manufactured | AiDomes

Cement Home built on concrete slabs & two photo galleries.
One showing construction pictures, the other shows finished exterior & interior. 

“In the six years since we have moved into our double dome home (45′ & 34′) we have only increased our enthusiasm for this structure. There is something about the interior space that is very liberating and imaginative. One of the main reasons we built the Ai domes was its noncombustible concrete exterior. Our home site is surrounded by forests that can burn at any time. So it gives us great comfort knowing their is no roof to burn & no exterior wood framed walls to burn.”  (Ron Kaufman & Marti Leicester, happy Ai Dome Owners)  

To view an article about their domes published in the Butte Environmental Council’s (BEC) News, click on Chico News.

Photos of Dome Interior Finish

45′ & 34′ Kaufman/Leicester Domes in California

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Assembly Photos California Concrete Dome Home

 

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Concrete Home on basement in Missouri.  Gorgeous 45′ diameter American Ingenuity dome home  on basement overlooking 2 acre pond.  Dome Kit was purchased in 1992.  Dome has five standard entryways on first floor with wrap around deck with stairs. Second floor has balcony and two window dormers.

“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 satisfied Ai dome owner builder)

  • Dome view from pond.

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  • 45' Dome front entrance in early spring.

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3,900 sq. ft., four stories, including finished basement and cupola; 3 baths, 2 kitchens, sunken conversation pit, wet bar, fireplace, curved staircase w/mirrors, central vac system, sauna, hardwood and carpeted flooring, ceramic tile floors in bath, utility room and kitchen.

Basement included exercise area, sauna with bathroom & shower, work shop and second kitchen.

Ten acre wooded setting, exceptional landscaping with over 100 hostas, gazebo, water ponds, water wheel, rock garden, cement drive, picnic and garden areas and more.

 

To view Oliver Dome Floor Plans click and view in your PDF browser or right click and save to your computer.

Oliver First Floor Layout PDF

Oliver Second Floor Layout PDF

Oliver Basement Layout PDF

 

Kaufman garage house 1536

Kaufman 45′ dome home linked to 34′ garage dome in Forest Ranch California

Utilizes Heat Recovery Ventilator & Geothermal Energy for Heating & Cooling

The following article was taken from the Summer 2009 Butte Environmental Council’s (BEC) News.   The geodesic dome home featured was built from American Ingenuity dome building kits.  BEC is a not-for-profit public benefit corporation.  Founded in 1975, BEC protects the land, air, and water of Butte County California through advocacy, environmental education, and information and referral services.

ChicoEco Highlights a Geodesic

By Nani Teves

Hidden among the trees in the mountain community of Forest Ranch is the most amazing example of living more responsibly by combining conservation and cutting edge.  Ron Kaufman and Marti Leicester spent four years planning and 14 months building their geothermally heated and cooled, concrete geodesic dome home, which, when all was said and done was approximately the same cost as building a traditional house of the same size.

A geodesic dome looks like the top half of a soccer ball, and theirs is two domes connected by a 12 ft length.  They used concrete as a building material because it is low maintenance, highly insulated, insect resistant, and most importantly for their area – fire resistant.  They built to optimize passive solar potential usinged double pane windows.

Throughout the house, renewable and reused building materials were used including the floor, which is made from Marmoleum, a durable linoleum made from linseed oil, jute and rosin.  For carpeted areas, 1ft by 2ft squares were used, making it possible to replace only damage areas.  Framing studs were reused to build the loft, the kitchen cabinets are bamboo and the stairs, window seats and baseboards are all make from a material called Evergrain, which consists of 50% HDPE (typically recycled milk bottles) and 50% wood fibers (typically old pallets).

One of the most fascinating things about this house is that it uses geothermal energy for heating and cooling.  The system was expensive but they wanted to push the technology forward by experimenting.  How the system works is heat is collected from the dome interior and then pumped into the ground during cooling, and reversed during heating.  They hired an out of state company (no one was available locally or even in California) to drill four 180ft deep holes.  Crystal Air in Weaverville installed the system by placing tubing surrounded by Bentonite in the holes.  A two-way pump is run using energy from PG&E and a back-up generator, and the extra heat from this system is used to preheat the water for their on-demand tankless water heater.

Another unique feature they included in the design is a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) System.  The HRV brings in fresh air and exhausts stale air, while transferring a significant portion of the heat in the stale air to the incoming fresh air.  It also maintains a slightly positive air pressure in the dome so that pollen and dust are not drawn in through open doors and windows.

From the jars reused to hold screws, to the dome itself, this house is an example of how fun it can be to research, experiment and live outside the box.

