What is Tadelakt
Renowned as one of the most ancient and valued plaster finishes, Moroccan Tadelakt is a unique product that has recently fascinated interior designers both in Europe and the US. The traditional material, found in The Marrakech Plateau, and the artisanal technique that together produce the Tadelakt finish have been modernized, and the resulting product is now frequently installed in high quality residential and commercial properties.
While pictures are said to speak a thousand words, it is only through touch that one can truly appreciate the finish of Tadelakt. The surface has been described as being as soft as silk despite being as hard as stone, with a marble-like appearance.
Tadelakt excels in solid, chunky styles and can be used to finish interior walls, kitchens, fireplaces, seats, shelves, vanity units, washstands, baths, pools, spas, shower cubicles, wet rooms and steam rooms. Tadelakt can be used on floors as well, but is only recommended for use in areas where hard shoes will not be worn because the surface can be scratched by grit and small stones.
The product can be coloured with natural earth pigments or with synthetic pigments to offer a broader range of choices. The surface is polished to a shiny finish, with a slight variation in colour. Due to its unique composition, Tadelakt will develop both a patina and very fine cracks with time, which only serve to add to the exotic appeal of this ancient finish.
Tadelakt makes a stylish alternative to traditional tiles in bathrooms. The water-resistant plaster is applied seamlessly with no grout lines, and its smooth surface is resistant to mould. The seamless application allows bespoke waterproof features to be created while maintaining a timeless appeal.
This lime plaster is made waterproof through both its inherent properties and its application technique. The olive oil soap that is rubbed into the surface of the product chemically reacts with the lime to form calcium stearate, which results in a surface that is both water and scratch resistant as well as hard and durable.
Tadelakt was initially used by the Berbers to waterproof earthen cisterns for the hygienic storage of drinking water. It was later used decoratively in exterior façades, in the manufacture of small drinking vessels, the construction of public bathing houses, and eventually in private bathrooms in Morocco.
In the past, Tadelakt was commonly applied to solid, absorbent structures such as earthen, lime, or cement walls. Tadelakt is now frequently applied to a variety of surfaces including well-framed wood, brick and cement block. It should be used on sturdy structures with little give to best support the application of the product. Otherwise, large fissures can develop.
Tadelakt not only offers a beautiful finish, but it also helps to provide a healthy living environment. The waterproof plaster can be cleaned with water alone, as it is coated with a soap solution to seal it. Regular recoating with soap solution ensures that the Tadelakt stays in excellent condition for years to come. The smooth surface also resists dirt and mould, making for a cleaner, low maintenance area.
This product is based on natural materials and in the event it must be disposed of, it is biodegradable and can be recycled by crushing it for use in new mortars.