Geodesic Dome Greenhouse – Part 11 – Foam, Doors & Floors

Geodesic Dome Greenhouse – Part 11 – Foam, Doors & Floors

We’re nearing the end of the project! There
will be one more video after this with some of the finishing touches and then I’ll go
on to some other videos about the aquaponic setup. You may also notice that some of these
segments may look out of order. I was working on everything at the same time depending on
the weather, but wanted to group similar segments together to create a better story line. I needed a large door in the dome so that
I could move tanks and grow beds in and out of the building. Garage doors leak a lot of
air so I decided to build some custom doors. The doors were framed using 2 by 4’s and
pressure treated plywood. When they are completed, they are bolted to some strong hinges and
anchored directly into the building’s frame. I still need to add some gaskets and weather
stripping to create a good air-tight seal. I also needed to remove some of the struts
from the dome structure to make a larger opening for the equipment. I removed 6 struts and
it didn’t seem to make any difference with dome’s structural integrity. To level out the floor, I brought in several
yards of sand and spread it throughout the building. I then racked it out and roughly
leveled it out by eye. Now that the sand was in place, I was able
to do a final leveling and compact the area where the stock tank belonged. I decided to
place the tank directly on the sand to help protect the base, and save a few dollars by
not needing to put brick pavers under it. To keep the floor from settling over time,
I borrowed a plate compactor and compacted the entire area. When this was complete, I
also borrowed my neighbor’s laser level and raked out any of the high or low areas,
and then compacted everything again. There are about 5500 bricks that are used
in the floor so I made up a couple of carriers which made the job go much quicker! It’s
still a lot of work to carry them all in, but at least the bricks remain flat and oriented
so that setting them into place is fairly quick. Between carrying them in and laying
them out, I average 10 bricks per minute. To get started, I set a straight string across
the floor and lay out a course along the line. This will act as the base reference for the
rest of the rows. The bricks are laid in an alternating, or
basket weave pattern and can be adjusted a bit to compensate for their imperfections. Along the edges, I roughly cut off the bricks
so they would fill any gaps that were smaller than a standard brick. Since most of these
areas will be covered with grow beds, I wasn’t concerned about making them look perfect.
Any remaining voids were filled with gray sand. The same type of cuts were made around any
of the plumbing that comes up through the floor since these areas will also be well
hidden by grow beds. The shed area and northern walls are all insulated
to help retain heat during the winter. I decided to use a do-it-yourself spray foam instead
of fiberglass batting because of all the odd shapes that needed to be filled. It also will
reduce air leaking, and minimize mold. The foam sticks to everything, so I had to protect
the polycarbonate from over spraying by stapling painter’s plastic throughout the dome. Not only does the foam stick to the dome,
it also will stick to clothes and skin. Full body protection, goggles, and a respirator
is needed! The foam comes as a complete kit. Each kit
contains 2 tanks with A and B parts, hoses, disposable mixing nozzles, and spray tips. It took a little while to get used to a good
spraying technique. The first few cavities were a bit uneven, but once I got a feel for
how it worked, I was able to fill the areas better. The kits come with a fan spray for
regular stud spacing, and in hindsight, it would have been better to use that tip everywhere. The biggest problem I ran into was spraying
the majority of the foam overhead. My goggles kept getting foam on them and I couldn’t
clear them. By the time I was done with a set of tanks, I could barely see anything! I also insulated my custom-built doors. The fan tip worked really well at controlling
the spray pattern. The foam comes out a bit slower, but you have far more control and
a more even fill. To save a little money, I sprayed the standard sized wall cavities
with one layer and plan on using standard fiberglass batting. The knee-wall under the dome is also filled
with foam. Once it hardens, it’s easy to cut off any of the excess that sticks out.
I then cover the walls with treated plywood. That’s about it for now. We’ll wrap up
the series finishing up the exterior and a few odds and ends. Thanks for watching!

100 thoughts on “Geodesic Dome Greenhouse – Part 11 – Foam, Doors & Floors

  • @Jeroenz0r Please watch video #7 which shows the piping under the floor. Around the 7 minute mark. I cut them off so no one would trip over them and any sand that falls into it will just flush into the sump tank.

  • Awesome man! Your wife must be so proud of you working with your hands building the family empire. Now, excellent video as usual and you really are now the envy of the neighborhood. Everything went smoothly so far and it its looking up real nice.

    What are you looking to do with the exterior besides paint?

    We have not heard anything to do with the central electrical work as yet for sump pumps.

  • If you dont mind i am going to use you video's as a how to guide along with ghog63's video's to build my own aquaponics dome. Im not any good a the video thing so unless one of the kids or grankids stop by you aint gonna see anything. Would you mind if i send you some message's asking questions when i get stuck in the planing and build ?

  • Watching your videos always leaves me impressed and thinking about what a bad ass you are. Keep up the stellar work!

  • How much for the spray kit and how much does cover? I was planning on building a geodesic home when i first stumbled on your video. It gave me a good insight, and also i might me building a green house like yours since it worked out so well. The main difference is that i am planning of having the house adjacent to the green house so i can circulate hot air from the house to the green house for the cold winter month.

