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Publication numberUS20020112429 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/804,207
Publication dateAug 22, 2002
Filing dateMar 12, 2001
Priority dateSep 11, 1998
Also published asCA2343815A1, CA2343815C, EP1112420A1, EP1112420A4, US6851237, US20030196397, WO2000015919A1
Publication number09804207, 804207, US 2002/0112429 A1, US 2002/112429 A1, US 20020112429 A1, US 20020112429A1, US 2002112429 A1, US 2002112429A1, US-A1-20020112429, US-A1-2002112429, US2002/0112429A1, US2002/112429A1, US20020112429 A1, US20020112429A1, US2002112429 A1, US2002112429A1
InventorsMichael Niese, Paul Elliott
Original AssigneeRobbins, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Floorboard with compression nub
US 20020112429 A1
Abstract
A wood floor system comprises a plurality of parallel rows (10 a , 10 b . . . 10 z) of floorboards (10) laid end-to-end, and each of the floorboards (10) includes a compression nub (20) extending along a side surface (13) thereof, adjacent the top surface ( ). These compression nubs (20) affirmatively engage an opposing side surface (14) of an adjacent floorboard row (10 a), thereby sealing, or isolating, the top surface of the floor from the side surfaces (13, 14) of the floorboard rows (10 a , 10 b . . . 10 z). This uniformly distributes expansion and contraction forces throughout the floor, due to uniform spacing between the floorboard rows (10 a , 10 b . . . 10 z). The isolation of the floorboard upper surface from the side surfaces (13, 14) also prevents undesired downward migration or flow of liquid finishing solution (28), which can have serious adverse affects for a wood floor. The invention reduces the total volume of finishing solution necessary for finishing the floor. It also reduces “overwood” during floor installation, and helps to assure uniform and consistent engagement of tongues (17) and grooves (16) along the length of the floorboard rows (10 a , 10 b . . . 10 z).
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Claims(13)
We claim:
1. A floor comprising:
a plurality of rows (10 a, 10 b . . . 10 z) of side by side floorboards (10) which are interconnected along longitudinal edges by a plurality of tongue (17) and groove (16) connections, the floorboards (10) having upper surfaces defining a floor surface, at least some of the tongue (17) and groove (16) connections including:
a tongue (17) extending longitudinally along a first edge (14) of a first floorboard (10 a) and a groove extending along an opposing second edge (13) of a second floorboard (10 b), the tongue (17) sized to be received within the groove (16), the first (14) and second (13) edges being generally vertical along upper portions thereof located above the tongue and groove connection,
wherein one of the first (14) and second (13) edges has an integral compression ridge (20) protruding outwardly from the upper portion thereof and extending uninterrupted along the longitudinal edge of said one of the first (14) and second (13) edges, the compression ridge (20) contacting the other of the first (14) and second (13) edges along the tongue (17) and groove (16) connection, whereby contact between the first (10 a) and second (10 b) floorboards along the compression ridge (20) isolates the tongue (17) and groove (16) connection from the floor surface above.
2. The floor of claim 1 wherein the compression nub (20) of each of the floorboards (12) is located nearer the top surface than the tongue (17) or groove (16).
3. The floor of claim 1 wherein the compression nub (20) of each of the floorboards (10) is semi-circular in transverse cross-sectional shape and has a radius in the range of about 6 to 10 thousandths.
4. The floor of claim 1 wherein a top end of the compression nub (20) for each of the floorboards (10) is in the range of about 20-50 thousandths from the top surface.
5. The floor of claim 1 and further including at least one additional compression nub (20 a) residing below said compression nub (20) for each of the floorboards (10).
6. A floorboard (10) comprising:
an elongated strip (10) having top and bottom surfaces and first (14) and second (13) side surfaces; and
a compression nub (20) protruding outwardly from one of the first (14) and second (13) side surfaces along substantially the entire length of the strip (10), the compression nub (20) located proximate the top surface, the first (14) and second (13) surfaces being oriented parallel with each other between the compression nub (20) and the top surface.
7. The floorboard (10) of claim 6 wherein the first (14) and second (13) surfaces include a longitudinally extending tongue (17) and a complementary-shaped longitudinally extending tongue (16), the compression nub (20) located nearer the top surface than the tongue (17) or groove (16).
8. The floorboard (10) of claim 6 wherein the compression nub (20) is semi-circular in transverse cross-sectional shape and has a radius in the range of about 6 to 10 thousandths.
9. The floorboard (10) of claim 6 wherein a top end of the compression nub (20) is in the range of about 20-50 thousandths from the top surface.
10. The floorboard (10) of claim 6 and further including at least one additional compression nub (20 a) residing below said compression nub (20).
11. A floor system comprising a plurality of parallel rows (10 a, 10 b . . . 10 z) of floorboards (10), wherein the floorboards (10) are described by claim 6.
12. A floor system of a plurality of floor sections (105) arranged in a desired pattern over a base, each of the floor sections (105) including a substructure (118) and a plurality of parallel rows (10 a, 10 b . . . 10 z) of floorboards secured to the substructure (118), the floorboards being described by claim 6.
13. A floor system of a plurality of floor sections (105) arranged in a desired pattern over a base, each of the floor sections (105) including a substructure (118) and a plurality of parallel rows (10 a, 10 b . . . 10 z) of floorboards secured to the substructure (118), the floorboards being described by claim 7.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to floorboards for hardwood floors, and more particularly, an elongated floorboard which promotes a uniform distribution throughout the floor of expansion and contraction due to moisture ontake and egress, which result from humidity changes in the environment.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Hardwood floors are extremely popular for a wide variety of sporting activities and residential purposes. Hardwood floors provide an aesthetically appealing floor surface of stable and consistent construction.

