Venetian plaster is a desired option for wall finishes, but increasingly the ancient form of Moroccan plaster known as tadelakt is becoming increasingly popular. But what exactly are the differences between tadelakt and Venetian plaster?
In this article, we’ll look at their similarities and differences to help you get a better understanding and make the right choice for your home.
Tadelakt is a waterproof, decorative lime plaster that traces its traditions in 11th century Moroccan architecture that originated in Marrakesh and spread to the rest of North Africa. Used to renovate riads (Moroccan homes and palaces with interior gardens), in Arabic, tadelakt roughly translates to “to knead” or “to rub.”
The traditional application of tadelakt is a laborious process. Lime powder is mixed with silica or marble sand in water for 12 to 15 hours before adding the pigment. After applying it on walls, it is polished with a stone harder than the plaster then sealed with olive oil soap.
Done properly, tadelakt turns out smooth like natural stone, feels soft when touched, and glows warmly with a satin sheen.
Venetian plaster is a lime-based finish with roots dating as far back as 3000 BC. The fine lime putty it is made of was first used by the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks around 900 BC for public and private property.
The Venetian plaster we know now was popularised by architect Andrea Palladio in Italy during the Renaissance.
Traditional Venetian plaster is made from fired limestone mixed with water, but there are versions now that have aggregates like marble dust in the mixture. The plaster is applied in multiple layers of thin coating using a spatula or trowel.
Once burnished, it hardens considerably and with marble dust making up around 40% of the plaster’s constituents, it can also give the wall it is applied to a marble-like appearance. Wax is used to seal Venetian plaster.
Both types of finishes have commonalities. They are lime-based, so eco-conscious property owners can’t go wrong with either. They go well with a classic style because of their clean, restrained radiance. They can last a long time with regular maintenance.
The difference is made clear through how both are used. Tadelakt is distinguished through its beauty and effectiveness in moisture-heavy spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens. If you don’t want tiles in those areas, tadelakt is perfect.
Tadelakt can ultimately make a much bigger impression from an interior design point of view, as Venetian plaster is relatively ubiquitous in comparison so doesn’t have the same exotic feel.
Ultimately, the choice between tadelakt and Venetian plaster depends on what you want to accomplish with your property, but for a truly unique and stunning middle eastern finish, we’d always recommend tadelakt.