What is Tadelakt?

What is tadelakt?

Tadelakt (pronounced tad-eh-lact) is a traditional waterproof and decorative plaster indigenous to the Marrakech region of Morocco: a natural, lime-based plaster that’s both decorative and waterproof. Tadelakt has a honed, smooth surface reminiscent of natural stone, with a delightful satin sheen.

Used widely and historically in the renovation of North African riads, tadelakt lime comes from the Marrakech Plateau in the High Atlas Mountains. That seamless and smooth finish one associates with the architecture of souks and riads is tadelakt.

The word tadelakt means ‘to rub in’ or ‘massage’ in Arabic. Its creation and application today is an ancient process taught and passed on by the Moroccan masters. Tadelakt was first used in the 11th century to waterproof the royal Berber cisterns.

Our product offers nuances of colour and grain within the finish, and does not micro-crack or craze like some versions of tadelakt.

What colours are available?

Almost any – we offer our clients a bespoke colour matching service. We can tint our tadelakt to match almost any colour choice, from natural white to the deepest black. Take a look at our colour chart for some inspiration.

Traditional Moroccan tadelakt colours take inspiration from the stunning natural hues of Morocco: warm, burnished browns and yellow ochres of the desert, the lively vermilion of Marrakech, the cool and breezy cobalt blues of the Essaouira coast and the glowing saffron yellows of the souk.

In the UK, popular tadelakt colours are muted stone-like taupes, warm greys and beiges, as well as statement blacks and charcoal greys.

Take a look at our colour chart for some inspiration.

What surfaces can tadelakt be applied to?

If our Moroccan plaster is desired in an area which will get wet regularly such as a shower cubicle or kitchen area, it needs to be applied to a waterproof substrate, which we can install or advise you on. We recommend the use of the Schluter-KERDI-BOARD (only for use in steam rooms) or Fermacell Powerpanel H2O in all other areas which we can safely apply our plasters onto.

Please ensure all substrates are built solidly since defects are difficult to resolve once the area is plastered. We always provide comprehensive fixing instructions in such circumstances. Likewise, we will happily advise on which substrate materials you or your builder should use to prepare your wet room appropriately for a waterproof tadelakt finish.

What information does my builder or plumber need to know?

Before we arrive on site all flooring should be laid and all plumbing elements – sanitary ware and showerheads, for example – should be dry fitted in their correct positions, and then removed.

The total thickness of our tadelakt system from the board upwards is around 2mm.

Are you willing to travel to my job?

We have offices both in London and Bristol. We travel nationwide, however, and always consider projects further afield.

How much does it cost?

We generally quote per square metre. Please do not omit doors and windows when you submit measurements to us if they involve any wall surfaces that also require plastering. Additionally, a sketch of any desired design features is always useful for accurate pricing: vanity units, architectural niches and similar. Please also provide details of your location.

This information can then be phoned, emailed or posted to us and we will get back in touch with you promptly with an accurate quote.

How is the surface cleaned?

We use a penetrating sealer on the plaster in the first instance, and a hard wearing water-based wax to protect the surface of the tadelakt.

Over months of regular use in a shower cubicle, the tadelakt surface may need cleaning, or you may notice more water being absorbed into the plaster surface. In these cases, simply reapply a coat or two of wax – we will equip you with a large tub of this product, along with thorough care and maintenance instructions on job completion. Harsh cleaning chemicals such as bleach should always be avoided.

Can we buy materials from you?

Unfortunately not, but with good reason. Tadelakt is a deeply complex plaster and involves a very precise application technique that takes much training and practice to perfect. Let our talented team of experienced and expert-trained applicators take care of it for you.