FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to an improved artificial grass surface, and especially a simplified installation thereof. More specifically, it is concerned with a hook and loop attachment system for seaming roll sections of synthetic grass.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Various simplified methods of installation for carpets which address the problems of seaming and anchoring roll sections of the carpet are already known. Several of these comprise a hook and loop system to secure the carpet to the floor, generally employing an adhesive-backed hooked tape which is permanently adhered to the base flooring material and engages a loop system laminated or sewn onto the backing surface of the carpet. However, there is little prior art which addresses a seaming means for artificial grass turf. While it is known to use hook and loop systems which must be sewn or glued to the artificial grass turf, there is no suggestion to employ a laminated hook and loop construction modified and intended solely for the installation of synthetic grass turf, and no suggestion of an artificial grass surface that is manufactured with these hook and loop features built into the grass system.
In U.S. Pat. No. 5,958,527 entitled “Process of Laying Synthetic Grass”, issued Sep. 28, 1999, and Canadian Patent Application 2,247,484, published Mar. 21, 2000, the same inventor describes an artificial grass turf assembly which combines the feel of natural turf with the durability of synthetic turf. Joining roll sections of this synthetic grass turf together required sewing or gluing the edges together in order to prevent lateral movement and separation of the roll sections. Additionally, to replace removed roll sections that require repair, the roll sections have to be re-sewed or fastened down using adhesives.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,581,269, issued Apr. 8, 1986 to Tilman, discloses a means for fastening roll sections of carpeting, such as artificial turf, to each other or to an anchoring device using an extruded flexible plastic rib and groove fastener which is thermoplastically bonded to a backing scrim.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,822,658, issued Apr. 18, 1989, and the corresponding Canadian Patent 1,314,379, issued Mar. 16, 1993, both to Pacione, disclose a carpet backing and installation system, in which a secondary backing layer incorporates downwardly depending loops which can serve as an undersurface and secure the laminated carpet structure to the floor when used in combination with an adhesive-backed hooked tape. The hooked side of the tape has a covering to prevent the premature attachment of the hooks to the carpet backing layer. This disclosure is concerned uniquely with adhering carpet to a floor for indoor wall-to-wall carpeting, and uses a loop needled secondary backing layer laminated to the primary backing layer.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,382,462, issued to Pacione on Jan. 17, 1995, discloses an improved hooked carpet tape having an adhesive underside for attachment to the floor, as well as holes in the tape material which reduce seam telegraphing and allow moisture to be released from beneath the tape. A covering on the hooked side of the tape provides integrity prior to installation.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,083,596, issued Jul. 4, 2000, and Canadian Patent Application 2,205,283, published Nov. 14, 1998, both to Pacione, disclose a hooked tape with adhesive for fastening carpet seams. The tape comprises a pressure sensitive adhesive and hook areas on the same top surface. The adhesive is located on an area substantially free of hooks down the center of the tape. The bottom side of the tape also has pressure sensitive adhesive for adhering the tape to the floor. The hooks of the carpet tape engage loops on the underside of the carpet in the regions immediately adjacent the seamed edges. The added adhesive on the top side of the tape disclosed in this invention is intended to solve the problem of curling carpet seam edges, caused by an inadequate strength of engagement between the carpet loops and tape hooks.
In the case of synthetic grass such as that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,958,527, the infill layer which is disposed interstitially between the synthetic grass tuft ribbons is heavy enough to prevent vertical movement of the entire surface. Equally, the infill prevents most movement of the artificial grass roll sections laterally. However, curling at the glued edges can occur over time by the infill getting under the edges of the grass and combining with water to erode the glued seam integrity. The only restraint necessary is required to prevent the roll sections from laterally separating from each other. This has been previously done by sewing the roll section edges together. This proves to be a slow, expensive and labor intensive method of joining roll sections of the synthetic grass.
A synthetic grass surface, easily removable if required, which has an installation method that eliminates the need for sewing or the use of adhesives to fasten roll sections together has not been uncovered in any prior art. Many sport or non-sport applications could benefit from the quick installation of artificial grass using this seaming method, for example, playing fields, airport landscaping, and roadside landscaping. Even growing food in artificial grass adapted for such a purpose could benefit from the present invention, as this application can cover a vast expanse of land at a more viable installation and maintenance cost.
As a result of the foregoing, a need exists for an improved synthetic grass turf assembly which has a simplified method of installation and seaming, and which also permits easy addition of inlaid markers. By using a hook and loop system manufactured into the artificial turf, a solution to the aforementioned need is presented herein.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved artificial grass surface allowing for simplified and cost efficient installation.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a simplified method of removably joining roll sections of synthetic grass.
