How to Build a Yurt Step by Step [Materials, Cost, and DIY Kits!]

Are you tired of living in a box? Or maybe you’re sick of right-angled walls and low ceilings? Or maybe, you’re sick of your home to the point where you’re uttering get me out of here!

Well, imagine something different. Imagine a voluminous, elevated circular tent with a domed ceiling and a skylight at its pinnacle. 

Suppose you’re inside that tent, in your bed, stargazing while a wood-burning stove crackles away.

Instead of suffering the annoying limitations of your stuffy and cramped home, you bask in the total freedom of nature.

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Sounds perfect, right? 

And relaxing.

If your answer is YES, it’s time to learn how to build a yurt.

Let’s see how!

How to Build a Yurt

Yurts can be self-made or bought in kit form. A circular deck acts as the floor and securing base for a yurt, which comprises nine key interlocking components – a door, a circular lattice wall, rafters, a roof compression ring, a wall tension cable, insulation, cladding, lashing, and a dome

A yurt is a dome-shaped tent invented by nomadic Mongolian tribes over 2,500 years ago. Their ingenious design gives yurts the ability to withstand harsh weather conditions while keeping their occupants warm, comfortable, and well ventilated. 

To erect a yurt, you’ll need a set of woodworking tools. We recommend power tools for constructing an elevated circular wooden deck. Also – power tools are handy for connecting the various components of the yurt.

  • Depending on the size of the yurt, you can build the deck in a day or two
  • Erecting (aka raising) the yurt can take as little as two hours.
  • Building a yurt from scratch can take weeks.

We also recommend having a friend (or two) nearby when building your yurt. Every bit helps!

Read More –  Building an Off-Grid Cabin on a Budget! All in One Guide!

how to build a yurt
How to build a yurt – share it on Pinterest!

The Key Steps to Raising a Yurt

The method used to build and raise a yurt is tried and tested. Billions of times over! It does require muscle power, but it isn’t complicated. Here’s how we do it.

  1. Construct a platform or deck for the yurt.
  2. Secure the yurt doorframe to the deck.
  3. Expand the yurt lattice wall around the circumference of the platform and secure the wall-ends to the doorposts.
  4. Secure the base of the lattice wall to the platform.
  5. Weave the steel tension cable along the top of the lattice wall.
  6. With one or two people on ladders in the center of the platform, raise the compression ring. Insert the rafters into the ring and attach the lower ends to the tension cable.
  7. Tighten the cable.
  8. Clad the walls with the insulation and fabric and secure the sheets to the frame and platform with strapping.
  9. Cover the rafters with the roof insulation and fabric and lash them to the walls and platform.
  10. Install the dome.
  11. Hang the door in the doorframe.

The list above makes yurt-building look tremendously straightforward! But a lot can go wrong in a yurt-building project.

Note: Thorough research and planning are crucial for raising a sturdy, weatherproof, and legally compliant yurt.

To give you a solid point of departure for your first yurt-building adventure, let’s investigate more about yurt-building.

white yurt and beautiful mountain scenery
Yurts were essential components of early nomadic life! Nomads relied on animals for commerce, clothing, labor, and food. Yurts allowed nomads to travel and seek fresh forage, graze, and food for their animals. Yurts remain tremendously popular – even today. About half of the Mongolian population dwells within permanent ger (yurt) districts.

Want to Learn More? Let’s Brainstorm the Following Yurt Topics!

  1. Modern yurt designs and sizes.
  2. How much does building a yurt cost?
  3. How to construct a yurt for under $1,000?
  4. The legalities governing yurt dwellings.
  5. Build a deck for a yurt.
  6. Equip a yurt for comfortable living.  

We’ll also look more into our favorite DIY yurt kits.

How Are Modern Yurts Made?

Western yurts get raised on a wooden deck fitted with a staircase. Large doors and windows, steel screws and bolts, a steel tension cable, and an acrylic dome typify western yurt design. Vinyl is a popular cladding material, while aluminum-lined bubble wrap gets used for insulation. 

Commercial tent manufacturers who design and sell yurts in kit form dominate the yurt market in the west. 

Prefabricated yurts are available in several different sizes with myriad customization options.

The optimization of the tension-compression principle used in traditional yurts is a defining feature of a western yurt.

  • The yurt is held upright and stabilized by a steel tensioning cable that runs along the top of a one-piece lattice wall (essentially, a long wooden trellis extended into a circular shape).
  •  A wooden compression ring (crown) makes a hub for the wooden rafters
  • skirting lip (attached to the deck’s perimeter and rising a few inches above the deck surface) holds the wall base in place, preventing it from slipping off the deck.

