US 20070251172 A1
A tile has a back-stamp design including a recessed network of channels including intersecting interior channels that traverse in a plurality of directions across the back-stamp design. The perimeter of the back-stamp design is traversed by a raised border, and a plurality of plateaus define the interior channels therebetween. The raised border and the plateaus both extend from the depth of the recessed network of channels to a common outer plane. A plurality of the tiles can be bonded to a substrate to produce a multi-tile panel that can then be installed, e.g., as flooring.
1. A tile having a back-stamp design comprising:
a recessed network of channels having a depth and including intersecting interior channels traversing in a plurality of directions across the back-stamp design;
a raised border traversing a perimeter of the back-stamp design and extending to an outer plane from the depth of the recessed network of channels; and
a plurality of plateaus extending to the outer plane from the depth of the recessed network of channels and defining the interior channels therebetween.
2. The tile of
3. The tile of
4. The tile of
5. The tile of
6. The tile of
7. The tile of
8. The tile of
9. The tile of
10. The tile of
11. The tile of
12. The tile of
13. The tile of
14. The tile of
15. The tile of
16. The tile of
17. The tile of
18. The tile of
19. The tile of
20. A method for bonding a tile to a substrate, wherein the tile has a bonding face including a recessed network of channels having a depth from which a raised border and a plurality of plateaus extend, wherein the raised border defines an interior region, wherein the plateaus are within this interior region, and wherein the plateaus define intersecting interior channels therebetween traversing across the back-stamp design in a plurality of directions, the method comprising:
applying a main adhesive across the bonding face of the tile;
applying a hot-melt adhesive at select locations on the bonding face of the tile; and
placing a substrate in contact with the main adhesive and with the hot melt on the bonding face of the tile and applying a force to the substrate or to the tile to place the substrate in contact with the border and with the plateaus of the bonding face and to distribute the main adhesive through the recessed network of channels.
21. The method of
22. The method of
23. The method of
24. The method of
25. A tile/substrate panel comprising:
a) a substrate;
b) at least one tile having a surface with a back-stamp design comprising:
a recessed network of channels having a depth and including intersecting interior channels traversing in a plurality of directions across the back-stamp design;
a raised border traversing a perimeter of the back-stamp design and extending outward from the depth of the recessed network of channels; and
a plurality of plateaus extending from the depth of the recessed network of channels and defining the interior channels therebetween; and
c) an adhesive penetrating through the recessed network of channels in the back-stamp design of the tile and securing the tile to the substrate.
26. The tile/substrate panel of
27. The tile/substrate panel of
28. The tile/substrate panel of
29. The tile/substrate panel of
30. The tile/substrate panel of
31. The tile/substrate panel of
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/745,974, filed Apr. 28, 2006, the entire content of which is incorporated herein by reference.
Ceramic tiles are conventionally provided with back-stamp designs created by the tile manufacturer. The tile is bonded to a substrate using a thin-set adhesive, and the primary purpose of the back stamp is to provide a bonding surface to which the thin-set adhesive can adhere. In a conventional process for installing tile, each individual tile is bonded to the substrate by a skilled installer using a special tool to spread the thin-set adhesive in 3 to 4 mm high beads in which the tile is placed.
One previous tile system is described in US 2004/0213946, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The current technology is not conducive to distributing a chosen thicker-set (e.g., polyurethane) adhesive adequately to create the desired mechanical bond between the substrate and the tile. A back stamp, described herein, has a low flatness specification and aids in distributing the adhesive to provide extensive adhesive coverage across the tile. This coverage provides the system with the necessary strength to meet structural performance objectives.
The back stamp of the tile includes a plurality of plateaus and a raised border extended a common distance from a network of recessed channels. Intersecting channels are defined between the plateaus and between the plateaus at the edge of the design and the raised border to enable the flow of adhesive therethrough.
The tile can be formed of a ceramic material, a stone material, and/or other man-made materials. The particular shape is not critical (i.e., it need not be square). In one embodiment, the tile is a porcelain tile laminate, similar to the wood laminates. A plurality of these laminate tiles can be bonded to a substrate to form a panel that can then be installed as a floating floor system, in contrast with an individually glued tile-by-tile system, which brings its own set of very unique problems.
The raised plateaus and border contact the substrate, increasing the strength and the stability of the finished product. The plateaus and border also help the manufacturer of the tile to make a flatter product. Further still, the plateaus force the adhesive to spread over a wider area, increasing the strength and consistency of adhesion between the tile and the substrate.
The new back stamp design increases the mass of the tile. This increase in mass increases tile strength and also helps the tile manufacturers keep the tile flat, which is important to the finished mechanical system because the system can be particularly susceptible to catastrophic failure if the tile is not flat.
