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daniel petersen
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Location: coastal british columbia, canada
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hello folks! i have maaaaany questions, but here's some background first: my partner and i are building a 16f yurt with 1/2" of felted wool insulation and a canvas cover. our climate is mild (southwest coast of british columbia) with dry summers and cool wet winters.

we're also building a wooden platform for our yurt using rough cut 2x4's for the joists and blocks. joists are 2" apart on centre and so are the blocks. (i think they're called blocks? they're short pieces that run between and perpendicular to the joists and turn the whole thing into a grid.) the platform rests on cinder blocks and is about 8" above the ground.

we are planning to staple mouse-proof wire to the underside of the platform in order to keep mice out and the insulation in. is stucco wire the best material for this? and is there another (cheaper) solution that would do the job?

for insulation, we have collected raw sheep fleece that we are planning to just stuff into the frame (supported by the wire mesh). any thoughts on whether this will actually keep us warm? if not, other suggestions? we will have a small wood stove, but we do want to have warm toes.

my other question is about vapour barrier. we will have tyvek over the yurt itself, but should we include it in the floor to prevent drafts? if so, does it get stapled on top of the joists but below the plywood?

wow, that's a lot of questions. whew! thanks for even reading this far, folks. suggestions will be appreciated!
 
Deb Rebel
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You may also want to dig 2' down at the edge of your structure foundation and put in mouseproof wire mesh that deep. That will keep voles and mice from getting under and messing up your hard work. Even if you put wire as the under protection, they will want to dig under there for warmth. It could give you a chance to put in some drainage as well. Good luck with your building.
 
Glenn Herbert
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Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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If you use wire mesh to hold the wool into the joist space, it will be like a dispenser for mice to take it to build nests. I agree with a barrier to stop them farther out.

I know it would be a lot more work, but I would suggest an underfloor rocket mass heater with ducts that travel in a cob floor mass, all supported on a gravel/stone base to decouple it from ground moisture. That would truly give you warm toes. And unless the wool is free, it might not even be a lot more expense (or work expended).

Here's an example, in probably a more extreme climate than yours (i.e. I think you could build it simpler and smaller).
rocket mass floor heater -- finally completed and it works!
 
daniel petersen
Posts: 12
Location: coastal british columbia, canada
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thanks for the ideas!

i hadn't thought of mice using the wire as a fleece dispenser. good point! i don't know if it would be possible for us to put wire 2' in the ground as we have already built the platform frame; i would be worried about undermining the cinder blocks. (but we will dig down if it really is the only way.) what if we laid the wire flat on the round for 2-3' around the platform and covered it with a bit of soil? i find that works to keep rabbits out of gardens, but i don't know about mice. thoughts? or if we did attach the wire underneath the platform, is there something we could put underneath the wire to deter mice? would tyvek conceal the wire well enough that the mice wouldn't know the fleece was there? i don't have much experience with mice, i admit.

we do already have the fleece (and it was free). any ideas if 3-4" of raw fleece would be good enough if we could keep mice away from it?

as for the earthen floor with embedded rmh, i would LOVE to do that! it was our first choice, but we didn't think we could do it before the rains set in this fall. we have to be in the yurt before it gets too cold, so time is a major constraint for us. aaaand the landowner has said she prefers us to use a wooden platform, so no dice. but we are definitely going to do that the first chance we get. that said, we saw a youtube video of someone building a portable rmh with a wooden bench; we are hoping to do some research and maybe build one of those next year.

i will post some pics if i can figure out how. and thanks for the ideas!
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Jim Fry
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Location: Stone Garden Farm Richfield Twp., Ohio
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You wrote, ..."the landowner has said she prefers us to use a wooden platform."

Why? Because you don't own the land? Will the landowner at some point ask you to leave? If so, you are building in such a way that the floor can't be disassembled easily. In Ohio we are allowed to move things down the road up to 10' wide. I know you are already far into building, and you are short of time. But to build once and to build for the future is usually the better plan. If you think you are ever going to want to move elsewhere, and you get to keep the yurt and floor, I'd rebuild it now before it gets too hard to do later. I would add 2x4's so you have several "separate" pieces that you can disassemble and move somewhere else. Then you can simply use bolts to hold the sections together. If you were to do that, the way I'd build the floor (for ease of moving and mouse proofing and warmth and longevity) is to nail down a layer of 3/8ths exterior grade plywood, then a layer of rigid foam, then a top layer of interior plywood. It'll be a whole lot easier to build, it's possible to move and you'll never have a problem with mice. If "global warming" brings us winters that are too cold, you can set hay bales around the foundation for the winter, then use the hay in the Spring for mulching your gardens. 
 
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