No, normally canvas is not used as a cover for several reasons. First, it cannot stand up to the sun’s UV rays. Even if you decide treated canvas, it still needs to be retreated with UV inhibitors and fire retardants in order to increase its chance for long-term survival outside. 

What Other Fabrics Can Be Used As A Cover?

There are other durable and high-quality materials and fabrics that can be used as an outdoor cover for yurts. Here are some of them:


Olefin is another name for polypropylene fiber. It is a water-resistant fabric that is also often used for outdoor cushions. Unlike canvas and waterproofed cotton, olefin can wick moisture, and it air-dries quickly. It is also more durable than such common cushions fabrics like acrylic and polyester-blend. It has better abrasion resistance and pills are less likely than other fabrics. 

The main benefits of olefin include:

  • Staining resistance
  • Durability 
  • Colorfastness
  • Comfort


Vinyl is considered one of the best and most durable materials for tough outdoor applications. It won’t tear or split under pressure and weight. It is also known for its excellent abrasion resistance. It is water-resistant and air-dries rapidly. It is often used for covers in yurts because it is inexpensive and has low maintenance needs. Moreover, it is easy and quick to install. Unlike many other materials and fabrics, it is easy to clean, and you can simply spray dust away with a garden hose. 

The main advantages of vinyl are the following:

  • Moisture resistance
  • Durability
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to store

What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing A Fabric For Your Yurt’s Cover?

The following factors need to be taken into consideration:

  • Abrasion resistance. It is a measurement of how many times a fabric can be rubbed before showing wear. Usually, the “Wyzenbeek test” is used to test fabric abrasion resistance. There are several fabric ratings in terms of abrasion resistance – from “delicate duty” (less than 3,000 double rubs) to “extra heavy duty” (over 30,000 double rubs). 
  • Pressure to tear. Fabrics are put under pressure in order to measure how much fabric can take before it tears. There are several tests that are usually conducted in a lab. 
  • Durability. A fabric used for yurts’ cover should also be durable and last long. There are certain factors that make a fabric durable, including the following: fiber content (can be man-made or natural), weave, yarn thickness, washability, mildew and mold resistance, UV resistance, and colorfastness. 
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Yurts are designed to be erected with minimal tools. 

The number of tools required depends on how involved you plan on being during the construction phase. You can either get away with just a few basic hand tools or you may require access to larger, more professional equipment.

Before getting into what tools are needed, here’s a brief description of a Yurt.

Traditional yurts are based on the Mongolian herders’ hut (ger) and are portable, round structures that are covered with skins or felt. 

Yurts are suitable as permanent homes or temporary dwellings. 

A yurt uses centuries-old techniques for stability and comfort. They can resist any weather conditions. 

The structure consists of an angled assembly or lattice wall of wood or bamboo for walls, a door frame, ribs, and a ring beam, possibly steam-bent. 

They are a great option for anyone wanting to live off the grid, at a low cost. 

Tools Needed to Set Up a Yurt

The process of building a yurt is slightly different from building a traditional home. 

Typically, those who choose to build a yurt, opt for a kit that takes the guesswork out of both designing and building one from scratch.

There are no specific tools specified when building a yurt. Depending on the size of your yurt, some tools may need to be rented. But generally, simple hand tools are used, such as a sander, hand drill, jigsaw, chisels, files, hammer, and spades.  

A battery-powered drill for drilling holes in the wooden components, a tape measure, two ladders of about 8 feet, a sharp utility knife, a staple gun, and something to hold the compression ring off the ground, are the essential tools for building a yurt. 

Other items you may need include a sledgehammer, concrete for footings, framing lumber, rope, and a wheelbarrow.

Additional Equipment Required

If you want to make the compression ring yourself, either by steam bending a single piece of wood or laminating it, you’ll require specialized equipment such as:

  • A steam box for steaming the lengths of timber to make the roof ring wood (you can construct this yourself).
  • A water container and propane burner to supply the steam box with steam.
  • A mold around which you will bend your steamed wood.
  • An industrial sewing machine to sew canvas or other heavy-duty material. 

The yurt is made up of 5 basic parts: roof ring, roof poles, wall, door frame, and canvas. 

For most of the woodwork, you will find that it is simple to put together. 

