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Publication numberUS20060254201 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/116,573
Publication dateNov 16, 2006
Filing dateApr 28, 2005
Priority dateApr 28, 2005
Publication number11116573, 116573, US 2006/0254201 A1, US 2006/254201 A1, US 20060254201 A1, US 20060254201A1, US 2006254201 A1, US 2006254201A1, US-A1-20060254201, US-A1-2006254201, US2006/0254201A1, US2006/254201A1, US20060254201 A1, US20060254201A1, US2006254201 A1, US2006254201A1
InventorsRonald Pittman
Original AssigneePittman Ronald B
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Interior trim system and method for home construction
US 20060254201 A1
Abstract
Interior trim items for use in home construction, such as window and door trim assemblies, stairway and landing railing assemblies, fireplace surrounds, base cap boxes, panel assemblies, knee wall trim assemblies, and chair rail sections, are pre-assembled off-site from standard millwork materials based upon specifications provided by the builder, and delivered to the site where a home is under construction to fill orders placed by the builder. A complete service can be provided for builders by pre-assembling, delivering and installing the interior trim items.
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Claims(21)
1. A method for providing interior trim items in home construction, comprising the steps of:
cutting a plurality of pieces from standard millwork materials, each piece corresponding to a portion of an interior trim item;
pre-assembling the cut pieces into the interior trim item; and
delivering the pre-assembled interior trim item to a construction site where a home is under construction.
2. The method claimed in claim 1, wherein the interior trim item is selected from the group consisting of: a window trim assembly, a door trim assembly, a railing assembly, a fireplace surround, a base cap box, a panel assembly, a knee wall assembly, and a chair rail section.
3. The method claimed in claim 1, wherein:
the trim item is a window assembly; and
the pre-assembling step comprises assembling the cut pieces into a window jamb integrally attached to a window casing.
4. The method claimed in claim 1, wherein:
the trim item is a railing assembly; and
the pre-assembling step comprises assembling the cut pieces into upper and lower railings with a plurality of balusters parallel to one another and extending between the upper and lower railings, with ends of the balusters secured within bores in the upper and lower railings.
5. The method claimed in claim 1, wherein:
the trim item is a panel assembly; and
the pre-assembling step comprises assembling the cut pieces into at least one base cap box integrally attached to a panel.
6. The method claimed in claim 1, wherein:
the trim item is a knee wall trim assembly; and
the pre-assembling step comprises assembling the cut pieces into two sides attached to a cap in a U-shaped configuration.
7. The method claimed in claim 1, wherein the delivering step comprises the steps of:
identifying each room of the home for which trim items are to be delivered;
preparing a bundle containing all pre-assembled interior trim items associated with each identified room;
delivering the bundle to the site; and
placing a bundle in each identified room in preparation for installing the trim items of the bundle associated with the identified room.
8. The method claimed in claim 1, wherein the step of preparing a bundle comprises including installation instructions in the bundle.
9. A method for providing interior trim items in home construction, comprising the steps of:
obtaining interior trim specifications from a builder for each of a plurality of home plans, each interior trim specification identifying interior trim items for one of the home plans;
pre-assembling interior trim items in accordance with predetermined assembly plans for interior trim items identified in the interior trim specifications;
receiving an order from a builder for interior trim items for a home plan identified in the order;
gathering pre-assembled interior trim items listed in the interior trim specification for the home plan identified in the order; and
delivering pre-assembled interior trim items for the identified home plan to a construction site where a home is under construction.
10. The method claimed in claim 9, wherein:
the step of obtaining interior trim specifications comprises providing the trim specifications to a computer system; and
the step of pre-assembling interior trim items in accordance with predetermined assembly plans comprises the step of cutting, under computer control in response to the assembly plans, a plurality of pieces from standard millwork materials, each piece corresponding to a portion of an interior trim item for one of the home plans.
11. The method claimed in claim 9, wherein interior trim items for the home plan identified in the order include interior trims items selected from the group consisting of: a window trim assembly, a door trim assembly, a railing assembly, a fireplace surround, a base cap box, a panel assembly, a knee wall assembly, and a chair rail section.
12. The method claimed in claim 9, wherein:
at least one of the interior trim items for the home plan identified in the order is a window assembly; and
the pre-assembling step comprises assembling the cut pieces into a window jamb integrally attached to a window casing.
13. The method claimed in claim 9, wherein:
at least one of the interior trim items for the home plan identified in the order is a a railing assembly; and
the pre-assembling step comprises assembling the cut pieces into upper and lower railings with a plurality of balusters parallel to one another and extending between the upper and lower railings, with ends of the balusters secured within bores in the upper and lower railings.
14. The method claimed in claim 9, wherein:
at least one of the interior trim items for the home plan identified in the order is a is a panel assembly; and
the pre-assembling step comprises assembling the cut pieces into at least one base cap box integrally attached to a panel.
15. The method claimed in claim 9, wherein:
at least one of the interior trim items for the home plan identified in the order is a knee wall trim assembly; and
the pre-assembling step comprises assembling the cut pieces into two sides attached to a cap in a U-shaped configuration.
16. The method claimed in claim 9, wherein the delivering step comprises the steps of:
identifying each room of the home plan for which trim items are to be delivered;
preparing a bundle containing all pre-assembled interior trim items associated with each identified room;
delivering the bundle to the site; and
placing a bundle in each identified room in preparation for installing the trim items of the bundle associated with the identified room.
17. The method claimed in claim 9, wherein the step of preparing a bundle comprises including installation instructions in the bundle.
18. A method for providing interior trim for a window installed in an exterior wall of a home, comprising the steps of:
placing a pre-assembled window trim assembly comprising a window casing and integrally attached window jamb in an interior wall of the home, wherein the jamb extends toward the exterior of the home and frames the window, and the casing frames the jamb against the interior wall; and
securing the window trim assembly in place.
19. A window trim assembly for trimming an interior area of a window installed in an exterior wall of a home, comprising:
a window jamb;
a window casing attached to and framing the window jamb; and
a window stool attached to the window casing and window jamb.
20. A railing assembly for trimming the edge of an elevated walking area of a home, comprising:
an upper railing formed of railing millwork material;
a lower railing formed of railing millwork material; and
a plurality of balusters parallel to one another and extending between the upper and lower railings and having ends secured within bores in the upper and lower railings.
21. A panel assembly for trimming an interior wall of a home, comprising:
a rectangular panel; and
at least one base cap box comprising a rectangular sub-panel framed with molding attached to a face of the rectangular panel.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to home construction and, more specifically, to systems and methods for providing interior trim.

DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

Construction of a new home unit typically proceeds in stages or according to a schedule established by the builder. At some point or stage in construction, the house has been fully framed, windows have been installed, drywall or other covering has been installed on the interior walls, and the unit is ready for the installation of interior trim and other woodwork. The term “interior trim” refers to those elements that are primarily architectural in nature and generally constructed of lengths of molding and similar cut-and-fitted lengths of material. Interior trim is generally composed of wood and wood-substitute materials, though other materials, such as plastic and faux stone, have been used in some instances. Examples of interior trim include chair rails, window and door casings, jambs, and stools, ceiling moldings, and baseboard moldings. Molding and similar millwork items used for interior trim are produced in aesthetically pleasing profile shapes, such as varieties and combinations of chamfers, flutes, ogees, etc. Additional types of millwork used in interior trim include stairway handrails, and fireplace surrounds, and turned items such as stair balusters and finials.

At each stage in home construction, the builder has the building materials needed for that stage or the next stage delivered to the construction site. Therefore, shortly before the interior trim stage (sometimes colloquially referred to in the industry as “trimming out”), the builder has a millwork supplier deliver a quantity of molding and other millwork items the builder estimates will be required. Molding and similar linear items used in U.S. home construction are typically manufactured in standard lengths of 12, 14 or 16 feet (depending upon the manufacturer) and in standard metric lengths in other countries. The architectural plan for a home may specify many different types of molding and other millwork items. For example, the chair rails are typically of one profile, while the window casings are of another profile, and the door casings are of still another. Moreover, the plan may specify one type of chair rail or window casing in one room or area of the house and a different type of chair rail in another room or area of the house. Accordingly, a supplier may deliver, for example, several stacks of 14-foot lengths of molding to the construction site, with some stacks being of one type of molding, other stacks being of a second type, and so on.

