architectural | AiDomes

Please scroll down the page to read Ai Dome Engineering Statement.  Domes are three-dimensional structures using stable triangles approximating spheres to create multiple load carrying paths from point of load to point of support. The triangle is the only arrangement of structural members that is stable within itself without requiring additional connections at the intersection points to prevent warping of the geometry.  In other words, apply pressure to one edge of a triangle, and that force is evenly distributed to the other two sides, which then transmit pressure to adjacent triangles. That cascading distribution of pressure is how geodesic domes efficiently distribute stress along the entire structure, much like the shell of an egg. 

For over forty years, American Ingenuity’s dome design has proved itself by withstanding the following acts of nature with no structural damage: Hurricane Andrew’s 165-212 mph winds, a tornado that rolled up a steel horse trailer and slammed it against the Miami Fl dome, four hurricanes in 2004, Hurricane Katrina, 6.6 earthquake in 2006, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of the Northwest Territory of Canada, a 30″ in diameter 115 foot tall hickory tree impact, a lighting strike and many other conditions. To view recap of acts of Nature click on Disaster Resistant.

The American Ingenuity dome is designed to be as safe and fireproof as possible, the dome exterior is entirely noncombustible concrete. Fire resistant concrete exterior: to view info about American Ingenuity’s concrete dome versus the Monolithic Concrete Dome and to view a YouTube Video of fire going over Monolithic concrete dome, please click on Fire Resistant Concrete Exterior.


40′ in diameter dome kit when finished has three bedrooms & two baths on two floors. Small third floor loft under cupola.  Garage dome on the left.

Engineering Statement for American Ingenuity Dome Building Kits.  Geodesic domes are “an extremely efficient use of materials resulting in a maximization of interior spaces while minimizing exterior surface area and therefore creating a materially and energy efficient structure.” However because the dome is not very common, building codes do not cover dome construction. However within all building codes is a section that allows for alternative materials and methods for residential home construction per section 104.11 which covers the American Ingenuity dome.  As a result an engineering statement can be submitted to your building department stating American Ingenuity’s component panels comply with section 104.11.

An engineering statement and your building plans can be sealed by an independent  Professional Engineer (PE) licensed for your state if required by your building department. The fee for the engineer seal on your building plans depends on the number of domes in your plans and the type foundation.  For example the engineer seal fee for one dome built on a monolithic slab is $600; one dome on a basement is $900. This fee is for all size domes.   (Just to clarify these engineer seal fees are low versus Ai utilizing an engineering firm or architectural firm whose fees can be $1,500 to $3,000 to seal a set of residential new home building plans)

American Ingenuity utilizes a Professional Engineer (P.E.) to seal its dome building plans when required by your building department.  The following two engineering statements are provided by Thomas Mixter, P.E., one of the two engineers that Ai utilizes to seal its building plans.  Mr. Mixter has a license to seal residential building plans for 47 USA states.

Engineering Statement One:

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is submitted as an engineering statement in regards to the panel composition of the geodesic dome buildings manufactured by American Ingenuity, Inc., 8777 Holiday Springs Road, Rockledge Fl.

The panel composition of the geodesic dome buildings are certified by me as being designed in accordance with and conforms to the intent of the 2012 International Residential Building Code, California Building Code and Florida 2014 Building Code 5th Edition as allowed alternative materials and methods for residential construction per section R104.11. Georgia-Pacific’s DensArmor Plus High Performance Interior ½” Gypsum Wallboard/drywall used as the interior face of the panels which meets the thermal barrier requirements of R316.4 as shown by third party testing.

I certify that as the evaluating engineer, I am independent of the manufacturer, American Ingenuity, Inc.

Thomas Mixter

Engineering Statement Two. The above statement was revised for a California Building Department to produce the statement below.

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been designing geodesic style domes with various materials for 19 years.  I have designed domes fabricated with steel, wood, aluminum and concrete with spans up to 390 feet in diameter.  There has never been a failure on any completed dome that I have designed in the several thousand that I have stamped throughout the United States and in many foreign countries.

The geodesic dome by its very design is an extremely efficient use of materials resulting in a maximization of interior spaces while minimizing exterior surface area and therefore creating a materially and energy efficient structure. But this configuration is not very common and therefore not considered by most components of the building codes.

In my opinion the dome referenced above (American Ingenuity Dome for specific California site address) meets the intent of the minimum steel provisions of ACI 318-11 section 10.5 and CBC 104.11 for alternative materials and provides a comparable or higher level of quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety.  The inherent strength of the geodesic dome configuration creates a minimalistic combination of materials that is less than the more common building materials and configurations considered by the building codes.  This style of dome has been successfully installed in many locations throughout the United States.

Thomas Mixter PE Licensed for California & 46 other USA states


Below is a Photo Gallery showing various geodesic dome home interiors of finished American Ingenuity Concrete Homes. Domes are built on basements, columns and monolithic concrete slabs.  Ai has geodesic dome home plans for each of its eight dome home kits. The dome plans show high vaulted ceilings over living rooms and dining rooms.   To view stock floor plan layouts, please click on Flexible Design

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On the Main Menu along the left side of our web site are 14 menu items to click on to view more dome photos. American Ingenuity has sold over 800 dome kits into 47 USA states and 13 foreign area.  Below are hyperlinks where we have summarized photos into categories. Please call our office at 321-639-8777 for a chat to answer any questions you may have. Thank you for researching our concrete homes. (Office Hours 9-5 Mon-Fri Eastern time).

Dome Exteriors

Dome Interiors

Entryways & Dormers


Following is a thesis on geodesic domes written in 2010 by Taralyn Fender who teaches math at a University.  The title of her thesis: Are Geodesic Dome Homes More Energy Efficient and Wind Resistant Because They Resemble a Hemisphere?

The Conclusion of her thesis: Simulations and observations from hurricane disaster scenes do suggest that the geodesic dome structures suffer far less destruction than rectilinear structures. The hypothesis is that geodesic domes are more energy efficient and more wind resistant because they more closely resemble a hemisphere.


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Featured below is a 40′  Aidome home linked to a 30′ garage dome with 2nd floor bedroom loft.  The dome, link & loft in the cupola are 1,985 sq.ft. The 2nd floor loft in the 30′ dome is 211 sq.ft. for total sq.ft of 2,196.   This layout has three bedrooms and two baths in the dome and one half bath on the garage first floor. The loft above the garage is a bedroom.    Currently we have utility bills January through July. When we receive the August bill we will add a link to the May-August electric bills.  The dome is all electric with the AC kept at 77 degrees during the day and 76 degrees at night and on the weekend.  Below this 40′ Energy info are six years of utility bills for a 34′ dome.

40′  Aidome home linked to a 30′ garage dome with 2nd floor bedroom loft. 

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The following recaps various other Aidomes and their energy info:

L. Henderson of Florida called and explained he is wanting to build an Ai dome for two main reasons: 1) wind strength against hurricanes and 2) energy efficiency. His current two bedroom/two bath home built in the 70’s monthly electric bill is $250; which means the air conditioning cost is around $125 a month in hot Florida summer months.  If he built a 34′ dome he would cut is air conditioning costs significantly from $125 a month to less than $30 a month.

As far as functioning in cold, snowy environment, American Ingenuity domes have been built in such cold climates as Canada, at 7,500 feet elevation in Utah, 3,400 feet elevation in North Carolina, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, Vermont, New York and all cold states in the USA except for New Hampshire, Rhode Island and North Dakota.  As described above It is easier to heat an Ai dome that to cool.

Klaus Kolb’s South Carolina Ai concrete dome house earned EPA’s Energy Star.  Home Energy Partners certified his home used 61% less energy than in comparably-size housing. To view pictures of his dome home and Energy Star info, click on Earned Energy Star. He installed a geothermal cooling & heating system. To view pictures & info about his geothermal system, click on System. And scroll down the page.  Klaus’s total monthly average energy bill was $49. This includes the electricity and propane costs for his entire 1,600 sq.ft. – 40 ft. dome.

One of our customers in Pennsylvania built a 40′ dome on a full basement. This is quote from them: “We live in the mountains of PA. The winters up here can be brutal. Our Ai Dome is a 40ft with Link on a 9″ thick livable basement. {Den, Office/Computer room, Kitchenette} The entire interior, to include the mechanical room, is heated and cooled by a GeoThermal, Water furnace, Radiant floor system. Our zone controllers are set on 74 degrees winter and summer. Our sole power source, at present, is the grid. Our costs per month range from $99 to a high of $120. We were amazed that our cost now are less than when we lived in a 14 ft by 73 ft mobile home while building the Dome. Our decision to build an American Ingenuity Dome home was the best decision we have ever made.” To view pictures of their dome and other info, click on Charles Dome.

A picture of the dome at 7,500 feet elevation showing snow is one of the flashing pictures on our home page. The dome is off the grid and has increased EPS insulation from our standard 7″ R28 to 9″ or R36. Quote from the Utah dome owners: “Our house and solar electric system have met and exceeded all of our expectations. Our home is warm and spacious. Even with nighttime temperatures below zero, a fire in the masonry heater in the evening and a full day of sun warms the house to 70 degrees F.  Our average summertime power consumption is between 150 and 200 kWh/month for 2700 square feet of living space. Wintertime consumption is somewhat higher. For comparison, our average pre-solar usage was near 600 kWh/month in our prior 2000 square foot suburban home.”  To view info about this dome at 7,500 feet elevation, click on Collar Domes.

Question:  How did the American Ingenuity dome perform during the Energy Efficiency Study prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy?  Superbly. Test findings were released from a year long study prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy by the Florida Solar Energy Center, a governmental consumer agency, in cooperation with the University of Oregon and the University of Central Florida. This study compared an American Ingenuity dome with an energy efficient conventionally built structure and a super energy efficient Styrofoam house designed by Dow Chemical. It came as no surprise to us that our test dome far surpassed both the conventional house and the Dow test house in being the most energy efficient.


34′ – 1,075 sq.ft. Energy Efficient Concrete Home linked to 22′ one car garage dome.

