For those of you who are wanting to compare the Ai Dome Kit vs Log Home Kit, please take time to read and analyze info listed below the two pictures.  Please compare kit costs and contents of each kit.  Instead of building a log cabin consider building an Ai prefabricated home dome kit.  To warm up the exterior & interior of the American Ingenuity (Ai) concrete dome; 1) paint the dome exterior light green or light tan.  2) install rock or wood on the framed walls under dormers & entryways and on the riser panels. 3) Install wood decks off the first floor entryways.  4) Install trellis with vines to conceal the fire resistant concrete. On the interior adhere oak to the dome shell drywall and install wood flooring, wood cabinetry.

Interior living room starburst Oliver

Exterior stone front w wood deck2

The Ai dome is ideal for a get-a-way, vacation home,

cabin in the woods, retirement home, primary home or a starter home. 

When deciding which building kit to purchase, please compare apples to apples which means please compare the contents of the log home kit vs the contents of the Ai prefab home dome kit and compare kit costs. The Ai panelized system has proven to save our client’s labor time, as well as a reduction in material waste and material costs vs a log home kit while having numerous advantages over log cabin home —- fire resistant concrete exterior, tree impact resistance, able to handle heavy snow load, greater energy efficiency.

The process of overlapping/locking the steel mesh of American Ingenuity’s prefabricated panels to adjacent panels and filling the seams with special fiber concrete produces 1)  the structural components of the home; 2) the finished concrete exterior surface; 3)all the shell R28 insulation is installed;  and 4) all the dome shell 1/2″ drywall is installed. There is no need for material costs and labor costs to install roofing plywood, tar paper, shingles or interior attic & wall insulation and shell drywall (or wood panels).

The cost to build a custom home varies by location. On one log home companies web site was a cost calculator to build a turnkey log home (finished). When we entered 1200 sq. ft., this calculator gave an estimate of $133 per sq. ft. or $160,000 for Raleigh North Carolina. When we entered 1200 sq.ft.& the zip for Raleigh into www.Building-cost.net, the website program Ai uses to get an approximate cost to build a turnkey Ai dome home, it came up $133 per sq. ft. as well. So in the end, both the log home kit and the American Ingenuity dome kit will run you about the same price per sq.ft. to build but you receive more with the Ai dome kit…greater energy efficiency, greater roof strength, greater exterior  fire resistance and lower exterior maintenance. This pricing does not include the cost of land, land development, driveway or utility hook ups for either product.  At the bottom of our web page Finished Cost is a description how to use the building-cost calculator.

We took time to look at various log cabin home companies to see an approximate cost for a kit. The biggest variable that we found is that some log companies include the windows and doors for the units, which Ai has determined is more cost effective for you the client to purchase locally. The log home pricing does not include the construction of the building or the build out or finishing of the log house (kitchen, bathrooms, plumbing, electric, etc.), the same as Ai. So when you see an advertised price of $78,000 for a 1300 sq. ft. kit, remember this is not a finished price, it is pricing for components that need to be assembled and finished just like the American Ingenuity dome kit needs to be assembled and finished.

Most log companies are selling their kits for around $65,000 to $80,000 for a 1200 to 1300 sq. ft. cabin. American Ingenuity’s 34′ dome kit (which gives same sq. ft. of space), is currently on sale for $32,870. The dome’s $32,870 price includes:

  1. an estimate for dormers and entryways. However the floor plan you select may have less dormers and less entryways, as a result the price could be lower. After Ai sees your floor plan selection we can give you a more accurate total kit pricing. To view Ai’s stock plans click on Plans.
  2. all the structural components to complete the dome exterior shell – walls & roof  (insulated panels, parts list items etc.), including bonding agent, and concrete fibers and other items.
  3. Kit Assembly Manual, 2 sets of Building Plans, Engineer Seal on the plans by an engineer licensed for your state and Energy Report – except for CA & WA.  California and Washington state have their own energy reports that are completed by a company in that state.  (if seal and energy report are not required by your building department subtract $790.00)
  4. Wood 2×4’s for the  temporary wood rib system which are cut to specific lengths, pre-drilled and painted. Optional purchase, if wood is cut and drilled onsite subtract $1,088 from kit price.