When the time comes to trim out a room of the house, the workers go to the stacks of molding and other millwork (which may be stored in the garage of the house or other enclosed area for protection against the elements and theft), sort through them to find the items needed for that room, and cut lengths of each item as needed according to the architectural plans. For example, the plan may indicate that, to trim out a certain window in a certain room, will require two pieces of a first length of a first item for the sides of the window casing, two pieces of a second length of that item for the top and bottom of the casing, and one piece of a certain length of yet a third item for the window stool. (A window jamb can be constructed at trim-out time along with the window casing, stool, etc., but more typically is installed at the time the window itself is installed.) Typically, a worker will pull pieces from the stacks, measure each to length, cut it with a saw (which may be set up elsewhere on the premises), and proceed in this manner until all or most of the required pieces have been cut to length for the window in that room or group of rooms. Because windows tend to be of a standard size, the worker, rather than having to refer to the architectural plans themselves, may be aided by having a cut list that specifies what pieces are needed for such a window, but the worker is nonetheless still burdened by having to cut each piece to length at the construction site and then fit them together on the wall of the room. Complex cuts are sometimes required, particularly for window stools, and a worker may make multiple trips to the saw to re-cut and notch a window stool until a good fit in the window sill is obtained.

Staircases present even more challenging and labor-intensive trim work than windows. To trim out a staircase, the worker must perform essentially all of the steps described above relating to trimming out a window, plus drilling properly angled bores in the handrails into which the ends of the balusters are fit. All of the pieces are assembled in place on the staircase, and errors in measurement, cutting and boring can require time-consuming repairs and multiple trips to the millwork storage area, the saw, etc.

It can be appreciated that obtaining and cutting pieces of millwork to the required lengths for trimming out a room or even a single window is not an exact science, as measurements and cuts can be inexact, and molding typically is available for delivery to the site only in standard lengths. The best a builder can do is estimate the total number of linear feet of each type of molding or other linear millwork items and have the supplier deliver what is estimated. Invariably, after the house has been trimmed out, the builder is left with unused material, which unfortunately for the builder is often in lengths too small to be of use and is thus discarded as scrap. It is estimated that the amount of such scrap millwork material left over from construction of a single home in the United States by major home building companies is, on average, 200-300 linear feet. With a single nationwide homebuilder often simultaneously involved in the construction of dozens of communities, each with dozens of homes, all over the country, the potential waste is enormous.

It is apparent in the art that the U.S. homebuilding industry could save millions of dollars each year by minimizing interior trim waste and enhancing the efficiency with which interior trim is provided and installed. The present invention addresses these problems and deficiencies and others in the manner described below.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to providing pre-assembled interior trim items for home construction, such as window and door trim assemblies, stairway and landing railing assemblies, fireplace surrounds, base cap boxes, panel assemblies, knee wall trim assemblies, chair rail sections, etc. by assembling them off-site from standard millwork materials and delivering them as ordered by the home builder to the site where a home is under construction. In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the entity that pre-assembles and delivers the trim items also installs them in the home, thereby providing the builder with what can be called a “turn-key” approach to trimming out homes under construction. The builder need only make available to the entity the interior trim specifications for the one or more home plans to be built and, either concurrently or at a later time, place an order with the entity. The builder can place an order in this manner for trimming out an entire development of multiple homes or even multiple developments on which the builder may be working. At the appropriate time during the construction of each home, the trim items for that home are delivered to the construction site. Most or all of these steps, including the cutting of molding and other millwork needed to construct the trim items, can be performed under computer control.

In the exemplary embodiment of the invention, the items are not only delivered to the site, but the trim items required to trim out each room of the home (per the specifications previously received from the builder) are delivered and placed in that room to further facilitate installation. With the pre-assembled trim items conveniently placed in each room, the entity can then proceed to install the items or, if preferred by the builder, the builder's employees can install the items. The items placed in each room can be bundled together, with installation instructions included in each bundle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a flow diagram illustrating a method in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of a window trim assembly, which is one example of a pre-assembled interior trim item.