Therefore, in accordance with the present invention, there is provided an artificial grass turf comprising: roll sections of artificial turf having a primary backing fabric comprising synthetic grass ribbons extending outward therefrom, and manufactured with one of a loop portion and a hook portion of a hook and loop fastening system integral with an underside of the primary backing fabric; and an underlying roll section attachment means having a top surface including the other of the hook portion and loop portion of said hook and loop fastening system, for engagement with the underside of the primary backing fabric.
There is also provided, in accordance with the present invention, a method of joining roll sections of an artificial turf, comprising the steps of: providing adjacent roll sections of artificial turf, each having a primary backing fabric comprising synthetic grass ribbons extending therefrom, and manufactured with one of a loop portion and a hook portion of a hook and loop fastening system integral with an underside of the primary backing fabric; providing an underlying roll section attachment ribbon having a top surface including the other of the hook portion and loop portion of the hook and loop fastening system; and laying the underlying roll section attachment ribbon beneath abutting edges of both adjacent roll sections of artificial turf, such that said roll sections substantially equally overlap the underlying roll section attachment ribbon, the hook portion and the loop portion of the hook and loop fastening system engaging to seam the adjacent roll sections of artificial turf together.
The underlying fabric ribbon, when secured to the abutting edges of the roll sections, is intended to prevent relative lateral movement and separation between the roll sections, while permitting easy separation of the roll sections when lifted apart vertically, if the artificial grass turf assembly is temporary. However, the use of the present invention for a permanent installation is equally practical. The vertical displacement of the roll sections, when in use, may be prevented by infill such as that disclosed in the existing art.
There is additionally provided, in accordance with the present invention, a method of adding inlaid markers to the artificial grass turf, comprising the steps of: providing an inlaid marker having a primary backing fabric comprising synthetic grass ribbons extending therefrom and manufactured with one of a hook portion and a hook portion of a hook and loop fastening system integral with an underside of the primary backing fabric; cutting out a portion of said roll sections of artificial turf, the portion having a shape corresponding to that of the inlaid marker to be added and a surface area slightly larger than that of the inlaid marker; removing the cut-out portion from the roll sections of artificial turf, creating a void therein; laying the underlying roll section attachment means at least partially within the void, such that the underlying roll section attachment means underlies the surrounding roll sections substantially around a perimeter of said void; and laying the inlaid marker into the void, the hook portion and the loop portion of the hook and loop fastening system engaging to retain the inlaid marker in place within the surrounding roll sections.
While mention is made to a hook and loop system, it is to be understood that this comprises any equivalent fastening system. Any hook and loop system substitute, providing the same function, can similarly be used.
These objects of the present invention will become fully apparent by referring to the following detailed description, claims, and the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 4 refers to an alternate embodiment where two layers of backing fabric are required. The second primary backing fabric roll section 40, having an upper surface 46 and an under surface 42 and holes 44 through the fabric to ensure water permeability, is generally similar to the first primary backing roll section 10 in size. The upper surface 46 of the second backing roll section 40 has a plurality of upstanding hooks 48 protruding vertically, for mating with the descending loops 20 of the first primary backing 10. The two backing fabrics can, therefore, be fastened together using this hook and loop system, such that the second backing roll section 40 lies parallel to but beneath the first primary backing roll section 10, and has edges 52 immediately superimposed by the edges 22 of first primary backing roll section 10. Using the hook and loop fastening system between layers of primary backing eliminates the need for laminating the layers together using adhesives, therefore providing a removable primary backing laminating method. This also allows, if necessary, the replacement of roll sections of the second primary backing layer without having to replace whole roll sections. The under surface 42 of the second primary backing 40 has a plurality of descending loops 50. This lower surface 42 then becomes the bottom of the laminated double layer primary backing roll section, which can be attached to an underlying fabric ribbon, using the hook and loop system, for seaming abutting roll sections as described above for single layer primary backing roll sections. In alternate embodiments, the second primary backing fabric 40 could be laminated or needle punched to the first primary backing fabric 10, and therefore eliminating the loops 20 and hooks 48. For example, a second primary backing already having loops on a lower surface thereof could be laminated to the first primary fabric 10. Additionally, the second primary backing fabric could be further laminated to a looped fabric substrate with an intermediate coating layer between the two. Multiple primary backing fabric can also be used.