Tadelakt blog - Page 5

What is Tadelakt?

Indigenous to the Marrakech area of Morocco, tadelakt is a natural, lime-based plaster that’s both decorative and waterproof. An exquisite, natural combination of pure practicality and unadulterated style.

Used in the restoration of riads across the country, tadelakt lime was first mined from The Marrakech Plateau in the High Atlas Mountains. That seamless and smooth finish that you associate with the architecture of the souks, palaces and riads of Northern Africa, is tadelakt. Traditionally seen in a deep ochre red, tadelakt can come in any colour – see our beautiful colour chart for some inspiration.

The word itself means ‘to rub in’ or ‘massage’ when translated from its original Arabic تدلاكت, and its creation and application today remains true to its age-old roots, passed on from the Moroccan masters over centuries. It was in fact under 11th century Berber rule that craftsmen began to use the tadelakt method, initially to waterproof the royal cisterns. Using lime burning for plaster goes back further than a mere thousand years, though. Those innovative Egyptians were using gypsum and lime plasters to build their pyramids 5000 years ago…

Harnessing its huge natural properties with skilled and precise application methods, tadelakt was soon put to decorative use in construction all over Marrakech and beyond: in exterior façades, in small drinking vessels and in the hammams (bath houses). It’s no wonder then that today tadelakt is becoming such a popular, stylish alternative to tiling in bathrooms, kitchens and wetrooms as well as for spas and entire swimming pools. Having said this, it’s such a versatile material that it’s suitable for almost any internal or external wall. Just see our portfolio for an idea of the broad scope tadelakt offers to both domestic and corporate environments.

Like all great traditions, the art has relied on an oral tradition between artisans to keep it alive. The tadelakt method is, broadly speaking, as follows:

  • Lime plaster mixed with water for 12-15 hours before adding pigment
  • Sometimes marble or limestone sand is added
  • Compressed when plastic to eliminate voids
  • Mechanically polished using stone, providing a smooth, sometimes shiny, finish.
  • Treated with natural soap solution – olive or black soap – to speed carbonation of the surface and impart water-resistance.

The natural olive-based soap used to seal the tadelakt finish is a fabulous product sold in paste form by the kilo in the souks of Marrakech. This emulsifies in water, and deeply permeates the plaster when rubbed in gently, rather than leaving a waxy coating as one might expect it to. The lime’s alkalinity reacts with the soap to form a soap scum which is highly water and scratch resistant – and harder than cured lime – whilst remaining porous and breathable.

Please give Ian a call on 07866 758 020 if you’d like to arrange a site visit, or to discuss the best plastering options for your next project.

 

Moroccan Bathroom

The Environmental Benefits of Using Moroccan Tadelakt Plaster

People are becoming more and more aware of the need to limit the impact of their actions on the environment, and are increasingly taking action to reduce their carbon footprints. Interestingly, the way you decorate your home can also play a role here. For instance, many people choose to finish the surfaces of their bathroom to make them more visually appealing. Choosing a material such as tadelakt to do this is a good option, as this has many green credentials that make it kind to the environment as well as a material suitable for use in bathrooms and other rooms of the house.

What is tadelakt?
Tadelakt is starting to grow in popularity but many people are still unsure what it is. It is a type of natural, lime-based plaster and has got its origins in the Marrakech region of Morocco. You can get many different shades of tadelakt, which are created by tinting the material. It is popularly used in bathrooms as it is waterproof, and is commonly used for shower cubicles and wet rooms as well as sinks, baths and even swimming pools.

Creating a healthy living environment
One green benefit of tadelakt is that it helps to create a healthy living environment. Unlike many other finishes that require you to clean them using bleach or other harsh chemicals, tadelakt plaster is the complete opposite. It is sealed with a soap solution, which helps to prevent the build-up of grime and can be cleaned using a sponge and water. As long as you regularly reapply this soap solution, the tadelakt should stay in excellent condition.

