Finished Dome Build Report

We're happy to have completed our second dome this summer! With this third and final report I hope to have provided a good overview of the process for anyone considering it. (See Part 1 and Part 2.)

With a team of seven you can build one of these small domes in about a week, but there's a fair amount of prep work ahead of time, plus finish work afterwards. With just three of us working on it - along with a lot of other projects - our average so far has been one per year. The two friends in the photo above (Did you spot both?) weren't much help.

Superadobe is over-engineered for structural integrity. Amateurs can make little mistakes here and there without ruining it. We follow the training we received as closely as possible to make super-strong structures that tests show can weather any extreme event (eg. earthquake, tornado). 
Barbed wire is connected to bags between each course to provide tensile strength. Upper ventilation tubes are tied in.
Hyperadobe differs and is easier than Superadobe with lower cost mesh bags that provide additional tensile strength and a key for plaster. They are preloaded onto a funnel, whereas the Superadobe sandbag material isn’t. I’ve previously shown our funnel being used laying courses. I made the funnel by cutting the bottom out of a couple of small garbage cans and connecting them together.
The Top Is On


We laid the foundation last fall and then it started freezing at night so we stopped building for the year and covered it with dirt. In our Superadobe training we were instructed to wrap the foundation in plastic, so that’s what we did.
The problem we noticed was condensation inside the plastic as a result of the wet adobe mix. In the training manual it says to let it dry so it doesn’t produce mold. We gave it a week and it didn’t dry in arid AZ so we cut it off. We strengthen our adobe mix with lime – which is highly alkaline so mold won’t grow in it – but we didn’t want to take any chances.

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