The weight of the roof structure pushes against the restrained walls creating a sturdy framework for the heavy cladding material.

yurt exterior in the forest off grid camping
Yurts are circular dwellings with wooden or lattice structures and felt or cotton coverings. Many homesteaders don’t build their yurts from scratch. Modern yurt kits and DIY yurts with chic amenities and interiors are popular among homesteaders and campers from all over the world – including the USA, Canada, Europe, and beyond.

Best Cladding Material for Yurts? It’s Not Certain!

The choice of cladding material in western yurt circles is a hotly debated subject. For many yurt purists? Vinyl, bubble wrap, and tin foil are definite no-nos. They claim cotton canvas is the best cladding material, while felt remains the ideal insulation medium.    

 The arguments against vinyl are as follows.

  • Vinyl doesn’t breathe, resulting in excessive condensation buildup inside the yurt.
  • Vinyl is non-biodegradable.
  • Vinyl is highly flammable.
  • Vinyl is aesthetically unattractive.

But vinyl isn’t all bad! Some say that vinyl is excellent for yurts.

Those in defense of vinyl say the following.

  • Vinyl is 100% waterproof.
  • Vinyl is easy to clean.
  • Vinyl is durable.
  • Vinyl is available in different colors.
  • Vinyl yurt cladding is easily replaceable.
  • Vinyl is relatively cheap.

When it comes to western yurt sizes, there’s no argument. You have plenty of options. Typically, factory-produced yurts range from 12-feet to 50-feet in diameter.

Now let’s look at the prices and costs of building a yurt.  

beautiful yurt interior modern hardwood
The best feature of a yurt is that they’re easy and economical to build. Yurts also save time. Some yurt designs construct in as little as an hour! However, modern yurts with fancy hardwood chestnut or oak interiors and polished layouts may take weeks – or much longer to finalize.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Yurt?

The cost of building a yurt will depend on the size and materials. A DIY twelve-foot yurt can be made for under $1,000, while a premium 50-foot yurt kit can cost as much as $70,000! Deck-building costs can range from $50 for a DIY platform to $11,500 for a large, 50-foot-in-diameter deck.  

To give you an idea of what’s possible as far as yurt building costs are concerned, let’s look at what two leading commercial yurt kit manufacturers have to offer, both product and price-wise (before we look at a DIY yurt).

1. Yurta Yurts

Brilliant Yurt Design! - Mixing Tradition with Super Modern Construction

Yurta is a Canadian yurt manufacturing company with a unique pop-up yurt that stays true to the traditional Mongolian design using strictly organic materials. 

Yurta Has Two Yurt Options.

  • A 17-foot pop-up yurt with 6-foot walls @ $12,000
  • A 17-foot pop-up yurt with 7-foot walls @ $13,000

Standard features include a 10-ounce acrylic-coated polyester roof and wall, three large windows with built-in awnings, storm flaps and clear cold-weather window inserts, an operable 48-inch dome skylight and pole (with a built-in wind-kit), a solid cedar door, floor plans, and an owner’s manual with an installation guide video.

Optional extras include the following.

  • Four-season insulation packages using genuine wool felt with radiant film at around $4,000 and $4,500. 
  • Extra windows with insulation at around $450 each.
  • A chimney outlet. The cost is likely around $425.
  • A portable platform kit with leveling jacks, custom brackets, and deck design plans. With an estimated cost of around $1,250. (You supply the lumber and make the deck).
  • A birch panel floor @ $4,000.

Budget for $24,000, and you get a complete yurt package – deck, an ingenious easy-to-erect all-natural yurt, and insulation fit to handle the Canadian winters.

2. Rainer Outdoor

Rainier Outdoor | Yurt Manufacturing

Rainier Outdoor is an Oregon-based canvas tent manufacturing company with a history dating back to 1896. Their premium-class handcrafted yurts use natural and synthetic materials. Two yurt options from Rainier Outdoor will serve our costing exercise.

Rainer Outdoor – The Raven Yurt

The Raven Yurt with standard features includes the following.

  • Six sizes from 16-feet to 30-feet in diameter. 
  • A wall height of seven feet, four inches.
  • A one-piece wraparound wall with customized window placement.
  • 15-ounce laminated wall fabric, resistant to mold, mildew, UV rays, fire, and dirt.
  • Two-tone wall fabric with a choice of eight colors.
  • Safety rafter brackets.

The Raven’s base price is $9,630.

Rainer Outdoor – The Eagle Yurt

The Eagle Yurt with standard features includes the following.

  • Six sizes from 16-feet to 33-feet in diameter.
  • A wall height of seven feet four inches.
  • A clear ceramic dom.
  • 18-ounce fabric wall panels with a choice of 27 colors.
  • 19 – 28-ounce vinyl roof.
  • Support blocks to improve snow load resistance.

