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Email Questions and Answers 11-08 -

Also see: Q&A 3/2011  5/2009  3/2009  11/2008  2008  2007  3/2007  2003  Testimonials

On Mar 11, 2009

Hi Bob,
A few questions for you:

Do you have dome packages that come with sunshield stakes cord?


How much do your sunshields go for (for the 30' yurtdome).


What about replacement clips?


Howabout a whole new set of PVC?

10% of cost of dome

What do you sell/recommend for stakes?



On Mar 10, 2009
Bob, looking through your literature it appears that the 20' dome is not as rigid as ether the 18'ter or the 30'ter. I do not fully understand why the 30' diameter would be sturdier than the smaller one. I was very interested in the 20' dome as it is the size that would work for our wilderness outings. The areas where it will be erected is all rock. We would have to rely on rocks on the end of the guy ropes. Please help me to figure this one out. Thank you. Regards, Lothar

The 20' dome uses the same diameter poles as the 18' but longer so not as stiff. Also the 20' presents more area to the wind than the 18' since it is bigger. Thus it is weaker. The 30' uses a larger diameter pole, is only a 1' taller than the 20' and is more streamlined. The 20' is still a strong dome that has been used on wilderness outings just not our strongest. Always take small backpacking tents also in case you get hit with a big storm for backup. Read our online manual carefully : http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html paying close attention to the sections dealing with wind.

If all you have are rocks use a heavy cord (at least 3/8") to run from the dome's 12 anchor clips to 12 large rocks. Then pile up rocks on top of these rocks. Best to over do this than under do it.


Bob Gillis

On Mar 3, 2009

Bob, three nights ago, while I was away, we had high wind, with snow and sleet, and my two yurts, which have served as my studio since 2003 collapsed under the ice and snow accumulation. Frame members were snapped, panels were ripped, it was a mess. Unfortunately, there was no heat in the structures, which would have prevented any ice and snow buildup. I think they would have survived the wind, as they have withstood worse on more than one occasion. However, the yurts have outlived their designed lifespan by several years, so I have no complaints. By noon today, I had one of them up again. With some further patching, it will be a functioning shelter for my work for awhile yet. Still, I think it is time to seriously think about replacements. Do you have any designs in the works for a structure that might have more weight-bearing capability?


Sorry to hear of your snow and sleet collapse. Your recovery was compromised by the age of the covering; most often just poles snap without any tear in the covering. The poles are inexpensive to replace just being PVC. Still, 6 years, as you point out is not bad.

To increase load bearing is tricky. The way the domes are provided the weakest link are the poles. See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html for two ideas of ways to beef up some of your poles. If we made the poles stronger, the covering would go first, which would definitely be worst. Poles are cheep and or easy to repair (just insert a section of branch). At an additonal substantial expense in weight, cost and bulk, the covering could also be beefed up also. But by doing this the structure could no longer be put up by one person without tools.


Bob Gillis

On Mar 5, 2009

Bob, I got my other yurt up today, which fared better than the first. Had to replace several poles, but its hide was intact. The white material obviously has more UV resistance than the translucent. Amazingly, the contents of both yurts were dry for the most part. I found a couple of works in progress just as I left them, ready to go. Do you think an old guy like me could put up a 30’ yurt without assistance (I can handle the 20’ ok.)?

I have done it but I had help in the past and would not want to try it again by myself. I would get at least one, preferably two other strong people to help. It is a work out. -Bob

On Mar 1, 2009

Dear Bob,

I’m writing from Salem Massachusetts. Each summer a group of families reserves space at Salem’s Winter Island for about 3 weeks. Our children are at an extended year school….so we go out to Winter Island every day after school and stay through (picnic) supper then head home to sleep. The Island is actually a peninsula and we put up our tents facing west in a clearing with woods between us and the beach. Nonetheless, especially last summer, storms have wrecked the tents, bent poles and created quite a nuisance. The pointed roof of this type of tent collects volumes of water that then sag under the great weight. The original families chose white 10’ square crafter’s style tent…I think some are made by Caravan and some are Easy Up. There are no vents in the roof. It looks beautiful, especially when we open the sides for the day and pull out our lounge chairs and tables and so forth.

