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Tadelakt, the ecological Moroccan lime plaster

Tadelakt, the ecological Moroccan lime plaster

Originally from Morocco, and more particularly from Marrakech, tadelakt is attracting an increasing number of people, in love with this decorative coating and its smooth and sensual appearance. Tadelakt is a lime plaster of Moroccan origin. With water-repellent qualities, that is to say waterproof, it was traditionally used in hammams and water features, as well as in riads and palaces. Very popular today, it can be used both indoors and outdoors, due to the sensuality of its rendering and an incomparable touch. The tadelakt indeed presents a soft and fine aspect, with some small irregularities due to its shaping by hand, which gives it great decorative qualities. In addition, the shades applied can create variations in color, giving it a bit the appearance of Venetian stucco, the technique of which is not far removed. An ancestral technique Tadelakt is made from a colored lime paste with natural pigments. It is done in 7 or 11 successive thin layers, then traditionally smoothed with a pebble, or metal spatulas, more practical and contemporary. Black soap based on olive oil is applied between each layer, which allows the lime to acquire its water-repellent properties. A more modern technique allows the tadelakt to be applied in a single pass with lime from Marrakech, known for its multiple qualities. But this variant has the major disadvantage of cracking very quickly and it does not have the resistance of traditional tadelakt. Traditionally made, tadelakt can be kept for many years. But it remains fragile at the corners and it is better to avoid blows which crack and weaken it. For the tadelakt placed in one pass, the fragility is increased and the water may seep into the support. Note: any touch-ups are always visible but necessary to avoid water infiltration. Installing tadelakt is not for everyone, even a very good handyman. Moroccan craftsmen, called "Maalem", learn the pose for many years. Useless, therefore, to launch you alone in the adventure without preparation! Specialists give lessons or organize internships to familiarize themselves with the technique. Experience then makes all the difference. New solutions Today there are new plasters similar to tadelakt which offer a smooth and shiny final appearance but none have the waterproof qualities of the original material. Even the break of a water-repellent varnish will not be sufficient for these materials to be placed in direct contact with water, for the production of shower walls, for example. It is therefore better to use them as decorative plasters, apart from water features. There are however Moroccan lime (kreidzeit, tierrafino stone) but their installation and maintenance are also reserved for specialists. Our addresses: A specialist who can carry out a tadelakt at home: Josée Roscop also organizes internships to train in this technique. More info on his website: www.josee-roscop.com