How to set up a yurt kit, part 2

 Posted by at 6:35 pm  Yurt Yak
Aug 272010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Uh huh…you didn’t believe me at the end of “Setting Up The Kit, Part 1” when I told you part 2 would come within a week, did you?  I heard y’all talkin’…

“Within a week?  Yeah…riiigggghht!  It took him two months to start the kit raising section after leaving us hanging when we read the platform construction post.

“A week?  By July if we are lucky…REAL lucky.”

Psssttt…guess what folks…it ain’t July yet…not even close, so there!

When we last talked, your yurt was to this point…

The artsy “Cabin in the Woods” shot…

…and the clearer “construction site” view.

Now let’s move along, shall we?  After all…I’ve been telling you folks it takes 3 people 3 days to put up a 30 foot Pacific Yurt kit…we can’t be wasting time.

Editor’s note (editor…hmm…I like that title.  It’s better than dumb redneck):  I was a bit slack in taking pictures on the following parts of kit erection…but I have an excuse.  Actually, 2 of them.

First, this part goes pretty fast, and the closer I got to having the kit up the exciteder (that IS a word, isn’t it?) I got…and the less I remembered to take pictures.

Second, when I was building the yurt I didn’t know I was going to be blogging about it.  Pictures were taken to please me…not readers I didn’t know I was going to have.

With that said, there are enough pictures to let prospective yurt-ers know how it goes up in general, and when (when, not if) you get your yurt there will be a very complete instruction manual.

At least there will be if you buy a Pacific Yurt.  I dunno about other companies…I would only do business with Pacific.

Now…where were we?

Oh yeah…we had the walls, doors, center ring, and rafters done and were ready to put the roof on.

Your roof may be either 1 layer or 3 layers.  If you live in a warm climate, or have masochistic tendencies and love the pain of being cold, and do not get the insulation package, you will have one layer…the top cover material itself.

However, if you live in a cooler or cold climate and get the insulation package, your roof will be 3 layers…the top cover itself, then below that is the insulation, and below the insulation is a liner that is off white to hide the appearance of the insulation.

If you have the insulation package, all three steps apply.  If you don’t, go to step three.

If you are narcissistic, throw the liner away.  The insulation is lined on both sides with heat reflective foil and you’d have a sorta-mirror for your ceiling and could always just look up to look at yourself.


Step one of installing the roof is both the easiest and it CAN be the hardest…if it is windy.

The liner is a very lightweight piece of material, so it is easy to get it on the roof and unroll it…on a nice day.  On a windy day the light weight will work against you because the weight, or rather the lack of weight, will turn your roof liner into a sail in even a breeze.  I put the liner on my yurt three times before I could get to the next step.

Because of the light weight of this liner, and the light weight of the next layer, the insulation, I’d strongly suggest you plan your yurt erection for the three days I spoke of earlier, and start the roof first thing in the morning of the second day.  The roof should only take 3-4 hours, but if there are problems, and it takes longer, you have time to finish…and you really REALLY want to finish in one day.  It would be a bad day to get the liner and insulation on one day, and have to come back the second day to install the top cover…only to find your insulation on the next property over and your liner in the next county over because of a good stiff wind.  Remember, it’s the weight of the top cover that is a lot of what holds the whole roofing system on.

After installing the insulation, take a short break…and you might consider an energy drink, or a can of spinach if your name is Popeye…because you are going to need it!

You are about to do the single hardest…physically hardest…part of putting up your yurt kit…installing the top cover.  That sucker is HEAVY!

There are two ways to install the top cover, in my opinion.  First there is the way Pacific Yurts recommends…which I did.  Knowing what I do now, having installed a top cover for a 30 ft yurt, I would do it differently, at least for the larger yurts.

The Pacific Yurts installation manual tells you to take the top cover out of the bag, untie the bundling straps, and implies that the resulting bundle of top cover be lifted to the top of the scaffolding, out through the center ring, then unfolding the top cover while it is on the roof according to the directions.

I did that and I’ll never do it again.

I’ll probably never do one again anyway.  I plan for my yurt to be my home as long as I live…and the roof material is durable enough to outlive me…

Anyway, if I DID do another, helping a friend or something, first I’d sweep the platform well, and check for any exposed nails or sharp edges that might tear/cut the roof material.  It is tough stuff, especially the heavy-duty top cover (which I recommend), but it is not indestructible.

Next, take the top cover out of its bag and unroll it.

