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#61 of 158 Old 03-04-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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Great thread! So interesting.

Has anyone built their own yurt? I love the idea of a yurt, but I don't like to buy anything vinyl, if I can help it. I'm wondering how feasible it would be to make one more traditionally--wool felt as insulation, canvas, etc.

Also, I wonder which are more durable: modern yurts (lots of synthetic materials) or traditional ones?

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#62 of 158 Old 03-04-2007, 07:37 PM
 
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I am a felt artist by trade and so have long dreamed of making a traditional felted yurt (or Ger as called in mongolia). However they are extremely labor intensive and will require enormous quantities of wool. The native mongolian people do it by laying out large sheets of wool, then felting it by wrapping it up in yak skin and dragging it behind a horse. That said, I have known of people, or groups of them who have made small felted yurts.

Here are some links you may find helpful. The first is a page of felt artists talking about the logistics of making felt yurts and the secound a company that will make an already felted yurt for you..enjoy !!

http://www.peak.org/~spark/felttents,yurts,gers.html

http://www.yurtworkshop.com/Yurts/felted_ger.aspx
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#63 of 158 Old 03-04-2007, 11:38 PM
 
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Thanks for the links! So interesting.

~Serina~
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#64 of 158 Old 03-05-2007, 01:58 AM
 
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We made our own yurt, using wood we salvaged from a dumpster, wool, and cotton canvas. We felted the traditional Mongolian way except for my husband and son pulling the wool behind our tandem bicycle instead of a horse pulling it. After more than a year of working on our yurt, it is FINALLY finished. Now we just need to figure out what we are doing with our lives and move into it. It's 6 meters and we are a family of 4. We will have a sleeping loft. Since we made it ourselves, it is much taller than a traditional ger.

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#65 of 158 Old 03-31-2007, 02:58 AM
 
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Bumpin up the thread, cause it rocks. Something we're looking into, as well.
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#66 of 158 Old 03-31-2007, 01:21 PM
 
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I posted this on another thread but figured I would put it here as well. These are pics from the yurt we stayed in a week ago in NC. We really enjoyed it and found it quite cozy...

http://www1.snapfish.com/thumbnailsh...973/t_=5005973
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#67 of 158 Old 03-31-2007, 05:52 PM
 
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yurt living sounds fantastic! i actually stayed in a yurt on the oregon coast- tillamook, i think, and i loved it. a bigger one, of course, seems more suitable for a home with 4 dogs, 2 parents, and a baby.

i live in the NM desert, but we are considering some land in the sandia mountains/tijeras canyon area. it is warm in the day, cooler at night... it seems like a yurt may work for us. it is rather dry here, however, and i tend to wonder if the severe lack of moisture would be bad for the yurt.

my dp is a contractor/trim carpenter, and i believe he has te skills and connections that would facilitate us in building our own.

as for running water- if there's a well on the land we buy, do we use that? how does one even go about getting running water in a yurt situation?

i also wonder how sturdy yurts are. do they deteriorate after a long time, or do they do alright as long as they're properly maintained?

lots of questions, i know, but this seem like the place to ask them
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#68 of 158 Old 04-01-2007, 10:53 AM
 
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I'm no expert but I would think a dry climate would be better for a yurt since most of the complaints I see about them are mildew.

From what I've heard they hold up very well. When we stayed in the ones in NC, my mom thought they were brand new so out of curiosity we asked the owner how old they were and they were nearly ten years old! My mom was shocked. We asked him about them and he couldn't give enough praise. He said he has done very little maintenance to them and that they have even withstood 100 mph winds!

I don't know the specifics of running water in a yurt but I know others have done it. We also plan on having a well and having a similar setup.
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#69 of 158 Old 04-04-2007, 07:18 PM
 
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OK, I have an odd question that nobody seems able to answer for me: What about bears? If one lives where there are bears, and cooks and keeps food and other things with odors inside a yurt, couldn't the bears just rip right through the skin and break the frame. This is the only thing that is keeping up from getting a yurt. Yurtdwellingmama, I noticed that you live in northern MN. Aren't bears a concern? We have land in Tower and I'd love to put a yurt there if someone could ease my mind about the bear issue.
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#70 of 158 Old 04-04-2007, 08:25 PM
 
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That is one of my fears too. I was reading about a couple of people who lived in yurts online and had bear issues. One couple said when they were away they would just leave the yurt door open for the bear to come in so that it didn't destroy the yurt

Supposedly this is why you build a deck around it. Now I don't live in bear territory but my understanding is that the bear isn't really a threat if the yurt is high up off the ground. Maybe someone else can help us with this one because it is definitely a concern of mine as well.
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#71 of 158 Old 04-04-2007, 08:25 PM
 