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An American Ingenuity 34 ft in diameter Dome Home with 1,075 sq.ft
can be cooled for less than $27 a month during Florida’s Hottest Months

Energy Efficient Concrete Home in Florida.  To view Annual Electrical Bill Charts for a Florida 34′ Ai Dome Home, click on links at bottom of this article named Ai Domes Dome Home Electric Use. The dome home is totally electric with 1,075 sq.ft. and Ai’s standard R-28 insulation.  For example the 2015 SUMMARY below shows that the annual costs were $187.94 to air condition & heat the 1,075 sq.ft. Florida Dome Home in 2015. The following describes how we came to this conclusion.

In February, 2015 no Heat or AC were used, therefore the cost to run everything else in the all electric home (dishwasher, washing machine, stove, microwave, dryer, water heater, refrigerator, television and lights) was $36.73. To determine the monthly Air Conditioning cost, we subtracted $36.73 from each month’s electric bill to get that month’s Heating or Air Conditioning Costs.  The thermostat is kept at 76 degrees when the owner is home and 79 degrees when not home. (The electric water heater is manually turned on prior to use).

To obtain the home’s 2015 monthly average Air Conditioning costs, we averaged the five hottest month’s AC costs.  The five hottest months were May thru September making total air conditioning costs of $132.87 divided by five resulting in a monthly average cost of $26.57 to air condition 1,075 sq.ft. during Florida’s hottest months.   FYI – The Aidomes are even more energy efficient when heating is required instead of cooling. When cooling, kilowatts have to be used to overcome heat generated from clothes dryer, dishwasher, computers, stove, refrigerator motor, sun light, etc. When heating the heat generated from these heat sources is used.  Ai’s 3,700 sq.ft. office domes can be cooled for less than $85 a month in the hot Florida summer months.

These are the annual recaps for the years 2010 through 2015 for this 34′ dome home.  Each recap lists the 12 months in each year and what it costs each month for heat or air conditioning:

2010 Summary Electric Use

2011 Summary Electric Use

2012  Summary Electric Use

2013 Summary Electric Use

2014 Summary Electric Use

2015 Summary Electric Use

To view the individual Florida Power and Light electric bills for 2013, 2014 & 2015.  click on the three links below for each year.

2013 Florida Dome Home Monthly Electric Bills


2014 Florida Dome Home Monthly Electric Bills


2015 Florida Dome Home Monthly Electric Bills

Jan – April

Interested in Tiny Dome Home Kits for Special Hideaway, vacation cabin, second home, guest house, hunting cabin, glambing, tiny home, micro home, cottages for resort, mother in law home, rental units for veterans, or starter home? The Ai dome is much stronger, has noncombustible materials in its wall panels, fire resistant concrete exterior & more insulated than a log cabin, concrete block house, framed structure, tent or yurt.  Exciting News Ai has added two new tiny home sizes to its Tiny Home assortment – 15′ and 18′!  These Tiny Dome Home Kits are constructed using Ai’s superior prefabricated insulated concrete panel system. Below is single photo of 22′ dome and below that is Photo Gallery of various Tiny Home Photos.  Scroll below to see Ai’s sample stock floor plan layouts for Tiny Homes (172 sq.ft. to 1,278 sq.ft) and photos.  To view sale pricing for the kits shown in the layouts, click on Tiny Home Kit & Plans Sale Pricing.


Photo is of Assembled 22′ Kit – 370 sq.ft.
Ai has 15′ & 18′ & other Tiny Home Kits. See Below.

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The following three floor plans are the layouts

that were built in the domes featured in the above photo gallery.

 New Mexico – Floor Plan -Three 22’ Domes

South Carolina – Floor Plan – 22’ Tiny Home

Florida – Floor Plan 22’ Workshop Dome

Within the top photo gallery there are pictures of three different 22′ domes which were built from customized 22′ plans. 

  1. The New Mexico – three 22′ domes were built for a 1,189 sq.ft. vacation home.  To view photo gallery containing other photos of the NM domes, click on three 22′ domes.
  2. The South Carolina 22′ dome was built as a one bedroom one bath tiny home of 388 sq.ft including storage area. Separate 12′ Pod has 109 sq.ft. for washer and dryer.
  3. The Florida 22′ dome was built for a 349 sq.ft. work shop.

American Ingenuity’s Tiny Dome Kit assortment consists of six kit sizes measured in diameter by feet: 15′, 18′, 22′, 27′, 30′ & 34′.  These domes have square footage from 172 to 1,278.   Below are stock plans for the 15′ – 34′ domes and pictures of a 34′ dome home with other info.  To view regular and sale pricing with specifications on the 15′, 18′, 22′, 27′, 30′ & 34 click on Tiny Dome

  1. 15′ – 172 sq.ft. – one bedroom one bath size – one floor with optional attic/loft.
  2. 18′ – 249 sq.ft. – one bedroom one bath size – one floor with optional attic/loft.
  3. 22′ – 370 sq.ft. – one bedroom one bath size – one floor with optional attic/loft.
  4. 27′ – 786 sq.ft. – two bedrooms two bath size – two floors. Two frequency geometry that allows for 2nd floor egress window.
  5. 30′ – 1,089 sq.ft. – one bedroom one bath size on first floor. No egress window on second floor (3 freq)…use second floor for storage, office, work shop, additional bathroom or craft area.
  6. 34′ – up to 1,100 – 1,278 sq.ft. – two bedroom two bath size – two floors.  Second floor window dormer panels will not accept fire egress size window. As a result  a second floor door dormer is installed above above a first floor standard entryway to frame in egress window.

As far as Tiny Homes meeting minimum size house requirements – in some areas groups are petitioning their county or their city governing bodies to allow them to have Tiny Home Communities (called pocket neighborhoods) where the minimum house size can be below state code. The City of Rockledge Florida agreed that a group whose face book page is called Rockledge Tiny House Community can purchase property and build Tiny Homes from 172 sq. ft up to 1000 sq ft. in their city.   Normally in Florida the minimum new house size requirement is 500 sq.ft. or 800 sq.ft. or 1,000 sq.ft.  So congratulations to the City of Rockledge Tiny House Group for its victory in changing minimum size house requirements in their city to 172 sq.ft.

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15′ Tiny Dome Stock Floor Plans

15′ Dome: one bedroom one bath Tiny Home with first floor of 172 max square feet. The dome kit comes with standard 7″ R28 insulation, standard four foot risers and additional two foot risers. Please check your local building code requirements to see if there is a minimum size new home requirement. In Florida the minimum size new home that can be built is 170 sq.ft. or 500 sq.ft. or 800 sq.ft. or 1,000 sq.ft. And in some areas building code requires a garage. An attic loft can be designed.

15′ dome kit can be purchased with 3 1/2″ EPS and no 1/2″ interior drywall. Up to Ten 15′ kits with 3 1/2″ EPS & no 1/2″ drywall can fit on one 53 foot step deck semi-truck  Or up to five 15′ kits with 7″ EPS & 1 2″ Drywall can fit on one semi-truck.

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18′ Tiny Dome Stock Floor Plans

18′ Dome: one bedroom one bath Tiny Home with first floor of 249 max square feet. The dome kit comes with standard 7″ R28 insulation, standard four foot risers and additional two foot risers.Please check your local building code requirements to see if there is a minimum size new home requirement. In Florida the minimum size new home that can be built is 170 sq.ft. or 500 sq.ft. or 800 sq.ft. And in some areas building code requires a garage. An attic loft can be designed.

18′ dome kit can be purchased with 3 1/2″ EPS and no 1/2″ interior drywall. Up to four 18′ kits with 3 1/2″ EPS & no 1/2′ drywall can fit on one semi-truck. or two 18′ kits with 7″ EPS can fit on one semi-truck.

22′ Tiny Dome Stock Floor Plans

22′ Dome:  one bedroom one bath size dome home with only first floor with max square feet of 370. Please check your local building code requirements to see if there is a minimum size new home requirement. In Florida the minimum size new home that can be built is 500 sq.ft. or 800 sq.ft.   And in some areas building code requires a garage. A storage loft can be designed.

27′ Tiny Dome Stock Floor Plans

27′ Dome:  two bedroom one bath size dome home for max square feet of 786 on the two floors (555 on the first floor and max 231 sq.ft. on the second floor).   Due to spherical dome shape, the 27′ dome’s second floor exterior walls slope down from 9’1″in the center to the floor.  Code allows for square footage to be calculated to five feet of height.  The 231 second floor square footage in the 27′ dome is the area that is below the 9’1″ center to where the dome walls slope down to five feet tall.  Around the second floor five foot perimeter areas the following items can be placed:  headboard for bed, night tables, desks, or dressers.  

All American Ingenuity domes can be designed without a second floor.  The total amount of square footage in each plan varies depending upon how much of the second floor is designed and built. If you want to look at only plans with a bedroom on the first floor that can be utilized as master bedroom, we have added the words bedroom 1st floor with that plan name.

30′ Tiny Dome Stock Floor Plans

30′ Dome:  one bedroom one bath size dome house total 878 square feet on two floors.  Bedroom is designed on the first floor. The 30′ domes second floor panels are too small to accept a window dormer.  As a result a bedroom cannot be installed on the second floor because there is no fire egress window. The second floor could be used for storage or office area, craft room, etc.  (665 on the first floor and max 213 sq.ft. on the second floor).   Due to spherical dome shape, the 30′ dome’s second floor exterior walls slope down from 8’4″in the center to the floor.  Code allows for square footage to be calculated to five feet of height.  The 213 second floor square footage in the 30′ dome is the area that is below the 8’4″ center to where the dome walls slope down to five feet tall.  Around the second floor five foot perimeter areas the following items can be placed:  headboard for bed, night tables, desks, or dressers.  The 30′ dome can be built without a second floor.

