wooden vs fabric yurts

Wooden Yurts vs Fabric Yurts: What You Need To Know

May 11, 2022

Looking into wooden yurts for your next vacation home or second structure?  We love yurts of all shapes, sizes, and materials at Shelter Designs!  While we offer fabric yurts for sale, the concept of yurt living as a sustainable and adventurous alternative is what we’ve built our lives around.  What is it about wooden yurts that everyone finds so interesting?  Are there benefits to living in a fabric yurt vs a wooden yurt? Well, perhaps we can help with that.  Here is the good and the bad of both wooden and fabric yurts and what considerations you should make before a purchase. 

big sky yurt rafters and center ring

Both styles of yurts operate under the same engineering principles of tension and compression with a vaulted ceiling that holds itself up without the need for central supports (typically).  So, what separates them from each other?  The main differences are: 

  • Cost
  • Insulation
  • Portability
  • Assembly

Wooden Yurt vs. Fabric Yurt Cost

Typically, wooden yurts are substantially more expensive in the end than a comparable sized fabric yurt.  Most frame panel yurt (another name for wooden yurt) kits come with the correct number of wooden wall panels with doors and windows either provided or the rough openings cut out, the rafters, roof sheathing, compression ring, dome and exterior metal roof.  

What they do not come with is the insulation, interior wall and roof coverings, electrical wiring, plumbing, the floor system and any interior framing.  Our fabric yurts, on the other hand, come with floors, insulation, a finished interior roof and wall and all doors and windows.  These items not provided in frame panel yurts are going to make the finished cost of the structure much more in line with a conventional home. Interested in pricing one of our fabrics yurts? Visit our yurt cost calculator to get started.

Insulation Options 

One advantage of the wooden yurt over fabric yurts is that they can be insulated with traditional modern day insulation (fiberglass, rock wool, foam, etc), giving them a higher R value than a modern day fabric yurt.  This is an appealing thing for some customers who are looking for a building envelope that will perform more in line with modern day stick built homes.  Because in the end, that’s what a wooden yurt is – a stick built home that happens to be round!

Yurt Portability Differences

For some of our customers portability is extremely important.  Their life may demand that their home has fluidity and the ability to be easily deconstructed and moved.  A wooden yurt is a permanent structure that will not be taken apart once it is constructed.  If you need portability, then a fabric yurt is the way to go.

wooden yurt vs fabric yurt
Wooden yurt vs fabric yurt

Wooden vs Fabric Yurt Assembly

On that same note, a fabric yurt can be set up and taken down relatively easily compared to a wooden yurt.  It is important to understand that a large fabric yurt is still a project that requires skill and time to set up and take down, but it can be done.  Shelter Designs yurts are built using all nuts and bolts and screws – there are no nails!  The assembly of our 40’ yurt is expected to take approximately 5-7 days and you are ready to move into a warm, dry and attractively finished interior.  Again, a frame panel yurt is a stick built home that is round.  After the kit pieces are assembled (typically with a piece of equipment needed and an experienced carpentry crew) then the further interior and exterior work will most likely take months.  You have to pull wire, plumb, insulate, drywall, trim, paint, etc in a frame panel yurt. 

In the end, there is no right or wrong answer on which yurt will best suit your needs.  We love frame panel wooden yurts and think that they fill a great niche in today’s yurt market!  As we always say, we want you to get the product best suited for your needs, not what helps our bottom line out the best.  If a frame panel yurt is your best bet then do your research and pick the best company for you. If a fabric yurt is for you then we know that we are making the finest yurts on the market today and look forward to working with you.   

Happy yurting!