Geodesic Dome Covers
You can cover your geodesic dome with many commonly used building materials. Your options depend heavily on your building purpose, your geographic location, the level of protection you need, and for sure, your budget. For temporary structures, architectural fabrics such as PE, PVC, or even Canvas may be a good fit, but if you aim to build permanent structures, you’d possibly be prioritizing the benefits and opt for rigid alternatives.
There are many options in the market for covering your geodome. It can either be heat-insulating and protective, transparent or UV light-protecting, sheet, roll, spray, or foam. Or you can combine various materials to increase the functionality, efficiency, and as a result, your overall geodesic dome experience. If you need help choosing the most appropriate dome cover for your Ekodome frame, you can always email us.
Soon, pre-cut panels in various materials for your Ekodome frames will be available to order from our website.
Reinforced / Composite Glasses
When combined with aluminum frames, clear glass panels (tempered, laminated, or acrylic) give your geodesic dome an ultra modern and eye-catching look. You can choose the right glass cover according to your dome usage purpose, solar control and fire safety requirements as well as local building codes. It’s widely preferred in building large scale greenhouses, winter gardens, and sun rooms.
Tempered or toughened glass is a processed glass to increase its strength and safety. This way, tempered glass becomes nearly five times stronger than regular glass. When broken, it shatters into small granular chunks instead of splintering into jagged shards, which are less likely to cause injury. The thickness ranges from 4mm to 20mm and can be used either as a single-layer or double-layer cover.
Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that holds together when shattered. An elastic transparent film, typically PVB, EVA, or TPU, is inserted between two or more glass layers. This interlayer keeps the layers of glass bonded even when broken, and its high strength prevents the glass from breaking up into large sharp pieces. This produces a characteristic "spider web" cracking pattern when the impact is not enough to pierce the glass completely.
Acrylic glass, also known as Plexiglas, is a transparent thermoplastic often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. Although not a type of familiar silica-based glass, the substance, like many thermoplastics, is often technically classified as a type of glass. Plexiglas is a low-cost alternative to polycarbonate when tensile strength, flexural strength, transparency, polishability, and UV tolerance are more important than impact strength, chemical resistance, and heat resistance.
Polycarbonates (aka Lexan or Makrolon) are strong, stiff, hard, tough, transparent engineering thermoplastics that are known for being moldable, durable and lightweight. Polycarbonate possesses impact resistance 250 times greater than that of glass while also exhibiting exceptional tensile strength. This makes polycarbonate one of the most widely used engineering thermoplastics.
Twinwall / Multiwall Polycarbonate Sheets
Twinwall and multiwall polycarbonate sheets are the most widely used form of polycarbonate, ideal for greenhouses, gazebos, and pool covers.
Solid Polycarbonate Sheets
Solid polycarbonate sheets have enough thickness for a durable and practically unbreakable roofing system. This attribute makes them ideal for emergency shelters. Also, having the glass transparency and being UV protected on both faces makes them the perfect cover for skylights and panoramic bay windows for your dwell dome.
Corrugated Polycarbonate Sheets
Corrugated polycarbonate sheets can be bent or folded into your desired design and can be layered on top of other sheets, making it easier to fit the pieces of roofing sheets. These can be used for studios, outdoor dining pods, swimming pool covers, greenhouses, and more.
If you are building a residential geodesic dome, you’d definitely need insulated, weatherproof, well-protected living space, no matter if you are planning to use it as a tiny house, or a weekend getaway cabin in the woods, or as an emergency shelter in case of a disaster.
OSB and Plywood
Mostly on wooden framed domes, OSB boards and plywood are frequently used as the first cover. After the frames covered with the panels, it is also possible to cover with shingles, paint, insulation material, thin concrete plaster, and even adobe.
Aluminum Composite Panels
Aluminum composite panels (ACP) are flat panels consisting of two thin coil-coated aluminum sheets bonded to a non-aluminum core. ACPs are frequently used for external cladding or facades of buildings, insulation, and signage. Epcot's Spaceship Earth is an example of the use of ACP in architecture. It is a geodesic sphere composed of 11,324 ACP tiles.
Insulated Sandwich Panels
A sandwich panel consists of an insulating layer of rigid core sandwiched between two layers of structural board, used as a building material. The board can be sheet metal, plywood, cement, OSB, and the core can either be an insulating foam or a composite honeycomb. Sandwich panels are strong, lightweight, structurally sound, labor saving and easy to use, so that every do-it-yourselfer love to use.
You can choose prefabricated concrete panels, or mix the concrete yourself. Ideally, you will only be working with one panel at a time, layering or spraying the mix onto the wire mesh.
Expanded Polyurethane Cover
Expanded polyurethane is a type of insulation foam used in the building industry that hardens into a lightweight but solid material. This can be sprayed onto a simple cloth cover with metal mesh to bind it together. Then the foam can either be painted to protect it from the sun or rendered & painted.
When you think of a geodesic dome cover many of us think of tents first, as seen in many glamping sites worldwide. Although there are many downsides to a tent cover, it’s still widely popular. There are numerous options in the market, so the right question is, which membrane should we use for a geodesic dome structure?
PVC Heavy Duty Covers
Heavy duty PVC is used to meet the most rugged demands of the elements and environment with people constantly walking on it. It's tough and durable with good UV resistance, but also heavy and bulky. Commonly used in glamping domes and event domes, in conjunction with polyester or canvas.
This is the fabric most people think of when they want to build tents. It’s popular as it offers a rustic charm that you won’t get with other fabrics. If you’re going to use it though, be aware it’s not going to offer the same weather resistant properties as others give you. If it’s not properly cared for, it can start to rot too. If you’re not sure, it’s best to ask a commercial tent manufacturer what they recommend.
While ETFE is a film rather than a fabric, it is worth touching on because it is commonly used as an alternative to structural glass and is rapidly growing in its applications. ETFE is an excellent choice if thermal insulation is a priority of your project. Compared to glass, ETFE transmits more light, insulates better, and costs 24 to 70 percent less to install. The ETFE membrane meets the B1 and DIN4102 fire rating standards, and will not drip when burned. It is widely used in tensile fabric structures and the most popular use in geodesic architecture is the Eden Project in UK.