Horton Dome - Materials


Our foundation was constructed with "Arxx High Performance Wall System" (formerly BlueMaxx) poured in place foam blocks. They were great for the 126 degree angled corners of the dome extensions.

Floor Joists

The support we chose for the main floor decking was the Silent Floor TJI joists . (The ones in the ads with the elephant standing on them. Our TJI joists are supported by steel I-Beams.

Dome Shell

After personally visiting four major dome kit manufacturers, we chose the hub and strut system of Timberline Geodesics of Berkeley California. Having just completed erection of the shell kit, we are still impressed with the kit and it's ease of assembly.


We are planning to use the Icynene Spray foam insulation system. Our 2x8 exterior wall/roof cavities will have an R-value of nearly 30. The sprayed in system reduces waste in the triangles and provides a more air tight seal.


We have decided on a Smith Series 8 low mass oil fired boiler. We wanted to avoid base board type radiators so we chose a European style radiator from Runtl.

Our hot water will come from a Phase III HL Indirect water heater heated by a zone off the boiler. This zone has priority so your shower stays hot even if the house is getting cold.

We will also have a Heat-N-Glo see-thru gas fireplace that produces 40,000 BTU/HR. Due to the R-40 of the blue maxx block foundation and the R-30 of the Icynene walls, we may be able to use this as a backup to the boiler. The week we completed the insulation, the outside temperature dropped to -18 F. With only the fireplace heating the main level, the inside temp remained at 60 F. However, this was without interior partitions. As we define rooms, we will likely create cold spots that will need radiator supplement.


We expect the house to be "tight" from an air changes point of view, so we plan to install a Venmar - VanEE heat recovery ventilator. This system pulls air from the bathrooms and kitchen and blows it outside. On the way out, it is run through a heat exchanger that passes the heat to outside air coming in. This heated fresh air is distributed to the bedrooms and living room. The net is fresh, healthy air with little loss of heat.

Septic System

The soil was severe in our location, so our soil engineer designed a septic system that incorporated an "intermittent sand filter". This is a new system for the state of Vermont, but it has been used in other states for many years. It is used in place of the more traditional "mound system".

Our soil engineer is Norm Schreib of East Fairfield Vermont (802)827-4434. The system he designed was based on components from Orenco Systems, Inc.


We chose Crestwood windows from Crestline. They are extruded vinyl on the outside with wood trim on the inside.


Our main entrance doors are from Stanley. Our sliding door to the back deck is a Pella.

Our garage door is a Wayne-Dalton Thermowayne. Due to our drive-in basement design, we wanted door that was very thermal efficient (high R factor).


Our shingles (and we sure have a lot of them) are IKO Chateau architectural shingles. We are putting them on over Grace's ICE & WATER SHIELD® (look under "Roof leak protection").

Deck boards

We have decks off three of the extensions outside our dome. Two are 12 feet wide and 8 feet out. (Outside the front door, and off the mezzanine) The other (off the kitchen) is 16 feet wide and 10 feet out. We chose a new polymer decking material called "TREX". It is made of recycled plastic (plastic bags, I think) and wood fibers. It is not supposed to shrink or check. It is available in brown and grey. We chose the grey. It can be painted though.

Spiral stair to cupola

From the library on the second floor we are installing a spiral stair up to the cupola. We purchased the star kit from Salter Industries (P.O. Box 183, 3130 Ridge Pike, Eagleville, PA 19408, 610-631-1360)

Drywall Tape

We hired a taper to do the drywall tape. The main reason we chose this contractor was his knowledge of and experience with "Strait-Flex" tape. It allows straight corners between the triangles in the shell.

Wood Flooring

We chose to install a floating wood floor in the high traffic areas such as the kitchen and foyer. There is a new product for this from Formica.


Kitchen cabintes

Closet Shelving

We are using the Closet Maid wire shelving. It provides a large variety of configurations and storage options to maximize use of closet space. It is a little more intricate with non 90 degree corners and, in some cases, non verticle walls (yes, we are puting some on the exterior shell walls), but it still works great. We are using it in the bedroom and foyer closets.


The new 1.6 gallon per flush toilets are creating problems. We tried 3 different models before we got one that would consistently flush without plugging. We now have 3 Western Toilets and will probably get one more. They do the job. To locate a dealer near you, check the Contractors 2000 web site.

Home Automation

I have installed several devices to automate lighting, and security in the dome. One setup uses a motion sensor above the garage door, to ring a chime inside the house, and turn on a camera and TV when someone drives up. This gives us a warning, and a virtual window to see who is arriving. The camera and other devices, are from X10.com. Other items like the light controllers and keyless entry door locks are available from www.smarthome.com. I also use a computer to control some "conditional events" like if it is dark, turn on the front walk lights when someone drives up. The program I use is HomeSeer from Keyware.

More to come as we progress

This site created and maintained by Ted Horton (ted at hortondome . com)
Last update 7/6/2003

All information and photos in this site are Copyright © 1997, 1998, 2000 Ted Horton.