Moroccan Plaster - an introduction

Abbelkader demonstrates various colour examples

Abbelkader is the most impressive craftsman in plaster restoration in the Fez Medina. He is an expert in all types of plaster work from detailed carving either new or restored, Tadelakt and medluk. His use of traditional lime based plaster is important as lime plasters offer advantages over cement based mortars and pure gypsum plasters for the internal plastering of traditional properties, especially when decorated with a traditional limewash. Their porosity allows the structure to "breathe". They can accommodate general movement better and their self-healing nature reduces cracking problems. they can reduce condensation problems.

is a Moroccan render technique in which a special lime render is applied and compressed (polished) with stones. The surface is then polished many times with natural olive oil soap (sabon beldi) which results in a compact shiny surface. This technique is not only used for exterior and interior walls but also for floors, bathtubs, showers, and table surfaces.

According to David Amster's informative site A House in Fez, "...the outer walls of houses were finished with medluk, made of extremely fine sand, lime (jeer), egg white, and sabon beldi (traditional soft soap made from olive by-products). Medluk develops a beautiful marbled effect over time. Simple geometric patterns are sometimes pressed or carved into the medluk. In Marrakech this mixture is called tadlakt, which is slightly finer and shinier due to the difference in the sand and lime from the two cities. These days tadlakt is often colored and has become very fashionable on interior walls. Good examples of new medluk are the inner walls of the Nejjarine Museum, and the outside walls of Dar Adiyel and the Bou Inania Medersa. The bathrooms in many recent maison d'hotes in Fez are done in tadlakt."

What a difference good plaster can make!

A Riad Zany salon - before

A Riad Zany salon - After

Another major piece of work recently completed by Abellkader was the plaster work on Dar Settash, a technically demanding project due to the amount of fine carved plaster work. The results featured in a British TV program and brought admiration from across the UK.

Dar Settash



steve said...

excellent looking work, one day I will head to morocco to learn this technique from its origins


mail said...

Hi there, do you provide courses in Moroccan plastering?

El Fassi said...

Grreat blog and very nice work on plastering , you an find more about Fes in mY blog:

manchester handyman homestyle said...

i have just learnd venetian plastering which is awesome, this could just be another string to my bow. cheers

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