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 Interior Shell Finishing

Once the Ai dome building kit is assembled, the wall board on the interior of the dome shell is ready to be finished almost identically to the method drywall board seams are finished. There will be a 1/2" gap between the panels that allows you to insert electrical wiring without cutting the interior board. This 1/2" gap is filled with a nonshrinking joint compound like "Gold Bond Pro Form". Then those seams and the other interior shell seams are finished with typical joint compound and fiberglass joint tape. Applying a textured paint will likely hide the board seams and complete the dome shell interior. 

On the left hand side of our Home Page is a menu item titled FAQS.  To view files that cover areas like Electrical/Plumbing, Framing, Fireplaces, AC Heating, Kitchens, Interior Finishing, Window & Door Sizes, Update Windows and Sound Reduction, lay your cursor on FAQS, then lay your cursor on Interior Finishing and then click on the file you want to read.

9" Thick Expanded Bead Polystyrene

(E.P.S.) Insulation

The standard insulation in Ai's dome building kits (27' thru 60') consists of seven inch thick expanded bead polystyrene E.P.S. or R-28 which is comparable to eleven inches of fiberglass batting. You can purchase thicker 9" E.P.S.   The 22' kit has 3 1/2" thick E.P.S. insulation and can be upgraded to 7" thick insulation.  To learn more about E.P.S. as a vapor barrier click on Vapor Barrier.

When do you recommend the 9" thick insulation? Ai only recommends 9" (R-36) thick insulation for areas where the low temperature does not get above zero degrees for 5 days in any given year.  Ai domes with 7" E.P.S. will easily outperform conventional housing with 11" thick fiberglass insulation. If you are not in the zero degree areas instead of purchasing thicker insulation from us, put that money towards double or triple paned windows and insulated doors.   Windows and doors are where your cooled or heated air will escape.

The cost of the 9" E.P.S. is the cost to upgrade the 7" E.P.S. to 9" for the entire component panel kit and in the case of the 22' dome the insulation thickness is upgraded from 3 1/2" to 7". Dormers and Entryways will remain the typical 3 1/2" thickness.


Non-opening skylights are preinstalled in triangular component panels (which are preconcreted) and come with clear glass or reflective glass.  The skylight pricing in the Stock Plans & Stock Kit Prices is for clear skylights.  

What do the Ai skylights consist of? The skylight consists of two pieces of ¼” thick tempered glass (like car side window glass) about 33" tall  x 38" wide at the base with ½” air space. Typical window glass is 1/8” thick and is not tempered. Ai manufactures the glass panels at the Ai factory. A triangular hole is cast in the preconcreted component panel where the skylight sits on a ledge. Aluminum strips, stainless steel screws and black weather stripping are used to install the skylight.

Since the founding of American Ingenuity in 1976, Ai has not heard of any Ai skylight breaking due to a storm (this includes hurricanes, tornados and hail). It could be because the skylights sit at an angle and are made from tempered glass.  However if a skylight is broken or moisture appears between the two pieces of glass, it can be removed and repaired locally.

How many skylights can I have in the 30', 34', 36', 40', 45' and 48' domes?
Gosh you could have 10 or 30 skylights, but we do not recommend that many. Three to five are quite sufficient.  The dome shell R value is around R-28. The skylights consist of two panes of ¼” tempered glass which is an R-4 with ½” sealed airspace between the glass. Skylights should be kept to a minimum because they let in cold or hot air into the dome.

Skylights can be installed in "H" panels. These domes utilize 3 frequency geometry. When you use one entryway there are 42 "H" panels; so conceivably you could have 42 skylights. For each regular or high profile entryway you add, subtract 3 "H" panels. For each window dormer subtract one "H" panel.

Riser Panels

American Ingenuity includes a four foot tall riser panel in the building kit at no extra cost.

The four foot tall riser panels allow for more vertical space near the perimeter of the first floor and greater headroom on the second floor.  The first floor ceiling height in the 22', 27', 30', and 34' domes is 7 1/2 feet.  The first floor ceiling height in the 36' and larger domes is 8'.