 ++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ai is sometimes asked – Which is more efficient a Heat Recovery Ventilator or Dehumidifiers to control moisture inside the dome?

One of American Ingenuity’s Missouri Dome Owners, Mr. Nicks, sent us the following email. “I was having trouble with winter humidity in my dome until this February 2006 when I purchased and installed a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV). Air quality is noticeable fresher and relative humidity is under control. The HRV has eliminated the need to run dehumidifiers during the winter for me. Additionally, small dehumidifiers are electricity hogs (costing more to operate than central air in the summer).

 

My home does have high cfm fans in all bathrooms and kitchen vent fans as well. I tied my bathroom vents to the HRV which has a humidistat that kicks it into high gear when the bath humidity hits it.

 

My dome is still a work in progress, but I love being the first and only one around here to “think outside the rectangle” in home design. The spaces in a dome have amazing character….anyway just wanted to share an idea that has helped me defeat the humidity in my dome.”

 

Ai asked him where and how did he install is Heat Recovery Ventilator?

He replied, “I installed the HRV in my utility room with an insulated intake duct through a joist space. The unit I installed was manufactured by Lifebreath (model 200 max). Depending on which standard is used it may be slightly undersized, but works fine. Three of my bathroom vent fans had previously come together in the utility room to exit through a single 6” vent (I had a box with dampers to prevent backflow). I connected the HRV to those three bath vents which allowed me to pull air from three different floors of my dome.

 

The HRV I installed has a humidistat in its exhaust air stream (household intake). When someone is taking a shower that humidity causes the HRV humidistat to switch the fan to high speed. I have mine set on low speed continuous as a default.”

Are electric vents necessary at the peak of the dome as well as in the bathrooms to prevent moisture buildup?

A: Yes. The electric exhaust vents are installed in a vertical wall near the top of the dome, in top center of the dome, in bathrooms and above stove/microwave to exhaust water vapor (from laundry, cooking, showering, etc.)  In interior walls, use galvanized metal ducting that extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out under an entryway.  And in some areas install a heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator to remove moisture.

 

 

The standard seven inch thick (R-28) expanded polystyrene insulation (E.P.S.)  in the American Ingenuity 22′ thru 48′ dome building kits can be upgraded to nine inch thick (R-36) E.P.S.  See below for pricing.  To view the detailed data and characteristics of E.P.S. insulation, please click on Panel Composition and scroll down the page to view the EPS data.

Cold northern climates like Vermont and Wisconsin, etc. are appropriate areas to build Ai dome kits with the thicker 9″ (R-36) insulation. If a 45′ or 48′ dome’s insulation is upgraded, your shipment will require two semi-trucks for delivery.  The Ai dome with 7″ E.P.S. will easily outperform conventional housing with 11″ thick fiberglass insulation. Instead of purchasing thicker insulation from American Ingenuity consider applying the money you would have spent for the thicker insulation to purchase thermal coverings for windows, triple paned windows and insulated doors.

E.P.S.- Expanded Polystyrene Insulation

E.P.S. is frequently mistakenly referred to as “Styrofoam”. Although they both come from the same “base” material, polystyrene, the two products differ in many respects. “Styrofoam” is the registered name of Dow Chemical Co. and refers to the extruded polystyrene insulation product produced and marketed solely by that company. “Styrofoam” is generally blue in color and has a minimum density of about 1.80 pounds per cubic foot. It has a different cell structure (like hollow bubbles) and has a marginally lower better R value, but is considerably more expensive, not only per board foot but even more so on a “cost per R” basis. E.P.S. is available from more than 100 manufacturers throughout the country in a variety of sizes, densities and forms. “Styrofoam” is only available from one company in a more limited range of sizes.

Seven inches of sturdy, rigid R-28 expanded polystyrene (E.P.S.) insulation forms the core of each American Ingenuity component panel. This insulation is permanent, chemically and thermally stable, and resistant to mildew, provides no nutritive value to animals, plants, microorganisms, is non-irritating to skin, and is Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and formaldehyde free. This E.P.S. insulation will not rot, shrink, absorb moisture, compact, or deteriorate due to age or weather. It also acts as a vapor barrier for your home, providing stable performance year after year.

The E.P.S. that Ai uses is sometimes referred to as bead board and sometimes incorrectly referred to as Styrofoam (Styrofoam is the trade name for extruded polystyrene manufactured by Dow Chemical Co). Ai does not use Styrofoam.

American Ingenuity uses the one pound per cubic foot density, closed cell E.P.S. which has a thermal resistance (R-value) of 4.17 per inch of insulation at near freezing temperatures. This also explains why it is a very common insulation used in housing and sold at hardware stores. Ai uses the 7” thick E.P.S. which has an R-value of about 28.

