US 3720964 A
Fiberglass reinforced plastic swimming pools and prefabricated pool walls are illustrated. In one embodiment, the pools and walls contain liquid conveying conduits which are supported by a conduit supporting material such as a rigid polyurethane foam which is secured to the fiberglass reinforced plastic. Pools and walls with integrally molded roll-over gutters are also illustrated as is a method for forming a liquid tight seal around a metal fitting positioned in a panel of fiberglass reinforced plastic. The latter is accomplished by providing the metal fitting with a plastic adaptor and surrounding the adaptor over a portion of its length with fiberglass reinforced plastic.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 91 Thomson PREFABRICATED SWIMMING POOLS  Inventor: David P. Thomson, Chicago, Ill.
 Assignee: Chicago Swimming Pool Manufacturing Inc., Maywood, Ill.
 Filed: Oct. 19, 1970  Appl. No.: 82,204
 US. Cl. ..4/172.l9, 52/220, 52/221, 52/309 [51 Int. Cl ..E04h 3/16, E04h 3/18  Field of Search...4/l72, 172.19, 172.15, 172.16, 4/17217, 172.18, 172.21; 52/169, 220, 309,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,088,410 7/1937 Everson ..4/l72.17 X 3,015,191 1/1962 Lucchesi ..4/172.19X 3,142,069 7/1964 OConnell et al ..52/309 X 3,059,243 10/1962 Ross et a1. ..4/l72.17 X 3,245,185 4/1966 Rowe ..52/220 X 3,298,038 l/l967 O'Connell et al. ..4/172. 19
]March 20, 1973 8/1968 Lankheet ..4/172.19 X 3,521,304 7/1970 Ghiz ..4/172. 16 3,562,985 2/1971 Nicosia ..52/309 X 3,621,624 1 l/197l, Gustafson ..52/220 X 3,641,594 2/1972 Hough ..4/172.17
Primary Examiner-Henry K. Artis Attorney-Wolfe, Hubbard, Leydig, Voit & Osann, Ltd.
[5 7] ABSTRACT Fiberglass reinforced plastic swimming pools and prefabricated pool walls are illustrated. In one embodiment, the pools and walls contain liquid conveying conduits which are supported by a conduit supporting material such as a rigid polyurethane foam which is secured to the fiberglass reinforced plastic. Pools and walls with integrally molded roll-over gutters are also illustrated as is a method for forming a liquid tight seal around a metal fitting positioned in a panel of fiberglass reinforced plastic. The latter is accomplished by providing the metal fitting with a plastic adaptor and surrounding the adaptor over a portion of its length with fiberglass reinforced plastic.
17 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTEDMARZO I975 sum 2 or 2 PREFABRICATED SWIMMING POOLS DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to liquid containing pools and, more particularly, to pools for swimming or therapuetic use.
The constantly spiraling cost of skilled labor has created an increasing demand on the part of the consumer for products in a substantially completed form so as to minimize the costs of installation. One place where such demand is becoming more prevalent is in the field of swimming pool construction. Above ground pools which are supplied insubstantially completed form are appearing in continuously increasing numbers. Moreover, even with respect to below ground pools, prefabrication of various pool components is becoming increasingly more common. Thus, it is now possible to buy suitably shaped panels which can be assembled together at the pool site, thus minimizing the necessity for extensive concrete work.
With respect to prefabricated panels, they are generally made of a light-weight, fiberglass reinforced plastic so as to be easily transportable, and are generally employed for the sidewalls of the intended pool. While the use of presently available prefabricated panels results in certain economic advantages, their use still requires extensive on site plumbing which detracts somewhat from their basic economic attractiveness. Thus, once the panels have arrived at the pool site and appropriately positioned in a suitable excavation, it is customary practice to attach to the panels various plumbing fittings and conduits which are necessary in order to place the pool in operable condition. As can be appreciated, the necessity of this on site plumbing can be quite expensive and, in fact, overshadow the basic economic attractiveness of using prefabricated, light-weight fiberglass reinforced plastic panels.
Accordingly, it is a principal object of the present invention to provide a prefabricated, light-weight fiberglass reinforced rigid plastic pool wall which can be combined with one or more similar pool walls in the preparation of a liquid containing pool and which possesses the advantage that the necessary on site plumbing to place the pool in operation is greatly minimized.
Referring again to conventionally available prefabricated fiberglass reinforced pools, it should also be noted that their extent of usefulness is somewhat limited. Such conventional pools have not found extensive utility in large size installations where, for safety reasons, a roll-over type of gutter is required. Using conventional fabrication techniques, it has simply not been possible to achieve the required panel strength in combination with light-weight when attempts have been made to fabricate panels with integrally molded roll-over gutters.