In one embodiment, a plurality of such tiles can be adhered to a backerboard to form a panel, and the backerboard can then be secured to a floor, a wall or a ceiling. Conventional tile flooring can be expensive, can be messy, and can involve a lengthy and difficult installation process. By using an interlocking installation method and pre-attached backerboard, this installation process can be streamlined and completed in a fraction of the time with greater simplicity. Rather than individually cementing or otherwise affixing the tiles directly to the flat surface of, e.g., a floor, tiles can be pre-attached to an interlocking backerboard to produce a panel. Then, once the tiles are attached to the interlocking backerboard, they can be joined with other tiles that are pre-attached to backerboards. Another advantage of the interlocking installation method using panels with pre-attached backerboards is that it permits one to install the new flooring without removing the existing flooring surface. Improvements to the design of the tile back stamp and manufacture of tile and substrate systems reduce the cost, mess and time involved in installation of tile while insuring that the systems are stronger, more durable and less vulnerable to failure.
In the accompanying drawings, described below, like reference characters refer to the same or similar parts throughout the different views. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating particular principles of the methods and apparatus characterized in the Detailed Description.
The back-stamp design 10 of a tile 11, illustrated in
The plateaus 12 and 18 and the border 20 extend to a common outer plane 21 (as shown in
The topography of the back-stamp design 10 can be the inverse of a “honeycomb” structure, wherein the channels substitute for the cell walls of a honeycomb, while the plateaus of this design substitute for the cells of a honeycomb.
The interior channels 26 and 28 can have shapes that are appropriate to and widths (e.g., a few millimeters) that are sufficient to facilitate flow of the main adhesive there through. The interior channels 26 and 28 can run between the plateaus 12, 14 and 18 at 45-degree angles (as is particularly shown in
In the illustrated embodiment, the interior plateaus 18 have a width of about 1 cm and a length of about 2.5 cm, though these dimensions can be varied (e.g., with the width ranging from 0.5 to 2 cm and with the length ranging from 1.5 to 4 cm) without sacrificing the ability of the interior plateaus to support the tile 11 and to facilitate the spread of adhesive across the back-stamp design 10. The substantially uniform pattern of interior plateaus 18 can be interrupted with gaps 30 and 32, where an extended area of the recessed network of channels can be left exposed for, e.g., deposition of an adhesive, such as a hot melt [i.e., a thermoplastic, pressure-sensitive adhesive comprising, for example, ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymer], thereon. Further, as shown in the illustrated embodiment, the plateaus 14 at the corners of the back-stamp design 10 can be shaped to define channels at only one orientation (i.e., from the corners toward the center of the tile).
The configuration of the plateaus 12, 14, 18 and 34 can be rearranged, while still achieving the needed flatness and strengths. The number of plateaus can also be changed to match a different adhesive system (e.g., more plateaus can be provided for a less viscous adhesive, while fewer plateaus can be provided for an adhesive with higher viscosity). Further still, in additional embodiments, the size and shape of the plateaus can be changed while still providing a desired flatness and strength in the finished system.
In one embodiment, the tile can be formed of porcelain, which typically includes kaolin and is fired at 1200 to 1400° C. Porcelain can be a glazed or unglazed ceramic whiteware of high quality, high strength, and low absorption (typically less than 0.5% water absorption). Alternatively, the tile can be formed from other materials, e.g., other clays, other ceramics, earthenware, marble, granite, glass, gypsum or stone.
The tile can be formed by milling clays and sands to the manufacturer's specific requirements and mixing with water to form a slurry, which is called “slip” in the industry. The slip can be pumped to the top of a dryer and introduced at a specific rate. As the slip falls through the heated air, it dries to a moisture content between 7 and 10%. This “dried” mixture still contains enough moisture to stick to itself when pressed. The dried mixture can be fed into a mold of the tile (with the tile oriented finished side down), and the excess can be scraped off of the top to leave a uniform, flat surface. At this point, a press-including an imprint surface that is the inverse of the back-stamp design, described above (e.g., with ridges to create the channels in the tile surface)-closes with sufficient pressure to imprint the back stamp in the tile and to hold the tile together. The pressed tile can then be flipped over and sent to a dryer to remove the remaining moisture. These dried tiles are now considered “whiteware” and are ready for glazing. After glazing, the tiles are sent through a kiln where they are “fired” at high temperature into a ceramic.
In an example of installation of a tile/substrate panel system, the tile 11 can be bonded to a substrate (e.g., backerboard) to form a panel (which can then be installed on sub-flooring) via the following process. While the substrate is not limited to backerboard, one embodiment employs a backerboard made of high-density fiberboard. In one embodiment, two of the tiles 11 can be bonded side-by-side to one side of the backerboard to produce a two-tile panel. First, the main adhesive can be applied across the surface of the back-stamp design 10 on the tile 11; and, in particular embodiments, this first adhesive will bead to about 0.75 mm high. Next, a hot glue gun can be used to apply the hot melt at the gaps 30 in the back-stamp design 10. The polyurethane typically is applied first because the set time of the hot melt is much less than that of the polyurethane. The order of application would not matter if the adhesive application system was not sensitive to open time.
