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Glossary of French Housing and Building Terms

Please consult our new Guides section: Guide to buying property and living in France

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


A

abîmer - deteriorate
abonnement - standing charge
abri - shelter
acajou - mahagony
accueil - reception
acquérir - to buy
actuellement - currently
affaire - bargain
aggloméré - chipboard
agence - agency
agrandir - to extend (ie enlarge property)
agrandissement - extension
alimentation - supply (water, electricity etc.)
aménager - to convert
aménagé - converted
ampoule - light bulb
ancien - old
antenne - aerial
ardoise - slate tile
à rénover - to renovate
à restaurer - to restore
armoire - cabinet
are - 100 square metres
arrière pays - back country
arrondissement - administrative district of Paris
arrosage - watering
arroseur - sprinkler
artisan carreleur - tiling expert
artisan maçon - builder
ascenseur - lift
aspirateur - vacuum cleaner
atelier - workshop
attenant - contiguous
auge - mixing trough


B

baguette - beading
balcon - balcony
bancaire - bank
ballon d'eau chaude - hot water tank
banlieue - suburb
bastide - fortified village
bâtiment - building
bêche - spade
bergerie - sheepfold
béton - concrete
bétonnière - concrete mixer
bibliothèque - library
bilan (de santé immobilier) - survey (house)
bois - wood
boiserie - woodwork
bon état - good condition
bord de mer - by the sea
bord de rivière - by the rivier
bouche d'aeration - air vent
bouchon - stopper
boulon - bolt
bourg - small town or large village
brouette - wheelbarrow
bûcher - woodshed
bureau – office


C

cabinet - small room
cabinet WC - lavatory
cadenas - padlock
cadre - frame
cagibi - small room
calcaire - calcium
cale - wedge
campagne - country
caoutchouc - rubber
carillon - door bell
carrelage - ceramic tiles
cave - cellar
cave voûtée - voulted cellar
cellier - store for wine and food
centre commercial - shopping centre
chai - wine cellar
chambre - bedroom
charges comprises - service charges included
charnière - hinge
charpentier - carpenter
chartreuse - charterhouse
chasse - hunting
château - castle
chantier - building site
chaudière - water heater
chauffage - heating
chauffage central - central heating
chauffage collectif - communal or shared heating
chauffe-eau - hot water tank
chauffage par le sol - under floor heating
chaume - thatch
chaumière - thatched cottage
chaux - carbonate of lime
cheminée - chimney
chêne - oak
cheville - expanding wall lug
cisailles - shears
ciseau à bois - wood chisel
citerne apparante - above ground gas tank
citerne enfouie - buried gas tank
clef - spanner/ key
clef à molette - adjustable spanner
climatisation - air conditioning
cloison - partition
clôture - fence
clou - nail
colombage - half timbering
colombier - dovecote/ pigeon house
colle - glue
comble - attic
commodités - lavatory
comprenant - including
compteur - meter for water, gas, electricity
confort - comfort
congélateur - freezer
construire - to construct
contre plaque - plywood
cour - courtyard or yard
couvert - covered
couloir - corridor
coupe-carreaux - tile cutter
couvert - covered
crépi - stucco
crochet - door catch
cuisine - kitchen
cuisine américaine - modern American style kitchen
cuisine équipée - fitted kitchen
cuisine meublée - fully equipped kitchen
cuivre - copper


D

dallage - paving
dalle - flag stone
débarras - box room
décapant - paint stripper
décorée - decorated
défonceuse - router
dépendance - outbuilding
délabré - dilapidated
déménagement - moving house
demeure - building, prestigious property
dépendance - outbuilding
délabré - dilapidated
dépôt-vente - sale room
détendeur - gas pressure regulator
devis - bill estimate
disjoncteur - electric trip switch
douche - shower
duplex - apartment on two floors


E

eau de javel - bleach
ébéniste - cabinet maker
échafaudage - scaffolding
échelle - ladder
éclairage - lighting
écrou - nut
écurie - stable
encadrement - framing
enduit - filler
ensoleillement - in sunshine
entretien - maintenance
épaisseur - thickness
équerre - set square
équipé - equipped
escabeau - step ladder
escalier - stair
espace - space
espagnolette - shutter/window fastening
établi - work bench
étagère - shelf
étage - storey
étanche - water-tight
étau - bench vice
évier - kitchen sink


