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No tools or ladders whatsoever are required to assemble a FH Yurt.

But if you want to be nice to your hands, you’ll want to wear a pair of gloves.  This is origami architecture and you will be doing a lot of folding.  The edges of the cut-out extruded plastic sheets are unforgiving when bare skin rubs up against the edge of the plastic.  And it is helpful to wear a pair of tight-fitting gloves when inserting bolts into the plastic sheets and screwing the nuts onto them.

While all the bolts, washers, and wingnuts are ‘outside’ the single-layer plastic walls of a LiteYurt, they are mostly between the inner and outer walls of the TekYurts and UtiYurts. So to assemble these yurts you must insert your hands into round holes cut in the extruded plastic.  Rubbing against the edges of those access holes in the plastic panels is hard on bare skin especially when you have several hundred nuts and bolts that need to be inserted. [See ASSEMBLY TECHNOLOGY (FH YURTS), and ORIGAMI ARCHITECTURE – WHAT’S THAT?]

You want to choose a pair of gloves that give you good tactile control so that you can identify bolt holes in the plastic with your finger tips and easily hold and manipulate nuts, bolts, and washers. It also helps to wear gloves when prefolding extruded plastic panels although those gloves don’t need to be as tactilely sensitive. [See PREFOLDING EXTRUDED PLASTIC PARTS]



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The ideal assembly manual for international applications is one that is language neutral.  That means no words, and if possible also no assembly training. 

Folded Homes® is committed to delivering shelter solutions that are simple to erect and, to the greatest extent possible, language neutral. LiteYurts are so simple and easy to assemble that it is possible to provide an all-pictures assembly manual to facilitate international deployments. TekYurts and UtiYurts require manuals with some text but like the LiteYurt can be erected without additional supervision. These manuals combined with our comprehensive on-line FAQ data base to present more complicated concepts related to shelter provision, facilitate deployment worldwide.

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One person can put up a FH Yurt all by themselves, but it is a lot easier with two or more people.  The most difficult challenge for a single person is getting the fully assembled FH Yurt roof up onto the walls without help.  It can be done alone, but you need to use props to do it.  Two people can assemble a FH Yurt without any problem; it takes half the time, and you have a lot more fun.  At the limit, with twenty wall panels and twenty roof panels, twenty people can put up a FH Yurt in just a few minutes, and they wouldn’t even really get in each other’s ways. [See ASSEMBLY TIME (FH YURTS)]

The assembly process is quite simple and it lends itself to “assembly-line” production if your group has a lot of shelters to set up.  One team can be prefolding parts, another team can be folding wall parts, a third team can be folding roof parts, and a fourth team can be folding the small volume but slightly more involved parts like window and door kits.  A team can be assembling FH Yurt walls, another team could be assembling FH Yurt roofs, while yet another team is bolting the assembled roofs onto the assembled walls.  And a final small team might be inserting doors and windows.

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You create most of the FH Yurt parts by folding them out of two-dimensional sheets into three-dimensional parts.  Typically tabs pushed through slots in the parts hold them together.  [See PREFOLDING EXTRUDED PLASTIC PARTS]

Sets of bolts, washers, and wing-nuts connect the various parts together to form the walls, roof, windows and doors of the FH Yurt.  The bolts are hand-tightened and easily retightened if necessary.



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It takes about 14 person-hours to set up a basic TekYurt or UtiYurt the first time. It takes 4-5 hours to set up a LiteYurt.  If there are two of you, it will take half that long. [See ASSEMBLY TEAM (FH YURTS), and DISASSEMBLY TIME (FH YURTS)]

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Folded Homes® FH Yurts are very stable in high winds when properly attached to the ground.  Each wall and connector kit panel of your FH Yurt includes a ground flap that extends out 9 inches (23 cm) from the outside wall of a TekYurt or UtiYurt and 8 inches (20.3 cm) from a LiteYurt. Depending upon the characteristics of the ground where you are placing your FH Yurt, this ground flap is either staked down (bottom image), weighed down with heavy rocks (center image), or buried with an earthen berm (top image).

Regardless of which technique you use (staking, rocks, or earthen berms), make sure that the ground flaps angle downward away from the edge of the FH Yurt’s wall so that water is drawn away from the shelter. [See KEEPING WATER AWAY (FH YURTS)]

Typically guy lines are not required to secure your FH Yurt to the ground, although in extremely windy conditions you can add guy wires which run to stakes in the ground from below the roof eaves of TekYurts and UtiYurts and from the ends of the gutters of LiteYurts. [See EXTREME WIND GUY-LINES (FH YURTS)]

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FH Yurts can be set up as compounds that enclose an external space.

