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Dome of a Home Survives Hurricane Katrina

Dome of a Home, in Pensacola Beach, Florida, did it again reports the Monolithic Dome Institute.

This 70' x 54', luxurious, beachfront property that is the home of Valerie and Mark Sigler, as well as a bed and breakfast, has survived its third serious hurricane in a year. This time, it was Katrina, the Category 5 hurricane that devasted so much of the Gulf Coast. But unfortunately, not all of the facility escaped the wrath of the hurricanes.

While inspecting the dome, Mark discovered part of a concrete wall, weighing about two tons, atop their geothermal well system.

"Hurricane Ivan (September 2004) knocked down a block house next door to us," Mark reports. "Our neighbors cleaned the debris away from that house. But they didn't see part of a wall covered by sand.

"Somewhere between Hurricane Dennis (July 2005) and Katrina, that wall got moved," he continues. "The surge came over and moved that concrete wall against the ring beam of our dome, and left it resting atop our geothermal well system. It crushed the well head."

Neither the wall nor the damage it caused could be seen until Mark began digging.

"Four to five feet down through all this sand, I began finding debris from this house that, at one time, was above ground and about 30 feet away from us," he says. "A hurricane's water surge can turn everything to soup for seven or eight feet down. That's why you put the dome on pilings."

Seven geothermal wells serve Dome of a Home. Each goes down for about 250 feet. At about three feet below the surface, where the well head is, they all tie together and go in and out of the house.

"That's where the wall ended up," Mark says. "I'm repairing it today. That's the major extent of our damage. The dome itself is not damaged."

Although they have electrical power, Mark says that there is a serious shortage of materials, equipment and manpower in the area.

"It took me days to locate a lift with a basket that I can use to lift myself to the top of the dome, and it's 100 miles away," he says.

Nevertheless, Mark has started recoating the outside of the dome. He says, "I've already redone the underneath side. To make it even more water-resistant, I rhino lined the entire garage ceiling where all the pipes go through the house. Now, no matter how much water is driven up there, it won't come through the floor system."

Note: Rhino liner is a polyurethane material that can be sprayed onto concrete and many other surfaces to make them water-tight. It's most often used to line truck beds and/or the underside of a vehicle.

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