FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/349,461, filed Jan. 22, 2003.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a base for supporting an overlaying cover. More particularly, it refers to multi-sectional interlocking polymeric panels held together by a mechanical locking feature, the panels forming a base for an overlaying surface.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Surface coverings, such as carpet, linoleum, wood flooring, rubberized flooring system, and tile, need to be laid over a base that will support the surface covering. Commonly, surface coverings are laid over a base of plywood or cement. These base materials are expensive to install, and then once installed are more difficult to remove. Recreational surfaces frequently need to be moved to different locations because the same site may be used for different activities, such as a basketball court converted to an ice rink. A need exists for an inexpensive, easily movable base surface for use with multiple surface coverings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention of this application is a multiplicity of one piece sectional polymeric panels attachable by locking features to adjacent panels in various directions to create an indoor/outdoor base for supporting a desired surface covering. The multiple polymeric panels are prepared by compression, blow, injection or like molding process to prepare a smooth, planar top surface integral with a bottom grid structure. Locking features are mounted at an end of each panel juxtaposed to an adjacent polymeric panel. After removing the overlaying surface covering, the interlocked panels can be disassembled and moved to a different location.
The invention can be best understood by those having ordinary skill in the art by reference to the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of the multiple molded polymeric panels employed to form the interlocked base;
FIG. 2 is a side sectional view in elevation showing adjacent polymeric panels of FIG. 1 ready to be locked together at their edges;
FIG. 3 is a side sectional view in elevation showing the adjacent polymeric edges in the panels of FIG. 1 locked together;
FIG. 4 is a bottom perspective view of a molded polymeric panel shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a side sectional elevation along line 5-5 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the panels according to FIG. 1 with additional bores for screws to facilitate bonding of adjacent panels;
FIG. 7 is a side sectional view in elevation showing the use of screws for locking adjacent panels of FIG. 6 together;
FIG. 8 is a side sectional view in elevation showing two adjacent panels in FIG. 6 locked together and firmly joined with a screw;
FIG. 9 is a side sectional view in elevation showing the use of a bolt and threaded insert for locking adjacent panels of FIG. 6 together;
FIG. 10 is a side sectional view in elevation showing two adjacent panels of FIG. 6 locked together and firmly joined with the bolt and threaded insert;
FIG. 11 is a top perspective view of a stand alone base prepared for receipt of a surface covering;
FIG. 12 is a top perspective view showing a tapered side edge of the base shown in FIG. 11 on one polymeric panel;
FIG. 13 is an exploded view of the tapered side edges being attached to one polymeric panel;
FIG. 14 is an exploded view of a first alternate side edge with protruding edges removed;
FIG. 15 is an exploded view of a second alternate side edge with a molded part snapped into a side edge gap;
FIG. 16 is a top perspective view of a polymeric panel with two side edges removed so that the polymeric panel can be laid in a corner of a structure;
FIG. 17 is a top perspective view of a multiple polymeric panel base overlaid with a rolled on covering;
FIG. 18 is a top perspective view of a multiple polymeric panel base overlaid with tile; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 19 is a top perspective view of a multiple polymeric panel base overlaid with wood or synthetic wood flooring.
Throughout the following detailed description the same reference numerals refer to the same elements in all figures.
Referring to FIGS. 1-3, panels 12 join together to form an interlocked series of panels 10 arranged to be mechanically locked together. Each panel 12 has upright facing sidesteps 14 and downward facing sidesteps 16. Steps 16 contain a downwardly pointing convex projection 18 on lower surface 20. Step 14 contains a concave dimple 22 on upper surface 24, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The adjacent panels 12 are slid together to engage convex projections 28 with concave dimples 22. A pry bar can be inserted in a sideslot 26 in order to disengage adjacent panels 12. The top planar surface 30 is molded as an integral rigid body with the grid structure 32 shown in FIG. 4.
The molded integral rigid body with grid structure 32 is made from molded filled or non-filled polymers. These polymers can include polypropylene, structural urethane foams or other suitable commercially available polyolefins.
An alternative locking mechanism for panels 12 is shown in FIGS. 6-8. Bores 34 are drilled in the top surface 30 of panels 12 above each downwardly facing step 16, and bores 36 are drilled in top surface 20 of upwardly facing step 14. A screw 38, as shown in FIGS. 6-8, is threaded through bores 34 and 36 to join panels 12 together. Nipple projection 40 is guided into indentation 42 to join the corners of panels 12 together, as shown in FIG. 6. An alternative bolt 44 and insert 46, as shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, can be substituted for screw 38, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, to join panels 12 together.
As seen in FIG. 11, a stand alone interlock panel arrangement 10A can be fashioned with a tapered border 28. As seen in FIGS. 12 and 13, the tapered border 28 has a corresponding portion 48 that intersects with upright facing sidestep 14 and downward facing sidesteps 16. In this manner, the tapered border 28 is merely inserted over the sidesteps in the same manner as set forth above for the juxtaposed individual panels 12. A corner tapered border 50 is inserted between the tapered sections 28 in order to complete the look shown on FIG. 12.
The panels 12 can be configured to fit in the corner of a building. In this use, the sections 52, as shown in FIG. 14, are sawed off of panel 12 so that a generally smooth surface 54 is set forth on the side edge of panel 12. As shown in FIG. 15, plugs 56 are inserted in the openings 58 to create a generally smooth top surface on panel 12. In order to avoid using the plugs of 56, the entire corner section 60 on panel 12 can be removed to provide a smooth side surface 62, as shown in FIG. 16.
A roll-down top surface 64, as shown in FIG. 17, can be applied over the interlock panels 10. This roll-down top surface 64 can be synthetic grass, carpet, linoleum, or a film-type surface as desired. Alternatively as seen in FIG. 18, tile 66 can be laid over interlocked panels 10 or as seen in FIG. 19, wood or synthetic wood products 68 can be laid over interlocked panels 10.
The interlocked panels 10 with a synthetic grass covering can be used on driving ranges or practice facility for a golf ball hitting area. The configuration of interlocked panels 10 can be longitudinal, squared, rectangular or other geometric shape, and can be used outdoors over turf or sand or indoors over concrete or plywood or as a substitute for a concrete or plywood base. The interlocked panels 10 can be covered with commercially available surfaces, such as SPORT COURT™ athletic floor tiles, hardwood flooring, synthetic wood floor, carpet or linoleum that are easily installed over the interlocked panels and can be removed and reassembled at alternate locations.
The above description has described specific structural details in applying the invention. However, it will be within one having skill in the art to make modifications without departing from the spirit and scope of the underlying inventive concept of this interlock panel with overlaying surface. The invention is not limited to the structure described and includes such modifications as are substantially equivalent to the elements of the interlock panels with surface covering.