Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20040079041 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/280,413
Publication dateApr 29, 2004
Filing dateOct 25, 2002
Priority dateOct 25, 2002
Publication number10280413, 280413, US 2004/0079041 A1, US 2004/079041 A1, US 20040079041 A1, US 20040079041A1, US 2004079041 A1, US 2004079041A1, US-A1-20040079041, US-A1-2004079041, US2004/0079041A1, US2004/079041A1, US20040079041 A1, US20040079041A1, US2004079041 A1, US2004079041A1
InventorsBruno Bergeron, Michael Biro, Ken Gidney
Original AssigneeBruno Bergeron, Biro Michael Julius, Ken Gidney
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Floor assemblies including a number of structural elongated flooring members extending across transverse supports
US 20040079041 A1
Abstract
A floor assembly includes a number of spaced apart horizontal support members to which a number of elongated flooring members are attached. The flooring members have features allowing their use in two versions of the floor assembly. In a first version, the flooring members are attached to the support members by clamping blocks having tabs extending over strips extending along opposite sides of the flooring members, which have outer walls extending downward and inward to provide space for the blocks. In a second version, the flooring members are attached by downward extending latching arms that engage upward extending latching arms of clips fastened to the support members.
Images(5)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(41)
What is claimed is:
1. A floor assembly comprising:
a support structure including a first plurality of spaced-apart, horizontally extending support members, wherein each of said support members includes an upper surface;
a second plurality of elongated flooring members extending above and across said first plurality of support members, wherein each of said elongated flooring members includes a lower surface extending adjacent said upper surface of said support members, and a clamping strip extending along each side of said elongated flooring member and outward from said lower surface of said elongated flooring member, an upper surface extending outward along each side of said elongated flooring member to overhang said clamping strip; and
a third plurality of clamping blocks, wherein each of said clamping blocks is fastened to a support member in said first plurality to extend along said upper surface of said support member between lower surfaces of adjacent elongated flooring members in said second plurality, wherein each of said clamping blocks includes a clamping tab extending toward each elongated flooring member in said adjacent elongated flooring members over an adjacent clamping strip of said elongated flooring member to hold said lower surface of each of said adjacent elongated flooring members against said upper surface of said support member, and wherein each of said clamping blocks extends under portions of said upper surfaces extending outward along said adjacent elongated flooring members.
2. The floor assembly of claim 1, wherein each of said clamping blocks is fastened to said support member by a screw extending through a hole within said clamping block into said support member.
3. The floor assembly of claim 2, wherein said hole within said clamping block is offset from a center of clamping block to dispose said screw outward from an edge of an elongated flooring member adjacent said clamping block.
4. The floor assembly of claim 1, additionally comprising a fourth plurality of edge clamps, wherein
said second plurality of elongated flooring members includes a first elongated flooring member extending along an edge of said floor assembly,
each of said edge clamps is fastened to said support structure to extend along an upper surface of said support member outwardly adjacent a lower surface of said first elongated flooring member, and
each of said edge clamps includes a clamping tab extending toward said first elongated flooring member, over an adjacent clamping strip of said first elongated flooring member to hold said lower surface of said first elongated flooring member against said upper surface of said support structure.
5. The floor assembly of claim 4, wherein each of said edge clamps is fastened to said support structure by a screw extending through a hole within said support clamp into said support structure.
6. The floor assembly of claim 5, wherein said hole in said clamping block is disposed outward from an adjacent edge of said first elongated flooring member.
7. The floor assembly of claim 6, additionally comprising an edge strip extending outwardly adjacent said first elongated flooring member and over said edge clamps.
8. The floor assembly of claim 7, wherein
each of said edge clamps includes a strip engaging surface,
said edge strip includes a clamp engaging surface fastened to each said strip engaging surface.
9. The floor assembly of claim 7, wherein
each said strip engaging surface includes a first latching surface,
said clamp engaging surface includes a second latching surface,
said second latching surface is moved away from said first latching surface by deflection of said edge strip as said clamp engaging surface is moved toward engagement with said strip engaging surface, and
said second latching surface is moved into engagement with said first latching surface as said clamp engagement is moved fully into engagement with said strip engaging surface.
10. The floor assembly of claim 7, wherein
said edge strip includes a first web extending over said edge clamps and a second web extending downward from said first web, and
said floor assembly additionally comprises a plurality of fasteners attaching said second web to an end of said support structure.
11. The floor assembly of claim 10, wherein
each of said fasteners includes a head outwardly disposed from a surface of said second web, and
said edge strip additionally includes a cover strip pivotable between an open position exposing said surface of said second web and a closed position covering said surface of said second web and each head of said fasteners.
12. The floor assembly of claim 1, wherein each elongated flooring member in said second plurality additionally includes:
an upper web, wherein said upper surface of said elongated flooring member extends along said upper web;
a lower web, wherein said lower surface of said elongated flooring member extends along said lower web; and
a first plurality of walls extending between said upper web and said lower web.