34′ Tiny Dome Stock Floor Plans

34′ Dome two bedroom two bath size dome house total 1,278 max square feet on the two floors.  Bedroom & bath on first floor and bedroom & bath on the second floor.  (852 on the first floor and max 427 sq.ft. on the second floor).   Due to spherical dome shape, the 34′ dome’s second floor exterior walls slope down from 9’9″ in the center to the floor.  Code allows for square footage to be calculated to five feet of height.  The 427 second floor square footage in the 34′ dome is the area that is below the 9’9″ center to where the dome walls slope down to five feet tall.  Around the second floor five foot perimeter areas the following items can be placed:  headboard for bed, night tables, desks, or dressers.  

The 34′ dome can be designed without a second floor.  The total amount of square footage in each plan varies depending upon how much of the second floor is designed and built.  If you want to look at only plans with a bedroom on the first floor that can be utilized as master bedroom, we have added the words master 1st floor with that plan name.


Have you dreamed about living in a super-Green, super strong home? Would you like good living in small spaces? American Ingenuity has the solution for you.  Choose from six sizes: 15′, 18′, 22′, 27′, 30′ or 34′ tiny domes. Or utilize the 15′-34′ domes to build a small vacation home, glambing dome, get-a-way or work shop dome. Can’t envision living in such a tiny home, view Ikea YouTube to see video filmed by an Ikea customer in Ikea store.
The 22′ dome can also be a built as a one car garage dome.   The 27′ dome can be built as a two small to medium car garage.  This link has garage dome info.22' Exterior solar Pineapple garage

 22′ dome utilized as one car garage linked to 34′ – 1,075 sq.ft. dome home

Each prefab panel’s core is 7″ EPS (expanded polystyrene) R-28 insulation precisely angle cut to form the geodesic shape.   Applied to the outside is pre-finished three quarters inch concrete, reinforced with galvanized steel mesh and fibers.  Applied to the interior is half inch Georgia Pacific DensArmor gypsum wallboard….gypsum’s facing is fiberglass instead of paper.  Wallboard is moisture resistant and mold resistant. No wood in or on the shell to rot or for termites to eat or to burn.  No shingles to blow off in high winds.  On site after the kit is assembled, the exterior concrete is primed and painted with paint. The 15′ and 18′ dome kits can be purchased with 3 1/2″ R14 EPS, no interior 1/2″ drywall & no steel reinforced concrete exterior.  Larger domes cannot be purchased this way because the larger size panels cause the EPS to be flexible and break.

The kit assembly begins after the foundation and floor are completed and a temporary wooden rib system is assembled in the geodesic shape.  The assembly process consists of stacking the panels on the rib system overlapping and locking the steel mesh of adjacent panels, filling the seams with special formulated concrete and concreting of the entryways and dormers.  Finish the interior wall board seams with tape and joint compound.  This process produces the structural components, completes the finished exterior surface, installs the insulation and all the interior shell wallboard.  To view a video on the 22′ Assembly, view Special Hideaway.  To view pictures showing general panel assembly, view Dome Kit Assembly.

On site, under the entryways and dormers a 2×4 or 2×6 wall is framed in to install your locally purchased doors and windows.

The concrete applied in the seams and on the entryways and dormers is sponge finished to match the pre-finished texture of the concrete panels. The dome is primed with concrete primer and then painted with two coats of exterior concrete paint to achieve the color you desire.

All panels are premarked with numbers and letters to match the building plans and the Assembly Manual. The most successful dome kit assemblies result when the home owner hires the independent Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise the temporary rib system assembly & the kit assembly. If your budget is tight consider hiring the Consultant for a minimum of three days to supervise the rib system assembly, concrete mixing and first row of panel assembly…..just to get you started.  If you desire to hire a builder, he or she can hire the Assembly Specialist to supervise their workers to get the dome kit assembled with the first layer of concrete in the seams and on the entryways and dormers.  To view Ai’s web site file about the independent Specialist, view Specialist.

Prior to assembly of the dome kit, a temporary wooden rib system is assembled using your own 2×4’s cut to specific lengths (or purchase the cut, drilled, painted 2×4’s from Ai), bolts/nuts/washers purchased from Ai  and steel hubs borrowed from American Ingenuity by placing a $455 deposit.  This deposit covers a 5 month rental period ($20 a month thereafter).  Once the dome kit is assembled, the rib system is removed with the client mailing or UPSing the hubs back to Ai to receive a deposit refund.  Triangle Panels weight 155 to 180 lbs. Risers weight 255 lbs.  During assembly the panels are placed with some type of hoisting mechanism.  Lifting spikes are purchased from Ai.  To view American Ingenuity’s web site file that explains the rib system, view Support System. If importing the kit out of the USA, buyer purchases the steel hubs from Ai.

Please check with your building department, some have minimum house square footage requirements .  If the 15′, or 18′ or 22′ dome may not meet their requirements. Ai manufactures a 27′ in diameter dome that can have 555 sq.ft. on the first floor and 225 sq.ft. on the second floor for a total of 780 sq.ft.  To view Ai’s web page that lists the dome sizes with their square footages, view Dome Sizes.

Please contact your building department and ask:

  • If there is a minimum size new house requirement?
  • Do they require a garage to be built with the house?  If so is there a minimum size garage requirement?
  • What do they require to issue a building permit?  Do they require engineer sealed plans and an Energy Report?  If so, those items can be purchased through American Ingenuity. The Energy Report has evolved into a very specific and technical report that requires Ai to have specific window and exterior door info (frame type, double pane or impact resistant glass), Low E number, U factor, SHGC number to fill out the Energy Report.  This means the dome buyer will shop for their exterior doors and windows and provide detailed spec sheets to Ai about each door and window, their water heater and AC/furnace.

Payments: American Ingenuity kits are not stocked and are manufactured on a custom order basis and are considered a Specialized Order, made exclusively for the customer requesting it.  These Specialized Orders require a 30% to 40%  deposit, signed Order Form, Conditions of Sale and Specialized Material Agreement. Once Ai receives these items, materials will be purchased and manufacturing started to meet your shipment date. If you cancel your order after signing the Specialized Agreement 30% deposit on each kit is non-refundable and your rights to the kit(s) are forfeited.  The balance, in the form of a cashier’s check or bank check including USA shipping costs (made out to American Ingenuity) is due 21 days prior to shipment. Florida residents, add sales tax plus your counties’ surtax.  Credit Cards are not accepted on the building kit. If the building kit is shipped out of Florida, no Florida sales tax or surtax is paid. If kits are exported, buyer pays freight forwarder directly for inland trucking costs and ocean shipping costs.

Delivery and Availability:  Once Ai receives your 30% or 40% deposit (deposit amount depends on kit size) based on your Building Kit with options pricing and signed Building Kit Order Form, Conditions of Sale and Specialized Material Agreement, American Ingenuity schedules your kit for manufacturing. Depending on the time of year and size of dome, allow four to six to twelve weeks for manufacturing time.

SHIPPING: If your site is in the continental USA, American Ingenuity can arrange shipping on 53’ step deck semi-truck. Freight varies from $2.70 to $2.90 per mile ($800 minimum) per truck, from American Ingenuity plant in Rockledge, Florida. One truck can carry five 15’ kits; or two 18’ kits; or two 22’ kits; or one 22’ kit & one 27’ kit; or one 30′ kit; or one 34′ kit – each with 7” EPS insulation.

15′ & 18′ Kit:  If 3 ½” EPS and no drywall one truck can carry up to ten 15’ kits; or up to four 18’ kits. 22’, 27′, 30′ and 34′ kits cannot be purchased with 3 ½” EPS. The panels are too large in these larger kits to manufacture with thinner 3 1/2″ insulation. The 7″ insulation is required so the panel is not flexible during movement.

For international shipping the following is the number of 15′ and 18′ kits that can fit in one 45′ high cube container. To learn about importing, click on importing.  2×4 ribs refers to 2×4’s that are cut, drilled & painted to specific specs for the temporary support system described above.

Four 15′ kits with 7″ EPS, 1/2″ drywall, standard 4′ risers & 2′ risers & two sets of 2×4 ribs.
Eight 15′ kits with 3 1/2″ EPS, no drywall, standard 4′ risers & 2′ risers & two sets of 2×4 ribs.

Two 18′ kits with 7″ EPS, 1/2″ drywall, standard 4′ risers & 2′ risers & one set of 2×4 ribs.
Four 18′ kits with 3 1/2″ EPS, no drywall, standard 4′ risers & 2′ risers & one set of 2×4 ribs.

The number of kits that can fit on one truck or in one container can change if the building kit contains maxed out entryways, dormers, link and thicker insulation. For example, a 48′ kit with 9″ EPS cannot fit on one semi-truck.  Entryways and a link take up more space than triangular and riser panels.  Once you select your floor plan, Ai can be specific about how many truck(s) or containers your order will take. Each International client hires a freight forwarder to coordinate their container’s shipping and pays their shipping and custom fees directly to the freight forwarder.

Ai’s manufacturing costs in Florida are well below the national average, which offsets any long distance shipping expenses. Ai can actually manufacture a kit here in Florida and ship to western states – Washington, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, etc. cheaper than we could manufacture it there. Having our manufacturing plant located in Florida is advantageous for shipping since more is shipped in than out of the state, leaving many trucks headed out empty.

Ai utilizes independent trucking agencies. American Ingenuity contracts to have these trucks carry your building kit outside Florida for approximately $2.50  to $2.90 per mile per truck from Ai’s plant in Rockledge, Florida. Shipping within Florida is a minimum of $800. If your Florida building site is south of our factory, the truckers charge more because they have to drive south before they can drive north to leave Florida.  These trucking costs are less than Ai could do with our own trucks because if we used our own trucks, they would have to deliver the kit and return to our factory empty.

Per mile shipping costs can vary due to fuel costs and travel distances. View Shipping to learn more.

American Ingenuity’s Philosophy:

One of the main reasons American Ingenuity is very reputable is that we really try to treat all our customers the same. Our business philosophy and product is unique to the housing industry. Ai believes that each client should pay for only what they need.

  • Each person who wants to research our building kit further can do so by purchasing the Planning Kit with DVD or purchase the DVD separately.
  • None of Ai’s staff is on commission.
  • About 40% of Ai’s clients do not need engineer sealed building plans, or Energy Report or Structural Calculations in order to obtain a building permit. As a result the seal, energy report and calculations are separate costs and paid only by those whose building departments require them.

