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Old 11-08-2012, 12:55 AM
 
7,151 posts, read 4,137,300 times
Reputation: 3806
I love yurts. I love them in theory. I love them aesthetically. I love them for their minimalist simplicity.

Yurts, however, are not a bit cheap as purchased from the various contemporary makers.
They are not totally cheap to make similar to a site-built house, even if you do it yourself from scratch without a kit.
They do not present any investment option.

And, though they can be "opened" to Hawaiian weather, that is not their essence [spirit?]. Such is not their roots of purpose. Similarly, one can build a brick tudor in Hawaii, or a clapboard Cape Cod, or a log cabin (it's been done!). But why would you?

I love yurts. But I would not likely ever choose one in most any climate -- except the kind of climate and cultural use they were designed for -- which Hawaii isn't, either. And, I can build equivalent houses of many kinds for roughly the same kind of costs:benefits ratios. I have done it. I have compared the costs.

btw: hard to adapt a yurt to become secure from criminal break-in activity. Any problem with that in Hawaii? Penny-ante thievery when no one is around?

Note also: a yurt is essentially roof and walls against weather. A tent.
It is not:
foundation, flooring, cabinets, plumbing, electric service, fixtures, etc.
Roofs and walls are generally well less than 1/3 the cost of a home.
All that other stuff? Oh, yeah, get out your calculator.

Oh, and the ratio of catchment area of a yurt roof : to it's given interior footage -- is not the same as a standard dwelling with overhangs. Yurts don't have overhangs. Every drip helps

Yurts are just downright neato -- but not Hawaiian (which doesn't much matter, just saying) and not particularly cheap, nor investment-wise. Just neato, cool.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:43 AM
 
Location: Volcano
11,940 posts, read 9,715,604 times
Reputation: 9339
This is one of those topics for which there is no "right" or "wrong," merely one's own experience and perceptions and judgments. It's also one where actual experience can differ sharply from theoretical considerations. You need to check them out for yourself, in person.

I will say, having stayed in one for weeks, through a high-wind storm (I see Yurts of Hawai'i mentions their designs handling 120mph wind), having visited a number of them in different environments, and having a neighbor in Volcano who is quite happy with theirs after years in it, that I find them quite viable for use in Hawai'i. The traditional yurts, no. But the modern yurt, with space-age materials and design features configured specifically for the tropics, absolutely. Interestingly, I think they are actually more like the traditional houses of the native Hawaiians than anything else you can legally build and live in today.

Agreed, one needs to have a taste for the non-traditional, but many of us find them quite beautiful and even inspiring to spend time in. For some people... I happen to be one... the domed circular form is very soothing, and the exposed wooden beams of the ceiling and the latticework of the sides are gorgeous, and lend a faint aroma of bare, natural wood to the air. And I found doing yoga and meditating in the center, under the big skylight, to be quite special.

If they appeal to you esthetically, then definitely get a tour from the Yurt Lady and see for yourself. Costwise, even with paid labor for construction, I think you'll find them hard to beat. When I was considering one several years ago I found the cost to be about 1/3 of what either Affordable Portable or HPM Kits were quoting for a similar size structure. And ecologically, they use maybe 1/3 the materials of a similar sized stick-built cabin, and are much more energy efficient if you need supplemental heat, as we do up here in the Alpines.

And be sure to get all your questions answered, like:

Quote:
Are yurts easy to break into?
"Yurts are far more difficult to break into than a standard stick house. With the lattice work frame expanding across the walls and windows, it makes it considerably more work to breach than a common house with glass windows."
Yep. Even if you were to take all the wall panels off to turn the place into a screened open air lanai, once the door is locked, the structure is surprisingly secure.

Frequently Asked Questions · Yurts of Hawaii

But they're definitely not for everyone, no, only for those to whom they appeal. Ironically, I find the biggest negative for myself to be one that nobody ever seems to think about, which is that the sound of hard rain on the roof is loud, even with the best insulation package... which I definitely recommend in the tropics. It's not as loud as an old-school unlined corrugated steel roof, in, the traditional "sugar shack" style, but it can take some getting used to.

But to return the original question, if you do decide to go with Yurts of Hawai'i, you should of course do the normal due diligence you would do with anyone you intend to sign a construction contract with. Verify that licenses and insurance are in order, that there are no unresolved Better Business Bureau complaints, or liens filed, etc. But from my personal interactions with her to date, she seems like a straight up business person.