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the window trim assembly of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is side elevational view of a stair railing assembly, which is another example of a pre-assembled interior trim item.

FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of a panel assembly, which is still another example of a pre-assembled interior trim item.

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of panel assembly of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is perspective view of a knee wall trim assembly, which is yet another example of a pre-assembled interior trim item.

FIG. 8 is a generalized perspective view of a portion of the interior of a room in a home, showing installed in the room a window trim assembly, door trim assembly, fireplace surround, various base cap boxes, and a chair rail, which are all examples of pre-assembled interior trim items.

FIG. 9 is block diagram illustrating a computer control system for effecting steps of the method.

FIG. 10 is generalized perspective view depicting a bundle of interior trim items.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, like reference numerals indicate like components to enhance the understanding of the invention through the description of the drawings. Also, although specific features, configurations, arrangements and steps are discussed below, it should be understood that such specificity is for illustrative purposes only. A person skilled in the relevant art will recognize that other features, configurations, arrangements and steps are useful without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, an exemplary method for providing interior trim items in home construction includes, described in further detail below: a step 10 of obtaining interior trim specifications from one or more builders relating to trim items for homes being constructed or to be constructed; a step 12 of cutting pieces from molding or other standard millwork needed to make such trim items; a step 14 of pre-assembling the trim items from the cut pieces or other millwork; a step 16 of receiving orders from one or more of the builders; a step 18 of gathering the ordered items by, for example, bundling together the items to be installed in the same room of the home; and a step 20 of delivering the items to the builder's construction site and placing each bundle in the room in which its trim items are to be installed. A further step (not shown) includes installing the trim items, which can be performed by the entity that pre-assembled and delivered the items or, if preferred by the builder, by the builder's employees.

It is important to note that, in the exemplary embodiment of the invention, the company or other entity that obtains the specifications, cuts the pieces, assembles the items, and has the items delivered is not the builder. Rather, the builder contracts with or otherwise places orders with this entity to have the entity perform the trimming out of a home the builder is constructing. The invention thus relieves the builder from having to receive and store standard lengths of molding and other millwork items at the construction site, cut pieces to length and fit them in place one by one, on an as-needed basis, to trim out the various rooms of the home, and deal with the resultant scrap pieces inevitably left over from this process.

Step 10 can be performed at any suitable time, such as well in advance of the beginning of home construction at a site. The builder makes available to the entity offering to pre-assemble trim items the interior trim specifications for one or more home plans. Typically, a builder will construct several different home plans in a development, designated by unique marketing names or model numbers. Each home plan may have unique interior trim specifications or may share aspects of its trim specifications with those of other home plans. For example, the interior trim specifications for a home plan designated the “Dunsniffen” may specify the trim for each of a predetermined number of types (e.g., sizes, styles, etc.) of windows, doors, chair rails, ceilings, baseboards, fireplace surrounds and so forth. In other words, for example, the specifications may list three different types of windows used in the Dunsniffen plan, and the interior trim to be used on each. The trim specified for one type of window may comprise one type of molding, while the trim specified for another type of window used in the same home plan may comprise another type of molding. The trim specifications referred to herein can have any suitable format. Although architectural blueprint-style specifications are suitable, a tabular format is preferred to enhance computer entry.

Referring briefly to FIG. 9, the entity can enter the trim specifications received from a builder into a computer system 22 via a computer terminal 24 for reasons described below. Alternatively, the builder itself can upload trim specifications into computer system 22 via a network 26 such as the Internet. If the specifications are received in a format that does not readily allow a computer to extract the essential information regarding the pieces that are needed to construct the specified trim items and how they are to be assembled, the specifications can be converted to such a format, either manually by an operator or automatically using suitable conversion software that could be created or otherwise obtained. The software calculates the exact footage of each type of molding or other millwork needed to construct the specified trim items. As described below, this information can be used to control computer-controlled manufacturing equipment such as saws, drills, and the like.

