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7 Tips for Raising a Yurt-Style House

Yurts have come a long way from the traditional nomadic homes they once were. Today, yurt-style homes have become incredibly popular even among people who want to stay put. They appeal to homeowners looking for something eclectic and minimal while still providing a permanent, stable living space. Lifting your yurt-style home is easy if you have the right contractor and know what to expect going into the lift, and our tips below help make the process as smooth as possible.

1. Find a Contractor Who Has Experience

Yurts certainly aren’t a typical style home, especially here in the States. Their rounded structure, many windows, and centrally located load-bearing poles make them unusual dwellings indeed. However, lifting your yurt-style home shouldn’t be a problem if you hire a contractor with experience. Professional lifting contractors will be able to tell you—with confidence—if they’re capable of safely and successfully raising your home. Finding a contractor with this type of lifting experience is crucial when you’re dealing with unusual architecture, like a yurt or yurt-style home. When seeking out a lifting contractor, ask about previous projects that are similar to yours so you can know with certainty that you’re making the right choice.

2. Hire a General Contractor

In addition to a lifting contractor, you’ll need to solicit the services of a general contractor. Your general contractor will be the one building a new foundation for your home, reassembling or building new decking, and unhooking and reattaching your utilities. Your general contractor will work closely with your lifting contractor to ensure your yurt-style home looks great and maintains structural integrity throughout the lifting process. Additionally, if your home needs any incidental damage repaired after the lift, your general contractor will be there to patch things up so you can resume life as usual in your yurt.

3. Know Your Property’s Building Codes

Semi-permanent and permanent yurts fall under grey areas when it comes to property zoning rules and building codes. Before you lift, do your research on your area’s zoning laws. These codes can vary greatly from state to state and even among municipalities, and yurts don’t always fit neatly into one category. When you undertake major construction on your yurt-style home, like a lift, you’ve got to make sure you’re complying with these codes. Otherwise, you could be fined, and your contractors can be punished as well. Your lifting or general contractor can work with you to ensure the project is compliant with your state or city’s guidelines.

4. Mind the Decking

Most yurt-style homes rest on platforms with decking that runs along the perimeter of the home. If you have decking or a patio built around your yurt, you’ll need to plan to have it removed before your lifting contractor begins work. Keep in mind that after your home is lifted, you will need to rebuild or reinstall your decking—or pay someone to do it for you. Even with lifts that are less than a foot, you can expect to invest in new materials and labor to ensure your new platform and decking are flush with your home and are safe for you and your guests.

5. Plan Out Your New Platform

Before you lift your yurt-style home, make plans for your new platform. You have quite a few options for platforms depending on what you want to accomplish. A tall platform offers dry storage that you might be lacking if your yurt is smaller or missing a basement. A taller platform offers the additional benefit of keeping decking off the ground and out of shrubbery, preventing moisture damage and rot.

However, if you want to raise your yurt-style home just a few inches for flood prevention or to pour a concrete slab underneath, you certainly have that option. A shorter platform is easier to enter, is usually more stable, and of course is more cost effective than a larger, more elaborate platform and decking. Regardless which style platform you choose, make sure you and your contractor are on the same page with both design and estimated costs.

6. Protect Windows

Yurts and yurt-style homes are usually bright, airy spaces. Many have windows all the way around their perimeter. While this shouldn’t be a cause for concern during a lift, you will want to make sure your windows are secure and protected before the lift begins. You can have your general contractor reinforce your windows with wooden supports to prevent any structural damage to your frames, panes, or screens.

7. Have an Inspector on Standby

Because of your yurt’s round structure, your home is quite sound, especially when compared to more angular houses. But even the strongest home and the most professional and experienced contractor can’t always prevent incidental damage. Lifting your home, whether a few inches or even an entire story off its foundation, is a big undertaking. And no contractor can give you an absolute guarantee that your yurt will emerge from a lift unscathed. Best to hire an inspector to do a once over on your home post lift to ensure there’s no structural damage that you’ll need to take care of.

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