As a result of the above philosophy, the American Ingenuity dome shell kit costs about one third to one half less than the shell materials cost for a conventional house or wooden dome or sprayed concrete dome.

Due to spam filters your email requests may not make it to American Ingenuity and our email replies may not make it back to you.  If you email Ai and do not receive a reply in one to two days, please call us – 321-639-8777.  While you are on the phone, we will send you a test email and have you send your email to us.

The information below is in reference to a specific 22′ floor plan named Eco Custom Cottage.

This is a 22 foot in diameter dome kit, which Ai has customized. Please call for pricing. This custom 22’ in diameter dome when finished has a first floor living space of 371 sq. ft. with an optional attic of 127 sq. ft. Ai has raised the riser wall height from four feet to five feet.  The additional one foot in height increases the attic square footage to 127 sq. ft., which is an additional 46 sq. ft. over the basic 22’ dome building kit.  The exterior of each triangle & riser panel is steel reinforced concrete.   The middle of the panel is 7″ EPS insulation (R-28) with 1/2″ Georgia Pacific DensArmor Gypsum drywall adhered to the underside of the EPS with wallboard adhesive.  Ai has based the pricing for this kit upon Ai selecting the week/day of shipment during the month agreed upon by Buyer & Ai.


22 Ft Dome


22′ Eco Custom Cottage Floor Plan PDF Picture

This Eco Custom Cottage Kit consists of all the component prefab panels to assemble the dome shell, one entryway, two window dormers, one door dormer and misc items. No windows or exterior doors are included.  No interior items are included other than the interior 1/2″ Georgia Pacific shell drywall.  Call American Ingenuity for shipping details.   Does your building department require engineer sealed plans and an Energy Report to issue a building permit?  If so those items can be purchased through Ai.

Approximate room sizes once the interior walls are framed in:  Bedroom 10’10” x 7′; closet 2′ x 6′; living 7’5″ x 10’7″; kitchen 11′ x 10’7″; Washer Dryer area 3’5″ x 3’3″; Bath 7’3″ x 9′.  Approximate attic area between five feet six inches and seven feet ten inches in height is 109 sq.ft.

22’ Eco Custom Cottage Dome Building Kit Package Includes:

  • All the prefab panels to assemble the 22’ shell with 7″ EPS, five foot tall riser panels and the panels for one entryway, two window dormers, one door dormer.
  • Assembly Manual
  • Parts lists items to suspend the optional attic: 7suspension rods with top and bottom plates with Simpson Hangers.
  • 8 cans of expanding foam. Metal Dispensing Gun, and two cans of cleaner.
  • Five – 4×8 sheets of 1” EPS insulation for entryway, door dormer, window dormer framing
  • 134 sq.ft. of ¼” x ¼” galvanized steel mesh as lathe for entryway, door dormer and window dormer framing 
  • Misc. items: C rings, two pair C ring pliers, bonding agent, synthetic fibers and liquid admixtures A & B for cement and two steel cables (wrap around dome).

The Kit does not include building plans, engineer seal on plans, energy report, shipping cost, foundation (monolithic slab), assembly costs, purchase of lifting spikes , purchase of 144 bolts/nuts/washers, deposit on 26 steel hubs, precut 2×4’ ribs for rib system, framing for doors and windows, or any interior items except for the interior shell wallboard.  The deposit on the hubs is refunded once the hubs are mailed or UPSed back to Ai during the five month rental period. A rental costs for each month over five is $20. If importing kit, hubs are purchased, rental for telescoping for lift is added and $200 international paperwork fee. View Importing for complete details.

 Testimonials American Ingenuity dome owner quotes and pictures 

Komarnsky exterior 0144

15 year old – 34′ Dome on full basement in Colorado

Komarnsky kit & 2nd floor 0135

Colorado 34′ Dome’s kitchen & partial view of second floor

34′ Dome on full basement in Colorado which is 15 years old:  Toni told us: “I built the American Ingenuity dome for my retirement home and now that I am retired I am so glad that did. I love my dome.  In 2014 we experienced a hail storm that beat the paint off part of their dome & damaged a vent. There was no damage to the concreted panels. To warm the dome in the winter I designed the windows to face south to let the sun in, I installed baseboard heaters that are heated with hot water and I use propane to heat the water in the boiler.  For back up I have a small gas stove.”  Above are two pictures of her dome.


Twenty-five year old Florida AiDome Home Built in 1992

Three dome complex consists of 40′ dome home linked to a 30 garage dome with separate 22′ work shop dome (not visible on the right).  In an 8/2/17 Florida Today article, the reporter wrote:

But perhaps one the best selling points, the couple added, is the home’s safety features. Terry explained that the geodesic home is built to endure up to 225 mph winds, and is energy efficient. The couple said they have not paid more than an $80 electric bill since living in the home. 

“We’ve never had to evacuate (during a hurricane),” said Terry. “And we’ve never had any hurricane damage.”


Pictures below are of this 45' dome on full basement.

Oliver 45′ Dome on full basement in Missouri – 21 year old dome

Dome Sold in 2011

Building the dome was a labor of love. We had visited your offices and researched every model and floor plans of every kit manufacturer in the US and, as you know, chose American Ingenuity’s kit. It was a wonderful experience constructing it. We appreciate all the guidance and support we received from you folks. We are available for testimonials and recommendations to any and all interested parties. Ralph Oliver. To view more pictures of their dome, please click on Oliver dome.



Charles exterior

Charles 40ft Dome

Charles living pic1Charles 40′ Dome in Pennsylvania

One of American Ingenuity’s Pennsylvania Dome Owners Roger & Jeanne Charles installed radiant floor system in their basement and dome first floor.   To view pictures of their dome, please click on Charles Dome

This a quote from them and above are two pictures.

“We live in the mountains of PA. The winters up here can be brutal. Our Ai Dome is a 40ft with Link on a 9” livable basement. {Den, Office/Computer room, Kitchenette} The entire interior, to include the mechanical room, is heated and cooled by a GeoThermal, Water furnace, Radiant floor system.

Our zone controllers are set on 74 degrees winter and summer. Our sole power source, at present, is the grid. Our costs per month range from $99 to a high of $120. We were amazed that our cost now are less than when we lived in a 14 by 73 ft mobile home while building the Dome.

Our decision to build an American Ingenuity Dome home was the best decision we have ever made.”


Whaley good kitchen Pic034

Whaley 34′ dome kitchen view. 

From R. Whaley, Florida: “Once the dome is initially heated or cooled, the temperature remains constant. Just think of when you take your soda pop to the beach on the hottest day of the year in an inch thick foam cooler. Once the house gets cool or hot as desired, it retains that temperature and stays constant.” In 2004 their dome went through two hurricanes. The following is their comments on the storms: “We live in a 34′ dome one block from the ocean. Our domes went through Hurricane Frances and the exit winds of Hurricane Charley. During the hurricane we could hear things hitting the domes. In the morning we walked around the yard and picked up shingles and soffits from other people’s houses and washed off our driveway. It was as if nothing had happened at all.” (34′ dome home and 27′ dome garage)


From the Mathes, Florida: Their 34′ dome home with 30′ garage dome utilize a solar water heater and photovoltaic panels to power their lights and refrigerator. Although, their A/C, washer, well pump and TV are still connected to the meter, their total electric bill was less than $150.00 for the year. The owner/builder also states, “This has been a wonderful experience that I would not trade for ANYTHING!”


Exterior solar Pineapple garage

34′ dome linked to 22′ one car garage dome – 12 year old domes.

Interior kitchen island 34' Pineapple

34′ dome kitchen built on entryway wall

From G. Busick, Florida: “During the hot summer months (May thru August), we can cool a 1,075 sq.ft. dome for less than $27 a month. We maintain an interior temperature of 76 degrees when home and 79 degrees when not.  To view electric bills & other 34 dome pics, click on Energy Efficient.

During Hurricane Jeanne, our neighborhood had 80 mph winds. The Ai domes had no damage, but a neighbor across the street lost her roof.. The entire interior of her house had to be replaced due to water damage.” (34′ dome home and 22′ garage dome) See info on Hurricanes.



Exterior harlock showing both domes cor gb

 40′ dome linked to 30′ Garage Dome – 30 year old domes.

Interior dining room screen dome patio

From M. Ferral, Florida:  dining room in 40′ dome.  All electric home.  Three bedroom two bath 40′ dome average summer AC costs is less than $50.  I-95 abuts the back of this property.  When sliding doors are closed cannot hear traffic.  These domes won the award for “Most Energy Efficient Residence in the Southeastern USA.”



48 foot diameter (48 Delta 22 floor plan) approximately 2,600 sq. ft.

three bedroom, two bath American Ingenuity two story,

steel reinforced concrete dome home in Edgewater Florida.

Per Eric, “The Dome is very efficient and strong. It has been hit by several hurricanes and tropical storms with no damage at all. My neighbor’s conventional house was severely damaged by the storms. I keep the house at 72 degrees in the summer and warmer in winter. My electric bill is around $100 a month with no water/sewer bill because I’m on well/septic. The house is designed for very little maintenance.”

Features of the dome:
1. 3 ton 13 seer central AC system.
2. All windows are 7/8 low e argon filled dual pane glass.
3. The 10 foot sliding door is 1 inch low e argon filled.
4. The concrete exterior is painted with elastomeric paint.
5. Has 4 skylights and a transom window…all low e.


From the Sparrows, Florida Keys: “We call our home ‘Sparrows’ Nest’…it’s pretty strong. It may look small from the outside, but…there’s a lot of room. The house is a rock.” (30′)

From the Clarks and Sayles, Ft Pierce Florida: “The eye wall of Hurricane Frances sat on us for two hours so the category 2 hurricane did category 3 damage. We experienced 120 to 130 mph winds with no dome damage while the house across the street lost most of its shingles.”