13. The floor assembly of claim 12, wherein each elongated flooring member in said second plurality additionally includes a second plurality of thermoplastic foam members extending between said upper web and said lower web and additionally between adjacent walls within said first plurality of walls.
14. The floor assembly of claim 12, wherein said upper and lower webs and said walls are composed of an extruded thermoplastic resin.
15. The floor assembly of claim 12, wherein said first plurality of walls includes an outer wall extending downward and inward along each side of said elongated flooring member.
16. The floor assembly of claim 1, wherein
said lower surface of each elongated flooring member in said second plurality additionally includes an upwardly disposed central portion extending along said elongated flooring member, and
each elongated flooring member in said second plurality additionally includes a pair of latching surfaces facing upward under said central portion of said lower surface.
17. The floor assembly of claim 16, wherein
each elongated flooring member in said second plurality additionally includes a pair of latching arms extending downward from said central portion of said lower surface, and
said latching surfaces extend outward from opposite sides of said pair of latching arms.
18. An elongated flooring member comprising:
an upper web;
a lower web including a raised central portion;
a first plurality of walls extending between said upper web and said lower web; and
a pair of latching arms extending downward from said central portion of said lower web, wherein said pair of latching arms includes a pair of latching surfaces facing upward and extending outward from opposite sides of said pair of latching arms.
19. The elongated flooring member of claim 18, additionally comprising a second plurality of thermoplastic foam core sections extending between said upper web and said lower web and additionally between adjacent walls within said first plurality.
20. The elongated flooring member of claim 18, additionally comprising a pair of clamping surfaces facing upward and extending along opposite sides of said lower web, wherein said upper web extends outward along each side of said elongated flooring member over said pair of clamping surfaces.
21. The elongated flooring member of claim 20, wherein said first plurality of walls includes an outer wall extending downward and inward along each side of said elongated flooring member.
22. The elongated flooring member of claim 18, additionally including a tread pattern having a plurality of ridges extending along an upper surface of said upper web.
23. The elongated flooring member of claim 22, wherein each of said ridges is divided into a plurality of truncated pyramids.
24. An elongated flooring member comprising:
a lower web;
an upper web extending over said lower web and outward, beyond said lower web along each side of said elongated flooring member;
a first plurality of walls extending between said upper web and said lower web, including an outer wall extending downward and inward along each side of said elongated flooring member;
an upward-facing clamping surface extending along each side of said elongated flooring member under a portion of said upper web extending outward beyond said lower web.
25. The elongated flooring member of claim 24, additionally comprising a plurality of thermoplastic foam core sections extending between said upper web and said lower web and additionally between adjacent walls within said first plurality.
26. A floor assembly including:
a first plurality of spaced-apart, horizontally extending support members, wherein each of said support members includes an upper surface;
a second plurality of elongated flooring members fastened to said support members to extend above and across said support members, wherein each of said elongated flooring members includes an upper web, a lower web extending adjacent said upper surface of each of said support members, a plurality of walls extending between said upper and lower webs, and a plurality of thermoplastic foam core sections extending between said upper and lower webs and additionally between adjacent walls within said plurality of walls.
27. The floor assembly of claim 26, wherein
each elongated flooring member in said second plurality includes an upward-facing clamping surface extending along each side of said elongated flooring member, and
said floor assembly additionally comprises a third plurality of clamping blocks attached to said support members,
each of said clamping blocks includes a tab extending above a portion of said clamping surface of an adjacent elongated flooring member to fasten said elongated flooring member to a support member in said first plurality.
28. The floor assembly of claim 26, wherein
said lower web includes an upwardly-disposed central portion,
each elongated flooring member in said second plurality includes a pair of upward-facing latching surfaces extending under said central portion of said lower web,
said floor assembly additionally comprises a third plurality of attachment clips,
each attachment clip in said third plurality is fastened to a support member in said first plurality,
each attachment clip in said third plurality includes a latching portion, extending upward under said central portion of said lower web of an elongated flooring member in said second plurality, having a pair of downward-facing latching surfaces engaging said upward-facing latching surfaces of said elongated flooring member.
29. The floor assembly of claim 28, wherein
each elongated flooring member in said second plurality additionally includes a pair of latching arms extending downward from said central portion of said lower web,
each of said upward-facing latching surfaces is attached to a latching arm in said pair of latching arms, and
said upward facing latching surfaces are deflected toward one another by engagement with said downward facing latching surfaces.
30. A floor assembly including:
a first plurality of spaced-apart, horizontally extending support members, wherein each of said support members includes an upper surface;
a second plurality of elongated flooring members, wherein each of said elongated flooring members includes an upper web, a lower web extending adjacent said upper surface of each of said support members, including an upwardly disposed central portion, a plurality of walls extending between said upper and lower webs, a pair of latching arms extending downward from said upwardly disposed central portion, an upward facing latching surface extending outward from each of said latching arms, and a plurality of walls extending between said upper and lower webs; and