Returning to FIG. 1, at step 12 pieces required for the specified trim items are cut from standard millwork. The term “standard millwork” as used in this patent specification refers to molding and other millwork materials in the standard lengths and forms that they are typically sold in the building supply trade. For example, for molding, lengths of 12, 14 and 16 feet are standard in the United States. A worker or workshop team can perform this step manually by referring to the trim specifications, pulling standard millwork items from an inventory of such items in the workshop, and cutting the various lengths needed to assemble a trim item. Alternatively, the step can be performed at least partly under computer control. Referring briefly again to FIG. 9, a cut list can be generated from the trim specifications entered into computer system 22, and the cut list can be used to control a computer-controlled saw 28, a computer-controlled drill 29 (for, for example, boring baluster holes in handrail millwork), or a more comprehensive automated manufacturing system (not shown) that includes such machines and others.

At step 14, the cut pieces are assembled to make the trim items, either by themselves or together with additional millwork items, and associated fasteners (e.g., nails, staples, etc.) and other conventional construction materials as may be necessary. As with step 12, this step can be performed using hand tools or, alternatively, with the assistance of computer-controlled assembly machinery (not shown). Trim items can be assembled in advance of receiving orders from the builder and an inventory of items built up, or assembled in response to specific orders. In any event, the assembled trim items should be available for delivery to the construction site at the appropriate point in the construction process. The entity responsible for assembly and delivery can monitor construction and deliver at the appropriate point without further input from the builder, or the builder can advise the entity of the date to schedule the delivery.

As illustrated in FIGS. 2-3, a window trim assembly 30 is an example of an interior trim item that can be pre-assembled (i.e., in a workshop for later delivery to a home construction site) in accordance with the present invention. Window trim assembly 30 can include a window casing 32 and a window jamb 34, and in most instances further includes a window stool 36. In the illustrated example, casing 32 comprises four pieces of molding, 38, 40, 42 and 44, having been cut to length with one or both ends mitered at 45 degrees at step 12 as described above. The window of this example is rectangular, and therefore casing 32 and jamb 34 are rectangular, but a similar trim assembly can be provided for a window of any shape and size in accordance with the trim specifications.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, a railing assembly 48 is another example of an interior trim item that can be pre-assembled for later installation. Railing assembly 48 can include a handrail 50, a lower rail 52, and a number of balusters 54, some or all of which are cut to length at step 12 and assembled at step 14 as described above. (Like certain other specialty millwork items, such as rosettes, finials, etc., balusters 54 may not be produced simply by cutting them to length at step 12 from standard millwork materials but rather may be produced in part on a lathe or obtained from a commercial source if their shapes are other than the standard cylindrical, square, etc., shapes of available standard millwork materials.) Handrail 50 is made from a type of standard millwork material having a profile especially suited for stairway handrails and the like. Thus, like other standard millwork materials referred to herein, it is generally available only in standard lengths and must be cut to length in accordance with the home plan trim specifications. In assembling railing assembly 48, the ends of balusters 54 are secured within bores or holes in rails 50 and 52 in the conventional manner. The holes are bored at step 12 after rails 50 and 52 have been cut to length. A newel 56 and other pieces that may be specified can be included in railing assembly 48 or, alternatively, such other pieces can be added at the time railing assembly 48 is installed in the home rather than at the time is assembled in the workshop. Although railing assembly 30 in this example has an inclined shape because it is for a staircase (indicated in dashed line in FIG. 4 for reference purposes), a railing assembly that is similar but with a level shape can be provided for a landing or other level area. Railing assemblies having other shapes and sizes can be assembled in the same or similar manner in accordance with the trim specifications.

As illustrated in FIGS. 5-6, a panel assembly 58, which comprises one or more base cap boxes 60 mounted to a sheet-like panel 66, is another example of an interior trim item that can be pre-assembled for later installation. In the illustrated embodiment, panel assembly 58 also includes molding 68 of the type used for chair rails, but in other embodiments can include any other suitable type of molding or no molding at all. Each base cap box 60 comprises a rectangular sheet-like piece or sub-panel 70 framed on all sides by molding 72. Accordingly, the adjoining ends of the pieces of molding 72 are usually mitered at 45 degrees. In this manner, pre-assembled panel assemblies of any size and shape can be provided in accordance with the trim specifications.