From the Woods,  Florida: “We were in the direct path of Hurricane Charley. We had winds greater than 145 mph and our dome had no problems. One widow got a crack from debris. Most of our town was destroyed and all three area hospitals had roof damage. Thank you for our dome.” (40′ dome and 27′ garage dome)

From the Vandebergs and Delongs, North Ft. Meyers Florida: “Thank you for our dome. The eye of Hurricane Charley passed only 15 miles from our dome. We had 117 mph sustained winds. Our domes stood strong. The only vulnerable part was our garage door. We used 2×4’s, plywood and sandbags to keep it from blowing in.” (34′ dome and 27′ garage dome)

From the Drybolas, Milton Florida: “Our neighborhood looked like a war zone. We were in the direct path of Hurricane Ivan and had the full blast of the winds plus there was a tornado in our area. Our concrete domes were wonderful and suffered no damage, despite winds of over 135 mph. Pine trees were stripped of bark and needles and many were lying on a 45 degree angle. Firefighters came by our dome and told us ‘You have the right house for this storm.’ We’ve had over 200 people stop by and see our dome. Believe me your product has never been shown off as good! Wish more people by the beaches, who lost everything would come by, sure wouldn’t have to worry anymore.” (45′ and 30′ with 34′ screen dome)

From the Hendersons, Santa Rosa Beach Florida: “We had over 135 mph winds from Hurricane Ivan and our domes suffered no damage. Our domes are close to the Gulf and sit about 56′ above sea level. This is higher than the surrounding houses so we received the maximum of any wind force, yet we received no damage. (48′ and 34′)

From L. Sawh, Florida: “It’s hard to believe, but we finally finished this house of ours! It’s taken us a good year and a half but its all been worth the hard work and challenges. We began with some designs on paper, added some features of our own, took a few suggestions from other dome owners and with a lot of sweat and pain, not forgetting our subs and the folks at the bank, here we are!!!” (40′ and 27′ Garage dome)


From R. Napolitan, Idaho: “The dome is snug and warm. We heat it mostly with a woodstove that’s in the basement. Our staircases are open so the heat rises. It stays about 68 degrees without much effort, with our lowest outside temp…5-6 degrees. (2,000+ sq.ft. with basement, 34′)

From B. Gates, Illinois: “I’ve never been too much of a conventional person. I thought this was a pretty neat design, very energy-efficient. I like to keep things environmentally nice. It’s almost an organic feeling, being surrounded by curves instead of by rectangles. It seems to be a more relaxing environment to be in.” (48′)

From D. Partlow, Indiana: “The dome is ‘awesome’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘breathtaking’. At least that’s what visitors say. It is and it’s also a very comfortable home to live in. Our June electric bill was $107, we are total electric! We still love the house and the great savings on energy!!!” (2,400+ sq.ft.; 48′)

From S. Mumphrey, Louisiana: “We’re three years in our dome…we still pinch ourselves every morning thinking its a dream. But, it’s REAL and we love it.” (45′)

From L. Gillis, Michigan: “I don’t see how a city can ignore one of the great architectural breakthroughs of the 20th Century. A city without geodesic domes, is not thinking about progress. It’s thinking about replicating the past. A city cannot be a world-class city, unless it has some geodesic domes.” (45′)

From H. Willis, Mississippi: “I like the openness. You can see the kitchen, dining room, living room and bedroom loft when you walk in the front door.” (34′ with 25′ screen dome)

From L. Covington, North Carolina: “Doing everything on my own, not too bad when I think that it will save me $25,000 in labor costs for doing everything outside and inside….The folks that ride by are trying to break their necks gawking at the dome. A curiosity for folks I guess and a few have stopped for more info and a lot come back from time to time to check the progress….” (30′)

From J. Chang: “Thank you again for being the great company that you are! Keep us in the loop with information on finishing touches.” (48′)

From K. Millar, South Carolina: “What this house is about is alternatives.  We decorated it with an Oriental theme, even painting the floor with an Asian motif and we surrounded the house with a Japanese garden.” (40′)

From R. Scripps, Texas: “I like to thank you again for the advice you have given me and Dale.” (Two 45′ domes on full basements)

From J. Holden, Texas: “We just love our four domes, even after 15 years!” (40′)


RayMesa Snow-4

Utah 45′ Dome Home linked to 30′ Garage Dome


16.40 custom RayMesa-interior3

Utah 45′ Dome Home Living Room

From J. Collar, Utah: “My wife, Mary, devoured articles and books about straw bale, rammed earth, poured adobe, earthships, log, and any other unconventional building systems. Finally, Mary announced to me that she had found our house; a precast concrete and eps geodesic dome kit! Although I wasn’t wild about the look of a dome house, as an engineer I was excited about the sheer practicality. I quickly ran some heat loss calculations and found that at -20 degrees F, we could expect to keep the 2700 sq.ft. of living space at 70 degrees F using little more than 30,000 btuh, about 1/3 the size of a conventional home furnace. With judicious use of a large solar window and a masonry heater fireplace, we could limit our use of propane for backup heating.” (45′ and 30′ Garage dome)  

Jim Collar’s Utah Ai concrete dome buildings operate off the grid by using photovoltaic’s, masonry heater fireplace and passive solar water tubes. To learn more, click on Off the Grid.

This file explains about the Temporary Wooden Rib Support System which supports the American Ingenuity prefab panels until concrete is applied in the panel seams and on the entryways, dormers, link, cupola, etc.

Rib Support System

American Ingenuity’s Prefab Home Kits are erected using a system to temporarily hold the panels in place until the seam concrete, concrete on the entryways, dormers, cupola and link has cured and the entryways and dormers are framed in. The system is dismantled upon completion of the dome and the 2x4s are recycled as part of the interior framing. Shorter 2×4’s can be used to frame the second floor perimeter knee wall. Behind this knee wall, electrical, plumbing or ducting can be run or the space can be used for storage.

The dome prefab panels can be a Do It Yourself project or a builder can be hired.  Either the owner builder or the builder can hire the Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise the kit assembly.

The Rib System consists of using your own 2x4s, bolts/nuts/washers purchased from Ai and steel hubs on loan from America Ingenuity to assemble a free standing framework which matches the geometry of the dome.  Or Ai can cut, drill and paint the ribs and ship the 2×4’s on the truck with your building kit.

  • The rib system dictates exact panel placement.
  • As the building kit is being assembled upon the temporary wooden rib system, extra 2X4s or 2×6’s for larger domes are used to support the panels and the steel hubs.
  • The steel hub rental charge is a $800 deposit with the hubs being kept for five months. After that the rental fee is $20 per month. The bolts/nuts/washers are purchased from Ai and are not returned.  If the hubs are returned to us intact within the five month period, the complete deposit is returned. Thereafter, we subtract $20 for each additional month the hubs are kept and we subtract money for each hub that is missing and return the deposit difference to the client. The hubs are returned to Ai via UPS or common carrier at the client’s expense. Please box the hubs in a sufficient number of boxes to assure that the boxes are not too heavy for the trucking company employees to move around.  When boxes are too heavy or improperly taped, they rip open during transit with hubs lost along the way.  Please reinforce all interior sides of the boxes with extra cardboard to toughen the sides.
  • The Rib System is bolted together from your 2x4s (or 2×4’s purchased from Ai) and color-keyed hubs on loan from Ai.  The preferred method of assembly is called the “Bottom Up Method” where the riser legs are installed first.  Call or email us if you would like to receive a document describing the rib assembly.
  • The advantages of using the Rib System Option are:
    • With a Rib System in place, a crane can be used to set 1 row of panels in one day.
    • Since the Rib System reflects the dome geometry, a panel cannot be inadvertently positioned incorrectly.
    • The Rib System is utilized for all the different dome size assemblies.

Q: Can I purchase the 2×4’s for the rib system precut and the holes drilled in them?
Yes. Due to fluctuating prices on the 2×4’s please call us for pricing. The pricing will be for the 2×4’s precut to the proper length with a predrilled hole. The 2×4’s that are used are lightweight wood, not pressure treated. We ship the precut, predrilled 2×4’s on the truck with your building kit. Remember these “supports” are temporary there is no wood in the shell to interrupt the insulation or to rot or for termites to eat.

Q: I would like to have the rib system assembled by the working consultant. Will the working consultant cut the 2×4’s to length, drill the holes and assemble the wood skeleton? A: He could.  But it would be most cost effective to purchase the precut ribs from American Ingenuity and have them shipped on your truck with your kit.  Or Ai can email the cutting specifications for them to be cut on site.  Click on Kit Assembly Consultant learn how he is best utilized.

Q: How many 2x4s are needed for the rib system? A:  The 15′, 18′ need 75 – 2×4’s.  22’ and 27’ need 75 – 2x4s eight feet long. The 30′, 34′, 36, 40′ require 135 – 2x4s eight feet long. The 45′ and 48′ require 135 – 2x4s ten feet long.

Q: Can I remove the temporary supports too soon?  A: Yes you can. The dome shell is not self supporting until all the panel seams are concreted with two layers of concrete and all the building options have been concreted and the entryways and dormers framed in.  The Assembly Manual that is shipped with each kit contains complete details.

Q: Why can the dome shell be self supporting with no need for interior load bearing walls to support it?

A: Manufactured geodesic dome home kits are constructed using a triangular network to form a spherical shape. The triangle shape is the strongest shape known to man and with the seam areas acting like steel beams.  (seam areas are about 3″x5″ with overlapped, locked steel mesh and onsite concrete applied. Concrete averages two inches thick). The geodesic dome construction method using triangles, provides for a free-span, self-supporting structure requiring no internal supports such as roof load bearing partition walls. This allows for maximum flexibility of floor plan design and utilization of interior space.  Suspension rods with top plate can be installed in the seams during kit assembly to support second floor areas.   If there are not second floor framed walls to hide the suspension rods, some rods may be visible.  During finishing the exposed rods can be covered with PVC or wood.

As an architectural form, the dome is one of the strongest structural forms devised and built by man. Domes that were built centuries ago enclose many of the great cathedrals of Europe. Domes are structurally superior to rectilinear enclosures. The partial sphere is an aerodynamic shape that is very stable in high winds and can withstand heavy snow loads. For these reasons, residential domes greatly exceed the structural requirements of the major building codes in the United States.

