Tadelakt is a plaster traditionally used in Morocco as an alternative to plaster and paint. It is waterproof, can be tinted with colours, and I absolutely love it as a building material. Its history is in the hammams (bathing houses) of the Arab world, but its purposes are many. Myself, I fancy a tadelakt kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom;). But to be true to Oman;) I have to go for the Omani equivelent, which is sarooj (post on that in the works).
But tadelakt is longer lasting than sarooj.
What is it exactly? It is a lime plaster that is 100% water resistant: natural lime, marble powder, quartz sands, clay, ashes, and cellulose.
What is the building process for using tadelakt? The tadelakt powder is mixed with water and left to ‘ferment’ . This used to be necessary for 2 or 3 days, but the mixture now requires less time. It is mixed well and when ‘fermented’ it is at this stage that natural pigmentation is added if the finished tadelakt is to be coloured.
The base for any shelves is made in brick and concrete first before plastering with tadelakt. The walls (or shelves) are then smoothed and prepared and then doused in water before 2 layers of tadelakt are then applied using small trowels. The walls are then scraped firmly to flatten and smooth the surfaces and eliminate any rough grains.
A polished river stone with a flat side (usually basalt or similar) is then used to painstakingly polish every inch of the walls to further compress the plaster and extract the moisture.
It is then left to dry for a couple of days and you’re left with a gorgeous, slightly mottled and undulating, polished walls that are dirt and water resistant and look fabulous. It is labour intensive, but definitely worth it. Photos & commentary courtesy of awesome sustainable development in the Atlas mountains http://www.lamandier-maroc.com/blog/index.php/blog/.