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My Thoughts On Building My Yurt

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Old 04-18-2012, 06:26 AM   #1
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Default My thoughts on building my yurt

Now that the main job of building my yurt has been completed, I wanted to make a thread about some of the stuff I have learned during the process. My yurt was from Pacific Yurts, so I can only speak about my experience with their product, but I am betting it will be similar with other yurt constructions.

First of all, the 30 foot yurt is BIG. I don't mean just in size, but everything about it is big and heavy. Living up here in upstate NY in the snow belt I had to order the snow and wind kits which made everything even heavier. Instead of 2X4 rafters, ours were 2X6. 50 of these rafters can wear you out when moving them.

The

center ring

for the 30 foot yurt is heavy and so is the roof that goes on top of it. Even that roll of lattice is pretty heavy, and definitely takes at least two people to move around into place without destroying things.

The other thing I learned is that the snow and wind kit adds a LOT of work. It is all worth it, but it people should understand it before they purchase it. When you get the snow and wind kit, that means you are getting the 2X4 rafter supports (studs). To install these under the 50 rafters (well, 47) means you have to drive in almost 1,000 additional screws. Having plenty of cordless drills and batteries was a must. Our location is off the grid, so a generator was also necessary to charge batters and run the miter saw. Each stud is cut to fit, so that is 47 cuts.

Then there is the cabling that is woven between all the rafters. It adds about another hour to the project.

If you live down south out of the high winds, you are lucky because you do not need this steps. It will save you almost 6 hours if you can just use the standard kit.

The company said the construction would take about a day and a half, and they are pretty much right, but I would add that the first day only needs 3 people. You will be taking a lot of time getting the lattice to the correct height. It can take a couple hours to get this done, but it is imperative that you do. Getting the first 3 - 4 rafters in will take 3 people. We did all of that the day before the yurt raising party. Once you get that part complete, then is when you will want more people. The rest of the rafters will fly into place, and getting an assembly line going, you will have all the rafters in place in less than an hour. In fact, the rest of the process goes quick if you delegate duties to everyone and keep the assembly line moving.

I will say that if you have TOO many people, it can become a counterproductive. I would say 6-8 people is perfect. If you have more than that, you should make a rule that they stay outside the yurt. Too many people in the yurt will slow things down.

If you think you are going to build your 30 foot yurt with just step ladders, think again. You will definitely need scaffolding.

One piece of equipment that would have made things easier for us would have been some kind of boom that could lift the ring in place. If you have access to such things, it will make your day go much smoother.

We had our yurt delivered via Fedex freight to my house because the site was very remote and no way could you get a tractor trailer in there. In fact, it is difficult enough getting a 4wd truck there. We had to move all the materials there ourselves. That took an entire day. The stuff is heavy! If you have to do the same thing, be prepared to spend a lot of time moving materials; definitely have it staged the day before if possible.

If you can have at least one person there with construction experience, it will save time.

Have fun! It can get aggravating, just like any big project, but just keep the laughs going. I can't tell you how many jokes were going around about Mongolian architecture, pi (3.14), and how the entire thing looked like a 70's dance floor (where's the disco ball?) before we got the roof on. "Does this thing come with a Sherpa hat?"

Just have fun with it and it will go that much easier..

Jake and Hey Bulldog like this.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:41 PM   #2
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When you get the snow and wind kit, that means you are getting the 2X4 rafter supports (studs). To install these under the 50 rafters (well, 47) means you have to drive in almost 1,000 additional screws.
That's 20 screws per stud......where do the screws go?
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:21 PM   #3
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This is all really good information, thank you. My husband and I are planning on buying our yurt very soon, and putting it up on our land in upstate NY. Can I ask how easy the permitting process was for you, since you're also in NY? I have not yet sent off our building permit application, so I have my fingers crossed that it'll go smoothly.

Also, you say this is a three person job, at least. Is there any way around that? We really have no help, and I'm pregnant so I can't do much heavy lifting.

What sort of foundation did you end up using? To be permitted as a permanent residence we have to have a frost protected foundation, so that means either pouring concrete footers or attaching tie-downs to the usual deck. because we want to do this right and make it last, we'll be pouring footers. I'm not sure how this is all going to go, as we are also completely off-grid and plan to stay that way. I suppose we can rent some tools to make the job easier, but they will have to be gas powered. You said you used a generator - do you own one, or did you rent it?

