How Much Does It Cost to Build a Dome House?
$100 - $250
$100 - $250
Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.
Updated January 25, 2022Written by HomeAdvisor.
Dome houses cost between $100 and $250 per square foot to build. This price includes finishing, too, but does not include the purchase of or preparation of land. While they're often fairly small, it's not uncommon for dome houses to be 5,000 square feet or more. These homes have a unique aesthetic, can withstand weather extremes, and are often built with sustainable, Earth-friendly materials.
|Average Cost per square foot||$175 per sq. ft.|
|Low Cost per square foot||$100 per sq. ft.|
|High Cost per square foot||$250 per sq. ft.|
The cost of materials for a dome house makes up 70% to 80% of the total build cost. This works out at $70 to $200 per square foot.
Remember, this isn't per square foot of materials, but rather per square foot of final house size. Therefore, if you're building a 1,000-square-foot dome house, materials will cost you $70,000 to $200,000.
Labor makes up the remaining 20 to 30% of the cost to build a dome house. This works out as $30 to $50 per square foot. As with the cost of materials, the cost of labor is based on the square footage of the finished property.
The size of your dome house determines its price. The bigger the house, the more materials and labor required to build it, and the more challenging the build. While smaller dome homes are the most common type, particularly for owner builders, it's increasingly common to see much larger, grander contractor-built dome houses.
Take a look at some of the more common dome home sizes and their typical build costs.
|Dome House Size||Cost Range (All-in)||Average Coat (All-in)|
|800 sq. ft.||$80,000 – $200,000||$140,000|
|900 sq. ft.||$90,000 – $225,000||$157,500|
|1,000 sq. ft.||$100,000 – $250,000||$175,000|
|1,200 sq. ft.||$120,000 – $300,000||$210,000|
|1,500 sq. ft.||$150,000 – $375,000||$262,500|
|1,600 sq. ft.||$160,000 – $400,000||$280,000|
|1,800 sq. ft.||$180,000 – $450,000||$315,000|
|2,000 sq. ft.||$200,000 – $500,000||$350,000|
|2,500 sq. ft.||$250,000 – $625,000||$437,500|
|2,700 sq. ft.||$270,000 – $675,000||$472,500|
|3,000 sq. ft.||$300,000 – $750,000||$525,000|
|4,000 sq. ft.||$400,000 – $1,000,000||$700,000|
|5,000 sq. ft.||$500,000 – $1,250,000||$875,000|
Dome houses are available with prefabricated shells, or “dome home kits.” Alternatively, DIYers can purchase or make custom plans, then purchase the necessary materials and raise their dome home from scratch. The other option is to hire a local architect to design and build a custom dome home.
Modular dome home shell kits cost from $10,000 to $150,000. This huge price discrepancy occurs based on the size of the dome, the type of home, and the number of openings required for doors and extensions. Some people choose to add a second dome connected to the first by a covered walkway or extension to create a more unique floorplan.
If you're an experienced DIYer planning to do all of the framing and shell building yourself, you can create your own plan or find one online and tweak it for free. Alternatively, you can have a dome home company create a bespoke plan for you, which costs between $400 and $900.
Your other option is to hire an architect to create a plan for you. Architect services cost $125 to $250 per hour, or between 5 and 20% of the final project fee. Once you have the architect's plan, you can, if you have the right skill set, build it yourself. Otherwise, you'll need to hire a local general contractor and have them oversee the whole build. Hiring a general contractor costs 10 to 20% of the project total.
How much you'll pay to build your dome house depends on the type of build you go for. The most expensive, but likely best result, comes from using a licensed contractor to tackle the build. The most affordable option is a DIY build, but that requires a lot of different skills and, because of building codes, you'll likely still need to hire plumbers, electricians, and other skilled pros for certain aspects.
|Type of Build||Cost Range (All-in)||Average Cost (All-in)|
|Owner-built||$100 – $180 per sq. ft.||$140 per sq. ft.|
|Owner finished||$110 – $200 per sq. ft.||$155 per sq. ft.|
|Owner contractor||$120 – $220 per sq. ft.||$170 per sq. ft.|
|Licensed contractor||$130 – $250 per sq. ft.||$180 per sq. ft.|
Using a licensed contractor costs $130 to $250 per square foot. Letting a licensed contractor handle the whole project will most likely give you the best results and the least amount of stress, but it'll cost the most. In this instance, the homeowner makes key decisions with the contractor before construction begins but then plays no further role until the build is complete. This is like a turn-key purchase.
A cooperative build between a homeowner and licensed contractor costs around $120 to $220 per square foot. An owner and contractor build is a solid option that can save as much as 20% of the project price. While the contractor still handles the majority of the project, including working with subcontractors and the build itself, the homeowner does their own planning, budget management, materials purchasing, scheduling, and similar.
It's usual for the homeowner to also handle the permits, fees, and codes tasks, too. This does require a high degree of knowledge, time, and planning on the part of the homeowner. However, if they have the right skill set and enough time, this option is a good way of saving a considerable amount of money.
An owner-finished dome home costs $110 to $220 per square foot. In this scenario, a homeowner can expect to save as much as 30% of the project price.
Once the bulk of the actual construction is complete (including the shell and frame), the homeowner gets involved with the project, tackling as much of the finishing work as they can themselves. This could include hanging drywall, installing kitchen cabinetry, finishing walls and ceilings, laying flooring, and more. It's important to note, however, that this option requires solid DIY skills and lots of free time.
Homeowner dome home builds cost $100 to $180 per square foot. While you can save up to 50% of the project cost if you have all the skills, time, tools, and resources you need, it's incredibly hard, time-consuming work. This option is only suitable for significantly experienced home builders. And even then, you'll need to hire specialist tradespeople, such as plumbers, HVAC techs, and electricians to complete certain aspects of the build.
Aside from raising the shell and cladding the walls, there are a lot of other elements that go into finishing a dome home. Here are some of the common elements that you'll need to budget for when planning your project.
|Dome House Cost Breakdown||Cost Range (All-in)||Average Cost (All-in)|
|Kitchen||$5,000 – $125,000||$65,000|
|Bathroom||$20,000 – $90,000||$55,000|
|Basement finishing||$10,000 – $30,000||$20,000|
|Finishing attic space||$500 – $3,600||$2,050|
|Windows||$250 – $2,000 per window||$1,125 per window|
|Insulation||$0.55 – $2.50 per board foot||$1.50 per board foot|
|Roofing||$3.50 – $5 per sq. ft.||$4.25 per sq. ft.|
|Foundation||$4 – $25 per sq. ft.||$14.50 per sq. ft.|
Aside from the raising, building, and finishing of the dome house itself, there are a number of other elements that can impact how much you'll pay for the entire project.
Pro-construction costs are one of the biggest price factors you need to account for when planning your budget. Here are some of the most common:
House plans: $0–$900
Acquiring land: $3,000–$150,000+
Preparing the land: $1,500–$5,000
Acquiring permits: $1,200–$2,000
Upgrades and extras include additions to the home aside from the basic building itself. Here are some of the most common additions to dome houses:
Attic cupola: $1,000–$4,000
Framing arches: $200–$600
In theory, dome homes are more affordable to build than traditional houses. However, it very much depends on the materials you choose, the construction method, and the size of your home.
Dome homes can last 500 years or more, depending on what they're made from, the quality of the foundation, and the quality of the build. The climate and maintenance the home receives also impact the lifespan.
Monolithic dome homes are a single-piece dome that are round except for a door. Geodesic domes are made of polygonal shapes that connect together and are the most common type of dome home.