[0003] Some types of wood floors or wood floor systems comprise a plurality of elongated floor strips laid end-to-end in parallel rows. Other types of wood floors, including those referred to as “parquet” floors, vary in layout somewhat from only parallel rows of floor strips. These other types of floor layouts may have various sections with floorboards arranged in longitudinal and transverse directions relative to a given space, or even arranged diagonally, or at another angle. Nevertheless, even with these other types of floor layouts, there are usually at least some portions of the floor wherein a plurality of end-to-end floor strips or boards reside in parallel rows.

[0004] This invention relates generally to wood floors wherein the entire floor or a portion of a floor has a plurality of floor strips laid end-to-end in parallel rows, but this invention is particularly advantageous for those floors wherein the entire floor comprises parallel rows of floorboards arranged along one direction.

[0005] Floors of this type typically have a tongue and groove construction to reinforce the individual floorboards and to facilitate stable securement of the floorboards to an underlying surface at the same desired vertical level. Once installed, the tongues and grooves along the longitudinal side surfaces of the floorboards help to stabilize the floor system so that no single floorboard or row of floorboards is able to move vertically relative to the rest of the floor. Typically, the elongated tongue and groove construction of such floorboards is cut into the side surfaces of the floorboards, as by a saw, and this is done by the floorboard manufacturer at the same time the top and bottom surfaces of the individual floorboards are formed. Parallel rows of floorboards are usually secured to an underlying subfloor or base, one row at a time, as the installer works his way across the floor.

[0006] It is well known among hardwood floor manufacturers and installers that wood building products, particularly elongated wood floorboards or floor strips, undergo expansion and contraction due to moisture ontake and egress, which result from humidity changes in the surrounding environment. With respect to a plurality of rows of parallel floorboards, almost all of this expansion and contraction occurs laterally, or transverse, to the longitudinal direction of the floorboards. There are even some hardwood floor systems, particularly those suited for athletic use, wherein the subfloor structure is specifically designed to permit lateral movement of the floorboards due to transverse expansion and contraction relative to an underlying base. U.S. Pat. No. 4,856,250 discloses such a floor.