We’re looking for a new option. And I’m wondering about the viability of your yurt domes, especially in windy situations.
The one in the subject line seems to be about the right size. Do you have any pictures?
Can some side flaps or parts of the fabric be raised during the day to create our open living room?
What are your thoughts?

I don’t have an overall picture, but perhaps these two will give you some idea of how we are using them.

Thank you.


Hi Patti

It is hard for me to know if our domes are just what you need. The size you mention our 8' dome is our smallest dome and I would be concerned that it would be too small for a family. Our domes do well in most winds but not so if the wind is extreme. You can roll up one side: http://www.shelter-systems.com/arch-domes.html but this is not just like the ones you have. Here are some customer photos: http://www.shelter-systems.com/yurt-dome-testimonials.html If you decide to get one or more of our domes do consider sunshades: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html You might also want to look at our manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

Bob Gillis

On Feb 28, 2009:

I am looking at getting the 30' dome, and I'm wondering if its posible to put some kind of track lighting in it for night time use. Also, how much weight can it support? I want to hang things in it. Thank you


At each of the pole crossing on the dome is a clip. At these same clips there is a clip on the inside of the dome that has 2 holes from which you can hang approximately 10 lb..

Bob Gillis

On Feb 26, 2009:

I want to clip a bedsheet and separate mattress cover to the bed frame, both to keep the sheet and cover from slipping off the mattress and to hold the mattress in place on the bedframe. It tends to slide off the flat platform. Is this an application for your general purpose clip?


If you are going to attach both the sheet and mattress cover at the same time: my guess would be GP. You should be able to hold that mattress in place if you apply enough tension.


Bob Gillis

On Feb 27, 2009

Grip Clip Pro vs. HD


I'm planning to use Grip Clips for shade structures here in windy New Mexico. I like the fastening options provided by the Pro. Is it as heavy duty as the Heavy Duty? Or would your recommend the HD for a high stress application?




They can best be used in combination. The HD holds better in strong wind. The Pro is best if you need to directly attach to a frame.

Bob Gillis

Subject: Re: Event Domes...

Hi Jannos

I will answer your questions below.


Bob Gillis

On Feb 20, 2009

Hello Bob,

Eleanor answered my first inquiry mail and directed me to you about more technical questions.
We need to use the Dome as a projection area from the inside. Do you also supply the screening surface?

The walls of the dome make good projection screens with the images clear and bright inside and out. We do offer our covering also by the yard if you wanted to hang your own screen inside: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

Also, how long does it take to set up a 30 feet diameter dome? How many people working?

The 30' set up requires two strong people about 45 min to an hour.

What is the maximum weight we can hung from its structure?

You can hang about 10 lb.. from each of the clips inside the pole crossings.

What about floor? Do you have something practical? Should we make a wooded floor?

We offer a tarp floor: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html You can put a rug on it. Also see our manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

What do you usually do about heating and cooling?

See our manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html You can add stoves and air conditioning units.

Do you have tested it for safety? Is it according to some regulations we can quote here, because we intent to use it for schools as well, and we need to show some sort of certification that this structure is safe, will not fall, will not catch fire, have emergency exits, etc.

Please read our wind and snow warnings: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html We can provide you with a certificate that attests to our covering meeting fire retarded ratings. The 30' dome has 8 doors.

Many thanks


On Feb 21, 2009

Hi Tony

Answers to your questions in your text below:

Hello Eleanor and Bob,

I love your shelter domes. I would like to use one as a "cabin in the desert."

.....You should consider our sun shades: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html for desert use. Be sure to read our wind and snow warnings: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html

I have a few questions about them.

Are you currently having any sales or discounts?

.....No, we do not offer discounts, This allows us to keep our prices low to everybody.

What is the cost of replacing the material on a 31' dome?

.....Replacement cover with clips attached and no poles is 10% less then cost of full dome.

How quickly can you get a 31' dome to me?

.....We try to keep everything in stock. If we do not have it may take a week or two to ship your order: check with the order desk.

Can I use a pre hung door?

.....This should be possible but I have not done it. You would have to cut and fit: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

Do they have 4 doors?


