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maria McCoy
Posts: 49
Location: W. Seattle, WA - planning to be rural soon.....
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While my ultimate plan is to naturally build a home from what's available, I'm still searching for community/land to put down roots.  In the mean time, I'm considering purchasing a yurt.  I like that I can move it from place to place or store it if needed.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom or leads on a quality structure that might be for sale or experience with a good vendor?

Dreaming of shelter~
Maria
 
Dave Boehnlein
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
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Are you in the Pacific Northwest? If so I'd personally steer clear of yurts. This climate tends to eat them up. The longest standing one I've seen here was about 12 years old.

Another issue is the materials. If you want to be eco-groovy you can probably do better than vinyl laminates or other plastic coatings and fire-retardant & anti-fungal chemicals. Sure you can buy a natural cotton one or a felt one (if you have deep pockets). However, I'd suspect that 12 year lifespan I mentioned would be halved.

Pricewise, I think you could do much better making a small cabin of wood and putting it on blocks so you can haul it away later (or disassemble it and reuse the wood). Wood is a renewable, non-toxic resource. Compare the numbers and see if I'm right.

My final problem with yurts is that they're cold as heck in winter. I spent time in a yurt that was outfitted with the best insulation package they make for it. With a fire going it was only moderately warm and as soon as the fire was out it was freezing (this was in Bellingham). That wood structure could be well insulated and efficient for a lower price tag.

When you're looking for appropriate structures for an area I suggest looking at analogous climates on other parts of the earth and seeing what kinds of structures people in those places have traditionally used. If indigenous people used them there was probably a good reason. Remember where yurts are from...the Gobi Desert. Not really all that similar to the Pacific Northwest. Of course the native people who lived here west of the Cascades lived in houses made of wood, so it seems that might have some merit.

If you're from east of the Cascades a yurt might make more sense since the humidity is probably much lower. I've never given one a test run over there, though.

Let us know what you ultimately decide on.

Good luck!
 
Susan Monroe
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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To see how well yurts hold up in PNW weather, contact the Oregon State Parks and ask about theirs.

This site http://www.oregon.gov/OPRD/PARKS/rustic.shtml#RUSTIC_YURTS
lists which of the parks have yurts.  If they have some tricks or treatments that help them to hold up to the wet, salt-air problems there, they would probably be okay.

I stayed in one in September, and it was great!  But Dave's arguments against them do tend to sound rational.

If you live in the Oly area or south, there is a Mennonite group in Rochester that builds wooden 'sheds' and can deliver and place them in sizes up to 12x16', which just happens to be eight square feet short of needing a permit to install.  If it's a "shed". 

Sue
 
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