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Yurt Questions

How long does a yurt typically last?

The wood frame of the Pacific Yurt can give you a lifetime of use with minimal but regular maintenance on the exterior parts. We offer several fabrics to choose from for the yurt’s outer covers. All of the fabrics used by Pacific Yurts have been carefully chosen for their cleanability, durability and longevity. For instance, our standard side cover is made of an acrylic coated polyester fabric that has proven to be superior to heavier polyester/cotton blend fabrics. Our standard fabric covers average life has been ten to twelve years. Our premium top cover has a 15 year manufacturer’s material warranty but typically lasts twenty years or more.

Your company has always been and continues to be a pleasure to work with. I am amazed at the quality of the product you produce and the efforts you go to satisfy your customers. This has not changed in the 9 years I’ve been privileged to work with you, which is a wonderful thing to encounter in this day and age. Thank you and best wishes until the next order.

- Kathryn L., Colorado

Once again we are living through a challenging Minnesota winter in our nearly eleven year old yurt, and doing terrific. Thank you once again for this lovely dwelling. The yurt really needs little of the upkeep that other structures need. Even the huge snowfalls we get just slide off the roof, while our neighbors are shoveling off their roofs.

- Francis F., Minnesota

What kind of security does a yurt offer?

Every Pacific Yurt has a solid door with a high quality residential lockset carrying a lifetime warranty, with the option to add a deadbolt, or even a keyless entry deadbolt as pictured. The yurt also has a continuous lattice wall that spans from one side of the door frame to the other, even through the windows. This means the only way to enter is through the doorway. As with other structures, alarms and motion sensors can be added to the yurt.

Who installs the yurt?

The Pacific Yurt is most often installed by the owners themselves, but some prefer to hire a contractor or carpenter to install the yurt. We provide a step-by-step installation manual and provide a toll free number (in the United States only) so we can answer any installation questions. The time spent to install a Pacific Yurt will vary depending on your site, local conditions, number of people and which features the yurt has. Most times a smaller yurt is set up in a few hours, while a large yurt may take a weekend to install. It is best not to set a time limit for yourself and just follow the set up instructions provided.

I’m a computer guy with little or no construction experience or talent. Assembly was straightforward and the manual was clear and concise.

- Kevin H., Michigan

Installing it was really fun. We were really pleased with the directions; their simplicity, completeness and clarity. They were the best directions I’ve ever seen.

- Roberta N., Colorado

Can commercial graphics be added to the yurt?

Commercial users of the Pacific Yurt often want to display graphics or their logo on the yurt. Or maybe they have sponsors with logos that need to be displayed. There are two options offered by Pacific Yurts for displaying graphics or logos. One is a banner system, which is a framework built into the top cover (roof) of the yurt where a banner mounts. The banner laces in, so if the logo or graphics need to be changed periodically, you simply remove the old one and lace in a new banner!

Graphics can be added to the front of our door canopy as well. This canopy is much like a storefront awning, attaches to the door frame and is available with backlighting to keep your name highly visible any time of day or night.

Utilities & Heating

Important Note: The installation of all utilities or heaters should meet the manufacturer’s installation standards and any applicable building code requirements.

What is the best way to cool the yurt?

There are a variety of ways to cool the yurt. In hot unshaded areas it is important to install our reflective insulation to reduce heat gain through the fabric covers and use our tinted dome skylight. The operable dome skylight (available in clear or tinted) and windows allow fresh air to be pulled into the yurt to aid in natural convection cooling. A ceiling fan can also be installed to increase airflow and circulation. In addition, operable vents can be installed into the floor of the yurt to take advantage of cool air under the platform. Pacific Yurts has a convenience panel available (shown) that can accommodate a through-wall air conditioner. Many people prefer ductless AC units or ducting installed under the platform. People in tropical areas who need maximum airflow may want to consider our tropical cupola option. Pacific Yurts also offers screen doors and screen curtains, allowing doors to be left open for additional ventilation without insect worries. If the heat reducing effects of the tinted dome are desirable in summer, but you were hoping to get as much passive solar heat as possible in the winter, our center ring insert is available with shade screen and can be removed seasonally.

How do I heat the yurt?

