Geodesic Bubble Dome FAQ

Product Highlights

What makes Sonostar’s geodesic domes different from other domes is our robust geodesic frame. Similar domes are being marketed with a much weaker frame. The Bubble Domes make use of Sonostar’s unique injection molded dome connectors with an angle in each arm for curvature and molded holes for connecting bolts. The struts are made of Schedule 40 PVC, which is available everywhere, and is easy to cut and drill. The resulting domes are very strong, lightweight, easy to assemble/disassemble, and aesthetically pleasing. Sonostar Bubble Dome Covers allow you to create a strong, weatherproof space that has many uses.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

What about all those wrinkles?

Allow up to 3 weeks for the wrinkles to dissipate in the Bubble Dome cover. If you can’t wait that long, use a hair dryer or a heat gun and the wrinkles will come out – just don’t heat it up too much in one place at a time, or the cover will melt.

What do you mean by MAXIMUM SOLAR GAIN?

As sunlight strikes the transparent cover, it is transmitted at right angles into the dome throughout the day for four seasons.

What do you mean by OPTIMAL AIR FLOW?

Excellent air flow is maintained even in warm, still weather conditions. The heat inside is distributed evenly at all points.

How about UNIFORM TEMPERATURE?

The geodesic dome form is superior to conventional shaped rooms in sustaining better airflow and a uniform temperature inside.

How does the dome stack up for wind and snow resistance?

The geodesic shape of the dome is the most efficient design possible when it comes to withstanding strong winds (up to 38 mi/h) or piled snow conditions (max. 90 lbs). Always stake your dome down, and don’t leave the windows or door open in a wind. Once the wind gets in, it goes from being a dome to a kite.

What are the dimensions?

The Bubble Dome has a diameter of 11′ 9″. Max height is 7′ 2″. Base area is 107 ft² .

What materials is the Bubble Dome made from?

The Bubble Dome frame is made of non-corrosive, 100 % recyclable furniture grade PVC and PA6 materials. The frame has a UV additive in the mix to resist breakdown when exposed to prolonged sunlight. The transparent cover of the Bubble Dome is made of cold-resistant (-4°F) transparent soft PVC (650 gsm). Protecting it against excessive UV exposure and keeping it clean before storing will increase the life span of the cover.

What is the wind resistance of the Bubble Dome?

Under most conditions, the Bubble Dome withstands strong wind conditions (Beaufort windforce scale 7- approx. 38 mi/h. Always secure your dome to the ground and never leave the windows or door open in a strong wind.

What is the Bubble Dome’s snow load capacity?

The Bubble Dome can bear up to a max. 90 lbs of snow. If the snow on the dome reaches 6”, you should remove it with a broom or similar tool in order to prevent damage to the Bubble Dome cover.

What is the UV and/or heat resistance of the Bubble Dome?

The Bubble dome’s frame is stable between temperatures ranging from -4°F to +140°F and withstands exposure to sunlight of up to UV index 7. In the winter, in northern climates, the dome will heat up by several degrees when the windows and door are closed, especially when it is very cold but the sun is out. If you’re out on a lake ice fishing, it will completely cut out the wind chill factor. It will require roughly 40% less heating in winter than a standard greenhouse due to the geodesic shape.

How can I store the Bubble Dome cover at the end of the season?

First clean the cover from both inside and outside with a microfiber cloth. Then fold it properly from inside out. Put it in its box and store it at room temperature for the next season.

Does the dome get hot in the summer?

Just like a parked car with the windows up, the temperature in the Bubble Dome will always be many degrees hotter than the external temperature; therefore it will get hot in summer, maybe VERY hot. Keeping all the air vents open will help to reduce the heat inside. During sunny spring - summer days, when the outside temperature is above 50°F, the interior air temperature can rise to excessive heat levels (+140°F). These conditions may harm your Bubble Dome structure or any heat-sensitive furniture inside. Be especially observant of any plants or pets or small children. When the outside temperature is above 50°F, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to monitor the interior temperature of the Bubble Dome, keeping the air vents open during the day time.

Does the Bubble Dome stay warm in the winter?

In the winter, if you close the windows and door, the dome will heat up several degrees, especially when it is very cold but the sun is out.

Do I need a solid base or foundations? 

The Bubble Dome can be installed both on soft and hard surfaces. On hard surfaces, like concrete, a wood deck, etc., use metal clamps with suitable screws to secure the dome to the ground. For softer grounds, like soil, lawn, etc., use tent spikes or some kind of weight over the base struts to affix your Bubble Dome to the ground.

What type of anchoring system does the Bubble Dome have?

The kit does not include any clamps or stakes or sandbags. You need to supply your own appropriate method of securing the Bubble Dome to the ground for whatever environmental conditions you’re in. 

How many people can fit inside? How many chairs can fit along the inside perimeter?

Depending on the size of the chairs, you can comfortably fit 8-10 people around a circular table in the center.

Can you sleep inside the Bubble Dome? (Is it waterproof and is there enough airflow?)

Yes and Yes. Kids love to sleep in them. Setup is more involved than pitching a tent, though. And there’s no floor built into the dome. 

Can the dome be vented when the door is zipped?

The current version has two window/air vents, and one hole/vent in the top (the ‘oculus’)

Can the Bubble Dome withstand snow?

Yes, the geodesic frame is structurally strong enough for snow. The cover will hold up to 90 lbs of weight, but the curved shape causes most snow to fall down the sides.

How much wind can this withstand?

The Bubble Dome is rated to withstand up to 38 mph winds.

Can you grow plants inside without them burning up in California?

