Why was the mountain chalet built of wood?

Article published on June 20, 2021 at 5:49 PM

Prestigious, elegant and aesthetic, the chalet is a special habitat, appreciated for its original architecture. Most often located in the mountains, it is mainly built of wood. With all the plethora of materials that exist, why is wood specifically used for the construction of chalets? Chalets Dunoyer explains why.

The origin of mountain chalets

Today, when we talk about chalets, everyone thinks of prestigious mountain habitats. Having emerged in the Middle Ages, chalets were actually work tools. The peasants, in this case the breeders of cows, used it as a space for the manufacture and conservation of cheese. They also used the cabins as summer residences.

In perfect harmony with their environment, the chalets benefited from good solidity. They therefore effectively resisted the mountain climate. During their journey in the mountainous regions of France in 1761, English tourists then came across these wooden dwellings. Under the spell, they contributed to their popularization.

Between the 19th century and the 20th century, many chalets were built in Europe. This is how they became modern, plush and top-of-the-range second homes.

Chalets in the mountains: why was wood used?

Traditionally, chalets were habitats built in mountainous regions. However, these areas were mostly surrounded by forests. There was a whole variety of trees, and therefore a wide range of wood species such as spruce, larch, Scots pine, and many others.

To build the chalets, the professionals of the time did not need to go and get the material in town, since they had everything on site. All they had to do was join together logs or solid wood planks, then stack them successively until they obtained a solid building that stood the test of time. As for the roof, it was covered with stones and shingles.

Wood was therefore chosen as the construction material for the chalets because it was more accessible and adapted to the environment.

Construction of chalets: why is wood preferred?

Although it is now easier to access the mountainous regions with modern construction equipment, wood continues to be prioritized for the construction of chalets. Indeed, because of its resistance, its solidity and its insulating character, wood is the ideal material to face the aggressions of the temperatures encountered at altitude.

Plus, when properly maintained, it delivers impressive long-term performance. In winter, it effectively retains heat, and provides coolness in summer. Much easier to handle, it speeds up the construction process. Thanks to this material, a large chalet can be built in the mountains in less than 3 months.

Apart from its technical advantages, wood has a particularly pleasant aesthetic side. It gives the chalet a warm atmosphere, making it an excellent second home. To build a wooden chalet in the mountains, Chalets Dunoyer accompanies you. With more than 65 years of experience and know-how, we design contemporary chalets with unique architecture that correspond to your desires and needs.