Building a home in France with glorious, good wood

Wood houses were first promoted in France in the 1990s to boost the market for timber from the nation’s forests, and now form a small but steady part of the newbuild market.

Around 14,000 are built each year, representing around 4% of the total newbuild houses.

It is not just builders of mountain chalets who turn to wood. There is also a steady market for bungalows and storeyed houses, most of which look similar to conventional homes.

Houses in France were traditionally built out of stone, with bricks, especially red ones, popping up where there were local sources of clay. 

Now, almost all are built using concrete blocks, hollowed out to take poured concrete and extra reinforcement in the form of steel rods.

Old wood-framed houses are generally kept as relics of the medieval period in picturesque town centres such as in Honfleur, in Normandy.

They were lucky to survive. Most wood-framed houses in Caen and other towns were destroyed in World War Two and rebuilt in concrete.

Frédéric Robert, owner of Quadrapole, said: “Most people who build wooden houses do so because they are ‘greens’ and want to put their money where their hearts are.”

His company is unusual because, while the design and construction is in France, the initial carpentry is done in Poland.

“I was running a simple joinery company ...

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