How Many People Does it Take to Set Up a Yurt?

A yurt is remarkably easy to erect and can be completed in as little as a week. If you are getting started homesteading, a yurt is a great way to set up a home.

However, it can take quite a bit longer depending on the size of the yurt you are constructing, how intricate the interior design is going to be, and how much work is necessary to prepare the site.

Here’s a breakdown of the approximate time it will take to erect various sizes of yurt:

  • 12′ yurts take 1-2 days to erect using 3 people.
  • 6′ & 20’ yurts take 2 days with 3-4 people.
  • 24′, 27’, 30’ yurts take 3-4 days with 4-5 people.
  • 35′ yurt takes 4-5 days with 5-6 people and a mechanical lift for moving the fabric.
  • 40′ yurt takes 5-7 days with 6-7 people and a mechanical lift for moving the fabric.  

Scaffolding makes the task a lot easier and is recommended even with smaller yurts. You can add an additional couple of days depending on what level of finishing you decide to install.

The figures above exclude site clearance and construction of the platform. The platform consists of a wooden platform supported by concrete piers or a concrete foundation. 

Considerations Before Building

Unless you are skilled in construction and have a good knowledge of building regulations, hiring a contractor to complete the platform is probably the way to go.

If your property is flat and doesn’t have a lot of trees and rocks to clear, then it can take as little as a few days to have the platform ready. However, if the property is overgrown, steep, or covered in boulders, then the site preparation and platform construction could take a few weeks.

As the construction process becomes more difficult, the number of people needed increases. If you are on a limited budget, then fewer hands can get the work done, but it will take longer to accomplish the build.

yurt interior

Basic Structure

The circular platform needs to be the same size as the size of your yurt. Yurts are designed to have the material covering the sides extend below the level of the floor. This allows a draught-free seal that is also watertight.

A step down to the surrounding decking ensures that water is kept out of the yurt.

Progress of Yurt Construction

Doorframes are positioned first and secured to the floor. Then the vertical latticework, which is constructed of thin strips of wood, is attached with brackets to the floor and door frames.

The circular structure is then adjusted to make sure that the walls are the same height all around. A tension cable is strung around the top of the latticework. You can accomplish this with 2-3 people helping with some supports. Or you can use scaffolding to keep the various parts in position without falling over.

With the latticework connected to the floor, it’s time for the roof.

Using the latticework, the central ring is held in position. This is done by fitting rafters from the top of the latticework to the sides of the ring. The ring is then held in place via the tension created by the rafters pushing against it and the force of gravity pushing down on the rafters.

Roof of a yurt

Putting Up the Roof

At least one person stands on the central scaffolding and one person positions the rafters, one by one on top of the latticework, feeding the other end to the person on the scaffolding. Additional people can speed up this process and help with larger pieces of timber. 

Yurts of America are known for their high-quality craftsmanship. They use only furniture-grade lumber in their kits, which can weigh a bit more than cheaper alternatives.

The rafters are then secured to the ring and the latticework. This is so it cannot move and the doors are then hung on the doorframes.

Vertical studs are fitted between the floor and the bottom edge of each rafter. These are secured against the latticework, providing additional rigidity and strength to the roof and the walls. This is important if you require additional load-carrying capacity for your roof in the case of areas with high snowfall.

The entire upper section

Insulation and Ventilation

The first layer of insulated roof covering is laid over the roof beams and secured in place. This leaves a hole in the middle of the roof. A second layer, consisting of foil insulation, is placed over the roof. It is secured in place to help prevent heat from escaping through the roof.

Then the third layer of roofing material is placed on top, making up the 3-layer roof. This process goes a lot faster if you have plenty of helpers, especially on larger yurts.

Then insulation panels are then attached to the walls followed by a thick canvas or vinyl layer.

A clear dome skylight is then hoisted into position over the hole in the center of the roof. This is secured in place to make a watertight fitting through which light and air can pass. 

The skylight can either be fitted with or without an opener.

If the yurt is erected in a hot climate, an opening dome skylight will offer is definitely worth the extra cost. 

Due to the problems experienced with humidity in very cold and wet climates, airflow can be a problem. This can be resolved through the use of an opening dome skylight. This is combined with a central heat source such as a wood stove.

A yurt in the snow

Final Touches to the Exterior

Finally, the roof covering is then folded down over the top of the sidewalls and secured in place. This provides a weatherproof roof that sheds water and snow. It also provides a barrier for heat either entering during the summer or from escaping during the winter.

The interior fit-out can take a few days or many weeks, depending on what you require. 

Some ultra-luxurious yurts require custom fittings and furniture. So the length of time and number of people required to finish the job can and will vary based on your needs.

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