Ten TekYurts and/or UtiYurts and ten FH YURT CONNECTOR KITs is the smallest number required for these yurts. They will create a circular compound with a 24’ 3” (7.4 m) interior diameter. Eight LiteYurts create the smallest possible LiteYurt compound with an inside quadrangle that measures 8’ by 14’ 6” (2.44 x 4.42m).

For TekYurts and UtiYurts you must choose configurations that will have two FH Yurt wall panels line up about 8” (20.3 cm) apart from and parallel to each other.  The FH YURT CONNECTOR KITs will link between them.  LiteYurts connect directly to each other without the need for connector kits.

Other shapes and configurations are possible as long as you pay attention to how the sides of the twenty-sided TekYurts and UtiYurts and ten-sided LiteYurts line up with each other.  It is not possible to connect LiteYurts to TekYurts and UtiYurts. 

Contact Folded Homes® if you are unsure whether the configuration you are considering will work. [See MULTI-ROOM FH YURT STRUCTURES, and FH YURT CONNECTOR KIT] Make sure to always provide at least two ways to get out of an enclosed compound. [See EMERGENCY EXITS (FH YURTS)]

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The FH Yurt chimney vent is designed for the insertion of a 3” (7.62 cm) double-walled chimney pipe that is not included with the FH Yurt Kit. The storm collar inside the roof vent that creates that 3” (7.62 cm) diameter opening should not be removed to install a larger chimney pipe because the collar provides the heat sink that keeps the heated chimney pipe from damaging the plastic roof of the FH Yurt. [See FIRE DANGER (FH YURTS)]

To mitigate the danger of fire, the installation of any wood-burning furnace or stove must be done in strict compliance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Furnaces or stoves should be set up in the center of the FH Yurt as far from the walls as possible.  Ideally, the apparatus’ chimney pipe should rise directly up to the center vent in the ceiling of the FH Yurt.

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FH Yurt roofs are tough; if you must climb on it the roof will support you. If possible use a long ladder or plank to create a ramp that lies flat along the slope of the FH Yurt roof to climb up on.  This will distribute your weight across the roof and reduce the possibility that it will be distorted.

Climbing on the roof of the FH Yurt is not recommended for several reasons.  First, polypropylene plastic is fairly slippery and there really aren’t any handholds on a FH Yurt roof.  If you don’t climb on, you can’t fall off.  Second, the 4mm (0.16”) thick polypropylene plastic sheets that a FH Yurt is made of will not tear, and you can’t easily punch a hole through them.  But they can be crushed by a heavy weight that is not properly distributed across their surface. (Snow load is distributed evenly and therefore does not deform the roof.) [See SNOW-LOADING (FH YURTS)]

Roof distortion is what could cause the roof to leak. Carelessly climbing on the roof can cause some distortion in the plastic panels and this can result in damaged seams leaking.  The fix is really easy however, and is done from the inside of the shelter. [See ROOF LEAK REPAIR (FH YURTS)]

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A FH Yurt can be easily and rapidly disassembled by simply unbolting and unfolding the various component parts.  Below, Mary demonstrated that one person can disassemble a TekYurt or UtiYurt in 3 hours and 15 minutes. LiteYurts can be disassembled in less than an hour. Because of the ‘memory’ characteristic of the plastic material, both the wall and roof components nest nicely for efficient storage.  The two main piles of materials (triangular roof components on the left and rectangular wall and door components on the right) are light enough that a single person can carry each pile.


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FH Yurts are manufactured from fully inert, safe, and non-toxic materials.  They can be fully recycled.  If burned, the polypropylene plastic burns cleaner than cardboard.  But in most places where FH Yurts will be used for humanitarian applications, the materials used to construct a FH Yurt will be recycled by the FH Yurt’s users into other applications such as flooring, water catchment materials and other shelter applications.

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Under all but the most extreme conditions, you don’t need to attach your FH Yurt to the ground with guy-lines. It is sufficient to attach it using the ground flaps extending out from the bottom of the FH Yurt walls. [See ANCHORING TO THE GROUND (FH YURTS)]

However, in extremely winding conditions, you may need to additionally attach your FH Yurt to the ground with guy-lines.  In the Washington state Olympic Peninsula where we experienced 75 mph winds we found that using five guy lines was sufficient.

