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rodney757 06-13-2015 05:05 PM

New Yurt build

My wife and I are beginning to build a 24' yurt that we will live in for the next few years. We are building the platform for our yurt and I have a question regarding the load capacity. We are following the 24' Pacific Yurt platform plans (http://www.yurts.com/images/media/24...form_plans.pdf) and it calls for laying 2x6 T&G directly on the 4x6 beams.

We are actually using sistered 2x8s for the beams. I have looked online, and am having a hard time determine the maximum load for the 2x6 decking if the beams are 4' OC. I am trying to determine if we should add blocking in-between the beams or not.

We are thinking of putting an earthen floor ontop of the decking which would weigh around 3000lbs. Will the decking be able to support this? What is the maximum load for the 2x6 decking with "joists/beams" 4' OC?

MT Rod 06-15-2015 01:16 AM

Re: New Yurt build
Where is Bob when we need him? Hahaha.

I am not trained carpenter like Bob is, but I have worked for mechanical engineers and builders several years of my life, but mostly as "grunt labor". Don't take any numbers that I say here as gospel, just as ideas to check out.

From memory I think engineers don't expect 2x6 decking to span more than 2 feet without having some deflection. Again from memory, don't hold me to this, but I think that was allowing for 40 or 50 psf (pounds per square foot).

There is a calculation for live weight + dead weight to give a design criteria. I think live weight is, for example you and some friends, and dead weight would be your clay/dirt floor + furniture, etc. Obviously I don't remember it all, but commercial has a heavier design criteria than residential.

Also, I don't really know what a 3,000 lb. floor really means. Do you mean over the area (about 450 square feet) of your 24' yurt? It couldn't be per square foot, but over what area might help you discover the "psf" of the finished product. But weight (wait) there is more.

When your floor is being "poured", it is going to be full of water, so it will be much heavier for the first few weeks until it has dried out, before you start putting your linseed oil on top. My question is, do you need to design for that weight? There is some safety factor designed in, but I am not sure if the designed in safety factor could cover this or not.

Also, if you haven't already thought of this, and if you are living in a cold area you might consider designing distribution tubes for hot water heating embedded beneath the surface of your floor, and designing insulation under your floor, and insulating around the edges.

Whatever your design, I think it has to be for close-to-zero deflection, otherwise if the floor bends at all, deflection will break, or at least crack your floor again and again until it is unusable. Clay/dirt floors are not like concrete, they have no structural integrity, no stiffness.

I have not built an above ground clay/dirt floor, but I was at a party where we built a ground-crete floor, maybe 25 years ago (in the 80's), but I was never back to see how the floor survived over time. I think it is a very cool idea. I wish I had answers instead of just questions.

I wish you the best of luck on your project.


Bob Rowlands 06-15-2015 08:24 AM

Re: New Yurt build
IMO you need engineering. I'm not a structural engineer.

The 3000 lb. earth floor would add 6.62 lbs per sq. foot to the deck. Way more when wet, double maybe? Frankly I'd only do an earth floor on the earth and not over wood floor framing, but that's just my opinion. I'm totally unfamiliar with earth floors.

Not exactly on topic but 2' is the absolute widest center to center span in residential flooring construction, with 3/4" T&G OSB or plywood over I joists or dimensional lumber. More commonly 16" or 19.2". My own home I went 12" centers but I was near max span. I like close centers.

On topic, I'd trust the engineers at the yurt company for the platform, WITHOUT the earth. 2X6 T&G is common over 4' centers where bonafide 4x or 6x beams are used instead of joists. Think exposed timber frame. My wife and I lived in a timber frame apt. building in Jackson WY that had 2x6 T&G on beams. Solid floor but we sure could hear the occupants above us.

Side note, considering the checked 2X framing lumber at Depot and Lowes, you might consider getting your lumber 2' longer than necessary and cut off the checks. If it is split it is junk, and I hate to say it but a fair amount is split nowdays. I eyeball every stick before I buy.

