Anyone who’s spent a few days in a yurt knows how noisy it can get. As a kid, I lived 2 years in Japan with my father when he worked as the Matsukawa camp adviser.
We happened to live in a yurt that was rather lofty, but was made from thin cloth. While it was a fun experience, the adjustment period to having zero privacy was.. rather unpleasant. Especially when it came to using the toilet. In fact, it never got easier and annoyed the hell out of me!
But I don’t want to bore you with gritty details. The point of this article is to share some effective ways to insulate a yurt from external noise and to protect your privacy better.
These methods won’t block all the sound, because a yurt like any other tent doesn’t have thick walls which are crucial for complete soundproofing. However, they’ll muffle the sounds to a large extent and completely block lesser noises.
1. Cover the yurt with mass loaded vinyl
The first thing you should do in order to soundproof a yurt is cover the wooden construction with mass loaded vinyl (I’ll call it MLV from now on).
This is a dense and rather heavy soundproofing material that is typically installed on wall studs. A yurt has it’s own wooden studs if you want to call them that, and they will work fine for this purpose.
MLV comes in large sheets, which can be cut with a knife to the required size. I recommend starting by covering the critical sides of the yurt where the noise bothers you the most and going from there.
This is how installation of MLV on regular studs looks like:
So you’ll need to use either screws, nails or a strong glue to keep it in place. Or you could poke small holes and tie it to the wooden construction by using strings.
I advise using larger MLV sheets in order to keep the gaps between sheets to a minimum. Simply because gaps between sheets can serve as entrance points for noise. This may require having one more person assist you during installation to make the job easier.
I recommend ordering MLV from this seller on Amazon because the quality of the product is always top notch. This is my favorite soundproofing material and it’s convenient for soundproofing a yurt. Both due to its flexibility, which allows you to place it at bent angles and the fact that it can be cut to size easily so you can really maximize its potential.
2. Seal the gaps between vinyl sheets
The best way to cover the gaps between sheets is by using weatherproof foam tape. This foam can be used for other projects that require sealing small gaps that allow draft or sound to pass through.
Once you’ve placed the vinyl and sealed the gaps, you’ll have a pretty thick sound and thermal insulation, which will protect your from traffic, wind and other noises, as well as temperature changes to a large degree.
Aside from having a quieter place, others won’t be able to hear your activities they were used to either. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
3. Cover the yurt with thick blankets
Thick blankets are a popular insulating material for home projects. Especially moving blankets, because they’re affordable, heavy and can last for a really long time with zero maintenance.
To use a moving blanket for soundproofing a yurt, simply hang it from the inside and use nails, screws, tacks or glue to keep it in place.
I suggest using them in combination with mass loaded vinyl. First install the vinyl on the wooden studs. Then tack the moving blankets on the vinyl. Vinyl doesn’t look very pretty anyway, so by covering it with blankets you’ll also improve the appearance of your living quarters.
Moving blankets are also convenient for covering windows and doors. Hang them by tacking them only on the upper corners in order to easily move them away for sunlight and air flow.
One major benefit that these blankets provide is reduced echo. Yurts are famous for having large rooms or being just one large room. In either case, larger rooms with a small amount of soft furniture always produce tons of echo, which prolongs the noise and amplifies it.
Hanging thick moving blankets is a good way to take care of the problem. The best one for soundproofing is the Supreme Mover blanket. It’s the heaviest one on the market and I highly recommend it.
However, if you plan on covering a larger surface, it might be too expensive to buy many Supreme Movers. In that case, I suggest buying this bundle of lighter but more affordable moving blankets. These aren’t as thick, but they’re still pretty good. Furthermore, you can make them thicker by using two blankets or more in order to form multiple layers.
Mass is everything
The reason why a yurt doesn’t block sound is because it lacks mass. Any soundproofing project is about adding mass to a structure.
Ideally, you also want to use a professional soundproofing material that has other qualities, such as flexibility, in order to protect against both airborne and impact noise.
That’s why mass loaded vinyl is a popular choice. Unlike foam panels for example, it has a large STC rating for both higher and lower sound frequencies. And that’s crucial when upgrading walls to protect from more than just one type of noise.
More is better
Ideally, you’ll want to cover the entire yurt or one room with soundproofing material in order to prevent the sound from leaking through the areas that aren’t insulated.
More is always better, but I’m aware that soundproofing an entire yurt is an investment of time, money and effort. So when just starting out, my advice is to get as much done as possible while focusing on the key areas. That could be the sleeping area, the toilet or perhaps the roof if the noise of rain falling on the roof bothers you the most.
Over time, you can insulate other areas as well. My point is – it doesn’t have to be a huge, overwhelming project. Focus on the more critical areas and go from there until your entire yurt has perfect insulation you can enjoy and brag about to your neighbors. 🙂
Know thy dimensions
Before buying any soundproofing material, have an approximate estimate of how much you’ll need in order to complete the project. Measure the surface and check out the available dimensions for each product and get the exact amount or a little more to be on the safe side.
More than once I’ve started a projected and realized that more material would come in handy because:
a) my measures weren’t hundred percent correct
b) I had to cut the material to fit it properly, and wished I had more larger sheets left
c) I completed the project sooner than expected and would have loved to have more material at hand to soundproof some other surfaces as well.
Soundproofing materials don’t have a strict expiration date (canned spray foam being the exception). They’re designed to last for decades if not centuries so it’s fairly easy to find use for any pieces that remain whether to insulate a vehicle cabin, make a generator box or double the insulation on any given surface.
Final Word: Soundproofing a Yurt
Soundproofing a yurt is pretty simple thanks to the thicker construction than the one used for regular tents. This allows you to install soundproofing material easily, just as you would on regular studs in the walls or on a wall surface.
However, the lack of wall mass found in standard houses and apartments is the weak point because you can never achieve the same level of insulation.
But nevertheless, you can expect a much quieter atmosphere in your yurt as soon as you complete the steps outlined above. Hope this helps!