F

faîtière - ridge tile
fer - iron
ferme - farm
ferraillage - ironwork
fers à souder - soldering iron
fibres dure - hardboard
fil à plomb - plumb line
finitions - finishings
fongicide - fungicide
fôret - drill bit
fosse septique - septic tank
four - oven
foyer - fireplace


G

garde-corps - railings
gardien - caretaker
gazon - turf
gond - shutter hinge pin
gouttière - gutter
grange - barn
grattoir - scraper
gravier - gravel
grenier - attic
griffe - tile scorer


H

haie - hedge
huile de lin - linseed oil


I

inter horaire - time switch
interrupteur - switch
isolation - insulation


J

jardin - garden
joint - grouting


K


L

laine d'acier - wire wool
laiton - brass
lambris - grooved wood panelling
lampe à souder - blow lamp
lavabo - wash basin
lave-mains - hand basin
laverie - laundry
liege - cork tiling
lime - file
lingerie - washing room
linteau - lintel
lisse - smooth
location - rental
logement - accomodation
longueur - length
loqueteau - door catch
lotissement - housing estate


M

maçon - builder
maillet - mallet
maison de campagne - country house
maison de maitre - gentleman's house
manchon - straight coupling (plumbing)
manchon réduit - reduction joint (plumbing)
manoir - manor house
marquise - porch
marteau - hammer
marteau - mechanical hammer
mas - farmhouse
mazout - heating oil (domestic use)
méche - drill bit
menuiserie - woodwork factory
meubles - furniture
meuleuse - angle grinder
minuterie - timer
moquette - carpet
mortier - mortar
mortier colle - tile cement
moulure - moulding
mur - wall


N

nettoyant - cleaning fluid
neuf - new
niveau - level
notaire - notary


O


P

paillasson - door mat
papier peint - wallpaper
parc - park
parquet - wood floor
peinture - paint
pelle - shovel
pelouse - lawn
pépinière - garden centre
perceuse - drill
pièce - room
pierre - stone
pilier - pillar
pin - pine
pinceau - paint brush
pince universelle - pliers
pipe à sortir - evacuation pipe
piquet de terre - earthing pin
piscine - swimming pool
placard - cabinet
plafond - ceiling
plain-pied - single storey
planche - plank
plâtre - plaster
plomberie - plumbing
poignée - handle
ponceuse - orbital sander
ponceuse à bande - belt sander
portail - garden gate
porte coulissante - sliding door
poste de soudage à l'arc - arc welder
potager - kitchen garden
poteaux - post
poussière - dust
poutre - wooden beam
poutre apparente - exposed beam
poutre en fer - girder, RSJ
prieuré - priory
prise - electric socket
prise de terre - earthing socket
prolongateur - extension lead
propriétaire - owner
propriété - property


Q

quincaillerie - hardware shop


R

rabot - plane
raccord - connection
radiateur soufflant - fan heater
ramoneur - chimney sweep
rangements - storage space
rateau - rake
refait - restored
règle niveau - spirit level
rénové - renovation
réservoir - cistern
restauré - renovated
retraite - retirement place
revêtement - surface
rive de toit - roof edge
robinet - tap
roche - rock
rosace - ceiling rose
rouleau - paint roller


S

sable - sand
salle de bain - bathroom
salon - living room
sapin - fir
scie - saw
scie circulaire - circular saw
scie à meteaux - hacksaw
scie à ruban - band saw
scie sauteuse - jig saw
scie vilebrequin - ceramic tile saw
seau - bucket
séjour - living room
serre joint - clamp
sol - ground
sous-couche - under-coat
sous-sol - underground/ basement
store - roller blind
stores vénitiens - venetian blinds


T

tamis - sieve
tapis - carpet
tartre - lime deposit
teck - teak
terrain - grounds
terre cuite - terracotta
tiroir - drawer
tissu - cloth
toit - roof
toiture - roof
tondeuse - lawn-mower
tournevis - screwdriver
tout a l'égout - main drainage system
tréteau - trestle
tronçonneuse - chain saw
truelle - trowel
tuile - roof tile
tuile canal - roman tile (curved)
tuile de rive - edge tile
tuyau - tube/ pipe


U


V

vanne - heavy duty tap
variateur - dimmer switch
verger - orchard
vernis - varnish
vestibule - entrance hall
vitre - glass
vis - screw
volet - shutter
volige - thin plank
vue - view


W


X


Y


Z




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