[0007] Because of these expansion and contraction forces, installers of hardwood floors are required to either acclimate the flooring boards to the optimum wood moisture content or place spacers between every few rows of floorboards to accommodate future expansion. Acclimation of flooring is an excellent method of accommodating future expansion to overcome the ill effects of floorboard expansion due to the ontake of moisture. This process is very time consuming and not always achievable due to its dependance upon the correct environmental conditions. Typically, flooring installed during drier seasons is or is nearly impossible to acclimate to higher wood moisture contents which are necessary when installing flooring in areas of normally higher prevailing environmental conditions. Acclimation to higher moisture conditions is usually due to low relative humidity during their drier seasons. Even when ideal environmental conditions for acclimation exists it is still a lengthy process which commonly results in delayed installations and delayed opening of facilities using hardwood flooring. Thus the use of artificial spacers have become the norm when natural spacing requirements are not satisfied through an acclimation process.

[0008] When proper acclimation is possible the flooring boards are installed without any special attention to artificial spacing. However, when acclimation is not possible artificial spacing becomes necessary. For example, washers may be used having a width of about {fraction (1/16)}″ every few to a dozen rows or more of a typical basketball floor comprising parallel rows of maple floor strips. This use of spacers in installing parallel rows of floorboards for a hardwood floor has been practiced for quite a long time. This practice is so well accepted that it is usually stipulated within bid specifications or installation instructions for floors of this type, size and magnitude. Typical spacers used by a floor installer are coin-like in shape, or nylon, of uniform thickness, and they are placed between an already installed row of floorboards and the next layer of floorboards which is to be installed. The spacers limit or dictate the horizontal space between these two rows of floorboards. With a plurality of spacers of uniform width, this spacing should be uniform along the length of the two floorboard rows. This leaves a spacer slot or seam of predetermined dimension. Spacers typically remain until sufficient successive rows are installed, enough to prevent physical movement due to the forces of installing successive rows of flooring.

[0009] This use of spacers in the hardwood floor industry represents an attempt to provide some degree of control over the effects of expansion and contraction of the floorboards, by providing some open space for lateral floorboard expansion every few rows of the floor. If such voids or spaces were not provided, expansion of tightly engaged parallel rows of floorboards due to humidity would invariably result in cupping, a distortion of the individual flooring boards or buckling of the floor at its weakest point. Stated another way, the spacers provide desired open spaces between every few rows of floorboards, thereby significantly reducing the occurrence of cupping and/or buckling of the floor. It is generally recognized in the hardwood floor industry that spacers of this type are necessary for proper installation of a hardwood floor, if it is desired to minimize the potential for buckling of the floor and to assure that the floor will have a long life.

[0010] However, the use of spacers in installing a hardwood floor system also creates a number of problems. For one thing, the need to locate the spacers between two rows of floorboards for every few rows of the floor, and then to subsequently remove the spacers represents a labor cost for the floor installer. Also, even though a floor installed with spacers is less susceptible to buckling than a typical floor installed without any spacers, those portions of the floor which reside between the spacer seams still have some potential for showing the effects of cupping and/or buckling even though there is little or no possibility for buckling along the spacer seam. In other words, the buckling potential for the floor is not uniform as one moves transversely across the rows of the floorboards.

[0011] To understand a number of additional disadvantages with the use of spacers, it is necessary to understand some common practices associated with installing and finishing a typical hardwood floor. Usually, after the floor has been secured to an underlying subsurface, the floor is first sanded and then it is finished with a liquid finishing solution. Currently, most liquid finishing solutions are oil based, but water based liquid finishes are becoming more popular, and are even required by law in some states due to environmental concerns. As an alternative to installing a floor and then sanding and finishing the already-installed floor at the use site, the floor may be prefinished at the manufacturing site and then shipped to the use site. When a floor is prefinished, it is in effect temporarily laid out over a base, but it is not permanently fastened thereto. Thereafter, it is sanded, finished and then packaged for shipment to the installation site. Spacers are not necessary when the floor undergoes prefinishing at the manufacturer's site, but the spacers are typically used during permanent installation at the use site.

[0012] When the liquid finishing solution is applied to a floor, the liquid solution tends to migrate downwardly along the side surfaces of the rows of floorboards. This is true for prefinishing at the site of manufacturer or finishing at the use site. However, for the spacers for a floor finished at the installation site, the spacer seams are particularly susceptible to this situation. In fact, with such rows the downward liquid solution flow can more accurately be characterized as a waterfall rather than a migration of liquid solution.

