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Geodesic Dome roofing help?

shady's picture

Hey all,

I've got a friend with a modern Geodesic Dome in need of a roof.

It's about 12 years old, he's owned it for 2 years.

All the skylights in it leak, some terribly (requiring a bucket to catch).

It's approximately 50 - 60 squares.

He got an estimate for replacing the roof and flashing all skylights for $25 - $30,000.

Seems kind of high.

Anyone have any info on best techniques to roof a dome, problematic details, available contractors in western Pennsylvania - northern WV area.  Any help will do.

(post #91049, reply #1 of 34)

Hopefully Notchman will check in...he's building one. Several of the contractors I had here on my non-geodesic dome also had bid on work on a nearby geo. In every case they said the owner was surprised by the high bids, but that they couldn't do it for less because of the difficulty of working with all the facets and angles. From the research I did, leaks like you describe are an Achilles heel of that specific type of dome.

(post #91049, reply #4 of 34)



It seems to be very pricey. Which is some of the advice on what seems right, price wise, that I was looking for.

(post #91049, reply #2 of 34)

stage, strip, reroof  & stand behind your work ?  doesn't seem all that high to me.. staging is a bit awkward..  and all of the facets of the geo-dome require a lot of waste and a lot of hips..

i'd figure on doing the entire roof in ice & water .. also... may have to replace the flashing kits for the skylights..and since it is VERY labor intensive... spec a 40 year shingle at least

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

(post #91049, reply #3 of 34)



The contractor spec's 40 year shingles and also the Ice and Snow (which for some reason is called [CUTE LITTLE PUPPY]athane around here).

Since my friend is struggling for answers and input, your comment about the price is useful.  Basically he will pay to have it done.  I have some limited contracting experience.  The going rate on a normal house is about $100/square for stripping and reroofing.  I thought 4 - 5 times that was high, but your points on the complexity of the job are well taken.

He needs to field a few bids and pick the one he feels best with.

When you say flashing kits are there kit's available. The windows are giant triangles that seem to be installed with no curbing or visible flashing.

(post #91049, reply #5 of 34)

sorry, i thought they were a conventional skylight like Roto or Velux..

so , that raises another point... why are they leaking and what will the prospective roofer do to fix them ?

i'm not sure the price is going to be the sticking point.. i'd like to listen to the roofers describe their experience and their solutions to the specific problems of the geodesic dome and the site-built skylights.... the one or two that can talk the talk and walk the walk and have the references to prove it are the ones i'd go with

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

(post #91049, reply #6 of 34)

"the one or two that can talk the talk and walk the walk and have the references to prove it are the ones i'd go with"

Solid, that's along the lines I was thinking.

(post #91049, reply #7 of 34)

$100/sq is scraping the bottom for a strip, reroof, and cleanup with 15yr shingles on a 3/12.

$500/sq is definitely in the right range for all the waste, triming, skylight flashings, staging, bituthyene, and architechtural grade shingles.


Excellence is its own reward!

"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are." --Marcus Aurelius



Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #91049, reply #8 of 34)

The dome I'm working on (50' X 3/8) was roofed with high-wind Malarkey laminated shingles.  7 skylights. Total bid was $13K.  It was new construction so there was no tear-off, but he did install the outer ridgid insulation package, papered, installed and flashed the skylights and dormers and installed the shingles.

The roofer lives in Springfield, Oregon but specializes in Geodesics and travels all over the country and overseas.  Does a lot of corrective work on domes that were roofed incorrectly.  Does first class work (and I say that with no reservation and with a lot of different roofers to compare him to). 

email me through this forum and I'll try to get you connected up.


Just prior to my project, he did a total reroof of a dome in Wisconsin.  I don't know what the bill was on that one.

I'll will agree with Mike Smith that there are a lot of hips, but I disagree about the waste.  In fact, I've been quite surprised at how little waste there's been on nearly all aspects of this project. 


Edited 11/20/2002 12:07:17 AM ET by Notchman


(post #91049, reply #9 of 34)

on the job described.. instead of a material allowance of 10% for waste ( which is not really WASTE.. but such things as starters & hips )... i'd add 30%  to the square footage instead of the 10%... each facet, hip  & every skylight will require additional shingles...course... it is just a material estimating trick.. so "waste " is probably the wrong term

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

(post #91049, reply #10 of 34)


Back in November you gave me a tip about a geodesic dome roofer.

I had a friend here in WV with a leaky dome.

Well I just got off the phone with my friend who hired the team from Oregon that you recommended.  They drove here from Oregon with all their tools. They recently finished.

They did a great job.  Highly recommended with no reservations. My friend is just thoroughly pleased. 

I wanted to say a big thanks for the tip.


(post #91049, reply #11 of 34)

I'm very pleased  to hear that and I appreciate your taking the time for the update! 

(Is Josh still hauling his Beagle with him?)



(post #91049, reply #12 of 34)

regretfully, I never made the time to drop over there while they were working.

I'm disappointed because I lived outside of Eugene, OR about 25 years ago and would have liked to swap some stories.

