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New, Modern Yurt Build In Mongolia

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Old 11-17-2022, 07:11 AM   #71
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Default Re: New, modern yurt build in Mongolia

"..it's the simple things that I took for granted which now seem like luxuries." That's the absolute truth right there.

I've been here since 2013. This is by far the best thread ever on the yurt forum, U.K. Thanks.

Bob
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Old 11-17-2022, 11:16 PM   #72
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Default Re: New, modern yurt build in Mongolia

Oo, nice. Thanks so much. I really appreciate your positive support. I hope it's interesting to some folks. When it's all done, or done to a level where I can take a break, I can maybe make a YouTube documentary on the build out. At the moment, I'm just too busy to put all the material together but I can post snippets here and on Facebook.

Latest news and credit where credit is due:

We were looking at "barn door" hardware kits and they are crazy expensive - up to $130 per door and we need 3. Countryside Mongolians are resourceful and I like to think I am too, so we'll just put together some flat steel stock and wheels (pulley style) on a stock steel overhead track. I got some ideas from YouTube DIY'ers. Like this:

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Even for a fraction of the price of the kits they can look pretty nice, especially if painted. In the end, each complete barn door (wood plus hardware) should cost me about $60. So I can make 2 full doors for the price of just one hardware kit.

Side note: I just don't understand how these kits are so expensive from a mass production factory. Is this just a case of supply/demand vs true costs of manufacture? In other words, if people are willing to accept price gouging then we're happy to oblige, right?

Well, full disclosure, I'll still have to pay for labour for my helpers but I'd rather give the money to them than to some manufacturer in our nearest neighbour. Speaking of that, just for interest, our labourers charge us anywhere from $18 to $50 per day, based on their skills. I pay them whatever they ask without grumbling or haggling. I think it's a bargain and it keeps them happy enough to give us priority over less generous/complaining/non or slow paying clients.

I see it as a long-term relationship which should be nurtured and treasured.

My main guy is Paul and he hand picks his helpers when necessary. I've known Paul and used his handyman services since about 2016. He came highly recommended and is well-known in the expat community. He grew up in an orphanage run by Christian missionaries from the USA. It's like a family and they all speak fluent American-accented English but also Mongolian which is a huge advantage. You can't be just a one trick pony in Mongolia so he's a self-labeled handyman but college trained as an electrician.

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I'm mainly the ideas guy and prefer carpentry although I'll pitch in with anything. I see a problem and think "wood". Paul is mainly an electrician and welder. He prefers metalwork. So between my ideas and a discussion, we can usually come up with a practical, and cost-effective solution. I believe he SAVES me money by finding a less-costly way to approach a project. It's a good relationship.
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Old 11-18-2022, 01:47 AM   #73
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Default Re: New, modern yurt build in Mongolia

Real good job on the barn door track U.K. I've installed a few barn doors. Never assembled and fabricated one from scratch. I am impressed by that.

The door hangers in the kits always had a 'J' strap to house the roller. They can be goofed up, I've done it. And as you mentioned, kits went from $$ to $$$$(!?) in cost. All from China of course regardless of cost.

Good stuff here buddy. Thanks again.
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Old 11-25-2022, 06:36 AM   #74
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Default Re: New, modern yurt build in Mongolia

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Originally Posted by Bob Rowlands View Post
Real good job on the barn door track U.K. I've installed a few barn doors. Never assembled and fabricated one from scratch. I am impressed by that.

The door hangers in the kits always had a 'J' strap to house the roller. They can be goofed up, I've done it. And as you mentioned, kits went from $$ to $$$$(!?) in cost. All from China of course regardless of cost.

Good stuff here buddy. Thanks again.
Thanks for the kind words and encouragement!

The first door (a prototype / test case) is practically done.

Paul the handyman and I put our heads together and came up with a rudimentary track system using automotive bearings and angle iron for the track and hangers. It's not quite finished, a couple of tweaks will improve it but, like most of our solutions, they function but aren't conventionally pretty. I'm a function over form type guy. I quite like minimalistic and rustic sometimes industrial looking stuff. Perhaps they are pretty in their own way.

Beauty is subjective but the cost saving was substantial. The door AND hardware probably cost $30-40 all in. Now we have a solution, we can do the doors between the hallway and each ger. These will be essential to control our pets, noise, and chilly drafts. I'm very happy to use barn doors instead of traditional swinging doors.

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The weather is getting brisk. It was challenging to work outdoors in -20C temps, even with the sun. Probably because we had some winds to add some wind chill. But it was necessary because have a new family member. A 4-month old (maybe labrador/border collie mix) puppy dog rescued from the streets of Ulaanbaatar then adopted by us.

