You know domes as those round, futuristic-looking, igloo-like structures. You might even know they are strong, and make great homes and glamping tents. As more people discover how efficient and versatile domes are, domes are becoming more popular and mainstream. But maybe you’ve wondered about what’s included in a geodesic dome kit and how to build a dome. So, here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect when you get a dome kit and what’s involved in putting it together.
What’s in a Geodesic Dome Kit?
If you’re looking to use a dome for a vacation rental, tiny home, an off-grid living space, community center, backyard oasis, workout studio (we could go on … domes can be used in so many ways!), you’ll want to buy a geodesic dome kit. The kit will give you what you need to put your dome together.
Geodesic dome kits will vary from store to store. This is what’s included in a Glamping Dome Store dome:
- Steel pipes for the frame (struts)
- A PVC cover that is the “skin” over the frame
- Anchorage expansion bolts / lug screws (to secure the dome to a concrete or wooden surface)
- A solid door frame that holds a pre-hung exterior door (36x80")
- A transparent panoramic window made of PVC
- A skylight window
- A round PVC no-open window
- Two mesh screen vents
You don’t have to stick to just the basic kit, though. You can also add extra windows and features to your dome, such as:
- Heating / cooling
- A bathroom
What starts out as a basic dome kit can become whatever you want it to be, limited only by your imagination (or budget). You can design the interior space of your dome any way you like. Without the need for walls to hold up the roof, a dome gives you lots of interior space to work with. You may want a kitchen space or a loft, for example, or you might use room dividers to create spaces for different activities like working and sleeping.
What Are Geodesic Domes Made Of?
The two main parts of a dome are the frame and the cover. (However, depending on a dome’s use, some people might only use the frame -- for example, at a fair or exposition.) Both parts are made to be durable through the seasons and can last a long time before needing repairs or a replacement.
At Glamping Dome Store, our dome frame is made of hot-dip galvanized steel pipes. What that means is the steel has been submerged and coated in molten zinc, which makes it durable and rust-resistant.
The cover is a thick vinyl fabric that fits over the frame, kind of like a hat on your head. This is made of a double-coated PVC material that is water-resistant and UV-resistant. It’s tough, so the cover can hold up in winds up to 75 mph. Glamping Dome Store carries covers in 12 colors. The white dome cover is 850g/square metre, and the colored covers are 650-700g/square metre.
How to Build a Dome from a Kit
A geodesic dome kit will give you what you need, but you do have to put it together. Just as you would build any other shelter, you will need tools, some knowhow, and a few other people helping you. It helps to have:
- General carpentry skills
- Ability to read and follow diagrams
- Good teamwork and communication skills (our smaller dome, for example, is ideally set up by a group of at least three people working together)
- Willingness to learn
- Problem-solving and decision-making skills
- Dexterity and hand-eye coordination
- Physical strength (for example, our 20 ft dome cover weighs 121 lbs, which doesn’t seem like much, but it can be tricky to maneuver the stiff fabric up and over the dome)
Select the site for your dome, and begin building. The kit comes with full instructions for assembling the frame, placing and fastening the cover, adding windows and skylights, and installing the door frame. The standard door frame will hold the typical pre-hung exterior door you’d find at your local hardware store. Then you can work on your flooring and any other finishing touches.
What to Expect When You Build a Dome
From our experience with geodesic domes and their accessories, domes make fantastic shelters. Even though we love domes, there are a few things you might be unprepared for if you haven’t spent much time around them. So, here are a few extra insider tips.
Give your dome some shade. It’s best to build a dome in the shade because it is basically a tent and gets hot pretty quickly. Also, even though our dome covers are UV-resistant, strong sunlight can decrease the lifespan of the cover.
Build your dome in moderate weather. Don’t build your dome when the weather calls for extreme temperatures. For example, if you install a dome below freezing, the dome cover could crack (the clear part gets hard and fragile). The PVC material simply doesn’t stretch.
Expect some condensation. There will be condensation inside your dome. This can cause the PVC panoramic window to freeze up in cooler temperatures, or get foggy. The window may even wrinkle or get “dots.”
Be ready for oohs and aahs. People will want to stare at your dome because it’s that amazing! They also might ask questions. Be proud and show it off!
A geodesic dome is a wonderful shelter that’s perfect for lots of different uses. Getting a dome kit with everything you need simplifies the process of building one, but it helps to be prepared for some of the unique challenges domes have. With a little planning, you can do it! Please contact us if you have questions, or find your perfect dome kit here.