NEWS, Va. — With hurricane season officially in full
swing June 1, some homeowners fearful of high hurricane
winds damaging their residences believe they have found
have opted to build circular-style homes manufactured by
Deltec in Asheville, N.C.
Deltec’s homes are often described as being round or
dome-shaped, they are really a series of eight to 20
flat panels joined at angles. Roof and floor
trusses radiate from the center of the house, helping it
stay intact by spreading the force of high winds
throughout the structure instead of allowing it to build
up in one area, according to the company. In
addition, structural sheathing meets the hurricane
impact test of Miami-Dade County, which has strict
hurricane building codes.
manufacturers of similar designs take slightly different
the case of Timberline Geodesics, the dome shell is a
series of precut-color-coded triangular plywood panels
that are nailed to a framework of color-coded struts
that are bolted together with wrenches.
the case of Monolithic Dome Institute, the domes are
has a smooth curve like an egg, which makes it naturally
many times stronger," says founder David South.
have had hundreds of hits by hurricanes with no damage,
and we have had many hit by tornadoes with impressively
small amounts of damage, usually cosmetic."
their construction differences, their wind-resistance
principles remain much the same. The absence of a
box-style structure provides no flat barriers to wind.
Instead, their shapes provide an aerodynamic
effect, allowing wind to pass over and around the dome
with far less resistance than a traditional two-story or
rancher-style houses with sharp corners and large flat
Exmore on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Carol Crockett and
Tom Waller recently moved into their Deltec home, having
lived next door where they firsthand saw damaging winds
from storms. They are located on a creek called Johnson
Cove — a stone’s throw from the Chesapeake Bay.
property we built on is a pie-shaped lot and our home is
in the middle of the ‘pie’ so we were able to
capitalize on the amazing views and with a smaller
footprint and rounded shape the house is much more
tolerant of wind and storms," she says.
widest flat surface that would get blasted by wind is
only 8 feet wide and beyond that it just flows around
the house so the wind energy is dispersed without doing
the damage of the wind blowing on a 50-foot-wide flat
seeing a Deltec magazine ad, the couple attended a
three-day open house and seminar in January 2011. They
also visited the manufacturing site where they saw
computerized cuts, pre-installed windows and siding and
pre-cut ceilings, all bundled and numbered, she says.
ordered the house in May 2011, and it arrived that fall.
It all came bundled in three tractor-trailer
loads, including 20 panels per level, floor and ceiling
joists and rafters, subflooring, roofing and precut pine
all so precise," she says of the process.
was amazing to watch which I did from right next door
house is three stories that total 6,300 square feet,
with an aluminum shingle roof. The first floor is a
raised concrete slab that was given a decorative
there are no load-bearing walls, we were able to create
the open floor plan we wanted," Carol says.
addition to six bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths, the home
includes several living room areas, as well as a gym and
an office or studio for each of them to work from
home. You travel from floor to floor using a
pneumatic vacuum elevator that looks like a glass tube
or an open stair case. Marvin Integrity high-wind
tempered windows provide waterfront views everywhere.
had so much glass that the engineering department at
Deltec told us we have to remove two windows from our
plans for structure integrity," she says.
and Tom hired Jim Schneider, a nearby Deltec-certified
contractor to supervise the home’s assembly and finish
the interior with sheetrock and plumbing/mechanical and
the exterior with Hardiplank. They moved in June
2013, although the house, $1.3 million minus land cost,
was finished six months earlier.
builder’s words of advice?
biggest challenge when building a Deltec house is
definitely the mechanicals, mostly plumbing and HVAC —
there is little space for both so it requires close
coordination," he says.
said, the engineering of the ‘round’ house is a huge
help. The shape causes it to push against itself, making
it a perfect wind-resistant house."
nearby Cape Charles, Mike and Deb Dziubinski built a
Deltec house, three floors with 1,500 square feet per
floor and a garage in the lower level.
Having been through several storms,
including northeasters and one hurricane, they’ve
noted no problems.
determined it’s the best value for the dollar, given
the strength of design and quality of materials,"
Smithfield, Va., Mary and Herb DeGroft moved into their
2,000-square-foot Deltec home in 2005, after having
tired of watching hurricanes Isabel and Floyd topple
trees behind their two-story house.
has been a very good experience," Herb says of the
I have told folks, we should have lived in a round house
all our married life — 50 years in December 2013.
really is a very functional layout, comfortable,
supremely energy efficient, substantially ‘slippery’
in windy conditions and minimal maintenance."
business for 46 years, Deltec is building its 5,000th
house in June, according to Joseph Schlenk, director of
sales and marketing. Over the years, it has
created homes as small as 300 square feet and as large
has 10,000 square feet, with prices ranging from $150 to
$200 per square feet for the finished product.
engage the builder early in the process to familiarize
them with the design and components," he says.
allow for placement of the mechanicals in each home as
part of the planning process, so it’s pretty much the
same process as any home. Since we use open-web trusses
in the floor and ceiling, installing water lines,
drains, heating and cooling ducts is just like any
company is constantly analyzing its designs and looking
for improvements in safety and efficiency, he says, but
the basic structure has remained virtually unchanged.
have never lost a home to high winds of any kind since
Deltec began in 1968," he says.
includes the entire East and Gulf coasts, Caribbean and
Central America. Our homes have survived
every hurricane since 1968 including Hugo, Fran,
Ivan, Katrina and more recently Hurricane
IN THE ROUND
Homes at www.deltechomes.com. Located in Asheville,
N.C., with a nearby production facility you can tour.
For literature and tour times, call 800-642-2508.