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Scrubby 03-12-2018 05:04 AM

Choosing a Yurt in NZ
Hi there! Looking for some advice, hopefully from other kiwis but all is welcome.

We've been given the opportunity to live on 300 acres of land (about 50 minutes from Auckland) with other family . It is mostly covenanted forest, it's completely off grid and barely accessible by car. The purchase finally settled and for the past year my partner and I have been researching options on what we'd like to build but are repeatedly coming back to yurts for a livable structure until we have money and time (3 kids 3yrs and under) to build our forever home. As time ticks on we're desperate to get on the land and to start settling in.

Our main concern (well.. only concern) is the cost and to me yurts don't seem like the most financially economical option - just the quickest and most convenient given our situation (which I guess is reflected in the cost). We're looking at living in an 8 or 9 meter yurt, and I've only been able to find one NZ company who even provide yurts that large. Most of them only go to 7 meters.

if there's anyone who know of any NZ companies that go 8 meters and what your experience was with them?
Also, if you are in NZ and did use an overseas company, how you found the ordering process (e.g. choosing insulation, dome etc.) as I'm a little bit unsure how I decide what type of insulation would be best for our climate.

And ALSO what are some super important things I should be keeping in mind when ordering? We know we'll be happy and fit comfortably in a yurt, we're just anxious on the finer details!

Thanks heaps!

Jafo 03-12-2018 06:39 AM

Re: Choosing a Yurt in NZ
I don't know much about NZ or the climate you are in, just keep in mind that yurts do not like to be over-insulated. I suggest that most people are fine with the basic reflectix insulation and a good wood stove. When you insulate a yurt too much, you get moisture and mold. They need to breathe, like any other tent.

With three children, make sure you order it in such a way that you have more than one exit, whether that is with two doors, or one door and at least one glass window. As beautiful as the lattice walls look, they are essentially a gate and in a fire you cannot break through them.

Do not cheap out on the platform. It is the most important part of the entire structure if you ask me.

Bob Rowlands 03-13-2018 02:10 AM

Re: Choosing a Yurt in NZ
Yurts work best in a dry climate. If you buy a yurt, remember that any moisture that is trapped on and between materials in the yurt, will possibly be a source of mold or mildew. Trapped moisture is gonna quickly become a problem. I live in a semi arid climate with about 15" precip a year, and my 'treated' canvas cover really started to mildew in the third year. If you get a yurt, try to keep it as dry as you can. Lots of wood stove heat is REAL good in that regard.

There's a vlog of videos on youtube from a gal and her family that live in a yurt in NZ.

lulastic hippyshake

is the channel.

Scrubby 03-13-2018 04:23 AM

Re: Choosing a Yurt in NZ
Thanks heaps. I've already read a few other comments on this forum about doors so have definitely got 2 doors in my plans.

The NZ company I'm considering is offering R2.2 wool insulation - this is the lowest recommended insulation value for houses in NZ, though I haven't done much research in to it. I figured since our temperatures where we are won't get too cold in winter (something like 5 degrees) we don't need to worry as much as other parts of NZ who drop below 0.

I've watched some of those videos; she also mentioned at one point that she got mould, but no one else she knows in NZ with a yurt did. I don't know what the stats are, but we definitely live in a wet, humid area so it's is something we have to be careful about.

I haven't really done much research in to the platform. What are some things I should keep in mind for that? I figured the yurt company we decide to go with will help with plans for that and if not, there would be plenty of options online or with help from a professional builder.

Jafo 03-13-2018 06:10 AM

Re: Choosing a Yurt in NZ
The company I went with (Pacific Yurts) included a generic plan for a platform. I am assuming most of the larger companies do. Some of the things to consider is whether your location is suitable to put in footings for the platform. Generally these go below the frost line. This is similar for any construction. Insulating the platform is HIGHLY recommended. Keep in mind you want some insulation that will not be welcoming to mice and other critters. Also keep in mind that the entire weight of the structure will be supported by the platform.. That includes snow.

With a modern architectural yurt, on a proper platform, properly constructed, you can expect a yurt to last over 20 years before needed a new roof (depending on UV and some other factors). The structure itself can survive as long as any other wooden one. Don't think of this as a temporary shelter. The structure will be around for a long time.

Bob Rowlands 03-13-2018 07:58 PM

Re: Choosing a Yurt in NZ
Good post Jafo. 10-4 on all that straight up info.

Delores 03-19-2018 04:30 PM

Re: Choosing a Yurt in NZ
I'm a big fan of the tapered wall yurt. If you contact the Yurt Foundation in Machiasport Maine US they have plans. A group of people, like 10-12 can do the build in about a week once you have your site ready. They are more permanent. If you build at least a double concentric you would have more variety of space. Costs for materials can be pretty low.

Scrubby 03-20-2018 02:47 AM

Re: Choosing a Yurt in NZ
Thanks. that's really cool. Is this something you have, Delores?

The first site we'll be setting up on is only temporary and we'll move to another in a few years (on the same land) where we'll then start building an earth house. So probably not ideal for our current circumstances.

Delores 03-20-2018 02:30 PM

Re: Choosing a Yurt in NZ
Yes. I lived in a double concentric for a few years. Then later participated in a build in Idaho. There were 13 of us and we went from laying the platform on a site that was already leveled to a finished structure minus windows in a week. We were using hand tools no power. It was only a single and the cost at that point in construction was around $20K for materials. The walls were insulated.

I have known a lot of people who used their yurt or other outbuilding for a sauna when they relocated to their final building site. These are not really temporary or movable structures.

Scrubby 03-22-2018 03:15 AM

Re: Choosing a Yurt in NZ
They are beautiful. I don't know why they didn't come up more often during my research on yurts. I will definitely keep in mind as a possibility for our forever home or as another dwelling later down the line. I'm a sucker for a round space!

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