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(I have no answers and no experience but I'd just like to say how interesting it is to learn about yurt living. It's really expanding my view of what a house can look like.)
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#72 of 158 Old 04-05-2007, 01:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theaspins View Post
Yurtdwellingmama, I noticed that you live in northern MN. Aren't bears a concern? We have land in Tower and I'd love to put a yurt there if someone could ease my mind about the bear issue.
Bears are not an issue or a concern for us. We do have a few bears in the area (black bears) but have never seen one or seen signs of it around the yurt. Our next door neighbor has told us he has seen bears in the area. I could see a bear ripping the side cover, but I think it would have a hard time getting through the frame. Our yurt is up about two feet off the ground, so that may help as well.

I have really never had any fear or concerns about bears here. Perhaps if you lived in an area which had a lot of bears it may be more of a concern. I wonder if you contacted Nomad Shelter (a yurt company out of Alaska), as well as the other major yurt companies and asked them about this issue if they might have more to add.

The story about the leaving the yurt door open for bears so they don't damage it . . . keep in mind that is in an unoccupied yurt, and one isolated report. I understand if your fear is having your property damaged, but if it is for your own personal safety, I would not worry too much. A mother bear might attack if she felt you were a threat to her cub, but I think it would be very unlikely for a bear to try and break into a yurt with a human inside making noise, even if they did smell food inside.

I hope you don't let it keep you from yurt living. I think if it would be an issue, there would be steps you could take to "bear-proof" your yurt.
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#73 of 158 Old 04-05-2007, 12:21 PM
 
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We don't have bears to worry about around here. But cooking creates a lot of moisture and mold and mildew are a big worry around here and a big threat to yurts. I'm far from being an expert, but I would not recommend cooking in a yurt on a regular basis -- at least not in a wet climate like mine. I'd only be willing to cook in one when it is cold out and the wood heat that is heating the yurt can be used to cook the food. And that's only because of wood being such a dry heat. Propane, kerosene, etc. are not and having them burn in the yurt would only add moisture where mold and mildew can thrive .

: madrone - : SAHM to 12 y.o. DS, : 9 y.o. DD, and : 4 y.o. DS
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#74 of 158 Old 04-05-2007, 03:00 PM
 
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Madrone, if you don't cook often in the yurt, what do you cook on and how do you prepare food? We are planning on living without electricity aside from a modest solar kit so I am trying to figure out these things in advance.
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#75 of 158 Old 04-06-2007, 09:57 PM
 
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Well, we designed our yurt to have a little kitchen entry where we cook on a propane stove. We have three salvaged French doors placed side-by-side as the entry into the yurt and a canvas "porch" kitchen in front of the doors. It's not insulated unless we decide to stack some straw bales up for wind protection, so we don't have to worry so much about mildew. Also, the canvas "porch" roof is not the same expensive canvas that we used for the yurt. But it does provide a somewhat protected kitchen. I also have a solar cooker that doubles as a hay-box cooker. When I use it as a solar cooker, it's out in the sun. It's sitting on the table when it's a hay-box cooker.

I know of some people who built very simple kitchen sheds on their land to not cook in their yurts. Off the top of my head, I know 8 other people, couples, or familes who live in yurts. I think the kitchen shed is the most common place to cook. Two do cook in their yurts and they have mold problems. One of those has set-up an outdoor kitchen area but no cover yet. The bottles for the propane stoves everyone has are about 20 liters and are what you see on camping cars. Every gas station here carries them, plus the supermarkets and even the gardening stores. They are really common. I know of one sod, wood-burning oven (again, outdoors) that is used once per week. It's really a lot of work but it makes incredible bread. I want to build one someday so that my bread can be as good. Or that is if I ever decide I am good in one place and just want to stay there. For the propane stoves, they are just regular gas-burning stoves that you can get in any appliance store. Mine is the smallest model made, 50 cm. You have to change out the elements on the gas stoves after buying one to get them to burn propane rather than natural gas.

: madrone - : SAHM to 12 y.o. DS, : 9 y.o. DD, and : 4 y.o. DS
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#76 of 158 Old 04-07-2007, 12:24 AM
 
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Madrone, that sounds like a nice setup.

We have a full kitchen and do all our cooking in our yurt and have so for 8 years without a problem. We do not have mold on the inside of the yurt, however we do have wood heat which is very dry. We do get pretty humid here in the summer however, and still have not had the problem with mold. Maybe because the yurt is well ventilated? For those who do have mold problems, I wonder if a vented hood over the stove would help?