Ai chose the expanded polystyrene over the extruded polystyrene because the extruded polystyrene is almost twice the cost with only a slightly better R-value.

When should you purchase the 9″ thick E.P.S.? If you have five or more days a year where the temperature reaches zero degrees then you may want to purchase the thicker 9″ insulation. If you have hotter days than most climates, we leave it up to you whether you need the 9″ thick E.P.S.. On the price list go to the Building Options and look down the list for 9″ Insulation.

Ai does not recommend that you purchase the 11″ E.P.S. insulation unless you live in a severe climate like the Northwest Territory of Canada.

Insulation Comparisons:

  • 2×4 solid wood with 3 1/2″ fiberglass is about R-8.
  • 8″ Concrete Block, with 3/4″ air, 3/4″ Celotex is about R-9.
  • 2×6 Solid wood construction with 5 1/2″ fiberglass is about R-11.
  • 2×4 solid wood with 3″ urethane is about R-13.
  • 7″ E.P.S. insulation is R-28 and is comparable to 11″ of fiberglass insulation.
  • 9″ E.P.S. insulation is R-36.
  • 11″ E.P.S. insulation is R-44.

American Ingenuity’s component panels for the 22′  thru 48′ domes includes the R-28 insulation and most of the steel reinforced concrete exterior finish and all the interior shell wallboard. Typically, in wooden domes you will likely have to purchase the insulation, wallboard and roofing materials for extra costs.

2015 Pricing For Thicker 9″  E.P.S. Insulation
22′
27′
30′
34′
40′
45′
48′
call for pricing
call for pricing
$2,650
$3,090
$3,715
$4,305
$4,795

 

If you upgrade your 40′, 45′ or 48′ dome with 9″ EPS more semi-trucks will be needed for delivery.  The 40′ or 45 ‘ & the 48’ kit will require two trucks for delivery. All Kits whose insulation is upgraded are considered Specialized Orders and are custom made for that Buyer.  These orders require a 50% deposit to start manufacturing.  If the specialized order is cancelled any payments made are non-refundable.

Q: Why are your dome homes so energy efficient?
A:
You can save 50-70% on heating and air-conditioning costs with your American Ingenuity dome over a conventionally built home. Some of the reasons for this superb energy efficiency are:

  • Super insulation that does not degrade with time, moisture, or compaction.
  • Spherical shape means reduced exposed surface.
  • Airtight exterior virtually eliminates energy leakage.
  • Solid thermal envelope.
  • Uniform R-value. The insulation is not interrupted with structural members (e.g. 2X4’s roof trusses). The only breaks are for doors and windows.
  • Downsized heating and cooling equipment.

Your kit comes with lifetime R-28 E.P.S. insulation or if you choose, thicker R-36 E.P.S. insulation is available. Even in cold climates, you may find that a single ventilating wood stove can heat a smaller dome (22′, 27′ or 30′) will provide all the heat your home will need. Larger domes need a centralized ducting system or mini-split ductless unites to disperse the heated or cooled air throughout your dome.

 ANALYSIS OF EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE INSULATION (EPS)

The Expanded Bead Polystyrene (E.P.S.) Insulation that American Ingenuity utilizes is seven inches of sturdy, rigid R-28 modified E.P.S. insulation that forms the core of each component panel. The E.P.S is one pound per cubic foot density (pcf).

The E.P.S. insulation will not rot, shrink, absorb moisture, compact, or deteriorate due to age or weather. It also acts as a vapor barrier for your home, providing stable performance year after year.  The E.P.S. is:

·         permanent

·         chemically and thermally stable

·         resistant to mildew

·         provides no nutritive value to animals, plants, microorganisms

·         non-irritating to skin

·         Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and formaldehyde free.

 

  Decorative Columns

As of April 10, 2013 American Ingenuity has no technical information available on decorative columns.

   


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?
A:
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.

 

Click on the photo to enlarge it.  Please scroll down to view the Questions with their Answers. 

Image Image

Q: What makes your panel concrete so crack resistant?

A: The panel concrete is a special formulation containing synthetic fibers and liquid admixtures. These ingredients improve the concrete’s characteristics, create super toughness, extend durability, make concrete impervious to water, give higher tensile and compressive strength, provide elasticity for expansion, and improve freeze protection. The concrete in your dome out performs other exteriors because of its specially developed formula. Because of its exceptional composition, it actually gains strength over the years. The exterior panel concrete adheres directly to the steel mesh and the E.P.S. insulation without the need of a bonding agent.

Q: I understand when I mix concrete on site to fill the panel seams; the recipe includes the same liquid admixtures and fibers that American Ingenuity used in the panel concrete. Is this true?

