Yurt Living

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Caelma, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. Caelma

    Caelma Well-Known Member

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    I'm seriously considering yurt living. Nice way to have a cozy
    place with lots of room (30 ft)
    and have the place paid for (no big house morgage payment)
    Anyone here living in a yurt? Or had prior?
    Would love to hear about your experiences and suggestion.
     
  2. Kadiddylak

    Kadiddylak Member

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  3. vickiesmom

    vickiesmom Well-Known Member

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    I've considered it as well...anyone looking for information should lood up national geographic issues on Tibet and those sort of locations...some seem really comfortable.
     
  4. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

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    To my mind, yurts are a bad deal for most people. It is designed for nomadic living. Are you a nomad? Do you live in one place for a few months and then move someplace else following the reindeer or the herds of wild yaks or whatever? If not, you don't want this thing. The main feature of the design is that you can pack it up and move it relatively easily. That is the only unique value of a yurt.

    Even the best of them don't last very long for the price. Assuming you want something pretty comfortable with a 30 ft diameter you are going to be paying at least $10,000 when you add up all the bells and whistles like insulation packages and windows. It's going to last you about 10 years, depreciating all the while. It's one of the few ways of building a house without a mortgage that actually manages to reduce your equity rather than increase it. A very special and magical way of slowly flushing $10k down the toilet.

    For less than $10,000 you can build a nice little stick framed cottage that will last over 100 years (if you're willing to do the work yourself, that is. Stick-framing is not rocket science and any able-bodied person can do it). There are plenty of people on this board who have done exactly that.

    Yeah, they look really cool. It would be fun to have one for a little while. But it just doesn't make a lot of sense as a primary home for most people.

    -Jack
     
  5. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    http://www.yurts.com/default.aspx

    Check out this link. Not the nomadic type of yurt and I wish I had gone this route.
     
  6. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm probably going to sound like a goober. But, I've seen several posts talking about stick framed houses. What is the difference between a stick frame house and a regular house? Do you have any books or links on this also?
     
  7. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

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    Stick framing is how a 'regular' house is built. Walls built of 2"x4"s (or 2x6s) usually spaced 18" on center with 2x8 or larger joists laid over them at right angles. Typically these houses are covered inside and out with standard, inexpensive 4'x8' sheet goods.

    We take this construction method for granted. But to put it in context, 150 years ago it cost a lot more money) adjusted for inflation) to build a house than it does today. Timber framing was the most common way of building and it took years of training to even think about building something. Ordinary people were out of luck. Then around 1840 or so 'balloon' framing was invented. This utilized 'dimensioned' (meaning lumber that is pre-cut to uniform sizes) lumber that hadn't been available for long. Soon after, factory produced nails became cheap and available. Instead of painstakingly crafting perfect mortises and tenons, all you had to do was line up these pre-cut pieces of wood at right angles to each other, nail them in place, prop the wall up where it needs to be and nail it to the adjoining walls. Anyone with half a brain could do it. This was a radical thing.

    Today, plenty of those first balloon-framed houses are still standing. Modern 'stick' or 'platform' framing is essentially the same thing, except that today we use seperate studs for each level instead of having a very long stud running all the way from the roof to the ground. You can look at this and see that what is now conventional building lasts a long time.

    It really doesn't get much cheaper or easier than this system. I've spent a long time looking into alternative building methods. Many of them have their advantages in certain situations. But dimensioned lumber is so incredibly cheap and easy to work with that it's hard to find a reason not to use it. You can buy all of the basic tools that you need to build a cottage with this method for $2,000. Much less than that if you buy used power tools.

    Because we take this method for granted, you rarely hear anyone touting it's greatness. It's really the most democratic building method anyone has come up with. Everybody can do this and the materials are within reach.

    Here's a link to plans for small, stick-built cottages with the newbie owner-builder in mind: countryplans.com The guy who runs the site, John Raabe, started out in the 70's working with other luminaries of the 'let's build some crazy houses ourselves' movement. Like so many others who were pushing domes, yurts and that sort of thing back then, he seems to have come to the conclusion that good 'ol stick framing is the best way to go for most people after all.

    -Jack



     
  8. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    We looked into this. The deciding factor was talking to a couple in N Arkansas who during the summer had to move in with relatives because the inside temp of the yurt got over 140 degrees during the day. We talked to the manufacturers who were not very positive on the aspect of air conditioning a yurt successfully.

    Then HGTV did a series on unusual homes which featured a single woman who bought property off grid in New Mexico and put a yurt on it. They did a follow up a year later and she was selling the place.

    Her main reason was that it was just not built to keep out critters of all sizes. She ended up with a great dane and great pyranese(sp?) to try and keep other animals away from the yurt as they could easily get in.

    Next was that her plan was to use a woodburning stove for heat, but after getting up every 2 hours at night to keep it going and coming home from work to a freezing home, she got a gas heater. Cost her a small fortune to heat the yurt even though she got the super insulation package.

    When we estimated the cost, by the time we factored in the deck to put it on and the finishout for a "house", it was not cheap.
     
  9. KesWindhunter

    KesWindhunter Well-Known Member

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    Ya know, the Oregon State Parks system uses yurts at some of their campgrounds. There seem to be two themes, one uses a (extra) heavy poly-canvas over a stick frame with plywood floors. And the other yurt I stayed in (in Joseph, OR) the sides were stick framed with plywood siding and floors. There were coons and skunks at all the camp sites, and these yurts were definitely critter proof...except maybe bears with the canvas.
    My kids and I stayed in both types, for almost 3 weeks, it froze at nite in Joseph and rained at the coast and they were all comfortable enough. If the climate was temperate...say, 0* to 95* F, I think you could make one work.
    I didnt go look for a link, but the yurts the park system uses are manufactured in Oregon.
     
  10. wy0mn

    wy0mn Transplanted RedNeck

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    I'd rather dig a hole & bury an intermodal container.
     
  11. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    Mudwoman's right. When all is factored in, I ended up with a reposessed doublewide mobile home. Don't laugh. 1700 sq. ft., double-pane windows, tape and textured walls and a whirlpool tub for these 61 year old joints. All under $50,000 installed in 2 weeks. We're now installing a wood stove. Yes, stick built is great. I wanted straw built. When time, money,climate, wind, getting in the pasture, etc.,etc., is added up this was the best for us.
     
  12. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    I have a friend who has lived in one for about 3 years now. He got the insulation package and we did install a central heat/ac unit in it that works pretty well. He did add some insulation to ceiling this year which helped a lot.

    The cost per square foot is pretty expensive compared to other types of housing, but it is kinda neat and they really enjoy it. I personally don't think I would want to live in one but they're fine if you go in with your eyes open and that's what you want. Just do a LOT of research before you buy.
     
  13. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Have you guys seen the Countryside articles where the guy built his house out of old tires? There's another one that built their house of sandbags with an archway system. Both covered the materials with something appropriate so that you didn't see the tires or sandbags. Sounded neat!

    Anyway, thanks for all the info Jack_C, but I didn't see the link? I have to start thinking about building a small cabin in the back for my parents.
     
  14. designer

    designer Well-Known Member

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    I thought about underground housing. It's supposed to be less expensive I've read. I like the idea of being less vunerable to tornados. we're sitting ducks in a doublewide right now.

    http://www.undergroundhousing.com/
     
  15. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

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    It is: http://countryplans.com/

    Silly as it sounds, I didn't even know enough html to make something a clickable link in a posting. Sorry about that.

    -Jack