Steel hubs are rented from Ai, with a $800 deposit returned to you once the hubs are returned to Ai after kit assembly.  Ai believes you should not pay the shipping costs for a second semi-truck to receive doors, windows or interior items because these items can be competitively sourced and purchased locally.   Please call 321-639-8777 and Ai will email you a document named Approx. Total Kit Pricing which lists the items included in the $32,870 price. To view our web site file that explains, what is included in the kit, please click on Kit Contents.  To view our web site page that covers finished cost in more detail, please click on finished cost.

The finished cost per square foot for the log kit or the American Ingenuity dome kit is the same, but you receive more advantages with the American Ingenuity concrete dome kit. Those advantages are:

  • Greater Energy Efficiency – because the insulation is not interrupted by wood and the dome has 30% less surface area than a box shape there are less exterior walls in the dome for your heating and cooling to pass through. The EPS insulation Ai utilizes does not lose its R value, does not deteriorate over time, does not compact and is non-combustible. As a result the Ai dome will cost less to heat and cool than a log home. This lower utility bill savings will be experienced each month of the year.  To view utility bills for 34′ dome home, click on 1,200 sq.ft. dome home.
  • Greater Exterior Wall & Roof Strength
    • the concrete dome exterior comes with 225 mph wind and F4 tornado warranty. An Ai dome went thru a tornado & Hurricane Andrew at the same time with no structural damage. An Ai dome went through Hurricane Katrina with no structural damage. To read a recap of the Ai Dome & Acts of Nature, click on Recap.
    • One of our customers dome homes had a 30” in diameter hickory tree fall on it during 75 mph winds. The tree slide off the dome and tore up their deck. No damage to their dome. The insurance agent said if the home had been a conventional house the tree would have torn a hole in the roof and fell into the home.
    • During ice storms tree branches get heavy and fall.  Conventional roofs and shingles can be harmed by the tree branch impact.
    • Superior exterior strength to handle heavy snow loads without the dome roof collapsing.
  • Lower Exterior Maintenance – no shingles or roof to blow off in high winds. No wood in or on the shell to rot or for insects to eat. The concrete exterior is primed and painted.
  • Woodpeckers Cannot Harm the Dome’s Exterior Concrete –   Even though the logs are treated, wood peckers can peck holes in the wood and make a lot of irritating noise while they are pecking.
  • Fire Resistant Concrete Exterior – the dome’s concrete exterior contains no wood or shingles to burn. The concrete is not combustible and is fire resistant. Our company is committed to providing you with the best design, energy efficiency, and durability (when completed) with our panelized system for geodesic concrete homes for an affordable price.
    •  Log homes have exterior wood walls and have a traditional roof. Wood can rot, be vulnerable to termites and other insects, and can potentially burn. Traditional Roofs can collapse under heavy snow, or blow off during windstorms. Ai’s dome prefab panels contain no wood in them or on their exterior. The concrete exterior is fire resistant. There is no wood in the dome exterior to rot or to be infested by termites or to burn.
    • What are the American Ingenuity triangular and rectangular shaped panels made from? Center core of non-combustible 7″ Expanded Polystyrene R-28 Insulation (not Styrofoam), exterior is ¾” thick fiber concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh with interior of 1/2″ Georgia-Pacific DensArmor Plus High-Performance gypsum drywall board (which is moisture resistant, mold resistant gypsum and is noncombustible). The steel mesh extends out all sides of the prefabricated panels. When two panels are set side by side, the steel mesh (of one panel) overlaps the mesh of the adjacent panel, and then locked with “C” rings. Special fiber concrete, mixed on site is hand troweled in the seam areas in two applications —bonding agent is applied between the two layers. The seam areas are about 3″ deep by 5″ wide with concrete averaging 2″ thick. To view our web site file that explains about panel composition, please click on Concrete Prefab Panel. 
  • Does the Log Home walls and roof contain any items that are a food source for mold growth?  The Ai dome panel’s galvanized steel, concrete, EPS and drywall contain no food source for mold growth.
  • Does the companies kit have a finished exterior, or do you need to finish with a vapor barrier, attic insulation and either shingles, siding or stucco?  Ai’s dome’s exterior is 3/4″ fiber concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh. Only the seams (about 3” deep by 5” wide) between the panels & the entryways & dormers are concreted on site. You do not concrete over the entire shell. After kit assembly the concrete is primed and painted. To view Ai’s web site file showing Kit Assembly, click on Assembly. To learn about hiring Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise your dome kit assembly, click on Consultant.