Can I have fewer?

.....We can make a special order dome with less, yes.

It is for a desert application (Tucson). I need as much ventilation as possible but I need screens to keep out the scorpions. Is this possible?

....We make net doors for the dome: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html These are flap style and may not prevent all critters from access.

It appears I can add windows, but do they need to be adjacent to the door and done at your factory?


Can I add mesh ventilation in the top with a flap to close in the winter?

....This should be possible but we have not heard of people doing this.

Would Thermoshield paint increase the longevity of the material, or are the two not compatible?

....I am not familiar with this product. You should test it first.

Is the material polyester?

....No, it is a woven multi laminate proprietary covering that is UV stabilized and FR.

Thank you for your time,


Date: February 3, 2009


I just have a few questions regarding a couple of things.

Most of your pics seem to be of your yurt-dome design.

We are wondering if the star-dome design on the sales page (other shelters) are illustrated by the picture in the testimonials page sent in by robertw - what he calls the great circle design.

Is this the same design?
Is this the design of the geodesic dome, as contrasted with the extra strong yurt-dome design?

Basically, we are having trouble as all pics seem to be of your popular yurt-dome design.

We are interested in the design sent in by robertw - on the testimonials page, or possibly any similar geometric designs that you do incorporating hex and pent geometries.

Is the height measurement the same for this star design.

Also, if you can provide a 18 or 20 foot star-dome design (if it is the same as the pic by robertw), what would be the approximate waiting time, cost and shipping cost to the UK.

Thanks, I hope I am being clear with my questions.

Great work by the way, your domes all seem very well made and very beautiful.

I looking forward to hearing from you,



We not longer make the star design. It was substantially weaker and had other problems. The Yurt Domes are geodesic. Nor do we make the hex/pent design at this time. One reason we now make the YurtDomes is that they give the most volume and strength for the amount of materials used. Thus they have a smaller carbon foot print and cost less then the other designs.


Bob Gillis

On Jan 16, 2009
Dear Bob,

You don't know me but you've heard from my father Xavier de Prémonville, who gave me your address for me to get in touch with you.
As he probably told you, we own a beautiful piece of land in Normandy, France, and we're seriously contemplating making it even more beautiful with several Yurtdomes from your line. We have no doubts about the largest model, but we're currently hesitating between the 14' and 18' models as a back-up. Could you be so kind as to send us more pictures of them, for us to make a better idea of their proportions, especially from the inside?

Thanks in advance for your help, and for your wonderful creations.

All the best,

Marie de Prémonville


Have a look at http://www.shelter-systems.com/yurt-dome-testimonials.html

The 14' seems 1/2 the size of the 18'. Most are much happier with the 18' over the 14' if you have the space for it. You might also look at: http://www.shelter-systems.com/sizes.html

The 14' is just 7' high in the very center and the 18' is 9' high.


Bob Gillis

On Jan 6, 2009

Hello Bob-
I am looking for a small portable cube made of your greenhouse material.
Ideally it would be 1meter x 1meter x 1meter and open on the bottom,
although the exact are dimensions (open bottom is not). I want as much
light penetration as possible - but no gas leaks. What I am trying to do is
put this thing on the ground somewhere and measure the change in carbon
dioxide and change in water vapor over a ~1 minute period to get an estimate
of CO2 and H20 fluxes (i.e. photosynthesis and evaporation). I will then
pick it up and move it to another spot and do it again. This work is part
of my research to better understand how ecosystems will respond to global
changes such as climate change. I have used the tenting approach a few
times and read an article that featured your tents by some people at UC
Irvine . If you could help with this, I would be appreciative.

Hi Darrel

We can do it. They are a bit expesive in that each is a one up and takes quite a bit of time.

Free Standing BoxTents ™

Strange but true; Free Standing BoxTents ™ developed for use in studying gas exchange experiments between plants and their environment.

See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/new.html


Bob Gillis

On Jan 4, 2009
Good Morning,

I have a coated nylon tarp. Do I go with the light fabric clip or the general purpose clip? Does it matter? It wouldn't matter if I bought the general purpose clip would it?

