Choosing a Fabric and Painting the Cover
Whether you are planning on building your own yurt or buying a kit, it is important to consider what material the cover will be made of. Factors like fire resistance, longevity, intended use(year round or occasional setup), climate of setup location, cost, availability and natural vs. synthetic fiber all have to be weighed into the decision. It seems that many times it is a little give and take to find a fabric that will work for you.
The natural cotton duck canvas is durable and strong but is quickly stained and deteriorated by moist mildew filled climates. It works well for a yurt that will be moved and set up many times, as long as it is not put away wet or left exposed for mice to chew on and build houses in. Also, if set up for permanent use, the wear and tear on this fabric require it to be replaced within 3-5 years.
Vinyl is the most commonly used fabric in the yurt industry due to its durability vs cost ratio and it also is fairly highly rated for fire resistance. However, it is also the most harmful to the environment because of its production process, it’s lifespan and the breakdown of its fibers. It off gasses for a period of time and emits an odor that has been shown to be harmful. To learn more you can look at the site for Red Sky Shelters makers of the yome, a dome and yurt mix. Peter Belt owns Red Sky and has a good bit of experience with fabric and has done a great job of presenting the information and developing solutions to provide the world with natural sustainable fabric.
Here at, Laurel Nest Yurts we prefer to offer the natural cotton duck canvas. Even with its limitations, It has a fairly low cost, nice look, is paint-able (to extend its’ life), and is relatively inexpensive to replace.. We also provide a poly-cotton blend that has a vinyl coating; this fabric is required in certain states because of fire retardancy regulations. This fabric must be seam sealed or painted.
We snowed ourselves in this weekend to paint a yurt. We are painting the yurt cover with a ceramic/acrylic coating. We did a primer coat, and then 2 coats of paint on the roof, and then we’ll paint the inside to create an insulative liner. This should make the yurt last much longer and it should make it much more insulative. We’re happy about painting yurt covers because it offers a more natural option to increase the insulation value, provide durability, and you can choose whatever color you want your yurt to be. I always joke with Hal that we’ll have to paint our daughter’s yurt pink for her 3rd birthday.