a third plurality of attachment clips, fastened to support members in said second plurality, wherein each of said attachment clips includes a pair of latching arms, extending upward below said upwardly disposed central portion of a lower web in an elongated flooring member in said second plurality, and an inward extending, downward facing latching surface engaging said upward facing latching surface of said elongated flooring member.
31. The floor assembly of claim 30, wherein said upward facing latching surfaces are deflected toward one another by engagement with said downward facing latching surfaces.
32. The floor assembly of claim 30, wherein
each attachment clip in said second plurality additionally includes an attachment hole disposed between said latching arms of said attachment clip, and
said floor assembly additionally comprises a screw extending through each said attachment hole to fasten said attachment clip to said support member.
33. The floor assembly of claim 30, wherein
each said attachment clip includes a first type of interlocking structure at a first end and a second type of interlocking structure at a second end, opposite said first end, and
said interlocking structure of a first type in said attachment clip engages said interlocking structure of a second type in an adjacent attachment clip to establish the spacing of attachment clips adjacent one another.
34. The floor assembly of claim 32, wherein
said first interlocking structure includes a groove, and
said second interlocking structure includes a ridge fitting within said groove in an adjacent attachment clip.
35. The floor assembly of claim 30, wherein each of said attachment clips is composed of a metal.
36. The floor assembly of claim 35, wherein each of said attachment clips is composed of an extruded aluminum alloy.
37. The floor assembly of claim 30, additionally comprising an edge strip extending adjacent an edge of said support structure, wherein
said edge strip includes a first web extending over a portion of an adjacent elongated flooring member in said second plurality and a second web extending downward from said first web, and
said floor assembly additionally comprises a plurality of fasteners attaching said second web to an end of said support structure.
38. The floor assembly of claim 37, wherein
each of said fasteners includes a head outwardly disposed from a surface of said second web, and
said edge strip additionally includes a cover strip pivotable between an open position exposing said surface of said second web and a closed position covering said surface of said second web and each head of said fasteners.
39. A method for assembling a floor atop a support structure including a plurality of spaced-apart, horizontally extending support members, wherein said method comprises:
a) fastening a first elongated flooring member to extend across said support members adjacent a first edge of said support structure by a plurality of edge clamps fastened to said support structure, wherein each of said edge clamps includes a tab extending over a first clamping strip of said first elongated flooring member, wherein said first clamping strip extends along a first side of said first elongated flooring member adjacent said first edge of said support structure, and additionally by a plurality of clamping blocks fastened to said plurality of support members, wherein each of said clamping blocks includes a first tab extending over a second clamping strip of said first elongated flooring member, and wherein said second clamping strip extends along a side of said first elongated flooring member opposite said first side;
b) sliding an additional elongated flooring member into place to extend adjacent said elongated flooring member last fastened to extend across said support members, with a first clamping strip of said additional elongated flooring member extending under a second tab of each of said clamping block in said plurality of clamping blocks attaching said elongated flooring member last fastened to extend across said support structure, wherein said first clamping strip of said additional elongated flooring member extends along a first side of said additional elongated flooring member, adjacent said elongated flooring member last fastened to extend across said support members;
c) fastening said additional elongated flooring member to said support structure by a plurality of clamping blocks fastened to said plurality of support members, wherein each of said clamping blocks includes a first tab extending over a second clamping strip of said first elongated flooring member, and wherein said second clamping strip extends along a side of said additional elongated flooring member opposite said first side of said additional elongated flooring member;
d) repeating steps b) and c) to fasten a plurality of additional elongated flooring members to said support structure until a space for only a last additional elongated flooring member remains along said support structure;
e) repeating step b) to fasten said last additional elongated flooring member to said support structure; and
f) fastening said last additional elongated flooring member to said support structure by a plurality of edge clamps fastened to said support structure, wherein each of said edge clamps includes a tab extending over a second clamping strip of said first elongated flooring member, and wherein said second clamping strip extends along a side of said last additional elongated flooring member opposite said first side of said additional elongated flooring member.
40. The method of claim 39, wherein
each of said clamping blocks is fastened to a support member by driving a screw into said support member through a hole in said clamping block, and
said hole in said clamping block is offset from a center of said clamping block through a distance sufficient to allow clearance between a screwdriver engaging said screw and an adjacent edge of a most recently installed elongated flooring member.
41. The method of claim 39, additionally comprising attaching an edge strip to said edge clamps along an edge of said floor.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates to floor assemblies including a number of extruded thermoplastic members extending across transverse support members, such as boards forming support structures below the extruded thermoplastic members, and, more particularly, to the shape of such extruded thermoplastic members and to methods for fastening such members to the support members.

