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Snow Load - Center Column??

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Old 05-09-2016, 10:08 PM   #1
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Default Snow Load - Center Column??

Hello. First post!!

We are looking to construct a 30' yurt in northern Idaho. Leaning toward Pacific Yurt with the 2x6 rafter upgrade and the stud wall upgrade.

My wife is also wanting the center colume. I am not sure.
What are your thoughts??

Also, does anyone use their water catchment system in snowy areas? Thet are recommending against it, however have said some people are able to make it work.

Thanks

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Last edited by Jafo; 05-10-2016 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 05-10-2016, 06:36 AM   #2
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Default Re: Snow Load - Center Colume??

I have a 30' Pacific Yurt and I live in the snowbelt in upstate NY near Boonville NY, one of the snowiest places in the country. It is consistently within the top 10 in the country.

I have no center column in my yurt and have had many feet of snow on it. Not really necessary, but if you are worried just buy some 4X4's and prop them up in the winter when you are not at the yurt (assuming you are not living full time there). If however you are going to live in it year round, then don't even worry about it. The heat source in your yurt will keep the snow off the roof.

Here are some before (when I arrived) and afters (when I lit the wood stove) from a couple years ago when I snowshoed into my camp to stay for a weekend.

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I can't speak for the water catchment system, but it makes sense that it would not work well in snowy environment because the snow could rip the thing off when it slides off the roof.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: Snow Load - Center Colume??

The center columns are great for a traditional yurt or if you are making your own. In those cases, many small (2x2) roof poles are used. Center columns help distribute the load and take a bit of weight off the lattice.

With the yurts from places like Pacific, Rainier, or

Colorado Yurts

(probably some others too), the design and materials is different. Engineering has been done! They use at least 2x4 machine-rated rafters and a lot fewer than a traditional yurt (like 20-30 vs 70-90). And they took out the center columns because they didn't need them. Instead you get their Snow & Wind kits, which build up the wall and roof rafters a bit more (I think).

As Jafo said, his yurt is in a pretty snowy area and handles it pretty well. I know North Idaho can get some good snows too. Have you looked at the snow loads in your area?
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: Snow Load - Center Colume??

Yes, the snow and wind kit upgrades the package to 2X6 rafters and 2X4 studs.
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Old 05-10-2016, 12:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Snow Load - Center Colume??

Hierony asked the key question - what is the snow load for your area? We have sent many yurts over the years to N Idaho, so we may already know what is needed if we can get the location from you. You could also get this information from the county or we have found contacting a local truss company can also be a good method of getting a recommended lbs. per sq. ft. # for your location. Being very familiar with our region we know that it is not uncommon to get rain at points in the winter on top of snow, making for a very heavy load. It is very important to get an accurate idea of the loading as it can vary greatly from area to area or by adding elevation.

We have found that in general a 2x4 rafter system is inadequate for snowy regions on a 30' yurt, which is why our standard rafter is a 2x6 (no upgrade needed) We will also routinely use a 2x8 or 2x10 rafter on our yurts. We have done complete engineering analysis on our yurts with these different rafter sizes in combination with snow and wind kits, block lines, etc, and know that our 30' can handle loads up to 120+ lbs per sq ft (ground snow load) without the use of a central column. A central column can be added as well to the yurt allowing us to go up to 240 lbs. per sq. ft on a 30' yurt. I can't stress enough how important it is to get an accurate idea on snow loads and make sure whatever company you go with is aware from the get go what you need to build for.

Water catchment systems are usually not intended for winter use. I can't speak for other companies, but ours is designed to be folded down in the winter and put back up in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Fairly painless to do.

Feel free to give us a call here in Missoula to discuss this and any other questions further (406)721-9878. Happy yurting!
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