He can't live in our gers - too many cats already - so he needed a dog house ASAP and I love to use leftover building materials where possible. We are also getting a Tibetan Mastiff puppy around the new year. So hopefully, they'll share for a bit until they grow too big. I have enough materials to make another dog house. It takes about 3m x 1m of wall panels and some roof panel (about 1.7m x 1m). Probably even more for a full grown Tibetan Mastiff.

So, I designed a simple steel sandwich panel kennel using our leftovers. 4 posts made with 10cm x 10cm lumber give it a frame and something to attach the sandwich panels to. It's essentially the same materials and design as our bathroom but on a tiny scale. A friction fit 15cm EPS floor with carpet keeps the cold out. The door is tiny but it should be in the type of winter we face. 15cm of EPS all around should be adequate down to -40C. We'll see very soon. The forecast is showing -40C/F by the middle of next week.

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Old 11-25-2022, 10:20 AM   #75
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Default Re: New, modern yurt build in Mongolia

Thanks for the update dude. New bath is looking very nice indeed. That hot water is gonna be NICE!! Those foam walls should work good. We framed/foamed trailer water supplies in Wyoming. One side would get unscrewed for access. We also wrapped them with elec. heat tape.

It hit -50f in Jackson Jan 1 1979. My wife and I were living in a small 2 bed apt that had single glazing. There was a sheet of ice on the lower half of the sliding glass door in the kitchen. That ice fall flowed out onto the floor as it built up. lol I was working on the party walls above the roof of the new Super 8 motel thanksgiving week in 1982, in -20 temps. No nail guns back then unlike now. If I put nails I put in my mouth to free up a hand they froze there. lol Kids are funny.
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Old 11-26-2022, 02:56 AM   #76
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Default Re: New, modern yurt build in Mongolia

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Originally Posted by Bob Rowlands View Post
Thanks for the update dude. New bath is looking very nice indeed. That hot water is gonna be NICE!! Those foam walls should work good. We framed/foamed trailer water supplies in Wyoming. One side would get unscrewed for access. We also wrapped them with elec. heat tape.

It hit -50f in Jackson Jan 1 1979. My wife and I were living in a small 2 bed apt that had single glazing. There was a sheet of ice on the lower half of the sliding glass door in the kitchen. That ice fall flowed out onto the floor as it built up. lol I was working on the party walls above the roof of the new Super 8 motel thanksgiving week in 1982, in -20 temps. No nail guns back then unlike now. If I put nails I put in my mouth to free up a hand they froze there. lol Kids are funny.
Great stories. Working outside in Mongolia generally stops in the countryside from December to February. Except for the most pressing, emergency issues. All exterior construction is usually finished by October and won't start again until May. Of course, interior work can continue.

That being said, in the city they work on tall apartment buildings all year. I guess they can do the concrete work on the floors that are finished. Probably get some artificial heat in there somehow and partially enclose it to retain some heat.

For me and probably most people, it's not the core body heat that is a problem. It's keeping my hands from going numb. My hands call it quits before anything else. Then nothing else to do but go indoors and warm them up - doesn't take long - and go back out again.

I've thought about getting an empty oil drum and making a brazier type fire to extend our outdoor work season - typically used by striking workers or homeless people. It also could be nice just for hanging out on the patio anyway. We'll do something more permanent next spring, like a firepit with seating.
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Old 11-26-2022, 12:51 PM   #77
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Default Re: New, modern yurt build in Mongolia

Yup, if you can't use your hands you're done. 55 gallon burn barrel with air holes around the base works OK. I've warmed myself up by one at the gun range a few times.
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Old 11-29-2022, 03:26 AM   #78
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Default Re: New, modern yurt build in Mongolia

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Yup, if you can't use your hands you're done. 55 gallon burn barrel with air holes around the base works OK. I've warmed myself up by one at the gun range a few times.
So let's talk about winter

heating

for gers/yurts.

Our main

heating

source is electricity because it's very cheap here and even cheaper at night. About 4.5c per kWh in the day and 3c per kWh at night for comparison's sake. I'll add thermal photos in theme with this topic. (FLIR type). They were taken before the recent cold spell so they don't show what it's like now.

Here's our bed with wife and cats. The underfloor heating is clearly visible. Min/max temperatures are in the bar graph.

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Wood stove warming up. It gets a lot hotter, perhaps to 300-400C.

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However, even with cheap electricity it can add up a LOT and we SHOULD have a backup with our somewhat unreliable grid power. It's not guaranteed. If the power goes off, we'll survive but our systems (particularly water) are vulnerable. I shudder to think about getting up in the night to turn on a manual start diesel generator to stop the pipes and water tank freezing.

Last night it dropped to -37C (-35F). The daytime high will be -22C (-8F).

Our main source of heat is electric underfloor. We have 6 zones in the 2 gers and bathroom/hallway. This uses about 7-10kWh for the whole area. The main supplementary heat source is wood stoves, one in each ger. If the electricity failed at night, we have a large propane space heater and a diesel air heater as a last resort (runs on a 12v battery).