A: Yes, Ai ships the same liquid admixtures and synthetic fibers with the Building Kit so the seam concrete that is mixed on site in a mortar mixer not a cement mixer will have the same properties as the panel concrete that was applied at the Ai plant.  Fibers in concrete work to reduce the formation of shrinkage, (cracks in concrete’s plastic state) while helping to improve shatter resistance and reduce water migration. The result: tougher concrete.

The liquid admixtures shipped with your dome kit are marked A and B.  One is an air entrainment and the other is a water reducer.

The Concrete Mix recipe includes water, 1 bag Portland Cement (type 1 or 111), Admixture A, Admixture B, ¼ large bag fibers, Sand (called masonry or stucco sand….no rocks). The Assembly Manual includes the precise amounts for each of these items, and when to apply the admixtures.  During the assembly of the dome kit, the seam areas between the panels are filled with the special concrete in two applications.  In between the two applications of bonding agent, that is shipped with your kit, is applied on the first coat of concrete and onto the bonding ledge of each panel before the second coat of concrete is applied. Prior to the second layer of concrete being applied, decide the seam appearance, flat or curved.  The second layer is sponged so that its appearance is a “sponged sand finish” to match the sand finish, which is the finish on Ai’s prefabricated component panels. Prior to priming and painting the concrete allow the concrete to be rained on for one month to remove efflorescence. 

Prior to the application of concrete into the seams, all the prefabricated panel concrete or cured concrete around the area to receive the new concrete is watered down.  The “Old” concrete is kept wet while the new concrete is curing. Ai’s Assembly Manual explains step by step how to apply concrete in the seams and onto the entryway and dormer panels. 

Q: After all the seams between the component panels and building options are concreted, what is used to seal the concrete?

A:  Ai does not depend on the concrete to make the dome watertight. The dome is sealed with a concrete primer and two coats of good quality exterior concrete paint purchased locally.  Ai dome owners recommend the following paints:

  • Richards Paint: Rich Flex 245; use Rich Flex Alkali Resistant 100% Acrylic Masonry Coating for the primer.
  • Behr’s top of the line exterior latex paint is Marque. Seabrook Texas dome owner loves this paint. He uses semi-gloss. Marque has the most titanium in the Behr’s line.  – Home Depot
  • Sherwin Williams: Loxon XP Paint, Loxon Primer and Conditioner
  • Behr’s Premium Elastomeric Masonry, Stucco & Brick Paint –Home Depot
  • Seal Krete Paint (pigmented) –Home Depot
  • Ames Research Labs: Maximum – Stretch, at participating ACE & True Value Stores or can be purchased directly from Ames at 888-345-0809 (if using Ames paint, specific type sealants and primer need to be used.  TT3 sealant cannot be used.)

Q: I am considering applying elastomeric paint over the entire dome, should I do this?

A: Yes if the concrete was primed with concrete primer, if the paint is breathable and if interior water vapor is removed from the interior with Broan Bathroom Exhaust Fans, Top of dome exhaust fan, stove/microwave exhaust fans and use of Heat Recovery Ventilator or Energy Recovery Ventilator if needed in your area.  Water vapor accumulates in the dome from breathing, doing laundry and dishes, showering and should be removed from the dome. 

In northern climates, install a Heat Recovery Ventilator to remove moisture or check with your local HVAC subcontractor for latest solutions.  To read about Heat Recovery Ventilators click on HRV.

For an existing dome that has elastomeric paint applied to it, please do not remove the elastomeric paint.  Please call our office for the most current painting info for previously painted domes.  Phone 321-639-8777 Mon – Fri 9-5 eastern.

Q: What if I get a leak in the dome shell?

A:  Generally, it is easier to repair a leak in our concrete dome than it is to make a repair in a shingled roof. Applying EternaBond Tape (has MicroSealant) and textured knife grade patching compound is all it takes to seal the area if the concrete is bonded.  Call Ai’s office for more info (321-639-8777). 

Q: Where am I most likely to get a leak?

A: Where a passageway connects two domes, what Ai calls a link. A leak most likely will occur where the long flat roof of the link butts up to the curved surface of the dome shell. The expansion and the contraction associated with temperature changes produce the flex or separation at the link. The fall is the most likely problem time. Seal the area where the link meets the dome with the EternaBond Tape and textured knife grade patching compound and elastomeric paint.

Q: Explain why the use of a bonding agent helps prevent leaks.

