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Proud New Yurt Owner- Needs A New Cover

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Old 02-13-2018, 11:26 PM   #1
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Default Proud New Yurt Owner- Needs a New Cover

Hello Yurt Enthusiasts,

I am so honored to finally post in this amazing community as my wife and I are Tiny House dwellers and have dreamt of a yurt for quite some time. We found a used one on Craigslist and jumped on the opportunity to purchase a 16 footer. I am not sure if it is homemade as their is no identifiable markings of a manufacturer. The ring, rafters, cable, lattice,


, door, flooring, beams, and pillars are all in solid shape, however the covering, which is made from used billboards is brittle and needs to be replaced. My wife and I are both middle school teachers, and are interested in taking on the challenge to fabricate covers and save a few dollars.
First, we are in the foothills of Northern California and it is possible we may be putting this yurt at snowline. Can a 16 foot yurt with 2x4 rafters support a snow load? If so, what are we talking?
Second, if snow or rain is in the cards, is the vinyl coated poly fabric the was to go? If so, it looks like buying a roll of 100 yards may be cheapest (https://www.tarpsnow.com/18-oz-vinyl...yard-roll.html), does it make sense to use the same thickness of the walls and roof cover?
Lastly, I was hoping to get a little input on whether the epoxy for this fabric is easy to use, and if adhering this way is doable by a mildly skilled enthusiast like myself. I appreciate any an all input. Thank you!

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Old 02-14-2018, 04:54 PM   #2
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Default Re: Proud New Yurt Owner- Needs a New Cover

Congratulations on becoming a yurt owner! A 16' yurt with 2x4 rafters can do very well in snow depending on how it is constructed. If you plan to place your yurt in an area that experiences snow I would recommend reinforcing the wood framework. I can see that there are some very large knots in the rafters and sizable knots in the lattice wall that would be of concern as likely failure points that should be addressed. You should also check to be sure the

tension cable

is swaged rather than clamped because this cable is one of the main structural components of the yurt.
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Proud New Yurt Owner- Needs a New Cover

Thank you for your response

Pacific Yurts

. The dream is to one day have a 30 ft Pacific tucked in the Northwest somewhere. I appreciate your keen eyes and maybe it makes sense to replace the rafters if we decide to be a bit higher up.
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Proud New Yurt Owner- Needs a New Cover

OK this is what I call bombproof.

Knots are no good, period. Clear 2x4s can be had at Home Depot or Lowes. Replacing laths need to be ripped with a tablesaw. Rip from the clearest 2X you can buy at Depot or Lowes. They will let you dig through the bunk to get a clear ones. Clear ones or lumber with very small pin knots are in there, you just have to look. A regular lumberyard may or may no let you dig. My guess is they will not.

As for cable make sure it surrounds the yurt including over the door. For a heavy load like snow don't use less than a 1/4" cable. I have six cable clamps on mine at the lap and the lap is a foot. Depot sells cable 5/16ths cable and that isn't overkill.

Anchor the yurt to the deck. Put 2x4 supports under the 2x4 rafters and anchor with 'Simpson Strong Tie' hardware, one on each side at the top and bottom. Attach with screws not nails.

Lash your rafters to the wall with rope or tie wire. If wire, double over the wire, lace it around the rafter or through the rafter hole and around the vee at the top of the wall. Twist the ends together. Insert screwdriver in wire loop and twist until the rafter and wall is snug. This makes it completely impossible for the rafter to seperate from the wall. That's a HUGE deal on a yurt.

I can't see how the rafters are attached to the ring but if they are a loose fit with no metal, you can attach those to the ring with tie wire. Drill a small hole in the rafter from below on an angle, pass the wire through and lace it around the ring. Tie off as above at rafter to wall.

You can also make a rope bridle to throw over the top of the rafters outside on top of the cover. Anchor that to the perimeter of your deck.

