With the technology of the 21st Century and the increased durability of concrete, concrete dome homes, also known as geodesic dome homes, have become energy efficient, attractive and impenetrable by tornadoes and hurricanes.
Dome homes can even be fire-proofed.
These interesting geodesic structures are essentially made out of steel and styrofoam encompassed by a concrete shell.
Engineers have always known that the possibility existed for concrete shells that could serve as homes. A concrete shell built in the Pantheon in Rome around AD 125 is still standing.
They knew there had to be a way to provide a sustainable air tight interior plus be able to apply concrete that could withstand expansion and contraction from changing seasons and ground temperature.
The Airform method of building a dome home involves an inflatable structure that blows up like a balloon to create an egg shell form that is well known to resist wind due to its shape.
A rounded shape does not create a barrier as flat walls do. High winds are able to circulate around the shape without trying to force its way through.
Made of PVC-coated nylon or polyester fabric, Airform forms an extreme one piece shell, ready to be finished with concrete inside and out.
Shotcrete is the method of applying concrete to concrete dome homes that seals off cracks on the interior and forms a great looking surface.
Decorating ideas can then be turned loose with colors, materials or murals and borders of your choice.
Owners enjoy a substantial savings in their heating and cooling bills, not to mention on future structural repairs.
The outside coating of dome homes is what had engineers stumped for so long trying to find a way to prevent concrete expansion and cracking under freezing temperatures and water seepage.
A method has now become effective and is revolutionizing the world of dome homes.
A plasticizing material is first placed over the exterior Airform as a primer to keep the sun from burning off the Airform.
Next, either stainless steel fencing or fiber coated rebar is placed around the dome to hold the concrete.
Standard stucco works well as the first layer of scratch coat over the reinforced dome. Three to six weeks should be allowed for curing and cracking to occur.
The brown coat is then applied at ½ the thickness to close up any cracks or gaps in the original scratch coat. Three to six weeks is the curing time for this coat also.
The finishing coat can have a mixture of acrylic mixed in with the concrete to further seal the dome. You now have an impenetrable shell that will never leak.
Because concrete dome homes are so solid, your homeowner's insurance will be recategorized and run 70-80% less than a wood home.
Utilities will be 50-60% less and maintenance on the exterior will become non-existent.
There are some drawbacks to owning concrete dome homes. If you are comfortable with your four walls and low ceilings, you may not care for this drastic of a change.
A dome home is an open and airy space, walls curved and this type of interior does take getting used to.
The concrete industry is excited about this type of building in the near future. Shotcrete uses less concrete but promotes environmentally-safe living within a home that promotes reduced energy.
One manufacturer of concrete dome homes has begun home building in Indonesia so residents can now have a safe haven to live in other than tents and shacks.
Inexpensive to build with no leftover material and decreased labor costs, this type of clean, efficient living only makes sense.
Shotcrete companies are springing up that do nothing but spray exterior domes. Not only used as homes, several businesses and storage facilities are putting up concrete dome structures as a way to cut back on building maintenance.
No matter where you live; on a beach, the mountains or wooded areas, concrete dome homes offer a green solution to consider for future, inexpensive living.
When you search for a dealer, make sure that this tried and true method is utilized. There are some companies that do not coat the exterior with concrete, or at all, or use an Airform as the original structure.
Get it done right and you will have a dynamic home for the rest of your life.
The geodesic dome that inspired the geodesic dome home was pioneered by visionary design genius Buckminster Fuller. This interesting video highlights Fuller's invention of the geodesic dome and describes how he actually came up with a solution before there was even a problem...