Renovating a barn in Pays De La Loire

Hi, My wife and I along with our kids have decided to take the plunge and are turning our hand to property renovation in France. I speak a little French (enough to holiday without offending people - usually) and my wife a little less - so really we are non-french speakers.
We are wanting to do as much of the work as possible and are pretty handy at most things.

Initially I am wanting to source oak lintels for opening up three doorways, joists and flooring.

The other thing I’m looking to get done is get damp proofing and concrete screed laid on the floor - this would need to be a contractor as this definitely exceeds my abilities.

Does anyone know the best places to buy building materials in the Pays De La Loire (near big town is Mayenne)? Or know of a contractor who might be able to do concrete floor work?

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I have no practical advice to share regarding Mayenne suppliers Nathan but just wanted to say welcome to Survive France and keep us posted on your progress!

A more useful person will be along in a minute… :slight_smile:

Hello Nathan and welcome
I admire your enthusiasm for renovation in that you say you are quite handy.
I dont know your skill origin or knowledge but would like to know what you envisage as damp proofing and concrete screed?
You also mention new openings supported by oak beams.
Oak beam support is fine but this is a structural modification and if on external facade will require planning permission.
If you are considering renovation and then living in your creation for 10 years you will not need guarantees when selling but if you are thinking of renovating and selling to make shed loads of money that ship has long since sailed as it used to be in the UK and never made its maiden voyage in France.
Please don’t think I am putting a dampener (no pun intended) on your dreams but you do need to follow the rules both legally and in terms of sustainability in construction.

Hi Nathan…I do not know the area personally but for general building materials there is a Brico Depot in Mayenne and a Leroy Merlin in Laval. Both will stock all of the basics.
As to the concrete pour you will find several options in a large town and a quick google search brought up Cyrille
For English speaking maybe John Pane Renovation on 06 0417 8997.
Good luck.

Hi @nathan_purton and welcome to the forum.

You have “holiday” French… which is a good start… and the more you use it the better :wink:

when we “plunged” I bought a picture-dictionary French/English, which covered all aspects of building/plumbing/electrics etc etc … and it proved invaluable when purchasing and/or discussing with shops, tradesmen etc.
I recommend something similar (or on a smartphone for those who prefer it).

If you visit your Mairie, you might well find they can give contacts of local businesses, timber merchants etc etc…
and many communes issue a bulletin of local news and information…

And, as John says, working on the property will possibly/probably necessitate a chat at the Mairie (which you might well have already done).
At the very least, Mairies do like to be kept in the loop. They can advise/assist with any official papers to be completed (depending on just what work you are doing on the property.)

and I second the suggestion… Leroy Merlin is always a good place to go… !

and all of this will help improve your French :wink:

best of luck
EDIT: and if Leroy Merlin have not been able to provide what we seek… they have given names/directions on how to find an enterprise which does… so that’s another reason to visit them… :+1: