How to Apply: Tadelakt

tadelakt_larsEnjoying a recent surge of popularity in the architectural and design communities, Tadelakt, for centuries, has been appreciated for its durability and aesthetically pleasing exotic appearance.  Tadelakt may be used in wet areas such as showers and spas, as well as on floors and countertops.

Download Tadelakt MSDS sheet.

Description:
Tadelakt has a smooth appearance, slightly shiny like Marmorino Carrara, but thicker and less textured.
Tadelakt is very durable and quite water resistant, but breathable.

Composition:
Lime powder, slightly hydraulic, with stone granules of variable thickness up to 1,2 mm. special additives facilitate application, by aiding in adhesion and reducing cracking.
White – can be tinted.

Packaging:

18 kg Polythylene containers

Purchase Tadelakt

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Theoretical yield:
Full 2.5 coat cycle for polished finish:
Metric: Approximately 6-7 square meters per 18 kg bucket.
U.S.: Approximately 65-75 square feet per 18 kg bucket.

See photos of our Tadelakt applied here

How to apply:
-The preparation of the substrate is similar to that used with Stucco Italiano Marmorino Carrara. The ideal substrate is new plaster composed of lime, a little cement and sand. It can also be applied over old substrates as long as there is no crumbling and it has been treated with a primer.

-Mix an 18 kg. container material with about 1 and 1/2 gallons of water. Once the material is well-mixed, it can be colored and then left to rest for about a half an hour. It can then be applied, either that day or the next. (The material will still be good for several days if it is kept in a sealed container away from heat. However, it’s best to apply it within 2 or 3 days.)

-After the substrate has been prepared, the first coat, tinted or not (white), is applied with a metal trowel. (With the traditional Moroccan method, it is applied with a tool similar to a Swiss trowel which leaves a slightly wavy surface.) Let the first coat dry completely (overnight). Remember that part of the pattern that is left in the first coat will be visible in the finished work.

-Before beginning the second coat, we advise, as we do in the instructions for Marmorino Carrara, to replace all the protective tape. For the second coat, apply the material with the color of your preference with a large, metal trowel. As with Marmorino Carrara, it should be applied over the entire surface smoothing out any marks left by the trowel, keeping in mind that any marks left at this stage with remain visible in the final surface. (For those wishing for a completely smooth surface, pass over the entire surface with a with a sponge float.)

-Let it dry a little until it loses its shine, which is due to an excess of water. In some places you will see a slight lightening of the color.

-At this point you can apply the third coat using the same material and the same big trowel, or a smaller one if you chose.
The important thing is to use a trowel with sharp edges. Apply a thin layer, pressing (unifying) the second and the third coat into one thickness. You will have to pass over the surface numerous times, always moving the trowel in different directions until you achieved the desired finish. If you see bubbles appear during this stage, you’ll need to wait a little more before the final burnishing stage.

-It may be advantageous at the final stage of polishing to use a plastic trowel, especially with lighter colors, to avoid burning the surface. At this point in traditional Moroccan applications, the burnishing is done with a polished stone that, given its round shape, allows the artisan to follow the wavy surface which has been created in the preceding coats with the Swiss-type trowel.

-When the Tadelakt is still wet but quite firm to the touch, usually after one or two hours, it can be protected with a special Moroccan soap (the same one which is still used in the public, Moroccan baths) which is made from olive oil. The soap is spread as is, or diluted up to 300%, with water.  Since this soap is very dark, we advise that it be well-diluted when applied on light colors in order to avoid unwanted discolorations. Normally it should be applied with a metal trowel, rubbing it on the surface until it is completely absorbed. Any excess soap can be removed using a cloth after about 10 minutes.

Need help with Tadelakt?  Technical questions?  Email me: aaron@stuccoitalianoinc.com