However, when building the roof ring or sewing the canvas together, it can be time-consuming and rather more difficult. 

Ordering a Basic Kit

A Basic Yurt Kit has been created which includes the hard-to-make parts, but still leaves plenty of work for you to do. 

By investing in the Basic Yurt Kit, you eliminate the need to build a steam box, a roof ring mold, and an industrial sewing machine. Not to mention, learning how to make and use these items. 

Kits generally contain a roof ring, roof canvas, wall canvas or vinyl, tension band, buckle loop, wall connecting straps, detailed instructions, and a materials list. 

The recommended tools include access to a table saw, a chop saw, router or router table, drill press and/or hand drill, palm sander, and a few hand tools. 

Canvas is not usually recommended as a cover material for your yurt. If it is untreated, it does not stand up to the sun’s UV rays. Even if you consider treated canvas, it requires treatment with fire retardants and UV inhibitors to have a chance of long-term survival outside. 

Yurt Construction

There are three main components that you need to construct. These are the roof poles, the wall lattice, and the door frame, which may require a local sawmill, or you can order them from an online supplier. 

Constructing a platform for your yurt can be contracted out or you can make it yourself.

The most common platforms consist of concrete footings, piers, or sonotubes. These support the beams rest under the deck. 

To insulate the yurt, you need to complete the deck with plywood or OSB (oriented strand board). This may, however, require additional tools depending on the type of deck you choose to construct. 

A cement mixer, generator, water pump or regular water supply, shovels, angle grinder, and other miscellaneous tools required to erect formwork or level the plot may be required.

To take the guesswork out of construction, Yurts of America provide high-quality kits that provide safe, secure accommodation for many years. Our kits can handle all types of weather and offer a wind and snow kit to help your yurt endure extreme weather in rough territory.

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The question of whether or not yurts get moldy is a concern for many first-time yurt owners. So, do yurts get moldy? 

Well, it depends…

Yurts are pretty much airtight if constructed properly. What this means is that airflow can be a problem. And as in any house, if you have a build-up of moisture on a surface, then there is the potential for mold and mildew to develop.

If you live in a humid climate, then it is pretty certain that at some time or other you’ll experience water collecting on the inside of the walls of your yurt. Much as you would find in a normal bathroom, the moisture in a yurt has nowhere to go except through the doors, or the dome opening. If these are closed, the water naturally condenses on the walls.

Condensation is the Problem

This condensation is usually found low down near the base of the walls where the airflow is minimal. It can be found behind furniture and unless you actively dry it off, either by cranking up the heat or opening the doors and windows, mold will soon start to grow.

Yurt owners find that mold is more of a problem if their heat source is located against one side of their yurt. Then they find that the opposite wall is where mold can begin to grow.

The problem isn’t only restricted to humid climates, as any time the walls of the yurt are colder than the inside air, there is a potential for condensation to occur.

And it doesn’t only happen when cooking or bathing.

During the night, when doors and windows are generally closed, the amount of water vapor that you breathe out is quite significant. Combine that with the cold night air cooling the walls and you have perfect conditions for condensation to occur.

Preventing Moisture and Yurts Get Moldy

Vinyl coated polyester is a wonderful material as it is non-permeable. It, therefore, creates a vapor barrier where no movement of moisture occurs. 

Summer is normally fine, but when winter comes around it can be a challenge when the difference between inside and outside temperatures produce condensation. Your first indication is a puddle of water on the floor against the wall. 

Yurt owners notice that humidity often occurs opposite the stove and the walls then develop moist patches that require cleaning with bleach or a mixture of vinegar and water to avoid mold growth.

Those with an uninsulated floor find that the problem is worse and insulating the floor is the first step in preventing the problem. 

Providing regular airflow throughout the yurt helps to solve the problem, so keeping windows and doors slightly open works if it’s not too cold outside.

However, icy drafts don’t make for cozy yurts, so, cranking up the heat is the next option. Wood stoves tend to dry out the surrounding air, which is why they are an excellent option for yurts. If you have a gas heater, then the downside is that they tend to create a very damp environment.

Air vents are another option if the airflow isn’t sufficient to reduce condensation inside the yurt. Installation is fairly easy as the fitting can be mounted through the wall by cutting a hole through the fabric and the latticework.