Most conventional methods of heating will work in a Pacific Yurt. Our customers have used wood stoves, pellet stoves, propane stoves, central heating, electric heaters and even radiant floor heating. If using central heating or a heat pump, ductwork can be installed under the floor of the yurt. When using a vented stove we recommend venting it through the sidewall of the yurt rather than going through the roof. There are many benefits to venting through the wall, which include easy access to the chimney for regular cleaning, having the chimney away from the yurt’s vinyl top cover (to minimize the soot that falls onto the roof) and keeping an open floor plan. (You can plan the interior space how you wish and not have to plan around the stove location.) Every Pacific Yurt comes with instructions on how to vent the stove. It is important to size your heat source according to the size of the yurt as well as your climate. It is a good idea to install our reflective insulation in cold climates in order to retain the heat. Customers with numerous windows in cold areas can increase heat retention by utilizing our insulated window covers. Other items that can add to your cold-weather comfort are a ceiling fan (to circulate the heat inside) and a well insulated platform (floor) complete with skirting.

We have had -15 degrees here in Vermont for about five nights in a row and we have been very warm and the pipes have not frozen. Thanks so much for your wonderful input on how to prepare our home.

- Angela M., Vermont

We have had high winds, two feet of snow and many days of sub-freezing weather. The yurt took it all in stride and we always felt safe. Your product is everything you promised and I really appreciate the personal service we got. Thanks for the great experience.

- Scott A., Washington

Can electricity be installed?

Electrical wiring in a yurt is typically done through the platform (floor). Outlets can be flush mounted in the floor of the yurt or on short support posts around the perimeter of the wall (or mounted onto the Snow & Wind Kit supports). If interior partition walls are added to the yurt, electrical wiring can easily be run into these walls, where outlets and switches can be mounted. We recommend having a local professional install the electrical wiring. If electrical service is not available at your site you might consider photovoltaic (solar) systems or propane systems (lights, refrigeration, heating, cook stoves, etc.).

How do I add lighting?

Virtually any type of lighting can be used in a Pacific Yurt. Customers have installed track lighting on the rafters, installed overhead lights to the center ring, used floor or table lamps and propane lights, among other things. Many prefer the safety of using low voltage lighting in their yurts.

Can plumbing be added?

Plumbing can easily be brought up through the floor of the yurt. If you wish to add interior partition walls the plumbing can be installed into these walls after being brought through the floor. If your site has plumbing and septic hookups you can use standard fixtures, but in remote areas people often use composting toilets and alternative gray water systems. Consult with a local plumber for more information.

Alternative Energy Options

There are many great alternative energy products available to consumers today. These products include composting toilets, solar power, wind generators, propane refrigerators & water heaters, and hydroelectric systems. There are many good suppliers and manufacturers of these alternative products. A few helpful resources are Backwoods SolarSun-Mar and Lehman’s.

Platform & Deck

What is the floor of the Yurt?

The Pacific Yurt should be firmly attached to a circular platform that is the same size as the yurt and at least 5″ above any surrounding decking (or the ground). Having the platform elevated 18″-24″ can provide a crawl space for accessing plumbing, wiring or storage. Pacific Yurts provides a suggested framing plan with a basic materials list as a guideline for the platform at no charge. Since every site is different, we recommend having a licensed and bonded contractor build the platform on site according to local site conditions and code requirements using local materials. If you wish to build a platform using Structural Insulated Panels (SIP), which require fewer footings and joists, you should order the panels from a local supplier to minimize shipping costs. We can provide information on preparing for SIP’s. To view or download platform information and plans, visit our downloads page.

Can I add exterior decking?

Any exterior decking should be at least 5″ below the interior floor of the yurt. This allows the yurt’s side cover to hang below floor level and secure to the circular platform. This attachment firmly secures the side cover to the platform and provides a weather tight seal. Some customers choose to build a large exterior deck, then build the raised circular platform for the yurt on top of it. This approach tends to be more expensive than simply building an exterior deck outside the entry area only.

Interior Design

Important Note: We recommend you enlist the help of a licensed building professional for assistance with your project.

Can interior partition walls be added?

Interior partition walls can be added to provide separate bathrooms, bedrooms or kitchen areas. A local carpenter or contractor can easily build these walls into the yurt after it has been erected. The partition walls should be freestanding and not rely on the yurt, but can be connected to the lattice wall or Snow & Wind Kit’s vertical supports. Nothing should be connected to the roof rafters of the yurt, but the interior walls should definitely be anchored to the floor.

How do I add a bathroom?