The dome, or partial sphere, is a geometric form that encloses the greatest amount of volume with the least amount of surface area. Historically, massive domes constructed of stones, brick or concrete were common in ancient Greece and Rome. In modern times, Buckminster Fuller was the first to formulate geodesic principles for constructing a spherical surface by triangular subdivision.

Q: What methods are used to lift the panels?

A: The methods used for lifting the panels includes; Man lifts, Small cranes and Highlifts (all terrain scissors forklifts often used by roofers).

Monthly rentals on transverse lifts also called Boom Lifts, Horizontal Boom Fork Lifts, Roofing Lifts, Shooters are available from National Rental Chains like US Rentals, Hertz Equipment Rentals, United Rentals, etc. The companies can be found in the telephone book

Ai now has lifting spikes that can be borrowed for a $100 deposit.  It makes the attachment of the panels to the hoisting mechanism easier.

Tools and Materials needed to assemble the Rib System:

  • Set of steel scaffolding to reach at least the dome height plus three feet (the dome height can be estimated by taking one half of the diameter of the dome.)
  • 9/16” wrenches and ratchet
  • 46 hubs, 255 bolts, nuts, and washers (borrowed from American Ingenuity) (three frequency domes 30′ – 48′)
  • 15 diagonal braces: 2x4x8’ studs
  • Vertical support for under each hub.
  • Precut and color-coded wood ribs (2×4’s used are lightweight wood, not pressure treated).
    • The 40′, 45′, and 48′ rib system requires 135 – 2×4’s
    • The 22’ and 27’ need 75 – 2×4’s
    • If you do not want to buy the 2×4’s and cut them to length, color code them and drill the holes,  purchase them from American Ingenuity. Due to the fluctuating cost of 2×4’s pricing is determined at time of purchase.
  • Two pounds 12d or 16d common nails
  • 400 Galv. 2 ½” deck screws – if three freq dome
  • 60D Nails for top of Support boards
  • 3 – rolls soft steel Tie Wire


27′ Dome being assembled with rib system
34′ Dome being assembled on top of full basement
The rib system has been assembled using the steel hubs and 2×4’s.
The riser wall and one row of triangles has been installed onto the rib system.

The following info answers some of American Ingenuity’s most commonly asked Dome Plans FAQ – frequently asked questions.

Bay window off dining room over looking deck.

Bay window off dining room over looking deck in 45′ dome dining room.

American Ingenuity (Ai) has a plans design department that can customize any floor plan to fit your lifestyle. The Oliver’s wanted a bay window to overlook their deck.   As a result an entryway was installed with this beautiful window.  To view plans sale pricing and kit sale pricing for each specific stock plan, click on Stock Plans & Kit Sale Pricing.   Please scroll down the page to find the chart.

Q: How do I view your stock floor plans for the prefab home dome kit?

A:  Click on Stock Plans to view stock plans for each of Ai’s ten size dome kits.  Once you are on the page scroll down to see the hyperlinks to click on. To view plans & pictures for Tiny Home, click on Tiny Domes.    If you do not see a stock plan to fit your lifestyle, Ai can modify or customize a plan or Ai can design a custom plan from your sketches and notes.  If you want stock plan layouts mailed, call Ai at  321-639-8777 for printing cost and mailing cost.

Q: How do we determine what size dome is best for my family?

A: First check the 10 Steps to Building Ai Dome and second review stock plans on our website to see how the area within a dome is utilized

  • To view info to assist in custom plan design, click on these four links: Getting Started, Floor Planner Guidelines, Revising Stock Plans and Things to Consider.
  • Then compare these sample floor plans with the rooms and square footages of houses you are familiar with by using the to-scale ruler in the back of the booklet or on the emailed plan.
  • Compare your finances and construction costs to avoid designing a project that is beyond a realistic budget. On our home page, download our Financing Booklet.  FYI, a smaller dome could be built first with a link where a second dome can be added later. 
  • Think about the future will you need to increase or downsize your home size?
  • If you had to move what size home would sell best?

Q: Does American Ingenuity have an engineering statement about your prefabricated dome panels that can be submitted to my building department?

A:  Yes, to view the statement click on Engineering.

Q: What size dome do I build if I do not want a second floor?
The 15′, 18′, 22′, 27′, 30′, 34, 36′ and 40′ domes would be suitable for homes with only a first floor. However any of the domes can be built without a second floor.

Because of the shape of the dome, a second floor is a natural. If you choose to construct a larger dome and include the second floor, you can install an elevator, chair rail on your stairs or a lift to access the second floor. Click on Rail Chairs to learn more.

You could design all your living space and master bedroom and bath on the first floor, and put a guest bedroom and bath on the second floor and use the second floor rooms for guests or for storage.

Q: Can the dome be made handicap accessible?
A: Yes. All of the dome floor plans can be modified to be handicap accessible. The cost to do this depends upon the complexity of the plan. Contact us for a price quote. Click on Accessible to learn more.


Ai’s philosophy is that each person pay for only what they need.  Ai does not burden the price of the building kit with plan’s pricing, engineer seal cost or energy report cost. Building plans are purchased  three months to 1 1/2 years prior to kit shipment.  About 50% of the building departments require engineer sealed plans and an energy report to issue a permit. As a result each customer pays for their plans separately from the building kit and pays for a seal and energy report only if their building department requires them.


Q: What items should I consider when planning to build an American Ingenuity geodesic dome?
The building industry is not only behind the times, it moves slowly! We cannot stress enough the importance of starting your preparations early for all aspects of building. What you think may take two months can easily consume four or five months or more. To have any hope of beginning the actual construction on time you must at least double the time you think it will take to acquire blueprints, financing, building permits, contractors or subcontractors. Optimists should triple their expectations.

Once your land has been acquired, blueprints are usually the first step.

  • Some Building Departments require that blueprints be sealed or approved by one of their state architects or engineers prior to giving permits, which takes additional time. Click on Building Permit to learn more.
  • Mortgage lenders move slower than you may anticipate. Click on Financing Overview to lean more.
  • Remember to allow time to have the land cleared, prepped and ready for the foundation. All permits pertaining to electrical, telephone, water, septic tanks, sewer hookups, driveway and building….will take time. Click on Planning Process to learn more.
  • Also increased demand for American Ingenuity Dome Kits has forced us to assign shipping dates as much as 8-12 weeks in advance. If you intend to begin building in the summer start the process one to two years before. Other expectant homeowners will be clogging the system by spring, so if you are the early bird they will be waiting behind you instead of vice versa.

Q: How do I plan for expansion -building an additional dome at a future date?
When designing your first dome, you can prepare for future expansion by placing an entryway or link at the location where you will later connect another dome. If we are providing you with customized plans, we can design them for the future expansion. When you order your first dome, we can provide instructions and materials that will make the connection easier.

Q: Can the domes have basements or be built upon stilts or pilings?
Yes. To complete these designs, a local engineer is hired to calculate the load of the dome and its interior floors to determine joist size and spacing and wall/column/piling design.  Ai then incorporates his designs into your building plans.  Call for engineer pricing.  Any of our domes can be built upon a basement, stilts or pilings. You determine how many openings you want in the basement walls for garage doors or for windows and doors, and you determine if and how many of the basement sides you want bermed with dirt. Full basements are the same size and shape as the dome first floor. Click on Foundations to learn more.

Also what do you use for floor joists? Wood, steel, manufactured trusses, whatever you prefer. How thick of a basement wall is required for the domes? Basement walls are usually 8″ thick when made of poured concrete but will likely increase depending on the height of the basement wall and the height of the backfill.

Ai can provide a design, which places the dome on concrete pilings. Sometimes Ai recommends an above ground basement with breakaway walls instead of pilings.

Bear in mind that building any structure upon pilings will increase the cost significantly and require you to climb a flight of stairs each time you go in the house. If in your location, it is a requirement then you have no other choice.

Q: Do you sell basement wall kits?
No. Ai manufacturers dome housing kits. We do not manufacture or build basement walls. Although we do design the basement building plans using premade wall panels, ICFs or concrete blocks. You would need to contact a local subcontractor for basement construction costs and to find out what type basements are best built in your area.

Q: What is the standard foundation included with the stock plans?

A: Concrete slab. For Ai to design a basement or concrete columns or stem wall or pilings, etc. an engineer fee is added to your Plans Quote. This is to cover the cost for a structural engineer to calculate the load of the dome and the load of the two floors within the dome and give joist/edge beam size/spacing and foundation design to our CAD department to incorporate within the plans. Call for engineer pricing.

Q: Can I have windows above doors in an entryway?
Yes. By using high profile entryways in your building plans, you can include glass or standard windows over a door, set of doors, or bank of conventional windows. The glass above the doors or windows could be half-moon shaped or be stained glass, etc. Any room with a cathedral ceiling, such as a foyer or living room, can benefit from this striking architectural feature. Click on Window Sizes to learn more.

Q: Will l feel closed in, in the dome?
No. In our domes you can install an abundant number of windows and doors. Your budget and your floor plan selection determine the number of doors or windows you will have. There can be up to five entryways on the first floor of the 30’ through 48’ domes and you can have up to five window dormers or door dormers on the second floor of the 27’ or 34’ through 48’ domes.  (No second floor window or door dormers are available in 22’ or 30’ domes.  If there is a first floor standard entryway, there can be a second floor door dormer above it.  Instead of installing a door, install a tall window (2’x5’) to let light in a room or to let light into a high vaulted ceiling area.

 Q: Do your Building Plans come with an Engineer’s seal?
No. Although over 30 different engineers have reviewed our Building Plans, the plans do not come with an engineer’s seal for the following reasons.

Less than half of our dome owners need engineer sealed Building Plans to obtain a building permit and rather than adding the engineer cost to all plans or burden the price of the building kit, it is more economical to have the plans sealed as needed.

  •  As the designer and manufacturer, we would not hesitate to guarantee the structural integrity of our dome and we do just that with our guarantee.
  • Each state only accepts a seal from an engineer who is registered in that state which prevents us from applying any seal that would be universally accepted.
  • When an engineer seals a set of plans he is taking responsibility for the structural design for a single dome in the location intended and the seal would not apply to other projects.