A: Technology has developed now to prevent cold joints. The Assembly Manual that comes with the American Ingenuity Dome Kit explains how to utilize bonding agent and other techniques to join the concrete in the seams. Concrete, or a cement mixture, will not bond to a dry absorbent surface such as dry concrete. The reason is easy to understand when you examine the curing process of cement. When new concrete is applied over old, dry concrete, the moisture from the new concrete will be absorbed by the dry concrete especially at the surface where they meet. When the new concrete is robbed of its moisture at the joining surface it will not cure properly and therefore will not bond.

Bonding agents are designed to improve the adhesion between layers of concrete by acting as a glue and coating and sealing the dry concrete to prevent it from robbing the moisture.

Q: What else do I do during the seam concreting to assure that the second layer of concrete bonds to the concrete of the panels and to the first layer of the seam concrete?

A: This is discussed in detail in the Assembly Manual,  basically, wet the adjacent panels with water and allow them to soak up all the water they will before applying concrete into the seam areas. Plus apply bonding agent on the concrete ledge at the edge of the panel and on any concrete that has been placed in the seam before the second layer of concrete is applied.

Q: What other special features are designed into the panels of your kit to improve the bond and strength of your dome?

A: The pre-concreted panels have a ledge molded into the edge of the concrete where the seam concrete is most needed to bond. This ledge increases the bonding surface, thereby increasing the ultimate strength of the joint. The steel mesh, which extends from the old concrete to the new concrete is a small mesh which compliments the effect of the fibers in securing the joint.

Q: Can I spray concrete into the seams instead of hand applying it?

A: No. Ai does not recommend pumping or spraying the concrete into the dome seams because the equipment usually pumps faster than the seams can be finished. The over spray gets on the panels and unless it is washed off ASAP, it will harden and be difficult to remove.

Q: Why is it more beneficial to have pre-concreted panels instead of spraying concrete all over the dome on site?

A: A continuous sprayed concrete structure will cause the concrete to cure all at once.  Pre-concreted panels allow for the panel concrete to cure prior to the seam concrete being applied.

In 1976 American Ingenuity manufactured and then built its first geodesic dome prototype by utilizing reinforced concrete over E.P.S. insulation. Steel mesh was hand tied onto the propped up E.P.S. insulation, concrete was then gunited and troweled over the propped up E.P.S. insulation. Countless designs and manufacturing construction techniques were analyzed in the early years as American Ingenuity developed a new generation in dome housing. Ai has outgrown two previous models as we progressed to a five dome complex.

Ai does not recommend sprayed concrete structures because spraying concrete causes a waste of labor and concrete. The concrete ends up being 2″ thick in one place and 3″ to 4″ thick in other places. The concrete on the dome needs to be thick only in the seams and thin on the panels.  It is a waste of labor because it is difficult for the concrete finishers to stand in the concrete and try to finish the concrete as it cures.

Q: What is the curing time for the seam concrete?

A: The weather and the mix of the concrete (amount of water, etc.) will effect the curing time of the concrete. Usually by the time a complete row of panels is placed the next row can be assembled. If  a panel is placed above another panel and cracks start to form in the first coat of concrete, then the concrete has not cured long enough.  Stop placing panels until the concrete has cured and passes the “scratch test”.  Take a nail or screw driver and scratch the concrete if no indentation place the next row of panels.

Foundations for Ai Domes can be built utilizing the same foundation choices as conventional housing. The standard foundation that comes with Ai’s building plans is a concrete slab; however Ai can design basements, stem walls, pilings, concrete block columns with assistance of local engineer.

Poured slab for 34' dome linked to 45' dome.

Concrete slabs poured for 45′ dome linked to 34′ dome

8.18 rebar in footing Kaufman picture assembly 051

Forms in place, footers being poured.  45′ dome.

8.19 rebar in finished slab Kaufman picture assembly 095

Finishing slab for 45′ Dome.

8.20 rebars in finished slab Kaufman picture assembly 096

Finishing slab for 45′ dome.
Vertical Rebars at corners to extend between two risers
or where riser meets entryway or door dormer base panel

 

Stroupe basment wall

Concrete Block Basement Wall for 45′ dome.
Ai can design poured on site basement walls,
Superior Wall Concrete Poured Walls
or Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) basement walls.

American Ingenuity domes can be built utilizing the same foundation choices as conventional housing.

The foundation types that Ai designs are:

  1. A monolithic concrete slab
  2. Poured footing with a stem wall and then a poured slab on fill
  3. Poured footing with a stem wall and then a raised wood floor
  4. Basement – concrete block, ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms), poured on site concrete basement walls or poured concrete walls brought in and assembled on site.
  5. Pilings and a platform or columns and a platform.  Or pilings under columns with grade level concrete beam tying pilings together with platform.