Note: You will have three pieces of top cover material…the cover itself, the bag it comes in that is the same material in the same color, and the circle of material cut from your top cover for the hole for the dome.  Save these…they are an excellent source of patching material if you ever need it…and the stuff is pricy if you have to buy it.

How do I know?  Read the blog sections “Yurt-1, Pine Tree-0”, and “Yurt-1, Pine Tree-0,  part 2” to find out.

You will have a hunk (another highly technical construction term) of material that is folded into a rough triangle, about 1 foot or so wide at one end, 3-4 feet wide at the other end, and about 15 feet long.  Once unrolled to this point, DO NOT unfold it further until it is on the roof and stretched from the dome opening to over the door.

With one person on the platform, 2 people on the halfway point up the scaffolding, and another person at the top of the scaffolding, you are ready to begin.  Take the wide end of the triangle of top cover and hand it from the ground person to the people halfway up, who pushes it to the person on top, and who pushes it out the dome hole, letting the wide end slide down the rafters toward the door.  Keep pulling/pushing the top cover snake until the wide end of the triangle is right at the door and the narrow end is at the edge of the dome hole.

You can quit cussing me right now!!! I didn’t talk you into buying a yurt and having to install that top cover…you did that yourself.  Besides, you have just done the only truly hard thing involved in erecting the whole yurt…and it only took what?…a half hour?

What are you complaining about?  Hush up and have a glass of iced tea and rest a bit, then we’ll start back.

Now you unfold the top cover outward in each direction, keeping it centered on a line from the dome hole to the center of the door.  When you are done you will have the top cover covering half of your yurt.  Next, tie a rope through a grommet hole in the top cover directly over the door, and throw the extra rope over the yurt so it falls all the way to the ground 180 degrees from the door.

Now it’s time to play pirate…you know…heave, ho…heave, ho…heave, ho…and pull the half of the top cover the rope is tied to over the top of the yurt so the roof is completely covered.

OK…as I’ve said earlier, this yurt set up section of is for information on what you are getting into if you buy a yurt…if you buy a yurt the actual set-up manual should be followed, but…one of the details on the set-up is so funny I have to mention it here…

Guess what holds the roof on your yurt?  If you are a guy, you know that drawstring that holds your bathing suit on, that keeps your suit up from around your knees?  THAT is what holds the roof on your yurt…a drawstring sewn into the edge of the top cover that draws tight cinching the edge of the roof under the ends of the rafters.

Maybe it’s just me…after all I do self-describe myself as weird…but I find it hilarious that the whole roof system is held on with a bathing suit drawstring…and it works!

All right!!!  Roof is on…we almost have a yurt!

Next is the insulation package…you know, that silver, foil looking bundle on the same pallet as the top cover was?

Unbundle the insulation and you will find, several insulation panels (the actual number depends on the yurt size, the number of windows, and the number of doors and convenience panels.  In my case, with a 30 foot yurt, 2 doors, 4 windows, and a convenience panel, there were, I believe, 13 insulation panels.  The panels will be numbered and there will be a diagram showing which number goes where.

There are grommet holes every foot or so along the top edge of the insulation panels.  Using the supplied plastic wire ties, hang the insulation in its APPROXAMATE final location leaving the ties loose to allow for final adjustment after installing the top cover.

All right…if you have erected your yurt like I work on cars, you have a lot of random parts left…which is not a good thing.

Yurt will fall down, go BOOM!…on your head.

If, on the other hand, you have followed the directions, here and in the instruction manual that comes with the yurt, about all you have left is 1 or 2 steel cables (depending on whether you got a wind kit) and a bagged bundle of material that is your side cover.  In that bag is the same number of pieces of material as you had lattice wall sections.

Note:  Like the top cover, the bag holding the side cover is the same material in the same color as the side cover itself, and you need to save it in case you ever need a patch.

Note 2:  It’s impossible to control the weather, but, if possible, install the side cover on a warm…hot day when it is nice and sunny.  The side cover material, like anything else, will stretch and expand in the heat and shrink in the cold.  If you install it snugly on a hot day, the cooler it is later the smoother it will stay as cooler temperatures make the material shrink and tighten, but if you install it on a cool or cold day, it will sag and wrinkle when the weather is hot and you will find yourself going back and tightening things up.

The side cover has twist-lock connectors every foot or so along the top edge, and a row of grommets similarly spaced along the other edge…twist locks along the top, and grommets along the bottom.

