1. Dome Specifications
What is a dome?
A structure consisting of a partial sphere (usually about half of a sphere) used to enclose space. Domes are commonly used for events, homes, greenhouses, temporary structures or to enclose equipment.
What does Geodesic Mean?
Geodesic refers to the use of points that share placement on a common curved surface and the chords (straight lines) that connect these points. The icosahedron is a platonic solid. Using the icosahedron and iterations of the icosahedron to smooth the profile, Pacific Domes structures retain the geodesic quality and the beauty and strength of the sphere, maintaining the geodesic principal.
What is a frequency?
When talking about domes, the definition of frequency refers to the number of pieces that each edge of the base figure is divided into in the process of triangulating its sides. For instance, we might start with a base figure of an icosahedron and divide each edge of each triangular face into 3 equal lengths. Those new points are connected to divide the original triangle into 9 smaller triangles. Since the original edges were divided into 3 parts, we call this a 3-frequency dome. The frequency is commonly abbreviated as “v”, so a 2-frequency dome is called 2v, 3-frequency is 3v, and so forth. The higher the frequency the more curved and sphere like the dome appears.
What type of frame do I need?
The geodesic dome geometry is one of the sturdiest and most aerodynamic structures ever designed!
For areas with snow or strong wind, we will need to check our engineering program to calculate the tubing diameter required for your maximum snow and wind loads. You will need to contact your local County Building Department for your snow load and combined wind requirements as well as the seismic rating for the location.
What are dome frames made of? How strong are the frames?
Our dome frames are made from galvanized steel. The steel, in conjunction with the geodesic design, creates an amazingly strong structure using a minimal amount of material. Geodesic domes are world-renowned for their strength and integrity. Depending on your situation and needs, we offer ‘Extreme’ 1.9”, ‘Burly’ 1.66, ‘Heavy Duty’ 1.31”, in addition to our ‘Standard’ .92” frame.
What type of cover do I need?
The main consideration in choosing fabric for your dome is longevity. The two causes of deterioration are UV and mildew. If you live in a dry desert-like area with high UV, we recommend SunLite painted with Thermoshield, which reflects heat and UV off of the dome cover and dramatically extends the cover’s life expectancy. We also recommend SunShield because of its additional laminate coating protection against UV.
If you live in a damp or wet area with high moisture, we recommend SunLite and SunShield (vinyl) fabrics because they have a smooth surface, are easy to clean and are more resistant to mold and mildew.
What do I need to do to take good care of my dome?
To insure your domes new and clean appearance and to prolong the life of your dome cover, do not allow dirt or stains to build up on the fabric. Clean your vinyl cover every 180 days, and your Tropical Plus fabric once a year. Be sure to clean both sides as needed. You can clean your dome using a power nozzle and/or a mild soap solution and scrub brush. Only use mild soap and water with a SOFT bristle brush or rag on your dome. NEVER USE SOLVENTS, HEAVY BRUSHES, WIRE PADS OR HIGH PRESSURE STEAM CLEANERS TO REMOVE DIRT OR STAINS OFF YOUR DOME. Always rinse the dome thoroughly with water after cleaning to remove any traces of cleaning solutions.
Regularly brush out the bottoms of all the window pockets where the rain will wash down dirt and leaves, and the bottom of the dome, where dirt collects between the cover and the floor.
NEVER LET ANY TYPE OF SOLVENT COME IN CONTACT WITH THE SURFACE OF THE DOME, AS IT WILL DAMAGE OR REMOVE THE TOP COAT. THIS INCLUDES MEK SOLUTIONS, PETROLEUM AND SILICONE BASED PRODUCTS.
How do I clean off mildew?
To prevent mildew, keep your dome well ventilated and dry. Store your dome as dry as possible. Sponge down all mildew areas with a strong bleach solution (1 part bleach to 4 parts water). Wear gloves and have your dome well ventilated to avoid inhaling fumes. Mildew will turn pale when it dies. Always rinse with clean water following a bleach treatment!
Natural mildew treatments:
1. One of our customers gave us this recipe as both a curative and preventative for mildew growth.
- 2 ½ gallons water
- 20 drops Tea Tree Oil
- ¼ cup Borax
- ½ cup white vinegar
2. Spray mildew with hydrogen peroxide. Wash with a thin paste of lemon juice and borax to inhibit new mildew formation.
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Lemon Juice
I am wondering about zoning constraints related to residential dome structures within an urban environment.
Zoning issues vary from city to city and county to county. Our domes are far from a conventional home. We can provide a structural analysis document that will show that our domes meet county requirements for seismic, wind load, and snow load. This usually satisfies the building departments for rural areas. We have put up many small domes within city limits in back yards with no problems. A large dome for a primary residence within city limits will require approval from the local Building Department.
What is the shipping size and weight?
The shipping size and weight of each sized dome package can be found on the appropriate dome size page. Up-graded frames and added components will increase the standard weights listed on our website. Please contact us with your specific dome needs for the most accurate weights.
2. Dome Features & Options
How does the frame attach to the flooring?
