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tboulden 08-31-2015 09:03 AM

Yurt on the Ground
 
Hello all,
We have a 30' Pacific Yurt in storage, but financing a platform isn't in the cards right now and we'd like to go ahead and put up the yurt to test it out. I was trying to think about what might be possible in terms of setting the yurt up where we currently have our 15' Laurel Nest yurt, but on the ground rather than a platform. My thought was that we could use EPDM liner as sort of a sock to keep moisture out. My only concerns are then about the best way to secure the yurt to the ground (we have the wind and snow kit, wind is potential issue here in NC, snow less so) and if the EPDM has any pitfalls that perhaps I'm not thinking about? I won't go through all the considerations I've made, but would like any quick thoughts from those who may have tried or with more experience. Thanks!

Jafo 08-31-2015 03:23 PM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
A 30 foot PY is heavy, especially if you got the 2X6 rafter upgrade. That is what I have. Let me suggest that you don't just put it up to test it out. It is a pretty heavy undertaking. We did it will about 10 people and it took all day. The weight of the center ring was around 300 pounds and the roof cover was heavier. It was a bear to put up, and I can image it isn't much easier taking it down.

If it were me, I wouldn't put it up until I was ready to put it up for real.

Bob Rowlands 08-31-2015 06:45 PM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Agree with Jafo. A smaller yurt like mine at 16' is still plenty work to set up. If you do proceed I suggest clearing and leveling the site and rolling out the floor membrane. Erect the yurt and fold the membrane up the outside of the wall, under the cover, and secure with the lowest tension rope. Bathtub floor is the result. Plenty 6 meter and smaller yurts get set up directly on the ground, including mine. Mine IS on a platform now coming up on two years. Much better than the ground as it was before. Good luck.

tboulden 08-31-2015 07:30 PM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Since the financing the platform make take a year or two (if everything works out), that is how long the yurt would be set up on the ground (unless of course we decide we really like it that way). If that ends up being the case, we'll have some funds for another project.

Bob's description is what I had in mind roughly. Still wondering about best way to secure it in case of wind, but will ponder some more. Thanks, y'all.

Bob Rowlands 08-31-2015 08:38 PM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Well I forgot the anchoring part. :D First go round I made a five looped rope bridle that drapes over the roof as if it were a net. Since I only have a 16' yurt it just had the five loops. Those five loops are anchored with rope to 'quikrete' anchors set at five equidistant points around the perimeter of the yurt. 1 bag of mix per anchor. That yielded a very good anchorage.

To furthur anchor the yurt prior to building the deck, I added five more quikrete anchors for a total of ten. I ran wire cable through the loops set in the concrete anchors. I roped the roof canvas directly to the cable not unlike a drum head on a djembe. I stitched loops every 17 inches around the perimeter of the roof canvas. 100 percent bombproof anchorage.
I lost my first yurt in a wicked storm. That won't happen again. lol

tboulden 08-31-2015 08:52 PM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Bob, that's some very useful info, much appreciated. Can you tell me anything about your experience with heat loss through the floor when on the ground? I've had some thoughts about trying to add some framing with rigid foam or similar, possibly set up a radiant floor system on top of it and build a woodchip compost furnace for heating. Yurt came with the full insulation package, so only the floor to worry about. Might do some research into how earthen floors are insulated.

Reinventor 09-01-2015 08:02 AM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Although your plan is theoretically 'ok' - there are good reasons to do it right - the biggest being you don't ruin your yurt by not thinking about a 'what if.' It really doesn't sound worth it. And after you get it up, you're not going to want to take it down and re-nestle.

Where in NC are you?

tboulden 09-01-2015 08:14 AM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Not to sound callous, I appreciate the generalized concern, but I would be weighing the risks inherent with any particular implementation against the benefits, so unless a specific concern is being raised, I'm not interested in "don't do it just because". I don't have a problem with re-nestling since the turn-around time between putting up the yurt and when the re-nestling would occur is >12-24 months, and as I said, I may prefer it on the ground after having experienced it.

I'm in the coastal plain of NC.

Bob Rowlands 09-01-2015 09:01 AM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Where I live here in CO the ground is cold most of the year. For the half year I had my yurt directly on the ground I didn't have even a tarp down. I didn't have any problem, however I wasn't living in there either. Basically I always had a fire in there. We had cots and the woodstove and table and chairs so we were off the ground all the time. No problems.

