How To Construct A Copper Dome

What You'll Need
Welding Equipment
Copper tile
Copper shanked nails
Metal saw
Circular saw
Copper finial
Square aluminum tubes
Plywood (flexible is best)
Metal screws, self tapping
Self-sealing waterproof membrane
Chalk line
Several friends

A copper dome will add a dramatic look to any gazebo or structure. They look beautiful, add a distinctive touch, and are eco-friendly. Before you start this project you need to know it’s not the simplest do it yourself project out there. It can be done, but it’s challenging. You need to know how to measure accurately, and have experience cutting metal and using welding equipment. Here’s how you can build your own copper dome.

Step 1- Get Accurate Dimensions

Depending on where the copper dome will go will determine what the dimensions will be. You need to measure this accurately to ensure a good fit. Before you begin the project you need to have all the calculations completed and at hand.

Step 2- Begin Building the Frame

Using the measurements you got in step 1, you can start building the framework for your dome using the aluminum tubing. You need to make sure this framework can support the plywood and copper tile. You will likely need to work in small sections depending on the size of your dome. Start with the base, which should be a circular formation that is the largest part of the dome. Once you have that you can start to add the cross members. This will take quite a bit of time since you need to measure and bend each piece of tubing you are using. Attach the cross members to a riser in the center. To keep the rounded look, you will want to use a vertical support. You will need to weld the frame together for security and strength.

Step 3- Attach the Plywood

Now that the frame is constructed you can start to add the plywood underlay for the copper tile. Make sure you are using flexible plywood. For added strength and support you may want to use two layers of plywood, one on the inside of the frame and one on the outside. You can use the self tapping screws to secure each piece of plywood to the frame.

Step 4- Sealing

Once the plywood has been attached all around you can start to add the self sealing membrane on the plywood sheath. Apply this evenly so the entire dome surface is covered with the membrane.

Step 5- Add Copper Tile

Once the seal has been applied and cured, you can add the copper tile. Use a chalk line to get the pattern layout for the copper. The copper needs to be applied perfectly even and straight, so the chalk line is a must. You can use your copper ring shanked nails to secure the copper tiles to the sheath.

Step 6- Copper Finial

Once the copper tile is placed and secured, you can work on the top of the dome with the copper finial. The finial you have chosen will determine how you install it. In general, it will be at the top of the dome perfectly in line with the center. In most cases it will be secured to the dome using your shank nails.

Your dome is now complete. You just need to move it and attach it to the structure you are displaying it on.