A Freedom Yurt-Cabin’s customer recently had a catastrophic event with his Yurt-Cabin LITERALLY floating away in a flood. Daniel knew he had to act fast and get educated about water damage ASAP before his structure was compromised. Considering he was blindly executing this problem, he decided to blog about what happened, how the Yurt-Cabin handled it, and what was destroyed by the amount of water that had taken over. Read his story in his words, below!



The flood happened on January 9th at lam. A record 12-foot tide along the river swept into our yard. Water poured right up to our Freedom Yurt-Cabin and drowned it.

The newly installed laminate floor of the yurt was completely underwater. Water level was almost a foot above that flooring.

Once the water levels went down (two days later), it was just a blur. We rescued what could be rescued, trashed the laminate flooring, and removed the subfloor so we could trash the now-drenched insulation.

With the yurt floor now open again (like before we had placed the subfloor down), we could see that part of the structure was going to dry out just fine. The OSB, which had held the insulation, was wet but not bent (there wasn’t upward pressure). Over the following days it dried out, helped by air moving from above and below.

We stacked the subfloor pieces with spacers (so they’d dry flat) and put fans on them. We added a large dehumidifier in the whole space.

Then our only concern was the walls themselves. In theory they are bonded together by structural wood and insulation. It should be water tight – but water gets everywhere. Even the screw holes can let water in. We opened up a small hole in one wall and it was slightly damp – but not wet. Not ideal to have any dampness inside a wall, but it was minimal and we felt that over time it will dry out.

We sprayed a vinegar-mix over all the walls, subfloor, OSB floor, and everywhere we could reach to prevent any mold. We did that a couple of times. We’ve seen and had zero indication of mold anywhere.

How do you find a solution? Raise the Yurt-Cabin higher so that it doesn’t happen again. But that’s impossible because it’s already assembled? Or is it….


Once we weathered the flood, we decided we were going to lift up the yurt to a higher level. With climate change raising river levels, we decided to hoist up the yurt 25″ – placing it on concrete piers.

That was a good 10″ above the flood level we experienced.

The piers themselves would be put into the ground and then stacked with exterior concrete glue and later bonded with quickwall’s surface bonding cement for added strength. (We didn’t use mortar because of the complexities of using mortar while lifting the yurt at the same time.)

The method of lifting the yurt was not clear to us. We explored lifting with a forklift, moving it, building the piers and putting it back. That seemed simple enough and the least back breaking and least time consuming.

Eventually we talked about raising it in place with jacks. This was an engineering challenge. The dream was inching up one panel, adding some supports, then moving jacks to the next panel.

We keep doing that until it’s high enough to put on our concrete piers bit by bit. And on and on until the entire yurt was lifted high enough. This “corkscrew”-style of bringing it up would be laborious, but steady.

A helpful call to Ken from Freedom Yurt gave us a few ideas and tips.

Among other things, he reassured us that – unlike many other yurts — the integrated flooring system would keep the entire yurt together as we moved it. It would be relatively stable and very forgiving.

Ken assured us (and he was right) that the center would droop but it would hold together – literally being lifted off the ground by the rest of the structure.


As it always goes, once we started, we realized some problems. Lifting panel by panel could work, but would also be achingly slow. When the panels were low to the ground it would be pretty easy. But as it goes higher, we’d need blocks to put the jacks on – and the higher the panels the more blocks to place under the jack. This would mean moving the blocks over and over and over again. Lifting 16″ panels just a few inches (5-6″) would take forever. Lifting them 24″ would be too much. Instead, we attached two 2×10″ pieces of wood together and slid them under one panel and out another panel that was 4 panels away. We jacked up that piece of wood with multiple jacks – essentially lifting half of the yurt at once. Then using another set of 2×10″ we had the same set-up on the other side to lift up. We basically ran from one side to the other side – jacking up, putting blocks underneath to stabilize, and then switching to the other side and repeating. Without any problems this would have worked quickly.

As we lifted, the joists that go to the corners of the panels would sometimes fall out — the feet were no longer holding them up and they would fall down. This isn’t a structural problem because once the feet were reattached it all went right back into place. But it was challenging to work around those corners when they fell down – because we had to jack or hoist them back up in order to put support blocks underneath them.

It also meant that after lifting from one “side” and the other “side” the ones in the middle – away from where the jacks were lifting – started to sag. It was extremely noticeable. That sag proved problematic and eventually we pulled the 4×6″s and reset them at 90-degrees from where they had been previously to help lift up the sides.

Two jacks had been set-up to lift up the sagging sides (before we had moved the 4×6″‘s to the sides). We’d use them to lift up the sides so we could get some more support on them. We had worried that when the sides weren’t supported, the whole thing might tip. We finished that.

Supported them. But forgot to bring the jacks down. We then went merrily on our way back to the main side with the 4×6″s. We lifted up the jacks. No problem. All good. But suddenly, without warning, the whole yurt lurched, then walked nearly two-feet over to the right in a matter of a heart-racing split seconds.

For a moment we had visions of the whole thing tipping over and breaking apart on the ground.

Even after we breathed for a moment and took the yurt back down, it was a bad situation. The yurt had found a new location – but one that no longer was over our carefully constructed viels.

That moment almost crushed us. We made a possibly unwise decision to very carefully try to walk the yurt back – angling our jacks away from where it had swung last time. Then moving it inch by inch slowwwwwwly.

It miraculously worked. Some of the piers were no longer right on center, but calamity avoided.

As soon as it worked, we shut down work for the day. The whole lifting operation lasted 3 days.

A fourth will be needed to fully level and then reattach the floor. Because of the added height, we’ll add some extra duck anchors for our own peace of mind to keep that downward pressure.

The Freedom Yurt interior structure is adaptable

The roof held. The structure held. Nothing broke (well, a scrap piece of wood split at one point under the pressure of the jack. When it split, the interior joists slammed ripping out some of the interior lag bolts from the wood. But it was a minor fix).

It dried out quickly

We were down to 50% humidity in just a day after the flood.

Thanks to the folks at Freedom Yurt-Cabins for the advice and commiseration.



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