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The Polyurethane Foam Book

David B. South, President of Monolithic, has plenty to say on the subject of Polyurethane Foam. What began as a fascination in 1969 turned into bread and butter by 1971.

Polyurethane Foam

Articles featured on the Monolithic.com website that discusses Polyurethane Foam and its link with the Monolithic construction method.

Books

Books regarding Monolithic Domes.

SprayFoam.com features David South’s book

On its homepage, SprayFoam.com, a website designed to serve the spray foam insulation community, is featuring Urethane Foam: Magic Material – And the Best Kept Insulation Secret. It describes the book as “a must-read for anyone with questions about the nature of urethane foam or its insulating qualities” and provides links for its purchase or free download.

Understanding Polyurethane Foam

One of the characteristics of polyurethane foam is density. Density equals how many pounds per cubic foot it weighs. So when we say we want two-pound density foam, it means we want two pounds per cubic foot of foam weight. This can be a little confusing.

Polyurethane Foam Application

Rebar Hangers

It is imperative that you, the dome owner/builder, understand the basics of foam application to monitor the process and look for potential problems. This article describes the foam application process and could be given to a foam contractor so expectations are clear.

Foam: Fire Hazard and Fire Barrier

Fire damage from three wood structures and 300 gallons of transformer oil – Cargill – Channelview, TX
  A violent, wind-driven fire fueled by three wood structures and 300 gallons of transformer oil burned about a third of the covering off this fertilizer storage. The fire was the worst possible. Late at night, wind blew the fire directly toward the building. The fire department was not immediately called, so the oil burned completely. Damage was most severe to the exterior. In a 12-square-foot area, urethane was totally burned off, but the rest suffered more minor damage. The foam could be cleaned and a coating or metal cladding could be installed over it. No damage was detected on the inside of the Monolithic Dome.
  Note that the foam held the fire back for a considerable time, and then the nonflammable concrete ended any possibility of the flames burning through to the stored product. Materials inside the dome were totally unaffected by the fire, and the dome’s concrete interior never even got warm.

When sprayed on the interior of a building, with no covering such as shotcrete or drywall, polyurethane foam can create a dangerous fire hazard. Monolithic Domes are as close to fireproof as you can make a building with today’s technology. Yet they have urethane as a major component. Currently, urethane foam is the world’s best insulation, but let me tell you the rest of the story.

Herb Nordmeyer’s: The Stucco Book – The Basics

Herb’s book covers all the bases and is the best explanation of stucco I have ever read. It’s absolutely ideal for anybody that is in the stucco business, or that may have a need for stucco, or that would like to learn about the benefits of this super material and its many uses.

Robert Bissett’s New Design Book

Authored by architectural designer and artist Robert Bissett, this book takes the reader through all the stages required to produce a functional and attractive set of working drawings. The prospective home owner will learn how to start with a pencil-drawn floor plan, build a 3D computer model and produce and publish a complete set of house plans.

Polyurethane Foam Insulation: An Alternative with Big Benefits

“Polyurethane foam is no stranger to us,” said Monolithic’s President David B. South in a recent discussion of home insulation at MDI headquarters in Italy, Texas. “After all, it’s a major component of the Monolithic Dome building process,” he continued. “But I’m still continually surprised by how little the construction industry and the average American homeowner know about this wonderful product.”

An Architect’s Sketch Book: Domes For Tomorrow II

Sample Pages — front cover

Architect Rick Crandall’s Domes For Tomorrow II is an idea book of innovative, unique Monolithic Dome designs. It includes color photographs and/or drawings of Monolithic facilities designed as schools, churches, homes, gymnasiums, a theater, a shopping center, a nightclub, a planetarium, a yacht club, an apartment complex, a hotel, a theme park, a golf course, a library, a hospital, offices, a bakery, a detention facility, and aircraft hangars. 

Media

Over the years, the Monolithic Dome Institute has developed dozens of books, videos and DVDs. These include hundreds of plans for designing a Monolithic Dome dream home, school, church, gymnasium – virtually any structure for any use. Our library also includes training material related to dome construction and reference texts on polyurethane foam and the construction of concrete thin shells.

Domes and Uses: A Collection of Domes and their Many Uses

Sample pages – Cover

Domes & Uses, both as an Ebook and as a printed text, has nine, information-packed sections that cover virtually everything related to Monolithic Domes. This book’s articles and data are supplemented with photographs, drawings, sketches and floor plans. 

January 2005 – Think Round: The Story of David B. South

The story of David B. South – a man whose foresight and determination led to the invention of the Monolithic Dome - is perfectly summarized in the title of a new book about his life: Think Round: The Story of David B. South and the Monolithic Dome as told to Freda Parker.

