Tadelakt: learn all the details of this decorative technique

Nowadays, there are a large number of materials and decorative techniques that offer very original solutions and different from each other, which expands the decorative range of construction materials.

However, the classics will always be modern and, increasingly, tadelakt is used to coat floors and walls as was done in ancient Egypt.

Increasingly, those finishes found in the old and luxurious riads or in the Moroccan saunas are in demand. Finishes with unique nuances and with practically millennial resistance.

In this news, we are going to tell you everything about tadelakt.

What is tadelakt?

Tadelakt is a coating whose binder consists of different types of lime and whose main characteristic, technically speaking, is its waterproofness. In addition, it regulates the temperature of the environment and humidity and has great fungicidal properties, which limits the growth of fungi and the appearance of mould in the most humid environments.

Aesthetically, it is very elegant and the surfaces it covers are more delicate than those covered with other materials. The tadelakt guarantees a unique shine, providing warmth, softness and colour to the room with great elegance and style. In addition, we are dealing with an economical material so tadelakt can be used by anyone to satisfy their greatest decorative desires.

Since we know what it is, its history and its main qualities but, what are the advantages and disadvantages of tadelakt? What surfaces can it be used on? Can we do it ourselves or is it better for a craftsman to do it?

tadelakt on walls of Moroccan-inspired housing

Where does the tadelakt come from?

The word tadelakt comes from Arabic, more precisely from the verb "dalaka", which means "to massage, rub, polish". Known for its waterproofing, it was originally designed to protect the walls of the hammam from moisture. It is also used in riads or swimming pools, and in the production of Moroccan ceramics and earthenware.

Tadelakt is actually composed of lime (traditional Marrakech lime) coloured with natural pigments and polished with pebbles, giving it a smooth and shiny appearance.

Nowadays, tadelakt has been modernised and is usually made of lime and marble dust mixed and polished with putty. Some interior designers like to use it for its warmth, traditional spirit and variety of colours. It can be used for all types of decoration, giving the possibility of obtaining unique creations. In fact, it also fits with more modern or current decorative styles although this technique is mainly used for spaces where the aim is to create more rustic or even bohemian atmospheres, in any type of space.

Advantages and disadvantages of using Tadelakt

Tadelakt = powerful fungicide

First, this is a material that has two very marked aspects, being both aesthetic and hygienic (in fact, it is as antibacterial as cement, thanks in particular to the bactericidal properties and germs of lime). It is also a completely organic coating, which is made with sustainable ingredients.

Control the humidity

Another advantage is that tadelakt maintains very high humidity, which is why it is used in steam baths and is ideal for preventing possible dampness in bathrooms. It also allows the walls to breathe. With it, there are no mould problems related to humidity or blisters in the paint in aquatic spaces such as bathrooms.

Great aesthetic possibilities

This coating is also available in different shades and offers different ways to be cleaned, depending on the desired look: black soap has a glossy finish for waterproofing walls (perfect for bathrooms); satin wax provides a slight shine effect, while silver glitter wax adds a brighter veil, increasing its brightness.

Great durability

Another advantage is its durability, as it has a long lifespan and its appearance will not change even after decades, as long as it is properly cared for.

Tadelakt green microcement on children's room walls

How is tadelakt installed?

Tadelakt is usually used to manufacture any area. Its waterproofness makes it an ideal material for coating surfaces that come into contact with water, but it can also be used in drier environments, such as living rooms or bedrooms. Practically, it can be applied to all types of walls and ceilings. The limits of creativity do not exist for a technique like this.

It is a material that requires real knowledge of application techniques if you want to achieve the desired finishes, as well as using it properly so that in the future there are no adhesion problems and issues arise from a poor application. Therefore, it is always recommended to apply this material by a specialised professional.

Tadelakt application process

For this, first you should know that it is important to clean the base or support, before applying a material like tadelakt, so that it is a homogeneous base and does not have holes.

Subsequently, the time comes to apply the first layer (as a primer, very important) to ensure good adhesion of the material. After hardening, before applying the first coat of material, it is necessary to moisten the base layer so that the moisture of the layer does not directly absorb, then apply the tadelakt with a spatula or trowel, trying to create an arch.