[0013] When a water based finishing solution of this type moves downwardly between the side surfaces of parallel rows of floorboards, and perhaps even to the bottom surfaces of the floorboards, it eventually dries and adhesively bonds together the surfaces it is sandwiched between. This bonding effect has even been characterized as being similar to applying a “superglue” between the bonded surfaces. This bonding effect along the side surfaces of the floorboard rows tends to make the floor respond to expansion and contraction more like a monolithic structure than a plurality of parallel rows of floorboards, at least for some portions of the floor. In some instances, this bonding may result in preventing the floor from expanding into the voids created by the spacer seams. This is particularly true if the water based finished solution has migrated all the way to the bottom surfaces of the floorboards. As a result of the adhesive bonding caused by the water based finish, the floor can effectively become almost like a plurality of parallel monolithic floor portions separated by the spacer seams. When this occurs, subsequent significant contraction of the floorboards may cause the spacer seams to widen, even to the point where the floorboard tongues of these seams can be seen from above.

[0014] Although an oil based finishing solution does not usually have the same adhesive bonding effect of a water based finished solution, it also represents other disadvantages. For one thing, the oil based finish takes quite a significantly longer time to dry, and therefore may continue to reside along the side surfaces or even the bottom surfaces of the floorboards for some time after installation. Thereafter, any significant lateral expansion of the floorboards could cause the oil based finish to creep upwardly along the seams and onto the upper surface of the floor, resulting in an unsightly and potentially dangerous floor surface. Applicants are aware of numerous installed floors where this situation has occurred. Thus, the application of a liquid finish to a hardwood floor, i.e., whether water based or liquid based, has been known to generate problems with the long-term stability and/or appearance of the floor, particularly along spacer seams of the floor.

[0015] Another problem with installation of floors of this type is called “overwood.” This term and situation refers to the amount of floorboard material which extends above any immediate adjacent floorboard. This may result from mismatching of the tongue and groove profile of adjacently located floorboard, or from the undesired expansion of floorboards during or following finishing, especially between floorboard located on either side of expansion spaces.

[0016] This may occur due to variations in floorboards specifically variations in thickness and or in variations in the precision of the tongues and grooves. Also, the gap created by the spaces may produce downward tilting of adjacent floorboard rows, toward the gap.

[0017] It is an object of the invention to reduce the time and costs associated with installing a hardwood floor which includes at least some parallel rows of elongated floorboards.

[0018] It is another object of the invention to more evenly distribute the lateral expansion and contraction forces to which a typical hardwood floor of this type is subjected, due to humidity changes.

[0019] It is still another object of the invention to eliminate the downward migration of finishing solution between side-by-side floorboard rows of a hardwood floor, and the serious problems associated therewith.

[0020] It is still another object of the invention to reduce the costs associated with applying a liquid finish to a hardwood floor.

[0021] It is still another object of the invention to minimize the amount of overwood between adjacent rows of floorboards of a wood floor.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0022] The present invention achieves the above-stated objects via an elongated compression nub or series of nubs formed in one longitudinal side surface of an elongated floorboard, adjacent the top surface thereof, to positively engage an opposing surface of an adjacently located floorboard. This position engagement along the length of the floorboard rows provides a seal between the upper surface and the side surfaces. It also provides a gap of predetermined dimension between the rest of the side surfaces of the floorboards.

[0023] If the floorboard includes a tongue along one longitudinal side surface and a groove along the other longitudinal side surface, the compression nub may reside above either the tongue or the groove, so long as it is adjacent the top surface. The invention further contemplates at least one additional longitudinal compression nub located below the uppermost compression nub, so that if the uppermost compression nub is sanded away during initial installation sanding, or subsequent maintenance of the floor, the next compression nub will perform the same sealing, or isolating, function.

[0024] According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, a wood floor system comprises a plurality of parallel rows of elongated floorboards laid end-to-end, and each of the floorboards includes a first longitudinal side surface which has been formed with a relatively small compression nub for engaging the opposing surface of a floorboard in an adjacent row, relatively close to the upper surface. If the floorboards are tongue and groove floorboards, the compression nub may reside well above the tongue or the groove, so that it resides relatively close to the upper surface of the floorboards.