Q: What format do I email floor plan drawings to you?
jpeg format or bmp format (windows bit map). Alternatively, if you are using AutoCAD, we can accept the documents in dxf format or dwg format saved in 2013 or older program. Please include your name, telephone number and the best time(s) to contact you.  

Q: What programs can I use to read dxf format?
You can read and edit the dxf files if you have AutoCAD program, any other computer aided drafting program, a photo editor program like adobe or paint shop. You can read the dxf files but not edit them using Microsoft word and power point. The web site has a computer aided drafting program that can be downloaded and used  free for 30 days.

You can use computer programs to draw your floor plans; although, we can use a hand drawn sketch that is faxed to us just as easily as a CAD drawing. We have to reenter all of your information into our system and we will likely agree upon some changes for your benefit.

Q: What is a cupola?
A Cupola is “sort of like a hat with windows that sits on top of the dome”. When a person wants to have a third floor loft in the 40′ or larger domes, the cupola adds about 2′ of headroom to the top center of the dome. The top five pentagon panels rest upon 18″ tall concrete “legs”, that are built on site. Between the concrete “legs” framing is built to install rectangular windows that you purchase locally. See the floor planners in the Stock Floor Plan Booklet for loft heights and square footages.

The topside exterior of the five panels of the cupola and the underside exterior of the eave are prefinished, while the topside and edges of the eave are stuccoed onsite.

Cupolas are not necessary for ventilation and extra light. Domes do not need more light than conventional houses. If you build your dome without a cupola, we recommend installing a vent in an interior wall near the peak of your dome for ventilation. The electric fan vent has the added advantage of being easily controlled with a switch or timer.

The outline of the third floor loft matches that of the cupola. In wind areas, you do not want the cupola windows to be more than two feet tall. Also taller cupolas just look out of proportion on the dome.

For an observatory on top of the dome, you would not need a cupola. The top or any part of the dome will easily support the weight of people. All that would be needed would be a railing around the top and some way to access the top of the dome, i.e. sculptured concrete steps. Click on Building Options to learn more. 

Q: Why do the square footages on the Specifications Page differ from the square footages listed on the stock floor plans?
On the Specifications Page the first floor and second floor square footage listed is the maximum amount of square footage possible. The first floor square footage is maxed out because only one entryway is considered. The second floor square feet (sq.ft.) listed is what is possible if you built in the second floor leaving only one fifth open to the first floor. The first floor ceiling height would then be 7 1/2′ in the 30’ and 34′ domes and 8′ tall in the larger domes.

The first floor square footages on the stock floor plans vary from the Specification Page because:

  • More than one entryway was designed in each of these plans. Every additional entryway on the first floor of the dome will reduce the first floor square footage.
  • In the stock floor plans, the second floor square footage varies from the Specifications Page because some stock plans have one third of the second floor left open while others can have up to half of the second floor left open. Providing you with a dramatic high-vaulted ceiling over your first floor living and dining rooms.
  • The second floor square footage on stock plans consists of all the illustrated second floor space to the knee wall. On site the second floor knee wall is built along the dome perimeter out 2×4’s and covered with drywall to a height of two to three feet. AC ducting and second floor suspension rods can be hidden behind the knee wall. Electrical outlets can be placed on the knee wall.

Residential Building Plan sets contain all the blueprints typically provided with any type of housing and include floor plans, exterior elevations, dome shell section view, top view showing panel nomenclature, floor joist framing plans, structural details, and locations for plumbing and electrical fixtures.  To view stock plans for each of our ten different size dome kits, click on Stock Plans.  If you do not see a plan to fit your lifestyle, Ai can modify its stock plans or design custom plans for a reasonable fee. 

If you do not have the time or do not want to assemble the dome shell kit, American Ingenuity knows of a Kit Assembly Consultant that will come to your site, and supervise your laborers or your contractor’s laborers and get the dome shell kit assembled with one layer of concrete in the seams and on the entryways and dormers.

Q: Prior to purchasing Residential Building Plans, what do I need to consider?

A: You need to assure you have answers to the following questions:

  1. Does the deed for your land have any restrictions on domes?
  2. Are you within 1-2 years of building?
  3. If there is a Home Owners Association governing your land, you will need to check with them and make sure you can build a dome.
  4. What is required from your building department to obtain a building permit?
  5. Do you have your financing secured?
  6. If the answers to the above questions are positive then you can fax or email us your modified sketch.

Click on Planning Process to learn more.

Q: If I purchase Building Plans for one size dome and later change my mind, can I get a refund?

A: No Ai cannot issue a refund.

Q: When should we purchase our dome building plans?

A: Ai recommends that our clients design their floor plan when they are one to two years from building their dome. If you design your plan before then, you may see model homes or get ideas from other plans that may cause you to want to change your original floor plan ideas.

Q: When can I move into my dome?

A: If you have to obtain a building permit before you can build, then you have to submit a set of Building Plans. If you do not have to obtain a building permit then you can move into the dome once the shell is weather tight. But typically the building department will not allow you to live in the dome until the interior and exterior are finished per the building plans.

Q What are the contents of your Residential Building Plans? A: Stock sets generally have 13-17 pages per each set. Building plans include the basic drawings for the dome that are needed when acquiring a building permit. They are composed on our computer aided drafting system as stock plans, or based on your individual requirements and design. Some of the pages are a 3-D elevation and a 3-D perspective view.

American Ingenuity’s Building Plans contain all of the typical drawings and details – usually 13-17 sheets. The blueprints included in your plans are based on the type of entryways, dormers and foundation that are designed in your plans. Some of the Blueprint names are:
• Cover Sheet
• Legend Sheet
• First Floor Plan
• Second Floor Plan
• Dome Panel Nomenclature
• Exterior Elevations
• 1st Floor Electrical Plan (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, smoke detectors)
• 2nd Floor Electrical Plan (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, smoke detectors)
• Foundation Plan
• Foundation Details
• 2nd Floor Framing Plan
• Typical Dome Section
• Standard Entryway Details
• High Profile Entryway Details
• 1st Floor Window Dormer & Door Dormer Details
• 2nd Floor Dormer Details
• Stair Details
• Cupola Blueprint if ordered
• Link Blueprint if ordered

These plans include all the structural drawings, show the placement of the electrical outlets, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures; however, they do not have the electrical, plumbing, HVAC layouts. We have found if the layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when the subs like to design their own layouts.

Q: Do your Building Plans include the electrical, plumbing and HVAC diagrams?

A: No. Ai has found if these layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when the subs like to design their own layouts based on their installation method. Ask you building department if these layouts are required for you to obtain a building permit. Ai will email finished floor plan layouts in pdf so your subcontractors can design the layouts.

Q: Why do you charge extra to modify your stock Building Plans?

A: If there is no change to load bearing walls, there will be no extra fee.  However quite often our clients send us sketches that require the load bearing walls to change. This change then affects the foundation sheet, the second floor framing sheet and other sheets.  Some of the footer locations in the concrete slab foundation are based upon the location of the first floor load bearing walls, which help support the second floor. Plus the dome riser panels set on a perimeter footer in the slab. Also parts of the second floor are suspended by rods into the dome shell. These rods are inserted and buried in the seam concrete during the shell assembly. So we need to design your floor plan per your sketch and then design the structural sheets that the slab subcontractor, shell assembler, framer, etc. need to follow. So yes you would pay us a fee for us to modify our stock plans per your sketch and produce sets of building plans.

Q: I understand that you can suspend parts of the second floor from the dome shell so we can have an open first floor plan. Is this true?

A: Yes, the second floor can be suspended from the dome shell and allow you to have as open a first floor as you desire. Keep in mind that it is more economical to use some of the first floor walls as supports. Long spans with floor joists will require more expensive materials to provide the strength for suspension rods that pass through the second floor.  The suspension rods and plates are purchased from American Ingenuity.

Q: How is the square footage determined in the Dome Plans?

A: Remember in a conventional house you have an attic that cannot normally be used. Because of the dome shape a second floor can be installed that is useable. So even if some square footage around the second floor perimeter cannot be used there is still more useable square footage in a dome than a conventional house with attic under truss roof.  Building Plans second floor square footage includes the area starting at five feet to the top of the dome. For example in 27′ dome the center of the 2nd floor is 9’1″ tall; the center of the second floor in 36′ dome 10 feet tall; the center of the second floor in 45′ dome is 13 feet 7 inches tall.  The second floor square footage is calculated from the top of the dome down to where the exterior dome walls slope to five feet.  Around the perimeter of the second floor at the five feet of height, bed headboard, or night stands, or desk or dresser can be placed.  The Tax Assessor uses these numbers, so your taxes will be less.

Click on Square Footage to learn more.

Q: I am concerned about having a second floor and using the stairs. What do you recommend?

A:  Ai can design a dome floor plan layout without a second floor.  Because of the spherical shape of the dome a second floor is a natural. To access the second and third floors instead of an elevator, install an electric winch powered lift in a 4’x4’ area or an elevator to get to the second floor, or you could use a stair railing chair. You could design all your living space and master bedroom and bath on the first floor, and design a guest bedroom and bath on the second floor and use the rooms for guests or for storage.  Click on Lifts and Elevators to learn more.

Q: I understand that very few of your clients ever sell their dome. As a result, the dome ends up becoming a retirement home, should I make it handicap accessible?

A: Yes. It is a easy modification to the plans to make the entire downstairs area wheelchair accessible, (32″ or 36″ doorways, handicap accessible shower stall, bathroom, etc.).

Q: How are two domes joined together and should I plan extensions onto my Entryways?

A: If you are planning a complex of domes, the plans are joined at entryways or door dormers to form a link. The link will vary in width according to the size of the domes’ entryways and can vary in length from 2 feet to 10 feet.

