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A brief blog on building and living in a yurt.

Yurt Foundation
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After working exhaustively with the building department, plans were approved and I started to get to work. Actually, I started spending gross amounts of money to have other people start work. Although I was the official general contractor, I worked very closely with my framer who helped me understand the steps along the way and I took care of all the babysitting/haranguing of subcontractors. Whenever I could, I would do it myself, but unfortunately, that wasn’t until much later in the process.

My first fatal move was my framer told me I couldn’t pour a round foundation so I had to raise everything up on a framed foundation. Bad idea - if I were to do this again (which I doubt) then I would definitely put this on a poured foundation at ground level.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I needed to bring in all the utilities to the building site. And I don’t care whether you’re building a yurt or mansion, this all has to be done, and it’s expensive. This consisted of water lines up from the well, upgraded electric service, running electric up from the pole, sewer going back to the tank. And while we were at it, it turns out my septic tank wasn’t up to code because it was never permitted. I had to have part of it dug up and re-done to today’s code. What’s another few grand down the, uh, drain.

Colorado doesn’t allow gray water systems and this is really unfortunate. Given that we have very little rainfall it would be really nice to use gray water for gardening but no such luck.

Since I was going down the path of a raised foundation, I had to post posts in for the framing. Then I decided since I have to get to each of the windows, I needed a deck to go around each yurt. I got carried away and designed such a deck, with a little outdoor styling. As it turns out, I never open the windows, I open the doors and skylight if I need it cooler. And besides from fastening the windows (See Yurt Tips on Wind), I haven’t needed to get around to all of the windows. So having this extravagant deck wasn’t necessary nor in the budget. However, I didn’t realize all of this at the time, so I planned for it, and had 72 piers put in for the foundation. Why so many? Because the yurts needed to be on separate levels from the decking.

I also learned that you should have your property leveled first before paying several thousand for the survey markers. Another oops, and wow, I’m learning a lot and paying for it too!

It gave the framers a headache, but they made it. All the beams were cantilevered off of a octagonal (hexagonal for the yurtlet) base. The octagon/hexagon was then closed in with plywood. I had only the yurt foundations framed to start and built a much smaller deck later.

 

After some more plywood, to round out the edge and create the floor, we put radiant tubing down and called for the concrete truck.

I had the concrete coming on Wednesday before Labor Day weekend. I was going to tile the floor over the long weekend then the following weekend I had several friends lined up for the yurt raising.

The day the concrete truck was to show, I spoke to my contact at the company and he happened to mention that my “finishing crew” should be there as soon as the truck arrived. I had no idea what a finishing crew was. I thought they were going to spread it around and level it! Because I had so many things lined up to be done before my yurt raising, I had to have the concrete poured that day. In a panic, I called my builder and he didn’t know anyone. I must’ve sounded pathetic because he called me back and said he, his son, and other builder would come up and do it. We worked until 10:30 that night knee-deep in concrete to get it finished!

Finally something I could do! I tiled day and night all labor day weekend to be ready for the following weekend’s yurt raising. My fingers bled from placing the tiles and my knees were ruined, but it was ready! I grouted the edges where the lattice would go but had to leave the rest of the grouting until after the yurt was up.

Ready for yurt raising!

 
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