We are often asked ‘how long will our yurts last?’
The Mongolian men have a saying ‘A yurt should last as long as a marriage’ – This means that if you treat her well, she will be with you until an old age, treat her badly and she will be gone in no time. Important factors such as the yurts location and type of usage makes it difficult to give a simple answer.
Here are a few tips that will help you get the most from your yurt.
- Whilst we don’t recommend, many of us choose to live in the yurt all year around. This is possible in our yurts with a little effort. The UK weather has become increasingly challenging in recent years, however, if you are careful to keep your yurt dry and ventilated in the wettest of weathers, there is no reason why you cannot. To do this, you need to invest in an efficient heat source to dry out your yurt as necessary, such as an efficient wood burner and/or oil heater. A yurt that is left neglected during wet conditions will not last very long. For minimum maintenance, we recommend taking down your yurt during the winter months and storing in a dry place. This should also give you a chance to clean and reproof the canvas as required.
- If your yurt is to be kept up for long periods, it is essential to make a strong and level base to put it on. This will raise your yurt above ground level preventing any damp problems by allowing air to circulate beneath the yurt and helping rainwater to easily run off. Larger yurts (over 7m diameter) should ideally be placed on a concrete plinth. All other yurts require a simple timber decking base. We recommend using 5” x 2” (50mm x 125mm) treated timber supports with a 1” (30mm) thick planking/decking for the surface. Being above ground level also helps the yurt to hold its heat more efficiently, saving on heating costs.
- When setting out the yurt consider the environment in which you will place it. If there are prevailing winds, try to have the door facing away from the wind, as this is the least insulated part of the structure. Also, consider the sun direction, when do you want the optimum light in the yurt? Try not to situate the yurt in areas where airflow may be stagnant, such as a heavily wooded forest. Ideally, your environment should have good airflow and receive at least some direct sunlight. This will help the yurt dry out quickly after heavy rains. It is worth noting, placing a yurt under trees or foliage, means you will be forever cleaning off leaf debris, not to mention bird droppings!
- Always use the waterproof groundsheet that we provide with our yurts, even if you do have a suitable level platform. Our groundsheet curves up at the perimeter to protect the felt and wood trellis from water penetration. Fold the groundsheet in between the canvas outer layer and the felt lining. For yurts that are permanently situated, we recommend fastening the raised edge of the groundsheet to the wall trellis using pins or nails. This will further prevent any drafts.
- To clean your yurt canvas, we recommend just spot cleaning as required. Use a soft brush with a mild soap detergent,i.e. Daz washing powder. Then use warm water to rinse off any excess soap. Then dry off with a towel. The canvas we use can be cleaned and even re-proofed after several years of use.
- The wooden frames should last many years but they need a coat of oil probably every year depending on the weather and how it’s used. We have tested a variety of oils over the years. The most effective and simplest to apply is boiled linseed oil or Danish oil. This also hides any scratches on the framework. Work the oil in well using a rag.
- Many customers will use a wood burning stove to provide their heat /cooking. We recommend placing any stoves in the centre of the yurt. This is the traditional way. It will allow maximum heat efficiency and is generally the most practical option as the crown wheel above has plenty of gaps to accommodate a flue chimney, we even provide a ‘flue hole flap’ in our crown caps. In smaller yurts, where space is limited, the stove can be placed to the side of the yurt. In order to accommodate a side flue chimney, you will need to first put up the yurt, ensuring you have left out a roof rafter or two roughly where you will place the stove. To provide a gap large enough to allow the flue pipe. Then cut a hole through the felt canvas/felt. Once the flue is in position, is important that a watertight flue collar is fastened around the hole. To prevent both heat transfer and any water penetration. Heat resistant sealant can also be used for additional waterproofing around the hole. Your stove supplier will be able to advise you on exactly what is required for your particular yurt space. See our Useful Links webpage for a list of recommending stove makers who understand your requirements.
- Remember it is important to USE your yurt if you leaving it up, especially in the winter months. Regularly heating the yurt will allow it to stay dry and comfortable within. This will also ensure the canvas, and materials, last much longer as well as prevent any stale odours within the yurt. Opening the door and crown cover regularly, will also allow air to circulate within.
- When storing the yurt, the lattice walls (Khana) are best stored flat, with the curved side up. The roof poles should also be tied up together and stored lying down. Ensure all painted parts are packed in such a way that they will not be scratched or dented.
- In order to avoid rain water comes in from the top of the yurt, make sure to centralise a roof cap and set up four hocks on the ground for fasten the horse hair straps. However during windy and raining days, roof cap should be shifted towards the wind direction, to keep the yurt water tight from top of the yurt. You may find that the roof cap straps may need to be fastened from time to time.
- Yurts are designed for the area where the wind speed is less than scale 7 – 38mph. In order to make your yurt last longer, we would recommend taking down your yurt or cover/ strap it down properly before storm comes, unless if you have tall fences or hedge trees in the area to screen the storms. We are not liable for any consequences if you insist to use your yurt in the above situations.
- A water proofing product that is very easy to apply is Fabsil. It is silicone-based proofer, which is the same principle as how our yurt canvas is treated. Apply every year as necessary. It can be brushed on. Make sure you do this on a dry day to allow sufficient time for the product to dry out.
- Mould is a common problem when a yurt wooden structure is left damp for long periods. To prevent this happening to your yurt, we recommend spraying NeverGreen™ to your yurt. This product can be used on anything including wood and fabric. It protects surfaces against mould mildew and fungal attack.
- We also supply replacement parts for our customers. We can have any parts made to order, and put in our next shipment for you. Please contact us for a quote.
If you have any further questions regarding looking after your yurt why not give us a call or send an email, we are available every day and are always glad to help (see our ‘contact us‘ website page).