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-   -   R-value? (https://www.yurtforum.com/forums/yurt-living-f2/r-value-993.html)

Jafo 08-17-2015 09:35 AM

Re: R-value?
I believe you. I wish I was close enough to drop by because I would love to document this for further study/review. I am curious though, how far is your place from say, Lowville NY?

There has to be something going on differently in your yurt than in mine and others I have been in. It may be a unique climate issue in your area, or it could be something with your specific yurt design, or something in the way you guys have it set up, or a million other things. It's hard to flesh it all out here in the forum, but I am trying. :)

I can only speak to my experience for my own yurt. I have spent weeks at a time in it, in the cold, and have even felt between the layers of roofing/insulation/liner to feel for moisture and I have never had any. But, there are probably many different variables between my yurt and yours.

YurtInTheWoods 08-17-2015 10:21 AM

Re: R-value?
Well we got a regular Yurt upgraded with a center pole and full snow and wind kit. I had licensed builders and other trades research it coupled with my research and contact with the company and built it to their outline of specifications. Its a large company with many years in the business. I definitely leaned on their expertise and didnt deviate from it in building.

The only thing that differs from the rest of the country is that we live on a shielded island in the Atlantic. We deal with the effects of the Atlantic coast. Its quite different than our neighbors to the south of the border even though they may be seaside... their weather doesn't always mirror ours. However, all of the Maritimes reflect our weather.

I set up the interior much like some of the designs I have seen on the company website including the general position of the walls.

I also live with a very skilled and experienced carpenter who lead foreman at his company for well over a decade and has worked across our whole country and hes pinpointed the obvious reasons after making sure we've met all the other requirements like air circulation/ventilation. It meets all other building codes. The building inspector has okayed the foundation and set up. The only part of the building that they had to make an exception for was the tarps/siding/roofing. The rest is up to code.

Lowville NY is a solid 15 hours to get here... thats a conservative estimate... similar drive when we go to Ontario... but that usually takes a full day. It doesn't seem long since we have to make this trek fairly often... but its more than a full day of just driving.

Jafo 08-17-2015 02:41 PM

Re: R-value?
Well, 15 hours is a bit too long for me lol.

The only thing I have heard so far that stands out different is your location. We have users here on coastlines but not many on islands and I think none on northern Atlantic islands like yourself.

I did a quick lookup of some basic climate info on your area (PEI right?) and find the rainfall to be comparable to my location, and similar in snowfall (a little less).

The one thing I did notice though is that your humidity is much higher during the cooler months than where I live:

My area:


Your area:


A high humidity during cooler weather would most likely definitely be more likely to encourage moisture/mold.

That is one thing that stands out for me. If it were me, I would try dehumidifying the room to 30% (comfortable) at all times.

That's all I can come up with, with my limited observation on your particular circumstance.

My neighbor has a house he built himself a few years ago. I see today they were ripping off his roof, plywood too. It turns out he never vented the attic (DOH!). It rotted out a lot of the wood up there. It can happen in more than just yurts apparently. :)

Bob Rowlands 08-18-2015 06:59 PM

Re: R-value?
This is blowing my mind. I'm actually frustrated trying to figure this out. There's gotta be a logical explanation for the problem. If only I was there to look things over. Maybe I'd figure it out. I'm guessing once the mold really takes root you are screwed without being able to bleach everything.

Hierony I use 'Working Hands' for dry weathersplit skin. Superb product.

YurtInTheWoods 08-19-2015 08:05 AM

Re: R-value?
Yeah... Its humid here, but not drastically more than we have dealt with in other regions of Canada... but most of the houses in our area are 100+ years old and many of those aren't upgraded to be nearer to modern standards or have only been upgraded in the last couple of decades... they survived our climate without issue so its really not too bad. If we lived in a huge climate difference like Brazil... I would expect moisture issues. Its just marginal changes and I was told it would "do well" in this region by the company. I appreciate that ill building gaffs like your neighbors might contribute to mold, but the basic structure is the issue here. Its not a suitable dwelling for our region. Its well vented and just trying to keep warm is the issue... venting it as much as we have makes that difficult. There is going to be an unintended constant moisture reaction happening at the exterior wall area regardless of our dampness just because the constant clashing of freezing outside the walls and on the walls meeting the warmth from the stove. If you look at the walls having condensation issues and in the midst of all the running water and mold is a properly engineered double pane vinyl window I put in after market, that isn't having any issue at all with the condensation in the yurt or in our general region... its pretty obvious that its the yurt and materials failing to deal with the cold properly. Realistically, if the damp and humidity was so bad in our region that it could produce such effects inside our yurt then it should extend to the whole yurt and the vinyl windows . If its a general regional issue, it also doesn't explain why the windier colder side of the yurt is laced with issues but the tree lined side isn't. I do understand dampness and I've seen it in action in homes. I think it can definitely affect a structure, but the issues suggest that's not really what is happening. Its not "that" damp here to be responsible for ice on walls doors and domes and running water on the roof and walls. I don't really want to get into dehumidifiers at their huge cost and the cost of electricity here is so wildly expensive as it is... we really can't afford to run more appliances to deal with issues that shouldn't be an issue. The reality is that its too late for this yurt now. I really can't handle any more cracked, rashed, bleeding skin with the cold and wood stove as it is... removing more moisture will make living here completely crippling. The air in the yurt after the stove is doing its thing is already pretty dry. I can get a hygrometer to prove this point in the winter, but its a dryer inside environment inside than I've ever had to deal with anywhere and its making my skin issues worse.