Yes, the vents provide plenty of airflow and heat escape.

Does the bubble dome fog up in winter?

Yes, especially if you position it over a hot tub or a spa. 

Do we have to keep the blower running at all times? And is it a silent blower ?

Who said there was a blower? There is no blower. Unless you stand at the door and blow!

How much interior area in the dome (not just base)? I want to use it as a permanent greenhouse for fish/veggies.

The Bubble Dome has 578.6 cubic feet of volume.

If the cover of the Bubble Dome deteriorates after two years, can I replace it? How much?

We sell new covers at any time for $399.00.

Can we hang hammocks on the inside? How much weight would it hold?

The standard Bubble Dome will not support a hammock. However, the frame can be built with Sonostar Megahubs, and if 1” or 1 ½” PVC pipe is used, it will support hammocks.

Is there any way to reinforce it against stronger gusts of wind?

As long as the wind doesn’t get underneath it, the tendency is for wind to go around a round object like a dome. Piling up sandbags around the base could accomplish this.

How would this work in south Florida with summer heat ?

It would get extremely warm in there. With the windows and door closed, you could cook a gator at noon. 

Do you do custom sizes?

Yes. It takes a couple of weeks to get the covers made (overseas). The hubs and frames are all made in the USA.

How is the Bubble dome ventilated? I'm assuming it's not suitable for hot weather.

There are 2 windows that zip open plus the front door, plus the hole/vent in the middle of the top.

What size floor can you buy? What size is the floor?

We don’t sell a floor. But you can make one from a tarp. The floor itself has a diameter of 11’9”.

Is there any noise inside? Is there a phone signal? Can you bury this thing underground and still work?

This is not the Cone of Silence.  There is some sound buffering, but you can still hear outside sounds. It has no effect on the phone signal. Don’t bury it underground. It won’t withstand the weight load.

Are you able to move this item fairly easily? How much does it weigh assembled?

Assembled weight is approx. 98 pounds with the cover, so it is fairly easy to move around.

Can I add a floor to it?

Yes. Cut a 12’ circular floor, and you’ll have some overlap (the inside diameter is 11’ 9”).

 Is there some thing to create shade in case it gets too hot? Like a fabric cover of some kind?

There’s nothing that comes with the kit, but a patio umbrella, or a tarp can do wonders.

 

Can plants be grown inside this during a Canadian winter? Say it's -15C outside how warm would it be inside the greenhouse?

A lot of factors are at play here: Type of plants, amount of direct sunlight, etc... this greenhouse will behave similarly to other greenhouses. At -15C, we’d recommend a separate heat source.

Are any of the covers, the Canopy or the Mosquito Net included?

Only the transparent Bubble Dome cover is included.

The picture showing the inside has flooring...do you offer suggestions to show how this is done?

The Bubble Dome can sit atop virtually any flooring. There’s a lot of room for creativity here.

Can you put a hot tub in this ?

These fit over any hot top or spa that is less than 11’9” in diameter. They work really well to keep the heat in.

Could this be used for a small pool or hot tub ?

Absolutely! As long as they are smaller in diameter than the Bubble Dome itself.

How do you heat it?

You would heat it just like you’d heat a tent or any greenhouse.

Can two or more be joined together?

We don’t sell anything specifically for this, but with PVC and clear vinyl, you can be really creative.

If you assume ground/floor ready- How many man hours would you estimate for assembly and disassembly?

It takes one person about 3 hours to assemble a Bubble Dome the first time. Two people can cut the time in half, and 3 or 4 people…you get the idea. Taking it apart is much faster. We recommend a cordless drill if you’re in a hurry.

How much does it weigh? I am buying as gift and want to calculate shipping charges. Thanks.

Shipping weight for the hub box, the two strut boxes, and the cover box is 98 lbs.

How does the door work? Zipper? Latch? Is there just 1 door?

The door has a zipper. It zips from both inside and outside.

What is the thickness of the clear cover?

.3mm or 650 gsm.

Is there a metal frame version? What if it breaks?

We currently don't offer a metal frame version. The great thing about PVC, though, is that you can get it anywhere, and it’s easy to cut and drill. Bottom line: it’s easy to replace a strut. If a hub breaks, you can buy just one or as many as you need from Sonostar.

Would this work in a preschool for kids to play in?

Kids love them. They feel like they're in their own space, but because it’s transparent, you can see what they’re doing at all times.

How many windows? Do the windows have screens?

The current version has two zippered windows and one top air vent that closes with velcro.

Does the surface have to be level?

We recommend a level surface.

Can you put a heater inside

Yes, just use common sense, and don’t put it up next to the cover. 

Can you get a replacement cover?

Yes, order from: https://www.sonostarhub.com/collections/dome-covers/products/bubble-dome-clear-cover 

Does it get hot like a greenhouse in the sun?

Interior temperatures can reach 140 degrees F on hot days in direct sunlight.

Would the windows let bugs in?

There are no screens on the windows, so bugs could find their way in.

How many boxes does this come in ?

Four boxes: 2 for the struts, 1 for the hubs, and 1 for the cover.

Is it hail resistant?

Light hail shouldn’t be a problem. We would recommend removing the cover if heavy hail is forecasted.

How weatherproof is it....rain and wind?

Yes. Its rainproof. Yes. It’s windproof. 

Would this be good for astronomy/star gazing?

Perfect for it. You can poke your telescope out the oculus hole (in the top center) and stay warm inside.

What type of cover does this have? Hard plastic or what?

The cover is made of transparent PVC 3 mm thick (650 gsm).