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Parts & Components

“Parts & Components: Fabric durability I”

How long will the dome fabric, or covering, last?

About 3 years of full sun. All our coverings incorporate UV sunscreen inhibitors to help block damage from the sun and give the coverings a longer useful life.

Shelter Systems’ covering is made by taking a special plastic copolymer and stretching it until it becomes stiff. At this point, the material is at its maximum tensile (pull) strength. It is then sliced into thin strips and woven into a fabric. This gives it amazing tear resistance. The fabric is then laminated on both sides with some sheets of the same stretch-strengthened material and is thereby stabilized and super strengthened. You cannot tear it. Our coverings come in three “colors:” Translucent, White, and Shade covering (Silver outside to reflect light and the sun and Black inside to block light and sun).

“Parts & Components: Fabric durability II”

I will be using this shelter outside of Alamosa, Colorado at an elevation of 7500 feet. That area gets 350 days of sunshine per year, so the ultraviolet factor is a big one. How does this fabric hold up under that type of elevation and sunshine? (I notice that you’ve tested in Florida and Arizona.) 

I am not certain how long the covering will last in your sun conditions. My guess is approximately 2 years of full use. If you store the dome when not needed, you will extend the covering’s life. As one goes up in elevation, the intensity of the sun increases.

“Parts & Components: Fabric durability III”

I am a little concerned that the stray cats in our neighborhood will reek havoc on the material. Can it be cat proofed? Or should it hold up well to the cats?

The material we use for the covering of our yurt domes and greenhouses is very strong and should not be damaged by cats.

“Parts & Components: Fabric brittleness in cold”

Can these be used in cold weather, or does the fabric get brittle? We are interested in having an emergency shelter available at a reasonable cost. Your price is reasonable, but how about durability in midwest climate?

The fabric that most of the dome is constructed of does not get brittle in the cold. However, the clear vinyl windows can become brittle in extreme cold. If you plan to use the dome in extreme cold, we recommend that you order it with translucent windows made of our woven ripstop greenhouse film, rather than with clear vinyl windows. The translucent greenhouse film lets through more light than glass, but images cannot be seen clearly through it. It’s like looking through wax paper. Looking through the vinyl windows is like looking through glass.

“Parts & Components: Fabric width, length and price”

Is the white woven ripstop material that sells for $8.00/Yd available in a 36′ width by 50′ length? If not, what width and length is available?

Our three fabrics (translucent, white, and shade) are available in 6′ width, in any length, for $8/yard. We can sew into wider widths yourself on your home sewing machine. For under 20′ in length, shipping and handling are $10; for over 20′, shipping costs increase.

“Parts & Components: Painting the fabric”

I noticed a camouflage tent designed for military use and wondered if I could purchase one. Visibility of a huge dome from the valley might cause an “impact to the natural beauty” type complaint from the people living on the grid below.

Sorry, we do not offer a dome in the camouflage covering. You can paint our domes with spray paint, however. Test the paint first, because paints vary a lot.

“Parts & Components: Sewing the covering”

I have two sky lights inside my home that I need to sew/create a drape to block out the sun and heat. Would your black liner be a material that I could sew on the back of designer fabric? I would only need about 3-4 sq yards. Can I order in qualities that small? Note that to make my liner drapes, I have to be able to sew on a sewing machine.

Yes, our white and black shade covering would work. And it will block 100% of the light. It’s 6′ wide. You can order any length you need. You can sew our coverings on a home sewing machine.

“Parts & Components: fabric sun filtration”

I am a home gardener in north central KS. I am planning on building a wood framed greenhouse (10′ X 20′). I am pricing covering materials. Filtration is my main concern.

Our translucent covering lets through 90% of the sunlight (more than glass). Unlike glass, the translucent covering diffuses the sunlight so that it won’t burn the plants inside the greenhouse. Our white covering lets through 60% of the sunlight.

“Parts & Components: translucent greenhouse fil

Will your translucent film provide the same amount of light to plants in a greenhouse as clear poly film?

Yes. Our light-diffusing (and therefore non-burning) translucent film lets 90% of the available light through.

Can I expect similar plant growth in my greenhouse using your film?

Yes. It is designed for greenhouse use.