Base-model Eagle yurts range in price from $14,071 to $26,841.

Optional extras include the following.

  • Single and double insulation. 
  • Perimeter wall posts.
  • A steel center pole.
  • French doors.
  • Vinyl windows.
  • An insulated panel deck from $3,600 to $11,900.

With all the bells and whistles, an Eagle yurt will cost around $65,000.

Amazon has several yurt kits available, although they are tent yurts, rather than the traditional yurt form. Take a look at the kits here, which will set you back around $500-$800. There is also a list of them with photos below!

Read More –  15+ Small Porch Design Tips! Porch Decor on a Budget!

Can I Build a Yurt for Under $1,000?

We think so, yes. No doubt. A yurt is a simple structure based on ancient architectural principles that are easy to replicate at a low cost. Reclaimed and harvested timber can make the platform and frame of the yurt. Recycled canvas and vinyl clad the roof and walls of the yurt.

The essential ingredients for a DIY yurt costing under $1,000 include the following.

  1. A cheap platform ($100) – use reclaimed pallet wood and timber beams, posts, and boards from demolition yards. If you can harvest free lumber, all the better. Mount the platform on concrete footers. 
  2. A sturdy doorframe and door cost about $30. Make or use reclaimed items wherever possible to save serious cash.
  3. lattice wall ($120) – you can use gardening trellises or make one, which will take days.
  4. A steel tension cable with a tensioner ($25) – you can buy these at a hardware store.
  5. Several long thin rafter poles will cost about $120. Consider using dowel rods.
  6. roof ring (wooden: $40) – If you can’t produce a wooden roof ring, use a free scrap 21-inch motorcycle tire. Drill holes in the tire for the rafter poles and secure them with a wire band weaved through the tire and the rafters.
  7. Canvas ($200) which you can source wholesale. Seek waterproof cotton canvas from a tent manufacturer.
  8. An acrylic dome ($22) – use a pet porthole from Amazon.
  9. Insulation ($80) – use carpet underfelt sourced from a carpet wholesaler. 
  10. Rope ($50) – natural fiber rope looks better and works more effectively than nylon rope.
  11. Brackets and screws for cheap. ($60).
  12. sewing machine operator will save you lots of stress. ($150).

Expect a total cost of around $997.

You can also use tons of DIY yurt building kits. Many of them are around $1,000 or less.

We share our favorites below.

Best DIY Yurt Building Kits

We know that building a DIY yurt is a dream of many homesteaders spanning from Texas to New England!

That’s why we research the best DIY yurt kits nonstop.

We also assembled a list of the best DIY yurt kits for new homesteaders.

Whether you want to expand your homestead, lower your cost of living, or set up camp with the best yurt on the entire campground, we’ve got you covered.

These are our top picks.

  1. 5 Person Luxury Camping Yurt | Latourreg
  2. 5 Person Luxury Camping Yurt | Latourreg
    $549.00

    Want to turn your next camping trip into an epic glamping trip? Check out this beautiful four-meter bell tent yurt! The yurt accommodates four to five people. It can fit two queen-sized beds or one queen-size bed and two single-sized beds.

    It also has a chimney hole in the wall to help keep you cozy. The fabric is a waterproof Oxford cloth. The cloth is also sturdy, and it looks flawless. I also love the circular windows and mesh screen to keep bugs outside. Perfect.

    Get More Info

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    07/07/2022 03:29 am GMT
  3. Glamping Safari Tent Yurt | Latourreg
  4. Glamping Safari Tent Yurt | Latourreg
    $499.00

    Here's another chic and luxurious cotton yurt with a 13.1-foot diameter and a 98.4-inch top height. The inside of the yurt is surprisingly roomy and fits two queen size beds and four or five homesteaders. It's perfect for traveling, lawn use, visitors, camping, or mountain hiking. You can also roll the sidewalls for increased airflow.

    Get More Info

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    07/07/2022 12:31 am GMT
  5. Regatta Canvas Glamping Yurt Tent | WHITEDUCK
  6. Regatta Canvas Glamping Yurt Tent | WHITEDUCK
    $569.99

    We love this weather and a water-resistant yurt with army duck canvass. The yurt kit comes with three windows and four vents. It has heavy-duty zippers so you can gain entry without fuss.

    You also get a five-inch stove jack that's fire retardant so you can cook or stay warm. The seams of the yurt also have double-stitching with reinforced corners. It's sturdy and cozy.

    Get More Info

    We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    07/07/2022 08:20 am GMT
  7. 4 Season Camping Yurt-Style Tent | Glamcamp
  8. 4 Season Camping Yurt-Style Tent | Glamcamp
    $689.99

    Want a yurt for four to six people with plenty of door space and top height? What about a yurt that sets up in only twenty minutes? If so - here's our top pick.

