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What sort of floor should I give my yurt?  RSS feed

 
Micky Ewing
Posts: 105
Location: Merrickville, Ontario
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I've bought some land in eastern Ontario, Canada that I plan to build on eventually, but I don't know where yet. I want to get to know the place before I decide. So I have built a 16' yurt with the idea of setting it up in a few different places to try them out. This should help me settle on the best location for a more permanent home.

I see my first setup spot as just a place that I can get to easily from the road and that doesn't take too much labour to clear. It won't be the right spot, or a likely candidate for the long term. I just need some shelter so I can stay out on the property long enough to identify the first real candidate site and prepare it (maybe 3-4 weeks).

Given that, it makes sense to do the minimum necessary to make the yurt reasonably comfortable. All the yurts I've seen in person are erected on wood platforms built off the ground. I can do that, but are there better options? I've read that traditional Mongolian yurts (gers) had earth floors. I've also seen some descriptions on the web of earth bag foundations. Is one of these options or some other one better for me?

The site itself is a relatively level clearing with some limestone outcrops and (I'm guessing) thin soil elsewhere. I have easy access to stone and timber. Would need to truck in gravel, sand or that sort of thing.

My requirements for the floor are that it remain fairly dry, be low impact (that is, I want to minimize the scar I leave since I'll be moving so soon) and not take too much effort unless I can leverage that effort elsewhere (e.g. a platform that can be dismantled and moved with the yurt). I've considered just leveling a spot and spreading out some straw and old carpets on the ground. I'd probably have bugs and/or mice to contend with that way, but I think I'd be reasonably comfortable.

Is there a better solution?
 
Rose Pinder
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Location: Otago, New Zealand
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What's the weather going to be like over the next month?

How long are you intending to live in the yurt?

What's your climate like in general?

Carpet seems a straightforward option if it's just for 4 weeks or so.
 
Micky Ewing
Posts: 105
Location: Merrickville, Ontario
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Rose Pinder wrote:What's the weather going to be like over the next month?

How long are you intending to live in the yurt?

What's your climate like in general?

Carpet seems a straightforward option if it's just for 4 weeks or so.


Typical weather would be highs in the 10 - 20 deg. C. range, probably 60/40 mix of sun and cloud. Average rainfall for September is around 85 mm. Generally, the climate here is continental, which means hot summers and cold winters.

Not sure how long I'll be in the yurt. A lot depends on how livable I can make it. I don't plan to build any other shelter for at least a year though.
 
Rose Pinder
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Location: Otago, New Zealand
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I think it depends on what is important to you and how tough you are. Is the yurt insulated? Will it have a fire? Will you be there much? Does it bother you living on a cold floor in the winter?

If you are going to live there for a year, having a decent floor would be a good idea, but I guess you have to trade that off against the number of times you think you might move and the extra work in moving a floor.

I like the idea of living on the earth directly with just carpet, but I don't do well in places with cold floors and wouldn't do it in winter or spring. People I know full-time in a yurt have put in an insulated floor.

 
Micky Ewing
Posts: 105
Location: Merrickville, Ontario
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Thanks for your comments, Rose.
Rose Pinder wrote:I think it depends on what is important to you and how tough you are. Is the yurt insulated? Will it have a fire?

At some point that's my intention. I don't have an insulating layer now so by late fall, it's going to feel pretty chilly in there. I plan to build in-floor heating with a RMH, but that won't be until I have a more permanent site and probably some insulation too. I've been thinking about a small wood stove in the interim, but worry about sparks burning holes in my roof cover.
Rose Pinder wrote:Will you be there much? Does it bother you living on a cold floor in the winter?

How much I'm there will be a function of how harsh the conditions are, and the floor is part of that equation. It's easy enough to raise a bed off the ground but cold feet will still be a concern. Dampness is my main worry though, since it can lead to rotting of the yurt frame as well as exacerbating the cold.

Rose Pinder wrote:If you are going to live there for a year, having a decent floor would be a good idea, but I guess you have to trade that off against the number of times you think you might move and the extra work in moving a floor.

I like the idea of living on the earth directly with just carpet, but I don't do well in places with cold floors and wouldn't do it in winter or spring. People I know full-time in a yurt have put in an insulated floor.


I expect to stay at the first site very briefly - a month, maybe less. It's just a base camp that'll give me shelter while I work out a better arrangement. I'm imagining a more elaborate floor for the longer term second site. Elevated, with a French drain around the perimeter. Layers of gravel and pearlite under the floor for moisture and thermal breaks. Cobb (or cobbish) layer to top it off. This is the sort of floor I hope to be heating with a RMH ultimately.
 
Deagen Demientieff
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i like the idea of perlite! i use that in alaska to sabilize the permafrost for my earthbag home! do you know what a stem wall foundation is? you can emulate one of these with earthbags for a fraction of the cost. then you can build your insulated wood floor on top of that and you would then have a insulated crawlspace for plumbing and what not. dont forget to put plastic down and plaster over your stemwall earthbag foundation to keep it strong and long lasting for a more permanent solution! i have built yurts before i use then mainly to throw raves and bikini foam partys i just make a lattice out of 8ft saplings and tie them together using rope. for my skylight i use a snare drum usually from my extra drumsets and buy a 30ft x 50ft blackpvc tarp for 200 bucks to cover it because i need it to be dark for the lazerlights! and the sun doesnt go down at night here in the summer! yurts are awsome for nomad adventurers!
 
Deagen Demientieff
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also i forgot to mention if you want a rmh they usually work best in the middle of a yurt. check out TEGMART and get a thermoelectric generator to but on top to charge a battery bank deep cell batterys are only 100 bucks a piece and it could give you over 10 hours of uv lights! MAKE SURE you have extra braceing where you decide to put you rmh because those babys are heavy!
 
Rachel Dee
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We are looking into moving back into our yurt in the next year, as a temporary place until we build. In the past, we've done a wooden floor and an earth floor. The yurt structure does rot rather quickly, and it was the reason we took it down with the earth floor. Also, it gets extremely dusty if you don`t do anything more than just clear it. With both, we've lived with mice.

I think next time, until we can build an insulated wood platform, we`ll be doing square bales of hay for the base, covered with 1/2 or 3/4 inch plywood with rugs on it.

Winter is, by far, the most comfortable in a yurt imho. Small, thin metal stove, long enough pipe with a screen on top. We haven't had any trouble. Plus, in the winter, we like to keep a small amount of snow on the roof - it is insulating as f*ck. Mornings were fridgid, but within 5 minutes with a few sticks of wood, we had to open the door to be comfortable in there. We MIGHT have used 4-5 cords of finely split wood (old rotting birch from an old stack of wood someone didn't want, so definitely not the best wood) for the whole winter. We were in Northern Ontario (I think it might actually be considered 'middle Ontario' - in Mattawa).
 
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