Thanks for your reply,

Subject: Re: ? about which clips

The General Purpose Grip Clip would need to be backed with some blue tarp material to grip a light weight nylon tarp. The reason is that the thickness of the nylon tarp is too thin. The Light Fabric Grip Clip may be just right but if you are talking about silcloth you will need a gasket make from a balloon even with the Light Fabric Grip Clip: see: http://shelter-systems.com/gripclips/ultra-light-silicon-tarps.html


Bob Gillis

On Jan 3, 2009

I discovered your site last summer and my family and I have been considering your products for a possible purchase in the summer.

First question: Are colors other than white available? Or, perhaps, could I paint it?

Second question: How often would we expect to need replacing the fabic if we were to use a yurtdome for a permanent residence?

Third question: how high of sustained winds can a 20' yurtdome take if the skeleton is properly anchored?

Fourth (and final) question: is there any way a through fitting like those used on more conventional yurts could be installed for use with a stove pipe? What about some sort of fitting for use through the shingling? (I did read the part on how to do it through the door.)


Hi Matt

We only use white. Some customers have painted there domes I do not know how well the results were. You should test your paint first.

The live of the covering depends on the amount of sun that falls on the YurtDome. The covering has be tested in FL and AZ were it lasted 3+ years. We guarantee materials and workmanship for 1.5 years.

We do not recommend our shelters for areas of extreme or constant winds. The vibration will cause the dome to fail.

Since the poles follow the shingling you cannot install a stove pipe through the shingling as it would cause the pole at that location to melt. You can exit a stove pipe through the near midpoint of a panel if great care is taken to prevent the covering from melting. Use insulated pipe and cut your exit hole larger than the diameter of your pipe (size of this hole is critical) so that flowing air around your pipe will keep it from melting your dome's covering. You must support and hold the pipe centered in this hole.

Bob Gillis

On Jan 1, 2009


I’m in the process of building an experimental aircraft. The wingspan is 32’ (width) and the length of the fuselage (body) is 22’ long, forming a cross type shape. The height of the assembled airplane is between 6-7’ tall. I’m looking for a cost effective option to build a temporary hangar at my home for final assembly of the airplane, plenty of ventilation for making it a paint booth, and resulting with a recycled dome for camping ,greenhouse, and exhibit booth for my computer store. I’m working on a ROI (return on investment) based on my camper, greenhouse, hangar rental and having someone else paint my airplane along with using this as my new exhibit booth for my small computer store in the rural Midwest US.

I have plans to sell my travel trailer (camper) in the spring of 2009 and purchase a 20’ shelter-system dome in time for Oshkosh Wisconsin’s Air-Adventure airshow the last week of July 2009. I haven’t decided if I purchase a 20’dome as a shelter or greenhouse. Is it possible to purchase the greenhouse and a liner so I could use it for both a tent and greenhouse or put up “room dividers”?

I’m wondering if I can combine 2-3 20’ domes or integrate 2-3 domes of differing diameters in a triangular pattern to build a temporary open structure for final assembly of my aircraft. If I could use 2-20’ domes for the wingspan and integrate a smaller dome to extend the length of the 20’ dome to allow for the fuselage length, that would work too! I would need enough room to walk around the airplane inside or integrate 3 20’ domes for an open triangular structure, probably 4-6’ area around the plane to have adequate room to work on the plane.

If I could do this, then I would have an extremely flexible shelter dome system to meet the many needs I have for a temporary structure. I have also been kicking around the idea of using my dome for my computer store exhibit booth as we do local county fairs and events to showcase our products. This would be an awesome display area, but the increased costs of renting more space may be an issue too and part of the ROI as well.

Building this airplane is a dream and a long term project (5-15 years). I have a large enough home and shed to store the parts and sub-assemblies for the airplane. I would need domes added as the sub-assemblies to increase the size for final assembly.

I would like to compare the purchase of these domes compared to replacing my travel trailer (camper), renting an airplane hangar, travel to/from the hangar for 1-2 years, cost of having my airplane painted versus doing it myself, and upgrading my current display booth for my computer store.