Next, you need to let it dry overnight and then apply a second coat of tadelakt, which should be slightly thicker than the first. We repeat the operation, letting this new layer dry overnight, then brush with a plastic palette so that the result is a smooth and shiny layer. To finish, to strengthen the surface and keep its appearance intact for a long time, you need to apply a layer of wax or varnish.

Tadelakt maintenance: extreme ease

The maintenance and conservation of a material like tadelakt is very simple and intuitive. In this way, we will have to distinguish between two different processes: cleaning and maintenance.

Thus, for cleaning, it will only be necessary to remove the dirt or eliminate the stains present in the areas coated with tadelakt. To wash them, with a bit of water with neutral pH soap although if the stains are tough, it is recommended to use specific or professional cleaners.

As for its maintenance, to keep its finishes for longer, you just have to varnish the surfaces every so often.

Tadelakt on living room walls in grey colour

Main uses of tadelakt: total performance in any situation

It is one of the most used mortars for the rehabilitation and restoration of heritage buildings, it is also widely used when coating floors and walls in new works regardless of the scope of the space in which they are located.

Tadelakt adapts to both the domestic and business environment, so it's not uncommon to see it in shops, restaurants or other types of commercial premises.

Next, we detail the most common uses of tadelakt:

- Old masonry or ceramic blocks. Restore walls and seams.

- Renew the walls or their joints.

- Protects walls in high humidity environments: Solves salinity problems, especially walls with growing capillaries.

- It is used in vaults and floors.

- Coating of surfaces with high decorative value: shiny, matte, liquid, etc.

Tadelakt on walls: elegance at first sight

As a decorative technique, tadelakt has become one of the most used for use on walls. This is because it is about vertical surfaces on which the finishes can be admired with great ease. In addition, these finishes are going to last a long time from the moment of application, resisting impacts, scratches and moisture stains.

Tadelakt on floors: hardness with class in the same area

Tadelakt is also a material that is frequently applied to surfaces that are in a horizontal direction. Thus, when applied to pavements, high traffic is not able to damage it or take away even an iota of aesthetic nuances. With a thin varnished layer, it is able to withstand any type of external threat. In addition, as if that were not enough, these floors gain a very significant aesthetic prominence, transporting us to the most elegant places in Morocco in just seconds.

Tadelakt: coating with a thousand and one colours

Tadelakt has aesthetic possibilities that are, practically, infinite and in part this is due to the large number of colours it is available in. Although, normally, there are established chromatic catalogues with certain references, at Topciment we open the possibility of creating the colour to taste for professionals and users.

Thus, with our high-quality natural pigments, by mixing some with others, new colours can be obtained, which are exactly what a person or a space requires.

Because spaces also speak and to successfully complete a decorative system, it is necessary to fine-tune all the details and the colour to choose for the coating used on the wall or on the floor, usually, is of great importance.

Tadelakt texture in grey colour

Price of tadelakt: an excellent material as well as affordable

Tadelakt is a coating that guarantees a supreme quality and also has a truly competitive price. Thus, this is another reason why it has become a decorative trend that is gaining more acceptance every day.

However, it should be known that the price of the product or material is not that of a complete application. Thus, to obtain a quote for the entire process, it will be necessary to study various aspects or different values such as the meters to be covered, whether the areas are difficult to coat, whether the professionals are of higher or lower quality or if they travel a very long distance to the work or renovation and, a fundamental one, if it is necessary to repair the support or surface on which the tadelakt is going to be used.

Natture, the tadelakt from Topciment

As could not be otherwise, at Topciment we have, among our product catalogue, atadelakt microcement, Natture.

This is a lime-based product that, when applied to pavements, walls or other surfaces, guarantees the maximum durability of these areas, in addition to providing aesthetic nuances based on shines, textures and contrasts that would be impossible to achieve with other coatings in the sector.

With Natture we respect the traditional way of doing things but it is a product with values of hardness, aesthetics and in terms of resistance, much more advanced than its ancestral materials.

This coating is applied like othersmicrocements, en capas finas de como máximo 3 mm, grosor más que suficiente para llenar estancias de elegancia y distinción.

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