Sphere Cottage - Stage 4
After living in the sphere for six years, I decided to make a better
roof. The metal cone was good at keeping snow off the top, but
sometimes chunks of ice would fall off and chip paint off the
plywood. The metal cone was so large that it trapped hot air in the
After a wet summer I decided to use the aluminum roof on our house.
I was eager to get started. At 51, I thought it wise to do this task
while I still could. It was necessary to install a permanent roof
because the dome is sheathed with 1/4" plywood. A standard roof
design that would require periodic replacement would soon destroy the
Using ropes and ladders I carried 5 sheets of 3/8" plywood to the top of the sphere and made the new ventilator-a smaller one with a rotorlike design I call the fat helicopter. I covered it with brown aluminum. Then I put down some ice and water shield around the top of the sphere, and began screwing the diamond shaped shingles, starting at the top. This aspect of the roof design was helpful, because aluminum is soft and easily damaged. I didn't have to climb or kneel on the aluminum.
I felt uneasy at times, particularly
on the south side where the land drops off. But the ropes held, and I
was able to carefully fit the metal pieces to the somewhat irregular
plydome surface. A standard geodesic with flat triangles and more
distinct edges would have been easier.
The roof has worked very well. During snowfalls, snow continually slides off the steep, slippery surface. As a young man roofing houses during the seventies I noticed how well aluminum held up in this region, and always thought aluminum shingles would work. I can drive by roofs I worked on then and see the aluminum looking almost new after 30 years. So I am planning on the roofs I have installed on the sphere, the dome and the Starplate to last as long as the buildings.
And in high winds our home is quiet.