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Building Vs. Buying

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Old 12-09-2013, 08:26 PM   #1
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Default Building Vs. Buying

Hello, I'm moving to the Big Sur area of the California coast on some off-grid property. I'm a cabinet maker and carpenter by trade and am wondering if I should build a 16' yurt myself or buy one. Would there be much of a savings or would it be somewhat negated by the cost of the fabric?

Also, what regional manufacturer is recommended for someone in the SF Bay Area?


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Old 12-09-2013, 11:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Building Vs. Buying

You might save some money, but if you live close enough to

Pacific Yurts

(Oregon), then you can save money by picking a yurt from them instead of shipping. PY is about 8 hours from SF on I-5, I am thinking they probably get the raw materials cheaper than you would, so it might balance out even when they add their profit margins.

I believe both

Colorado Yurts


Pacific Yurts

will see you materials too, but don't hold me to that.
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Building Vs. Buying

Thanks Jafo,

I have some more questions if Jafo or anyone else wants to give me a little help.

I'm new to yurts and have never been in one, however I'm certain it'll be better than a trailer. The weather in Big Sur is moderate (30-60's winter, 60's-sometimes 90's summer) with the occasional high winds. I'll have an insane view of the ocean/mountains. I'm envisioning a living space that isn't confining, that has a couple of good size windows for the view, and that would be comfortable having a couple a friends in. I'll be building a bathroom outdoors.

Now, I'd say 8,000 is my max for the yurt from the manufacturer. It looks as though I can either buy a 16' from PY and considerably upgrade the package or I can get the 20' and perhaps upgrade a thing or two. Would 16' be a little small? Are there some upgrades that you guys think are nessaccary or worth the extra $?

Thank you all very much. I appreciate your time!
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Building Vs. Buying

Hard to say if it will be big enough for you. That is really an individual taste thing. I know people who live in 10' yurts, but I could not do that, even if I didn't have 4 kids lol.

I think a second door is a must, but that is just me. I would imagine the snow and wind kit would be desirable up there. I am a big fan of the


. You really need it. Since you have a great view, you might want to consider the glass windows. The lattice is cut away for those, so they don't obstruct your views. These can be added later though if you don't have the funds for it now.

One thing you may want to consider is adding another yurt after some time. The second door will make that process easier. That way you can expand as you need it.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Building Vs. Buying

Big Sur,
I'd say build. Check out smilingwoodsyurts.com
If you can build you will have something that will last you a lifetime vs 15 years
I also know one woman who got rid of her canvas walls and put up wood, she loves it!

I say this while living in a canvas yurt. Between the heat/cold ,


issues of canvas yurts (when its 90 out -- its over 100 inside unless you add more insulation)
Building, to me is the better way to go!
Best of luck
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Old 12-20-2013, 10:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Building Vs. Buying

Hi Big Sur. I've been a carpenter since 1973. I built my 16' primitive Mongolian style yurt from scratch, using a simple plan I found online at 'clan yama kaminari mongolian yurt'. My platform (standard 2x deck construction), yurt, and cover cost me ~$1700, and about half a month of full day labor, including all the sewing. Yurt companies earn their pay.

I'd say if I can do it, another experienced carpenter certainly can as well. As to size, if I was building one to live in full time, I'd consider a yurt of 18' over my 16'er. IMO, 20' would be plenty spacious. Regarding wind, DEFINITELY anchor the yurt to the deck, and to the ground as well. Wind destroyed my first yurt that was unanchored.

For a primary residence, consider insulating under your deck and under the cover as well. I have nothing to offer as to


materials that withstand the damp coastal climate. We have friends that live north of San Francisco near Jenner/ Fort Ross area, and mildew is a problem there.

Feel free to PM me for other info. Good luck.
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Old 12-27-2013, 02:52 PM   #7
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Location: Cottage Grove, Oregon
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Default Re: Building Vs. Buying

If you would like to stay the night in a yurt already set up in Big Sur, you might want to check out Treebones. They have 16 yurts that have been set up on the Big Sur coastline for the past ten years.
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