If all else fails, then a dehumidifier can work wonders. By removing water vapor from the air and increasing airflow through the structure, most humidity problems can be resolved.

Some yurt owners are advised to fit insulation panels between their rafters which provide an additional level of protection from the cold. Foam insulation is almost as good as some other natural insulating materials, as well as being relatively cheap.

Treating the latticework and any other exposed wood with boiled linseed oil is another way to ensure that mold and mildew do not take hold. It also imparts a lovely natural smell and looks good too.

Treating and preventing mold and mildew is not too difficult if you bear it in mind right from the start. Planning for good airflow and installing insulation is easier if it is done during the build rather than adding it in later on to solve a mold problem.

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yurt winter

Amongst the more eco-friendly structures available, yurts have become very popular in the last few years. And you may be wondering, are year-round yurts an option?

Do people live in yurts permanently?

The answer to this is, definitely yes!

The yurt has been used as a permanent dwelling for thousands of years by the nomadic tribes on the Asian steppes. It is a proven design that can withstand high winds, extreme cold and snow as well as intense heat.

Yurts have the added benefit of being portable and relatively lightweight. So, you can move them from one site to another without too much problem.

What is it Like Living in a Yurt? 

Most families who live in yurts absolutely love them. They are extremely popular with younger couples just starting out. The attraction of constructing an affordable, eco-friendly structure makes it an ideal option if you are looking for off-grid housing too. 

However, the building authorities in many states are recognizing the value of yurts beyond their use as holiday accommodation and see them as an alternative to conventional building methods. Local building codes can accommodate yurts and building inspectors are becoming more familiar with these types of structures.

The beauty of yurt construction is that you can make them as basic or as luxurious as you please. With sizes varying from as small as 12 feet in diameter to over 30 feet, there is an option for most budgets.

Manufacturers provide yurt kits and advice on how to build them. But professional help is also available to make building your yurt a breeze. 

So what are the positives and negatives of living in a yurt?


You get to live close to nature.

Living seasonally, meaning that you experience the warmth of summer and the cold in winter, is a healthy option that puts one more in tune with nature. It’s not to say that you must be uncomfortable, but you definitely notice the weather changes more when living in a yurt.

Thin walls allow you to experience the wind and rain in a way that living in a wooden or brick structure just doesn’t allow you. 

Waking up and going to sleep to the sound of animals, birds and insect sounds become part of your daily existence. Yurt owners report that in a few short days they feel a definite reduction in stress and can relax in a more natural setting.

Yurts are cost-effective. 

You can buy a yurt for between $20-30K as a complete building system. This gives you anywhere from 300 sq. feet to as much as 1,000 sq. ft of usable living space. 

Some yurt owners have managed to build their yurts for as little as $2,000 using recycled materials.

Easy to Build

Using a kit and a few helping hands, you can have a yurt up and functional in a few days. It’s eminently suitable for DIY construction and there are lots of resources available to help.


Yurts can be constructed to stand on a foundation of concrete blocks or screw piles and are easily removable. You can sell it and remove it and the land will return to its original state in a short time.

Easy to Move 

Yurts are lightweight, so it’s easy to move them by dismantling them and packing them into a trailer. This makes them perfect for off-grid living.



Generally, the insulation provided by some manufacturers is poor. With low energy efficiency, it pays to deal with a reputable manufacturer who understands the area where you plan to erect your yurt. Fitting your yurt with additional insulation helps as well as installing a wood stove or other heating source makes for a very comfy home.

Round shape 

As most furniture and fittings are designed for straight lines, the round space can be a challenge. However, clever design and out-of-the-box thinking have resulted in many very attractive homes with unique interior design features.

Cladding is Vinyl 

Off-gassing of vinyl can be an issue for some and structures located in a fire ecology (pine, spruce, fir trees) are susceptible to fire with the potential for fumes that are toxic if the structure catches fire. Waterproof canvass is an alternative. But vinyl is a long-lasting material that resists UV damage and can last for many years.

People have been living in yurts for thousands of years and they offer a unique structure in which you can get closer to nature. If a more natural, eco-friendly home appeals to you, then year-round yurts are a viable option for any family.