You made the decision to get a dome. You are satisfied with your purchase and happy in the space you created. Because you’re looking forward to spending a long time there, we have some tips that will help you do that, particularly when it comes to prolonging the life of your dome cover. Please check out these important tips!
Dome cover PVC vinyl and UV exposure
First, let’s talk about what the dome cover is made of: PVC (polyvinyl chloride) fabric or film. It’s tough enough to keep out the elements, be windproof/waterproof, and be easy to clean.
The dome cover is made of opaque PVC coated polyester (UV resistant) and clear PVC film that is able to withstand the sun’s rays only up to a certain point. The clear PVC film that is used for the windows is the most delicate part of the dome cover that needs care to last in high UV levels.
We normally think of the UV Index Scale in regards to how much sunscreen we need to protect our skin from getting burned. However, ultraviolet radiation from the sun affects nearly everything. A high UV level can damage plastics like PVC vinyl, causing it to thin out, crack, become sticky, and show other forms of premature aging. Just like sun exposure ages our skin, it also ages plastics. It’s inevitable that if you leave something like vinyl out in the sun without protecting it and caring for it properly, it will lose its original qualities.
The UV Index Scale in most of the USA is above UV level 5-6 (high) for five or more months a year. This high UV exposure damages any plastic left outside day after day (think plastic chairs by the pool), altering its appearance, and in some extreme cases, its integrity.
How to protect your dome cover from UV rays
Fortunately, there are ways to help keep your dome cover in good condition for as long as possible. Just like you cover and protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, you can do the same for your dome cover.
Get in the shade. Your best option is to place your dome in the shade — natural or man made. If that’s not possible, you can give your dome protection with our shading net to minimize exposure. The net comes in your choice of nine colors and is a cost-efficient way to shelter the dome cover from UV rays. It is a good idea to add it to your purchase if you plan to use the dome in areas with a UV level over 5. This includes almost all of the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Check your local weather forecast or this site to find your UV Index.
Apply protection. Just as you’d apply sunscreen to your skin, you can coat your vinyl with special products. There are two UV protective sprays that have been approved by the manufacturer. We will advise the brands and the specific products to all customers after the order is placed, and we will also have them listed in the Assembly Manual. The cost of the biodegradable treatments ranges from $20–$30 per bottle. You can get 2–3 treatments per bottle depending on the dome size. The manufacturer recommends applying these products every two weeks if you live in extreme UV locations (levels 7-8) or monthly if you live in high UV locations (levels 5-6).
Going forward, our dome cover warranty is conditional to shading and proper care in most locations of the USA, Australia, and New Zealand (over a 5-6 UV level).
Other important notes on dome cover vinyl
The first step to understanding how to clean vinyl is to learn about its properties. The PVC vinyl is resistant to moisture and humidity, strong and long lasting material, but like everything it needs care and maintenance to last.
Now that you know how to take care of your dome cover, here are some additional points that are good to know:
- First, the clear vinyl we use is tested for chemicals that are known to be harmful and complies with RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU.
- Mold and mildew can grow on PVC vinyl in high-humidity locations. To prevent this from happening, make sure your dome has excellent ventilation and a source of dry heat, and be sure to clean the cover properly and regularly. While the material is mold resistant, the dust and dirt that can accumulate on the cover is a fertile ground for mildew, fungi, and mold growth.
- Strong UV rays aren’t the only weather-related concern for the dome cover. The vinyl material is rated for -30C (-22F), but it becomes increasingly fragile in sub-freezing temperatures and may crack if PHYSICALLY DISTURBED. It will be fine if no one touches it. So be extra careful cleaning the snow off your dome! Wait until you have a day above freezing to maneuver/disassemble the cover.
When cleaning your PVC dome cover remember:
- use water or mild dish detergent;
- always avoid harsh cleaning products and solvent chemicals;
- use soft, non-abrasive cloths to wipe down the material;
- if you have a tough stain, test any of harsh solutions/treatments out on a small area that is not easily visible, in case it damages the material.
With a little care, your dome can last you a long time. We want you to have the best experience possible when it comes to your dome. Please contact us if you have any questions.