My friend told me a story of coming home one day while they were working and seeing their beagle hanging out in the truck watching them work.

I might add that they finished the job without anything additional for time and materials over the contract price. They also fabricated flashing for some integral aspect (not quite sure what), which was not included in the bid, for no extra charge.

They sound like very unique and dedicated individuals.

Thanks again

dome roof repair (post #91049, reply #29 of 34)

Hi, would like to know the name of the traveling Oregon roofer.

Dome home roofer (post #91049, reply #21 of 34)

I saw your post today about the dome home roofer in Springfield, OR.  I have a geodesic dome home near Seattle, WA and it needs a new roof.  Can you provide me with his name and number, or email address please? I would like to give him a call.


High Cost of roofing (post #91049, reply #13 of 34)

Depends on the type of shingles your friend is using, 25 yr A/R are running $70.00 per square, at $145 dollars labor for a Geodesic home, 60 squares should only be about $12,900, but if your using 30 yrs shingles at $137 per square, the cost would increase dramatically, $17,300.  If your applying 40 yr, the cost would be in the 25 - 30k price range.

I think after 12 years the OP (post #91049, reply #14 of 34)

I think after 12 years the OP has probably already gotten that new roof.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Or a Divorce... (post #91049, reply #15 of 34)

DanH wrote:

I think after 12 years the OP has probably already gotten that new roof.

... then sold the troubled property to a new owner who - hopefully - is secure in the belief that the new roof was properly spec'd then installed.

Do folks still build geodes to live in? Has building technology caught up with the design confabulations Bucky didn't seem to think would be a problem when he dreamed up these things?

Could be worse -- could be a (post #91049, reply #16 of 34)

Could be worse -- could be a collaboration between BF and FLW.  Would be a flat dome.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Flat dome cantilevered over a (post #91049, reply #22 of 34)

Flat dome cantilevered over a creek.

Geodesic dome roofer recommendation (post #91049, reply #23 of 34)

Hi - Could I possibly get the contact info for the contractor specializing in geodesic domes you guys are talking about here? It would be greatly appreciated!



Geodesic Dome Roof (post #91049, reply #24 of 34)

Can you please give me the name and number to the the guy that travels doing these roofs.  I had it at one time and can't seem to find it.  Thank you Stacy

I am purchasing a geodesic (post #91049, reply #25 of 34)

I am purchasing a geodesic dome in Kent, CT and the roof needs some repair.  Finding a roofer that is educated in this type of work is few and far between and I'm wondering if you would share the roofing company that was passed along and highly recommended? Thank you very much


Any chance I could get the (post #91049, reply #26 of 34)

Any chance I could get the Oregon companies information? Have a double dome in Illinois in desperate need of a cedar roof. Many roofers have shown up and just scratch their heads. Your help would be greatly appreciated!

Roofer from Oregon (post #91049, reply #27 of 34)

Is there a roofing contractor from Oregon that will travel? I've tried whom I could search for on the west coast but they would not travel and the one contractor I knew that reroofed domes here in Southern California has retired and cannot do the work. Is it possible to get contact information on this person in Oregon? Please and Thank You!

North west (post #91049, reply #33 of 34)

Did you ever find someone willing to travel?

Hi I found this thread from (post #91049, reply #28 of 34)

Hi I found this thread from 15 years ago and wonder if anyone who had posted (frankb89, notchman) on the topic of dome roof and repair might still be around.  wanted to get names of possible roofers for my project. thanks

Oregon Domes (post #91049, reply #34 of 34)

Did you ever find someone to roof your dome?

Same here! Looking for contact info (post #91049, reply #30 of 34)

Might anyone from this thread with the contact info for this amazing Oregon-based roofer forward along his team's contact info? 

I'm looking for help with a copper-roof geodesic dome roof that has been badly mis-repaired (for leaking skylights) by a local SW-Virginia roofing company. Unfortunately, there are no other local roofers to turn to, so I am starting to consider looking further afield for a copper-roofing/geodesic dome hero!

Much appreciation for contact info and/or other recommendations you may have.

Maybe (post #91049, reply #31 of 34)

Google - Grant Logan Copper.  He's in Kentucky and fabs and ships various copper parts and adornments.  Just happens he's been a roofer and has done several copper roofs.  I'd venture his advice might be to [JOBSITE WORD]- - can the skylight.


worth a shot.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


Oregon Dome dormer flashing (post #91049, reply #32 of 34)

 Door and window dormers are a concern on a current dome roof project.  The top of a dome is nearly flat and I am expecting a 3/12 roofing material to remain water tight?  I hate the idea of relying on fancy underlayment for weather protection in the North West.  My colleges are telling me that the ridges are the weak link and that they should have a membrane prior to cap.  The dormers are stitched but I am thinking a custom metal fabrication or valley would be best.  The dormer facia is held up and will either need some type of cap on the flat top and step flashing on the triangular side.  The gutter system also fails at these intersections.  Can someone provide me a consultant I can discuss this with?  Oregon Domes is no longer in business.....