Pool Domes!

zephans

LifeTime Supporter
Who has a pool dome?
Where do you live?
How long have you had it
Do you like it?
Is it worth it?
What make/model/kind is it?


Here's some examples:
Inflatable domes:
- Rontimco: http://www.rontimco.com/poolpg.htm
- AmeriDome: http://www.websweeper.com/php/pool_domes/do-001.php

Aluminum frame domes:
- Fabrico: http://www.websweeper.com/php/sun_domes/fab-005.php
- Screen and vinyl covered aluminum frame domes
- AmeriDome: http://www.websweeper.com/php/sun_domes/fab-001.php


DIY domes:
- PVC pipe frame: 2"x10', 4-way junctions, 45 degree elbows, ...


Yeah... I know some of you have toyed with the idea of building a pool cover that just happens to rest above the pool instead of on it. How did it go? Here in Seattle we get tons of rain. I would prefer to have the pool closed with cover that is raised above the pool rather than diluting the chemicals all winter long. I'm thinking about the funny ball with tie-downs to keep water from pooling up on the winter cover. Seattle has a relatively short "hot" season, so extending the season is my big reason for considering a dome.

I saw no thread specifically talking about swimming pool dome covers... on a pool discussion group! Let's explore this topic!
OK, your turn. Have you swam in a dome? Talked with someone that owns one? Post your experience here!
 

giulietta1

In The Industry
Mar 29, 2007
289
Knippa, Texas
I have swum in a dome but it was the university pool, not my own. It was an inflatable dome. It did work, as far as keeping the pool surround warm during the winter. Of course I have no idea what it cost to maintain that! This was in central TX. Seems like it always took them some time to get the dome in place and the pool available again.

I would think you'd want to have something like that with a pool in a northern climate. When you spend so much money to get a pool, it seems like you'd want to use it more than just 3-4 mos of the year! A dome might not get you to year-round swimming up north, but I'd think it would at least double your swim season. Personally I favor indoor pools b/c I use the pool for therapeutic exercise which I need year-round. And swimming indoors means I don't need sunscreen. :)
 

NWMNMom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 8, 2007
1,582
Waaay NW MN
We looked at the aluminum frame domes. They run around $2000 with shipping for an 18x33 foot model. They cannot be used in cold weather as the vinyle/covering gets brittle so are really for more temporate weather. They must be removed before any chance of ice/snow.

Our seasons up here work like this -

April/May and September maybe into October - it can either be 29 degrees in the morning and 79 degrees or more at night - The low end of that scale makes use of the dome outside/lower than the recommended levels that would cause the vinyle to become brittle. All 4 of those months include a good chance of snow/ice. Therefore, this is not an option in our type of northern climate to extend the season much past August or earlier than mid May, and thats pushing it.

Too bad, it would be nice to have more swimming time but we know we aren't the South, so we just dream of the pool the rest of the year. These units are warranted for up to about 5 years (pro rated.) Could I just use a heater to boost the heat in my pool for $400 or less per year to extend the season, yes.
 

zephans

LifeTime Supporter
Dang. I thought I'd get lots of input by now. I was also hoping a bunch of DIY extremists would provide detailed experiences (and at least a couple successes) building their own domes with inexpensive materials.

I poked around on doityourself.com but found only a couple threads that were close. http://forum.doityourself.com/showthrea ... light=dome had a tantilizing quote but no details to back it up :(.
Greeneyed_doll> Now if you want an idea for how to put in a very inexpensive dome in a new construction... I have a great CHEAP way to do it. Our 14' dome cost.. hmm let's see...$5.00. lol.
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthrea ... light=dome is a topic specifically asking for dome experience but replies are even weaker than this thread.

I read the testimonials on Rontimco.com and found some people do these IG inflated domes on AG pools by putting carpet or other air barrier between pool and deck edge where dome rests. There is another testimonial on same site from someone in Tacoma... I might have to arrange a visit since there is so little independent info posted.
 
G

Guest

kirbinster said:
Foxx Pools make an inflateable dome that snaps in a channel above where the liner attaches.

foxxx pools is really a good brand, i found out they were the builder of my pool, does this mean i could use thiers since my pool is fox pool.
 
