Sweetwater Bungalows FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does a Bungalow differ from a yurt?

A: Sweetwater Bungalows stands apart from the Yurt with its innovative design and framework. Not only featuring an attractive shape, a unique rain fly and eave & awning system, and exposed beams but most apparent is the difference between their relationship with the environment. Nature is invited into your living space through the unobstructed expansive window views of a Sweetwater Bungalow. Sweetwater Bungalows are great alternatives to domes, yurts & teepees.

Q: Will a Sweetwater Bungalow remain dry through a season of heavy rain?

A: Yes. Besides the durable water proof Bungalow material, the combination of our specialty designed rain fly system and eave & awning system allows the water to run straight off away from the sides, keeping your Bungalow dry and cozy.

Q: What about condensation?

A: The canvas ceiling of the Bungalows allows the shelters to naturally breathe. The large surface area also creates sufficient air circulation enabling moisture to escape, therefore reducing condensation, along with the slider windows. Any dry heat source will further protect against dampness.

Q: How strong of winds can a Bungalow withstand?

A: The Bungalow rainfly and Eave and Awning system can maintain its integrity up to 45 mph wind gusts but it is recommended to have the rainfly taken off if higher winds occur. The Bungalow frame and shell can withstand up to 75 mph wind gusts but anything greater the shell should be taken off. Always when considering the location of your Bungalow remember hilltops may be exposed to stronger winds. When positioning your platform and Bungalow, it is also highly recommended to face the front or back of the structure into the prevailing wind so that the wind can funnel through the eaves of the rain fly.

Q: Does the Bungalow handle snow?

A: Most customers do keep their Bungalows up year around in climate zones that incur winter snow. However, the main factor is snow load and whether you will be near your Bungalow during the winter as the Bungalows are not engineered for heavy snow loads. We have one in Lake Tahoe that gets a lot of snow but the owner lives there so she can just knock the snow off. Most of the snow slides off but it does catch on the brackets and can build up. We have another customer who has one in the woods outside Truckee that is unattended. They added additional rafters and collar ties and cross country ski to it in the winter but this was done at their own risk. If you are not near the Bungalow and you get snowstorms of less than 6 inches it would be okay. We also recommend that customers setup their Bungalows near trees to decrease their exposure to sun and snow.

Q: Can you heat a Bungalow?

A: Yes. Customers have installed wood stoves and propane, kerosene and electric heaters. If you decide on a wood stove or propane or kerosene heater, it needs to be installed with a metal doughnut for the stovepipe or vent to exit the shell wall along with protective shielding behind the stove – Exit Stove Jack. An electric heater requires an outlet wired like an outdoor application with conduit and boxes. Even though the Bungalows have fabric walls, the small space warms up quickly and retains the heat better than you would think.

Q: What options are there for restrooms?

A: If you desire a bathroom close to your bungalow you have several options. Locating the bathroom (including sink and shower) can be sited on the same deck of your Bungalow or done as a separate out-building. If you have a sewer or septic connection nearby, you would plumb it like a house with a vent pipe. You can also use the new generation composting toilets which are very proficient and easy to install. Here are links to composting toilet companies: www.naturesearthlyway.com, www.sun-mar.comand www.envirolet.com. For prefabricated “Green” restroom facilities, check out www.greenflushrestrooms.com .

Q: Do you need a building permit to put up a Bungalow?

A: Determining if a permit is needed remains arbitrary from state to state and from county to county and is up to local building officials depending on use and location. Many times no foundation means no permit as they qualify as a temporary structure. The State of California typically does not require a permit for structures 120 sq ft and under (which is equivalent to our 10’x12′ Bungalow Kit). Napa County requires a primary residence on the property to put up an accessory structure. This link will provide more information for Sonoma County. For the larger kit sizes, you may want to check with your local county building department.

Q: How can you get wrinkles out of the shell?

A: Vinyl wrinkles can be removed with low heat (either a steamer or hair dryer). We recommend using a steamer first and testing a small area first to adjust the temperature needed. When the vinyl is exposed to direct sunlight the wrinkles will come out over time.

Q: Does the fabric mildew?

A: A film of dirt will settle on the outside of the Bungalow fabric due to natural pollutants in the air so we recommend that you clean the outside of your Bungalow shell and rain fly once a year (twice a year for coastal or tropical climates) with mild soap detergent and water (hose or pressure washer). The material is treated for mildew however the canvas ceiling is porous and needs to remain free of dirt to insure proper efficiency. If mildew appears on the inside canvas, it can easily be treated with our recommended natural mildew/mold cleaners, both excellent substitutes for less environmentally safe bleach.

To clean the inside canvas ceiling, try the below natural ingredient that can be used as a spray to kill mold and mildew if it appears. it is an excellent substitute for less environmentally safe bleach.

Vinegar Spray
Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold. Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the moldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.

Hydrogen Peroxide Spray
Fill a spray bottle with Hydrogen Peroxide and spray directly on the trouble spot. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then wipe away with a damp clean cloth. Any smell will dissipate in a few hours.

Iosso Mold and Mildew Cleaner
Purchase on Amazon.

Q: How long will a Sweetwater Bungalow last?

A: The rain fly of the Bungalow is designed to take the brunt of Mother Nature’s harmful elements and consequently shows the most wear. However, the rain fly is very inexpensive and can be replaced every seven years or as needed. With proper care and site selection, your Bungalow will give you twelve to fifteen years of enjoyment.

Q: Can electricity be run to the Bungalow?

A: Typically, customers hire an electrician. They run conduit in a ditch out to the bungalow from the house panel and up through the floor in the wall with an outlet. The inside is wired like an outdoor application with conduit and boxes. Some customers have utilized solar panels and generators but they still run the conduit in the wall and mount the outlet to a stud.

Q: How can I keep my Bungalow cool?

A: Site selection such as where natural shade exists would ideally be the best placement for a Bungalow. The screen windows and door as well as the permeable canvas ceiling assist in adequate air circulation or there is a custom option for a vinyl mesh ceiling (ideal for tropical or desert climates). A ceiling fan can be attached to the ridge beam for the kits that have 11′ peaks/7′ walls. An air conditioning unit can be installed as well – Tent Air Conditioners

Q: Can more windows be added later to the Bungalow?

A: Yes. Simply add window framing to the frame. Cut the fabric, tack back any extra material to the jambs and install the new window and outside trim.

Q: What are the estimated freight costs for shipping a Bungalow?

A: Bungalow orders within Northern California are delivered by Sweetwater Bungalows for $275-350 per unit (within a 4 hr radius). For West Coast States freight usually runs $350-450 depending on kit size, to the Midwest $550-650 and to the East Coast $600-700. More than one unit usually costs less than the first one to ship (as long as it is to the same shipping address). These prices are subject to change due to fluxuating gas prices. Shipping charges can be eliminated by picking up the Bungalow kits from our Fresno (Mariposa), California location.

Q: Is the Bungalow shell material fire proof?

A: The shell material is made with CPA1 specification 84 Flame resistant fabric. IT IS NOT FIRE PROOF. The fabric will burn if left in continuous contact with any flame source. The application of any foreign substance to the tent fabric may render the Flame resistant properties ineffective.”

Q: How do i repair a hole in my Bungalow?

A: The fabric used for the Bungalows is extremely tough. However, if you happen to accidentally puncture a hole in one of the walls, it can easily be repaired by patching the hole with a piece of replacement fabric and vinyl glue that can be ordered from Sweetwater Bungalows.


Limited to 2-4 emails per year on sale promotions and news.