  • Do you have to purchase and install insulation under the attic? All the dome exterior shell panels which when assembled produce the side walls and roof of the dome. The panels contain all the 7″ R28 insulation already installed.  The dome height allows for a useable second floor in the 27′, 34′, 36′, 40′, 45′ & 48′ sizes. There is no attic containing wasted space in the dome.
  • Do you need to purchase and install drywall (or wood panels) on the exterior walls?  Do you need to install drywall on the ceiling below the attic?  The Ai dome prefabricated panels have all the interior 1/2″ drywall installed. No need to purchase drywall, cut it to fit and adhere to the walls and ceiling.
  • What maintenance is needed for the home exterior? The entire exterior of the Ai dome shell is a continuous layer of concrete, so there is nothing to rot, rust, shrink, warp, or be eaten by termites. Without shingles, gutters, or exterior trim to maintain. It only requires an occasional pressuring washing and painting. There is no roof to replace every 11-12 years.
  • Does the kit contain insulation? What type, and what is the overall R-Value for energy efficiency? Of the companies I contacted, none provide the insulation under the roofline, an added expense, and one company claims the wood shell is about an R-19 (per the department of Energy the R-value of a log home is a R-8).  Our kit’s riser and triangle panels come with 7″ thick Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) insulation already installed producing an overall R-Value of 28. An option is available for 9″ insulation R-36 value. In addition, our exterior triangle and riser panels have no wood ribs interrupting the insulation resulting in continuous insulation. There is no need to install insulation in the American Ingenuity dome exterior walls, saving you drywall costs, labor costs to install the insulation, and less product waste.
  • Does the insulation recommended for the attic contain HBCD, TCPP, CFCs and formaldehyde? The EPS insulation (that Ai uses) contains none of the above chemicals. It is not Styrofoam (that is combustible). The EPS that Ai utilizes has a flame retardant added to it therefore the EPS is noncombustible. The 1/2″ DensArmor drywall is also non-combustible and provides the Code required 15-minute thermal barrier.  If the EPS is exposed to flame it does not produce Cyanide gas.
  • How is the interior of the home shell finished? Do you have to buy, cut, nail or glue drywall or wood (that you have purchased) to the interior of the exterior walls & under the attic? This is very labor intensive and expensive. Our kit’s triangle and riser panels come with ½” thick drywall (Georgia Pacific DensArmor) The drywall has fiberglass mat on both sides with gypsum being moisture resistant and mold resistant. During kit assembly, rain will harm conventional sheet rock causing the gypsum to crumble and the paper matting to mold…rain does not harm the DensArmor. The drywall is adhered to the EPS with wallboard adhesive. There is no cutting and adhering of the drywall needed for the interior of the dome shell. When the kit assembly is finished, drywall joints are taped along the seams. It is then finished like traditional drywall. (To blend the seam areas to the drywall, apply joint compound in a skip trowel effect.)
  • Do they offer in house building plan design? Are the plans fully executable (full detail), and permit worthy? Do they use a knowledgeable licensed engineer, for design calculations and engineer seal if needed? If seal is needed what is the cost (received quote of $1.00 Per sq. ft.)  Can they produce an Energy Report if needed? Is a complete Assembly Manual provided?
    Ai’s cad designer works to create a home layout that is unique, whether using existing stock floor plans or one that is designed to your specifications. Our plans are in full detail (13- 17 sheets), fully executable, and permit worthy. We work with engineers who are knowledgeable about geodesic structures to do specialized load bearing designs and seal our plans (if needed). If your building department requires the building plans to be engineer sealed by an engineer licensed for your state, that seal can be purchased through Ai. The engineer seal fee for one dome on a slab is $600 (regardless of dome size). If your building department requires an Energy Report to issue a building permit, the energy report can be completed by Ai after you provide exterior door and window R values. The Ai fee to complete an Energy Report for one dome on a slab is $190. Our assembly manual covers in detail the construction process of the dome (the manual can be shipped after a kit order is placed.) To view stock floor plan layouts for each size dome, click on Stock Plans.
  • Finally, do other companies back up their product against high winds, Tornadoes and Hurricanes? American Ingenuity offers a warranty up to 225 mile winds,  or an F4 tornado, see details on our web site.  There is no roofing to blow off in high winds or be damaged by falling tree branches or falling trees.
  • We here at American Ingenuity hope when finished comparing our concrete dome home kit against other building kits, you will see that our product is superior, and more cost effective than a log home kit. We look forward to speaking with you and answering any and all of your questions.   American Ingenuity,  321-639-8777 Mon-Fri 9-5 eastern time.
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