While yurts are relatively simple to construct, there is one decision involved in the process that will always require some focused attention and a little expertise. This decision has to do with choosing yurt flooring.
For first-time yurt buyers and for those looking to upgrade or re-do their current yurt finishes, this question comes up a lot: What do we do about the floor? With this article, we’d like to share with our readers some of the expertise we have gained in our decades of yurt manufacturing. As always, our goal is to simplify the process, so you can make the best decision for you and your family.
What Type of Flooring Can I Have in My Yurt?
The First Decision
Initially, choosing yurt flooring starts with deciding whether to make the platform the floor of the yurt or whether to add flooring on top of the platform. This may, in turn, affect the stages of the build, as some yurt flooring options require building before the arrival of the yurt and some would be installed later once the yurt has been erected.
The platform is the floor structure to which the yurt is firmly anchored. It is circular and of the same diameter as the yurt itself. The platform for the yurt needs to be at least 5″ above the ground or any exterior decking. For those who would like to make use of the platform for storage, having it be at least 18″ to 24″ inches above the ground is best. This also allows room for plumbing and electrical wiring as well.
We do recommend a licensed and bonded contractor be employed to build the platform on site according to your local site conditions and code requirements; however, we offer a suggested platform construction plan and basic materials list for each of our yurt sizes on our website.
Some of our customers prefer to build the platform from Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). These panels have insulation built into them and may require fewer footings. You are best off to order the SIPs from a supplier near you to minimize shipping costs. Our customer service representatives will be happy to talk details with you about these if this is an option you’d like to explore.
Some customers opt to make a concrete platform rather than constructing it from wood. A concrete platform, just like the wood platform, would need to be circular, the same diameter as the yurt and at least 5” above its surroundings. However, a wood or composite ring, or “sill plate” should be incorporated into the outer circumference of the platform to allow the yurt to anchor properly. We can provide some guidance on how this is typically accomplished.
We’ve heard of at least one yurt owner who designed a radiant heating system that involved piping hot springs water through the subfloor. As with so many aspects of yurt living, this is an area where you can let your creativity run wild.
Is there a benefit of building the platform on top of a larger deck?
Some people find it easier to build a large rectangular deck using typical deck construction and then build the raised circular platform on top of it. The large deck can be designed to minimize the number of footings and can be constructed pretty quickly by a professional. Since the platform is supported by the deck the construction of the platform may be simplified. However, the overall amount of materials used will likely end up being more than building an exterior deck off to one side of the circular platform.
A deck can significantly increase the outdoor living space of the yurt home and give owners plenty of extra room for outdoor dining, cooking, and entertaining. Large decks can accommodate fire pits, pools, sunbathing areas, and barbeque set-ups. A number of our customers have connected multiple yurts together into one home complex using decks between their yurts.
Using a raised wood platform also makes it easier for yurts to be installed onto sites that are uneven and not level as the platform can be customized to the land. Again, this is where an experienced contractor is of much help.
Why can’t I just build the yurt directly on the ground or deck?
The Pacific Yurt is designed so that the side cover extends below the interior floor level and anchors to the platform. This seals the yurt to the platform to keep out water and critters.
Do I need a sub floor?
In many cases, the circular platform itself is used as the sub floor and finished floor in the yurt. This is often done when a 2×6 tongue and groove platform is utilized since it can be stained, painted or simply clear-coated to provide a beautiful finished floor. A plywood platform is typically utilized if another layer of flooring will be installed over it. In this case the platform acts as the sub floor, and you can add almost any kind of flooring option on top of it.
What are my flooring options?
Almost any kind of flooring can be used in a yurt. Some common types of yurt flooring include:
- Reclaimed wood
- Engineered hardwood or bamboo
- Floating laminate or luxury vinyl planks
If your interior flooring cannot have fasteners installed through it (like many popular ‘floating floor’ options) or will be installed after the yurt has been erected, you should install a raised wood ring around the outer circumference of the platform prior to erecting the yurt. This is typically done using 1×6 cut and fastened onto the edge of the circular platform. This allows the yurt to be anchored onto the raised ring and the flooring to be installed within the ring. We can provide some guidance on how a raised ring can be added to your platform.
Where can I get the materials for my flooring?
We always recommend local sourcing for your building materials. This would mean a little research into what yurt flooring options are available in your own area. Obviously, some materials are going to need an expert to be involved, but others are much more accessible to a DIYer.
It is best to talk about flooring with your local flooring specialist. If you have concerns about if a particular type of flooring would cause issues with your yurt, give us a call and we can help answer your questions.