As illustrated in FIG. 7, a knee wall trim assembly 74 is another example of an interior trim item that can be pre-assembled for later installation. The term “knee wall” refers to a low interior wall. A knee wall typically comprises framing-and-drywall construction like any other interior wall, but is capped and edged to provide a solid, attractive surface. Knee wall trim assembly 74 has this conventional configuration, comprising a knee wall cap 76 to which two knee wall sides 78 and 80 are attached in a generally U-shaped configuration. Pre-assembled in this manner and then installed on a knee wall (indicated in dashed line in FIG. 7), knee wall cap 76 caps the top of the knee wall, with knee wall sides 78 and 80 providing edging in contact with the drywall in the same manner as though it had been built in place.

Returning to FIG. 1, at step 16 the entity that is pre-assembling the interior trim items as described above receives an order from a builder. As noted above, the entity can build up an inventory of pre-assembled trim items or assemble them in response to orders received from builders. Thus, in other embodiments of the invention, step 16 can occur at other times with respect to the other steps. Indeed, a builder could place an order before making the trim specifications available for the home plan in which the ordered items are to be installed, or a builder could provide trim specifications along with each order.

Referring briefly to FIG. 9 again, the order can be entered into computer system 22 via computer terminal 24 associated with the workshop or remotely (e.g., by the builder itself via network 26. The builder can specify whether to deliver pre-assembled items, pre-cut but unassembled pieces, or a combination thereof, whether to deliver them only or to deliver and install them, and options for packaging and bundling (see below). With suitable software control, which persons skilled in the art to which the invention relates can provide, computer system 22 can coordinate order entry, manufacturing, supply ordering, inventory control, delivery, installation, and the scheduling of such functions, in the same or similar manner in which it is known to control and coordinate such functions in conventional manufacturing-oriented businesses.

Returning to FIG. 1, at step 18 the ordered items are gathered in the workshop or an associated staging area in preparation for delivery to one or more homes under construction. The items can be labeled to identify the development, home plan, and lot number of the home under construction to which the item is to be delivered. Items can also be labeled with installation instructions. Items that a trim specification identifies as being located in the same room as each other can be bundled together by, for example, wrapping them in plastic wrap, binding them, or simply placing them in the same pile, as illustrated in generalized form in FIG. 10. The entire bundle 82 can be labeled in the manner described above, including providing installation instructions (in multiple languages, such as English and Spanish, in areas where a multi-cultural labor force is prevalent), and moreover, can be labeled to identify the room of the home in which the items are to be installed. For example, the label can identify the room as the “Kitchen,” “Master Bedroom,” “Laundry Room,” etc. The instructions can include step-by-step installation instructions with diagrams showing where in the room each item is to be installed.

The items or bundles to be installed can then be loaded onto a truck or other delivery vehicle (not shown). A forklift can be loaded onto the truck as well to be used at the home site to facilitate unloading palletized bundles. With an increasing number of homebuilders operating nationwide and building many of the same home plans in different developments across the country, not only delivery from a single off-site workshop to local construction sites but also a nationwide delivery network from one or more factories to far-flung construction sites is contemplated within the realm of the present invention.

As noted above, the loaded bundles can be destined for multiple rooms in multiple homes of differing plans. The homes may be located in one or more developments. The bundles may be grouped or further labeled or coded by development, plan, lot number, or other means to facilitate delivery to the proper destination. For example, groups of bundles destined for the same home site (lot) or the same plan can be bundled together, e.g., on a pallet, to facilitate loading and unloading. In other words, for example, in a development in which a builder is constructing some homes of the Dunsniffen plan and other homes of the Fordmont plan, some group of bundles can be labeled “Dunsniffen” and others “Fordmont.” It can be seen that a builder could thus place an order by indicating a certain number of Dunsniffen trim packages and a certain number of Fordmont trim packages. The order can specify whether the packages are to be delivered and installed or just delivered. Thus, a Fordmont package can contain all of the pre-assembled interior trim items needed, according to the builder's Fordmont interior trim specification, to completely trim out a Fordmont home. Each bundle in the package can contain all interior trim items needed to completely trim out the corresponding room in the home and can be labeled accordingly (e.g., “Fordmont Master Bedroom”).

