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Roofing/ventilation in a geodesic dome home

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Question
Hello,

    My name is Dawn. I live in a dome home, and am having a new roof put on.  However, I currently do not have a ventilation system at the peak of the dome; and my insurance adjuster suggests that the contractor put in ridge vents.  The contractor claims that he cannot put any ventilation system at the top or any where near the top because it will weaken the strength of the structure.  I currently have cylinder looking vents over the kitchen, (a room off the main dome room with a flat roof) but my insurance adjuster does not believe they are serving any purpose. Is it true that I cannot have a ventilation system at the top of the dome?? It's so hard to cool the home in the summer.  Do you have any advice for me that I could pass on the the contractor?

Answer
Good Morning Dawn,

An interesting home and situation.  The strength and stability of the structure comes from its unique series of geometric angles (triangles) which is very stable design.  With that said, compromised improperly, that staibility can be badly damaged. If you to consider modifications, it would need to be done so as to not disrupt the existing structual elements.

Being that I am not able to view the home or elements related to it, some presumptions will be made and comments based upon those.  It is puzzling why the insurance adjuster amde any such comment to begin with as it is outside his scope or responsibility or expertise. I highly doubt he is an Architect, Engineer or otherwise qualified to even speak on the subject.  

If you would desire to add ventilation to the home, such is possible but structure in and around where such will be added should be reinforced to secure the ventilation item to. Venting can be simple two-way vent that allows air to flow out and it, one-way that would have some type of motor to force air outward and a baffle to prevent two-way air movement.  There are solar powered vents that are an option so power source is simplified.  The important issues as I see it, is that the ventilation is secured to additional reinforcement and not to existing geodesic dome framing.  Location and frequency of the vents is critical to performance, will it really make a difference or not!  They need to be high within the structure, which will make reinforcing the strucrure inside more difficult, not like you can simply lean a ladder up inside.

I recommend you look at vent choices, solar might be a good one and decide cost for anticipated performance and function. then make an informed choice. If you have centralized heating and A/C in the home, two-way ventilation that openly allows outisde air may not be a good choice as this could effect air balance and performance of your heating and A/C system.

I hope this gives you something to think about, research and make a decision to improve your home.

All the best.

Steven Wadding

Roofing

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Steven C. Wadding RRC,RRO,CDT

Expertise

General questions in regards to most roof types and situations. As the Technical Services Manager for Polyglass USA, Inc. this would not be a forum to address any issues directly related to a product my employer manufacturers.

Experience

I have been active in the roofing and waterproofing industries for more than 30 years with extensive experience from product installation, product development and consulting. I have been active in the Construction Specifications Institute and Roof Consultants Institute for approximately 20 years. I am a member of ASTM and am a voting member of various subcommittees. I have many years of consulting experience in the fields of Roofing, Waterproofing and Exterior Building Envelope disciplines.

Organizations
Roof Consultants Institute Construction Specifications Institute ASTM

Publications
Division 7 Technical Binders for Malarkey Roofing Products and Polyglass USA, Inc. CSI Phoenix Chapter Cactus Comments

Education/Credentials
Registered Roof Consultant - Roof Consultants Institute Registered Roof Observer - Roof Consultants Institute Certifified Document Technologist - Construction Specifications Institute Spray Fireproofing Special Inspector - International Code Council

Awards and Honors
Registered Roof Consultant - Roof Consultants Institute Registered Roof Observer - Roof Consultants Institute Certifified Document Technologist - Construction Specifications Institute Spray Fireproofing Special Inspector - International Code Council

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