The type of foundation that is built for your new home depends on which is more advantageous for your area, what your building department requires and if your foundation is other than concrete slab – what your soil’s report recommends.

The standard foundation that comes with Ai’s building plans is a concrete slab. For Ai to design any other foundation other than concrete slab, a local engineer is hired.  He requires a soil’s report where the soil engineer recommending what type foundation be built for that type soil. The local Florida license PE engineer uses the soil report data to give Ai details for your foundation design.  He calculates the load of the dome and its interior floors to determine joist size and spacing and wall design.  Ai then incorporates the engineer’s designs into your building plans.  Call our office at 321-639-8777 for engineer pricing.

The dome’s standard footing size is 20″ tall by 16″ wide with slab 4″. Foundation should be built on undisturbed native soil or fill – with soil compacted to 98% density for a minimum of 2,000 psf of bearing pressure. If your bearing capacity is less, then the engineer can increase your footer size and slab thickness. For example the soil for a dome being built in California was 1,500 psf. Its footer was increased to  20’x20″ and slab was increased to 6″.

For stock plan pricing and plan information, view Stock Plan Pricing, and Building Plans. For sale pricing on the building plans, click on Sale and scroll down the page to see the plans sale pricing.  For raised wood floor designs or other designs call or email for a quote.

American Ingenuity’s stock building plan pricing is for two sets of Building Plans that contain all blueprints typically provided with any type of housing and include floor plans, exterior elevations and dome shell section view, top view showing panel placement, floor joist framing plans, structural details, and locations of plumbing and electrical fixtures. Plumbing, electrical and HVAC diagrams are not provided because Ai has found that the sub-contractors performing those functions know how they want to layout your electrical, plumbing and HVAC and should be the ones completing these diagrams. 

Feel Free to call Ai with your questions. Contact us at 321-639-8777 Monday through Friday 9 to 5 eastern time.

The following are some of our most asked foundation items

  • Ai can replace a concrete slab foundation with a raised wood floor and design the first floor joist. The cost depends on the complexity.
  • All foundations are designed and laid out with hook tie down rebar in the bottom riser horizontal seams, rebar into each of the riser wall seams and a rebar extends up in the front and back of each entryway riser panel, first floor door dormer and other areas.  The building plans are specific about rebar locations and size.  The riser seams are filled with concrete as the dome kit is assembled. Once the riser wall seams (horizontal and vertical) are filled with concrete the dome is secure to the slab. The riser panel placement is based on an radii dimension that is taken from the center of the floor to the inside surface of the riser panels. When the riser panel’s bottom seam areas are filled, the concrete continues along the side of the foundation. If your dome is built on a basement or pilings or columns, rebars are designed to come up into each riser wall seam from the basement walls, pilings or columns.
  • Ai’s dome is lighter than most other buildings; as a result it has less loading on the foundation.
  • The multiple sided foundation of the Ai dome causes its cost to be 15% to 25% more than a conventional slab.
  • Ai. cannot provide Building Plans for wood foundations or unusual designs that are beyond our knowledge.
  • The concrete slab perimeter can be insulated if code allows.  For example in some areas in Florida perimeter insulation is not permitted due to termites.  

I think I need to build my foundation off the ground.

First of all, how high off the ground does the first floor have to be? If you do not know this answer, call your building department and ask them.

If your dome has to be eight feet to ten feet off the ground:

  • Due to a wave of water not rising water, then the dome can be built on concrete columns and a concrete patform. If you want enclosed rooms or a garage under the platform, then break-a-way walls can be installed.
  • Due to rising water, build the dome on an above ground basement or build concrete block columns under the corners of the platform.

If your dome has to be raised two to three feet, may be best to bring in fill and construct the concrete slab onto the fill.

If your dome has to be raised two to three feet, build a stem wall:

  • Bring in fill dirt to fill within the stem wall and pour a concrete slab onto the fill and build a stem wall. (most economical and energy efficient)
  • Install a wood floor that sets on piers and beams. You would have a crawl space. (This is more expensive.)

At the bottom of this page is a complete list of our frequently asked foundation questions and their answers.

BASEMENTS

Fax or email your sketch to us and we will call with questions and a price quote. Ai can provide plans for most types of basement wall systems utilizing concrete or block including insulated concrete forms or precast basement wall panels. To complete the basement 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 design.  Ai then incorporates his designs into your building plans.  Call our office at 321-639-8777 for engineer pricing.

Since we are a manufacturer of dome housing kits, Ai does not manufacture or build basement walls.  Contact a local subcontractor that does that kind of work.

Full basements are the same size and shape as the dome first floor. The multiple sided foundation for the dome can cost 15% to 25% more to construct than a conventional slab.