Many people with larger yurts choose to frame out an interior bathroom rather than attaching an exterior bathhouse. This could be done (after the yurt is installed) in much the same manner as in a conventional site-built structure and is typically done by a local carpenter or contractor. The plumbing would be brought up through the floor of the yurt into the bathroom. Venting from the bathroom can be accomplished with downdraft vents through the floor or through the wall of the yurt using a flashing kit. Proper ventilation will reduce moisture inside the yurt and prevent condensation.

Can I add a kitchen?

Kitchens have been added to yurts in a variety of fashions, usually with standard cabinets and counters purchased from a local home improvement store or cabinet shop. If you wish to have a custom curved counter along the wall of the yurt, you can usually utilize smaller standard cabinets set at slight angles. This way the only “custom” part would be the countertop itself. Customers who have framed a bathroom into the yurt will often put the kitchen against one of these interior walls so the plumbing can be installed into the partition wall and shared between the kitchen and bathroom.

Can my yurt have a loft?

Lofts can be a great addition to your yurt. Over the years we have had customers build lofts of all different shapes, sizes and heights in their yurts. Lofts should be freestanding structures built into the yurt after it is erected and not attached to the roof rafters of the yurt. They can create private space below for a bathroom or bedroom or simply be left open. If you do not have carpentry skills, we recommend hiring a local carpenter or contractor to assist you. For ideas and more information check out our blog entry about lofts.

Connecting Yurts

Can yurts be connected?

People who have multiple yurts often wish to connect them together or to an existing building. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this. This can be accomplished by using hallways, breezeways or a direct connection. Door awnings are available in a variety of sizes and can be attached between yurts and framed out to create a breezeway. Simple stud walls or plywood panels can be secured to the exterior of the door frames to enclose the breezeway creating a hallway between the yurts. The yurts can also be set adjacent to each other and connected without the hallway. This could be done by securing the two door frames together with short sections of plywood and connecting the top covers together with additional fabric.

Shipping

Shipping costs will vary depending on several factors. We’ll be happy to provide a shipping estimate to your location based on which size yurt and features you are considering. More information is available on our Shipping/Picking Up Your Yurt page.

We looked thoroughly at all the other companies and Pacific Yurts was able to get a yurt to us the soonest, with the best quality and experience.  It came to us very well packed for shipping.  Everything was labeled well and of very good quality.  Great job!

- John O, Minnesota

Everything was well protected and your packing guys were great about getting everything loaded. Thanks!

- Lynn K., Washington

Building Codes

How do yurts fit into building codes?

Pacific Yurts are very versatile structures that can be used for a wide variety of applications. Variables such as the size and use of the yurt as well as the individual site can help determine if the yurt will require a permit and what type of permit may be needed. Building code requirements can vary greatly and yurts do not always fit neatly into just one category within the code books. In some cases the yurt has been considered a temporary structure, while in others it has been considered a permanent or semi-permanent structure. The yurt is often classified as an auxiliary building, studio or recreational structure. A yurt may have to meet requirements in the areas of snow load, seismic rating, wind speed and fire safety, but these are dependent on location. Other requirements like egress and occupancy are dependent on the use of the yurt. For specific information on building codes in your area contact your local planning or building official and provide them with our suggested platform plans, snow and wind load ratings, and flame certificates.

Structural engineering has been performed on the prototype Pacific Yurt (to determine their design snow and wind load capacities based on Uniform Building Code and International Building Code structural standards) and is available for assistance in permitting if needed. In some cases your local building official may require site-specific engineering with a “wet stamp”. If so, you will need to hire an engineer licensed in your state, who can incorporate our calculations into the site-specific plan. We may be able to put you in contact with an engineer that can help. Our Snow and Wind options have been designed to enhance structural capability while maintaining the top quality and aesthetics we are known for. If your yurt will need to meet a specific snow load requirement for your area it is best to find out what that snow load is prior to ordering. In most cases you can find out more about your local requirements here or here.

The Pacific Yurt is very well engineered. It has easily withstood two feet of snow (with rain) without difficulty. The set up manual is splendid; easy to follow and understand. The quality of materials and the construction of the parts are outstanding. The door and its frame are superb with the beautiful brass fittings and high quality hardware.

- Jay N, California

I was most impressed with the strength and snow load capacity of the yurt which along with its spacious and aesthetically pleasing interior provided ample warmth, comfort and all around enjoyment to our back country ski experience.

- Tom S., Colorado

Care and Maintenance

As with any quality product, there are maintenance recommendations that should be observed to get the longest possible functional life from your fabric covers. Complete information on care and maintenance for our yurts is available here.

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