So far, I’ve been self-convincing that these domes are the way to go, however, requesting a custom 40’ plus dome wouldn’t be cost effective or serve my multi-purpose desires. Purchasing two or three 20’ domes or various diameter domes and then use them for the temporary open area structures would make a versatile dome series and selling the remaining domes would be the optimal ROI plan.

Thank you for listening to my wild idea to help fulfill a lifelong dream to build and fly my own airplane. I’ve loved geodesic domes since my first article I read in a 1972 Popular Science magazine article that I made a copy of at the library and still have in my projects folder. I’ve already told my wife that my next house is a geodesic dome. I haven’t figured out how to make a log home into a geodesic dome, but from what I’ve seen, I could come really close to transform a metal roofed barn for my country girl wife into an efficient contemporary dome home.

My wife also tells me to quit starting new projects, but if I can improve my current projects, then I’m getting more efficient and many other things right (justification).

Have a safe and prosperous New Year!


We have joined two domes together in the past however some strength is loss and the dome/s are complicated in that a gutter needs to be created were the domes are joined.

Here is a photo near the top of the dome. The domes can be truncated and joined at the pole arches. We have not joined three but this would seem possible but again at a loss of strength.

I cannot recommend joining for your project but it may work. If you do give it a try let me know how it turns out and send photos.

I would also suggest you to make a model by cutting and joining three dome models: http://www.shelter-systems.com/modle.html

Here you can see two 20' domes joined. A fabric gutter is hung on the inside of the junction that directs water to the outside of the dome. If I was to do it again I would double up the junction poles for more strength.


Bob Gillis

Date: December 29, 2008 1:10:50 PM PST

Hello Eleanor,

I purchased a Yurt Dome 14' Extra Strong. By any chance, do you have a bag that I can use to transport the tent? If not, do you have a vendor you could recommend?


Best Regards,

We do not make bags for the domes, as it is not possible to Stuff a dome into a bag, of reasonable size, because the covering we use is too stiff. We could sell her a 12' by 6' strip, or longer, of our fabric http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html she could roll the dome in and then tape or tie it (perhaps you thew out the warper that the dome came in).


Date: December 30, 2008

Hello Eleanor,

I purchased a Yurt Dome 14' Extra Strong ib 11/17/2008. By any chance, do you have a bag that I can use to transport the tent? If not, do you have a vendor you could recommend?


Best Regards,

We do not make bags for the domes, as it is not possible to Stuff a dome into a bag, of reasonable size, because the covering we use is too stiff. We can sell you a 12' by 6' strip, or longer, of our fabric she could roll and tape or tie your dome in (perhaps you thew out the warper that the dome came in).

Bob Gillis

Date: December 9, 2008

Subject: Custom application

Hello Eleanor:

I am wondering if you do custom applications. I would like to place a temporary greenhouse structure extending out from a double french door opening during the winter, so we can open the doors. If this is something you might be able to do, I will forward some rough dimensions so you can get an idea of what I am talking about.

OR, do you sell the parts so that a customized structure (within the geometric constrictions) could be designed and assembled?


Hi Mark

We make solariums using our greenhouse covering: http://www.shelter-systems.com/solarium.html and our greenhouses can also be set up in the "Open Arch Form" http://www.shelter-systems.com/arch-domes.html which you could but up to your house.

We sell our Greenhouse Fabric and our Grip Clips: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

Bob Gillis

On Dec 1, 2008

Dear Bob,

Thank you very much for your kind response. Could you please let us know

-durability of the yurtdomes due to the long term base that we are intending to build? We aim to a min. of 5 years durability.
-for that lenght, do you think the standard White Shelter covering is resistant enough? what about resistant to heavy rains?
-we will be needing yurtdomes with mosquito nets and ventilation, since 4 people will be sleeping in one 20’ (do you think there is space enough for 4pax?). Are there any chances to include the mosquito nets and ventilation?

We will be pleased to listen to your comments in order to choose the more convenient yurtdome to our base (resistance, permeability, ventilation, insects protection).

Many thanks. Kind regards, Max & Laura


It is the sun that degrades the YurtDome's covering. Our Coverings have been tested in FL and AZ intense sun were it has lasted 3+ years. We guarantee it for 1.5 years since elevation also effects the aging of the covering. In Costa Rica my guess is you would have them in the shade (?) This should help increase the covering life. Water or dampness will not degrade the YurtDome's covering. It will not rot or mildew.