Last edited by OpenD; 11-08-2012 at 04:58 AM..
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:46 AM
 
24 posts, read 17,629 times
Reputation: 20
I think yurts are an interesting option in Hawaii and I'm glad there is such a well established business available for those who would like to explore that route. I have a couple of questions...

1. Since these yurts qualify for permits, how do the various communities' CC&Rs tend to view them? Obviously you'd need to contact the community association in question for the final word, but I am wondering if anyone here knows anybody that lives in one in a CC&R governed subdivision.
2. Financing? I realize $10-$20K is not exactly an exorbitant sum of money but I imagine that most people who are really considering alternative dwellings such as a yurt don't have that just lying around. Would you need to try something a little unorthodox like a personal loan from your bank or...?
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:32 AM
 
1,730 posts, read 1,428,356 times
Reputation: 1130
Each association has their own rules. I personally know about two associations, one definitely does NOT allow a yurt, and the other does. You'll need to check with the association, hopefully doing it before you buy. Many of them have websites that include their CC&R and by-laws.

As for financing, the yurt manufacturer/vendor should be able to give advice and be able to provide any documentation that is needed for a lender they have already identified as yurt-friendly. If the yurt vendor cannot offer help, that would be an indication that you'll probably need cash or alternate financing (charge card, signature loan, etc.)
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Hawaiian Acres, Kurtistown HI
55 posts, read 125,507 times
Reputation: 69
I'm sorry, folks. Seems any time we try to answer a question on this forum, even when it is directed at me or our business, even though other people can answer questions with the exact same answers, or misinformation, as they choose, ours are consistently deleted and called advertising. It is frustrating, because the moderators do not allow actual first hand source information in this case. Perhaps you'd like to start a thread on a different forum where everyone is uncensored and able to discuss the facts? punaweb dot org is good for that. They allow for the free sharing of information in a public forum, as it should be IMHO. They don't consider it advertising when a business owner answers specific questions. Or visit a well made Yurt and take a look to answer your own questions first hand. Yurt lovers and doubters alike. A Hui ho!
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Hawaiian Acres, Kurtistown HI
55 posts, read 125,507 times
Reputation: 69
CyberCity, what is the name of the subdivision that does not allow Yurts? We haven't found one yet, but have certainly not built in every subdivision either. We have found a few that have square footage requirements to be aware of when designing. Alwyas a wise idea to check the CC&Rs, even before buying the property.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Volcano
11,940 posts, read 9,715,604 times
Reputation: 9339
I think the fact that there are already dozens of legally permitted yurts all over the Big Island says something.

Melissa (now that I'm reminded of Yurt Lady / YurtGirl's name IRL) is great to talk to, very informative, and has a good reputation in the local community. So I recommend her to anyone who wants more information. And there's lots of factual info online at: Yurts of Hawaii

I love being able to support a local business person.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:39 PM
 
1,730 posts, read 1,428,356 times
Reputation: 1130
Quote:
Originally Posted by YurtGirl View Post
CyberCity, what is the name of the subdivision that does not allow Yurts? We haven't found one yet, but have certainly not built in every subdivision either. We have found a few that have square footage requirements to be aware of when designing. Alwyas a wise idea to check the CC&Rs, even before buying the property.
Your advice for a buyer to check the CC&Rs prior to purchase is sound. There are subdivisions that have building restrictions, including minimum size, materials, and roofing, in which a Yurt would not pass. Hawaii Island has many types of subdivisions, not all are Yurt-friendly.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:54 PM
 
39 posts, read 30,066 times
Reputation: 36
Thank you, all of you for all your posts and opinions - I love it! The more I have looked, the more I do like the idea of a yurt for myself. AFTER I get there, I will do more research (following the good advice of many, here) and hopefully get to check out a few places that have been lived in for while and get the opinions of people who are actually living in yurts. The 20 year warranty is as good as any "stick built" home and the other aesthetics appeal to me as well....so we will see what we will see.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:28 PM
 
1,730 posts, read 1,428,356 times
Reputation: 1130
Quote:
Originally Posted by deegeemaree View Post
The 20 year warranty is as good as any "stick built" home and the other aesthetics appeal to me as well....so we will see what we will see.
If you mean that for 20 years, it will be covered under a warranty, heck that is better than a stick built home! But if you are talking about "useful life expectancy of the building", 20 years is much less than a stick built home.
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