Fortress yurts FAQ


What is a Yurt?

Yurts have been the primary shelter for nomadic herdsmen in central Asia for a very long time. In the original yurt design, the framework is made of saplings and the covers were made of felted wool and animal skins. They are portable and very comfortable. Many people still live in these nomadic style structures in Mongolia today.

It is said that there is a spirituality associated with living in a yurt. The whole universe is represented in the design. The roof represents the sky, and the smoke hole the sun. The hearth contains the five basic earthly elements of soil, wood, fire, metal, and water (metal in the grate and water in the kettle) and because there are no corners it is thought there is no place for evil spirits.

The western yurt has been enhanced using modern materials. This new yurt design consists of a durable fabric cover with high-tech insulation which covers a wood frame. The compression ring at the upper most point radiates milled lumber rafters and is topped with a clear acrylic dome that allows sunlight in and is very sweet for stargazing. In our Fortress Yurt design, we have taken it another step further, by adding REAL glass insulated windows and also wood to the interior walls. This creates a structure that is even more comfortable and also offers much more security.

Though generally classified as a tent, a yurt is much stronger and also weather tight. A yurt can last your lifetime if properly taken care of. They can be fully insulated, with as many windows and doors as you would like. They can be wired for electricity and fully plumbed with running water, including a bathroom!

Yurts are most popular as an affordable home that is fairly easy and quick to set up. Even a large Fortress Yurt with real windows can be set up with a few friends in just a few days. Zoning varies for yurts in different areas. We have an engineer’s stamp on the Fortress Yurt design in case you need this. With the round shape and high ceilings in yurts, it is very comfortable and the space feels very nice.

A more in depth explanation on the origins of yurts can be found here.



What are Yurts used for?

They are used for a variety of purposes. Many people live in their yurts. They are also used as an extra bedroom, studio, or classroom, etc.

Are Yurts legal?

Our Fortress Yurt design is an engineered design. We can provide copies of our drawings and also access to our engineers if desired.

How do I build a foundation for my Yurt?

We recommend that you build a round platform/deck the same diameter as your yurt. You can also have a round cement slab poured. The outer canvas walls come down around the platform/deck in such a way that there are no air leaks and no water can penetrate into your yurt. If you would like another deck for an outdoor living area, this is built separately.

We have platform/deck plans for yurts, and are glad to coach and assist you in this part of the process as well.

Do your Yurts resist strong winds and snow loads?

Yurts are aerodynamic and resist the strongest winds. If you live in an area with extreme winds or if you get a lot of snow, we recommend that you add the “Snow and Wind Kit” to your custom yurt.

See the Options page for more details about this addition.

Are your Yurts waterproof?

Yes! Our yurt covers are made of high-tech architectural fabrics. This makes them a very practical building for any use!

How do I install my Yurt?

If you are a hands-on type of person, you can install your yurt with the help of a couple of friends. We provide you with a yurt raising guide as well as many photos of the process. We also have a special system set up to be available by phone to help you during the yurt set up process.

If you are not a hands-on type, you can hire someone to help you. Contact us if you are looking for a professional to help you. We can make recommendations. Setting up a yurt is a pretty straight forward process and we have support materials for you. Some people find it more challenging than others.

How long does it take to set up my Yurt?

A small yurt can be set up in a day by two or three people. The larger yurts take longer, and the time it takes depends on whether you have added more windows, insulation, etc.

A crew of three can set up a 30 ft.Yurt with eight windows, two doors, and an insulation kit in three days. We have done this many times. If it is really windy, it could take a bit longer as the wind makes installing the insulation and covers much more difficult. To be very clear, this is a team that has an experienced team leader and two capable helpers. If you are new to this, please study the materials provided in advance and also give yourself a little extra time.

Can I order extra windows?

Of course! You can design your yurt any way that you would like. That is the beauty of having a yurt custom made for you. We are happy to consult with you in designing your yurt.

Can I add interior walls?

Interior walls are often added to create separate spaces for bathrooms and bedrooms. They are built using 2 x 4 framing and slightly modified standard construction methods.

Can I add a kitchen and bathroom?

Yes! Most people who live in yurts design their space with both a kitchen and a bathroom. Often an interior wall will be built to create a private bathroom space and the kitchen is designed to be on the other side of this new wall so that plumbing pipes can be installed most efficiently and water is easily available in both rooms. When yurts are built in locations where there is no sewer system, often people will use composting toilets and grey water systems.

What about building a loft?

In the larger yurts, 24 foot and 30 foot, the crown at the top of the yurt is high enough to build a loft in your yurt and have a small upstairs.

Can I connect more than one Yurt?

Yes, many yurts can be connected in a modular approach.

We can help you with a design that fills your need to have separate rooms. Please contact us with your ideas.

How long does a Yurt last?

Mongolians say it is 100 years. The wood framework of our yurts will last indefinitely if your yurt is covered and not exposed to the weather. The outer covers of your yurt typically last a couple years longer than the warranty for the fabric that you have chosen.

(See the options page.)

Can I replace my Yurt covers?

Contact us and we will help you when you need to replace covers.

A very exciting development with the Fortress Yurt design is that many people are turning their Fortress Yurt into a permanent building by installing siding (or wood or something similar) on the outer walls of their yurt rather than come to us for new covers! We love this because it is very earth friendly, and it also gives you a low maintenance building! If you are interested, we will also tell you how to preserve your roof vinyl for a very long time so that it will last much longer than the warranty.

How secure is a yurt?

Our Fortress Yurt design is as secure as any building! With the real glass thermal windows, and the wood on the interior walls, this yurt design is just as secure as any other home.

How do I heat and cool my Yurt?

There are many options for heating and cooling a yurt. Think of it as any other building. The most common source of heat is a woodstove, a propane heater, or electric heat.

To cool a yurt you would use whatever type of Air conditioning is commonly used in the area where you live. Please follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when installing any of these appliances.

Since a yurt is not as well insulated as other buildings, you may want to use a heater that is effective for a building that is a little larger than your yurt. Adding one of the yurt insulation packages greatly helps to keep your yurt warm in winter and cool in summer.

How do I install plumbing and electric in a Yurt?

Most people bring wiring and plumbing up through the floor. If an interior wall is added to create a bathroom or bedroom, the pipes and wires can run though the walls just as in typical construction models. To install electric outlets throughout your yurt, you can mount them on the floor or on short posts. It is recommended to have a professional do this installation.

Many people who live in modern yurts also install solar panels, wind mills, or other forms of alternative energy.

How do I take care of my Yurt?

Yurts are very easy to take care of, it is a good idea to hose off dirt that accumulates over time, as dirt and grime will take away from the life of cover materials. A good idea is to hose down your yurt in the spring if it needs it.

Be sure not to use harsh chemical on your yurt covers!

How are Yurts shipped, and what are the costs involved?

They can either be picked up at our shop or shipped to you by freight truck.  The weight and size of your yurt, and also your location will determine costs. We can get a freight quote for you.

Please contact us for details.

How long will it take for my custom Yurt to be finished?

Usually we are able to finish custom yurts within four to six weeks of order date, depending upon how busy we are when you place your order. When you are ready to order, contact us and we can give you a specific date of completion.

Do we have a contract?

When we receive the deposit on your yurt, we will send you a receipt with an order confirmation that contains the specifications for your custom yurt. You can review the design and confirm the details, or make any changes that you would like at this time. This document also contains your contract.