It is also very breathable and has a smooth finish, which means there are no groove lines where mould might otherwise collect. This helps to make the environment cleaner still and ultimately a much nicer place to be.

Reducing levels of CO2
As you are no doubt aware, carbon dioxide is one of the main culprits of global warming. The good news is that tadelakt is CO2-friendly: when you compare it with other, cement-based finishes, it releases 80% less CO2 – a significant difference. Also, the fact that it is lime-based helps as this means when CO2 is released during processing, the tadelakt actually reabsorbs much of it, stopping it from escaping and damaging the environment. Tadelakt also looks much more attractive than other types of surface finishes, meaning its benefits are more than just environmental.

Recycling and reusing existing products
You will probably know all about how important it is to recycle, as this enables us to use the same resources more than once, reducing the amount of energy we use mining new materials and creating new goods. Tadelakt is a good example of how this works: it can be recycled and used in new mortars by crushing it down, meaning it is a practical choice with useful options if you decide to dispose of it in the future.

It is also biodegradable, which means that if you do dispose of it and it is not recycled, it will gradually sink back into the earth – in stark contrast to many of the items that often end up in landfill.

Keeping synthetics away
One last green benefit of using tadelakt is that it is entirely natural. This is a bonus as it is often synthetic materials that are the most harmful to the environment, both in terms of creating them and when it comes to disposal. Tadelakt doesn’t have such issues to contend with, meaning that it uses the minimum amount of energy in its production and it avoids the need to incorporate harmful chemicals – something that is certainly to be applauded.

Moroccan Bathroom

Tadelakt: The Mindful Choice

It’s not only a stunning finish for any household surface, but tadelakt might just save the world too…

In all seriousness though, tadelakt plaster has significantly more green credentials to its name than its competitors: tiling, conventional plastering or other cement-based finishes. This is a 100% natural product that comes from the earth, involves no synthetic materials in its production and places no burden on the environment when it comes to disposal or regeneration. Its creation produces low levels of CO2 energy, and its maintenance regime requires no harmful or corrosive household products. What’s not to love?

So, tadelakt won’t require bleach or other harsh domestic chemicals in order to keep it clean and sanitary. Sealed with a soap solution which naturally helps repel household dirt, that smooth tadelakt surface is best cleaned gently using a simple sponge and water. As long as the soap solution is reapplied regularly – and your plasterer will show you how to do this – your tadelakt should remain in pristine condition for years.

Its smooth, seamless finish with no groove lines or grout gaps only makes tadelakt even more manageable as an interior finish – no tricky nooks or crannies for dirt and germs to collect and breed in. Being a breathable and vapour permeable substance, tadelakt actually contributes to a cleaner and healthier living environment, whether it’s used in your bathroom or kitchen, stairwell, hallway or swimming pool.

Tadelakt is also kinder to the environment because it’s a pure, natural and recyclable material that can be reused as a new aggregate when crushed into new mortars. And ultimately, tadelakt will be absorbed back into the earth. No landfill implications here, since there’s nothing synthetic about this wonderful finish.

Tadelakt’s CO2 emission is a whopping 80% lower than cement-based finishes, too. This means that in choosing tadelakt you’re doing your bit in the fight against global warming, something we can all take steps to combat through the choices we make in decorating and running our homes and offices. Being lime-based also means that there is less CO2 generated during the processing of the material – the tadelakt actually reabsorbs much of the carbon dioxide during the process.

Being mindful of the environment and our impact upon it as individuals, as groups and as households has never been more important, but the good news is that making carbon-aware choices for our homes needn’t mean a compromise on style. Quite the contrary, in fact: take a look through our portfolio for an idea of just how exquisite this traditional Moroccan finish looks all over the home. And in the flesh, it’s even more breathtaking.

To talk to one of our skilled tadelakt craftsmen about the maintenance and application of tadelakt, or to discuss

its environmental benefits further, please do give us a call on  07866 758 020.

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