Frequently Asked Questions
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What is the life span of an Authentic Mongolian yurt and is there a warranty?
Mongolians say it will last up to 100 years. On our side, we do our very best to select quality materials for our yurts allowing them to adapt efficiently to the more humid North American climates. With a little care, the wood structure and felt insulation will last dozens of years. Should you have any trouble with the outside canvas cover after a few years, please call us as these are items we carry in stock and offer replacements at very affordable prices.
Our yurts are all handmade and do not come with a warranty as such. Although we care to source the best possible quality materials for our yurts, we cannot guarantee what, how and where they will be used. However, we are always available for advice, spare parts, or questions in the event of a problem or concern.
The outside canvas cover is the most likely part of the yurt to age, especially in more humid climates. We offer a 10 year “at cost” warranty on all our outside canvas covers. Even if you had to change it twice during the life of your yurt, it would still be far less expensive than any other covering on the market. Our canvas outside covers provide a healthier alternative to other fabrics like vinyl, for example!
Do your yurts resist strong winds and snow loads?
Yurts have been developed in a country with an extreme climate. They are aerodynamic and resist the strongest winds, although they’re normally not anchored to the ground (Mongolians do not want to hurt the Earth). In case of extreme winds, Mongolians usually attach a big stone to the rope that hangs from the centre of the tonoo (central dome). You can use a ring bolted to your platform. Also, make sure that the yurt is “air proof” on the ground and that there’s no risk for the wind to rush from underneath the yurt. We have a lot of experience to share on the subject and you might find more info in our installation notice.
If the yurt is well installed, it should normally resist heavy snow loads. But for more safety, we advise our customers to regularly get rid of the snow on the roof. Should you leave the yurt unattended for a longer period and fear heavy snow falls, you can always place two additional central post under the tonoo at 6 and 12 o’clock on yurts up to 6 walls.
Are the yurts waterproof?
We actually sell yurts that are made of almost 100% natural material. Our cotton based canvas is of very good quality and is water resistant. In certain cases of prolonged rains or long lasting melting snow, you might experience some humid spots here and there. Although not always 100% natural, here are a few ways to adapt your yurt to extreme humid conditions:
- In general, we strongly recommend placing a layer of house wrap (We use Novawrap Aspire, but TYVEK drain wrap or WEATHERMATE PLUS do a good job) between the felt and the outside cover on the roof and walls. These house wraps are not organic, but TYVEK for example claims to be completely biodegradable. You can also purchase a house wrap directly with your new yurt.
- If you’re not using the above-mentioned wrapping and see humid spots after heavy rains, heat the yurt for 30 min with a good wood fire in the stove.
- Waterproof the seams (or even the whole outside cover) regularly, every year for example. Especially in cold winter climates, ventilation is crucial as excess of humidity can build up under the cold surface of the house wrap.
Are there windows in your yurts?
The toono (central dome) which is very wide in an authentic Mongolian yurt and brings natural light all around the yurt. In addition, we introduced a double window door frame (together with the main door) as a standard on all our yurts, allowing to close the yurt and have a view outside, without compromising too much the original Mongolian look. We leave it to the customer to add glass, plexiglass, screen or a combination of those or can supply these as an option. However, you can also order a certain amount of windows or additional doors, depending on the yurt’s diameter. Our tonoos (central domes) are all equipped on their front half with 4 window frames covered with a very basic clear vinyl cover (one of them having a hole for the stove pipe). The other half is usually covered with the urgh (top flap). For more light, you can very easily cover the rest of the tonoo with Lexan (high quaity Plexiglas). We sell clear vinyl top flaps as an alternative option for light and optimal rain protection of the tonoo.
We now offer bay windows for our yurts from a 4-wall (16ft) to a 12-wall (40ft) size. Our bay windows are sold in sections that are either fixed (do not open) or ones that do open. Up to 3 sections can be connected together to create a larger bay window. Only a limited number of sections can be added to a yurt. It is possible to install a bay window in an existing yurt.
Can one have electricity or running water in a yurt?
Everything is possible! The concept of an authentic Mongolian yurt is so flexible that it easily adapts to individual needs. All that is encouraged and required is that you respect the safety standards of construction!
What is a wall – I thought yurts were round?!
Our yurts ARE round! A wall is a lattice section that is unfolded like an accordion and connected to the next one in a circle to form the circumference of the yurt. The more sections (walls), the bigger the diameter of the yurt is. Traditionally in Mongolia, most of the yurts have 5 walls. We like to describe the size of the yurt in “walls” as the diameter can vary slightly.