Don't know if this helps but good luck.

rodney757 06-15-2015 02:22 PM

Re: New Yurt build
Thanks for the thoughts!

Any ideas on flooring options? This is only a temporary living situation for the next 3-5 years so we need to be able to remove everything.

Our main concern with the 2x6 t&g flooring is the cracks that will collect dirt. We've heard of filling the cracks with glue and sawdust, but I don't think I would be able to remove the screws in the future.

We're hoping to keep the cost down and we aren't fans of carpet. Anyone have ideas of flooring options?

Jafo 06-15-2015 04:12 PM

Re: New Yurt build
I wouldn't worry too much about flooring. I have had mine for a while and unless you're a complete germaphobe, it doesn't get bad. If you found you really didn't like it, just get some cheap $.59/sq foot floating flooring. You could probably do that for $300 or so, but be prepared for a lot of round cuts lol.

mama23 06-15-2015 06:02 PM

Re: New Yurt build
Sorry I don't have any answers to the OTP, but would like to tag along on this thread if possible.

I just got back from the yurt late last night where dh & I spent the weekend sanding our t&g floor. don't be jealous ;)

Turns out as we looked closer at our flooring, we found a lot more imperfections than we thought (we had someone else do the deck/floor & we hadn't picked the boards out).

So we sanded like crazy & were planning on putting tung oil to seal, but there are some big *ss divots in this wood. We were not planning on doing a full coat of wood filler since it is really dry now & wouldn't allow for expansion in more humid times of year. Does anyone have any recommendations on how to handle the wood filler situation? any products they recommend specifically with tung oil? anything else I'm not thinking of?

mama23 06-15-2015 06:06 PM

Re: New Yurt build
3 Attachment(s)
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Bob Rowlands 06-15-2015 07:39 PM

Re: New Yurt build
Mama, those gaps aren't too bad at all. I'd oil it and call it good.

Rodney, If you are planning on pulling the 2X floor in a few years be forewarned the screw heads will be full of debris if you don't cover the floor carefully. It'll be a frustrating mother to pull up the boards.

If money is tight just cover the floor with used carpet, indoor outdoor carpet, or throw rugs for decks. My wife recovers our front deck every other year or so with cheap rugs. In fact she just put new ones down last weekend. The cost isn't too bad.

MT Rod 06-16-2015 02:00 AM

Re: New Yurt build
I travelled in Mongolia a summer ago. It doesn't make me an expert, and I am not even saying they do everything the best way... but they have figured out one way, what works for them, and it just might work for you too.

The floor in every yurt that I stayed in or visited there, (admittedly only about 10), had linoleum as the floor rolled out on the ground.

They buy a roll that is about 6 feet wide, (probably 2 meters it is a metric country), roll out the number of strips they will need and then put double stick tape on the (always necessary) overlap, and/or about 3" wide clear tape over the top layer joint so you don't trip on it. Then they put up the yurt and cut off the part that sticks outside. If it means 3 strips they put the middle strip on top, and the seams run the direction you are looking when you look in the door. I hope that makes sense.

They use the cut off pieces to make double layers of linoleum under chair, couch and table legs.

When they move they take down the yurt and roll up the floor and pitch it all on a truck. There was always a ring of light green grass from having no sun, but I saw several of these rings and the grass was coming back, and was going to survive. It was very low impact on the grazing.

Would this work over your 2x6 T&G? I can't see why not. It might not be as beautiful as your pine floor, but it protects your wood floor, is a lot more durable, is easier to clean, and is pretty much waterproof and stops air from coming through the cracks.

I am sure you can order a lot of different options through a Lowe's or Home Depot, in addition to what they have in stock.

Just an idea to look at. Good luck and good yurting.


Bob Rowlands 06-16-2015 08:12 AM

Re: New Yurt build
Lino is a great idea.

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