The below ground basement can have the slab poured first with the exterior basement walls built on top of the slab or the footings can be poured separately with the exterior basement wall built on top of the footings and then the slab poured inside the basement wall. 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.

When the dome is built on a basement, the first floor framing of the dome is typically built with wood 2×10’s which are supported by the concrete basement walls. You can use wood, steel or manufactured trusses for the floor joists. The EPS insulation of the riser panels rests on the wood floor. Concrete is placed between the basement wall and extends up to join with the concrete of the panels. At the corners of the basement wall a column of concrete is formed that will extend up to the reinforced seams between the riser panels. Rebars are anchored in the basement concrete wall corners and are positioned to extend up through this concrete column into the riser wall vertical seams. When the concrete is in place the entire load of the dome bears on the concrete and not on the wood framing.

PILINGS AND PLATFORM

Have you checked with your local building department to see what they require your house be built on? If you live near the ocean or water, the building department may require concrete pilings which are usually driven 10′ to 15′ down into the ground versus concrete columns that only go down about 3′ into the ground. When there is a potential for waves of water washing dirt out from under your house, the local building department usually requires pilings. If your property is within a few hundred feet of the ocean or gulf then it is the federal government that decides what foundation type your house will have. If you have neighbors that are currently building, ask them what foundations they are utilizing.

Whether you use concrete pilings or concrete columns, Ai can design a wood platform for under the dome and a deck made out of plastic wood or pressure treated wood with the assistance of a local engineer.  Call for engineer pricing. Or Ai can design for a concrete platform. Remember your building department will require the piling and platform plans and the dome plans to be engineer sealed. These seals can be purchased through us.

CONCRETE SLAB

Slabs poured for Dome   Dome House on Slab Same Dome  


CONCRETE PILINGS AND CONCRETE PLATFORM

Pilings with oval Concrete Platform

for 40′ Dome Home

 

Ai Concrete Dome Home with Cupola Built in Mid 80’s. Cupolas look different now…not so tall with overhang panels extending out from the top panels.
Ai does not recommend raised seams, install flat or rounded seams.

DOMES BUILT ON BASEMENTS

8″ thick solid concrete
basement walls for 34′ Dome
First Floor wood joists

 

34′ Dome Home
on Poured Concrete basement wall

Back view of same dome Front view of same dome with basement entrance.

 

 Interior View looking down into basement from second floor of 45′ Dome.

Exterior View of the same  basement
showing 45′ Dome House

34′ Dome Home on Basement

Foundations For American Ingenuity’s
Geodesic Dome Building Kits

American Ingenuity domes can be built utilizing the same foundation choices as conventional housing. To view a file that summarizes foundation types, click on Foundation Summary.

The foundation types that Ai designs are:

  1. A monolithic concrete slab
  2. Poured footing with a stem wall and then a poured slab on fill
  3. Poured footing with a stem wall and then a raised wood floor
  4. Basement – concrete block, ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms), poured on site or poured walls brought in
  5. Plings and a platform or columns and a platform

The type of foundation you build depends on which is more advantageous for your area and what your building department requires.

The standard foundation that comes with Ai’s building plans is a concrete slab. For Ai to design any other foundation other than concrete slab, a local engineer is hired to calculate the load of the dome and its interior floors to determine joist size and spacing and wall design.  Ai then incorporates his designs into your building plans.  Call our office at 321-639-8777 for engineer pricing.

If you have any question about your soil’s suitability, consult with someone locally possibly your building department or soil’s engineer. Our dome’s foundation does not require anything more than 2000 lbs. per sq.ft. soil bearing capacity. Basically if you can build a regular house on your soil, you can certainly build a dome.

Stock building plans sold by American Ingenuity utilize a concrete slab foundation. For stock plan pricing and plan information, click on Stock Plan Pricing, Building Options and Building Plans. For raised wood floor designs or other designs call or email for a quote.

American Ingenuity’s stock building plan pricing is for two sets of Building Plans that contain all blueprints typically provided with any type of housing and include floor plans, exterior elevations and dome shell section view, top view showing panel placement, floor joist framing plans, structural details, and locations of plumbing and electrical fixtures. Plumbing, electrical and HVAC diagrams are not provided.  Contact us at 321-639-8777 Monday through Friday 9 to 5 eastern time.

