Exterior Domes FAQ

How does the dome attach to the structure?
Exterior domes generally have bolt or screw attached flanges where the dome sits on the structure. Interior domes are attached by perimeter flanges or are hung like a suspended ceiling.
Can Stromberg domes be used as observatories?
Some institutions and individuals purchase a dome as an observatory. It provides a safe, out of the weather location for astronomy and viewing. Observatory domes are custom made to any size or shape and can incorporate various features.
What if the dome is damaged by the shipping company?
We only use shipping companies that show proof of a minimum of $100,000 in insurance against freight damage. Inspect the crate as it arrives in the truck for evidence of damage. If damage to the crate is apparent, it should be noted on the driver ticket (the Bill of Lading), with the driver signing acknowledgement.
Can the domes be used in extreme temperatures?
We have domes in use around the world. Fiberglass domes are used from the polar arctic to the tropics and all climates in between.
How high of winds will Stromberg domes withstand?
We have had several domes survive multiple hurricanes, including category 5 hurricanes. Sustained winds greater than 135 knots (155.4 mph; 250.0 km/h). Stromberg fiberglass and Stromberg GFRC have been used for hurricane shelters as well as emergency command centers in tornado areas.
How much do Stromberg domes weigh?
How much a dome weighs depends upon the material selected, size of the dome and any ribbing. Our GFRP domes are made from fiberglass reinforced polyester resin (yacht grade) and are relatively lightweight at 3 to 5 lbs. per square foot. A 10' diameter GFRP dome weighs about 300 lbs.
What about dome projects outside the USA?
Stromberg domes are in use around the world. Domes are crated and shipped by ocean freight. Please contact us and we would be happy to provide an exact quote for shipping your dome to your location. The domes are relatively simple to assemble, so special installers or assistance is generally not needed. We can also supply installers and or installation supervision if necessary.
What is the lifespan of a fiberglass dome?
We have domes that are over 20 years old and in excellent condition. Like a quality fiberglass yacht, the lifespan of our fiberglass domes is probably indefinite with proper care.
What Colors are available?
Almost any color is available in a Stromberg dome. Both fiberglass and GFRC domes can be integrally colored as well as surface finished in the color you select. Various textures are also available, from smooth to stone texture, or an aged copper or bronze look.
Why are Stromberg exterior domes so strong?
The strength of the domes is derived from the combination of the high strength materials used and the shape of the dome.
How do fiberglass dome structures withstand earthquakes?
Stromberg domes are lightweight, flexible and very strong. These qualities make them a durable and safe roof covering for earthquake prone regions. Compare this to the "the top-heavy affect" of tons of concrete or clay tile on your roof.
I have seen metal domes rust. Is that a concern with Stromberg domes?
Fiberglass does not rust. Stromberg domes have been used in the most severe corrosion locations near salt water and in salt water without rusting. Fiberglass is also regularly used for domes over corrosive materials (industrial acids, chlorines and the like) for its durability under harsh environments.
What about copper domes?
Stromberg domes are available in a copper or copper patina with real copper in the fiberglass gel coat. The advantage is that with a Stromberg domes there is not a danger of copper oxide run off staining the construction below the copper or corroding other metals below the copper.
How do I go about recreating or restoring a historical dome?
Stromberg fiberglass has been used on several historically significant structures to recreate historic domes and architectural elements. We work from drawings, old photos or the remains of the existing dome. Dome replication can include the entire dome or only the missing or damaged elements.
What is unique about an exterior dome that makes it different than a dome used on the interior of a building?
An exterior dome must be made of materials that resist the elements. This requires Fiberglass, GFRC or GFRS. Glass fiber reinforced gypsum (GFRG) cannot be used for exterior domes.
I want a mosaic tile covered dome, what are my options?
Mosaic tiles can be embedded into the dome during casting or the mosaic pattern can be molded into the dome.
How do I get a gold leafed dome?
Gold leafing can be applied after the dome is installed or applied at the factory. Alternatively a gold gel coat can be used in fiberglass domes.
What is the dome drum?
The drum of a dome is the wall section below the dome itself. This often features half columns or pilasters and windows.
Can I paint the dome?
Yes. For some exterior dome applications it makes more sense to paint the dome than to attempt to cast in the color. A combination of molded-in color and painted color can also be used. For interior domes, the dome is typically cast in GFRG and is finish painted on site.
I'm looking for a Spanish tile or barrel tile exterior dome. What are my options?
Getting roof tile that fits a dome shape can be a challenge. To solve the problem, we have produced several domes with the shape of Spanish or barrel tile molded in to match the roof tile of the building. (see the St John Monastery page for an example)

Interior Domes FAQ

How well do GFRG domes hold up to rain and weather?
The GFRG dome is not designed for exterior use and is used as a ceiling dome or an inner dome. It is never actually exposed to the elements. For exterior applications see our fiberglass, GFRC or GFRS options.
How are GFRG domes installed?
The dome is attached with screws at the outer flange or is hung from wires similar to a suspended ceiling. For a monolithic appearance, the dome joints may be filled and floated similar to gypsum board.
Are coffered domes available?
Absolutely, a coffer is a pattern of recessed squares, rectangles, or octagons in a dome.
What are the finish options for interior domes?
GFRG domes may be painted, finished with gold leaf or finished with a wood stain.
What is the flame spread of a GFRG dome?
Stromberg GFRG is made from minerals (gypsum, glass fibers, aggregate and water) and will not burn. The flame spread is 0 and smoke developed is 0.
Who can install a GFRG dome?
A skilled carpenter, gypsum board installer or other reasonably skilled craftsman can install GFRG. Instructions are provided.
Can I use fiber optics in the dome?
Fiber optics allows for a starry sky lighting effect. The dome is drilled with small holes where the fiber optic light is inserted. This can be factory installed. Well known museums, such as the Smithsonian have used Stromberg elements with fiber optic night sky effects. Contact us for information or assistance.
How do I recreate or restore a historic plaster dome?
Plaster domes that are deteriorated or damaged beyond ordinary patching should be removed and replaced. The new dome should match the existing historic plaster dome. We can work from old photos or drawings or from damaged pieces of the existing plaster work to recreate the original element. Stromberg domes and architectural elements are found in historical treasures across the USA and are accepted by historic restoration boards and professionals. Our historic restoration specialists have worked on the U.S. White House, Texas State Capital, U.S. Capitol, numerous historic courthouses, churches, commercial buildings and homes. Contact us for assistance, we are here to help.