[0003] 2. Summary of the Background Art

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 5,904,011 and D443,936 describe an elongated flooring surface. The elongated flooring member includes features for mounting the flooring member to extend along the top surfaces of a wooden plank. What is needed is the application of this type of anti-skid surface to a flooring member configured to extend atop and between support members. Such a flooring member must be sufficiently stiff and strong to support a useful load in a span extending between adjacent support members extending transverse to the flooring member.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 5,553,427 describes an extruded flooring member for use in a floor assembly that is secured to a rigid underlying support. A number of these flooring members are shown as extending atop and between wood joists acting as support members within a flooring assembly. In one version of the flooring system described in this patent, each of the flooring members is fastened to each of the underlying joists by a central snap connector, extending under a central portion of the flooring member. Each flooring member includes a load bearing horizontal portion, two outer leg members, two inner leg members, and two angular cross-members, each of which extends between an outer leg member and an inner leg member to form a closed section. Each of the inner leg members includes a foot forming a portion of a lower surface and extending into a central portion of the flooring member. The central snap connector, fastened to the underlying joists to extend within the central portion, has outward facing flanges that bend the inner leg members outward as the flooring member is pressed downward atop the central snap connector. When the flooring member is pressed down to the underlying joists, the inward extending feet snap inward under the flanges of the central snap connector, to be held down by the flanges.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 6,112,479 describes an extruded flooring member that is fastened into place on a number of joists with the same type of fastening clip as the central snap connector used within the first version of the flooring assembly of U.S. Pat. No. 5,553,427. The extruded flooring member includes a pair of outer leg members and a pair of inner leg members, each of the outer leg members being connected to an adjacent inner leg member by a horizontal support member. Each inner leg member includes a retaining tab extending therefrom to be caught by an outward-facing flange of the central snap connector as the extruded flooring member is pressed down on the connector.

[0007] However, the outward forces exerted on the feet by the flanges as the flooring member is pressed into place over the central snap connector produce a torque on the load-bearing horizontal member tend to bend the lower surfaces of the flooring member into a convex shape. Depending on the alignment of the feet with the flanges, some of these forces may remain after the flooring member is installed, with the resulting convex shape allowing slight movements of the flooring member on the underlying joists, along with the production of associated noises, when someone walks on the flooring member. Thus, what is needed is an apparatus for snapping an extruded flooring member into place without bending the lower surface of the flooring member into a convex shape.

[0008] In a second version of a flooring system described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,553,427, the flooring member is held in place on a joist by means of an elongated snap connector extending atop the joist and under the entire width of the flooring member. The elongated snap connector includes four short hook-shaped snap members that snap in place over feet extending from the leg members of the flooring member and two short pilot members that guide the flooring member as it is pressed downward on the elongated snap connector. However, what is needed is a snap connector having longer, more flexible snap members, providing for greater flexibility and therefore for ease of assembly.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 6,233,886 describes a flooring system including a different kind of elongated snap connector, which can be applied to hold either the extruded flooring member described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,553,427 or the extruded flooring member described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,112,479. This different kind of elongated snap extends, for example, under a right portion of one flooring member and a left portion of an adjacent flooring member. A rigid hook holds a foot extending from an intermediate leg of one of the flooring members, while a hook-shaped flexible snap member holds a foot extending from an intermediate leg of the other flooring member. Again, what is needed is a snap connector having longer, more flexible snap members to provide for greater flexibility and ease of assembly.

[0010] Additionally, what is needed is a system providing small mounting members that can be attached to individual joists for fastening in place an extruded flooring member extending at an oblique angle with respect to the individual joists. Such mounting members may be needed, for example, in fabricating a curved or otherwise non-rectangular deck structure. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,553,427 and 6,112,479 show the central snap connector being used as an elongated part, extending atop and between several joists, which can be used even when the joists extend at an oblique angle relative to the flooring members. However, it is desirable to use snap connectors that are only as wide as the individual joists, both to reduce the cost of materials and to make the snapping process easier, with less force being required, and more reliable, with the flooring members only being snapped onto portions of the snap connector that are backed up directly by the joists extending under the connector during the snapping process. For example, the elongated connectors of U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,553,427 and 6,233,886 can be used in a width equal to that of the joist, but such an application precludes the use of such connectors extending along individual joists if the flooring member is to extend at an oblique angle relative to the joists.

[0011] Other problems associated with the use of elongated extruded flooring members result from noises that may occur as someone walks on the flooring members. Various examples of the prior art, including U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,018,925 and 5,553,427 describe the use of a layer of soft material extending along the surfaces of the flooring members where contact will occur with an underlying support structure to prevent or minimize squeaking when a person walks across the flooring member, causing small relative movements to occur between the flooring member and the underlying structure. However, what is additionally needed is a method to deaden a hollow, reverberating sound that may occur as someone walks along an extruded flooring member including one or more hollow sections.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] According to a first aspect of the invention, a floor assembly is provided including a support structure having a first plurality of spaced-apart, horizontally extending support members, a second plurality of elongated flooring members, and a third plurality of clamping blocks. Each of the support members includes an upper surface. The elongated flooring members extend above and across the support members, with each of the elongated flooring members including a lower surface extending adjacent the upper surface of the support members, a clamping strip extending along each side of the elongated flooring member and outward from the lower surface of the elongated flooring member, and an upper surface extending outward along each side of the elongated flooring member to overhang the clamping strip. Each of the clamping blocks is fastened to a support member in the first plurality to extend along the upper surface of the support member between lower surfaces of adjacent elongated flooring members in the second plurality. Each of the clamping blocks includes a clamping tab extending toward each elongated flooring member in the adjacent elongated flooring members over an adjacent clamping strip of the elongated flooring member to hold the lower surface of each of the adjacent elongated flooring members against the upper surface of the support member. Each of the clamping blocks extends under portions of the upper surfaces extending outward along the adjacent elongated flooring members.