We have had mildew problems on the outside of our yurt. The mold grew on the dirt on the side cover because we did not keep it clean enough. Until this year we did not have running water (hard to wash a 30 ft side cover without running water). When we got the well in, I scrubbed the entire cover and it looks nearly new again.

Other than keeping the cover clean (which we will now do) a gutter system would keep the rain water from running down the side cover and would keep the mold from growing also.
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#77 of 158 Old 04-07-2007, 11:54 AM
 
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YurtDwellingMama, our yurt is too new for mold problems yet, but cleanliness has to be part of the mold problems of the other yurts I know here. The yurts that have mold problems also are not the cleanest yurts. No one here has running water, but it rains a lot and coming up with a rainless day to wash a yurt during the winter when mold starts growing is difficult. I personally think that protecting the yurt from the rain by the foundation is something important. I would also love gutters for our yurt, but haven't seen enough to be able to figure out how to make them. I know Colorado yurts can have gutters, but there photos don't show enought for me to determine what they are made from. Do you know how the yurt gutters are made?

I don't think a stove vent would be a good solution for year-round cooking and humidity within a yurt. A stove vent would need sufficient electricity and if you're off-grid, that may be hard to come up with. Do you have music or run the stove vent? Or turn use candlelight? And then there is cutting a second ventilation hole into the yurt and possible leaks from that hole. For the yurts here, the stove pipe is the place most of the yurts leak.

If I recall correctly, your yurt is a Pacific Yurt. That may another part of the difference in cooking not being a problem. That would mean your roof cover is vinyl and you've got poly covering the walls, with a modern reflective insulation. All of the yurts here have 100% wool insulation. I know of eight Mongolian yurts, one Kyrghystan yurt, and our home-made yurt. We wanted ours to be all natural, so we used wool for insulating it. Our outer cover is 100% cotton and I don't know what the others have. Their covers could be a cotton/poly blend or could be cotton. 100% cotton canvas is hard to find here. We had to order ours from another country and I don't know that anyone else did that. Most people went to sailmakers for their outer covers, and they use cotton/poly blends. I don't think you can actually have mold growing within your insulation like we can get with the wool. I think your walls will be your only worry besides surfaces. Modern yurts definitely have their advantages in that. Our "kitchen" porch cover is vinyl and humidity is the big reason for that. As long as I look at it every week or so, I can easily wipe off anything that is starting to grow on top of it. We aren't sleeping in it, so we decided it was okay there. Pacific yurts are VERY nice, they just are really expensive, plus we'd have an import tax on them, and they are not really what we wanted. But we didn't want a Mongolian yurt either because we wanted height and Mongolian yurts have all sorts of implications of using their minimal wood resources for an export product and Mongolian yurts have become a pretty big export product. Then there is the fact that you still have the import tax when it comes here. We didn't have the import tax on our cotton canvas because the country we ordered it from is a "free-trade" country. The raw cotton was probably taxed, but we decided to just ignore that fact.

And now I'm getting way beyond mold. Do you know anything about the Colorado Yurt Company gutter system?

: madrone - : SAHM to 12 y.o. DS, : 9 y.o. DD, and : 4 y.o. DS
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#78 of 158 Old 04-08-2007, 02:25 PM
 
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OMG I've never heard of a yurt before. Now I want one!!
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#79 of 158 Old 04-08-2007, 03:18 PM
 
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We lived eight years in our yurt in Oregon with very little mold problems. It did grow on the outside cover but we just cleaned it once a year with simple gree and then the sun baked it. The stains remained but the mold was dead.

Our yurt was on a deck almost 5 feet off the ground. I reccomend this, the higher the better. It also creates a great storage area ! We had no problems with bears, but woodrats and squirrels did manage to chew a hole through the bottom of the linner.


I dont see why cooking in a yurt would be a problem at all. The eight years we lived in our yurt we cooked many times a day and it was the northwest. There was never any mold problem indoors..so I wouldnt worry about that at all! (in a synthetic type of yurt that is ) ~ Pixie
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#80 of 158 Old 04-08-2007, 03:54 PM
 
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Enchanted Gypsy, what is gree?