[0025] This invention facilitates installation of a hardwood floor of parallel rows of elongated floorboard strips, i.e., a strip type floor, because the compression nubs along one elongated side surface of the floorboards assure accurate and repeatable spacing between adjacent rows of floorboards. This eliminates the need to locate and then remove spacers between every few rows of the floorboards, resulting in a reduction in time and costs in installing the floor system. Instead of having spacer seams located every few rows, as known from the prior art, this invention provides some relatively small spacing, as defined by the dimensions of the compression nub, between all adjacently located rows of the floor. This localizes expansion and contraction of the rows of the floorboards to a much greater degree than the use of spacer seams. It also eliminates the spacer seams or gaps.

[0026] Because there is a uniform and controlled amount of spacing between all of the adjacently located rows of floorboards, a hardwood floor of floorboards equipped with this feature has lateral expansion and contraction which is uniformly distributed throughout the rows of floorboards. Stated another way, the invention eliminates the isolation of rows of floorboards which must bear a disproportionate share of the lateral displacement due to moisture ontake or egress. These forces are more uniformly distributed.

[0027] Because the compression nubs of the rows of floorboards affirmatively engage the opposing side surface of an adjacent row of floorboards along the entire lengths of the floorboard rows, this invention prevents undesired downward flow or migration of liquid finishing solution along the opposing side surfaces of the floorboard rows. Since the compression nubs prevent downward migration of liquid finishing solution, the compression nubs also helps eliminate the undesired bonding caused by water based finishes, and the potential for subsequent upward migration of oil based finishes onto the floor surface, which may occur as a result of squeezing of semi-hard finish out of the spaces between floorboard rows.

[0028] With this invention, the volume of finishing solution which migrates downwardly beyond the surface of the floor is minimal, or virtually non-existent, because of the positive “seal” between adjacent rows of floorboards. In other words, this invention practically eliminates the flow of finish down through spacer rows and down to the undersides of the floorboards. This helps reduce and eliminate “panelization.” This invention also produces a secondary benefit of reducing the time and costs associated with finishing a floor of this type. More specifically, there is only minimal loss of finishing solution between the rows of floorboards as it is applied to the floor surface. Thus, a lower volume of finishing solution is needed to adequately coat a given surface area of the floor, so the cost of finishing is reduced.

[0029] Further, according to the invention, the compression nubs are precisely machined to a desired shape and size, with at least the same degree of precision as the upper surfaces of the floorboards. This facilitates level and accurate installation of the floor, with little or no “overwood,” particularly if the floor is prefinished. The invention promotes smaller but more uniform spacing between all rows of floorboards, thereby promoting more consistent engagement of the tongues and grooves of adjacent floorboard rows.

[0030] These and other features of the invention will be more readily understood in view of the following detailed description and the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0031]FIG. 1 is a perspective view, in partial cross-section, of a wood floor comprising floorboards constructed in accordance with a first preferred embodiment of the invention.

[0032]FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view which shows installation of a row of floorboards adjacent to an already installed row.

[0033]FIGS. 3 and 4 are enlarged cross section views which illustrate the principle of the invention, for first and second variations of the invention.

[0034]FIG. 5 is a perspective view which shows a second preferred embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0035]FIG. 1 shows a floorboard 10 constructed in accordance with a first preferred embodiment of the invention. The floorboard 10 includes an upper surface 11, a bottom surface 12, and a pair of side surfaces 13 and 14. Typically, the floorboard 10 is elongated and manufactured via a sawing process into the desired transverse cross-sectional shape, as shown in FIG. 1. The floorboard 10 also includes a longitudinal groove 16 and a longitudinal tongue 17 extending along opposite side surfaces, and if desired one or more spaced grooves (not shown) extending along the bottom surface 12. The particular cross-sectional configuration of the floorboard 10 depends upon a number of considerations, and the desired shape is produced by sawing, as is known in the industry. But the floorboard 10 may also be formed by machining, and other cross-sectional shapes may be desired.