[0013] To provide structural strength and rigidity while extending between adjacent support members, each elongated flooring member includes upper and lower webs and a number of walls extending between the upper web and the lower web. To provide space for the clamping blocks while adjacent elongated flooring members are spaced close to one another, the elongated flooring member includes, at each side, a wall extending downward and inward.

[0014] According to a second aspect of the invention, a flooring system is provided, including a first plurality of spaced-apart horizontally extending support members, a second plurality of elongated flooring members, and a third plurality of attachment clips fastened to the support members. Each of the elongated flooring members includes a lower web having a raised central portion, from which a pair of latching arms extends downward. Each of the latching arms includes an upward facing, outward extending latching surface. Each of the attachment clips includes a pair of latching arms extending upward under the raised central portion of the lower web of an elongated flooring member disposed above the attachment clip. Each of the latching arms of the attachment clip includes a latching surface facing downward and extending inward to engage the latching surfaces of the elongated flooring member. In this way, the elongated flooring member is held in place on the support member by the attachment clip, and a torque is provided at the center of the elongated flooring member to hold the opposite edges of the elongated flooring member against the underlying attachment clip, preventing squeaking as someone walks across the elongated flooring member.

[0015] Preferably, an elongated flooring member is composed of an extruded thermoplastic resin to include all of the features necessary for use in either the first or second aspects of the invention. An elongated flooring member may also include core formed with a foamed thermoplastic resin in each of the cavities between an upper web and a lower web and between walls extending between the upper and lower webs. Such foam cores prevent the generation of hollow sounds otherwise formed by reverberation in hollow cavities as a person walks on the flooring members.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016]FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a floor assembly built in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention;

[0017]FIG. 2 is a fragmentary transverse cross-sectional elevation of the floor assembly of FIG. 1, taken as indicated by section lines II-II therein;

[0018]FIG. 3 is a vertical transverse cross-sectional view an edge strip of the floor assembly of FIG. 1 in an exploded relationship with an edge clamp;

[0019]FIG. 4 is a fragmentary plan view of the floor assembly of FIG. 1 in a partly assembled condition, showing an elongated flooring member attached to an underlying support member;

[0020]FIG. 5 is a fragmentary plan view similar to FIG. 4, except that the support member extends at an oblique angle to the elongated flooring member;

[0021]FIG. 6 is a fragmentary transverse cross-sectional elevation of a floor assembly built in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention;

[0022]FIG. 7 is a fragmentary transverse cross-sectional elevation of the floor assembly of FIG. 6, having installed therein an alternative edge strip;

[0023]FIG. 8 is a fragmentary transverse cross-sectional elevation of the floor assembly of FIG. 2, having installed therein an alternative edge strip;

[0024]FIG. 9 is a fragmentary transverse cross-sectional elevation similar to FIG. 8, except that a width of an elongated flooring member therein has been reduced; and

[0025]FIG. 10 is a transverse cross-sectional elevation of an elongated flooring member in FIG. 2 or FIG. 6, including foam cores formed within internal cavities.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0026]FIGS. 1 and 2 show a floor assembly 10 built in accordance with a first version of the invention, with FIG. 1 being a front elevation thereof, and with FIG. 2 being a fragmentary transverse cross-sectional view thereof, taken along section lines II-II in FIG. 1. The floor assembly 10 includes a support structure 12, having a first plurality of horizontally extending support members 14, and a second plurality of elongated flooring members 16 extending above and across the support members 14. Each of the elongated flooring members 16 includes a clamping strip 18, extending along each side 20 of the elongated flooring member 16. For example, the floor assembly 10 forms a part of a deck or dock supported by a number of posts 22.

[0027] The floor assembly 10 additionally includes a third plurality of clamping blocks 24, each of which is fastened to an underlying support member 14 by means of a screw 26 extending through a hole 28 in the clamping block 24. A clamping tab 30 extends from each end of the clamping block 24, engaging an upward-facing clamping surface 32 of the clamping strip 18 extending along an adjacent elongated flooring member 16. In this way, the lower surface 33 of the elongated flooring member 16 is held against the upper surface 34 of the underlying support member 14.