While many companies offer the alternatives of large links and room extensions to the dome, American Ingenuity feels they are not in your best interest. Among the reasons:

  • When floor space is increased using an extension or link, the exposed surface area is greater than for the square footage within a dome. This results in less energy efficiency and a higher cost per square foot.
  • Construction is more involved and time consuming
  • The overall scale, relationship between elements and proportion of the home are adversely affected.
  • The visual impact of the design is lessened.
  • Good chance of leaking where the extension long flat roof butts into the dome shell. The expansion and the contraction associated with temperature changes produces the flex or separation at the link. We have considered expansion joints but they are not trouble free either. We have concluded the adding of elastomeric patching compound with exterior paint where the link panels touch the dome panels is the best solution.  
  • Ai recommends simply moving up to the next larger size dome or arranging your space differently to increase the efficiency of your design. It will save time, energy and money.

Q: What do your building plan names mean?

A: The first two numbers are the dome diameter in feet, the next word is a Greek word (Omega, Alpha, Delta) and then we use two numbers (21, 22, etc) to complete the name.

For Mortgage Financing contact:

Personal loan approval for individuals in all USA states for those with credit score of 701 or better.  If your credit score is not 701, you can be recommended for the Credit Restoration Services. Lenders use this system for a true FICO Credit Scores.

Personal Loans are available through:
Ray Vince and Staff
at Pistolatum Inc.
76 E. Merritt Island Causeway #205
Merritt Island, Fl 32952
Phone:  321-284-8116  Email:

To get started for preapproval, please click on this link and complete the info.  When completing the form enter code AI777 (Capital A and Capital i )


Per Jennie Lyn Steeg with Regions Mortgage is able to loan on the Aidomes through its Smart Solutions portfolio.  Jennie wrote Ai:  “We are able to provide end-loan financing to your client through our niche portfolio – Smart Solutions.   I am happy to assist any of your clients.”

Regions Mortgage has offices in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.  Below is Ms. Steeg’s info.

Jennie Lyn Steeg
Regions Mortgage – NMLS #0676223
Mortgage Loan Originator.  10245 Centurion Parkway N. Suite #300
Jacksonville Fl 32258
Phone:  904-564-3303; Cell  904-228-4004  Email:


Construction Loan is given to the Builder.  Builder owns the lot, builds the dome and then sells the finished dome and the lot to the home owner.

Michael Maxwell, Head of Originations
Builder Finance
55 E 58th St. Sixth Floor
NY, NY 10022
Phone:  212-466-3753.  Mobile 646-620-4665.    Email:


Oscar Sanchez 
Academy MGT Corporation
Phone: 305-603-9181.   305-325-5400    Email:


David Buffington, Mortgage Loan Officer  
605 North Orlando Avenue
Orlando Fl 32789
Office 407-691-2150. Mobile 407-256-0015    Email:


Jay Zerquera VP 
FBC Mortgage
189 South Orange Ave, Suite 970, Orlando Fl 32801
Apply online:
Cell: 407-509-1846.  Phone: 407-377-0286  Email:


Your local Wells Fargo Bank and explain that their Tukwila, WA  branch and their branch in  their Sioux Falls, SD have issued financing for Aidome building kits and see if they are interested in reviewing your info for a loan.


A Construction Loan was issued by AG South Farm Credit, ACA in Laurens, SC  for Ai dome home to be built in the area because the dome buyer had rural ag land. Their number is 864-984-3379.


Construction/Renovation/Purchase/Refinance Options are available through:
Sovann Kang, Branch Manager  – nmls #275454
Umpqua Bank Home Lending
Mobile: 253-376-0991
Web site:



In Lake Placid Florida – Highlands County – Wauchula State Bank at (863) 773-4151 approved a construction loan and permanent financing for an Aidome customer.


Ai has learned about LightStream’s Anything Loan, a division of SunTrust Bank.  Not sure if they can assist you or not.   LightStream’s Anything Loan is a virtually paperless loan that will let you finance or refinance almost anything.  These loans are very customer friendly with these included features:

Fixed-interest rates range from 1.99% to 9.99%* APR with AutoPay
Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000
No fees, down payment requirements or prepayment penalties
Apply online and receive a response within minutes during business hours
Unsecured, with no liens or collateral requirements for AnythingLoan. (Applicants that do not qualify for the AnythingLoan may qualify for our Secured Loan products).

Financing Alternatives: 

  1. take out an equity line on property you own
  2. obtain a personal loan from family or friends (offering them a higher interest rate than banks, etc. are offering on money markets certificates, etc.)


The following information was written by Michael Darling.

Dear dome home owners, buyers and builders:

Because I have seen designs for dome homes that are superior to other construction and design styles, and I’m always willing to go above and beyond when there is a reason. I have been researching the mortgage lending sources for dome homes. There is good news; there are more lenders who will lend on domes than on other “unique properties. There is bad news – it is still more difficult to get a loan for a dome home than for traditional construction. And there is good reason for hope for improvement in the near future.

I contacted every lender I could find, though I do not claim to have spoken with every lender in the USA. And while I would not claim to have done an exhaustive study, I am confident that I have as complete a picture as anyone of which lenders will finance domes and under what circumstances. I will continue to research the subject and will send updates from time to time. If you provide me with your specific mortgage objective, I will notify you when I find a loan that matches.

Three Scenarios for Financing a Dome Home

Leaving aside for the moment the differences between construction, purchase and refinance there are three scenarios to focus on when it comes to financing a dome home. All three are based on an appraisal from a licensed appraiser (it can be really helpful to have a more experienced appraiser – more on appraisals below).

  • There are three or more comparable properties (comps) of similar design and construction style (dome) with recent sales history in the neighborhood.
  • There is at least one comparable property of similar design and construction style with recent sales history in the area and others in the area but without recent sales history.
  • There are zero comparable properties of similar design and construction style in the neighborhood.

1. Three or More Comps

I have never failed to find a loan for a dome with three or more comps. Many residential mortgage lenders will be able to do this loan much the same as a traditional loan on a traditional home design. There are lenders who flat out reject domes no matter what, but for the lenders who will consider domes, a property with multiple comparisons should be “lendable”. Even with multiple comps, some lenders who will accept domes may only offer a loan with constraints on the size of loan, the loan to value ratio or other underwriting restrictions. (Full doc only, owner occupied only, one unit only, etc.)

2. At Least One Comp and Other Domes in the Market Area

There are a few residential mortgage lenders who will evaluate this situation and may make a loan. Here is where it can really help to have an experienced appraiser who knows the market because the ability of the appraiser to establish a market value and address the uniqueness of the subject property will be vital to an underwriter. Most lenders who will accept domes in this situation will only offer a loan with constraints on the size of loan, the loan to value ratio or other underwriting requirements. (Full doc only, owner occupied only, one unit only, etc.)

3. No Comps and No Domes in the Market Area

I have found traditional residential mortgage lenders in a few states who will evaluate a dome home with no dome comps on a case by case basis. A lender that would accept a dome in this case will almost certainly include constraints on the size of loan, the loan to value ratio and other underwriting requirements. (Full doc only, owner occupied only, one unit only, etc.)

There are local commercial banks who may offer a residential mortgage loan on a dome home with no dome comps. And there are “hard money” lenders who will evaluate any investment opportunity and who may make loans on dome homes- but compared to a traditional mortgage the fees and rates will likely be higher, the terms shorter and the conditions less advantageous.

If the property has an established or demonstrable commercial use it is possible to do a commercial loan with terms and conditions similar to a residential mortgage. The commercial lenders I work with have no restrictions on domes specifically nor will they be concerned about comps with similar construction styles. They will be looking for an appraisal that demonstrates the commercial value of the property. Bed & Breakfast Inn, multi-family rental, retail business, and other exclusive or mixed commercial uses would all be possibilities. (A home office or a business run from home would not generally be enough to demonstrate commercial value.)

There is a fourth scenario that bears mentioning- the dome home that is appraised as a traditional frame construction home using traditional frame construction comps. Though I am certain that loans have been done this way, there are numerous problems with this scenario. First and worst is that intentionally misrepresenting information in a mortgage application is illegal. Also, many applications have gotten far along in the underwriting process before an underwriter reviews the appraisal and sees a photo of the subject property and rejects the file because that lender does not accept domes. This creates wasted expense and frustration for all parties. It is a way to attempt to get a mortgage on a dome home- it’s just not a good one.


If your lender would like to utilize an appraiser who has appraised an Ai dome for a loan and who has visited an American Ingenuity 15 year old finished dome, please call Ai for appraiser’s info. Lenders should be thought of as investors who invest in a loan. And each has their own investment criteria. Most investors want to know they can sell their investment at some point in time- and in the mortgage lending world this means that most lenders underwrite with similar standards and criteria so that a loan can be sold. While the general challenge for financing domes is the shortage of lenders or loan programs, I have access to several loan programs that will accept unique properties if the appraisal includes sufficient market analysis to establish a market valuation for the property. So the specific challenge is typically the appraisal.

In addition to the usual appraisal analysis, the dome appraisal must:

  • Establish a market value independent of construction type;
  • Demonstrate that the home’s uniqueness is accepted in the market, and;
  • Address the uniqueness of the dome in the context of local area housing types and marketability.

This means that the underwriter must be able to predict, using the appraisal, what the marketability of a house would be in the event the lender ends up having to possess and sell the property. The difficulty with most dome houses is the lack of comparable sales – “comps” – in order to demonstrate the market value. Comps need to be similar enough to the subject property that using them to establish a market valuation is reasonable. Even very similar comps will be adjusted for minor differences, but the hard part with domes is that they are typically very different in appearance and therefore the predicted marketability can vary considerably from traditional construction. In other words, it’s hard to say “a traditional frame house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms sold for $X in x days and so a 4/2 dome would sell for $Y in y days.”

The best comparable properties will be other domes. If there are no domes for comps, it may be possible to use other unique styles to establish the marketability of unique homes. And if there are other domes and unique houses in the immediate area even if they have not recently sold, adding information about them in the appraisal (quantity, distance from subject, specific architectural style that makes it unique, as well as basic information about the house) will help support that unique styles are acceptable in the area.


To view other alternatives than using a lender;

like family financing, equity loans on property, etc. read our financing booklet.

To view it on line, please click on Financing Booklet.