45' dome second floor railing.

45′ dome second floor railing and doors to second floor bedrooms. No cupola.


First and second floor view in 15 year old dome.

First and second floor view in 15 year old  34 foot in diameter dome. Second floor has library and bedroom with closet. Cupola with windows installed on top of dome.

Typically dome building kits do not contain riser panels. American Ingenuity decided to supply four foot tall riser panels with its Building Kit. This means the first row of panels of the dome shell are rectangular shaped panels and triangle shaped panels complete the rest of the shell. This vertical wall allows for convenient placement of furniture around the perimeter of the first floor. 

When a first floor room is designed under a second floor NOT in a high vaulted ceiling area, what is the ceiling height?  The four foot tall riser allows for a first floor ceiling height of 7’ 6” in the 22’ thru 34’ domes and an 8’ tall ceiling in the 36′ through 48′ domes. 

How to have 8’6″ or 10′ ceiling heights in first floor rooms that have second floor above them. 

  1. The 22′ & 27′ dome riser panels can be increased from four feet tall to five feet; resulting in a first floor ceiling height of 8 ‘6″. 
  2. The 30′ - 48′ domes can have an extra two foot riser installed on top of the four foot tall risers; resulting in a first floor ceiling height of ten feet in rooms that are not designed in the high vaulted ceiling area.  The taller riser walls do not affect the second floor ceiling heights.

How can I relate to the first floor and second floor square footages in your domes? 

Cut out the to-scale ruler on the stock plan and use to measure the width and length of each room. Compare the plan room sizes to the room sizes in your current home. You know whether you want your new home’s rooms larger or smaller than your current room sizes.

To view stock plans for each of the ten size kits we manufacture, click on Stock Plans.  After reviewing the stock plans, if you do not find a plan matching your families desires just make changes on one that is closest to your needs, scan and email to us along with your telephone number and notes as to what changes are wanted.  After emailing, please call to assure we received your email…..emails go into cyberspace without us receiving them.  We will review, call if questions and complete a Plans Quote showing Ai’s sale pricing to convert your ideas into custom building plans.

The square footage of living space shown with each stock floor plan indicates the total space inside the dome. The square footage of each room is included to help you visualize the size of the space, and does not include any closets or utility areas.

How much of the second floor has 6’ or 7′ taller ceilings?

The second floor square footage consists of all the usable floor space to five feet of perimeter height. Around the perimeter of the second floor 5′, 6′ & 7′ height lines are drawn on each stock plan. To determine the second floor square footage that is taller than 6 or 7′, cut out the to-scale ruler located on the plan or in the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet and measure the area from the 6′ or 7′ height line towards the center of the dome.  To view pictures of the interior of the dome, please click on Interiors and then view the hyperlinks.  Also on the left hand side of each of our web site pages is a menu bar.  Scroll down the bar to find the section named Pictures. Below Pictures there are twelve menu items to review that have various interior pictures.

Sphere - Frequency and 5/8 dome info:

American Ingenuity has developed a dome that is approximately a one half sphere with the four foot tall riser wall.  All our building plans and manufacturing specifications are for 3/8 domes on a four foot riser.  So sorry we do not manufacture a 5/8 dome.

Can I order a taller riser than four feet?  Yes a five foot riser can be ordered on the 22′ and 27′ domes and an additional two foot riser can be ordered for the 30′ thru 48′ dome sizes.  The two foot riser is installed on top of the four foot riser. Please call our office for pricing, 321-639-8777. Monday thru Friday 9-5 eastern time.

Ai’s  30’, 34’, 36′, 40’, 45’ & 48’ Domes are 3 frequency, 3/8 sphere on a 4’ vertical riser. We find it more practical to use a vertical 4′ riser wall on all of our domes instead of 5/8″ sphere.

  • The 22’ & 27’ Domes are 2 frequency, ½ sphere on a 4’ vertical riser wall or a five foot tall riser panel.  The 22′ & 27′ domes have fewer panels than the three frequency domes so the panels in a 27’ weight more than the 30’ panels do.
  • The 30’, 34’, 36′, 40’, 45’ & 48’ Domes are 3 frequency, 3/8 sphere on a 4’ vertical riser. We find it more practical to use a vertical 4′ riser wall on all of our domes instead of 5/8″ sphere.  Our 30′ dome it turns out to be almost the same height as a 5/8.  Also the 4′ riser wall makes for a better shaped entryway and allows the dome to link with our other size domes.

Misc Info about Domes:

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 & Rome. In modern times, Buckminster Fuller was the first to formulate geodesic principles for constructing a spherical surface by triangular subdivision.

