Updated: Apr 10, 2020
Loved by architects and interior designers for its contemporary and modern finish, Tadelakt may be one of the top contenders for the British Home Design 2020 Finish Of The Year Award, but it has been actually used in Morocco for centuries.
This enchanting smooth material is both sophisticated, yet primitive due to its traditional Middle Eastern exotic feel. Truly timeless - cultured like being in an cool clean art gallery - and effortlessly minimal.
So what exactly is Tadelakt?
It is lime-based plaster with a coat of protective olive oil soap. When the soap is applied, a chemical reaction occurs with the lime to form calcium stearate, resulting in a durable surface.
Every bathroom owner lusts after a durable, low maintenance room which is at the same time superbly stylish, and Tadelakt truly offers this. It has antibacterial/anti fungal properties due to its high pH value. It is waterproof, water repellant, insect repellant, mould/mildew resistant, and dirt resistant. Due to these properties, it is just perfect for wet spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Equally, Tadelakt is low maintenance: just wipe with water. Say goodbye to nasty chemicals as they will actually harm the surface. However, if any part of the surface does get damaged, you cannot simply patch it up; it will all need replacing. This is due to the fact that the damage no longer makes it completely water tight, so it's probably best to apply it to floors where you won't wear hard shoes - such as bathroom floors - as grit and stones can scratch the suface.
Applying Tadelakt forms a seamless, grout free finish. It can be applied over many materials to create both sharp and sculptural pieces - from bold linear angles to soft curves, so creating this finish is superbly versatile unlike many other waterproof materials which may require cutting and connecting.
Its price point is comparable to having tiles fitted, at around £125/sqm. It requires a professional installer who will know how to work with these traditional materials; expect a standard shower sized area to take around 4-5 to install and 30 days to cure.
This article contains 21 beautiful examples of this finish applied within bathroom spaces. As you may have observed, the finish and looks created are incredibly versatile. It can be applied to many different surfaces, from walls and floors, to baths and basins. It's 'look' can be adjusted to replicate other materials such as polished concrete, plaster and lime wash, but with its amazing water resistant properties.
Both natural or synthetic pigment can be added so you can be as colour creative as you desire. It has character; over time, it will age, forming a patina and very fine cracks. Its also perfect for create a seamless 'no grout' finish between wall and floor junction and edges.
Maximise its waterproofing properties when on a budget by targetting its application for areas which will be directly hit with water, for example, within a shower, bath or sink. It can be used on a range of space sizes, large to small, and is perfect for luxury wet rooms such as swimming pools and steam rooms.
I'm sure you will agree that this is a truly enchanting material. Its durable, low maintenance properties alone is enough to make home owners around the UK fall in love with it, whilst offering a characterful timeless appeal, and allowing you to get truly creative as to the effects it can create and add to your home.
What do you think of this fascinating finish? Would you use this in your home? I would love to know if you already have!
I will love and leave you with some more stunning images of this beautiful material - to inspire you and get your creative juices flowing... BHD x