5 green and 2 orange yurts in montana

Planning your Dream Yurt

Budgeting for your yurt

September 20, 2017

So you’ve decided that a yurt is for you.  You’ve done your research, perhaps stayed in a yurt, compared options and companies, and settled on a beautiful Shelter Designs Yurt.  Good choice!  There are some important considerations to be made to begin your project, none more so than your Budget.  Budgets are very important for estimating costs, and for making important decisions that will have long lasting impacts.  Many of these subjects will be explored in detail in later posts.


In the beginning, you need to look at the big picture items.  Where will the yurt be going, what size and style yurt works best for you with what options, what is the platform going to be made of, how will you build out the inside?  Will you have plumbing, complete with an underground pressure tank, hot running water, and a flush toilet? Others prefer off grid living but want to include a refrigerator and composting toilet.  Each person will have different needs and desires, so go thru each aspect of your daily life and identify all the creature comforts you would like.  For some of us, especially in the cold country, warmth is a major priority with a nice wood stove ranking high on the list.  For hot climates, a window air conditioner and ceiling fan are important for staying cool.


Once you have your ideals listed, research the cost of each of these carefully.  But first things first, let’s look at the BIG picture categories.


There are generally 3 main categories of costs for yurt projects
(you may have more factors, and this list does not include land!)


1.     Infrastructure, including your platform

If you have a piece of land with all of the infrastructure in place then you scored and are well on your way!  But, if you are starting with a raw and undeveloped piece then there is probably some major work to be done, especially if you are going for all of the modern conveniences.  We recommend you find a local general contractor to help you estimate these costs, and probably help you accomplish the groundwork.  Here is a list of some common things that should be considered for infrastructure needs.

  • permitting fees from your county
  • power drop and laying underground lines to your site
  • well drilling or cost of tying into a municipal water source
  • septic installation
  • road construction
  • gas source – either a large propane tank or tapping into a municipal natural gas line
  • internet/cable/phone line laid


Then you need to carefully consider how some of these systems will actually be designed and implemented.    You dug a well and have water, but will you be creating a underground well house to eliminate pipe freezing, and pressure tanks?

A major part of the infrastructure design and budget has to be for the yurt platform and how these systems (water, power, gas, etc) will tie into the platform and the yurt.  What type of deck and platform will you have for your yurt?  A raised, insulated wooden platform, a poured concrete pad?  Will utilities be protected under the yurt in a insulated crawl space?  If you are using a SIPS floor system, then a post and beam system needs to be built to exact specs for everything to work.  How much concrete is needed?

***please note that some of these details may be determined by county requirements***

2.     Yurt purchase and assembly

For your yurt, our online calculator is your biggest friend.  You can add and subtract options, find out the difference in cost for different sizes, and see how much those thermal paned glass windows and French doors will cost.  Links below.

Eco yurt price calculator

Big Sky yurt price calculator


(You will note that the Eco yurt maximum size is 30′.  While the aesthetics of the hand-finished lodgepole roof rafters are unmatched, we cannot offer the Eco in larger sizes due to the massive logs that would be required for larger sizes.)

3.     Interior build-out

So you’ve got your utilities planned, your yurt platform material list, and your ideal yurt price determined.  Now you need to estimate your interior build costs.  While the other costs are somewhat fixed, this is where your budget may need some adjusting.  For example, a concrete, soapstone or marble countertop is going to cost 3 times the cost of a Formica countertop. 

Here are some things to consider: Will you enclose a bedroom or bathroom?  Will you be running a traditional AC wiring schematic, or installing a DC power alternative energy system?  Do you need a large space for a water heater on the floor, or will you get a wall mounted on demand water heater?  What finished flooring will you use, or will you just paint over the subfloor?  Think on each room, and imagine where the lighting would be, and what options are the most important to you.


Below, you will find a side by side comparison of two vastly different yurts………


30″ Eco Yurt with Owner Built Platform

Summer Use only, Mild climate

30′ Big Sky Yurt with SIPS Floor

Full-time residence, Cold Climate

1) No permits Required

$ 0.00

1) 4 Permits Required: powerdrop, septic, water,

Building permit, Engineer Stamped plans, Energy

Compliance Report $4000.00

2) Gravity fed water from platform tank, well,

Lead free hoses to fill tank, pex pipe $7,000.00

2) Power drop and trenched power lines 6′, Septic

tie in, Municipal water hookup  $15,000.00

3) Platform- 8×8 beams, pier block for posts, hard-

ware, screws, plywood sheeting, 2″ foam board


(this estimate does not include platform labor)

3)  Site excavation for a pressure tank, utility room

under the raised platform, wrap around deck, poured

footer and son-O tubes, beams, posts, hardware,

and 4.5″ SIPS Floor   $14,000.00

4)  30′ Eco yurt, 1 additional thermal pane window,

upgraded roof fabric, basic insulation, stove jack


4)  30′ Big Sky yurt, 4 additional thermal pane

windows, one French door, upgraded roof & wall

fabrics, arctic insulation, fan mount, hook & loop,

1 additional door, snow & wind kit, & flashing kit


5)  Interior build: Sleeping loft with gravity H2O

tank, bathroom w/ composting toilet, on demand

water heater, kitchen framed below loft, water

drains to greywater system, heating is a wood stove,

formica countertops, open kitchen shelves, vinyl

flooring, solar DC lights and Propane fridge and

cook stove/oven       $10,500

5)  Interior build: Enclosed bedroom and bathroom,

Pressure tank and hot water heater below platform

in insulated room, all water/sewer plumbed, dish

washer & garbage disposal, custom made round-

backed cabinets, wood slab counter tops, hard-

wood tongue & groove flooring, pellet stove,

electric appliances (fridge and cook stove)


Total Cost Estimate $41,740.00 Total Cost Estimate  $67,325.00
Estimated GC costs $6,261.00 Estimated GC costs  $10,098.75
  • Notes: These estimates do not include furniture, bedding, etc, or lighting fixtures.
  • This estimate does not include yurt shipping or transport costs, as those vary widely by distance.
  • You can expect to pay 15% on top of all costs if you are hiring a general contractor to organize and execute all aspects of your build including the yurt set up.
  • Please keep in mind these costs are estimates and are by no means inclusive for your project.  The main purpose of this exercise is to give you an idea of all the aspects to plan for.  

Planning your Dream Yurt

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