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ryankal 01-08-2014 04:13 PM

Building my first yurt
1 Attachment(s)
Hello everyone,

I recently decided to leave the city life and am building a yurt on my aunts farm to get back to nature for a year or two. Im actually planning my trip to the lumber yard tomorrow to pick up the materials I need, and while doing some last minute research I came across this site.

I am building a 12 ft yurt and have purchased my Tono, roof dome, roof and wall covers, insulation, door frame, and window frame from Hal at Laurel Nest Yurts. He was and continues to be very informative and really helpful. I am building my platform, khana, and rafters and will assemble it. I am sure I will have questions along the way, but I am hoping to receive a bit of input on some decisions I made due to my needs. As a fore warning, I don't do as well with precise instructions versus figuring things out as I go along.

First, I decided to design my platform with a large center post that is buried and set with stones below the frost line, but due to the size of my yurt and my relatively short stay, I don't plan on pouring deep footers for the rest of the support. I plan on using preformed concrete piers that are designed for a 4x4 post buried about a foot below grade.

(I live in Western MD and had minor concerns with frost heaving, so I decided to keep the platform about 1.5-2 ft above grade on a fairly level area. If I decide to stay longer I will likely move my yurt location and build a more permanent platform. I feel pretty comfortable with this and understand the issues this could present down the road.)

From the center post that I will have 2x8's going to the 4x4 posts set in the concrete pier. Between these I will have additional 2x8's as support braces. (I don't have a carpentry background so my terminology may be incorrect or unspecific) I have attached a diagram. Any thoughts or concerns here?

I was going to use 2x12's as my flooring, until I found Jafo's post regarding 2x6 TG. If I can find the TG in my area I will be using that. Otherwise I will use the 2x12's and apply a bead of silicone/caulk to increase the connection/weatherproofing between each board. On the outside of the 2x floor I plan on attaching a plywood band to act as an attachment for the khana. I will drill a hole in the plywood band which will connect to the khana at the lowermost hole.

Everything else I am planning is fairly standard in regards to the research I have performed. I hope my questions make sense and I wish I would have found this forum a month or so ago!!

Thank you for your time.



Jafo 01-08-2014 06:10 PM

Re: Hello
I think your plan sounds fine, especially if this yurt will not remain for more than a couple years. Frost heaving can be a pain, but it is usually over several years. With a yurt that size, you can just level it back out should it heave much in the couple years you will be there.

ryankal 01-08-2014 06:35 PM

Re: Hello
Thank you for the reassurance Jafo. Im sure I will have more questions as I construct my yurt, please bare with me.


Bob Rowlands 01-08-2014 10:00 PM

Re: Hello
FYI 2x12s from depot or lowes are gonna shrink big time. How much? Well if you butt them tight at install, six months later you'd be able to stuff a herd of cats into the gaps. :D

I suggest 2x6 if you go the 2X route. On my platform I installed 2x6 boards butted tight, and caulked gaps up to 3/8ths just a couple months later. The boards are still shrinking. I'll probablyhave to recaulk next summer. Lemme tell ya big gaps makes for a whole lotta cold blowin up yer pants legs this time of year. :D

Bob Rowlands 01-09-2014 09:41 AM

Re: Hello
If you happen to opt for 2x6 decking, you might consider adding one or even two additional courses of co blocking for better support. 2' is normally the maximum span for 2x6.

ljamies1 01-09-2014 01:28 PM

Re: Hello
5 Attachment(s)
I own a 12 ft currently and admittedly spent too much on the platform. If I were to do it again for a semi-permanent (around 3 years or less) i would change a few things:

- use fewer posts. On my current yurt I used the pacific yurts downloadable platform plans which use around 12 posts. Next time I will instead dig four posts/ each at the edge of the largest sqaure which fits inside your 12 ft circle. I would then build a square wooden frame on top the four blocks and then frame my floor joists on top of that. this may be easier than one center post in the long run

- use 4x4 posts and concrete blocks set into the ground instead of concrete piers for a less expensive and more portable option

- if cost and portability is a concern it may be less expensive to purchase 3/4 in. 4x8 sheets T&G premium subfloor for $25 a sheet and simply paint the floor with a floor paint. Cut them into pizza wedge shapes so they are easily transported.


Bob Rowlands 01-09-2014 07:30 PM

Re: Hello
Good frame job on the deck platform.

ljamies1 01-09-2014 08:11 PM

Re: Hello
1 Attachment(s)
thanks bob, im really happy with how the double osb-lip turned out/ my friend came up with this, until then I had never seen it before...

Bob Rowlands 01-09-2014 09:19 PM

Re: Hello
When it comes to dwellings, maybe one person in a thousand thinks outside the box of conventional construction. That's understandable and totally OK. It's a testament to just how good we have it here in the U.S., that so many take ownership of homes with central heat, full kitchens and baths with hot water, electrical power, and other amenities, dang near all are taken for granted.

However, one of the cool things about this site for me, is seeing and talking with others that think outside the box, at least on occassion. Not only do I like my yurt, but also tipis and other fabric structures like canvas wall tents, and tarps that are configured on the spot as necessary.

All I can say is, I love my yurt, and I can see why others that have experienced yurts have chosen to live in them full time. They really are incredible dwellings. Organic and close to the earth. Keeps yuz in touch with what's important and gives pause for contemplation of life and 'thinking outside the box', while staring at the wood stove fire.

Jafo 01-09-2014 09:24 PM

Re: Hello

Originally Posted by Bob Rowlands (Post 2743)
Keeps yuz in touch with what's important and gives pause for contemplation of life and 'thinking outside the box', while staring at the wood stove fire.

Another way to put it: thinking inside the round. :)

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