Cost To Build A Yurt
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As housing costs across the country continue to climb, more and more people are looking into alternative home options in order to save money while still living a comfortable, modern lifestyle. The yurt, a tent-like structure that originated in Mongolia over 3,000 years ago, is one such option. Living in a yurt in the 21st century allows homeowners to custom-design an open, sustainable and modern living or work space at a fraction of the cost of a traditional home, no matter where they live.
However, like any home building option, yurt costs vary significantly depending on factors such as size, location and additions. Researching these details to estimate costs is an important aspect of building a yurt.
If you’re ready for a yurt, get started now and receive an expert quote from our yurt contractors today.
Table of Contents
- How Much Does A Yurt Cost?
- Yurt Cost Factors
- What is A Yurt?
- Uses for Yurts
- Logistics of Yurts
- Advantages of Yurts
- Disadvantages of Yurts
- DIY or Hire A Pro?
- Find A Pro
How Much Does A Yurt Cost?
Yurt costs, like traditional home building costs, vary dramatically based on location-specific factors as well as personal tastes and needs. A small 10-foot semi-permanent yurt, for example, may only cost a fraction of the price of a 30-foot permanent structure. However, in general, absent of infrastructure costs, the average permanent yurt costs between $20,000 and $30,000, depending on its size.
Yurt Cost Factors
There’s a number of factors that affect the final cost to build a yurt, not limited to the location of the yurt, delivery, its platform and any infrastructure considerations:
- Location: Yurts built in hot, dry climates require different insulation and features compared to yurts build in cold, wet or snowy climates. Factors such as insulation, heating elements, wind resistance and ventilation all affect the type of materials used to make the yurt and other building considerations.
- Delivery: Whether purchasing a yurt kit or individual parts, getting large beams and giant pieces of fabric to a location is a logistical challenge. The more remote the area, the higher the cost to deliver a yurt. However, in general, delivery adds a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars onto the final costs. Homeowners also need to purchase crates to store and carry the yurt-building supplies.
- Platform Construction: A stable foundation for a yurt or a platform built to the exact dimensions of the yurt itself is necessary for the durability of the structure. Platform costs vary based on factors such as size, materials (panels, recycled wood and trex decking are popular options) and labor, which can all increase or decrease the cost of the building process. DIY platform building using recycled wood, for example, can save thousands off of platform construction costs, which average about $5,000.
- Infrastructure: For a truly modern yurt, additions like plumbing, electricity, waste removal and cable are necessary. These costs are the same as what they’d be for any newly built home, but they can vary greatly based on the remoteness of the land and may total anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars as a result. Using solar power and wastewater collection, for example, can decrease long-term infrastructure costs.
- Additions: Modern additions such as stove flashing, French doors, glass windows and structural reinforcements all add to the cost of building a yurt, but they also add to the comfort and modernity of this dwelling. The most common additions are stove flashings, which require a hole in the center of the roof and upgraded 2x6 rafters to add structural support in windy and snowy climates.
What is A Yurt?
Although it resembles a circus big top, yurt enthusiasts are quick to point out that a yurt isn’t, in fact, a tent. Instead, a yurt is its own type of structure with a history dating back thousands of years. Specifically, it’s a dwelling defined by its even-sloped roof ring along with low-rising exterior walls and an open floor plan. Covered by a canvas-like fabric on its outside, a yurt is nevertheless a strong, modern building capable of supporting infrastructure and withstanding the elements, including moisture (mold, mildew), snow, rain and wind speeds up to 120 mph.
Uses for Yurts
Traditional yurts used in Central Asia are semi-permanent structures that serve as family homes, particularly among nomadic tribes in Mongolia. As they’ve moved out of Asia, yurts have also found new purposes, serving as permanent and semi-permanent homes, offices, storage facilities and shelters. Modern homeowners may also build a yurt as a more affordable, sustainable way to add onto a home when compared to a traditional home addition.
Logistics of Yurts
Building a yurt is no harder, and is in fact often easier, than building a traditional home. However, like any building, there are logistical factors associated with yurt construction that impact both the cost and time it takes to complete this alternative build.
As they are, most professionally constructed yurts already meet most building and code requirements. However, depending on the frequency of yurt construction in a particular community, acquiring the proper permits for it may take some time and effort. Homeowners need to consider everything from zoning to building codes that vary from place to place.
Not all yurts are created equally, and assessing the quality and durability of a yurt or the materials needed to build one is important both for permitting purposes as well as comfort once the yurt is finished.
Modern dwellings need features such as electricity, running water and heat. It’s important to consider whether to add a septic system or cesspool, for example. Using solar energy is another option, as is wiring into the traditional grid. Heating through a central wood stove, which requires a flashing, is another popular yurt option.
The size of a yurt is one of the most important cost factors. Traditional semi-portable and portable yurts are usually around 10 - 12 feet in diameter. However, modern permanent yurts may range in size up to 24 - 33 feet in diameter and cost twice as much as their counterparts that are half the size.
Yurts are perfectly suited for cold climates so long as they’re properly insulated. Many modern fabrics, some even generated by NASA, create a radiant heat barrier with a much lower R-value than traditional home insulation. Unfortunately, some municipalities still require additional insulation because of this low value.
Advantages of Yurts
Besides the obvious cost advantages of building a yurt compared to a traditional framed home, there’s a number of reasons more and more people are turning to this type of alternative housing:
Yurts cost less to heat and cool, and many of them rely on solar power and wastewater systems, so they positively impact the environment. In addition, they use less material than similarly sized traditional homes.
Lack of Foundation
Although all yurts require a platform, they’re not embedded into the ground like traditional homes with poured foundations. This leaves a less-permanent footprint and, in some areas, may actually reduce the property tax burden on homeowners.
Modern yurts offer homeowners all the features and functions of any home and are completely customizable to your tastes and preferences. Updated kitchens, lofts, French doors and exterior decks can all add a level of personality and uniqueness to a yurt.
Disadvantages of Yurts
There aren't many disadvantages to building a yurt. Unfortunately, depending on where it’s located, the logistics of getting to the building phase can be stressful because many municipalities aren’t yet zoned to deal with this modern style of alternative housing. In addition, the change of pace from a modern home may be difficult for some people to adapt to. Finally, though 30-foot yurts offer upwards of 700 square feet of living space, that’s still significantly smaller than most modern homes and may not be conducive to easy living for large families.
DIY or Hire A Pro
While building your own yurt is certainly possible, the convenience and ultimate cost savings of hiring a pro to install a yurt are worth the added expense. In addition, buying a premade kit for building it is the easiest way to ensure that a yurt meets or exceeds all code requirements and lasts a long time. There are aspects of yurt construction that homeowners can do themselves, however. This includes building a yurt platform and installing interior structural additions such as walls and cabinets.
Find A Pro
Are you ready to start planning a yurt home or office? Get started now and receive an expert quote from our remodeling and addition contractors today.
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Last updated on Aug 24, 2018