Having fewer walls makes it easier to carry or transport, and most often is a stronger structure, having less connections.
Can you connect yurts together?
Yes it is possible to join two yurts together! While this can be a great option, it can offer some disadvantages as the structure becomes more complicated. This can have an impact on aerodynamics, increases the potential for water entry and increased heating requirements in colder climates. We currently do custom connections upon request only and hope to offer more options in the near future. It is also of course possible to do it yourself and we will be happy to send some suggestions!
Do the yurts need a lot of maintenance?
The yurt, as any other building, doesn’t like to be left alone too long and will last longer if it is used, breathed and / or heated. Other than that, there’s not much to do apart maybe of tightening the ropes from time to time or waterproofing the outside cover (at least the seems). Should you leave your yurt unattended for several months, we recommend to take it down (it is so easy to set it up) and store it in a dry place. Creating cross ventilation when the yurt is unused is crucial. We have acquired a healthy dose of experience caring for these special accommodations depending on which areas they’re used and will gladly share our knowledge with you. “Surprisingly” (the felt is made of 100% sheep wool), moths have never been a problem for the white felt we use is our yurts…
What type of platform should I use or can I install the yurt directly on the ground?
Regardless of whether you platform is made of wood, cement or hay, we recommend a circular 15-30 cm (6-12 inch) rim be build around the circumference of the yurt. This will allow for optimal water drainage and help to keep mice or other small animals from getting inside your yurt.
Several of our customers have installed their platforms on straw bales with a simple plywood cover. It’s easy, cheap, insulated and ecologic!
At Groovy Yurts we produce and sell excellent ready made platforms (made here in Canada). These platforms are insulated, easy to assemble and transportable.
Yes, you can install your yurt directly on the ground, as there is no anchorage required. You will however have to pay close attention and take care of water drainage underneath the yurt. If for example you install your yurt on a big tarp, then you must fold the extra part of the tarp outside the yurt underneath the outside cover. It is okay to install a yurt on the ground for a limited period, but we truly do not recommend doing so in humid areas or over longer periods of time.
You can certainly install your yurt virtually anywhere. However, we generally recommend areas that are somewhat open and encourage good air flow, allowing your yurt to breathe. Less ideal locations would include humid/damp areas, under a tree or in dense forests, or even up against other type bushes or structures that would disable healthy air circulation.
How long and how many people does it take to install a yurt?
This will depend on the size of the yurt. Generally for a 5-wall yurt it takes around half a day or in some cases a full day. If it is the first set-up, 3 to 4 people will be required. With a little bit of training one person can set-up in a couple hours.
The first time can be a little tricky even with our detailed installation instructions. If you purchase a groovy yurt, we recommend our set-up assistance service. We are professionals in the proper set-up of a yurt, and we want your yurt experience to have a wonderful start. Alternately, we have knowledgeable partners around the world, so let us know if you need help. We will do our best to find someone close to you.
Legislation varies from province to province, state to state and municipality to municipality. There is typically no specific ruling for yurts. Often they are considered a non permanent building and do not require a building permit. But that being said, other locals may ask that your yurt be declared a permanent building structure and a building permit may be required. Generally, it is better to present the yurt as a gazebo rather than a tent. If you are experiencing some difficulties with legislation please contact us. We will equip you with information you can use for presentation to your municipality.
What is the weight and volume of the yurt and what vehicle can I use to carry it?
Here is an overview of approximate values:
|# of walls||Weight||Volume|
|2 walls||150 kgs (320 lbs)||No|
|3 walls||220 kgs (485 lbs)||No|
|4 walls||340 kgs (750 lbs)||2 m3 (70 ft3)|
|5 walls||575 kgs (1268 lbs)||3 m3 (100 ft3)|
|6 walls||650 kgs (1433 lbs)||3-5 m3 (125 ft3)|
|7 walls||800 kgs (1750 lbs)||No|
|8 walls||1050 kgs (2315 lbs)||No|
Yurts up to 6-walls can be transported with almost any pick-up truck, or decent sized van. Of special note is the toono (top dome) in a 6 wall yurt. It is about 65 inches (1.6 m) in diameter. Yurts larger then 6 walls, will require far more space. For example, the toono of a 7-wall yurt measures over 7 feet diameter. We offer door to door delivery. Please contact us by e-mail or telephone for a delivery quote. Once or twice a year we organize a North American delivery tour offering great savings on delivery and set-up assistance. Check out our “shipping info” page under “Buying a Yurt” for more details.