Manufactured dome home kits are constructed using a triangular network to form a spherical shape. This method 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 & utilization of interior space.

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 & can withstand heavy snow loads. For these reasons, residential domes greatly exceed the structural requirements of the major building codes in the United States.

One of the most exciting architectural environments ever designed, a dome brings its best attributes to your home. It delivers a rewarding living experience filled with warmth, light & open space to those who accept the challenge to build & live in their own dome


Max refers to whether you maximize the second floor square footage by enclosing four fifths of the second floor and only having one fifth of the second floor left open; thus causing high vaulted ceilings over parts of your first floor. Typically dome owners tend to leave one half of the second floor open thereby having high vaulted ceilings over half of their first floor rooms. Half opened areas would reduce the second floor & max square footages quoted below.

Dome Size
1st Floor
2nd Floor
Max sq.ft.

How is the second floor square footage determined in the American Ingenuity domes?  On the Ai Building Plans, the second floor square footage includes all the area on the second floor to the perimeter areas that are five feet tall.

Should I build any of the large American Ingenuity Domes and not install the second floor?

Not normally, but if that is what you desire Ai can design your building plans with no second floor. 

Because of the spherical shape of the geodesic dome, a second floor is a natural in domes larger than 30′ in diameter.  Consider installing a guest bedroom, guest bath and storage on the second floor.

If I do not want to access the second floor using stairs, what do I use?

Install a chair rail on the stairs or install a winch powered lift or install an elevator. See info about Chair Lift below.

Is there more useable square footage in your dome than a conventional house?

Yes, In a conventional house there is an attic which rarely gets used. To us an attic is a space that holds hot or cold air waiting to pass into your home. In a dome the second floor space that would normally be an attic can be utilized. Around the second floor where the dome slopes to the floor, a 3′ to 4′ perimeter knee wall is built to hide this short space. In the knee wall doors can be installed to access the space for storage.  Behind the perimeter knee walls, AC ducts and wiring can be run.  Or in the knee wall air return grill with filter can be installed.  Desks, bed headboards, etc. can be placed against the knee wall.  Bedroom dressers, chests are installed along the interior walls of the rooms.

Info About Chair Lift, Wheelchair Lift, Elevator, etc.

This info is in response to making American Ingenuity domes handicapped accessible and accessing a possible second floor via a chair lift or elevator.  Our plans can be modified to accommodate wider doorways and larger bathrooms.

Since most Ai stock plans contain a second floor (and even a basement), accessibility to these levels may be achieved by installing one of the following:

  1. Stairway chair lift
  2. Wheelchair lift
  3. Elevator** see end of document
  4. Incline platform lift (needs staircase 42” or more wide when 90 degree angle that is basic on our stairways.)

The most economical route is a chair lift.  If you are able to climb the three stairs to the 1st platform) the starting cost to install a straight stair chair lift is around $3,000.00.  If you need to have the lift start at the base of the staircase (not 1st platform) it becomes a curved chairlift. These lifts are custom and depending on the company start at around $8,000.00. Your dome plans will fall into the modified category.  Ameriglide also offers an incline platform lift for structures that do not have room for a standard wheelchair lift and are unable to utilize a stairway lift.

For dome owner’s requiring wheelchair access, a wheelchair lift can be incorporated into your dome plan design.  Due to the size of the wheelchair lift and accessibility requirements’ this would be a custom plan design.  The cost of a wheelchair lift starts at around $11,000.00 (this would be with basic upgrades for safety such as a battery backup). They are also making a hybrid of chairlift/ wheelchair lift.  Keep in mind these things for when you design your home.

A third option to access multiple floors would be to install an elevator, as with a wheelchair lift, elevators require custom plans design.  The average starting cost for an elevator starts at over $16,000.00. Due to the size of home elevators, they may not be able to accommodate a wheelchair, requiring a larger more expensive unit.

Once you decide on the type of mechanism that would suit your needs, we can begin to either modify or create a custom plan for you.   Below are several companies that specialize in chair lifts in homes.  Several of these companies also offer wheelchair lifts, stair lifts and elevators. There are several companies on the internet and costs vary.  Please view the companies below or do a web search to find additional companies who provide these products.


Acorn Stairlifts** 888-211-1522 http://usa.acornstairlifts.com/ 3K TO 4,500 10K TO 13k
Ameriguide 1 (800) 987-6308 http://www.ameriglide.com $1950 +shipping and install Not available
summitt 866.378.6648 http://www.summitlifts.com/Stairlifts.htm 4500-5500 10k
Stannah Stairlifts

1 800 877 8247


http://www.stannahstairlifts.com/ Approx 4k Custom approx 8k to 10k
Residential Elevators

(800) 832-2004

http://www.residentialelevators.com/index.htm Varies by state i.e. Florida $16K
Inclinator- Elevators




Varies by state i.e. Florida $25K

If you need additional information on how we can make your dome home handicapped accessible please contact Glenda at [email protected] or call us at 321-639-8777 – Mon-Fri 9-5 pm eastern time.