At step 20 the ordered items are delivered to the homes under construction. Items bundled together to indicate installation in an identified room of the home can be delivered to that room, i.e., placed on the floor of the room. Workers can then readily remove the items from the bundle in a room and follow the included instructions for installing the items. Installation can be performed upon delivery or at a later time.

The manner in which an exemplary group of trim items is installed after delivery is illustrated in FIG. 8. In the portion of the room interior illustrated in FIG. 8, window trim assembly 30 (see FIGS. 2-3) is installed in one wall of the home, and a door trim assembly 84 is installed in another wall. The wall in which window trim assembly 30 is installed is, of course, an exterior wall of the home, and the window itself (not shown) is disposed on the exterior side (not shown) of that wall. Typically, exterior windows are installed before a home is trimmed out. Beneath the window, a chair rail 86 is installed on the wall. As understood in the art, a chair rail is an interior trim item made from a piece of molding of suitable profile that has been cut to a specified length. One or both ends may be mitered if so specified. Note that although not shown in FIG. 8, the above-described panel assemblies 58 topped with such chair rail molding (FIGS. 5-6) alternatively would be appropriate installed along this wall.

A fireplace surround 88, which can be defined as a decorative semi-rectangular frame surrounding three sides of the stone, brick or other non-wood functional portion of the fireplace, is installed in another wall. A fireplace mantel can be included as an integral part of fireplace surround 88 or considered a separate trim item.

Base cap boxes 60 of the type described above with regard to FIG. 5 are shown installed above the fireplace in FIG. 8. Like the other pre-assembled interior trim items to which the present invention relates, base cap boxes 60 are assembled off-site and then delivered and installed (in this case, secured to the wall), in contrast with the conventional method of cutting the sheet and molding at the home site to the necessary sizes, and assembling the pieces in place on the wall. Base cap boxes 60 can be used in various other configurations in a home and can, as described above, form part of a pre-assembled panel assembly 58 (FIG. 5). Indeed, the entire trim area shown above the fireplace could comprise one or more of such panel assemblies. Note that in such a configuration the molding 90 abutting the ceiling is typically of the style known as crown molding rather than the chair rail style molding shown in FIGS. 5-6.

Although not shown for purposes of clarity, if the room were to have a staircase or landing, a railing assembly of the type described above with regard to FIG. 4 would be delivered and installed along with the other trim items for the room. Likewise, although not shown for purposes of clarity, if the room were to have a knee wall, a knee wall trim assembly of the type described above with regard to FIG. 7 would be delivered and installed along with the other trim items for the room.

The illustrated interior trim items (i.e., window trim assemblies, door trim assemblies, a railing assemblies, fireplace surrounds, base cap boxes, panel assemblies, knee wall assemblies, and chair rail sections) are only intended to represent examples, in view of which still others will readily occur to persons skilled in the art to which the invention relates. Essentially any type of interior trim known in the art can be provided in the form of a pre-assembled interior trim item accordance with the present invention.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made to this invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers the modifications and variations of this invention provided that they come within the scope of any claims and their equivalents. With regard to the claims, no claim is intended to invoke the sixth paragraph of 35 U.S.C. Section 112 unless it includes the term “means for” followed by a participle.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8104241Aug 13, 2007Jan 31, 2012Andres Craig EWindow and door frame assembly apparatus and method
US8534011Apr 11, 2011Sep 17, 2013Craig E. AndresWindow and door frame assembly apparatus and method
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/745.19
International ClassificationE04B1/00
Cooperative ClassificationE04F19/02, E04F13/10, E04F19/005
European ClassificationE04F19/00B, E04F13/10, E04F19/02