Don’t have time to watch the entire video? Subscribe to our PODCAST and LISTEN while you drive, jog, or feed the chickens!
Imagine if you could build your off-grid home in just a weekend?
How quickly could you be homesteading if your home only took a couple of days to build?
This is one of the HUGE Pros to living in a Yurt! They go up so quickly!
But nothing is perfect.
In this episode of the Homesteady Podcast we interviewed Paul from Nomad Shelter all about the pros and cons of the yurt are. The following are all the Pros and Cons Paul shared with us…
During the con section… we do cover Bears! so stay tuned for that…
Pros of the Yurt
1. Less Money to Build
Probably the biggest Pro of the Yurt is how much money you can save building a yurt compared to a traditional home. The amount of home that you get for the material and the cost input that you have to spend, it’s significantly less expensive than a modern stick frame home. You’re skipping a lot of difficult technical steps that require a lot of tools, usually professional labor, in more remote places which is where Yurts generally end up. When you hire a construction crew you know you’re paying top dollar for someone. When you start penciling up what a nice structure a yurt can be versus the cost input on a traditional home, it’s really night and day for a lot of folks.
2. Lower Maintenance
I think another really great Pro is that Yurts are low maintenance structures. In tough conditions where you’re getting a lot of snow over the winter and gutters that want to rip off your house, and roofs that need to be replaced, the list is actually surprisingly long. You don’t think about it when you purchase or build a regular stick frame house especially because when you do, it’s brand new, but over the years that modern style of construction gives you a building that degrades constantly. The beauty of the Yurt is the outer structure of it is very simple. There’s no eaves, no gutters, very little exterior maintenance to keep up with. It will generally take care of itself year after year. You free up all that additional input of time and money that you normally would have to put into a house that again continues to save you down the road and let you live a life built around yourself, not just constantly pouring your energy into a structure.
I consider this to be a big Pro of the Yurt. I know it depends on what you’re doing and the kind of build, but the element of portability. Yurts can be quite portable. It is a structure that can be taken back down without damage, and set back up again. You can actually take it back down, carry the components by hand through the forest up a trail if you wanted to, and then set it back up in another spot. We have we have a lot of people who will plan on living in the Yurt for three or four years and then want to build a bigger structure after they’ve had time to save up their money because they’re no longer wasting everything on rent and then they plan on building a bigger house. They can put the Yurt where they want with the nice view and then go ahead and move it three or four years down the road off to the side.
3. Great Resale Value
There is the side benefit of being portable, if you’re in a position where things in the end didn’t work out you can take it back down and sell the Yurt to someone else. Resale value on Yurts is fantastic, you’ll generally get almost all your money out of. If you build a traditional house you cannot take that house back down, if you drop 300 Grand into a building the only way you can get that money back is to sell the property it’s sitting on. But if you spend thirty thousand dollars on a Yurt and live in it for three years, given inflation and material costs going up, there’s a good chance three, four years from now you could turn around and sell that yurt for the same thirty thousand dollars that you paid for it. That’s a common thing, I’ve seen Yurts for sale that were purchased three years ago that are selling for more than what they originally paid for them. There’s a lot of demand for Yurts, they’re very popular and they don’t lose their value as fast as a lot of other things.
4. Less Taxes
A lot of times counties will tax you on the value of the structures on your property. For folks on a budget some localities may see a Yurt as a temporary structure and may not tax it, even as a house you may avoid those taxes entirely. Others are just going to see that and value it correspondingly less, if you put up a yurt that’s worth fifty thousand dollars instead of a house that’s worth $300,000 or $400,000 to build you know the value you’re going to be taxed on is much lower. You could be paying a fraction of of those property value taxes because you’re living in a yurt. That could be hundreds or thousands of dollars extra you’re putting in your pocket because you chose to do something with a lower impact.
5. Strength and Flexibility
While they may look to someone who doesn’t know any better like a tent that got put up, a Yurt is a very strong and flexible structure. Because of the roundness, and the fact that that the entire outer structure is so smooth, there’s no Eaves sticking out to grab the wind that rips your house apart in a hurricane, it does great against those kinds of forces. It’s part of part of what makes the Yurt do so well. Our basic structure is is good for 50 pounds of snow load per square foot on the roof. That could be several feet of snow. They’re also rated for roughly 100 miles an hour of wind which is a significant significant Windstorm.
6. Quicker to build
For anyone who’s on a tight time frame, a Yurt gives you the ability to raise your structure faster than most other structures. Plus, it could be a fun event! I’ll put in a caveat here, you can raise the yurt in a weekend if you’ve got your platform ready. The platform is an important piece of the project that usually is going to involve putting in some Foundation posts and building out a beam and post structure with a round deck on top of it. That does take some more work, better plan a couple more weekends for that at least. People will work on that ahead of time and get it ready, and then get the Yurt up in 1 weekend with friends. It can also be a real community building experience, like an old school Barn raising. The nice thing about putting up a yurt is more hands make it easier. If you’re trying to hire a bunch of rookies to come help you frame your house you’re going to go backwards, but a Yurt is going to come as a kit, so lots of hands makes it go up quicker. You can you can get a big barbecue going and before you know it your yurt’s up and people enjoy the experience. A lot of folks these days don’t have an opportunity to do things with their hands, we’re such an electronic Society right now, so to be able to spend the weekend with friends building something that you can look back on and remember, that’s just kind of a fun thing to be able to do with a Yurt.