In the upper image of a prototype fiberboard UtiYurt, the guy-lines are attached to the tops of the wall panels just below the roof eaves.  Attach the guy-lines to the TekYurt or UtiYurt by looping the end of the guy-line through the upper-most access holes on the inside of the wall panel (see left image), and then up and out of the center hole in the top of the wall panel (see right image).  It is easiest (but not essential) to do this before the roof is attached.  Then run the line out and down to a stake in the ground.

For an even stronger connection to the ground, use five cables twice as long and attach the middles of each cable to the top of a wall panel and run each end down to two ground stakes attaching the TekYurt or UtiYurt to the earth with ten cables.

LiteYurt guy-lines are attached to the ends of any of the ten LiteYurt roof gutters.


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FH Yurts do not require any sort of platform or floor for assembly.  It helps to have a flat surface (or at least a planar one) but the structure will adjust to modest curves in the surface it is built on. [See TERRAIN PREPARATION (FH YURTS)]

The ground cover or floor that you choose to install in the FH Yurt has more to do with creating a comfortable environment for the FH Yurt’s users and with keeping ground-based critters out.

In dry environments using heavy rosin paper (available in most paint departments) or thick permeable landscape fabric (see image) will keep the dust and dirt away.

In wet environments consider first laying down a large plastic sheet and taping it up the insides of the FH Yurt walls several inches to block out both humidity and ground-based insects. You will probably want to cover the plastic sheet with some material which is less slippery like landscape fabric or heavy rosin paper.

You can of course erect your FH Yurt on top of some sort of raised platform. Or if you are considering a raised platform inside the FH Yurt to keep groundwater away from the inhabitants remember that the FH Yurt door opens inward and your design must not block the opening door. [See DOOR DIMENSIONS (FH YURTS)] The platform need not be physically connected to the FH Yurt. [See AREA & VOLUME – HOW BIG IS A FH YURT?]

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Mosquito nets are used as a first line of defense world-wide wherever malaria, West Nile virus, and other insect-borne diseases are prevalent.

Biting insects are a particularly active during twilight, at night, and when humans are immobile sleeping targets. The many round access holes on the interior face of your FH Yurt wall and ceiling offer convenient locations for attaching a personal sleeping net over sleeping areas.

There are also several steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of a disease carrying insect getting into your FH Yurt.

  • Attach a Mosquito net cover to the outside face of all the windows in your FH Yurt. Because all FH Yurt windows and doors open inward, netting can be permanently taped to the outside wall of the yurt surrounding each window.
  • Hang a large piece of Mosquito netting or heavy cloth over the outside of all door ways into your FH Yurt.  Loosen the six bolts connecting the roof to the door header and the two wall panels on each side of each door and work the top edge of the netting or clothe up between the top of the wall and the roof.  Then retighten the bolts to clamp the cloth or net in place.  We recommend the clothe or net extend some distance to each side of the door to create a more effective barrier.
  • If your roof vent is not connected to a chimney flue, tape a piece of mosquito netting over the inside aperture.
  • Carefully examine the bolted connecting interface between the walls and roof of your FH Yurt and plug any small openings under the eaves between the roof and ceiling with tape, crushed paper or clothe  or some other locally available material.


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In hot environments your TekYurt or UtiYurt probably doesn’t need any additional insulation and you probably want to take advantage of passive ventilation between the inner and outer layers of the walls and roof to keep your TekYurt or UtiYurt cool. [See PASSIVE VENTILATION – WHAT’S THAT?, and KEEPING COOL – PASSIVE VENTILATION IN FH YURTS]

But in cold environments you want a wall that really keeps the cold out. There are several ways (both high-tech and low-tech) to insulate your TekYurt or UtiYurt.

The walls and roof of your TekYurt or UtiYurt are 3 inches (7.62 cm) thick.  The panels are constructed of extruded plastic which is impervious to water damage. You can fill the cavity between the inside and outside walls of the TekYurt or UtiYurt with an insulating material.

During wall panel assembly, you can place insulating fiberglass batts inside each wall and roof panel as you fold them.  Or after the TekYurt or UtiYurt is assembled, you can blow in insulation or fill the wall and roof cavities with expanding foam.  After assembly, access the wall and roof cavities through the flapped bolt access holes on the inside face of each wall and roof panel.