Are Mongolian yurts 4 season? What about heating, stoves, pipes and fire?
Authentic Mongolian yurts (compared to any other yurts) are very well insulated and easy to heat in the winter. Still, they remain cool in the summer mainly due to the felt insulation and cotton based canvas that repels the outside sun and heat. A natural cooling air flow can the be created from the top widow simply by raising the side covers slightly. This millenary all natural air conditioning works extremely well but unfortunately as been forgotten in the more modern yurts!
We do sell original Mongolian stoves. Although very efficient, they should be considered strictly decorative. They do not meet standard safety regulations. A standard wood stove, pellet stove or slow combustion stove will do the job, as well as a small electrical or propane unit.
Yurts are well insulated, so please take care of carbon oxides accumulations on the floor, if you use a combustion stove!
The yurt comes with a very light tin plate on the tonoo (top dome) with a 4 to 5 inch hole for the stove pipe. This is the way they set up their stove pipe in Mongolia. In North America, it is recommended you use a double insulated stove pipe and have it professionally installed in order to comply with local building standards. We can supply parts on request, but it is usually more convenient and cost effecient to do it on location. Stove pipes can be installed through the tonoo (the Mongolian way) or through the wall, depending on the stove location in your yurt.
Is your business based on fair trade?
Although we’re not certified by any organization, we strongly believe in the benefits of fair trade and that it is possible to conduct business and support local economies. Mongolia is a free market economy. We try to source our materials on the countryside to support rural areas and nomads. We are in very close contact with our suppliers and work hard to foster healthy business practices together. We give hand in hand bonuses to all of the workers every time we ship a new container.
The wood industry is very regulated in Mongolia. We therefore participate in the development of a tree nursery project, financed by the sale of our yurts. In May 2014 we planted 3000 trees in the province of Selenge, Mongolia. A yurt uses in average 3.2 trees and it is our intention to plant 25 trees for every yurt sold.
We also continue to support Globetrucker.org, an organization that equips rural schools with much needed school supplies. A sewing school was opened in 2007 with the help of Globetrucker.org in Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar.. We also participate in a number of community projects in North America when we are able.
What is the difference between a Mongolian yurt and a "Modern" yurt?
Both dwellings share the same name and a similar structure, but they are completely different products with advantages to both. In general, Mongolian yurts (or gers) are easier to install and move. They are built with more organic materials and we strongly believe that they are also more comfortable, strongly due to the felt insulation and canvas that insulate well in both the cold and heat. The organic materials allow for a “natural” breathing and circulation of air, that can be further improved in the summer by lifting the covers at the bottom of the yurt. Many specifics and details of the original Mongolian yurt have been forgotten or could simply not be recreated in “modern” yurts.
Mongolian yurts are entirely hand crafted and will definitely require a little more care and attention than their North American cousins. You will have to adapt to your yurt and the yurt will have to be adapted to its environment. Even amongst authentic Mongolian yurts themselves there can be a number of different or slight variations. At Groovyyurts, we take great care selecting our materials and pay particular attention to how they are sourced. Ensuring our customers get the most out of their new yurt and thrive in the environment of which it is placed, is our number one priority. After more then 13 years of groovy yurting we have had tremendous success in every type of climate possible; dry, hot, snow, rain, wind, and extreme groovy cold!
A 15% restocking fee will apply to all cancelled orders. If delivery has already occurred, the return shipping will also be at customer’s expense and a refund posted only after receiving the yurt back in good condition. In case of a special order, the deposit may be kept until the yurt is resold.
What does set-up assistance mean?
Set-up assistance means We help you set your yurt up (structure and covers) and show you how to do the finishes and fine tunings. We will also talk about traditions and maintenance and make it as pleasurable as possible. Platform and access must be ready prior to our arrival and the right amount of able helpers provided. We may request to have some tools or equipment supplied as well. If these conditions are not adequately met, extra fees will apply and a reschedule of your set-up may occur. Our delivery schedules are set out to accommodate our customers so every effort is made to stay on time.
Is full set-up of your yurt available?
Full set-ups are only available in very special circumstances and generally at 3x the price of the standard set-up assistance, plus travel expenses for the crew.