“Parts & Components: Fabric sun blocking”

Do any of your coverings block 100% of the light?

Yes, our White and Black covering blocks 100% of the light .

“Parts & Components: Fabric samples”

I’m considering buying one of your solar domes. I’d like to get fabric samples of the woven, ripstop film and the polyester canvas.

We are sending you the samples you asked for.

“Parts & Components: Fabric replacement on dome”

If the shelter covering needs to be replaced, but the pole frame is in good condition, how much does only the fabric cost? Connectors only?

We sell replacement dome covers with Grip Clips and connectors attached for 80% of the cost of the dome. We don’t sell covers by themselves because attaching the Grip Clips and connectors is complicated.

“Parts & Components: Creating a big tarp with fabric and Grip Clips”

I’m interested in using your coverings and Grip Clip tarp fasteners on a construction site. My thoughts are to use your clips with some poles and guy lines to hold in position. Ideally it should by about 50 X 100′. Is this practical?

Our woven fabric, which is 6′ wide, can be sewn into tarps, but we recommend you buy one readymade. Or you can join tarps together (or our fabric) with our Grip Clips to create a larger size. The wind loading on a 50×100′ tarp would be high.

With poles, guylines and Grip Clip tarp fasteners you can create good protection for a building under construction. Grip Clips are versatile: you can create the size and shape of covering you need for a particular job, then disassemble the covering, and use it on the next job.

“Parts & Components: Making sails from our fabric”

I’m interested in purchasing some of the woven ripstop fabric used for greenhouse coverings and tarps. The intended purpose is to make sails for sailboats. I refurbish old boats for teens and scout troops but sail fabrics have historically been cost prohibitive for the program and do not hold up well under the vigorous use (abuse) of these energetic sailors. In what quantities would I have to purchase the clear woven poly fabric, and in what standard widths does it come? Are sample swatches available?

We don’t have experience using our fabric for sails. However, we believe the fabric has the right properties to make a good sail: It’s stable on the bias (it doesn’t stretch) and has a stiffness (a “stiff hand”) which is ideal for sails (it won’t get baggy). It can be sewn. You could attach it to the mast by sewing a sleeve or with Grip Clips tarp fasteners. You could attach it to the boom with a Grip Clip. It is 6′ wide, available in any length, costing $10 a yard + shipping. We can send you a sample.

“Parts & Components: Doors & dome security

How are the doors secured?
With hooks.

Any locking device?

“Parts & Components: Net doors “

How is bug netting attached to doors?

If you ordered net doors with your original order, they are already installed and function just like your fabric doors. If you got them from us later, you can install them yourself.

To install a net door, you tie the upper two corners of the net door to the two dome clips on the upper inside corners of the doorframe. There are holes on the interior of the clips on your dome for this purpose. Thread the string through one of these holes on each of the 2 clips. Pull the string up as short as you can get it and tie.


“Parts & Components: Floors I”

Do any of these domes have floors like some tents? I don’t mean a wood floor, but a fabric floor or bottom.

Our domes do not come with floors. However, some type of ground cover is necessary to keep dampness from coming up into your space. Either you can use your own tarp or we make you a floor that is cut to fit your dome. Shelter Systems’ floors are made of a blue, tough, waterproof, fire-resistant, ripstop material. If you decide to make your own floor, you can purchase Grip Clip tarp fasteners from us for attaching the floor to the dome. It is often not necessary to the attach the floor to the wall because objects on the floor may be adequate to prevent the floor from shifting around.

There is a good reason that our floors are not sewn in. We have eliminated a critical area for leaks: seams at ground level. To further keep water out of the dome, there is an approximate 6″ skirt all around the bottom of the wall which directs rain and water away from the dome.

Another reason not to sew the floor to the wall is any condensation that might occur runs down the lower wall onto the ground outside, not onto your floor. This is because at the place where the floor meets the wall, the floor continues up the wall about another 6″ and is then clipped to and tied up against it with our Grip Clip tarp fasteners. (For more info on condensation, see the condensation question in the “Climate: cold” section above.)

Another benefit of a separate floor is that when your dome is stored, the floor can be rolled up separately so it will not dirty your walls.