[0036] The floorboard 10 resides in a first row 10 a which is located adjacent a second row, designated 10 b, of identical floorboards 10. The floorboards 10 are laid end-to-end along parallel rows, such as 10 a and 10 b, . . . 10 z, etc., for at least a portion of the floor, if not the entire floor. The floorboards 10 reside over a substructure 18, which in FIG. 1 is a subfloor layer 18 a located above a base 18 b. Other substructures 18 may be used, depending on a number of factors.

[0037] In accordance with the invention, the floorboards 10 include a compression nub 20 extending longitudinally along one of the side surfaces. In FIG. 1, the compression nub 20 extends along the side surface 13 which includes the groove 16, but it is to be understood that the compression nub 20 could just as easily be formed in the side surface 14 which resides above the tongue 17. The compression nub 20 is preferably formed by machining, and is semicircular in cross-sectional shape with a radius in the range of about 6 to 10 thousandths of an inch, although the invention contemplates other particular sizes and shapes for the compression nub 20, so long as they are capable of achieving the desired purpose of sealing or isolating the top surface 11 from the side surfaces 13 and 14. The compression nub 20 preferably extends along the entire length of the floorboard 10, with no discontinuities, and a top end of the compression nub 20 is located proximate to the upper surface 11, well above the groove 16 and the tongue 17, i.e., in the range of about 20 to 50 thousandths of an inch, and preferably about 30 or 40 thousandths. The invention further contemplates at least one or more additional compression nubs 20 a, as shown in FIG. 4, extending along one of the longitudinal side surfaces. If one or more such compression nubs 20 are used, the additional compression nubs 20 a should also be as close to upper surface 11 as possible.

[0038] For some hardwood floors, the floor is comprised entirely of rows of floorboards 10 laid end-to-end in parallel rows. All of the floorboards 10 have the same transverse cross-sectional shape, but the floorboards 10 may vary in length if desired, preferably with the end-to-end seams of the floorboards 10 in any given row offset, i.e., not in alignment with, end-to-end seams of floorboards 10 in an adjacent row. Using random lengths for the floorboards 10 facilitates this offsetting effect.

[0039] When a hardwood floor is installed using floorboards 10 which have a compression nub 20, the compression nub 20 engages the opposing surface of an adjacently located floorboard row along the entire length of the row. For the floorboards 10 of the type shown in FIG. 1, the compression nub 20 engages side surface 14, located above the tongue 17. The side surface 14 is typically sawed so as to be generally flat and vertical in orientation.

[0040] With the compression nub 20 extending from a first surface 13 of a floorboard 10 in a first row 10 b of the hardwood floor and engaging an adjacently located second surface 14 of an adjacent row 10 a of floorboards, the adjacently located floorboard rows 10 a and 10 b are spaced a desired lateral distance from each other, as dictated by the horizontal dimension of the compression nub 20. This is best shown in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, with space 25 residing between rows 10 a and 10 b in FIGS. 3 and 4. The compression nub 20 is sufficiently small so as to be compressible and the surface 14 is somewhat deformable that this combination of compressibility of the compression nub 20 and deformability of the surface 14 enables the adjacently located floorboard rows 10 a and 10 b to expand toward each other slightly into this small space 25. Thus, the compression nub 20 allows lateral expansion between all of the rows 10 a, 10 b . . . 10 z of the floorboards. Because the compression nubs 20 space all of the rows 10 a, 10 b . . . 10 z of floorboards 10 the same distance from each other, the expansion is evenly distributed across the entire floor. Because these expansion spaces 25 are “built in,” no spacers are needed to provide periodic spacer seams between adjacent floorboard rows. Thus, there is no need to locate and then remove spacers every few rows. The compression nubs 20 localize the expansion between all of the rows of floorboards 10.

