The tadelakt, the coating of hammams

The tadelakt, the coating of hammams

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This ecological and traditional wall covering has been used for a very long time in Moroccan hammams and is the material of the moment when we talk about interior decoration. Tadelakt, in Arabic, means "to caress", "to massage", which has nothing to do with hammams, but rather with the implementation, which consists in smoothing the coating for a long time, to give it this soft texture. to the touch that one would believe caressing marble. It is a really special technique and, unless you have made your hand and master it well, you must let the professionals work, in particular to ensure the watertightness of your bathroom.

The step by step

A simplified recipe

You will need: For about 1 m2 and 0.5 cm thick in 4 layers: - 8 liters of whitewash, - 4 liters of white Meudon + pigment for the second layer; - acrylic tile adhesive, - notched spatula with fine teeth, - sprayer, - bucket for mixing, - trowel, - trowel, - small, soft cat-tongue trowel, - pigments, - rags, - clean water , - good quality natural black soap, - gloves, - mask. The base must be perfectly prepared, with a coating of lime. The day before, use a spatula to apply a layer of tile adhesive in all directions, avoiding excess thickness.

Preparation of the "first layer" coating


In a clean bucket, mix 1 volume of lime for 2 volumes of white Meudon. Mix the powders dry, add about 1 liter of water and wait for the mixture to "drink". Stir with your hands, crush the lumps, add a little more water to obtain a soft and thick paste. Cover the mixture and store it in a cool, dark place.


The next day, moisten your support with a sprayer, remove a good amount of plaster with a trowel, place it on the trowel and start the installation by crushing and smoothing the plaster on the glue. Cover all of the glue to obtain a flat surface.


Then tighten the coating with the cat-tongue. Do not press too hard, but smooth gently, in circular motions, to obtain a nice smooth surface.

Preparation and installation of the "second layer" coating


Wash the bucket and all the tools, then mix 1 volume of lime for 1/2 volume of white Meudon dry. Add 1 liter of water, let it drink, mix and add water to obtain a paste a little thicker than the previous one, smooth and lump-free. With the dough ready, add the pigment juice that you have diluted.


Mix thoroughly with your hands to remove any bubbles. Add a little water to restore the original texture.


Apply the coating as for the first layer, smoothing well, but without insisting too much not to bring the water up.


As soon as you notice the first cracks, start the shoeing with the cat tongue, which must eliminate all the cracks which have in turn surfaced.

Buffing with black soap

The next day, the coating became covered with mottling, fine cracks, and we begin to see the final result. Prepare a part of black soap for a part of water, mix well, in order to obtain a very sticky but deliciously scented paste. Add one or two beaten eggs which will harden the bottom and pass this preparation generously on the wall. You will penetrate the mixture by polishing it for a long time in concentric circles with the palm of your hands. Microcracks are revealed by the soap which dyes them darker.


Impossible to give an indication of drying time, it is simply necessary, before proceeding to the second layer, that the coating no longer marks under light pressure of the finger.

Know-how - home decor © La maison rustique - éditions Flammarion, 2006