ECO-FRIENDLY WALL FINISHES FOR THE YEAR 2020
Eco-friendly wall finishes are everywhere this year. We spoke to the experts to discover the four best eco-friendly wall finishes out there, their pros and cons, and where and how to use them.
Tadelakt, a Moroccan plaster, is an ancient solution to our modern need for sustainable interiors. A plaster made of hydraulic lime sealed with olive soap, tadelakt is an ancient solution to our modern need for sustainable interiors. It’s been used for thousands of years in Morocco and is now becoming popular further afield thanks to its low impact on the environment.
No harsh chemicals are used in the application of tadelakt, and its smooth, water- and mold-resistant finish means it’s perfect for bathrooms, wet rooms, kitchens and splashbacks… in fact, anywhere in your home where there’s water.
A word of warning: tadelakt is prone to stains. ‘This is especially true if it’s used on horizontal surfaces such as shelves, bath surrounds, and vanity units,’ explains Valentin Tatanov of Tadelakt London. ‘Specific water-based stain protectors can be used to minimize
this effect, but in general don’t allow products like toothpaste, perfumes, and oils to dry or absorb into its surface.’ Clean it with water – you won’t need harsh chemicals – adding an olive soap solution for the bathroom to improve its water-repellent qualities.
It’s easy to think that modern building materials must be best – after all, aren’t they at the forefront of innovation? But with many releasing pollutants and creating harmful waste, it’s time to look to more traditional solutions that offer the appearance we want without the cost to the environment. Cornish manufacturer Clayworks is leading the way with clay plaster, a wall finish made from readily abundant natural materials including mineral pigments in hundreds of colours.
No synthetics, toxins, glues or paints are added to clay plaster, meaning it’s free from formaldehydes and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). ‘The health benefits are obvious and the lack of any noxious substances allows waste to be composted,’ says Clare Whitney of Clayworks. ‘Zero waste means fewer carbon emissions.’
Unlike many paints, limewash is a great sustainable choice as it is not made from synthetic chemicals, which can be less healthy for the environment; instead, it is a mixture of natural clays, minerals, and pigments. The result is a surface that’s infused with colour and
free from solvents and toxins.
While many paints prevent the breathability of walls, limewash works in harmony with building materials such as stone and brick. It also makes our homes healthier: it boosts air quality by reducing the risk of damp and has anti-allergenic and antibacterial properties.
Beware: not all limewash products are created equal. For example, some are hybrids (usually mixed with acrylics) while others are available in a limited colour palette. If you want a fully eco-friendly option, look for a product made from all-natural ingredients