The dome is made without sewing so there is no needle holes to leak. The domes' covering is shingled with an overlap of 5". We offer net doors and sticky velcro to secure them: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html You might also want to consider sunshades on this page if your yurtdomes are to be in full sun.

My guess is 4 could sleep in the 20'. Look at: http://www.shelter-systems.com/sizes.html Mark a circle on the ground and put your beds etc. in the circle to see what you think. The interior is dividable; see: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

Shelter System's Yurt Domes can be easily divided into rooms with fabric you provide or some of the same woven ripstop material that Shelter Systems' makes it Yurt Domes out of.

First, get enough fabric. If you plan to divide your dome in half get or sew a 6' wide piece with a length equal to the diameter of your Yurt Dome. If you plan to divide your dome in quarters then get two pieces this size. Purchase 7 Grip Clips to attach your fabric if you are dividing your dome in half. Purchase 14 Grip Clips to attach your fabric if you are dividing your dome in quarters.

Fold the divider in half length wise and make a small mark at the fold on the edge. If you are dividing your dome in quarters lay out both dividers on on top of each fold in half and make a small mark the top and bottom edge at the fold. Open out the divider(s). If dividing your dome in half attach one clip at the edge mark "E. If dividing in quarters then attach a clip at "E" and "F" clipping the two dividers together at the center fold.

Next attach a clip point to point "A" on the divider and tie it to the dome's ground clip which is equal distance between two adjacent doors. Stretch divider across dome and attach a clip at the other point "A" on the divider so that when the divider is tensioned and tied to the dome's ground clip it will stretch tight across the floor of the dome. Have two people hold up and tension the divider so points "B" can be marked, clipped and tied. Run a cord up clip "E" and tie it to the top of the dome to support the middle of the divider. Have two people hold up and tension the divider so points "C" can be marked, clipped and tied to the dome at points "D". Move the clips on the divider if needed so that the divider is tensioned evenly.

If you are dividing your dome into quarters the first tension and tie your four way divider so as to divide the dome in half then pull out and tension and tie the quarter sections.

Note that once installed each divided space has two doors. If the divider is set up as above each 1/4 side will have 1doors.

You can make the divider in half sections that are clipped in the middle with two tie clips down the joined edge. There is two advantages to this configuration. One is that it saves some fabric since we can cut two halves so that one is flipped and nestled next to the other. The other advantage is that the tied closed seam could act as a door to get from one half to the other.


Bob Gillis

On Nov 28, 2008
Dear Bob,

We are building up an eco tourism project in Costa Rica, based on observation and enjoyment of flora and fauna. Our aim is to build an eco base, based on geodesic domes or yurts (still deciding), resistant to the weather conditions of the jungle and the coast (salt, humidity, heavy rain) and insects (mosquito net).

We have recently found your website and we would like to receive further information regarding the following:

-What is the main difference between your yurtdomes and domes? What is the difference in frequency between dome and yourdome?
-What type of materials do you think we could use in such a environment?
-Are all your materials syntetic, light and resitant to long term durability?
-Do you ship the yurts or domes and if so, how long does it take? Costs please? We are looking at 1 dome/yurt of 30' and 4 of 20'.

Thank you very much for the information.

Kind regards,

Max & Laura

Hi Max and Laura

The only difference between our Domes and our Yurt Domes is the name. Our domes are like the original Yurts in Mongolia: portable and light weight. Our domes use state of the art patented geodesic and tensegrity engendering: http://www.shelter-systems.com/tensegrity.html

The standard US made Yurts use very bulky and heavy components and take hours to days to put up. Our Yurt Domes should hold up well in your conditions.

Our standard White Shelter Covering would be best for you.

We ship world wide and have most of our shelters in stock (check our order desk for details}.


Bob Gillis

On Nov 24, 2008

I have an Endless Pool set into a 19’x24’ deck. I live outside of Boston, Massachusetts. I would like to put something over the pool and deck that would cut down on the heat loss from the pool and possibly also make the area around it a bit warmer so that it is not so brutal to get out of the pool. My ideal would be something I could see through so I can still enjoy being out side. I only plan on using the cover in the winter.