The hot melt provides initial adherence of the tile 11 to the substrate, while a main adhesive (e.g., the thicker-setting polyurethane adhesive) serves as the primary long-term adhesive. The substrate can then be brought into contact with the plateaus 12, 14 and 18 and with the raised border 20, with the main adhesive flowing through the channels 16, 26 and 28 to fill all or nearly all of the fill areas 24. The main adhesive can spread to provide 90%+adhesive coverage on the tile 11. As the main adhesive sets, it can expand and flow back through the channels 26 and 28 and into the perimeter channel 16.
This procedure can be repeated to secure a plurality of such tiles 11 to a single backerboard 36 to produce a multi-tile panel 38 (as shown in
The above-described tile/substrate panels 38 can be installed on any hard-surface floor 44 that is flat, stable, and dry. Further, the floor 44 can be in a home or in a commercial building and at any level-below, on and above grade. The underlying floor 44 can be formed, e.g., of wood, concrete, tile, or hardwood (nailed or glued down), vinyl or terrazzo.
As shown in
In this embodiment, panel installation can be initiated from the corner of the room indicated with the arrow, shown in
Once the layout is planned, underlayment 50 [which includes a closed-cell polyethylene foam and a moisture barrier including a 12-micron thick layer of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and a 20-micron thick layer of polyethylene (PE)] can be installed. The underlayment 50 can be rolled out (with the shiny side—i.e., the side with the moisture barrier—facing down) wall-to-wall and cut off at the walls using a utility knife. The edges of strips of the underlayment 50 can be butted together (not overlapped), and the seams can be taped over.
Panels 38 can be cut outdoors in a well-ventilated area on a stable tabletop foundation 52, as shown in
For all other straight cuts, the circular blade can be set so that the blade is ½ inch below the bottom of the panel 38, as shown in
Where flooring panels 38 meet other floors (e.g., carpet, wood, tile, etc.), transitions 62 can be used. First a track 60 can be cut to a length spanning the interface of the floor coverings using tin snips or wire cutters, wherein both sides of the track 60 can be cut and bent at the cuts to break off surplus track length. As shown in
For a concrete floor, holes 64 can be drilled into the floor 44 using a power drill 66 with a 5/16 inch masonry bit, as shown in
The first panel 38 to be installed can be oriented with the tongue 40 facing the start wall 46′ (as shown in
Panels 38 can be continually added row by row, with each new panel 38 butted right next to the previous tile 38 and with the rows alternating full and half panels 38 from the start wall 46′. Each subsequent row of panels 38 can then be locked into the previous row to interlock the panels across rows. All subsequent panels 38 can be full panels unless cutting to fit to a wall 46 (as shown in
The staggering of panels 38, as shown in
Special fitting can be used for pipes, fireplaces and other odd fitting situations. Pipes 78 are easiest to work around when they fall near the edge of the panel 38, as shown in
EDGE grout (available from Edge Flooring) has a plastic tip precut for dispensing a bead of grout of appropriate width to fill the joint 82 between tiles 11. The tip 84 of the grout dispenser can be inserted into the joint 82 and pressed down to release grout into the joint 82, as shown in
Finally, the ¼-inch spacers 68 can be removed from around the perimeter of the floor, and EDGE grout can be used to fill the ¼-inch expansion space adjacent the walls. The quarter round or new wall base moulding can then be (re)installed to cover the outer edges of the tiles. The paneled floor will be ready for light traffic in about an hour.
In describing embodiments of the invention, specific terminology is used for the sake of clarity. For purposes of description, each specific term is intended to at least include all technical and functional equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose. Additionally, in some instances where a particular embodiment of the invention includes a plurality of system elements or method steps, those elements or steps may be replaced with a single element or step; likewise, a single element or step may be replaced with a plurality of elements or steps that serve the same purpose. Further, where parameters for various properties are specified herein for embodiments of the invention, those parameters can be adjusted up or down by 1/20th, 1/10th, ⅕th, ⅓rd, ½, etc., or by rounded-off approximations thereof, within the scope of the invention unless otherwise specified. Moreover, while this invention has been shown and described with references to particular embodiments thereof, those skilled in the art will understand that various substitutions and alterations in form and details may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention; further still, other aspects, functions and advantages are also within the scope of the invention. The contents of all references, including patents and patent applications, cited throughout this application are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety. The appropriate components and methods of those references may be selected for the invention and embodiments thereof. Still further, the components and methods identified in the Background section are integral to this disclosure and can be used in conjunction with or substituted for components and methods described elsewhere in the disclosure within the scope of the invention.