Tadelakt (pronounced TAD-eh-lakt) is an artisan lime plaster born hundreds of years ago in the High Atlas Mountains in the Marrakech region of Morocco. It’s the sensuous, lustrous plaster that you’ve seen in photographs of Moroccan Hammams (public baths/spas), and has become immensely popular here for bathrooms, kitchens, and fireplaces.
Decorative and water resistant, Tadelakt has a satiny smooth surface that gets its look from being massaged with a polishing stone. Authentic Mediterranean olive oil (Marseille) soap is rubbed in with the stone while the plaster is still a firm paste. This process is why the plaster is called “Tadelakt”, which in Arabic means to “rub, massage, or caress”.
African Agate is usually the best polishing stone to use, but granite river stones are also a good choice. This massaging process is best done by trained and experienced artisans, as timing is critical to insure that the finished product looks its best and does not fail. Massaging in the olive oil soap causes a chemical reaction in the plaster, which strengthens and hardens the surface and makes it water repellant. It also compresses the plaster and achieves a beautifully tactile satiny sheen.
Tadelakt’s appeal is its organic, earthy feel and old-world warmth, which comes from the labor and artistic talent of Tadelakt Plaster artisans. It blends beautifully into a variety of decorating and architectural styles. Both eco-friendly and water resistant, it is perfect for showers, baths, and kitchens.