Tadelakt Polishing Stone

In case you haven’t heard of it yet, Tadelakt (pronounced TAD-eh-lakt) is an artisan lime plaster born hundreds of years ago 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.

Tadelakt in the Riad Tawargit Guest House, Marrakech, Morocco

Tadelakt in the Riad Tawargit Guest House, Marrakech, Morocco.

Decorative and water resistant, Tadelakt has a satiny smooth surface that gets its look from being massaged with a Tadelakt polishing stone. Authentic Mediterranean olive oil (Marseille) soap is rubbed in 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 knead”.

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.

This massaging process is best done by trained and experienced artisans, as timing is critical to insure that the Tadelakt finish looks its best and does not fail.

Watch Plaster Artistry’s artisan massage Tadelakt with an agate polishing stone:


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Small agate tadelakt polishing stone being used for Moroccan Tadelakt finish. The stone is not essential but helps burnish occasional small low spots. This ancient water resistant finish is great for wet areas and eliminates the need for grout. Recent @limestrong lime plaster project in Belle Meade, Nashville TN.

A good Tadelakt polishing stone is harder than the grains of marble and sand that are in the plaster. Basalt or granite river stones, with one side ground flat and polished, work very nicely. The harder the stone is, the better its quality for polishing Tadelakt. Higher quality, smaller stones are semi-precious gems such as Agate and Tiger-Eye.

Tadelakt polishing stones are generally 1” to 3” across, with a small polishing surface to give the Tadelakt optimal compression.

granite tadelakt polishing stone

Granite Tadelakt polishing stone identical to the one our artisans use. Photo by Cait Whitson.

Agate Tadelakt polishing stones

Agate Tadelakt polishing stones.

Because Tadelakt is smoothed with small tools and Tadelakt polishing stones, the artisan can apply it to curved surfaces that would be difficult or impossible to burnish with a trowel alone.

Tadelakt is labor-intensive to install, but durable. Short-cuts or cheapening the preparation will cause the finish to crack and/or fail. Applied as a paste, it has a soft, undulating character, forming sumptuous curves when desired. Natural pigments can be added to give it any color. Most of our clients have chosen natural, untinted off-white.

This ancient craft creates a seamless finish, with no grout lines. It has an elegance that is unmatched by tile, stone, or paint. In Morocco, Tadelakt is used to make baths, sinks, water vessels, interior and exterior walls, ceilings, roofs, and floors. In your home, it will create a warm, sophisticated feel for wherever in the house your special space is.

To have Plaster Artistry’s highly trained and experienced artisans apply Tadelakt in your home or business, CONTACT US TODAY.