Monolithic Dome Institute

Monolithic Dome Institute (or MDI) is the information-generating and educational branch of the Monolithic family. Our MDI staff coordinates and maintains the material on our websites; publishes books and brochures; produces podcasts, CDs and texts; works with the media; hosts or participates in special events.

“Dome Sweet Home” Now Downloadable

Book Cover

Two dome-owners and the owner of a home improvement business co-authored “Dome Sweet Home,” a detailed description of the Monolithic Dome building process.

How to load Monolithic eBooks on a Kindle Fire

Installing a Monolithic ebook on your Kindle Fire is easy.

Installing a Monolithic ebook on your Kindle Fire is easy. I have listed the steps in this article, but the best way to read these steps is by clicking on the fist image, then using the captions to give the step-by-step instructions.

Professionals

To help our clients find the professionals they need to turn their Monolithic Dome dream into a reality, we maintain a listing service. It includes Monolithic Dome builders, architects and designers, foam applicators and suppliers, engineers, lending companies, appraisers, and insurance companies.

The Monolithic Dome

Cutaway — Schematic cutaway of the layers of the final Monolithic Dome.

Monolithic Domes are constructed following a method that requires a tough, inflatable Airform, steel-reinforced concrete and a polyurethane foam insulation. Each of these ingredients is used in a technologically specific way.

Insulated Footings: Thermal Break for Monolithic Domes

Joey is taping off the area just above where they intend to spray foam to avoid getting any overspray on the airform. They have dug a trench around the footing about 10 inches deep that will be insulated.

Generally, in the US, footings are not insulated. By not insulating the footing, we have a place where cold can enter our houses. Monolithic Dome builders may need to consider insulating footings of Monolithic Dome homes to provide a thermal break and reduce chances for condensation and/or mold growth.

An Insider’s View of the Monolithic Dome Construction Process

Spray Foam Magazine — The Emerson’s of Hayes, Virginia allowed Jack Innis of Spray Foam Magazine to witness the construction of their Monolithic Dome Home.

Anyone who has ever sprayed polyurethane foam during construction of a Monolithic Dome knows that even television host Mike Rowe would agree that it qualifies as a “Dirty Job.” Crews have to work on the interior of the dome once the Airform is inflated, and polyurethane foam literally surrounds them as they spray the building’s curved surfaces.

How to Build a Monolithic Dome

Step One: Foundation

Monolithic Domes are constructed following a patented method that requires a tough, inflatable Airform, steel-reinforced concrete and a polyurethane foam insulation. Each of these ingredients is used in a technologically specific way.

Prepare for real-world emergencies — not doomsday

When the Dallas Observer wrote about the Monolithic Dome Research Park, they connected the domes to prepping for doomsday. That misses the point. We are not preparing for the end times; we are preparing for the end … of a good book, curled up on the couch, peacefully reading while a storm rages outside.

Podcast: Studios

Monolithic Podcasts

Monolithic Studios have the strength and durability of steel-reinforced concrete, insulated with polyurethane foam and blanketed with an Airform. It’s energy-efficient, easily maintained, disaster resistant, fire- and termite-proof.

Monolithic Dome Builders Workshops

A Monolithic Dome Workshop is a combination of hands-on training and classroom instruction. Equal time is given to studying dome construction principles in a classroom setting and to applying those principles by actually building a Monolithic Dome.

Can you turn an EcoShell into a Monolithic Dome?

The obvious answer is yes. Can you make it cheaper? Not in our opinion. One such process suggests inflating an EcoShell II Airform, applying stucco, foam, rebar and concrete, then peeling off the Airform so it can be reused. In Monolithic’s very early days, we peeled off Airforms for reuse.

MDI Workshop: What Will I Need to Bring?

During the workshop you will have the opportunity to participate in the dome construction process, which includes foaming, hanging rebar and spraying concrete. Gary Clark is the Monolithic Representative responsible for this portion of your training. If you plan on participating in these hands-on classes, we require you to bring some safety equipment.

Lessons Learned by Monolithic in Exterior Coatings

Vaper Drive — One of the early domes where the Airform was removed. Because the coating is in bad shape, the dome needs recoating or metal cladding – Chandler, Oklahoma.

Early Monolithic Domes were coated utilizing various materials such as stucco, acrylic elastomers, butyl rubber elastomers and urethane elastomers. I was so paranoid about vandals damaging the exterior foam that for the first several domes we sprayed the exterior’s bottom ten feet with two inches of concrete. From all of the above experiments, I learned many valuable lessons.