I was looking at your 20’ pool cover. My concerns are whether it will stand up to Massachusetts snow and winters; and how opaque it is or whether it can have wondows.

Thank you.


Subject: Re: Pool Cover

Not sure; the domes are strong and tough but are still tents (light weight and portable). You would need to heat it when snowing to melt snow off as it accumulates. The domes can fail in extreme winds. Read our wind and snow warnings.

Now on the other hand, if they do fail, usually only a few poles brake and they are inexpensive to replace (PVC).

The covering of our standard pool covers lets light through like frosted glass or wax paper. More light pass through than glass but you cannot see through it but if you hold your hand right up against it you can see it. We can make the your cover of our white shelter covering which is optically something like a sheet of paper. See the bottom of page:


Bob Gillis

On Nov 19, 2008,
Hi Bob,

me again.

Eleanor recommended to ask you for a platform. Can u help me?
I think best way is to create a platform with wood?



Hi Claus

Please see our online manual:

http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html and:


for info on floors of all kinds.

After you have looked at this info let me know if you have other questions.

Bob Gillis

November 10, 2008

Hello Bob,
I am looking at various temporary structures for my Unit and was interested in what you company offers. I need to know if the structures are heated and/or cooled or if they are heater/Air condition ready. Please let me know either way and what our options are.

Thanks SSgt Ron

Hello Ron

Air conditioning units can be installed by cutting and taping ducts through walls.

You can install a stove as we describe in our manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

Keep all flames and heat away from your dome's covering and other objects in your dome. If possible have your stove pipe come out the back of your stove and pass through the plywood wall. If your stove pipe exits your stove at the top then place an elbow as close to your stove as possible.

Attach a horizontal section of pipe to this elbow and pass this pipe through the wall such that it will slant slightly down towards the outside. This will keep rain from following the pipe and dripping inside your dome. We recommend using insulated stovepipe throughout. Place an elbow on the outside. Attach a vertical pipe on the outside pipe and a spark arrester cap on top. Use steel wire to support and stabilize the pipe outside the dome. Loop it around the elbow so it lifts and supports the weight of the horizontal pipe. Another wire will be needed around the vertical pipe to keep it upright and stable in the wind. Tie the other ends of the wires to the dome and or attach them to wooden poles driven into the ground. The wires should be tight enough to lift the horizontal pipe so that it is centered through the hole in the wall and not touching the fabric. Local codes may require other installation procedures.

Carefully follow the instructions given with your heater. It is best if you can get a vented heater so that combustibles are expelled from your dome. When a fuel is burn it produces water vapor which will add to the dampness of your space; and carbon dioxide which can suffocate you if you were in an airtight room. The other reason is the fumes which the heater produces can smell and if burnt incompletely produce carbon monoxide (this not the carbon dioxide we mention above but more dangerous and can kill you. Now there are heaters which claim to be safe with out being vented. Read and follow their directions.

If you wish you can alternatively install a silicone stove jack and run your pipe through the jack:

Stove installation jacks and floor liners should match your stove: see the following sources. These should be sewn by hand into the domes covering at a height to match your stove.




For cooling we also suggest you get a Sun Shade:



Bob Gillis

On Nov 6, 2008

Bob, Are the covers strong enough to ‘bridge’ across a waterfall area? We have an upper and a lower pond with a waterfall at one end of the upper pond and a tapered ‘rapids’ at the other end, both emptying into the same lower pond. A cover over the lower pond would have no support for a space of about 7 t 8 feet where it passes in front of the two falls. We only have fish in the lower pond which is what we would like to cover. We live in southern Minnesota (Hastings) and keeping the ice open all winter for gas escape is our concern. We do NOT run the waterfalls in the winter, but we have been running a smaller pump with the flow piped out of the skimmer inlet box right at the surface of the water to keep it agitated enough to postpone freezing over. We also keep a floating tank heater opposite the skimmer to allow ‘flushing’ of gasses from under the ice. I think that a 25 foot cover would give me enough coverage to be able to have a heater under the cover at one side of the pond.

