With the growing number of yurt lovers, the desire to include more modern amenities has increased. Including a bathroom inside a yurt is just one of these more modern design options. Though outdoor bathrooms are still a good fit for some, many prefer to install a bathroom inside their yurt.
Adding a yurt bathroom can be done within a larger yurt as part of the living space or within a smaller yurt or site-built structure as an exterior bathhouse. You may be surprised to discover how easily this can be done!
The first thing to note when beginning construction of any kind on a yurt is that building code requirements will need to be considered. Just remember that the requirements can vary greatly, and yurts often fit in different categories within the code books. Sometimes they are considered temporary structures, and other times they’re categorized as semi-permanent or permanent. Additionally, the yurt is sometimes classified as an auxiliary building, studio, or recreational structure.
Building codes need not be a deterrent to your project though. Your local planning or building official will be able to shed light on the codes you will need to meet with your bathroom construction. If you plan to bring in a professional to install your yurt bathroom, he or she may already be familiar with the requirements, but because of the unique nature of the yurt, we do recommend the codes be researched regardless.
Framing or Connecting
While the circular architecture and open design of a yurt are among its most treasured features, they can present a challenge when it comes to privacy. Many of our customers with larger yurts choose to frame out an interior bathroom to address this. This is typically done by a local carpenter or contractor after the yurt is installed in much the same manner as in a conventional site-built structure. Enclosed ceilings are highly recommended to reduce noise and streamline ventilation efforts, in some cases built as a floor for a loft area above. Additionally, planning your yurt interior so that your kitchen and bathroom are on opposite sides of a shared wall can provide for efficiencies in plumbing installation.
Some customers with multiple yurts opt to connect them together, and may dedicate an entire yurt to the creation of a luxurious bathhouse. Connecting yurts together can be done several ways (often with the help of a local contractor), including using hallways, breezeways, or a direct connection. Door awnings or bulk sheets of roofing fabric are available in a variety of sizes and can be attached between yurts and framed for this purpose. Simple stud walls can be secured to the exterior of the door frames to enclose the breezeway creating a hallway between yurts. Yurts can also be set adjacent to each other and connected without a hallway. This is often done by securing the two door frames together with short sections of plywood.
A modern yurt can easily be equipped with electricity. The first step is to assess the utilities available on site. If your location already has an electrical utility hookup, you’re all set. Electrical wiring in a yurt is usually done through the platform (floor). Outlets can be mounted on short support posts around the perimeter of the wall, or mounted on any interior walls added to the yurt just as they are in typical home bathrooms. We recommend having a local professional install the electrical wiring. If electricity is not available on site, there are several other options for energy in your yurt, including solar and propane, which we will discuss in more depth later.
Any type of lighting can be used in a modern yurt bathroom, including track lighting, overhead lights, lamps and sconces. Many of our customers prefer the efficiency of using low voltage lighting in their yurts. As always, the installation of all utilities, lights, and heating options should meet the manufacturer’s installation standards and any applicable building code requirements.
If your site provides for access to a sewer or septic system, the yurt’s plumbing pipes can be connected to the system, installed underneath the yurt platform and brought up through the floor. The plumbing can be installed into partition walls after being brought up through the floor. If you are able to hook up to sewer or septic system, standard plumbing fixtures can be used, but in remote areas people often use composting toilets and alternative greywater systems, which we also discuss below.
Ventilation is an important consideration for anyone planning to add a yurt bathroom. Proper ventilation will reduce moisture inside the yurt and prevent condensation. Venting from the bathroom can be accomplished with downdraft vents through the floor or through the wall of the yurt using flashing.
“On demand” propane water heaters and showers using collected rainwater are examples of creative solutions installed by our customers for a yurt bathroom. Solar panel arrays may be employed and a decent system can power a family-sized. For locations that benefit from winds from breezes to gusts, wind powered turbines with batteries to store energy can be used. Micro hydro systems may be a great fit for locations near streams of running water.
Composting toilets are becoming more popular because they do not require water hookups or septic plumbing. These are available commercially and use a safe, odor-free, natural process of decomposition to transform waste into fertilizing soil. (As always, ensure that you’re following local and state codes on toilets.) Many composting toilets feature a separate holding/processing tank, often located in a basement or outdoors. With the right design, your composting toilet tank could be located beneath the yurt’s platform.
More and more people are choosing this lifestyle as it allows them to enjoy the benefits of yurt living while maintaining the benefits of modern conveniences. We hope this post and the handy checklist we’ve provided below gives you the overview you need to make your next decisions regarding your own yurt living adventure.