Tadelakt: A Brief History
“Tadelakt” may or may not be a term most people are familiar with in the United States. After all, the origins of it date back well over a millennium in the middle east. But this process is something we at Sustain have been doing more and more of, and we are consistently amazed at how beautiful the end product is.
Though Tadelakt is just starting to gain traction on this side of the world, this particular process of wall plastering has been in use in Moroccan architecture for a very long time. The exact history of Tadelakt isn’t very thoroughly documented, however it is widely thought that it evolved from a process known as “Qadad”, another plastering process that has been around for well over a millennium.
It is important to note that the term doesn’t refer to a particular product. Instead, it refers to the process by which the plaster is installed and literally means “to rub in”, which is exactly what installers do. The products that are used in the process include lime plaster, pigments, limestone or marble sand, black or olive oil soap, and of course, water. Beginning with a heavily-aggregated wall, installers directly apply the mixed lime plaster using a metal trowel or wood float. Before it is fully set, installers compress the plaster usually using a plastic trowel in order to flatten the product out and create a more impermeable surface. From there, black or olive oil soap is rubbed over the surface which both seals it and initiates a chemical reaction that makes the plaster completely waterproof. And shiny. Pretty cool, huh? Because of this property, people often ask for Tadelakt to be done in showers or entire bathrooms.
And that, in essence, is what Tadelakt means. It is the process by which lime plaster is applied and cured in a very meticulous manner in order to give it shine and create a fully waterproof surface. If you are curious to learn more, feel free to visit our showroom, feel our feature wall, and chat with us about it! We look forward to seeing you!