How To Maintain a Yurt in Humid Conditions


If you’ve ever been graced with staying in a yurt you will know what true relaxation is, especially if you’ve been to places that have permanent yurts on their premises. However, if you become a yurt owner you will soon find yourself questioning how to maintain it and prevent long term damage to your new mobile palace.

Prolonging the life of a yurt in humid conditions is a combination of ventilation, regular use and keeping the parts clean. Washing the canvas regularly with vinegar, keeping dirt clear, and inspecting it regularly will mean your yurt is going to overcome any challenge that humid weather brings.

Unfortunately, if it were that easy to take care of a yurt in humid temperatures there would be no no need for this article. Your search led you here either because you are thinking of getting a yurt in a humid place like Hawai’i or you already have one and are now faced with the upkeep.

If this is you, you are in the right place.  In this article, I will share how to take care of your yurt, regardless of the type of humidity that you are in or the materials your yurt is made of.


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Types of Humidity

Mother nature is a strange part of our world, she has different moods and gives us all different challenges all over the world. Hot countries face problems that cold and rainy countries may never know about, while tropical climates never seem to cool down.

This means that there are different types of humidity that you will have to worry about when you build a yurt, and a lot of things that you will do differently to keep it from being damaged.

Rainforest

The rainforest is the most obvious place where humidity will pose a danger to your yurt, which is why taking the right steps to keep it clean and dry is important, these are the things to do when you are in a tropical environment with a yurt.

  • Clean regularly: The most basic step of having a yurt that lasts a long time is keeping it clean.  This does more for the longevity of the yurt than just by just removing damaging buildup. When you are cleaning you are also inspecting every part of the yurt, letting you easily identify spots that may need attention.

    I like to spray yurt canvas down twice a year with a pressure washer.  It really makes the job go quick.  For the more trouble spots I will spray with vinegar and scrub the area down by hand.  In my experience, vinegar is one of the better mold inhibitors out there and non-toxic too.

    As for the lattice frame, I like to give it a dusting a couple of times a year and inspect at the same time. In addition, every 2 years or so, I like to touch up the wood frame with some varnish or sealant.  For metal frames, I might spot spray some rustoleum.

  • Check for mold: The main danger of humid climates is the danger of mold and other plants growing on the canvas or cover of the yurt. Checking corners, sides, and the outsides of the yurt regularly for mold is vital to making it last longer. Mold can easily grow and cause permanent damage to several parts inside and outside of your yurt.

  • Check the frame: Humid areas pose more than just moldy growths as a danger, with rainforests it may be constantly raining, which means that any untreated, exposed wood may become rotten as water gathers and has nowhere to go.  Eliminate these trouble spots as quickly as you can.

Seaside

Few people realize that anywhere near the ocean is humidity nightmare, the only exceptions being extreme northern or southern parts of the world. This means that when you find a nice tropical mangrove forest next to the beach you will be hit with double the danger of other humid locations. Keeping your yurt safe and undamaged will require extra work.

  • Steel Frames: While steel is more resistant to rust than iron, it can still be damaged by water over time. This means that if you are in an area with salty, humid air your yurt will require extra attention. 

    Some steel yurt frames are coated with protective coatings to keep water from entering and damaging the frame, however, over time this paint may be chipped away. Checking on the frame is important to keep it strong.
  • Keep it clean:  Because the ocean is close by and sand is probably everywhere, keeping your yurt clean becomes a necessity. Sand is a killer.  It will eat everything away.  Keeping contaminants and other dangerous particles from damaging the canvas and other parts of your yurt will help keep your yurt from being damaged.

Hot Humidity

The humidity experienced in moderate temperatures can be a headache, but sometimes it becomes impossible to avoid spikes in temperatures. If you live in a warm tropical area near the equator, high humidity with temperatures that reach record-breaking points every day brings a special set of challenges.

  • Weakened frames: Despite the strength of frames, over time they can be weakened. If you have a steam bentwood frame you will find that high heat and humidity may make the wood prone to bending or being damaged.

    While steel frames become rusty in ways that few people could ever expect, checking on the frame of the yurt regularly will mean you can save yourself from long term damage.

  • Yurt Materials:  The material that covers your yurt, may be sensitive to both humidity and the changes brought on by extreme heats. Materials can be weakened by constant exposure to sunlight or wind.

    Combined with humidity and rain it may tear sooner than expected. Checking to see if any parts of the covering material are damaged will help protect your yurt from becoming unlivable.

    When purchasing a yurt, it is a good idea to spend the extra money on premium canvas or other coverings as many of the higher grade materials withstand breakdown better from humidity and the sun.

Types of Yurts

There are many types of yurts out there, different combinations of yurts for different environments and each of them requires different types of maintenance to keep them livable in humid conditions.

Understanding what kinds of yurts there are will help you to easily maintain them and keep your yurt a relaxing place to live in when needed.

Wooden yurts are more traditional but have been changed greatly over the years, originally lattices would be used to build the wooden frame of a yurt. Modern wooden yurts are made by a combination of steam bending tools that shapes the wood into the yurt shape.

While wooden yurts are still used, more permanent yurts are built using stronger longer lasting steel frames. These yurts are built as destination vacation locations, letting people live in them for a small fee while visiting exciting locations. This means that they are made to require less direct maintenance, but some regular checkups are still required.

While the frames of yurts are usually one of two things, the material that makes up the rest of the yurt can differ greatly. Anything from grass, canvas to plexiglass are being used for yurts, giving either natural looks or completely see-through yurts that are amazingly great to look at.

It doesn’t matter what your yurt is made from though, regular checks to see if there is mold growing, spots that are too dirty or just odd looking will prevent it from being damaged. 

Simply keeping it clean and presentable will mean that you have less to worry about in the long run. Proper maintenance of a yurt is more about checking to see if a problem is forming before it becomes an issue, rather than having to always fix something after it is too late..

Related: Is It Legal To Have An Off Grid Homestead In Hawai’i?

Conclusion

Getting your yurt safe for humid conditions is simply a list of checks that need to be done, both on the weather in your area and what should be done once it has been built. 

Yurts that are in humid conditions usually offer some reprieve for its occupants, letting the humid air outside stay where it is. This has made them popular in many areas where other buildings, tents and structures failed to provide relaxing escapes.

Now, go build your yurt where you know you’ll be the most relaxed person under the stars, or maybe the forest canopy!

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Sean Jennings

Sean has been living simply Off-Grid in Hawai'i for over 18 years. He lives debt free on Hawai'i Island with his family and over 40 chickens. When he's not tinkering around the homestead, he's off exploring the shorelines for fish & surf.

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