Yes this seems overkill. But it's your home and by God you better not overlook anything that could let you lose it. In the winter with a 3' snowpack atop that roof you'll be a happy camper, trust me I have been there with just a 1.5 foot snow pack. Plus there are earthquakes and tie wire will stop the yurt wall rafter ring from wiggling apart in a quake, or extreme wind. Good luck. A 16' yurt is wonderful.
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Proud New Yurt Owner- Needs a New Cover

Also, I like to secure my cable to the top of the wall when I lace on the rope or tie wire. Just added


that absolutely nothing can wiggle loose. I lost my first hand made yurt in a snowstorm so I know of what I speak. Bob.
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Old 02-15-2018, 05:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: Proud New Yurt Owner- Needs a New Cover

Yet more. As for cover, I made mine from heavy 17 oz. treated canvas tarp. Be aware three years is gonna be it for treated canvas especially in a wet climate. You could also paint the cover with diluted 50:50 paint to water ratio to lengthen it's life. I have no experience with this. I have only read about it, so it's just a comment I don't know how well it actually works. I also don't know squat about billboard cover vinyl or other so no comment.

If you opt to make your own cover from canvas, it will be a fraction of cost of pro made cover. The materials for mine was about $400, five years ago. Yes you can replace in a couple years it's that cheap, or try coating, but in the long run a pro made fifteen year cover is HIGHLY advised.

If the climate where you will be living in is wet like Mendocino, keeping the yurt dry inside will be an absolute necessity to keep the whole yurt from molding to an unliveable state. I highly recommend a wood stove since that is dry heat. OK now I'm done. lol
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: Proud New Yurt Owner- Needs a New Cover


For a real major snow load, the most ideal thing is to get a center pole and staggered blocking between the rafters. On a 16' the span is probably sufficient with the 2x4 rafters, but as the other good yurt people before have said, the knots are concerning and check that cable to make sure it is absolutely secure. If I were you, I'd consider talking to one of the main manufacturers about helping you craft a


roof. It would certainly last the longest, be of the best quality, and would probably save you money in the long run.

Happy Yurting!
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Old 02-25-2018, 11:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: Proud New Yurt Owner- Needs a New Cover

Thank you Bob and Hawaii Yurts for your thorough response. Bob, I am all for over-engineering to ensure I don't end up finding my yurt as a pile of sticks in the snow. I am looking at doing an 18 oz PVC for the roof and something more breathable for the sides. Any recommendations for fabric that is mildew resistant?
I appreciate your descriptions, can you elaborate more on the rope brindle? I am going to replace the rafters that have knots, create some legs for the connections to the cable and reinforce the cable further. I am so excited to set this up.
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:13 AM   #9
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Default Re: Proud New Yurt Owner- Needs a New Cover

OK, the roof rope bridle. I had a 16' yurt, with 35 rafters.

First, some easy math. I knew I wanted the rope bridle sitting atop the rafters about four feet in from the wall all around the yurt roof, when measured horizontally. My 16' yurt perimeter is 50'. To calculate the length of the bridle, 16' diameter - 8' (that's 4 feet x 2)= 8' in diameter. 8x 3.14= 25', the overall bridle length in feet.

I took an old retired 50 meter climbing rope and cut it into thirds. That leaves about 55', perfect for making a five loop bridle, plus two tensioning ropes that wrap the perimeter and tie off to either side of the door frame. No wastage.

I took one segment and tied the ends together with a blood knot. That resulted in forming a rope loop about fifty feet in length. I marked off five equal lengths on the loop. I formed five, 2' long loops on those marks using a simple overhand knot.

Set that up on the roof cover, center it with the loops every 7 rafters apart. I lashed the bridle to five concrete anchors I made surrounding the perimeter of the yurt. Actually there are ten I used evey other anchor.

Snug that down good and tight. This prevents the roof system hopping up and down in wind. It keeps the canvas tight to the rafters and precludes billowing up and down flapping in the wind. This is a perfectmethod to keep the yurt anchored to the ground if you don't have the wall lattice anchored to a platform.
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:29 AM   #10
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Default Re: Proud New Yurt Owner- Needs a New Cover

A couple other points. If the yurt will be semi permanently set up, it's a good idea to tie off the rafters to the wall lattice. I've used rope, and tie wire. Tie wire is easier. Once snugged it is impossible for the rafters to 'walk off' the wall in high wind.

I also anchored every lattice cross to my deck with ell brackets and 1/4-20 bolts. Additionally I stitched loops on the roof canvas every 17", and lashed that to a cable running through the ten concrete anchors around the perimeter. Yeah this is all very extreme overkill. I lost my first 14' scratch built yurt in snowstorm. The 16'er does not budge. I've been in enjoying the wood stove with probably 60 mph wind. Solid as a frickin' rock. I'll bet it has survived wind gusts of 70+. I saw a whirlwind go directly over it.
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