[0028] Preferably, the clamping blocks 24 are used to establish a gap between adjacent elongated flooring members 16. For example, the clamping blocks 24 and the elongated flooring members 16 are configured so that, when adjacent elongated flooring members 16 are each held against a clamping block 24 placed between them, a gap 35 of approximately 1.6 mm ({fraction (1/16)} inch) is established between the adjacent flooring members 16.

[0029] The elongated flooring member 16 is configured to serve as a load-supporting beam through distance between adjacent support members 14. For strength and stiffness, the elongated flooring member 16 includes a number of enclosed structures formed by an upper web 36, a lower web 37, and a number of walls 38 extending between the webs 36, 37. The outermost walls 39 extend downward and inward to provide a space for a clamping block 24 between adjacent elongated flooring members 16, while allowing these adjacent members 16 to touch or to come into close proximity near their upper webs 36. Preferably, the elongated flooring member 16 is composed of an extruded thermoplastic resin, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

[0030] Preferably, the floor assembly 10 additionally includes a fourth plurality of edge clamps 40, each of which is fastened to the support structure 12 by means of a screw 41 extending through a hole 42 within the edge clamp 40. Each of the edge clamps 40 includes a clamping tab 44 extending over the clamping strip 18 of a first elongated flooring member 46 extending along an edge 48 of the floor assembly 10. (The numeral 46 is used to designate the first of a number of similar or identical elongated flooring members 16). The hole 42 is preferably disposed outwardly from an adjacent overhanging edge 50 of the first elongated flooring member 46 to an extent allowing the screw 41 to be tightened with the first elongated flooring member 46 in place. Preferably, the floor assembly 10 further includes an edge strip 54 extending outwardly adjacent the first elongated flooring member 46 and above the edge clamps 40.

[0031]FIG. 3 is a vertical cross-sectional view of the edge strip 54 in an exploded relationship with an edge clamp 40. A strip engaging surface 60 of the edge clamp 40 extends along opposite sides of a tab 62, including a number of first latching surfaces 64. A clamp engaging surface 56 extends along inward facing opposite sides of a trough 66, including a number of second latching surfaces 68. As the edge strip 54 is moved downward, in the direction of arrow 70, for attachment to the edge clamp 40, second latching surfaces 68 are moved away from the adjacent first latching surfaces 64 by deflection occurring within the trough 66. As each second latching surface 68 is moved past a first latching surface 64, the second latching surface 68 moves back into engagement with the first latching surface 64, preventing upward movement of the edge strip 54, out of attachment with the edge clamp 40.

[0032] Referring again to FIG. 2, the process of building a flooring system on top of the support structure 12, begins with fastening the first elongated flooring member 46 in place by means of a number of edge clamps 40 and a number of clamping blocks 24. A clamping tab 44 of each of the edge clamps 40 is clamped over an adjacent clamping strip 18, extending along a side of the first elongated flooring member 46 that is adjacent the edge clamps 40. A first tab 30 of each of the clamping blocks 24 is clamped over the other clamping strip 18 of the first elongated flooring member 46.

[0033] Then, an elongated flooring member 16 is moved into place next to the first elongated flooring member 46, with the clamping strip 18 of this under a portion of the adjacent clamping blocks 24. Pushing and even hammering may be used to accomplish the movement of the elongated flooring member 16 into engagement with the clamping blocks 24. This process is then repeated until all of the elongated flooring members 16 forming the floor assembly 10 have been installed, with a number of clamping blocks 24 being screwed into place after each of the elongated flooring members 16 has been installed, until the last of the elongated flooring members 16 is to be installed. Preferably, the installation of the last of the elongated flooring members 16 is similar to this process, except that a second group of edge clamps is installed along the outer edge of this last elongated flooring member 16 in preparation for receiving another edge strip 54.

[0034]FIG. 4 is a fragmentary plan view of the floor assembly 10, showing a clamping block 24, fastened to an underlying support member 14 by means of a screw 26 extending through a hole 28 in the clamping block 24. The hole 28 is preferably displaced from the center of the clamping block 24 in the direction of arrow 74 through a distance sufficient to allow clearance past the overhanging edge 76 of the adjacent elongated flooring member 26 for a screwdriver driving the screw 26 into the support member 14.

[0035] The top surface of the upper web 36 of the elongated flooring member 16 preferably is formed as a tread pattern 78 including a number of truncated pyramids 80 extending along flutes separated by grooves 82 between the flutes and by troughs 84 between adjacent pyramids 80 within each flute.

[0036]FIG. 5 is a fragmentary plan view similar to FIG. 4, except that the clamping block 24 is fastened to a support member 88 extending at an oblique angle to the elongated flooring member 16. This arrangement can occur, for example, at a corner of an L-shaped floor assembly or in a floor assembly having a curved edge.