A unique feature of the TekYurt or UtiYurt is the possibility of insulating them with any locally available biomass so that it is not necessary to deliver insulating material to some remote humanitarian disaster location. The walls and roof of the TekYurt or UtiYurt can be packed with locally growing grasses or other plant life, with old rags or newspaper, or can even be packed with things like dried Yak dung.

When you are done assembling and insulating your TekYurt or UtiYurt, you can take a knife blade, a thin stick, or hooked wire to pull the flaps of the access holes back out to close them.

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Regardless of how you anchor your FH Yurt to the ground, make sure that the ground flaps attached to the bottom of your FH Yurt walls are angled so that water is drawn away from the walls of the FH Yurt. In the image on the left, water falling on the improperly-angled ground flap runs towards the FH Yurt wall.  In the image on the right (showing a ground flap that will be buried under an earthen berm) the flap is properly angled so that the water drains away from the FH Yurt wall. [See ANCHORING TO THE GROUND (FH YURTS)]

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You don’t need to attach your FH Yurt to the ground until you have moved it to the final location where you want it to stand.

Once your FH Yurt is completely assembled, three or four people can easily lift up the entire structure and move it so that it is placed exactly where you want it.

Locate it so that the windows and doors are best positioned relative to the prevailing winds.  Once the FH Yurt is in the proper location firmly attach it to the ground. [See ANCHORING TO THE GROUND (FH YURTS)]

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Extruded plastic sheets have “memory.”  This means that if you crease or fold the sheets, the plastic will “remember” those creases and folds. Folded Homes® origami architecture takes advantage of the memory of polypropylene plastic sheets to make it easier to assemble your plastic shelter.  The precut parts that you receive in your shelter kit have been stamped with creases where you need to fold them.

Creases that run in the direction of the flutes in the extruded plastic are really easy to fold.  Creases that run against the flutes in the extruded plastic are a little more resistant to being folded.  Wendy and Kelly are starting to assemble a FH Yurt roof panel by prefolding it. 

It’s easiest to work at waist level they way they are, so if possible, set up some sort of work table to work on. Here they are working on a table made out of the shipping container that the FH Yurt came in set on two saw horses.

Frequently, especially for long folds, you will find that if you lay a straight piece of wood along the crease, it makes it a lot easier to start the fold.

Though polypropylene plastic sheets have memory, their memory isn’t that good…  What that means is that until a fold has been made really well, it tends not to stay in the folded position and initially tends to want to return to its unfolded position. What we have learned at Folded Homes® is that it is really helpful to “prefold” all parts along all of their crease lines before trying to fold them into their final three-dimensional shape.  Prefolding means to fold the sheet over a full 180 degrees back onto its self even if the final fold will only be something like 90 degrees.  Run your hand along the fully folded crease before opening it back up and moving on to folding along the next crease.

Prefolding makes it much easier to do origami architecture! [See ORIGAMI ARCHITECTURE – WHAT’S THAT?]

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You need to clear a circular area of ground 11’ 6 “ (3.5 m) in diameter to set up a TekYurt or UtiYurt and 11’ (3.35m) for a LiteYurt.   The areas should be relatively planar, although it does not need to be completely flat. [See AREA & VOLUME – HOW BIG IS A FH YURT?]

If there is loose dirt or sand, the FH Yurt can be fixed to the ground using earthen berms.  If there are large stones lying around, these can be used to hold down the FH Yurt.  If neither of these materials are available you will need to stake the FH Yurt to the ground some how. [See ANCHORING TO THE GROUND (FH YURTS)]

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FH Yurts are designed to be easy to assemble without prior training or a deployment team.  However, Folded Homes® can provide experienced deployment team leads that can help train personnel and organize the deployment of large numbers of FH Yurts. [See ASSEMBLY TEAM (FH YURTS)]

Folded Homes® is happy to provide a specific quote for training and deployment services.

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The 3” (7.62 cm) thick hollow walls and roof of a TekYurt or UtiYurt provide considerable space for running electrical lines if necessary. Any wiring of a LiteYurt must run on the surface of the wall or roof. Cut through the extruded plastic panels with a sharp knife to run lines. However, because extruded plastic is a relatively light material, any outlets or fixtures should be properly braced and should not rely structurally on the extruded plastic panels.

Make sure that all electrical wiring and fixture installation is done by qualified personnel in complete conformity with all applicable building codes.

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