G

Guest

kirbinster said:
Well if your Foxx pool (like mine) has the reciever track just above the liner then you definitely can.
its got an opening with little snaps if that is what you mean
 

kirbinster

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2007
293
NJ
No what I am talking about looks identical to the track that your liner snaps into, but it is about 1" above the top of the liner. Why not just call Foxx and check.
 
G

Guest

kirbinster said:
No what I am talking about looks identical to the track that your liner snaps into, but it is about 1" above the top of the liner. Why not just call Foxx and check.

good plan
 

zephans

LifeTime Supporter
Resurrecting this thread. Someone has got to have tried some creative solutions to build a low-cost reliable dome.

Another season has passed. I spent this summer building a 20'x10' SHW roof over half my deck. I dint' get a chance to install the plumbing and the solar water panels yet, and with first fall wind storms gusting in I'm seeing my time is better spent closing the pool to avoid repeat of dredging muck from bottom of my waterlogged winter cover.

As I pondered options for wintoer cover pillows, netting, and winter cover pumps I ran across a couple ideas. I'm going to try one or both of these soon. Any ideas are welcome.

WINTER COVER DOME IDEAS:
The purpose of these is to prevent water and debris from filling the pool while closed. NOTE that I live in Seattle marine climate where it rains often, snows only a few times, and rarely gets below 20' F. I also have an AG 12'x24' pool. My ideas may not apply to your climate or pool :).

BALL DOME: Exercise ball, small bungie cords, and LOTS of light gauge marine rope.
You can buy this setup from http://www.poolsupplies.com for about $180, or you can build from large unused/thrift store exercise ball and rope + bungie cords from Home Depot/Lowes/etc. home improvement store. Basically tie ropes from a center circle (perhaps metal ring?), attach them to pool edges with bungie cords, then slip the ball under the center ring to provide lift. Drape winter cover over this raised dome and you are home free.

ISSUE #1: Wind - Make sure draw string is secured. Take out slack by using lots of clothes pins or other light-medium clipping devices. If wind gets too much consider weighing down inside rim of cover with water bags (?) or losen enough to fill inside rim of winter cover with water (to keep wind from catching under main winter cover + ball area.

ISSUE #2: Water buildup - Use lots of clothes pins or other clips to keep winter cover tight. Water should just run right off. REMOVE OR LOSEN when snow is expected.

Ball dome might be adaptable for spring/fall use, but several issues require adaptations:
1. ventillation required - Absolutely critical for safety. Don't go under cover without an adequate & trustworthy ventilation system. Consider small fan to keep air flow while in use.
2. Transparent cover - clear polyvinyl sheet "visqueeen" should work fine. Remove when high winds are expected.
3. Low ceiling - Might take more thought to build stable 2' riser for each rope + large enough ball or riser on top of ball. Stability of setup becomes an issue too. Tell the kids not to play


Flexible Pipe arcs "cold frame"
I've got a 12'x24' oval pool. My idea is to get 4 to 6 flexible pipes or rods about 18' long (or enough to bow up 4' in center and attach along the 12' width). I'd take two rods, tie them in center, then attach ends to my oval support columns. Connection at center keeps the two rods from falling down. With 2 or 3 pairs of rods I'll have a scaffolding to support my winter cover to keep rain and debris out. I might need rope across center length tied to each end of the pool. Once frame arcs are set then pull the winter cover over the frame and secure under the top rail. Use clips to keep cover tight enough for water and debris easily slide off.
Issue: Pipe material needs to be strong yet flexible. I'm thinking PVC pipe of some sort, but worried about long-term fractures/failure from constant flexing plus cold weather exposure.
Many other in common with ball idea above. Height shouldn't be a problem, and likely more usable for spring/fall if ventillation resolved.

Let me know your thoughts and ideas. I might not get to it this year, but I want to build something and I don't think I'm going to get approval for a $2,000 to
 

launboy

Well-known member
Jun 15, 2008
582
S.E. Wisconsin
I love it! I think the second idea is more feasable, espcially if you plan on being in the pool while the dome is up. Something like 1/2" or 3/4", maybe even 1" pvc pipe would work well and be flexible. Not sure how long it would last but I think if you kept it bent most of the time (not removing the peices ever other day or something) it should last a couple of years.