7. Connection to Nature
The connection with nature that you get in a Yurt, that you don’t get in a stick frame structure, hearing the wind and the rain, you lose that connection with modern housing. Being able to look up through that Center Skylight and see the stars, or if you’re lucky in Alaska, see the Northern Lights right through the center of the top of your house, it’s pretty neat. There’s there’s definitely some emotional and livability aspects that are pretty neat about the Yurt.
What do you think so far?
Does it sound like something you’d like to live in? let us know in the comments below!
We’re about to cover a really big question… what about bears? and of course dive into all the other cons of the Yurt. But before we do, if this article has answered some questions you had about a yurt, consider sharing it on your favorite social media site! We would be so grateful!
Cons of the Yurt
1. Hard to Get a Loan
It’s not necessarily a con of a yurt, it’s a con with our regulatory system and our banking system… it’s difficult to get financing for a Yurt from a bank because they’re non-traditional. There are some ways that people can can get financing, it’s just more difficult.
2. Hard to Get Permits
Yurts can be a challenge to permit in some locations. In the city where your neighbors are all looking at you, that’s probably the toughest spot. You’re not going to fly under the radar there, the inspector is going to want to come out and do code inspections. Modern uniform building code is going to require a certain amount of insulation r value, Yurts generally aren’t going to hit that r value, they’re going to be below that due to the nature of their construction. It doesn’t mean that they can’t hold heat, you can heat them, it just means that there’s a certain number that the building industry wants you to hit and if you can’t do that you’re going to have trouble getting permits.
3. Harder to Control Temperature
When it comes to regulating temperature, there is a difference there versus a regular traditional house. The temperature is going to be more variable in a yurt. If you’ve got the yurt warm it’s going to cool down faster because the insulation is thinner. You’re going to have to run your heater more than you otherwise would. I’ll frequently tell people up in Alaska, wood heat is very common up here for folks, you know instead of burning three cords of wood over the winter you’re going to burn four because you’re going to have to stoke that stove more frequently. There’s an expense there you may end up spending hundreds of extra dollars over the year in heat and that’s that’s not nothing. A lot of people will weigh that out, and say “okay I’m going to spend hundreds of dollars a year more in heat expenses, maybe, even a thousand or more but I’m going to weigh that against having saved 250 000 in construction costs or 350 or more” and they realize it’s a no-brainer when they really think about the math. Now winter isn’t the only issue with temperature control. In the hot days of summer, humid days, is it harder to regulate. The Yurt gets a fair amount of airflow through it, it’s generally not a super airtight structure, you want to avoid a few things that makes things worse. Trying to tighten the yurt up too much can work against you in terms of not letting humidity escape. If you can get some airflow, crack that top vent up there to let air flow through the yurt and keep it breathing, that’s going to help keep that humidity down.Cons of the Yurt
Now, it’s not really a CON of the yurt, but we need to address it because a TON of people ask about this… BEARS!
Bears (and unfortunately, bad humans… vandalism, break-ins, yeah the Bears are not the only mammal on the face of the planet that likes to break into buildings unfortunately) If one of those guys comes along through the forest and finds your yurt and you’ve left bacon on the counter, what I tell people in our experience from you know years of years of talking to folks, is a determined bear can break into your Yurt the same way it’s going to break into any cabin. They’re gonna go through the front door. It doesn’t matter that it’s a yurt, it may as well be a 2000 square foot house, they’re going to walk up to the front door put their paws on it and lean and that’s all it takes. So no difference in a Yurt. So, reduce your food waste, don’t leave scraps in garbage where they can get to it, don’t train the bear that this is a food source, you know worst case scenario they’re gonna bust Your door in and and you’ll have to clean that up. If you’re in a really bad spot then you’d want to invest in an electric fence, they’re very very effective, bears do not like to get zapped, and they’re quick learners.
If you’re interested in Yurts, You can get a hold of nomad shelters through their website. They have a great build calculator on there so you can go on and price out your Yurt, choose your options, do quick comparisons about how big a Yurt you want, what is it going to cost, that’s a great place to start!
In the rest of our interview, Paul went on to share the entire build process, start to finish, and shared some awesome advice on putting up a platform that was easy for a DIYer and involved ZERO concrete which is great for keeping the budget down! Homesteady Pioneers have access to the full-length episode in the Pioneer Library. Become a Pioneer HERE to gain access to that full length, commercial free version of this interview and ALL our interviews!