Our Instruction Manual provides information and suggestions on siting your dome for good drainage, installing our floor in the dome, building decks, etc.

“Parts & Components: Floors II”

Can you put in a wooden floor so that you are up off the

Yes, you can build a wooden deck for your dome. See our Instruction Manual for details.

Most of us have lived our live in a house, so living on the ground does not come intuitively to us. We think living on an earthen floor would be wet, cold, and damp. However, if you choose your site carefully and prepare the earthen floor properly, the earthen floor will be drier, warmer and always much cheaper than building a wooden deck. It requires time and effort to build a deck and make it function properly, so that rainwater doesn’t flow into the dome, so it’s attached properly to its foundation, and so it’s adequately insulated against cold. You need to have carpenter skills, aptitude, ambition, and/or a good book on building decks. Of course, a deck would be a better floor in some situations, such as on a very steep slope or on boulders or volcanic rock you can’t easily move, or if you want to elevate the dome.

“Parts & Components: Dome frames”

Do you ever just sell the frames?

The frame as we make them for the dome will not stand without the covering. It’s nearly impossible to assemble. But we would be willing to make a special frame that would stand for you. Pricing would be 30% of the cost of the dome.

“Parts & Components: Poles”

Is it possible to use bamboo or wood poles instead of PVC pipe?
Yes, if they are bent to the same degree as the dome is curved. You can do this with green bamboo branches or pre-bent branches.

“Parts & Components: Poles”

Will your PVC pipe frame resist cracking in cold temperatures of -10/-20 below?

Yes. This does not mean the poles will not crack. If you jump on them, hit them against a rock, drive over them, they will crack– even at room temperature. A broken pole is easy to replace. Or to repair, by inserting a section of a branch between the two pieces of the pole.

“Parts & Components: Privacy”

When you are inside the shelter at night and you have lights on, can people on the outside see your silhouette? If so, what do you recommend to prevent this?
Depends on the lighting. You could hang drapes inside or you could order the dome with walls made of our white/black/white covering. This is white on both the inside and outside with black in the middle.

“Parts & Components: non-stooping entrance”

I am interested in the dome you display as a “Golf in the Rain” HexPent dome. Your web page says that it is not available at this time, but makes a reference to your SolarDome 20. I looked at that, but can’t tell if it’s about the same size.

I’d like a structure that people could walk in (to find some shade or to get out of a light rain) without having to stoop much. The “Golf” dome looks perfect for that! Are you planning on selling it in the future, or is it a “display only” or discontinued item?

We’re not planning on marketing the HexPent dome in the near future. Take a look at our 20′ SolarDome, which is the size of the HexPent dome. Transformed into the Arch Dome, it has a 7’5″ high opening.

Arch Dome

Full size 14′, 18′, or 20′ domes can be transformed into Arch Domes by you at no cost. Instructions that come with your dome tell you how to turn your dome into a Arch Dome. It takes only about 15 minutes and can be undone when you want your full dome back. The Arch Dome is great on a hot day or in a hot climate since the large arched opening provides for unsurpassed ventilation. It is excellent for using your dome as a display show space at a fair or other social occasion. The large opening is inviting and friendly.

“Parts & Components: Dome weight”

I am very interested in using one of your Domes in the Islands of the Pacific. I would need the lightest you have as we will be traveling at times several miles inland on foot. We will be using this Dome as a temporary meeting place for a group of 20 people. Then using it as sleeping quarters.

We would recommend the 20-foot SolarDome. It weighs 70 pounds total, divided equally between two packages. The dome makes a beautiful meeting place.

“Parts & Components: Grip Clips”

We run a boarding kennel for dogs and are looking for some way to cover the areas where we exercise the dogs so that we can continue to use them in inclement weather. We do live in an area that gets a substantial amount of snow in the winter.

You would have to remove the snow either manually or by melting it off as it accumulates. The latter method is the easiest but this means you would have to heat it. An alternative (and the most sensible) method of covering the run would be to attach poles or 2×4’s to the fence on one side extending above the fence top to create high anchor points and then attach a tarp or tarps with Grip Clip tarp fasteners over the entire run. You can also use Grip Clips to join smaller tarps together.