[0037] In accordance with the first embodiment of the invention, the clamping blocks 24 are fastened in place after an adjacent elongated flooring member 16 has been installed, in a process step that includes drilling holes for the screws 26 or otherwise fixing the locations of these screws 26. In this way, the width of the elongated flooring member 16, with the clamping blocks 24 held in place, determines the locations at which the new clamping blocks 24 will be installed. This process works equally well whether the support member extends perpendicular to the elongated flooring member 16, as shown in FIG. 4, or at an oblique angle, as shown in FIG. 5, providing the first embodiment of the invention with an advantage over various prior art methods in which mounting clips are spaced to extend along support members that must be perpendicular to the elongated flooring members.

[0038]FIG. 6 is a fragmentary transverse cross-sectional elevation of a floor assembly 100 built in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention. This floor assembly 100 includes a number of elongated flooring members 16, which are identical to the elongated flooring members 16 described above in reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. The floor assembly 100 also includes a support structure 12 including a number of horizontally extending support members 14, which is, for example, identical to the support structure 12 described above in reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. However, in floor assembly 100, each of the elongated flooring members 16 is fastened to the support members by an attachment clip 102, with each of the attachment clamps 102 being in turn fastened to one of the support members 14 by means of a screw 104 extending downward through a hole 106 within the attachment clip 102.

[0039] The lower web 37 of the elongated flooring member 16 includes an upwardly disposed central portion 108, from which a pair of latching arms 110 extends downward. Each of the latching arms 110 includes an upward facing latching surface 112 that extends outward as a part if the latching arm 110. Thus, the upward facing latching surfaces 112 of each elongated flooring member 16 extend away from one another.

[0040] Each attachment clip 102 includes a pair of upward extending latching arms 114, each of which includes a downward facing latching surface 116 that extends inward as part of the latching arm 114. Thus, the downward facing latching surfaces of each attachment clip 102 extend toward one another.

[0041] This arrangement allows each elongated flooring member 16 to be installed on the support structure 12 by being pressed downward on a number of attachment clips 102. During this process, the latching arms 114 of the elongated flooring member 16 are deflected inwardly, toward one another. In a preferred version of the invention, some of this deflection remains, for example, due to the angle of orientation of the latching surfaces 112, 144, resulting in the application of a torque to the elongated flooring member at its center causing the lower web 37 to bow into a slightly concave shape. Thus, each of the opposite edges 120 of the lower web 37 is held downward against the surface of the underlying attachment clips 102, as a downward force acting on the center 118 of the elongated flooring member 16 is maintained through contact between the latching surfaces 112, 116.

[0042] In this way, an advantage is achieved over prior art flooring systems described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,112,479, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. Such prior art flooring systems include upward facing latching surfaces extending inward as portions of an elongated flooring member to engage a pair of downward facing latching surfaces extending outward as portions of an attachment clip. In such a system, while a downward force is exerted along the areas of engagement between the latching surfaces, holding a central portion of the elongated flooring member against the underlying support members, the engagement of the latching surfaces may be expected to also provide a torque tending to raise the edges of the lower web from the support members. If this occurs, squeaking sounds may be emitted as someone walks across the flooring members, resulting from relative motion occurring between the flooring members and the support members.

[0043] Since the attachment clips 102 determine the location of an individual elongated flooring member 16 as it is installed, these attachment clips 102 further include interlocking alignment features that space adjacent attachment clips 102 so that the elongated flooring members 16 attached thereto are properly aligned with one another. For example, each attachment clip 102 includes a downward facing groove 122 at a first end and an upward facing ridge 124 at an opposite end. As the attachment clips 102 are installed to extend along a support member 14, the groove 122 of one attachment clip 102 is brought into place over the ridge 124 of an adjacent attachment clip 102, so that the attachment clips 102 are spaced to provide a proper spacing of the elongated flooring members 16 subsequently attached thereto.

[0044] The process of building the floor assembly 100 may proceed with all of the attachment clips 102 being installed on the underlying support members 14 before any of the elongated flooring members 16 are installed on the attachment clips 102. Alternately, each of the elongated flooring members 16 may be installed as soon as all of the attachment clips 102 under it are installed on the support members 14. Alternately a combination of these approaches may be used.

[0045] Preferably, the floor assembly 100 additionally includes an edge strip 130 extending along an edge 132 of the support structure 12, with the edge strip 130 including a first web 134 extending over a portion of an adjacent elongated flooring structure 15 and a second web 136 extending downward from the first web 134. The second web 136 is fastened to the support structure 12 by means of a number of fasteners 138, which are, for example, screws or nails. The second web 136 also includes a cover strip 140 pivotable between a first position, indicated by dashed lines 142, allowing the fasteners 138 to be driven or hammered into place, and a second position, in which the cover strip 140 is shown, and in which the heads 144 of the fasteners 138 are hidden to improve the appearance of the floor assembly 100.

