With the rise of alternative living styles, there have been a few new types of living quarters to choose from besides the conventional home:  Yurt homes, container homes, cabins, dome homes, and the list keeps going.  

The cost of a conventional home already breaks the bank for many people.  Alternate living choices will allow people to invest in something that will give them a beneficial return.  What would be the best choice or one of the cheaper options?

One Of The Cheaper Options To Consider 

Upgraded Dome Home

Many people are searching for alternative living quarters to fit the niche they’d like to live in without breaking the bank. 

On average, to build a conventional home nation wide, a person can expect to spend about one hundred eighty eight thousand nine hundred dollars ($188,900).  

That’s just for a 400 square foot home.  That’s not very promising if you have a limited budget.

If you were to look at any of the above alternative living spaces, one of the most affordable options is a dome home.   

You can get a 312 square foot home with a 20-foot high ceiling for around fourteen thousand four hundred ninety seven dollars ($14,497). 

There is definitely a big difference in price!

Building a Dome Home

A dome home does sound very affordable.  Is it easy to build?

If you fancy a DIY project, there are many ways to go about building a dome home.  If you feel you don't have the skills, there are companies that can shape the walls and ship them to your location.  

Assembly can take as little as 3 hours with a little assistance.  

However, if you are set on a DIY project, let's look at what you might need to build this on your own.

Materials Needed

Here are two common materials that are used for building a dome home:

Aircrete also known as AAC or Autoclaved Concrete, is commonly used for commercial, residential and industrial construction.  The materials used to create aircrete are sand, concrete, lime, anhydride, and aluminum powder. 

Aircrete is strong with structural properties.  Some of the advantages of using aircrete, is the final product before building is sustainable, light weight, strong, fire resistant, easily used for construction, offers natural insulation, sound proof, versatile, accurate and durable.  

Since this material while mixing is still in a liquid/foam form, it can be easily manipulated into various shapes to use for building a structure.   

Aircrete won’t rot, warp or corrode.  It will also dry overnight.  It can be drilled or screwed into easily and repaired if needed.    

It’s also impervious to insects!  How about that!

Now, the only downside to using this material in building a dome home is it can be time consuming.  

It takes 6-8 weeks just to get the air foam ready. Then it takes 2-4 weeks to build a house sized dome.  Other than that, everything is much cheaper to make yourself and to put together.  

Papercrete is another material used to create a dome home.  It is made with recycled paper, clay or soil mixed into Portland concrete.  This material was invented to help use all of the paper that was discarded and thrown away, such as junk mail, magazines, books and yes, newspapers.

Although papercrete is cost friendly and insulates fairly well, it is too lightweight to bear weight.  It is also difficult to get a building permit since papercrete is a brittle material, which expands and contracts frequently, causing cracking and buckling.

In fact, there is not a lot of data available regarding its structural, behavioral and long-term life span.  

Some other materials that are used to build dome homes are:    

    *Soil

    *Volcanic Rock

    *Used tires

    *Foam

    *Clay

Many of these materials are either used to combine with other substances or used to aid and strength other materials.  

Dome Home Methods

Now that we have an idea of what types of materials are used for building a structure, what methods can someone use to create a dome home?

Monolithic Domes are created with concrete, rebar to reinforce its walls and structure, spray insulation and tend to have an oversized balloon shape.  Many monolithic dome homes are strong enough to withstand hurricanes, earthquakes and even bombs.  

Earthship Tire Domes is another method used to create a dome home.  Tires filled with soil are used to fortify the strength of a tire, and offer more support when stacked.  This option also is used to help protect a home from the weather.  

The south facing side of the home generally has more windows giving a lot of sunlight and allowing for an in home greenhouse affect, which enables one to grow their own food.  

The last method are Foam Domes which are homes primarily built by Styrofoam. This method is resistant to termites, also resistant to hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes.  

Not a DIYer

Above are some of the DIY ways of going about building a dome home for you, but what about those who aren’t as skilled at building a structure.  

There are companies that are willing to make the structure for you and send the parts to you to assemble.  As mentioned before, this might be preferable to some people, as it should take around 3 hours to assemble, an easy way to get your Dome home built. 

Of course, every owner should do their research and make sure that they understand their building, zoning and building codes for their county, to avoid any complications before building their dome home.  

About the Author Gail K.

Gail is an avid outdoor enthusiast who currently lives in her own Tiny Home travelling across the U.S. She stays month to month in random states, parking her Tiny Home on campground friendly locations and picks up Wi-Fi to contribute to our blog weekly!

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