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I am building the floor/platform for a 30' yurt. It's basically a deck.

  • 30' diameter circle

  • pre-cast concrete pier blocks

  • 4" x 6" pressure treated joists, 4' o.c.

  • 1 1/8" tongue-and-groove plywood floor

  • 2" rigid foam insulation panels between the joists

I can build it close to the ground by laying the joists directly in the pier blocks, like this:

Low, level yurt platform framing

Or I could raise it up on 4" x 4" pressure treated posts, perhaps 4' off the ground.

Raised, un-level yurt platform framing

My site is pretty flat, but not perfectly level, so I would use short posts to compensate anyway, but my question is should I make it as low as possible, or raise it up?

A tall platform creates dry storage underneath, is easier to get in to to work (like a crawlspace). It also keeps the decking out of the foliage, so it doesn't stay moist & rot.

A short platform is less conspicuous (I want to blend in to the woods), requires fewer steps to enter, is more stable, and requires a little less material. It's also easier to assemble the yurt, since you can reach the high fasteners with a tall ladder.

I plan to wire for electricity, but no plumbing. I can fish appropriately durable wire under a low platform, but I'd need a little room if I wanted to staple the wires in place.

I could probably get as low as 18" off the ground, or as high as 48" up.

What else should I take in to account when deciding?

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I just have to know... why are you building a yurt? –  Tester101 Jan 17 '11 at 17:42
    
Why does anyone build anything? Lots of people live in these yurts, for example. They're charming. –  Jay Bazuzi Jan 17 '11 at 17:48
    
One more consideration -- too low, and it's an inviting place for critters to use for shelter. –  Joe Aug 5 '11 at 14:03

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Other things that come to mind that you may want to check out before deciding on the height:

  • What are your local zoning laws? You do not want to make something too high that violates some local code (although from your description of the platform this may not be an issue).
  • What type of clearance do you need (if any) above and around the platform? Any low tree branches or wires you need to watch out for?
  • Make sure to take into account how it will appear from the street or back of your house or however someone would look at it. What is the grade as someone approaches the structure?

Other than that you covered a good number of the items to consider when determining the height. The deciding factor here appears to be how the final structure will look in your yard... and probably you want to minimize its size/appearance as much as possible. See if you can position it just high enough to get air flow under the structure for ventilation (to keep it dry underneath) but no higher.

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