Our Grand Design in Montemboeuf, Charente, France

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The roof, the roof, the roof is on (fire), Le toit , le toit , le toit est sur ​​(le feu)

The roof is almost there!

The roof is almost there!

Well, not quite on fire thank goodness, but it is on! Finally, we can stand in the house and not get rained on. There is still a way to go with all the different layers, but it is one step closer.  There was talk of using scaffolding to get the roof on to the South side, but fortunately they found a way as it was not an expense that we wanted.  We are still hopeful that the windows will be put in by the end of the month, making the building watertight!

Tom is hoping that the carpenters will join us for a ‘Topping Out‘ ceremony  In building construction topping out is a builder’s rite traditionally held when the last beam (or its equivalent) is placed atop a structure during its erection.  According to Wikipedia (that fountain of knowledge) the practice of “topping out” a new building can be traced to an ancient Scandinavian religious rite. A tree was placed on top of a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits displaced in its construction. Long an important component of timber frame building, it migrated initially to England and Northern Europe, thence to the Americas.  Hopefully, it will be Champagne all round, well when in France….

While we were on site today, Tom even took the chance to explain to Molly the insulating properties of Pavatex.  As you can see, she was very excited.

Molly learns about Pavatex

Molly learns about Pavatex

We have also be spending a lot of time in Leroy Merlin, Cedeo and Dupont looking at bathrooms and fencing. Some big decisions need to be made over the next week and we can’t make these without seeing the type of bath, loo, taps and sinks that we will have.  As always it is hard not to get carried away! Slightly less exciting, but just as important is the dry lining and door packages.  Tom is doing his best to get me enthused about this, but compare this to choosing baths and there is no contest.

Rain is forecast for the next couple of days, so I think a trip to Ikea in Bordeaux might be on the cards.  I wonder how the French Ikea experience will compare to that of the one in Croydon?


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There’s room enough for two, up on the roof….Il ya assez de place pour deux sur le toit

Fixing the pavatex pavatex

Fixing the pavatex

The roof is beginning to go on!  For the first couple of days this week the builders fitted the purlins on the north and south elevations.  Then today they started to fit the Pavatex and waterproof membrane to the north side of the house.  Pavatex is a high-quality insulation made from renewable raw material wood.  It also gives better protection against cold, heat, noise and fire.

The builders are confident that the north elevation will be finished by the end of the week, but have warned us that the south side will be a lot more complicated because they can’t get the manitou to this side of the house.  Therefore, they have to get the materials to this side of the house and on to the roof some other way.

The roof will be clad in timber, but below that there are a number of other materials.  Underneath the timber there is lightweight metal roof (crinkly tin ‘in the trade’) to help keep the rain out.  Below this is a waterproof membrane (to also help keep the rain out), then woodfibre board (Pavatex), then the purlins with more woodfibre in between.  Below this would be our ceiling.  I am told this is a fairly standard roof style, but if it keeps the rain out, that is fine with me.

Roof detail

Roof detail

New French words I have learnt  (I will expand on this as the weeks go by);

There are some particularly interesting ones this week…..

Placo – Plasterboard
Placo feu – Fireboard
Placo phonique – Acoustic plasterboard
Ossature metal – Studwork

Poêle à bois – Log stove
Parpaings – Blockwork
Concrete – Béton
J’ai  une faim de loup – I’m a hungry Wolf.   I’m reading (or attempting to read) ‘Tintin au Tibet’, in the hope it will improve my French.  (From this you can read that I am just doing it as an excuse to read Tintin)
Hors d’eau – Water tight
Hors d’ait – Air tight
La poute – beam
Poussez les dents – teeth coming through!
Baies coulissantes – Siding doors
Casque de chantier – hard hat.
Sous-sol – basement
La Renouée du Japon – Japanese knotweed