Yurt living continues to grow in popularity with people looking for alternate living over traditional homes. One of the great things about yurt living is that there is quite a bit of freedom in regard to creativity and the different uses that yurts provide.
Our yurts start at 92 sq. ft. all the way up to 2100 sq. ft. One creative use for a yurt is a garage. Instead of parking outside, you can park your vehicle in a covered yurt. This is so practical for rainy and snowy days . Not only would you get protection from the elements, you can have extra storage space. Here are two options on how a yurt garage would work?
The first garage option would be to buy two yurts and convert one of them into a garage. They wouldn’t necessarily have to be the same size; one would just need to be big enough to fit your vehicle inside.
However, if you are looking for additional storage space, you could opt for a larger size. Either way, there would need to be some modifications made to the yurt for this to happen.
You can connect the two yurts either by using the door studs, and/or making a breezeway or hallway. A section of the wall would need to be cut out to accommodate a vehicle to pass through. The section around the cut out would need to be reinforced as the support structure.
The best option for closing the opening to the garage yurt would be to install a fastener (like zippers or buttons) on each side of the canvas. This would allow you to keep the inside closed without creatures making their way in.
You could install a typical garage door, but you would need to have the yurt architecturally designed to be able to withstand the weight of a garage door.
Another option for a yurt garage, is to build a traditional stick-framed, free-standing garage and then build a flat roof over it before placing the yurt on that surface.
This option is more expensive and time consuming. You can DIY it, but you may want to hire a local contractor to do the build for you. It may require permits and need to be inspected before you are able to move into your new home.
A local contractor would know the ins and outs for the local codes and what is required in your home.
Steps For a Framed Garage
The very first step for this process is to check with your local building office to see what, if any, permits you will need. As you are building a structure, you will most likely have to get permission. The same goes with your yurt. It will also require permitting depending on local building codes.
You will probably need to submit plans to the permitting department for approval before you can build.
Once you have your permitting the next step is to prepare your land for footings, or the foundation.
You will need to dig down to a minimum depth of 12 inches and must be at least 12 inches below the frost line, which is the depth of soil that freezes in winter.
The footings also need to be at least 12 inches wide. At least two rows of rebar should be run in the footings to strengthen the concrete. You will need to run forms to make a wall for the framing to sit on.
Once you have the trench dug, set-up your forms, and set your rebar. The next step before pouring the concrete is to have it inspected by your local building inspector.
After the footings have set-up but are not 100% set, place your concrete anchors per your local building code requirements.
Footings can be dug by hand, or you can hire/rent a mini-excavator which will speed up this step significantly.
After the footings have set-up you can take the forms down. This typically can happen the next day. Some warmer areas will set the concrete up very fast and can then have the forms removed that day.
It really depends on a lot of different factors, but you definitely don’t want to leave them up for too long or it becomes a big project to get them off once the concrete has set for a few days.
Once the forms are removed you can begin building the rebar grid for your garage floor. Again, the requirements for the grid will vary from area to area.
Check with the local building office, they’ll be able to give you the information you need. Once you have the rebar set you may be required to have it inspected as well.
Now you can pour your garage floor! If you’ve never finished concrete before you may want to bring in a local concrete subcontractor to help you out here.
Alternately, some people will wait until the structure is completely framed before pouring the garage floor.
The reason for this is that you don’t need to worry about dropping anything on the concrete and having the concrete break or crack on your new floor.
Step 3 is to stick frame the garage. Supplies will include treated wood for your sill plates (lumber that sits on the concrete), lumber for top plates and studs, a material for the exterior of the building, joists for the ceiling, and material for the roof/floor of your yurt.
Stairs can either be mounted externally to gain access to the deck. If you have a big enough yurt you can build them inside your garage going up and into your yurt. This saves you from having to climb those outside stairs in the winter.
You will need to follow your plan exactly as you build the garage as it will require at least one more, possibly two, inspections before you are able to get occupancy for your new home. Once you’ve painted/stained and sealed the rooftop of your garage you can then build your yurt on top.
The Bottom Line
Yurts are definitely an alternate living style, they are versatile and can be used in so many different ways. Using a yurt as a garage not only keeps you and your vehicle protected from the elements but gives you extra storage space, just like a traditional garage!