  • At least it is good stuff that repay itself in the future, and a perfect air tight seal.A bit expensive but well worth it. (I now see the benefit of using fiber glass with it) Thanks for responding. I also find your video very helpful, keep making them!

  • Dude, you are my fucking hero. Just out of curiosity, which work background do you come from? Personally, I do electrical, but you seem to have a working knowledge of most trades. I guess this is customary of anyone who works in construction and talks with other tradesman, but yea, what did you start in?

  • lol Okay, fair enough. But something to consider: One of my favorite things about watching you is all the jigs you make to make tedious tasks more uniform and measured. Im not sure if you have a video of this, but perhaps a video about how hydroponics works (on the theory side) would be cool

  • Since video 1 I cannot wait to watch the next one, you are an inspiration and trully a warrior! keep us up informed please, and thank you again for the effort and sharing all of this with us, your youtube followers!!!

  • (blushing) Why thank you! I'm just finishing the video on the details of installing a window in the tank…should be ready tonight!

  • If you wanted to build just the dome structure…no foundation, shed, excavation work, it would cost roughly $8K.

  • Number 11 is the first one I found. This is great stuff. The commentary is comprehensive as well. I can't wait to watch the rest of the them.

  • do you have a construction background because you are so detail orientated with every inch of the construction. I feel like a schlub

  • I might have missed something, but how do you drain the sumptank in the middle? Is it connected to the drain?

  • Well. Do you think it is such a big advantage to use spray foam for insulation? The most uninsulated part will be the polycarbonate. That is also the largest part of the whole thing. Did you ever think about glaswool or even just osb on both sides of the frames without insulation? Maybe that would have been enough?

  • It does have a better R value so every bit helps. Plus is seals all the cracks which really stops the air flow, and is water proof. It also acts as a vapor barrier so I didn't have to Tyvek the outside walls.

  • Beautiful work! By the way, you could have used off-road motorcycle goggles with tear-offs, which are several layers of stacked clear plastic liners that go over the goggle lenses. When they get dirty, you just grab the topmost sheet by a tab and tear it off, revealing a clean tear off below it and giving you a fresh clean view.

  • I designed it myself taking bits and pieces from here and there. I spoke about the entire project at the aquaponics conference in Denver a few weeks ago. 😉

  • I live in Thailand and Australia. I am watching this video and wondering why is he making this complicated building and then I realised it is to grow plants. I think it is unbelievable that people live in such inhospitable places. In Thailand stopping things from growing is the biggest problem and a machete is the most useful garden tool.

  • I started with video #1, at video #3 i opened a bottle of champagne and am now at video 11 and am having a great friday night watching these videos.

  • I very much enjoyed all the videos on both the dome and the heater. My interest is in the heater and how it developes as time and usage take their toll. Being in central New York I'm hope to build one this spring in the garage. Again, Thank You for sharing all you have done with us. Keep up the great work

  • Exelent job man! Only if I have the half of that space I will be happy! I cant built that large structure :/ But you are a great handyman ,whit your knowlege, you can built evriting!

  • Please become a teacher – Your videos are an inspiration, the younger generation will not only need your knowledge but also your confidence. I'm a retired builder of 30 yrs and I understand the planning and problem solving you've done to realize this project. The younger generation needs your talent to believe in their goals like you do !
    Power to you, because you were not thwarted by money problems as the project progressed ! Well done – pls pass it on. Become a Teacher ! It's your destiny !

  • Having completed many projects ALONE, I am feeling very ashamed of ever griping about my small task.  You have done an amazing job! The documentation alone was a great deal of effort and time.  Thanks

  • Awesome project. Just wanted to point out that you used cedar instead of treated lumber to avoid chemical contamination of your water supply, then burned a bunch of crud off your galvanized flute pipe and spray foam insulation all over the inside of the greenhouse… I honestly think you are fine either way, but did you find going all natural with materials too impractical?

  • You are ONE OF A KIND !! No other way to say to you how gratifying is to watch your videos . Didactic and to the point  Thumbs ups Always !! Te saluda Miguel From Argentina !

  • Number one there is no pressure treated lumber used in the doors or door frames at all, not a smart move. Treated wood will either be green or brown….I have never ever seen a natural wood colored treated wood. Sorry I used to work in the outside lumber yard at Menard's. I handled several thousand tons of lumber I figure I have seen it all.

  • I am impressed by your work. I am designing a zero energy ecodome for Kazahkstan. I would like to know what will be the heating requirement of a 12 m dome in kW. How have you supplied this heat? Thanks and looking forward your response.

  • Gençlik zamanlarımda böyle yapıcı ve eğitici bilgiler yoktu NE KADAR EĞİTİCİ VE ÖZENDİRİCİ,ev sahibi olmak hiç zor değil.Teşekkürler ,emeği geçenlere ve bu bilgileri verenlere

  • Hi. Do you think it would be possible to design similar structure to live in it? i really like this idea. 🙂


  • Thank you so much for sharing your work! It is such an inspiration, and also provides practical advice for people seeking to build their own greenhouse!

  • Nicely done!. I'm looking into building a house inside a dome. Not a dome house. That way I'll have a house and an indoors patio.

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