Anyway, any other information or advice you might have (especially NY specific advice) would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djspn View Post
That's 20 screws per stud......where do the screws go?
There are two plates that connect the top of the stud to the rafter, then there are two plates that connect the stud to the floor. Then there are two screws that connect the lattice to the studs.. LOL, yes, a lot of screws!
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:50 PM   #5
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Thanks.........I didn't see the 2x6 rafters as an option in the Pacific literature, is that part of the Wind and Snow package?
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulHomemaker View Post
This is all really good information, thank you. My husband and I are planning on buying our yurt very soon, and putting it up on our land in upstate NY. Can I ask how easy the permitting process was for you, since you're also in NY? I have not yet sent off our building permit application, so I have my fingers crossed that it'll go smoothly.
We are not living in our yurt full time, we have no real electric or plumbing, so we did not have to get any permits, we lucked out. It is considered a temporary structure where we are. Each town is different and they have different requirements for r-value on the

insulation

. If you are planning on living in the yurt, make no mistake about it, check with your town/city, because it will definitely save you a lot of trouble. The biggest issues they are going to have is with snow load and

insulation

. If you get the 2X6 rafters, snow & wind kit, and the central column, that should be good for load. See if they will work with you on the insulation.

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Originally Posted by HopefulHomemaker View Post
Also, you say this is a three person job, at least. Is there any way around that? We really have no help, and I'm pregnant so I can't do much heavy lifting.
No, not with the 30 foot yurt. If you went with a 20 footer or smaller you could get away with one person, and maybe a boom truck. There is just too much weight on the ring, and rafters. The roof fabric is all of 300 pounds and maybe more. I would be really surprised if one person could safely build a 30 food Pacific Yurt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulHomemaker View Post
What sort of foundation did you end up using? To be permitted as a permanent residence we have to have a frost protected foundation, so that means either pouring concrete footers or attaching tie-downs to the usual deck. because we want to do this right and make it last, we'll be pouring footers. I'm not sure how this is all going to go, as we are also completely off-grid and plan to stay that way. I suppose we can rent some tools to make the job easier, but they will have to be gas powered. You said you used a generator - do you own one, or did you rent it?
We drove rebar into the ground and then cemented block around it:



You can see the entire process here:

Yurt Forum - Jafo's Album: Yurt Construction

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulHomemaker View Post
Anyway, any other information or advice you might have (especially NY specific advice) would be greatly appreciated.
If it is just you and your husband, you might want to see what a local contractor would erect it for? You guys may be able to do the foundation yourselves if your husband is handy like that, but a contractor will probably be necessary for the rest, and they could pop the thing up in a day. I can't imagine them charging you too much for just the labor since you would be supplying the materials.

Also, think wood stove lol..
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Old 05-12-2012, 12:00 AM   #7
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Thanks.........I didn't see the 2x6 rafters as an option in the Pacific literature, is that part of the Wind and Snow package?
Yes, that is not on their calculator, you have to ask them for that specifically. It is an extra $1,000 on top of the snow and wind kit. They really should include that on their calculator.
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Old 05-12-2012, 12:20 AM   #8
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We really have no help, and I'm pregnant so I can't do much heavy lifting.
Oh and where are my manners? Congratulations! First child?
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Old 05-12-2012, 12:21 AM   #9
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Ours will be a 24 footer. It's not in our budget to hire someone to put it up, though we might be able to find a friend or three to help. We have time on our side - we plan to put in the foundation piers next month, build the deck and put up the yurt later, while we camp. If it takes us a week or even two, that's fine. We want it done right, and would rather take our time to do it.

I'm concerned about the lack of r-value for the permit, but the building inspector in our area seems very open to the yurt, as long as we have a permanent foundation. I plan to send him more than the necessary information along with the permit application, and call to chat about it in case he has questions. He's been very kind and helpful so far, so fingers crossed.

We're definitely going to have a woodstove. We don't plan on having an electric or plumbing in the forseeable future, and will be doing all our cooking and canning on the stove.

This is my second child (I have a 4-year-old son) and my husband's first. Thanks. :-)
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Old 05-12-2012, 12:26 AM   #10
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Well congratulations! My wife and I have 4 kids and they all love the yurt.

If you can grab a couple friends, along with you and your husband, then that will probably suffice as long as they all have good backs. We made it a big party.

As for the insulation, they don't tell you this online, but they mention it in the book once you purchase the yurt, but you can also add that foam board insulation between the rafters. They tell you how to cut it to fit. They don't mention how much that ups the R Value, but if insulation becomes a sticking point, mention that and see if it loosens them up, you never know.
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