Yurtlife: How much does it really cost?
So you’re thinking about becoming a yurt dweller.
You’ve seen the social media posts, a rental on Hipcamp, or Airbnb, or maybe you’ve had the chance to see and stay in one yourself. Either way, you’ve got the bug, and it’s time to make this dream a reality. You may plan to use your yurt as a four-season home, part-time rental, or daytime recreational space. Either way, we’ve got the yurt for you.
At Living Intent, we have helped guide countless happy customers into their new yurtlife. From the dream of yurtopia to the planning, design, and installation, we’ve worked with minimalists, nature lovers, and seekers of all stripes who have come to call our yurts home.
The following is a list of essential features that yurts often require, along with the associated cost estimates. These estimates are based on average reports from our customers and our own extensive experience in the field. As always, do your research on local material cost, labor, and local zoning in your State and County limits.
First, let’s break down the price of our yurts themselves, including any additional features that we at Living Intent can offer as part of our yurt kits.
The two yurt models we currently offer are:
16’ - $6,000
20’ - $7,200
All of our yurts come standard with the following features;
Hand-Crafted Half-Light Cedar Door
Bamboo Lattice Walls & Compression Ring
Vinyl Covering (your choice of color)
2x Zip-Up Clear Vinyl and Screen Windows
Acrylic Dome & Crank Opener
In addition to our standard features, we also offer several in-house customizations and add-ons:
Additional Zip-Up Vinyl & Screen Window(s) : $350/window
Insulation Package : $1450 for our 16’ yurt & $1600 for our 20ft. yurt
Wind & Snow Load Package : $650
Additional Half-Light Cedar Door: $750
French Doors: $900
We highly recommend going with our insulation package as opposed to insulating yourself. We’ve worked hard to specially design our insulation packages to fit perfectly within the frame of our yurts, making it the most tight-fitting and practical option to keep you cool in the heat of summer, and warm and cozy all winter long.
Getting your Yurt
Depending on where you’re located, delivery and installation may be included in the base price. For local customers who fall within a 35-mile range of our shop in Grass Valley, CA, delivery and installation are free! This offer won’t last forever, but for now, we are more than happy to give our local customers the extra help they need to jump right into yurtlife!
For non-local customers, delivery and installation fees will vary. A typical delivery fee will start at $500. The cost of non-local deliveries will vary depending on the size of your order and are subject to change at the time of order.
For shipping, there are few base fees involved,
Crating fee: $200
Shipping: $500-$1500 This price varies based on your yurt’s size and your distance from our shop.
Beyond the Yurt
So far, we’ve broken down base-level cost, add-ons, and delivery options for a Living Intent Yurt. Beyond the yurt, there are several external costs to consider. The following cost estimates are from customer feedback and our personal experience.
The most important part of any yurt plan should always be the location and design of your deck. The deck is to a yurt what foundation is to the house, and making sure that you build a secure and robust deck will keep your yurt home safe and stable for years to come. We design our yurts to sit on raised, round platforms, which are the exact diameter of the yurt itself. There are several factors to consider when designing your deck, the most important being the location, elevation, insulation, and type of flooring. The following advice is anecdotal and is from both our own experiences building decks for our yurt-homes and from the experiences of many of our customers. As always, consult your local ordinances before building a deck of any kind.
At Living Intent, we typically use the stick-frame method of deck design. This is the standard design for building wooden decks of all shapes, and we find this method to be both cost-effective and attractive. Additionally, depending on your deck’s size and height, it will often not require permits to construct. There are some alternative deck construction methods to consider, but we’ll cover those in a later post.
We generally recommend using the stick frame design, set on concrete piers, and insulating your platform. There is an argument to be made for using poured concrete vs. premade footers for your deck, but at Living Intent, we typically see our customers setting their decks on the concrete footer’s premade style. One of the greatest things about yurtlife is its portability, and by using premade footers, you could effectively take down and move your entire deck and your yurt!
When making the transition to yurt life, space is often the most limiting factor. With this type of platform, you can create an ample and easily accessible storage space right below your deck! With the right layout and planning, a skilled carpenter can have a 16-20’ deck built in just a few short days.
If you choose to insulate your platform, we suggest a system that includes rigid foam or mylar insulation, “dead air” space or a pocket of air between boards, and a vapor barrier. Any insulation material you buy will include directions on how to use the “dead space” properly to maximize its insulative properties. This insulative layer will help repel moisture and undesirable temperatures from under your platform. Beyond insulating their floors, some folks in certain more extreme climates will integrate radiant heating into their floor plan. More on that later!