This proved adequate last night (the coldest night so far in the gers), although our bedroom ger temperature dropped to 10C (50F) by the morning. That's almost a 50C (122F) difference between inside and outside - not too shabby. 10C in the morning feels okay in our ger with warm bedding but the first person out of bed will need to start wood fires to bring the inside temps up to a comfy 20C (70F) or so - that was my duty this morning. The sun has the same effect but we don't get hit by sun until about 10:30am (warming up the gers by 11:30am) due to our mountain valley aspect. At this point we can lower the underfloor heating or sometimes even turn it off.

What we can do to improve the

insulation

? We're making some insulated curtains for the doors and window. These are significant areas of heat loss. Behold (on a not too cold night).

From inside:
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From outside:

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Note that there isn't as much heat loss in the crown despite it being single-glazed. So doors are 1st priority and windows 2nd.

So that's this week's project because, although this week will "only" be in the
mid -30C range, it can get to the mid -40C range in January.

The next issue is to insulate our outer buildings. These are metal buildings and I wanted to monitor them without physically going there - and losing heat by opening the doors. They are windowless. The well-house is a metal stud building with metal exterior walls and OSB interior walls. The

insulation

is basalt wool batts.

We decided to just insulate one of our two shipping containers this winter (20 tons each). The insulation is 5cm (2") EPS sheets, floor to ceiling and spray foam at the seams. It was the cheapest way by far.

For heating them, we bought 2 electric radiators with WIFI connectivity. Unfortunately, WIFI doesn't penetrate metal buildings very well. So I ran ethernet cable to each, added a POE injector (provides) power and WIFI access points. These allow the radiators to be connected via WIFI and then ethernet to our router in the ger.

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Here we can see the "Tuya" app which allows me to monitor and adjust the two different radiators. The reading is for the shipping container which is holding the temperature that I set - a good result on an extremely cold night.

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The only problem remaining problem is that if the power goes out, the radiators can NOT remember their settings when the power returns. They don't go back to where they were without human intervention. This sucks. I can't think of a way around this yet, so I have to monitor the heating regularly. If I was away, I'd be screwed. So we probably won't be able to go without a house sitter who I'll need to teach the system.

Whereas the underfloor heating remembers the settings that I chose when the power returns. I'd like to add smart thermostats to the underfloor heating but have to buy them from abroad.

Luckily, we don't really have power-cuts at night (fingers crossed). They are generally a daytime thing.
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Old 11-30-2022, 10:50 AM   #79
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Default Re: New, modern yurt build in Mongolia

Thanks for the details U.K.

As for window treatment, back in 1980-82 we were living in subzero Jackson Wyoming. The weatherization shop I worked out of sold 'Window Quilt' brand window treatment. That was a company in its infancy in 1980.

This Window Quilt' system consisted of a five ply sandwich of two exterior decorative fabric, over two very thin layers of foldable synthetic insulation sandwiching a mylar core. The two exterior surface fabrics were embossed to eachother in a polka dot decorative pattern that sealed front to back. The core materials couldn't shift or pull apart.

The edge piping slid inside a nylon C channel with mounting flange that attached to either side of the opening. 'Peel off' tape applied at the factory sealed C channel to a smooth flat surface. A weighted sash bar mounted on the bottom of the quilt sealed the bottom.

In use the quilt rolled down and up the side channel via a roller system. It could be locked off at any height with a side pull on a cord. The quilt fed off a top storage roller and rolled behind a second roller that kept the quilt ~tight against the top trim surface. Ideally all four edges were sealed in an A grade install.

Sometimes it took some pretty creative redo carpentry to get the quilt to work as designed. I also made pine valance box at the top as a decorative option if the customer wanted. The roller assembly was purely functional, there was no decorative valance in the kit.

When installed tightly with no binding anywhere on a flat perimeter window casing- they were VERY effective at holding in the heat. The biz I worked at had an infrared gun that clearly showed the effectiveness with quilt up and down. Also as a new business we asked for home/trailer owners response after the install, and it was ALWAYS positive. Some just did not like the look. People adjust to everything in time though.

Anyway there you go. I looked online and it appears the company is still in business. I'm sure the options are a magnitude greater than they were 40 years ago. Back then it was likely a mom and pop hippie biz trying to go mainstream. I bet they ain't rolling that way now. haha Edit to add, the quilts came in specific widths. The carpenter had to figure out how to roll on each install prior to ordering.
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Last edited by Bob Rowlands; 11-30-2022 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 11-30-2022, 11:47 AM   #80
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Default Re: New, modern yurt build in Mongolia

Well how about that. I just looked at the 'Window Quilt' online site. Amazingly the quilt itself hasn't changed in 40 years. To me that's a strong testament of just how good it is. Their boilerplate product isn't a load of crap. For a fact I know that when installed properly it's a very good product.
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