Here’s our Tadelakt shower design guide including what is, what kind of plaster is used, how to apply it on walls and floors, and DIY bathroom tips to use.
Used widely in the North African region, Tadelakt is a wall finish option homeowners can consider when it comes to a shower area. It possesses a seamless and smooth quality that transforms any space into something new.
As compared to other available wall finishes, Tadelakt offers a set of benefits that can be good for a shower area. In this article, we discuss what makes this finish stand out.
What Is Tadelakt?
Tadelakt is a traditional waterproof and wall finishing technique made of natural, lime-based plaster combined with olive oil soap (black soap) and natural pigments. The mixture from these ingredients creates a waterproof coating that makes Tadelakt suitable for bath and showers areas.
Aside from its decorative beauty and an all-natural material, one of the finest features of Tadelakt is that it does not contain dangerous compounds, and it’s purely resistant to mold and mildew.
This decorative plaster originated from the Marrakech region of Morocco, first used in the 11th century to waterproof the royal Berber water tanks. It has a refined, smooth, and polished surface similar to that of a natural stone and has a satin sheen.
Tadelakt is very durable if cared for correctly. Avoid using strong chemicals like bleach since this harsh cleaner will destroy the delicate limestone surface.
Tadelakt surface is best to be cleaned weekly using only a sponge, black soap, and water. Cleaning Tadelakt with black soap helps in reconditioning its soft surface. Likewise, it can also be waxed yearly by using Idrowax to make it more resistant to stains.
Tadelakt can be recycled and used in new plasters by mashing it down. It is also biodegradable, if it is not recycled, it will gradually sink back into the earth when disposed of.
Tadelakt is among the great bathroom ideas that can counter poor ventilation, and it helps to create a healthy living environment. The fact that Tadelakt is lime-based, it is eco-friendly since it releases 80% less CO2 during processing and reabsorbs much of the CO2 thus stopping it from escaping and damaging the environment.
Traditional Moroccan Tadelakt colors are inspired by the spectacular hues of Morocco, these colors include glossy browns and yellow ochres, scarlet, cool cobalt, and saffron yellows.
Tadelakt Plaster Shower
Tadelakt plaster shower is popular to be used by designers for modern minimalist style bathrooms due to the capacity of the surface to accommodate sharp lines and angles.
Tadelakt is considered to be a high-end design finish and so it is best to use Tadelakt plaster in the shower area. The smooth, silky texture and seamless soft gloss finish of Tadelakt can make your everyday shower routine a luxurious ritual as if bathing in a Moroccan hammam.
Tadelakt plaster is a unique alternative to installing tiles in your shower. Since Tadelakt has a seamless smooth finish, there’s no need for grouting.
It is very hygienic since grouting can eventually crack and trap water, dirt, grime, and mold. It is an ancient sanitizer due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial characteristics. See more plaster shower wall ideas here.
Tadelakt Shower Walls
Tadelakt shower walls are a perfect alternative to traditional tiles and give a classy finish to your shower walls. Due to the heavy burnishing of this lime plaster, Tadelakt has a glossier finish.
It is very smooth to the touch and there are no seams or grout lines when plastering. Because of the burnishing required to make it water-resistant, Tadelakt is more expensive than standard lime plaster.
Applying Tadelakt to shower walls is the most demanding wall finish to construct because it is extremely tedious and requires strict attention to detail.
The slower the walls cure, the better and the Tadelakt must dry at the right pace. Humidity and temperature are two major factors that affect the Tadelakt curing time.
Traditional lime plaster finishes are normally applied directly over stonework structures. In the United States, where buildings are constructed using stud-framed drywall, prior preparation of the surface is necessary, before Tadelakt is to be applied. This requires a cement board and a half-inch-thick lime-and-sand plaster base.
Tadelakt shower wall finish has a style of its own, this beautiful finish is sought after for its timeless beauty and resilience.
Tadelakt Shower Floor
Besides walls and shower area, Tadelakt can also be applied on properly prepared shower floors. Make sure that you apply sealer on Tadelakt shower floors in two or more coats, instead of the waxing to prevent slipping.
If you were to do a shower floor in Tadelakt, remember that it will be softer in the beginning; but after this initial period, Tadelakt becomes very durable and will last for many years.
If you are remodeling, Tadelakt can also be applied on tiles provided the old tiles are degreased first and the surface is painted with adhesive primer to create the necessary bond to the Tadelakt plaster.
After which, the primed surface is coated with lime adhesive plaster. Once the lime adhesive plaster dries off, the adhesive primer is once again applied, to fully hide the joint pattern of the older tiles underneath.
Only then can the Tadelakt, be applied and polished according to the Tadelakt processing instructions.
Remember, Tadelakt should only be used on floors where there is no heavy traffic is happening because the surface can be scratched by grit and small stones. See more shower floor ideas here.
DIY Tadelakt Shower
Creating a Tadelakt shower is a time-consuming and complex process and you need to create a fully waterproofed seal over this surface to ensure the longevity of both the shower area and the plaster. Keep in mind, if the Tadelakt surface is damaged, it cannot be repaired and must be replaced.
For starters, the shower area requires 3 base coats, in order to completely bond the plaster to the wall and provide a good surface for the final layer of Tadelakt to hold fast.
Next, applying the Tadelakt, requires 3 successive passes with thin coats of plaster. Then, the plaster needs to be rubbed with hard trowels and small, smooth stones to create a shiny and smooth finish.
An olive oil soap mixture seals the plaster and starts a chemical reaction that creates a natural wax that sets in the wall and provides a water-resistant finish. It is important that the Tadelakt plaster has time to dry slowly.
Finally, after 3 weeks to 1 month of curing time, the Tadelakt surface needs once again to be applied with olive oil soap to remove any surface dust or contamination and wax it again to provide a layer of extra protection.
See more related content in our article about the wall texture types on this page.