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Choosing a private home is not easy because it is often the most important purchase of a lifetime. Like many French people, maybe you are interested in a wooden house. Synonymous with comfort and quality of life, these constructions originating in the Nordic countries have known, for a few years, a great success and could constitute the habitat of the future. This is what Eric Cencier, builder of wooden houses in Côtes-d'Armor, says. Interview by Charlotte Cousin Can we build wooden houses everywhere in France? Normally yes. But like all construction, a wooden house must comply with the Land Use Plan (POS) or the Local Urban Plan (PLU). Then it's a climatic issue. In the Côtes d'Armor department where I live, for example, high humidity can be a problem because it may cause swelling. To find out if you can build a wooden house, you must contact the Departmental Equipment Department (DDE). How long does construction take and what is its financial cost? It takes four months of work. And, budget question: around 1,400 euros per square meter. It is on average 12% more expensive than a conventional house. In recent times, the price of materials has soared, especially that of wood. But if it is expensive it is mainly because it is a quality product. In addition, a wooden house will save energy, especially heating. So, this additional cost will be amortized in a few years. Are wooden houses really ecological and sustainable? Yes, if it is a well-designed house. It therefore offers a high quality of thermal insulation thanks to the combination of the wood used in the structure and effective insulation inserted between the uprights. A backup heater, such as a stove, is sufficient. Building with wood also emits less CO2 (greenhouse gases, editor's note) than conventional construction. And, if managed sustainably, forests are infinitely renewable. Softwoods should be preferred because they grow very quickly, unlike exotic woods. And then, a wooden house uses healthy materials and the indoor air quality is very good. In fact, there are fewer asthma problems among its residents. Look around you: many old buildings are made of wood, which proves that this type of construction has a significant lifespan. What maintenance do they require? Very little actually. For outdoor use, when you have natural cladding, leaching with soapy water every five years is enough. We can also let it age. In this case, it gets gray. Some customers appreciate that their house takes on that old look. With composite cladding in wood fibers and cement, no maintenance will be necessary. As for the interior, you can stain, oil or even paint the wood. It's up to everyone to make their choice. Eric Cencier is a craftsman-companion in carpentry and carpentry in Lanvollon, in the Côtes d'Armor. With his team of five, he has been building wooden houses for 7 years. > More info www.westhome-maisonsbois.com