We survived the winter with flying colors! We have almost 3 feet of snow in the backyard, but the dome was awesome at shedding any snow accumulation. Everything remained water tight and we didn’t have any issues.
We managed to get some things done
We did get some of the interior necessities done over the winter, but we still have a lot of work to do to finish the inside. We installed the natural gas heater, finished the base building electrical, installed insulation upstairs and downstairs, and finished the floor upstairs.
Our heater is vent free and it comes with a low oxygen sensor automatic shutoff to prevent any carbon monoxide buildup. I mention this because before we had the chance to insulate, we were able to keep the heater on for any length of time. It just ran until the sensor tripped and quickly cooled back down.
We used two 600sqft spray foam kits from Lowes and did it ourselves. We found that hiring a professional for a smaller job isn’t economical because of all the setup fees and minimums, but they are a better deal for large projects. We also found that the spray foam kits don’t expand nearly as much as a professional application. The result is that we had to use nearly twice the amount to get good coverage.
We learned some things
- It’s super important to keep the foam above 70 degrees. We did this, but we forgot that tanks under pressure cool as your rapidly discharge them so we didn’t get maximum coverage for the first kit.
- Change the nozzles constantly. If you start getting a cottage cheese looking foam, chances are that the “B” chemical is fully or partially clogged at the nozzle.
- This stuff is messy. It’s best to do the full application in one go.
- Safety gear is super important! We prepared and used a full Tyvek suit with hood and boots, then used nitrile gloves. We also had a respirator with an organic filter and full goggles.
- Foam get’s on everything and dries very quickly. Even with all our gear I still had to cut it out of my hair and scrape it off my arms where it got through.
- Cover everything! Did I mention this stuff gets on everything?
We finished the upstairs floor with a Deckover type of painted coating. The product worked as specified, but I wanted something a bit more gap filling like epoxy. After looking into it we learned that most likely epoxy wouldn’t be suitable for use on wood because wood moves too much and the coating would most likely crack. We’ll most likely cover this in a vinyl tile down the road, but it will work for now.