The most common style of flooring that our customers choose begins with a half-inch OSB plywood subfloor. These are sold in 4’x8’ sheets, costing about $25/piece and a vapor barrier, which usually costs about $30/roll.
Once you get beyond the subfloor, there are lots of options for how to finish your flooring. Deciding which choice is right for you will involve considering some variables, mainly price, longevity, and availability. From locally-sourced hardwood to tongue and groove vinyl, or maybe even flashy linoleum, there is sure to be an option for you.
Our customers’ most widely-used option is an affordable, click-together, vinyl product with a thin hardwood top layer. The installation process of this flooring type can be quite time-consuming, but the final product is gorgeous without breaking the bank. This type of vinyl flooring ranges in price from $.50-$3.00/sq.ft. At that rate, vinyl flooring overall ranges from,
16’ yurt: $400.00-$1600
20’ yurt: $600.00-$2000 yurt
To seal in your yurt from the outside, you’ll need to bridge the space between where the vinyl walls meet the floor. The best option for this is to use bender board, which as you can imagine, is a type of lumber that can bend smoothly around the shape of your yurt.
Bender board is a seal for your deck. The bender board will seal off the exposed edge of your decking, create a barrier for the lattice to push against, and provide the surface for your covering to be fastened to. For this component, you have several options:
Landscaping edging recycled plastic
Whichever material you choose, we suggest a flexible material which is at least 4” tall such that it can clear both the top and bottom of your decking material. This will cost $30-60 for the 50’ you will need for a 16’ deck.
A Living Intent ProTip: Make sure you install your flooring before applying your bender board, which runs the outer lip of your deck. This will allow for the use of a compass to cut your flooring into a circle.
Will you build this deck yourself or hire a professional contractor to do the job? Depending on your deck’s size and height, you may need to get a building permit from your county for your structure to be deemed legal. However, many counties allow decks under a certain size to be built without permits or building inspectors. Hiring a contractor is a safe way to ensure that your deck meets the standards of your local ordinances and ensures the longevity of your deck for many, many years to come. However, hiring a contractor will also drastically increase the total cost of your project,
Average cost for materials of a 16’ Platform +/- $1,400
Materials and a contractor +/- $4,500
All of the above costs are estimates based on our experience and what we hear from our customers. Deck costs can vary widely based on the types of materials (such as the thickness of your subfloor), whether you pour concrete or use precast footers, your choice of finish flooring, local contracting rates, and much more. As always, be sure to investigate all of the factors before starting any construction project.
Outside Your Yurt
Like we’ve talked about in a previous post, location is key when starting your yurt plan. The sun should be your primary consideration when choosing your yurt site. Solar Gain is the term for an increase in the internal temperature of your yurt, caused by solar radiation. In the winter months, you will rely on the sun’s heat throughout the day for many uses; to melt snow off your roof, charge any batteries you might have set up on solar panels, and most importantly, heat. To make your yurt comfortable in the summer months, you may look to site your yurt to mitigate hours of sunlight exposure. In particularly hot or sunny climates, we suggest an 80% shade cloth that can be stretched over your yurt and taken down.
Like we’ve said before, think, think, and think again before starting construction! How will the sun pass over your yurt roof? What is the shade coverage like? In which direction do storms typically approach? In what direction are the prevailing winds moving? How will your new structure relate to its surroundings? Might our Wind & Snow Load package be a good option? In future posts, we’ll go over more extensively the various factors that go into choosing the perfect location for your yurt. Proper site placement will help balance the harsh extremes of winter and the high heat of summer.
We hope this price breakdown gives you an even more precise idea of just what goes into planning, building, and yes, living in your yurt. While we’ve covered the bases in this post, we’ll be diving more thoroughly into additional costs and ideas in the future; from interior design, the potentials and pitfalls of plumbing and heating, and more. If you’ve got anything, you’d like us to feature specifically, reach out and drop us a comment or send us an email! We’d love to hear from you and be able to answer specific questions you might have.
Getting from the dream to reality can seem a daunting task. A lot goes into making the transition to yurtlife, but it’s essential to slow down and work out all the details before leaping into the unknown. Yurtlife is about going with the flow and enjoying the simple things, after all. We’ll leave you with these words from our shop manager, Alex.