How much do home elevators cost?

Home Elevator Price Quotation:  This is similar to asking, “how much do cars cost?” There is a pretty wide range, depending on a number of factors. Generally speaking, in most parts of North America, two-stop home elevators start in the range of $20,000 installed. Typical installations cost between $19,000 and $39,000.

So what are the factors that affect the price of a home elevator?

  1. The cab finishes - cab walls can be made of glass, wood paneling, veneer or melamine. In many cases, builders order cabs with unfinished mdf walls and build finished cab walls themselves. The cost of the various options varies dramatically.
  2. The drive system - hydraulic drive systems are normally slightly more expensive than in-line drive systems, also called counterweight systems.
  3. The jobsite location - if your house is in a remote location, you can expect to pay more to cover the cost of travel for the installation crew.
  4. The number of floors being serviced - elevators installed in residences can go from two stops to six. Each stop requires an interlock attached to the door and adjustments for leveling. The cost for an additional floor is usually $1000 to $1500.
  5. The length of travel required . Normally, home elevators can travel up to 50 feet. The cost associated with the length of travel is usually about $200 / foot.
  6. The number of cab entrances - some elevators are configured with entrances on more than one side of the elevator cab. Additional openings will add cost.
  7. The type of cab entrance - some residential elevators are available with two-speed sliding doors, much like a commercial elevator. This style of elevator entrance adds significant cost. Several thousand dollars is typical.
  8. The level of automation - powered gate operators and power swing door operators are popular options. These will also add expense for each entrance.
  9. Customization - if your plans include customization of your elevator to match fixture finishes or special sizes, you can expect to pay a small premium. Manufacturers make home elevators to order, so it is not always costly to order custom features.

What do Stair Chair Lifts Cost?

Whenever you feel that it is necessary to look into some sort of stair chair lift for the interior or exterior of your home or office, it is very important that you look into stair lift prices.

Prices for straight stair lifts range from $1000 to $4200 installed.  A $1000 stair lift will be an older lift that is perhaps 4-5 years old.  The $4200 stair lift is usually coming from dealers that have been winning by default in their geographically areas.  The $4200 price can also come from manufacturers that are direct selling stair lifts to end users.  One would think that a manufacturer would offer a lower price.  This is not the case for two major stair lift suppliers.  Simply put, their cost of acquiring a lead is substantial, perhaps $500 per inquiry.  And, they are paying their sales reps on a commission basis which ends up increasing the price to the end user.  If you receive an initial quote for a straight stair lift over $4000 beware of the vendor.  The only exception to this would be in state that has regulated stair lifts.  The government adds fees onto stair lift registration or licensing and may require an installer to have a particular license.


Suffering from limited mobility can take quite a toll on your spirit as an individual. Finding out that stair lift prices may be a bit too high for you to afford the installation of one can be even more devastating. When it comes time for you to compare stair lift prices, download some information from the internet and look hard for a local company that can offer a recycled or used stair lift or low priced new stair lift with a buy back option in the future.

By looking around online, you should be able to find cheap stair lifts. Finding a reputable dealer will allow you to browse around some of the different models as well as give you an idea about the variety of stair lift prices that are out there today.

What you need to know as you start to browse around through all of the various stair lift prices is that there are a few different options that you have available to you. If you find that having a brand new stair lift installed is just a bit too pricey for your budget, you can look into cheap stair lifts or refurbished stair lifts prices that you can afford. Many people who do not have the initial funding to purchase a stair lift and then have it installed will look into beating stair lift prices by looking into financing options.

Depending on the type of stair lift that you are looking to have installed, you might find that your stair lifts price will increase if you need a custom built stair lift for a curved stair lift. Looking into cheap portable air stair lift price options in curved stair lifts will help you to cut out some of the financial burden. Your stair lift representative should be able to work with you in order to find the right stair lift prices to help you get the piece of equipment that you need without completely draining your bank account.

Cheap stair lifts are always available to consumers, however it is extremely important that you know that you are getting a quality piece of equipment. All too often, people are roped into purchasing a discount stair lift only to find that they run into issues down the road whether it comes to installation or the piece running properly. While getting a deal on stair lift prices is always nice, it is imperative that you find a quality piece of equipment that will last you for years and years into the future.