The following are some of our most asked foundation items:

  • Ai can replace a concrete slab foundation with a raised wood floor and design the first floor joist. 
  • The Foundation Building Plan sheet states footer depth and is determined by your type soil or if there is a frost line. Ai’s standard footer is 20″ tall by 16″ wide with 4″ concrete slab.  However if your soil does not test to 2,000 psf, Ai can design your footer larger with a thicker slab based on your soil report’s recommendations.
  • All foundations are designed and laid out with hook tie down rebar in the bottom riser horizontal seams, rebar into each of the riser wall seams and a rebar extends up in the front and back of each entryway riser panel, first floor door dormer and other areas.  The building plans are specific about rebar locations and size.  The riser seams are filled with concrete as the dome kit is assembled. Once the riser wall seams (horizontal and vertical) are filled with concrete the dome is secure to the slab. The riser panel placement is based on an radii dimension that is taken from the center of the floor to the inside surface of the riser panels. When the riser panel’s bottom seam areas are filled, the concrete continues along the side of the foundation. If your dome is built on a basement or pilings or columns, rebars are designed to come up into each riser wall seam from the basement walls, pilings or columns.
  • Ai’s dome is lighter than most other buildings; as a result it has less loading on the foundation.
  • Basement Plans are available. 
  • The multiple sided foundation of the Ai dome causes its cost to be 15% to 25% more than a conventional slab.
  • The concrete slab perimeter can be insulated if code allows.  For example in some areas in Florida perimeter insulation is not permitted due to termites.  

I think I need to build my foundation off the ground.

First of all, how high off the ground does the first floor have to be? If you do not know this answer, call your building department and ask them.

If your dome has to be eight feet to ten feet off the ground:

  • Due to a wave of water not rising water, then the dome can be built on concrete columns and a concrete patform. If you want enclosed rooms or a garage under the platform, then break-a-way walls can be installed.
  • Due to rising water, build the dome on an above ground basement or build concrete block columns under the corners of the platform.

If your dome has to be raised two to three feet, may be best to bring in fill, compact the fill and construct the concrete slab onto the fill.

If your dome has to be raised two to three feet, build a stem wall:

  • Bring in fill dirt to fill within the stem wall and pour a concrete slab onto the fill and build a stem wall. (most economical and energy efficient)
  • Install a wood floor that sets on piers and beams. You would have a crawl space. (This is more expensive.)

BASEMENTS

Fax or email your sketch to us and we will call with questions and a price quote. Ai can provide plans for most types of basement wall systems utilizing concrete or block including insulated concrete forms or precast basement wall panels. To complete the basement 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 design.  Ai then incorporates his designs into your building plans.  Call our office at 321-639-8777 for engineer pricing.

Since we are a manufacturer of dome housing kits, Ai does not manufacture or build basement walls.  Contact a local basement wall subcontractor for construction estimates on the various types of basements to determine which type wall to have Ai design.

Full basements are the same size and shape as the dome first floor. The multiple sided foundation for the dome can cost 15% to 25% more to construct than a conventional slab.

The below ground basement can have the slab poured first with the exterior basement walls built on top of the slab or the footings can be poured separately with the exterior basement wall built on top of the footings and then the slab poured inside the basement wall. 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 back fill.

When the dome is built on a basement, the first floor framing of the dome is typically built with wood 2×10’s which are hung on the side of the basement walls.

PILINGS AND PLATFORM

Have you checked with your local building department to see what they require your house be built on? If you live near the ocean or water, the building department may require concrete pilings which are usually driven 10′ to 15′ down into the ground versus concrete columns that only go down about 3′ into the ground. When there is a potential for waves of water washing dirt out from under your house, the local building department usually requires pilings. If your property is within a few hundred feet of the ocean or gulf then it is the federal government that decides what foundation type your house will have.

Whether you use concrete pilings or concrete columns, Ai can design a wood platform under the dome and a deck made out of composite materials, plastic wood or pressure treated wood with the assistance of a local engineer.  Call for engineer pricing. Or Ai can design for a concrete platform. Remember your building department will require the piling and platform plans and the dome plans to be engineer sealed. These seals can be purchased through Ai.

CONCRETE SLAB

Slabs poured for Dome   Dome House on Slab Same Dome  


CONCRETE PILINGS AND CONCRETE PLATFORM

Pilings with oval Concrete Platform

for 40′ Dome Home

 

Concrete Dome House with Cupola Built in Mid 80’sCupola’s look different now…not so tall and there are now overhangs that extend out from the top panels.
Also these raised seams collect water. Install
flat or rounded seams; not raised.

 

DOMES BUILT ON BASEMENTS

8″ thick solid concrete
basement walls for 34′ Dome
First Floor wood joists
set on top basement walls

 

34′ Dome Home
on Poured Concrete basement wall

Back view of same dome Front view of same dome with basement entrance.

 

 Interior View looking down into basement from
second floor of 45′ Dome.

Exterior View of the same  basement
showing 45′ Dome House

34′ Dome Home on Basement