As far as ground insulation I have no comment other than to research the forum. I can tell you I didn't insulate underneath the floor boards of my platform and that was a big mistake. But again, I don't live in there. It's my man cave and a place for my grandkids to goof around outside in 'nature'. lol BTW there are pics on here of the yurt under my name and handmade yurt, also google images on yurt and mine is the rustic 16'er one with the green door. Gotta got to work. Later.

tboulden 09-01-2015 09:14 AM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Thanks Bob! I did some research on insulating earthen floors and the info that I've found makes it seem climate dependent on whether you should insulate or not. In hot climates, un-insulated ground contact will serve to help keep things cool, whereas in cold climates the result is the same but with more important consequences during winter. Where I'm at it is hot and humid during a good portion of the year, and winters aren't too bad. Will require more thinking and research on my part. Back to work for me too!

Jafo 09-01-2015 10:03 AM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tboulden (Post 5779)
Not to sound callous, I appreciate the generalized concern, but I would be weighing the risks inherent with any particular implementation against the benefits, so unless a specific concern is being raised, I'm not interested in "don't do it just because". I don't have a problem with re-nestling since the turn-around time between putting up the yurt and when the re-nestling would occur is >12-24 months, and as I said, I may prefer it on the ground after having experienced it.

I'm in the coastal plain of NC.

Well, the thing is, this is not a simple project. When you take down something of this size/weight, you stand a chance of breaking things. A 30' PY is not a nomadic structure like a 16' Groovy Yurt. It is a building.

While they CAN be moved, you are taking a serious risk of damaging the yurt.

I certainly would not have paid over $15,000 for a yurt, just to take a chance on ruining it because I had to wait to build a $5,000-$8,000 platform, but that is me.

If you are hell bent on such a reckless move, you may want to consider a straw bale platform. Cheap, long lasting and green. At least then you won't be sitting in a potentially large round bath tub.

tboulden 09-01-2015 10:22 AM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
I think the internet is working against me in conveying that this is not me being snide or dismissive, I just don't find it helpful.

Jafo, duly noted, same refrain applies: if I like it on the ground, it may stay there, all risks assumed are my own, and only after much consideration. I'm not hell bent on any particular strategy, I'm exploring options. I bought my yurt used off CL at a deep discount, so I don't stand to lose as much if something catastrophic happens, but that in no way insinuates that I'm being reckless. Being that is was up before, taken down, stored, and the lath in one of the sidewalls damaged during transport to my location, I understand it is heavy and not a nomadic structure. If I were reckless, my post would be more like "help, I put up my 30' yurt on the ground with no planning or forethought and now <insert emergency here>, whatdoido!!?!?".

Once again, I'm appreciative of suggestions and comments, but the risks will be valued appropriately.

tboulden 09-01-2015 10:27 AM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jafo (Post 5783)
you may want to consider a straw bale platform. Cheap, long lasting and green.

This idea is something I had considered, but will research further. Any specific success stories in mind for this?? Thanks again.

hierony 09-01-2015 09:11 PM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Another thing to consider--modern yurts often like to be connected to a platform. Most setups I've seen have little L-brackets screwed to the floor and the lathe. Can't do that into dirt so well... Don't know how much their structural integrity requires this though. Might contact your yurt maker about that.

There have been several straw platforms. Yves of Groovy Yurts made one in a day that sounded like it turned out well (used it for a few years, no problems). I made my 20' yurt platform out of straw bales & 3/4" OSB, but I messed up the details a bit originally, fixed them & resetup my yurt. Then I took down the yurt in the spring and didn't protect the platform at all--the rain weathered the OSB & soaked into the bales, rotting a good bunch. Great mulch for the garden now ;) Moral of the story: straw bales work well, but don't let them get rained on; also make your platform round to match the yurt. See here for a basic layout. PM me for more details or search the forums.

My cost for the straw was ~$200 and the OSB was about the same. A 30 footer has close to twice the area as a 20', so double those numbers (of course, NC material costs may be very different from the Inland Northwest). Tongue & groove wasn't terribly helpful. Plywood might be better.

Hmm, still looking like a small chunk of change. I'd be tempted by a slightly elevated (for drainage) flat area with tamped gravel, then maybe put down some sheeting to simulate a platform. As long as you aren't remote, gravel should be relatively cheap ($50-200? for 5-10 yds); renting a plate compactor shouldn't be much; sheeting might still be a few hundred though--could probably save by using thinner stuff or just neglecting it altogether :P

I have my yurt directly on the ground right now. The lathe and bottom of the door are elm though, so I'm not too worried about moisture rotting them in the short term. My current place has lots of earwigs; I once stayed in a tipi for a week, too--lots of bugs there. I'd be worried about bugs getting in--the outer canvas will often seal against the platform in some way, keeping out bugs & vermin. Also, make very certain that no water pools under the yurt.

tboulden 09-01-2015 09:22 PM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hierony (Post 5788)
the rain weathered the OSB & soaked into the bales, rotting a good bunch. Great mulch for the garden now ;) Moral of the story: straw bales work well, but don't let them get rained on

Indeed, my two years of playing with straw bale gardening concur with this assessment, haha!

