic buckets, it is more expensive than textured paint, but will give a far better result. It can be a messy job & is hard work ( aching arms) but in the end is far cheaper than a profesional & is honestly well within the capabilities of anyone that can use a paintbrush. Having paid £60 & the price of the materials to hide cracks in my bathroom ceiling my sister offered to do the kitchen for me. I watched her & realised anyone can do it. Hey presto, since then as I redecorate each room I have done it myself, saving £100's of pounds & having the satisfaction of achieving something.