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#81 of 158 Old 04-08-2007, 03:58 PM
 
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LOL...what I meant to say was Simple Green. It is a cleaner, though Vinegar and lemon would work also.~ Pixie
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#82 of 158 Old 04-09-2007, 04:54 PM
 
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Pixie, thanks for your insight. Maybe we should all clarify that some of these differences could be significant from a homemade yurt to a commercially manufactured one.
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#83 of 158 Old 04-12-2007, 03:14 PM
 
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Never heard of them until now. Living in a yurt is so apealing to me! My dream is to live on the Oregon coast someday...now I have added "in a yurt"
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#84 of 158 Old 04-17-2007, 12:19 AM
 
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just :
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#85 of 158 Old 04-19-2007, 12:17 PM
 
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Oh I so want a yurt. But we are moving to Ann Arbor where land costs a billion dollars so it's not going to happen in the next 5 yrs. Hopefully in 5 yrs., though! Right now I'm looking into tipis/solar power for summer living (since we'll be home, in KY, for summers).
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#86 of 158 Old 04-19-2007, 03:10 PM
 
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Hi all,
We are planning on selling our house and moving to our "raw land" nearby. My question is this - how long did/does it take you to construct or install a yurt? For the sake of the question, say a 30' Pacific Yurt company one?

My understanding is that we would need to build a platform/floor, then install the kit. Figuring out heat and plumbing would be next on our list. We have almost no money to work on our property before we sell our current house. After we sell, we are hoping to have $20K - $30K to work with. However, the timeframe would be tight - building quickly so that we could move as directly as possible from our house to the property.

I am a little concerned about the heat/humidity of this area. I know there are yurts in the mountains of NC, but I've not heard much about people having them here in the piedmont - where we have 2-3 months of hot, humid summer.

Thanks!
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#87 of 158 Old 04-19-2007, 06:32 PM
 
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I think she means "Simple Green". It's a natural cleaning product.
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#88 of 158 Old 04-20-2007, 04:25 AM
 
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Hi Amy,
Your plan sounds exciting. I think you are right on in terms of figuring out the order to proceed. We moved into our 30' Pacific Yurt with nothing more than the deck complete and the yurt erected. It was like camping in a huge tent. We then added our woodstove, drains, built our interior, and just last summer had our well drilled (we've been here 7 years!).

It took us about six weeks once we moved here to plan where we were going put our yurt, buy the decking materials and build the deck. We had a lot of rain that summer, so that delayed us some, and we zero building experience so we were not speedy. My husband and I did all the work ourselves on the deck. The yurt itself went up in one day mostly with two other people helping, then the next day my husband and I did all the lacing.

We get fairly hot and humid here in summer (at least I think so). I would advise lots of windows and a screen for the dome, and screened doors so you can just keep the air moving as much as possible. Also try and keep the fabrics as clean as you can. Mold grows on the dirt rather than on the synthetic fabrics.
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#89 of 158 Old 04-22-2007, 12:36 AM
 
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Hi Yurtdwellingmama -
Thanks for answering so many questions! You tirelessly advocate for yurts! ha ha. My dh and I just started seriously considering a yurt, but we are getting very excited. It seems like a way to quickly have a nice place to live while we get our farm up and running and think about long-term building projects. I am a little concerned about how it will go with the building inspector group, and am starting to look into that. Did you have issues with the building authorities in your area?

Thanks for the advice on the windows. We've been planning to be A/C free, so it seems like the issues are really pretty similar whether we are in a yurt or any other structure. Keep things ventilated and clean! How many windows and doors do you have?

My other concern is moving from 2200 sf to 700 sf! We used to live in an 1100sf house - but most of that time we were just a married couple w/no children. Shortly after #2, we moved here. And now - with all our other plans - we are expecting our third baby later this year!

SO - Can you imagine living in your 30' yurt with three little ones? We will hopefully have a large deck for outdoor living and our first order of business will be building a barn for outdoor storage. I am excited to simplify and get rid of a lot of our stuff - but still a little nervous at living in virtually a one-room place with five of us. I like your idea of having a loft bedroom, and think we would do that as well.

Finally, has noise been an issue for you guys? In our smaller house, my ds#1 was constantly being awakened by action at the front door or the flush of the toilet or the dog barking. I think he's a bit sensitive, but I am wondering how hard it will be to have a little one napping when we are in such an open space - and where we can hear so much of what is going on around us - rain, wind, etc. Any thoughts?

Thanks so much!
Amy
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#90 of 158 Old 04-22-2007, 02:45 AM
 
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Do any of y'all with yurts live on the High Plains? I've thought about investing in one so I don't have to be quite so imposing on my relatives when I go for extended summer visits to my hometown (which usually last at least a month). My main concern is windstorms as it's tornado country and I really wouldn't want my yurt to go flying away to Oz. For a part-time/summer home for one adult and one or two kids, what size do you think I'd need? 10 ft? 12 ft? My modern vinyl tent just isn't practical for more than a few days of camping because it gets too stinkin' hot inside even with the windows open. I have friends with canvas tents in various Medieval styles that are great, and while I'm torn between a Viking wedge tent that would fit my SCA persona and a yurt, I think the yurt would be more transportable AND more practical for non-SCA use.

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