It is likely the worst of the issues begin at night when the temps drop and the wood stove doesn't have enough regular attention because we're sleeping. I get up twice a night to stock it to keep it warm enough by morning (its a stove with a 12 hour unattended burn and its that cold in here i have to keep stocking it all night). If the temp drops below 70 degrees in here the walls and doors ice up (the thresholds are constantly iced up). Then we have to get things warmed up around 100 degrees and wait for daylight to arrive and help with passive solar energy and things melt and thats where lots of the issues are. Its unhealthy to live in an environment thats constantly 90 + degrees esp in the loft where my kids sleep and I wouldn't be able to sleep more than 2 hours at a time at night to maintain it.

Basically due to the extent of the damage to this structure from the flooring up is beyond reasonable repair. The amount of gutting and replacing and having to repurchase materials from the manufacturer would become very expensive... like, to the tune of a new cement foundation for a new properly insulated home... and putting more money into repairs with the same issues at play would be unwise.

I bought a yurt for a simpler life. There was hope through suggestion, that it would bring down my cost of construction and living so I could give my kids something better. That wasn't the case. I don't think its fair to embark on a product promised to be suitable and now my full time job is repairs, condensation clean up and spending more money and effort on repair maintenance issues that shouldn't even be a consideration in a living space. I'm not spending much time able to focus on life when I'm so busy trying to curb issues that most structures never face and the rest of the time I'm sick and can't breathe from mold while watching my life savings circle the toilet. I followed all the company specs and maintenance, I've followed all current building codes, I do what is reasonably expected of a home owner to maintain their dwelling and my regions dampness may differ slightly... but looking at evidence, isn't really the reason for the issues. My yurt sucks and is mold infested and rotting after only 4 years because its a yurt and a poor design. If i could save another person from going through this and they want to listen to reason... I'd like to. That is originally why I responded to this thread. I've made my peace with my loss.

Thanks for the suggestion of the "working hands" Bob... i actually use a lot of that! I have it on my night stand and in the living room and kitchen lol. It is decent stuff and not too pricy. It never really cures or heals much of it... but it helps alieviate the pain for a while and thats worth SO much.

Yogurt 09-20-2018 05:30 AM

Re: R-value?
Hi YurtInTheWoods, sorry for your troubles, and I hope things are well with you now. Here are some alternative thoughts on the problems you had.

1: The manufacturer didn't treat the wood as well as they should have. Possibly didn't sand it well enough either (more surface area, more exposure to nature). Might have been a more edible wood as well.

2: The mold spores may have survived while the mycelium died; add water and you'll have mold in a hurry once again.

3: The extra heat accelerated the mold growth.

4: Radiant barriers work best with less contact; they act as thermal conductors when touched, and the growing snow drifts were pressing everything against it, making them less effective, melting extra snow.

5: Water from the large amount of snow outside was being wicked inside. That could be the reason there was so much water despite the dry indoor air. Probably a "waterproof" fabric, but maybe not entirely. Though, I know you said it was worst without the snow.

Was the radiant barrier perforated? Or could water work it's way around the edges of the radiant barrier?

I hope your health and happiness has recovered. And if possible, I hope the manufacturer helps you recover your losses.

Bob Rowlands 09-22-2018 07:22 AM

Re: R-value?
Water is a prime factor in all decay.

HawaiiYurts 08-25-2019 04:09 PM

Re: R-value?
Sounds like a reflective barrier insulation would actually help the situation a lot. It would keep the moisture between the exterior and the upper layer of insulation. That could drain if needed as long as the insulation is run past the floor (bring the yurt wall exterior down past that). During the day the sun would heat it up and dry it all out. This is what we recommend in all our yurts in Hawaii and it works supremely well. No mold issues even though our humidity reader stays pretty consistently at 80%!

For R-value, you could double up. Do a layer of reflective and then a layer of something else that works with that equation (reflective insulations on their own don't work with that equation).

Bob Rowlands 08-25-2019 04:46 PM

Re: R-value?
Thanks for that advice.

HawaiiYurts 08-25-2019 05:32 PM

Re: R-value?
I wish I had seen this thread sooner. Do we know who the manufacturer was here? Seems like something was definitely off from the start... Even with condensation, the amount of water YITW describes is no slight drip. It scrapped the whole yurt? :O Materials would have been better to be a Durolast or ProTech or the sort, not canvas. Then the reflective insulation as a vapor barrier.

Upon installation we automatically do a trick to make the roof become a 'flange' at the top of the compression ring by attaching a piece of flexible conduit to the top of the ring, under the roof. This prevents any condensation from the dome or blow back from strong rains/winds from coming under the dome and dripping to the floor or down the rafters. Water can drip to the edges from condensation or blow under at the perimeter of the dome, but the flange prevents it from ever gaining real entry.

LITW is probably long gone now, out of her yurt and sharing her unhappy experience with other would-be-yurt dwellers. It makes me sad to hear of such experiences and I tend to think these stem from inexperienced yurt makers who didn't know how better to advise a client. She is right when she says that's not right. Yurt makers should not be creating victims along the way to the end of their training. And poor yurts hurt the entire industry and image, preventing permitting and the solid reputation these structures deserve.

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