Sample Room: Tadelakt

Tadelakt is an ancient, traditional decorative plaster technique still often used in Morocco. It is a natural, water-resistant lime plaster which is suitable for interior and exterior use.

shower area via Paperblog - La Sultana hotel Marrakech via Project Inspo

shower area via Paperblog - La Sultana hotel Marrakech via Project Inspo

For centuries the art of tadelakt was steeped in mystic and wonder. Riad walls were finished with this smooth finish, a sense of tradition. Tadelakt in combination with the typical Moroccan architecture such as the curved doorways and arches, will give every room an ethnic feeling. 

images via Pinterest

images via Pinterest

We know it to be used in bathrooms, hammam, and wetrooms but tadelakt looks also great in all the other rooms of the house. Traditional in Morocco they were using tadelakt as a standard finish in and out of the house. Knowing it is a natural material we understand that it creates a healthy environment to live in. 

blue bathroom via Flickr - red bathroom via Pinterest - hanging lamps vie Refinery 29

blue bathroom via Flickr - red bathroom via Pinterest - hanging lamps vie Refinery 29

Bright blues tones and red colors are often used in Moroccan bathroom designs, as they reflect either the ocean or the dessert. To bold and exciting for your taste? It would be for me too, but tadelakt can come in much more subtle tones and with adding some Moroccan lanterns you will give your bathroom at home also a spa-feeling. 

colors Tadelakt

colors Tadelakt

Tadelakt is very labour-intensive to install, but the end result will be stunning, and durable.

polishing - pigments - plaster via Build Naturally - pigment Verona Green Earth va Natural Pigments - polishing with stone via Permaculture Research Institute - finish with lambswool bonnet

polishing - pigments - plaster via Build Naturally - pigment Verona Green Earth va Natural Pigments - polishing with stone via Permaculture Research Institute - finish with lambswool bonnet

The basic constituents of tadelakt plaster are:

  • lime plaster: composed of water, sand, and lime
  • color pigments
  • natural soap : olive oil soap or black soap, this in reaction with the plaster will make the wall water-resistance.

Tadelakt is a technique to finish a lime plaster used in Morocco, to cover the walls with a smooth, waterproof coat. It is applied in two layers, polished with a trowel and burnished with smooth stones. Finally it is rubbed down with soap, traditionally olive oil soap.

tadelakt color samples via Decor Bristol - tools via Pinterest

tadelakt color samples via Decor Bristol - tools via Pinterest

There is a wide range of colors for tadelakt, not only earth tones or the traditional red or blue color. You can also control the brightness of your color choice. The price of the tadelakt will depend on the choice of the color, some pigments are more expensive than others. The darker the color you want the more pigment you need. I often used tadelakt in bathrooms in very light tones, white with a hint of something to fit the colors of the cement tiles on the floor in a subtle combination.

bathtub in tadelakt via Pinterest 

bathtub in tadelakt via Pinterest 

It is important to follow certain steps in terms of material and wall preparation.  And to respect the time between each of those steps to obtain a perfect end result.

Professional installers will go to Morocco for training in the application technique and they will understand the importance of each step.

  • mixing plaster powder with water and let it rest for at least 12 hours 
  • add the color pigments
  • apply a thin layer and smoothen with a wooden shovel or sponge float, this to the preservation of the tadelakt itself
  • let dry well , this can take minutes to hours
  • apply a second layer
  • before the plaster sets the wall has to be polished with a river stone, to compress the plaster and make imperfections disappear.
  • a plastic trowel is used for final polish
  • olive oil soap solution will seal the plaster
  • burnish once more with the stone to give its final shiny surface, this should be done in small circles, using a little bit of pressure
  • Clean any soap residue by buffing the surface with a lambswool bonnet.
  • now be patience and let it rest: the tadelakt will be fully set after 30 days
tadelakt is water-repellant via Tadelakt London

tadelakt is water-repellant via Tadelakt London

One of the advantages of working with tadelakt is that it has a soft, undulating character, it can form curves and is seamless, resulting in a beautiful smooth surface free from grout lines. Its primary use is in areas that get often wet, typically bathrooms but it is equally suitable for spas, shower areas, hammams, and even entire swimming pools. After applying the lime plaster and polishing the wall, the natural soap which will make the surface waterproof, water-repellant, and give it its final appearance.

bathroom via Remodelista - faucet via Remodelista

bathroom via Remodelista - faucet via Remodelista

When choosing the wall finishes for your bathroom you want something that both looks good and is practical. Tadelakt can be a perfect choice, fitting in different styles of interior design. 

minimalist bathroom via Arch daily - recessed shelving via Pinterest

minimalist bathroom via Arch daily - recessed shelving via Pinterest

Tadelakt is perfect for a minimalist bathroom design, no need for tiles or other water-repelling surfaces. The seamless installation will look great in your bathroom.

Long-term maintenance of tadelakt requires regularly re-sealing the surface with a soap solution.

kitchen left via Pure and Original - shelves in tadelakt via One Kindesign

kitchen left via Pure and Original - shelves in tadelakt via One Kindesign

Tadelakt looks spectacular in solid styles and it can be used to create seats, shelves, floors, and wash stands. So also a perfect solution for a non-traditional kitchen.

kitchen via Tierrafino

kitchen via Tierrafino

You only need black soap or olive oil soap, a spray bottle and a soft cloth to maintain your tadelakt, it can't be easier or better for the environment. Do not use any domestic bathroom cleaners, no bath salt, or products containing ammonia.

Tadelakt is something for you?

  • find a skilled worker
  • easy to maintain: all you need is some olive soap or marseille soap and a soft cloth 
  • create your dream bathroom, kitchen, or finish a room for a stunning effect
  • it may have a mat or shiny finish

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