For people looking to buy a plot of land and build a home, timber homes can be a great option. Timber homes are house made with wooden frames structures of heavy timber jointed together with pegged mortise and tenon joints.
Wood is an ecologically sound and renewable material. It also has aesthetic and structural benefits. For example, designs can be flexible and open-plan. Clients can choose from a 1 to 5 storey properties and houses can be custom made to fit different needs. Wood has a good strength-to-weight ratio making it adaptable and strong; it does, for example, have good resistance to ground movement.
A timber home is also very quick to build section by section. The frame can be put up in 2 – 3 days and the house can be completed in a month. The longest part of the process is the initial design and creation of the wooden structures by a timber frame company. This can take 2 to 6 months depending upon which company you use. Some companies will custom make your timber home while others will have pre-made “kits”. When choosing a timber frame building company, ensure that your home will be as complete as possible when delivered to the building ground. Also make sure that they use the latest materials, machines and techniques.
Timber frame homes are generally considered to be a much cheaper option than buying a conventional resale property or building a brick house. This is because onsite and labour costs are much lower.
The first thing to purchase will be the plot of land. The cost of land if France varies greatly between regions. Prices start at around €15,000. Before purchasing a plot of land in France, it is paramount that you seek planning permission for that plot from the mairie. You will also need to confirm that your chosen plot can be easily connected to utility services. Land sold with planning permission (Terrain Constructible) is more expensive but can save you valuable time – trying to obtain it yourself can be a long process. Check what the planning permission covers so that you know whether a timber home property will be allowed to be built. Once you have purchased the land, the cost of a timber home (including building) can be anything from €15,000 to €100,000.
The ecological benefits of a timber home include the fact that it takes three times less energy than an equivalent size brick house to build. Wood is also a very effective insulation material. It is six times more efficient than brick and twelve times more efficient than concrete; therefore less energy should be needed to heat the property. Eco-friendly and energy efficient options to heat a timber home include solar panels and geothermal heating. It is recommended to decide upon your heating method at the design stage of the process in case you want to consider under floor heating methods.
The disadvantages of timber frame homes include the fact that walking around on wooden floors can be noisier between rooms. Wood is also at risk from rot including dry rot and mould, as well as infestation by insects. However, there are preventative treatments available and you should talk to your timber home expert about this.
There are a number of timber home companies that build homes in France. For further information, search our directory.
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