Tadelakt is a plaster technique that originated in Morocco. This technique can be used widely in bathroom applications to create custom showers, sinks, tubs and enclosures. Tadelakt has been widely adopted by green builders and creates surfaces that resemble those of glazed earthenware pots. If you're interested in a surface that's natural, beautiful and easy to care for, tadelakt may be for you.
An Overview Of Tadelakt
Tadelakt is available in a wide variety of colors and is available premixed commercially. The meaning of tadelakt is to caress. This meaning refers to the process involved in solidifying the plaster. When olive oil soap is applied to the surface of the plaster, the lime inside the plaster has a chemical reaction with the soap and a waterproof barrier is formed. The application process is simple:
- Choose a water-resistant drywall to apply the tadelakt to, making sure the surface is one that will offer good adhesion to the plaster.
- Trowel on the tadelakt to the surfaces you plan on covering, and make sure it's applied as smoothly as possible.
- Massage the surface of the tadelakt with a special tadelakt stone. This stone helps to compress the plaster and prepare it for its final finish.
- Smooth the plaster with olive oil soap and give the plaster its waterproof finish.
Tadelakt can be used to cover walls or to create bathtubs, showers, sinks, floors or anything that you may want to be waterproof. There are no true seams in tadelakt, so things are unlikely to leak. However, you may still have to caulk if your plaster elements connect to regular drywall. The lack of seams in the plaster makes leaking far less likely.
Over time, your tadelakt bathroom will require care. When it comes time to clean the plaster, you should always opt for a gentle soap, water and a soft sponge. You will also have to reapply the olive oil soap to the tadelakt surface periodically. How often you have to apply the soap is dictated by how often the tadelakt surface is exposed to water. You'll be able to tell that it's time to apply more oil soap when the tadelakt surface begins to lose its water-repelling properties.
What Your Plumber Needs To Know
Tadelakt is different from many bathroom surfaces, so your plumber may be unfamiliar with it. Tadelakt bathrooms use the same fittings and fixtures as traditional bathrooms. However, before the tadelakt is applied, your plumber should dry fit any plumbing elements, and then remove them for the application process. All your plumber will need to know is how thickly you'll be applying the plaster so they can accurately measure for the installation process.