You’ve probably seen yurts advertised as a modern alternative to conventional structures and wondered, what exactly is a yurt?
Well, yurts have been around for thousands of years and originate on the Central Asian steppes. In an area as barren and bereft of trees as these dry grasslands, yurts are still being built to withstand high winds and extreme conditions.
Tiny Home Options
The nomadic tribes in Central Asia continue to rely on yurts (traditionally named a Ger or Üy) to provide permanent and moveable shelter in which to live and raise their families.
Moving from place to place with their herds of cattle, sheep, and goats, the nomadic lifestyle requires a structure that is both strong and safe as well as easy to assemble and transport.
If you’ve ever considered living in a tiny home, then yurts are a well-proven option for those who feel micro-living spaces are their thing.
Modern Eco-friendly Design
Now, you may be wondering how the traditional yurt compares to the modern yurts available from American companies.
Well, these modern, eco-friendly structures still make use of the same basic principles that have been perfected over centuries of use, with a few modern design improvements and integrating all the conveniences of modern living.
Yurts of America is one of the only companies that construct their yurts from furniture-grade wood, providing a structure that is structurally superior to many other similar products on the market. Additionally, many standard features are only available as add-on items in competitors’ kits.
It is important that you source your yurt from a reputable and trustworthy company such as Yurts of America. In addition to providing a high-quality product, they provide ongoing support and assistance during the building process.
The modern yurt makes use of the circular space to accommodate kitchen and bathroom areas, a living room, and bedrooms. The levels of customization are totally up to you.
A yurt can be as modern as you wish to make it with all the comforts of a modern home, including fitted kitchens.
Yurts are designed using the ingenious principle of compression to provide strength and durability.
This is how it works:
Traditionally, the base is constructed of a dirt floor, but modern yurts can be located on wooden, cement, or bamboo floors.
Wooden floors can be supported on cement piles to provide additional protection from rainwater as well as provide additional insulation.
The round, exterior wall is constructed of layers of waterproof, insulating, and stiffening materials which provide the structural support for the roof.
The main structural layer is a wooden lattice that is unfurled and then secured to the floor. A single doorframe is set into the lattice to provide an opening to the interior. This opening receives the door which forms the main entrance.
The rafters are then connected to a smaller ring in the center of the roof with the other end of each rafter attached to the top of the lattice.
A steel tensioning cable encircles the lattice and a further cable secures the top of the rafters to the central ring. This design is extremely strong as the downward force from the roof is distributed to the top of the lattice where the cable at the top resists the outward pressure.
This design performs extremely well in areas where there is either a high snowfall or in extremely windy regions where the rounded roof and walls more easily deflect the force of the wind.
The whole structure is then covered with a layer of waterproof canvas on the outside with a layer underneath it to provide thermal insulation. Additional insulation may be required in very cold areas.
The hole at the top of the roof is covered with a dome to provide light as well as to provide a location for a chimney. A central heat source provides an efficient means to warm the whole structure.
The Benefits of Yurts
Yurts are energy efficient, with their round walls providing a smaller surface area from which heat can escape.
With the focus on reducing the carbon footprint of new buildings, yurts are an excellent choice and provide a suitable alternative in rural and other natural settings.
Living in a yurt provides you with a unique experience that brings you closer to nature. The walls are not sound insulated, with the result that noises from outside become part of everyday life.
With the use of natural materials and the speed at which a yurt is constructed, it makes the perfect solution for off-grid living in more rural areas.
Kits are available that allow landowners to transport their accommodation easily to out-of-the-way building sites. Only basic tools are needed to construct your yurt and any moderately competent handyman is able to assemble one with ease.
Some Downsides to Yurts
Circular walls can pose a few problems when designing for electrical and plumbing installation. These can be overcome through clever routing of services through the floor.
If you forgo the use of a raised platform for the floor, you may have to contend with insects, rodents, and other wildlife that could be unwelcome visitors.
The negatives of yurt living and construction are easily outweighed though by the many benefits that accrue to you with this method of construction.
Building Yurts in Your Area
More and more areas are acknowledging the possibilities and utility of yurts as both permanent and temporary accommodation.
Building codes and zoning regulations can be accommodated in the design of a yurt. Discussions with building inspectors and regulatory authorities continue to bear fruit when it comes to accepting yurts as a valid and safe option for providing housing to an ever-increasing number of potential homeowners who want to enjoy the benefits that the unique yurt construction method offers.