    The yurt has a diameter of 13.1-feet and a door height of 98.4-inches. It also has a spacious 15.7-inch stove hole. The yurt's floor also has a neat zip-away foundation that helps celebrate outdoor events and parties.

    Get More Info

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    07/07/2022 03:57 am GMT
  9. 4 Season Glamping Yurt Tent | Happybuy
  10. 4 Season Glamping Yurt Tent | Happybuy
    $704.99

    Here's a four-season yurt with a thick PVC groundsheet that helps resist water, cold, and humidity. It's perfect for avoiding rainy weather and the chills of the mountain air. It's roomy enough for three to five homesteaders and only weighs 44 pounds.

    It has sturdy galvanized poles (steel), stakes, and a strong center pole. There's also a mesh door that's breathable and bite-proof.

    Get More Info

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    07/07/2022 01:52 am GMT
  11. Khan Glamping Yurt Tent | KingCamp
  12. Khan Glamping Yurt Tent | KingCamp
    $1,189.00

    If you want the ultimate yurt for off-grid glamping and homesteading lifestyle, the Khab glamping kit is our favorite. It has a massive diameter of 16.4-feet. The interior manages up to eight sleeping bags or three queen-size beds. The yurt also offers a fast and easy setup time of only 10 to 30 minutes.

    Get More Info

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    07/07/2022 03:04 am GMT
  13. Cotton Canvas Yurt Tent | Danchel Outdoor
  14. Cotton Canvas Yurt Tent | Danchel Outdoor
    $619.00

    This luxury yurt has a sturdy khaki fabric cover and resin door. The zippers are flexible and won't get stuck as you enter. The yurt isn't as big as other options - and only fits one to two homesteaders.

    The yurt also has two five-inch stoves and vents to help accommodate extension cords. The yurt is small but cozy - and can handle four-season weather. It also has four roof ports for airflow and excellent ventilation.

    Get More Info

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    07/06/2022 09:00 pm GMT
    Lasso Brag

Do Yurts Need a Permit?

It depends. Building codes for temporary structures like tents and yurts are region-specific. Generally, a yurt positioned on a deck for longer than six months classifies as a permanent structure requiring a permit. Consulting with the local building code authority before raising a yurt is advisable. 

Getting the skinny on the building codes of the area you’ll raise your yurt in will inform you of the requirements regarding:

  • Insulation materials.
  • Snow load resistance.
  • Water and sanitation.

The trick is to befriend a local counselor and impress them with the many environmental benefits a yurt offers.

How Do I Build a Deck for a Yurt?

To erect a yurt deck? Choose a level patch of land. Match the deck with the circumference of the yurt for a kit yurt. What about DIY yurts? For those – extend the foundational deck beyond the diameter of the yurt. Use concrete footers as a foundation for a post and bearer sub-frame with plywood or planks as decking material. 

Once you have the dimensions of your yurt, you can either commission a professional deck builder or make a DIY yurt platform.

Remember – yurts need good ventilation in humid climates. Position your yurt platform away from forested areas for optimum airflow. 

Is an Off-Grid Yurt Comfortable?

Potentially, yes! An off-grid yurt can be heated using a wood-burning stove, which also helps cook meals. Consider kitchen appliances such as propane fridges, stoves, and ovens. Bathroom amenities include a composting toilet and a bath/shower. A solar system can provide hot water and electricity for a small yurt. 

It doesn’t matter where you choose to raise your yurt or what the naysayers say!

Remember that people have lived in them for millennia. 

Follow your creative instincts, and you will make your yurt as comfortable as any suburban house, but with a lot more charm and romance. 

Read More –  Watch Us Build an Epic Off-Grid Cabin for Guests!

Conclusion

When it comes to finding the best yurt for your life under a dome, your options are multifold – in kit forms and custom DIY. You can go the traditional route with a natural cotton canvas yurt or opt for a low-maintenance vinyl yurt. Either way, once you’re inside your yurt? You instantly morph into another world. Let your imagination fly – And don’t be afraid of the transition!

If you have questions about DIY yurt and off-grid living, please ask.

Thanks so much for reading.

Have a great day!

Sources and Works Cited:

Wikipedia – Yurts

How to Build a Yurt – Bob Vila

Rainer Outdoor – True Cost of Yurts

Rainer Outdoor – Yurts 101

Yurts.com – Main Yurt Blog

Building a Yurt Platform

LivingInTentYurts.com

Framing Yurt Decks

How Much Does Yurt Life Really Cost?

Concrete Blocks for Decks

Wood Stove Installations for Yurts

Building a Yurt, the Easy Way!

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