You could also use something like steel electrical conduit. You would have to bend it once and then it would be good forever. This also has the advantage that it doesn't neccisarily have to be a perfect dome. Rusting might be an issue but you could paint it with Rustoleum or something similar which should prevent that for the most part.

HTH,
Adam
 
G

Guest

Eons ago, I was in someone's Endless Pool that had a dome on it. It was during cold weather in South Jersey, but I don't know whether they used it all year round or not. I've also seen one built into a sunroom in someone's house. Here's a link to the pools: http://endlesspool.com/index.html. Of course, that won't be much help if you're trying to cover an existing pool.
 

ewsb

Well-known member
May 26, 2007
59
Northern VA
We used our Ameridome all last winter and it truly made swimming most enjoyable and we used the pool many times every week.

We found wind to definitely be an issue and in storms we deactivated the dom and allowed it to deflate. Not sure if there is a better answer to the wind issue.
 

kimrst

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 15, 2007
108
West Michigan
Here in Michigan they have places that you go and play golf and other games inside a huge blown up dome structure. There used to be one in Grand Rapids and now there is one in Saginaw. They are comercial places and I'm sure it takes a lot of electricity to keep those things inflated, probly something along the lines of the jump and slide toys you can rent for kids parties. Maybe you could adapt from those? Just thinking out loud... Kim
 

MEvan

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2008
118
Pittsburgh, PA
So you foxx pool owners really like them? I have not been a hug fan of what I have seen, expecially the lower wall heights. I think the highest wall you can get is 38 or 40 inches. The covers are also a huge pain, we charge more to close them. In my area we get really negative feedback about foxx pools. Maybe its just the installer that does them around here.
 

zephans

LifeTime Supporter
In my age old quest for the cheap DIY dome I've come across a similar structure worth investigating...

Garden Nursery Domed Roof
Summary: Same as "cold frame dome" noted earlier except using construction technique and materials used by local garden nurseries. Go to a local nursery and look straight up when you feel warm. Best suited to oval or rectangular pools. (Might look odd over a round pool.)
Construction typically consists of
1. Sturdy pipe bent into arcs roughly 16' to 20' wide.
2. Angle iron that connects the arcs for the length of the pool.
3. 6 mil or thicker plastic sheeting (for ~2+ year life?).
4. Fastener to hold plastic sheeting tight and in place. Several options are possible here. For example, metal + rubber or wood sandwich along bottom edge of arcs (both sides).
5. Mounting brackets or mounting poles
6. Paint designed to withstand constant moisture for all metal, stain or other treatment for all wood used (again to protect from constant pool humidity).

Variations:
a. Convertible: One side fastened (sandwich), one detachable to roll up and over arc.
b. Adjustable height: Mount arcs on poles that can be raised or lowered. For example, drive metal support poles straight down
c. Side walls: If you want truly enclosed dome you at least need to hang plastic sheeting at each end of the arced roof. If you raise the roof on mounting poles then you also need
PROS: Strong enough to withstand local weather... after all, commercial nursery buildings use same techniques and materials with MUCH larger areas supported.
CONS: Plastic sheeting will wear out after a few years. Also based on the description this is a moderate sized project requiring more than just scraps hanging around the house (unless you are a metal worker by trade :) ).

Anyone who has done this or anything similar please post your list of materials, material sources, design details, insights, experience (good or bad), and how long it has lasted.

Quick reminder for DIY folks:
1. Safety First: Design must consider what would happen if the structure failed when someone is underneath the dome. Also consider ball play, teenagers wiggling poles, ball or tree branch hitting roof, etc.
2. Make sure you construct as much as possible AWAY from the pool. Drop just one arc, angle iron beam, or even plastic rod with a sharp edge into the pool and you will be cursing all the way to the store to fix your self-inflicted pool damage. :hammer:

Foxx pools have their own channel and custom dome accessory. While that's a solution for Foxx pool owners (and a good separate topic if needed) I'm looking for more generically applicable designs.
 

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