Building a yurt may seem like a challenging task. While we always suggest that you should hire a contractor to help you put it together and build out the inside, if you are confident with your construction experience, it’s not too difficult to put it together yourself.
Check out our step by step guide below to help you get an idea of how one of our Yurts comes together.
Setting Up The Foundation
This is probably one of the most important steps in constructing your Yurt and one of two that we highly suggest you hire a contractor for. There are a lot of factors that you should consider when designing your foundation.
For instance, are you building your Yurt on sloped ground, do you want central heating/cooling, what about water supply, electrical access, bathroom location, and outside space just to name a few.
The right contractor can help you figure all of this out. Most Yurts are constructed on top of a wooden floor that is either placed directly on the ground, a concrete slab, or are slightly lifted off the ground by a concrete/brick or wooden foundation.
If you want any of the following: central heating/cooling, indoor bathroom, and convenient electrical access, we suggest that you build a raised foundation.
That way you can run any piping underneath the Yurt for a nice clean finish. Electrical wiring can also be run under the Yurt and outlets can be placed flush with the floor for convenient access.
We always suggest building the foundation to include a few feet of extra space around the circumference of the Yurt. However, you can make it as big as you want or have a different shapes to create a nice porch. No matter what kind of foundation you decide to build, we suggest that you consider some type of floor insulation to better maintain the temperature inside.
Once you have built out your foundation, it is time to install the door. Decide where you want your door and make all the correct measurements. You want to make sure that the Yurt will fit well on top of the foundation based on where the door is.
All Off Grid Dwellings Yurt kits come with a door and door frame included. Anchor the door frame to your foundation using bolts. There is no need to install the actual door in the door frame at this moment.
Lattice Wall And Windows
Before proceeding to this step, it is a good idea to consider what furniture you want in your Yurt and if any of it will be too big to fit through the door. If you do have furniture that won’t fit through the door frame and that can’t be broken down into smaller pieces, you can actually place it inside the circumference of the Yurt at this point and build the Yurt around it.
Once you are ready, locate the lattice wall that comes standard with any Off Grid Dwellings Yurt kit and stretch it out in full.
Match it up with the door frame and anchor one side of the lattice to the door frame. From there, stretch it out in full and around to the other side of the door frame.
Depending on the size of your Yurt, the lattice may come in two or more pieces, in which case we suggest matching all the pieces together first before bolting them down to the foundation.
Depending on your selected Yurt kit package, you may also receive your lattice wall with specific areas where the glass windows will go. In that case, match up these places with where you want the windows to be located on the circumference of the Yurt. Non-glass windows fit over the lattice so there is no need for this step.
Centerpiece And Main Rafters
Your Yurt kit comes with a special centerpiece ring which goes in the middle of the Yurt and anchors the rafter.
Pick 3 or 5 rafters (depending on the size of your Yurt) to attach to the center piece and then to the lattice wall by using the provided equipment. These rafters should be spaced out evenly so they can fully support the centerpiece.
Even though these rafters should be able to support the centerpiece on their own, we do not suggest walking or standing underneath the centerpiece until all rafters are installed, just in case the centerpiece falls.
This is the part of the construction that will probably require the largest team. One of the easiest ways of doing this is to place a ladder in the center of the Yurt. Set up the ladder so that its height is similar to the height at which the center ring should rest at (center height) and then connect your chosen rafters one by one.
Once you have installed the main rafters you can begin to install the secondary rafters. There is no difference between the main rafters and secondary rafters, it is totally up to you which one of the provided rafters you select as which.
Match up the rafters with the holes in the center piece and then attach the other end to the lattice wall using the provided equipment.
If you are setting up a “de Beauvoir” or “Hemingway” Yurt, we strongly suggest you employ a contractor for this stage since these Yurts feature a double cupola roof and include some extra steps that can be more difficult to set up.
Side And Roof Insulation
Once the lattice wall and all rafters are set up and securely attached to the foundation and one another, it is time to set up the insulation.
All Off Grid Dwellings Yurts come with roof and side insulation included in the base price. With that being said, the specifics of how the insulation is attached may differ between models.
Generally speaking, we suggest setting up the side insulation first. The insulation can be stapled to the lattice wall to create a nice, flushed finish.
Don’t be worried if the insulation covers the window holes this is normal. Once the side insulation is complete you can go ahead and set up the roof insulation in the same way, stapling it to the rafters and making sure that it is nicely stretched out.
Side And Roof Cover
Once all the insulation is attached to the Yurt, you can lay the siding over it. Since the roof cover will attach over the siding, we suggest you set up the siding first. Attach the siding the same way that you initially set up the lattice wall. Start at the door frame and make your way around the entire Yurt while maintaining tension and reinforcing it whenever possible. This will help keep the Yurt siding flush and not “saggy” like the pictures you may see of other Yurts.
If you purchased your Yurt with glass windows, don’t be alarmed if the siding covers space for the windows, this extra siding and insulation will be removed prior to window installation.
If you purchased your Yurt with PVC windows they will be built into the siding and should match up with your desired location.
Once the siding is fully installed, you can proceed by putting up the roof cover. The easiest way to do this is by attaching ropes to one side of the cover and using this to pull the cover over the top.
A person positioned on a ladder and standing through the centerpiece can then position the cover to fit perfectly around the center piece and add reinforcement staples wherever necessary to create a tight and flush finish.
Roof Window or Chimney
Based on what option you selected when purchasing your Yurt, your kit will either come with a window dome or a chimney dome. Both domes fit over the centerpiece and roof siding, locking in place to create a watertight seal.
The easiest way to hoist the dome cover is to attach a rope to it, have a person standing on top of a ladder through the centerpiece, pull the ring up and set it in place. To anchor it into the roof use the provided equipment.
While the PVC windows will come installed in the siding, to install the glass windows you will need to cut out the siding and insulation where the window goes. To do this, use a sharp knife or box cutters. It may take you multiple times to cut through both the insulation and the siding. Do not worry if the cuts are not too exact or straight since the window installation will take care of that.
Once you have cut out all the necessary insulation and siding, it is time to install the windows. Remove the glass windows from their protective packaging and follow the directions included to fit the windows in their corresponding places.
Feel free to use a sealant around the edges of the window to make the windows even more weather proof. Consult your local hardware store on what are the best available options based on the material of the siding.
The door of your Yurt installs with hinges like any normal door. If you want, you can even replace the included door with another of your choosing as long as it matches the dimensions of the door frame.
With the window and door installation done, your Yurt shell is now finished. From here on out, the only thing left is to set up the inside as you see fit.
If you want to build interior walls we suggest you consult a local contractor to help you come up with all the plans and help build out the project since it can require some specialized skills.
Many of our Yurts are tall enough to offer the possibility of a lofted bedroom or in the case of the “de Beauvoir” and “Hemingway” Yurts an entire second floor.
You can also build interior walls to create separate rooms like a bathroom or a kitchen. These interior walls can be used to run electrical wiring to create outlets like the ones available in conventional homes.
The most important thing to remember when constructing interior walls, is to make sure that they are self sufficient and not reliant on the outer shell. While our Yurts are strong enough to withstand most storms and average snow buildups, the added weight and pressure of interior walls can result in the Yurt buckling, if they are not completely self sufficient. This is one of the main reasons why we suggest that when building interior walls you hire a licensed contractor.
The Bottom Line
Again, if you have the skills and the manpower, assembling a yurt kit may be a doable task. However, if you have any doubts, hiring a licensed contractor may be the way to go. You can still get your hands dirty, the final decisions and additions are yours to make, but it’s nice to know that your yurt home has met all the requirements and is ready to be enjoyed!