In the Summer of 2002, we decided to knock down the old lean-to storage shed that was protecting (?) the water pump machinery and replace it. Originally, we wanted to build a "real dome" there, but we couldn't find an easy method to hook the struts together (connection hubs). Then, we found Starplates. It would only be a one-frequency dome, so it wouldn't be rounded like those with higher frequencies, but it would be a start and it would certainly be unique.
CLICK HERE for a link to the Starplates Building System, sold by Stromberg's Chickens.
We used a strut length (2x4s) of a bit less than 7 feet to make the most efficient use of the particle board (which we chose instead of plywood for cost). The inside floor diameter is nearly 10 feet and it is about 10 feet high in the center. Besides housing the water pump, there is plenty of space for other storage. Shelves and brackets were also installed.
We designed a walk-in entry door that can be removed but doesn't modify the overall shape of the building ... and it is tall enough that you don't bump your head every time you walk in.
There is no floor or foundation (dirt). The bottom level of wood that touches the dirt is treated.
Here are some pictures of the building going up:
Here are some outside pictures of the finished building:
Here are some inside shots:
The problems we had/have concern the roof (white 3-tab composition). Here is a close-up picture of the roof:
First, we didn't know what to do with the pointed top. We couldn't buy a 5-sided cap (they are all 4 or 6 sided). The Starplates folks used to sell a cap for the building, but we couldn't find a place to get one (Stromberg's had no idea). So, we covered the peak as best we could with roofing paper and composition pieces. Then, we plastered the whole thing with black roofing tar after installing a black weathervane (which we bought for a great price from eBay).
Next, we didn't want to use gutters, but we didn't want to have the water dripping onto bare dirt and puddling around the base. So we created a "moat" (6-12 inches deep) around the building lined with plastic and weed-block and filled it with washed small pebbles (which we collected from around our property). When excess water fills the moat, it drains down the hill and onto the driveway.
Finally, we apparently have a problem we didn't even realize we had until we took these pictures today (Jan 13, 2003). The roof doesn't extend/protrude enough to protect all the sides of the building. Roof eave length was limited by the doorway height, the particle board/plywood size, and the overall look of the building we wanted to achieve. So, the rain tends to hit the "V-shaped" bottom sections. Today we noticed that despite two coats of waterproofing primer and at least 3 coats of paint, the water is soaking into the siding (it's different at each corner and seems to be worst at the door). The following two pictures show what we mean:
Otherwise, we are quite happy with the building and have gotten many favorable comments. At the very least, it is a conversation piece!