Quote:

Originally Posted by hierony (Post 5788)
I'd be worried about bugs getting in--the outer canvas will often seal against the platform in some way, keeping out bugs & vermin.

We had quite a collection of stink bugs and other innocuous arthropods decide to winter over in our yurt last year, though it isn't sealed up as well as it should have been; will not be neglected on the next one.

Thanks, hierony, all very useful things to consider, much appreciated.

Bob Rowlands 09-01-2015 11:14 PM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
I got no bugs in my yurt. A few mice have cruised through there. The garden hose makes quick work of really cleaning the floor. Roll up the cover and have at it.

Bob Rowlands 09-02-2015 10:36 AM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
I wouldn't opt to set my yurt on hay or any other bug harboring/nesting material. Even camping I'd set it on a cheap tarp and tub the floor.

There's a <6" gap between the ground and the bottom of my floor framing. I've had a couple rabbits under there. Don't have it in me to shoot them anymore they're just trying to get by same as everything else. But I would under tougher circumstances. If something dies under there and the stench comes out I'll chicken wire the perimeter.

I gotta agree with Jafo aout the 30' yurt on the ground comments. A 30' yurt isn't nomadic by any stretch. You could set it on the ground sure but really a simple platform is so much better than the earth. Even Mongolians have their large yurts on platforms. Just sayin. I built my 16' d platform for under $700 paint and all. If you are handy you could build one over flate ground for a few grand.

tboulden 09-02-2015 10:57 AM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Rowlands (Post 5791)
I've had a couple rabbits under there.

We've got some rabbits on pasture, but who will retire from breeding soon, and they've got really good personalities and will likely become house/yurt rabbits. Only issues we've had with anything under our current yurt was a skunk very briefly being chased by a feral dog. Thankfully it wasn't injured and did not die under there, I would hate to have to burn the whole thing! :D

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Rowlands (Post 5791)
You could set it on the ground sure but really a simple platform is so much better than the earth. Even Mongolians have their large yurts on platforms.

To a large degree, if I do set it up "on the ground" I intend engineer the ground below it to function as much like a platform as possible. Perhaps I should've developed that thought more initially to avoid any confusion. I've looked at maybe doing something similar to an earthbag foundation ala Owen Geiger's outline, but my intention is to have something elevating the yurt itself, have it as flat as possible while still disallowing water pooling underneath, and using the EPDM/etc. to prevent any moisture wicking into the interior.

As always, thanks Bob!

Bob Rowlands 09-02-2015 11:04 AM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
I'm unfamiliar with earthbags but I've worked with a few dirtbags over the last four decades. :D Wish I could give you better advice but I know you'll get it figured out. Good luck with your endeavour.

MT Rod 09-02-2015 07:35 PM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
I have thrown this out here before, but I don't know if anyone here has tried it. Soil-crete or maybe dirtcrete? I heard it was from the Mother Earth News sometime in the 70's but I'm not sure if that is true.

Here is a you-tube of someone else's version of doing it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3M-GVdz1xo

We added about 2 inches of sand on top of the tilled ground, and about an inch or so of some concrete product, maybe even portland cement on top of that and mixed and levelled it and then misted it well. I know there was a big water filled roller there, about the size of a 55 gallon drum, but I don't remember if they rolled it before it was misted, or after it had been wetted.

After it was wet it was covered with wet burlap bags. The owner said he would keep it wet for about a week.

It was all about helping a guy prepare for a strawbale house raising. It was in Western Montana more than 20 years ago, hmmm, maybe more than 30 years ago when we did this. It filled the area inside a concrete foundation that was poured to support the straw bales.

It wasn't my idea, and it was a friend of a friend kind of deal, but I had a tiller, and that made me part of the crew. We did two floors, I can't remember if it was the dirtcrete or the concrete one that I helped pour that we put pipe in the floor to allow for radiant heat, and then I got a job and was back to work.

I have no idea if this held up for the long haul. I haven't been back to the site since, but it is an idea that you could explore.

Rod
rod::email::yurtlocker.com

MT Rod 09-02-2015 08:55 PM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Typing this gave me a wild hair, and I did a little more looking around.

This link has a wide variety of guys talking about the pros and cons of dirtcrete, and some posts that tell how it holds up over time.

I found it interesting, maybe you will too.

Dirtcrete anyone?

Type to you later,


Rod
rod::email::yurtlocker.com
Home Page.

tboulden 09-03-2015 05:56 AM

Re: Yurt on the Ground
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MT Rod (Post 5796)
I found it interesting, maybe you will too.

Indeed, thanks MT Rod, this has been queued up for review later today!


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