Install the side cover sections from doorframe to door frame, just as you did the wall sections.  The side cover hangs from the twist locks attached to a cord sewn into the top cover.

Yes…THAT cord…the bathing suit drawstring that holds the top cover on…LOL.

When you are attaching the side cover twist locks to the cord, pull the material laterally very snugly so you will not leave wrinkles and so there will be no gaps to allow wind to enter the yurt.  Don’t yank and pull hard…just really snug.

Next, attach the ends of the side cover sections to the door frames as shown in the Pacific Yurts manual.

Finally, snug the side cover along the bottom edge, securing it to the drip edge on the edge of the platform with the included screws through the grommet holes into the drip edge.

When you are securing the bottom, you want it snug to prevent wrinkles and air infiltration, but you CAN overdo it.  Pull the side cover DOWN tightly, pulling the material taut, but when you pull it laterally pull it snug, but don’t pull real hard.  If you do you will get “creep”, pulling the bottom further and further from vertical to the side you are pulling toward…and you will wind up with a few inches more material at the bottom than at the top…and you will also get wrinkles.

With the side cover installed completely, go back and adjust the insulation laterally so the window openings in the side cover and in the insulation panels line up, and tighten up the wire ties that secure the insulation to the steel cable.

Whooohooo!!!  One more thing to do and we’ll have a yurt!  (Current Pacific Yurt owners and Pacific Yurt employees…shush!  I’m including the snow/wind kit studs in my next post…”Interior Finish”, since they ARE on the interior.  Gotta leave something to get folks to come back to…right?)

Now you have either 1 steel cable left (if you did not get the snow/wind kit) or 2 steel cables if you DO have the snow/wind kit.  If you looked closely at your rafters you will have seen some small holes through them.  The steel cable(s) are woven through these holes, and for the snow wind kit the 2 cables are woven in a VERY SPECIFIC PATTERN so pay attention.  These cables will go all the way around the yurt ceiling and the end will attach to the starting end with a cable clamp.

Now I want you to go outside and walk about 30 or so feet away from your yurt and turn slowly around.  Go on…I’ll wait.

What you are now looking at is your finished yurt kit.  You still have the interior, porches, decks, etc to go…but your yurt is up.  Feels really good, doesn’t it?

Now, stop for a second and think about what you have just done.  After getting your platform ready for your kit, you and 2-3 friends have, in about 3 days, erected a 706 square foot house, completely dried it in with a complete roof system, all siding (side cover), doors, and windows completely installed, and done it with a hammer, pry bar, Phillips head screwdriver, and a pair of pliers.

How cool is that?

A few finishing notes:

  1. 1. I promote yurts in general and Pacific Yurts specifically, hard.  Real hard.  Pacific Yurts doesn’t pay me to do this, and you will note there are no Pacific Yurts advertisements on

I promote Pacific Yurts because I believe in them as a company, I believe in their product, their pricing is very reasonable, and their customer service, from both the information and the pleasantness standpoint, simply cannot be beat.  They are the best company I have ever done business with for ANY product, hands down, period.

While there currently are no ads on, there may be in the future.  An ad is just that…a paid ad, usually placed by an internet advertising company within parameters set by the site owner.  I may or may not own or use something in an ad, but…

If I promote something in an article, as I do Pacific Yurts, I own it, I use it,  and I believe in it.  I’ll tell you everything I can about it…the bad along with the good.

  1. 2. Over the next 6 months or so I’ll be partially disassembling my yurt so I can re-do some pictures.  When I have the graphics right, I’ll be producing a CD that will cover everything you have read so far, and will read regarding interiors and systems, on  It will have detailed diagrams for things like radiant floor heat and plumbing systems.  It will have internet suppliers I have used and are happy with…and warnings about companies I have found lacking.

In the comment section below, tell me if you would be interested in such a CD (no commitment, just interest) and what you would like to see on it.  The anticipated cost will be about $15.00.

  1. 3. Finally, as usual, my regular request.  There is a comment section at the bottom of every post…please use it.  Leave comments, questions, and criticisms.  I cannot make a better, more informative blog, on yurts or any other topic we cover here, without your input., on ALL topics, is a discussion, not a lecture.  Please share your thoughts.

Thanks folks…y’all are great.


All about Bob the nutjob!

Bob is a N Georgia blogger, homesteader, yurt liver, self-sufficiency nutjob, pig farmer, political activist, politician baiter...and the best damn cook you know that doesn't make a living at it.He can be followed onTwitter. You can also "Like" our Facebook page.

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