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How Long Do Yurts Last?

Rainier Yurts have a long-standing reputation for being the highest quality yurt on the market. With that comes a certain expectation that our yurts will hold up longer, and for the most part they do. How long do yurts last? Well, it varies.

With proper site preparation, annual cleaning, and routine maintenance, your Rainier Yurt can last up to 14 years with minimal issues, and some yurts will last even longer. I recently talked with one customer in Florida who wanted a quote for a new roof. She doesn’t need a new roof yet, but wanted to know the cost for when the roof does need replacing. I asked her how old her yurt was, she replied, “22 years!”

When it comes down to it, you get what you pay for. Premium upgrades may seem unnecessarily spendy when you’re making your purchase, but they can increase the longevity of your yurt dramatically.

Here’s one scenario:

A Raven Yurt with single layer insulation, erected in a grove of trees with the standard roof and 20 mil plastic windows. The customer cleans the unit on a bi-annual unit using warm water and soap with a telescoping handle soft mop. Due to the tall trees, there’s little UV exposure as the sun rarely hits the roof. Customer thoroughly applied HH-66 sealant provided in the kit when the yurt went up and checks it every other year for additional spot touch-ups.

The first thing to need replacing will likely be the south facing window. The 20 mil plastic just isn’t going to last more than 7 – 10 years with intense sun exposure. The second thing to need replacing is probably the roof (though the upgraded 28 oz roof will last longer.)

This occurrence varies widely due to various elements like UV exposure, extreme heat, lack of cleaning, and failure to spot-check and apply HH-66 as the yurt ages. On average around 13 years. By 14-20 years some customers are looking to upgrade the outer shell or sidewalls. Proper cleaning and maintenance will extend the life of the shell and sidewalls.

Average cost to repair/replace:

Raven 20 mil replacement window: $280.00 each
Raven roof replacement: From $1000 - $3000, depending on the size of the yurt
Raven one-piece sidewall replacement: From $2000 - $4000, depending on the size of the yurt

Let’s look at another scenario:

A Raven Yurt with only roof insulation, situated in the middle of a desert with not a single tree for miles. Average temps range from winter lows of -5 degrees to highs in the 100s, and wind blowing sand storms. Customer never cleans the outside, and disregarded the instructions in the install manual to apply HH-66 since it doesn’t rain much in the desert.

The first thing that will need replacing are the windows. The 20 mil plastic is no match for the desert. If the customer upgraded to the thicker 30 mil Strataglass when ordering, they’d have a longer life. The second thing is the roof. The valance will come apart from the top-piece if the sealant was never put on. The sun’s rays will degrade the stitching and the wind will wreak havoc on the roof – ultimately separating the two pieces – which is irreparable. The outer wall will show signs of UV damage and will need to be replaced at some point.

Average cost to repair/replace:

ALL of the Raven 20 mil replacement windows: $280.00 each
Raven roof replacement: From $1000 - $3000, depending on the size of the yurt
Raven one-piece sidewall replacement: From $2000 - $4000, depending on the size of the yurt

Wondering if our premium Eagle model fares any better? Let’s take a look:

An Eagle Yurt with single layer of insulation in the roof and side walls, a 60” French door, and three 30 mil Strataglass windows. Customer declined to upgrade with a 28-oz. roof and declined a fabric awning for over the door to protect it from UV rays. The yurt is situated on top of a hill with sun exposure on all sides. Wind gusts range from 20 mph to 50 mph on a regular basis. The customer went with their favorite color combination of eggshell on the lower portion of the sidewall and bright red on the upper wall. The customer assumed that since the roof is constructed differently than the Raven it never needed inspecting or cleaning. They installed the yurt themselves and did not tighten the pursing cable or roof cable properly when installing.

The first thing that will need replacing is the southern facing window, after about 9 – 12 years. Again, clear plastic can’t withstand UV exposure - just accept this. The roof should be fine for 11-15 years – although the fact that it wasn’t installed correctly means that it could potentially get wind bursts which will create unwanted roof-movement, causing stress on the radio-frequency welded seams. The walls will fade at the top and the bottom will show grime due to the color selection. The south facing wall is by far the most damaged by UV exposure.

Average cost to repair/replace:

One of the Eagle 30 mil replacement windows: $357.50 each
Eagle roof replacement: From $1,300- $4500 depending on the size of the yurt and the roof thickness.
Eagle modular wall replacement for the south panel: $415 each

On the other hand, an Eagle yurt with appropriate upgrades and regular maintenance will last much longer:

An Eagle Yurt with double layer insulation in the roof and side walls. The customer opted to upgrade the roof to a 28-oz. thickness and added an awning over the door. The windows are all thermal pane glass windows with screens. The customer listed to their sales rep and ordered an eggshell upper wall and a darker color lower wall to reflect the sun’s UV rays and to prevent dirt and grime on the lower portion.

The yurt is situated (with much forethought) to take advantage of early morning sun, there is a large willow tree that provides shade mid-day, while a large hillside provides shadows from 4:00 pm on. There is minimal wind and the front door faces away from the sun. The customers used a recommend yurt installer and followed the recommendation in the manual to do regular maintenance checks and to wash the yurt on a rainy day twice a year. They also installed a ceiling fan to keep airflow moving.

There is nothing that will need to be replaced for probably twenty years. If the door was treated with Polyurethane instead of natural oil*, it might need to be reapplied every couple of years.

(*It is recommended at the time you order your yurt that you discuss the weather and potential for rain to continually be on the exterior of the doors. If in a wet climate, discuss with your sales rep to have the factory not put the natural Verde oil on the exterior of the door. You can then put 3 coats of Polyurethane on the exterior of the door and repeat as needed every 3 or 4 years on site.)

The comparison of these four scenarios shows that much like any product, if you pay for the higher end of the spectrum you can expect longer product life, less maintenance, higher resale value, and fewer headaches.

If you have further questions about this or any topic, please feel free to give me a call.

Keeping it real!
~Dana

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