Your thoughts please.

Another question. Is a 25 foot cover just a 30 or 31 foot dome without the bottom course of the wall? From the pictures on the website it looks that way.

Thanks in advance,


Hi Bob

I do not think you should have trouble spanning 8' with the 25' cover. If needed you could attach the free hanging edge to a 2"x4" . The domes and covers are freestanding, can be picked up and moved with a few people and have a stiffness and flexibility that would work in your favor. You would need to have a heater to melt snow off the dome during a storm but it sounds like you have thought of this. Yes, the 25' is the top of the 30 and 31. Let me know if you have other questions. If you decide to use one please send a photo.


Bob Gillis

Date: November 1, 2008

Subject: Hi Eleanor and Bob

Hey there,
A little report for you and some questions.
We have now done a couple of festivals with the domes now and have had a great timeso far. There have been a couple of issues that I would like to sort out before next season.
We had quite a strong wind one day and some of the pannels of the 30foot have started to tear around the clips especially around the bottom ring.
Can we order some extra fabric?

........Yes: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html If you plan to patch it you can sew on a patch over the damaged area (use scrap from your wrapper- or we can send you scrap at the cost of shipping). Alternatively the whole panel can be replaced. Glue or tape is not strong enough.

We also need some spare tubing for all 3 sizes as some are a little too bent and a couple have snapped...

You can buy class 200 PVC at many irrigation supply companies or cut to length poles from us: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

We never recieved any spare poles for the 2 smaller ones (or any spare material either?)

.........The 14 18 and 20' domes come with 4 "door" poles that mostly only one is used, the other 3 can be used as spares. You can use the material the dome was wrapped in to make patches. We can also send you scrap material for the cost of shipping (talk to the order desk)

I realised that the poles come from Italy and get shipped to you and then back to us. Thats too much shipping really and since we are closer to the source, ... can we order that directly?

........I was not aware that our poles were made in Italy. Surely if you have class 200 or 125 get your poles locally. See above

Are there stronger versions of the poles that stand up better to the wind? It is a bit of a problem when its windy, a little scary when you have 100 people on the dancefloor and a lighting and sound instalation that is not so easy to move....

We do not recommend the domes be used in extreme wind. You can strengthen the poles some what: see : http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html But in strong wind other parts of you dome can be over stressed.

On a tecnical level,
We wanted to know how best to remove the material strips across the doors as they are a problem for drunk people .... as you may know.

........You can unclip on of the clips that holds the strip and reattach the clip to the dome. You should however when staking out your dome use the strip to measure the span of the door opening at the base.

How do you set up the entrance thing? We couldnt work it out.

........I think you are talking about the "open arch"? see: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html Setting up you dome with the open arch does weaken the dome however and present a catchment to the wind.

Open Arch Form of your Yurt Dome
If your dome is still hot, a large cooling opening can be created by removing the poles under one of the pole arches on the side of your yurt dome and then tying up the canopy to the arch. You will first need to undo one Grip Clip from the strip at the base of two adjacent doors, then apply the Grip Clips back on to the dome. Run the strings from the inside of the dome, where there are holes on the inside of the clips, to the outside clip strings. This should drastically increase ventilation, but it will also weaken the dome in the wind. This opens your interior space to the outdoors, greatly helping to keep your dome cool. It also makes a wonderful display space for public events.)

To open the arch on the Bubble Dome: The Bubble Dome has only one door there for you will need to remove two clips to simulate another door along the arch away from the existing door and then reattach them with their connectors to the dome's side (this is so that the arch pole can be reinserted). Now the covering under the arch is free to be rolled and tied up.

To set the 31 up in the open arch form. Put the dome up and stake it out. Un-stake the stakes between two adjacent doors. Remove the poles under the arched pole that connects the two doors. Un clip the "door strip" at the base of these two doors by removing a clip to the side of each door. Replace the clip so it will not get lost. Attach 2 to 3' long cords to the inside of each of ghe clips along the arch. Have several people help you to roll up tight and hold the dome's covering under the arch. Using the long cords tie the rolled up covering to the out side clips along the arch.


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