[0041] Because the compression nub 20 affirmatively engages the opposing side surface of an adjacently located floorboard along the entire length of the floorboard rows 10 a, 10 b, . . . 10 z when a liquid finish is applied to the floor, as indicated by reference numeral 28 in FIGS. 3 and 4, it is blocked from migrating downwardly between the adjacent rows of floorboards. For water based liquid finishing solutions, the compression nub 20 eliminates the bonding effect between the floorboards 10 of adjacent rows, and bonding of floorboards 10 to the substructure 18. For oil-based liquid finishes, compression nub 20 prevents downward migration and the potential for subsequent upward migration of the oil-based finish onto the floor surface. This is particularly advantageous for hardwood floors which are sanded and finished after installation, because the compression nub 20 eliminates the possibility of the liquid solution pouring downwardly into these spacer seams during application of the liquid finish. Thus, the floorboard 10 of this invention overcomes significant disadvantages with hardwood floors which are finished on-site.

[0042] The compression nub 20 also provides notable advantages for a hardwood floor system which is prefinished by the manufacturer prior to shipment to the installation or use site. This is due to the fact that during prefinishing the floorboards 10 are temporarily laid end-to-end in parallel rows and held in secure contact with each other. Invariably, at least some lateral force occurs along the side surfaces of the floorboards, either due to expansion or secure holding of the temporarily held floors. These lateral forces cause compression of the compression nub 20 and also a slight deformation or indentation into the adjacently located second side surface 14. Thereafter, the floorboards 10 are packaged and shipped to the installation site, and then sorted out at the installation site and located on a substructure 18 at the installation site. During installation, the nubs 20 will seat into the corresponding complementary-shaped indentations in the surfaces 14, to thereby affirmatively locate the adjacent rows of floorboards 10 at the same vertical level. This virtually eliminates the undesired condition of “overwood,” a term used in the flooring industry to refer to one floorboard row extending vertically above an adjacently located row. Many floorboards are susceptible to overwood because side and bottom surfaces may not be sawed or machined as precisely as the top surface. By providing a precision machined compression nub 20 which seats within a complementary shape in the adjacently located surfaces 13 and 14, each row 10 a, 10 b . . . 10 z of floorboards 10 can be permanently secured at the installation site at a desired vertical level relative to the already-installed floorboard rows. This is best illustrated in FIG. 2 where row 10 a is already installed and row 10 b is being moved downwardly and arcuately into position alongside thereof

[0043]FIG. 5 shows a second preferred embodiment of the invention. More specifically, FIG. 5 shows a floor section 105 which may be secured or laid above a base (not shown) in a desired pattern along with a plurality of similar sections 105 in order to create a wood floor. In FIG. 5, the floor section 105 includes a substructure 118, which in this case includes an upper subfloor 118 a and a lower subfloor 118 b, of material such as plywood and a plurality of floorboards 110 secured thereto in parallel orientation, i.e., with the rows designated via reference numerals 110 a, 110 b, . . . 110 z. The adjacently located rows 110 a, 110 b . . . 10 z may include tongue and groove constructions, although this is not necessary. Each of these rows 110 a, 110 b, . . . 10 z has a compression nub 120 extending along one side surface thereof. With this embodiment of the invention, the compression nubs 120 provide the same advantageous features as described above with respect to the compression nub 20 of FIGS. 1-4.

[0044] While two preferred embodiments of the inventions have been shown and described, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention is subject to various other modifications without departing from the full scope of the invention. Applicants wish to be limited only be the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7568322 *Jul 9, 2007Aug 4, 2009Valinge Aluminium AbFloor covering and laying methods
US7617651 *Oct 31, 2003Nov 17, 2009Kronotec AgFloor panel
US7886497 *Dec 2, 2004Feb 15, 2011Valinge Innovation AbFloorboard, system and method for forming a flooring, and a flooring formed thereof
US8037656Aug 8, 2008Oct 18, 2011Liu David CFlooring boards with press down locking mechanism
US8104244Jul 9, 2007Jan 31, 2012Valinge Innovation AbFloorboards, flooring systems and method for manufacturing and installation thereof
US8464486 *Aug 31, 2010Jun 18, 2013Paul W. ElliottContoured floor pads and method
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/392, 52/592.1
International ClassificationE04F15/04
Cooperative ClassificationE04F2201/025, E04F2201/023, E04F15/048, E04F2201/04, E04F2201/0153, E04F15/04
European ClassificationE04F15/04E, E04F15/04