[0046] Preferably, the edge strip 130 is formed as an extrusion of thermoplastic material, such as PVC, with a notch 146 being provided to serve as a hinge for pivoting the cover strip 140, and with a ridge 148 being provided for holding the cover strip 140 in it closed position. Holes for the fasteners 138 may be formed in the edge strip 130 before its installation on the support structure 12, or such holes may be formed during this installation process.

[0047]FIG. 7 is a fragmentary transverse cross-sectional elevation of a floor assembly 150 built in accordance with the second embodiment of the invention having an alternative edge strip 152 in the form of a C-shaped channel formed from an extruded thermoplastic material, such as PVC. The edge strip 152 includes an upper web 154 extending above a portion of the adjacent elongated flooring member 16, a lower web 156 extending under a portion of this elongated flooring member 16, and an outer web 158 extending between the upper web 154 and the lower web 156. The edge strip 152 may be adhesively attached to the adjacent elongated flooring member 16, or it may be held in place by a number of fasteners 160, such as flat head nails. An adjacent spring clip 164 is cut off at an edge 164 to provide for the placement of the lower web 156 under the elongated flooring member 16 held in place by this spring clip 164. Each of the spring clips 102 may have a number of notches 166 to facilitate such a modification.

[0048]FIG. 8 is a fragmentary transverse cross-sectional elevation of a floor assembly 170 built in accordance with the first embodiment of the invention, having a second type of edge strip, the edge strip 130 described above in reference to FIG. 6, installed thereon. As described above in reference to FIG. 2, the floor assembly 170 includes a number of elongated flooring members 16, with a first such flooring member 46 being held in place by a number of edge clamps 40 and additionally by a number of clamping blocks 24. The edge clamps 40 are covered by the edge strip 130. As described above in reference to FIG. 6, the edge strip 130 is held in place by a number of fasteners 138. The tab 62 of each edge clamp 40 is not used.

[0049]FIG. 9 is a fragmentary transverse cross-sectional elevation of a floor assembly 170 built in accordance with the first embodiment of the invention, having the second type of edge strip 130 and a first elongated flooring member 176 that has been cut off along an edge 178 because the overall width of the floor assembly 170 in the direction of arrow 180 does not provide for the use of an integral number of elongated flooring members 16 (shown in FIG. 2). The configuration of the elongated flooring members 16, with a number of vertical walls 38 extending between an upper web 36 and a lower web 37, allows the elongated member 16 to be cut off at a number of points while retaining suitable support for the upper web 36 and a suitable clamping surface 182 for attachment by means of end clamps 39 or clamping blocks 24.

[0050]FIG. 10 is a transverse cross-sectional elevation of an alternative elongated flooring member 186, which is similar to the elongated flooring member 16 described above in reference to FIGS. 2 and 6, except that the alternative elongated flooring member 186 includes a core 188 filled with a foam resin, such as a foamed polystyrene resin, filling the gaps between the upper web 36 and the lower web 37, and also between adjacent walls 38, 39. This alternative elongated flooring member 186 provides a floor assembly with an additional advantage that a hollow sound is not produced as someone walks on the floor assembly, due to reverberation otherwise occurring within the empty chambers between webs 36, 37 and walls 38, 39. This alternate elongated flooring member 186 is used as described above in reference to FIGS. 1-9, as a replacement for the elongated flooring member 16.

[0051] While the edge strips 54, 130, 152 have been shown as extending along a single edge of exemplary floor assemblies in a direction parallel to the elongated flooring members 16, it is understood that such edge strips 54, 130, 152 are readily installed to extend along both (opposite) edges of such a floor assembly, in a direction parallel to the elongated flooring members 16. It is further understood that the edge strips 130, 152 may readily be installed to extend along one or both edges of such a floor assembly across the ends of the elongated flooring members 16, i.e. in a direction perpendicular to the elongated flooring members 16.

[0052] While the invention has been described in terms of its preferred versions or embodiments with some degree of particularity, it is understood that this description has been given only by way of example, and that numerous changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, as presented in the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7571571 *Feb 8, 2008Aug 11, 2009Megawall CorporationSlatwall profile
US7730693May 7, 2004Jun 8, 2010Jimdi, Inc.Decking system
US8291666 *Feb 26, 2010Oct 23, 2012Flotation Systems, Inc.Decking panel system
US8359794 *Nov 5, 2010Jan 29, 2013Walter BiroExtruded plastic members for covering wood surfaces
US8739489 *Jan 21, 2009Jun 3, 2014Sigma Dek Ltd.Decking system
US8910442 *Aug 15, 2013Dec 16, 2014Sigma Dek Ltd.Deck board mounting clip
US20110214369 *Jan 21, 2009Sep 8, 2011Tory WeberDecking System
US20140165491 *Aug 15, 2013Jun 19, 2014Sigma Dek Ltd.Deck Board Mounting Clip
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/489.1, 52/177
International ClassificationE04F19/06, E04F15/10
Cooperative ClassificationE04F2201/05, E04F15/10, E04F19/061, E04F2203/04
European ClassificationE04F15/10, E04F19/06B