Domes are connected together with a Link which consists of E.P.S. insulation with steel mesh attached on site and concrete applied on site.  The Link panels consist of precut 3 1/2" or 7" thick E.P.S. with wallboard attached.  American Ingenuity ships the steel mesh and concrete additives with the building kit. On site you assemble the Link E.P.S. panels, cover them with steel mesh and coat them with the fiber concrete.

The Link connects to the adjacent domes in the same locations as an entryway or a door dormer. The thickness of the E.P.S. in a Link is usually 7" when it takes the place of an Entryway and 3 1/2" when it connects at a door dormer. The width of the links depends on the size of the domes and whether the domes are connected at an entryway or door dormer. The length of the Link is usually 5 ft.  Because the riser wall is a standard 4’ high, all domes will match each other despite a difference in diameters.

The link length is usually five feet long. The width of the link that connects to the 22' dome is about 5'5" to 6' wide.  The width of a link that connects to a 27' dome is about 6.75' wide.  If the link connects onto domes 30' or larger the width of the length where it connects to the larger dome varies depending upon whether the link connects to the larger dome at a door dormer or a standard entryway. For example, if the link is connected to a 45' dome at an entryway (taking up two risers) the width of the link where it connects to the 45' dome might be 13'.  These are approximations, the Plans Supervisor will give you a more accurate number, once he sees your plans sketches.

In most cases Ai does not recommend extensions to entryways for the following reasons.  Extensions add exposed surface area faster than they add floor space therefore reducing the energy efficiency. Extensions add to the cost of construction faster than they add floor space therefore increasing the cost per square foot.  American Ingenuity's Assembly Manual does not include extensions although they are assembled much like entryways or links.  In general, domes have inherent advantages because of their shape and deviations away form the dome shape lessons the advantages.

The E.P.S. link panels range in price from $500 to $1,000 depending on the length of the link and the size domes the link connects to.  Remember, Link E.P.S. panels come with wallboard but they are not concreted or wrapped with steel mesh. On site you assemble the Link E.P.S. panels, cover them with steel mesh and coat them with concrete.  Ai ships the link steel mesh with the Building Kit.

Can I use Links to connect domes into a circle with a court yard in the middle?  Yes.  The idea of domes in a circle with a center court yard will work.  Ai would recommend that the 360 circle be filled with five domes.  Although if you don't want the circle completely enclosed you would not have to build all five.  Ai is just suggesting that the geometry be designed around a five dome placement.  The domes would then be connected by links replacing either entryway or door dormer panels in each dome.

 The cost to design such a job and supply full plans would be around $1,650.00 plus the cost of an engineering seal if required (mandatory in Florida).

Garage Dome Kits

Do you have separate garage dome kits available? Yes. Ai has developed two garage dome sizes, 22' and 27'. These garage domes are two frequency icosahedron geometry. This geometry differs from Ai's other domes in that it utilizes fewer but larger panels. By having larger panels Ai can create a wider opening that is needed for a garage door. You can install a 9' wide garage door in the 22'.  The 22' dome can have a second floor of 148 sq.ft.  The 27' garage dome can have a 16' garage door and the 27' dome can have a second floor of 225 sq.ft.

Previously a 34' dome was needed to pull two cars in side by side. Now you can have a two car garage in a 27' dome which is more cost effective. The 22' dome provides an economical one car garage using 3 1/2" E.P.S. insulation (R-14). Either of these garage domes can be connected to another dome or built independently from the house. (You can upgrade the 3 1/2" thick insulation to 7" E.P.S.)

The 34' garage dome is utilized when you want more first floor perimeter room around the vehicles or when you want a second floor above the garage for an apartment or study, etc.  The second floor of the 34' dome can have 614 sq.ft.

You can find the pricing for the garage kits on the bottom of the Stock Floor Plan Price List that is in the Stock Floor Plan Booklet. Or click on Stock Plans & Stock Kit Prices and scroll to the bottom of the chart.


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