Shelter dome packages come with heavy duty anchors that connect the dome frame to the deck or floor of your choosing.
Does Pacific Domes offer any insulation?
We offer two insulation options:
1. A Liner with Thinsulate, which can be purchased “roof only” or “complete”
2. Thermoshield, painted on the inside of the dome instead of the liner.
How is the dome ventilated?
Pacific Domes are designed with ventilation in mind. The roof, door, round windows, and portions of the sidewalls can be replaced with screens. If your environment doesn’t allow for screens, due to excessive rain fall, we recommend using a solar fan to aid in ventilation.
How do I install a wood stove?
If you are using the wood flooring plans that we have provided, we recommend that you create a rock or sand hearth to put your stove on. To install your stove on the hearth, follow manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes. The Deluxe Dome Package is equipped with metal stove flashing and a cap. For the Basic Dome Package, the wood stove set-up can be purchased separately. The piping will run from your stove through the flashing and above your dome. All of the piping that is used in association with the stove should be double walled pipe. The piping that runs through your flashing and above the dome should have an outer 8” diameter and an inner 6” diameter.
Is it possible to create seperate rooms in the dome?
There are many ways to use the space that a dome offers. Sizes 24’ and larger allow space for a loft to be built. Traditional walls can be built within your dome if you desire. All lofts, walls or partitions should be built free standing and self-supporting. Some people have used screens to separate the space.
Can I install a locking door?
Yes! Our pre-hung door opening creates a space that will allow for you to install a conventional door.
3. Dome Customizations
Can I apply the Thermoshield to the Sunlite or the Sunshield materials?
Yes, it will adhere to all of the Shelter dome fabrics.
Can I purchase a replacement cover for my dome?
Re-skins are available for standard and custom domes. We have customers that have been living in their dome home for 25 years.
Does the full dome kit include the floor?
We provide floor plans for three styles of floors, along with material lists. These plans have been used by many of our customers and have proven to work very well with our domes. There is also information on using Perimeter Boards for an earthen floor or for a concrete floor.
How should I heat my dome?
The most common method of heating is by wood stove, but any modern heating method will work in a dome. Radiant heat, solar, electric and gas are all compatible with our domes.
How should I cool my dome?
The domes are designed with several window screens, base screens, and a roof screen. This ventilates the dome well, helping to keep it cool. A solar fan is included in the Deluxe dome package and it can also be purchased separately. It is recommended for helping to exhaust hot air from the top of the dome. Traditional Air Conditioning units may be installed as well.
Can you run electricity and utilities into the dome?
If you have access to utilities, they can be run into the dome. Typically this is done through the floor. Outlets can be placed on the floor, or on any walls or partitions that you build inside. If you drill an appropriate diameter hole you can run pipes up through the floor wherever you want them.
4. Dome Manufacturing
How are the joints constructed?
Both ends of each strut are flattened and a hole is punched through the flattened area. Four to six of the struts meet at each joint, or “hub”, and a bolt with a washer and a nut run through the holes at the ends of the struts.
Could we use one of your covers to fit over a dome that we make?
We will need information on the frequency and exact length of your homemade struts (center of the hole to center of the hole measurement) to see if our dome covers will fit.
If your strut length measurements do not match ours exactly, one of our covers will not fit your homemade frame.
Can I put it together myself?
The 16’, 16’Tall, 20’, and 24’ domes can be constructed with help from a few friends. It is difficult to construct domes larger than this without mechanized assistance.
Will Pacific Domes erect the dome for me?
Yes, although our Owner’s Manual has enabled our customers to set their own domes up with ease. We do recommend hiring one of our staff members for 36’ and larger diameter domes, although we have had customers accomplish the set-ups on their own. Please contact us and give you a quote if you require assistance.
How long does it take to receive the dome once it’s ordered?
Generally, a Sunshield dome will be finished 4-6 weeks after the 50% deposit is received. All vinyl domes will require 6-10 week production timeline. Custom orders will extend this time frame, please contact us for delivery times.
What if I need my dome sooner than the time frames you have listed?
Our standard Production Schedule is 4-6 weeks (for each dome) from the date the 50% deposit is received. We always do our best to meet client deadlines and work as quickly as possible, but please be aware that any orders placed with shorter delivery times will be charged a Rush Order Fee of 20%.
5. Dome Pricing
Do you have domes availabe for rent?
Yes! Pacific Domes are a wonderful space for parties, weddings, trade shows, festival booths, and retreats. We have an experienced and competent crew available to help with setup and takedown. Please call us for updated information on availability and prices.
Do you have a payment plan?
Our payment terms are 50% deposit at the time the order is made with the balance due before we ship.
Do you offer any additional resources that I could consult other than your website?
If you provide us with a mailing address and specifically request a “packet by mail”, we can send you a packet of information with a brochures and fabric samples.
Can you ship to Canada or other countries?
We can ship outside of the USA, but the costs vary greatly with the size of the dome. Duty and import taxes are the responsibility of the dome purchaser. Shipping timelines vary for ocean and airfreight. When you’re ready to order, we can give you a shipping quote.