How to paint an Artex ceiling

To paint an Artex ceiling or coving is an easy job that shouldn’t take more than two hours, but the end result will be worth all of your hard work. You will be left with a brilliant smooth surface that should remain looking good for months to come. But first you should learn how to paint an Artex ceiling in right way.

This painting guide may also be useful when painting flat ceilings, partitions, woodwork and door frames.

How to paint an Artex ceiling

 Tools Required

  • Masking Tape
  • Sand paper (rough grade).
  • Sponge (medium grade)
  • Paint brushes.
  • Putty knife or a glass scoring tool.
  • Vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment and a dust bag/filter to go on the end of the pipe (optional).


Here are few steps you should follow for how to paint an artex ceiling

1- Prepare the ceiling

Remove anything on the ceiling like pictures, clocks etc. If there are any cracks in the Artex you will need to fill them with Polyfilla as this could show through when painted.

Once all of these have been completed, give it a thorough clean with a damp cloth and leave it to dry.

2- Apply the undercoat

This is usually an emulsion paint that comes in a can or tin, which you apply with a brush. Make sure to read the instructions on the tin thoroughly before starting this process. It will tell you how long each coat should take to dry and how to apply it. If this is your first time applying undercoat, don’t be put off by how many coats the manufacture recommends as the results will be much better than if you only use one coat.

3- Sand the surface

Make sure you always wear a face mask to protect yourself from inhaling the dust particles. Now, make sure the surface is completely dry and rub it with a large piece of sand paper to give it a bit of texture for the emulsion paint to grip onto.

4- Apply the final coat of undercoat

You can choose whether or not to apply a second coat depending on how many you did previously, although this will depend on the brand. Make sure it is completely dry before continuing; if you use an electric sander make sure it’s not too powerful or you could end up removing the emulsion paint as well as the Artex!

5- Washing off

Before applying any of your chosen paint colors, it is vital you wash off any excess Artex and undercoat that’s still on the surface or else they could show through when your finished. This is done using a brush and plenty of warm water. If there are any stubborn bits left behind, use a stiff grained sand paper to rub them off.

6- Apply Paint

Now pick up your ceiling paint. Apply as many coats as you so wish, this will depend on how smooth and even you want the finish to be. Leave each coat to dry before applying the next one. If at any point you feel that a layer is too white or uneven, you can apply a second coat of the same color to make it look darker and more even. If you want a different texture for your ceiling, you can also use a sponge to spray water onto the surface before applying each coat – this will give it a mottled, textured effect similar to that of Artwork.

7- Touching up

Now that your ceiling is completely dry, you can go back and touch up any bits that need a little help with a brush. If it’s been some time since you first applied the paint, you’ll probably notice any cracks have appeared as this happens whenever there is a change in temperature or humidity levels. This doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch though as you can fill up the cracks by applying a little bit of paint and then leave it to dry.

8- Cleaning up.

Now everything is finished, give everything a final once over with a damp cloth. Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any remaining dust particles that didn’t wash away.

Tips and Instructions for painting Artex Ceiling

  • It is always a good idea to sand the surface before applying any paint color. This allows leaving your ceiling smooth and ready for a coat of paint.
  • Always wear protective clothing when painting, this includes gloves, eye protection and face masks to protect yourself.
  • Avoid applying too many coats as this will create an uneven surface. Two or three coats are sufficient for your average sized room.
  • Follow the instructions on your chosen can of paint to know when the undercoat should be washed off and how many coats should be applied. You can practice painting techniques by applying an old piece of wood or cardboard to test out your method before you do it on the ceiling.


1-whether you should use water based paint or oil based paint to cover the Artex?

You can apply any best ceiling paint. While neither product will damage your ceiling, it is usually best to use an emulsion paint that contains water, as this will be easier to wash off if you make a mistake when applying it.

2-How many coats of paint are Necessary?

This will depend on the brand you use and how smooth you want your ceiling to be. Most brands recommend around three coats for a good finish, but it’s always best to check their instructions before buying.

3-How often do I have to wash off the paint in between coats?

Artex paint requires washing off quite regularly. You should wash off any loose bits of paint or else they will show through when you finish. This is done using a damp cloth and warm water to clean it all away.

4-How do I fix if the paint on top of Artex has bubbled?

Bubbling can be fixed by applying a coat or two of paint over it. This will cover up the area and put the bubbles to rest.

5-How do I get paint off my Artex ceiling?

If you have painted the Artex, but are unhappy with its appearance, it is possible to get rid of the paint. Using sandpaper, you can sand down the area until there’s no trace of paint remaining. You may need to sand away quite a bit of material if you had several coats of paint, but this will get things back to normal. At this point you can apply a fresh coat of paint or wallpaper over the area.


Artex ceilings are easy to paint, if you follow all the steps in this guide. Once you have read through them, you will feel better informed about the process and ready to paint an artex ceiling. Remember to always put safety first when painting, because it can get messy!

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