Hobbit House in the Media Spotlight

It’s not often that a newsmaker captures the attention of the esteemed New York Times and the hip MTV in the same week, but that’s exactly what happened to Steve Michaels and his wife, Chris. They are the creative geniuses behind the Hobbit House of Montana, a guesthouse inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s book by the same name.

R-value Fairy Tale: The Myth of Insulation Values

In the following sample chapter of the ebook Urethane Foam: Magic Material – And the Best Kept Insulation Secret, David explains why the R-value is misleading, how it was devised and why it’s flawed and biased. It also includes case histories and discusses the purpose and workings of insulation.

Travel in style by staying at a Monolithic Dome B&B

Thyme For Bed Inn in Lowell, Indiana

As you make your summer travel plans, consider experiencing life in a Monolithic Dome along the way by booking a room in a unique bed and breakfast. Thyme For Bed Inn in Lowell, Indiana was recently featured on a “Fantastical Five” list of unique inns. Hundreds of visitors have stayed in the Monolithic Dome’s four bedrooms since it opened in 1999.

The Residential Evaluator

This Online Evaluator is a tool to provide you with size and cost estimates for Monolithic Dome Homes. You do not receive any designs or plans with this procedure. Purchase Dome Living: A Creative Guide For Planning Your Monolithic Dream Home during the planning stages of your project. This book contains more than one hundred easy-to-read designs for Monolithic Dome Homes, both large and small.

Learn to build a dome at the Fall 2022 Monolithic Dome Builders Workshop

Workshop student learning to spray foam.

Have you ever wanted to build a Monolithic Dome? To get your hands dirty applying foam, hanging steel, and spraying shotcrete? Want to learn from dome builders with decades of experience? Now’s your chance. Come to the Fall 2022 Monolithic Dome Builders Workshop this September and build a genuine Monolithic Dome.

Monoform Primer: What’s it all about?

Bayblock Prime FR — Monoform Primer is now marketed as Bayblock Prime FR.

In 1995, Monolithic began working with UCSC to develop a primer that could be applied onto the inside or outside of an Airform. David B. South, president of Monolithic, had two tasks in mind for this primer. He wanted it to minimize the formation of blisters between the Airform and foam and to act as an adhesive on either side of the Airform. Result: the Monoform Primer.

An Option to Avoid with Stitched Seams

The Ecker dome-home — after the Airform was inflated, its perimeter was sprayed with leftover, two-part, closed cell foam. It’s clearly visible as a bright yellow band along the foundation.

You may find this article helpful if your Monolithic Dome Airform has any stitched seams and also has a barrier material, such as foam along the exterior terminal edge of the Airform.

Do I need to care for or coat the fabric Airform?

The Airform, used to form the shape of the dome during construction, is left on as an outer covering and first line of defense for a Monolithic Dome. It protects the polyurethane foam from the UV radiation of the sun and repels rain, snow, and more. The Airform takes a lot of abuse and requires care. It needs to be coated within five to ten years after a dome home is finished.

A Tribute to Freda Parker

Two happy cruisers — Freda and James Parker enjoyed a Caribbean cruise to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary and Freda’s 75th birthday.

For more than a dozen years, Freda (Grones) Parker has been Monolithic Inc.’s head writer, reporter and historian. Most of the articles in the Roundup Magazine and Monolithic’s website were written by her, along with several of our books. This month, Freda celebrates two major milestones: her 10th wedding anniversary and her 75th birthday. In appreciation for all of her efforts on our behalf over the years, we wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to her many accomplishments.

Monolithic Chain Shell: A Super Protector

Chain Shell is one of several materials that can be used to cover and protect an Airform.

For many years Monolithic has been researching and developing protection for the Airform, the exterior fabric on a Monolithic Dome. That fabric is the weakest link of the Monolithic Dome, yet it serves two absolutely vital functions. As its name implies, the Airform forms the critical shape of the structure. That’s its primary function. But it also has an equally vital secondary function: An Airform protects the dome’s polyurethane foam insulation from sunshine and weather. But it’s made of fabric materials that, over time, the sun can slowly degrade. So to do its job, obviously the Airform needs help.

Can EcoShells Be Insulated?

EcoShell II — Insulating an Ecoshell is simply another low cost alternative.

An EcoShell, like a Monolithic Dome, is built of reinforced concrete. But unlike that of a Monolithic Dome, the EcoShell’s Airform is removed and reused. Nor is an EcoShell usually sprayed with an insulating blanket of polyurethane foam. Obviously, an EcoShell and a Monolithic Dome are very different structures. Nevertheless we are often asked: Can EcoShells be coated with foam? The answer is a very cautious Yes because it’s not a smart solution.