Accordingly, it is further object of the present invention to provide fiberglass reinforced plastic swimming pool walls containing molded roll-over gutters while preserving the basic advantages of using light-weight fiberglass reinforced plastic.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a unique method for securing a metal fitting in a fiberglass reinforced plastic panel which can be easily accomplished during the molding of the panel to provide a liquid-tight seal. With conventional fiberglass reinforced panels, the various plumbing fittings, such as the liquid inlet and outlet parts, are frequently affixed to the panels at the pool site. The fittings, which are generally chrome for the sake of appearance, are placed in a suitably drilled hole in the fiberglass panel and, subsequently, screws or bolts are used to firmly attach the fittingsto the panels. Appropriate caulking or gasketing is employed in order to minimize the probability of leaks.
The manner in which the objects identified herein are realized, as well as other objects and advantages of the present invention, will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a fragmented perspective view of a swimming pool illustrating an embodiment of -the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1 which illustrates a cross-section of a swimming pool wall according to an embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2a is a greatly enlarged cross-sectional view of the roll-over gutter portion of the panel depicted in FIG. 2.
FIGS. 3 and 4 are views taken along lines 3-3 and 44 of FIG. 1 and illustrate an embodiment of a manner in which pool walls can be joined together in the fabrication of a swimming pool;
FIG. 5 is a greatly enlarged view taken along line 5- 5 in FIG. 2 illustrating the manner in which a liquidtight seal between a fiberglass panel and a'metal fitting can be achieved;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention illustrating a therapuetic pool constructed in accordance with the description contained herein; and
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 6.
While the present invention is susceptible of various modifications and alternative constructions, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail the preferred embodiments. It is to be understood, however, that it is not intended to limit the invention to the specific forms disclosed. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all modifications and alternative constructions falling within thespirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims. For example, while the swimming pool illustrated in FIG. 1 is shown to be comprised of a multiple number of panels forming the sidewalls of the illustrated pool, it should be understood that many of the aspects of the present invention are applicable to a pool prepared from only a small number of panels, such as two, or for that matter a single unitary pool construction. Thus, while the pool illustrated in FIG. 1 contains only fiberglass reinforced plastic pool wall panels as sidewalls, it is within the spirit and scope of this invention to provide a pool wherein the bottom and all of the walls are constructed of suitably constructed fiberglass panels or a unitary fiberglass structure such as illustrated in FIG. 6.
Turning now to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a swimming pool emboding many aspects of the present invention. The pool comprises a concrete bottom 10 and concrete deep end sidewalls 12. The upper portion of the pool in both the deep andshallow ends is comprised of a plurality of pool wall panels 14 each of which contains a roll-over gutter portion 16. In use, conduit 18 supplies water to the pool while water splashed into the roll-over gutter is removed through conduit 20. As shown in FIG. 2, metal fittings, 22 and 24 are provided for the conduits where they exit through the fiberglass panels to the pool interior. While not shown, the pool is also equipped with a deep end drain, water circulating pumps, and other desired equipment such as light fixtures, etc. Also, it should be appreciated that, while for the purpose of illustration, only one pool wall panel is shown to be equipped with fittings 22 and 24, in practice a number of the panels suitably located around the pool will contain such fittings.
The construction of the pool wall panels 14 is best illustrated in FIG. 2. As shown, the pool walls comprise a fiberglass reinforced rigid plastic panel 26. To retain water, the pool side of the panel should be impervious to liquid. A light-weight conduit supporting material 28 is secured to the other side of the rigid plastic panel. The conduits 18 and 20 which contain suitable T-joints such as 30 and 32 where fittings are to be employed are supported by the conduit supporting material 28. For a desirable panel wall appearance, the back side of the pool wall panel also contains a layer of fiberglass reinforced plastic sheet material 34 which serves to cover the conduit supporting material 28. Typically, also for panel appearance, the outer surfaces of the panels are covered with a pigmented gel coat. As particularly shown in FIG. 4, the wall panels contain appropriately flanged ends in order to permit the panels to be joined together.
The use of the conduit supporting material illustrated in FIG. 2 constitutes an important aspect of the present invention since such permits the fabrication of a pool wall panel complete with piping, thus obviating the necessity for extensive on site plumbing. Desirably, the conduit supporting material is a light-weight plastic such as an appropriately cross-linked polyurethane which can be applied asa foam and, thereafter, sets up as a rigid'plastic. The material completely encapsulates and surrounds the conduits over a substantial portion of their length, thus supporting them in position on the pool wall panel. Being light-weight, the supporting material does not, as a practical matter, adversely affect the basic light-weight character of the fiberglass reinforced plastic panel. Moreover, since the material is rigid it effectively supports the conduits on the panel.
The preparation of a pool wall panel such as previously described can be simply accomplished by first positioning the appropriate piping with the desired fittings on a panel mold and, thereafter, chopping a fiberglass-plastic mixture onto the mold. Where desired, a pigmented gel coat can be applied prior to the chopping step. While,-as hereinafter set forth, certain advantages can be realized if additional reinforcing means are included in the fiberglass panel layer, particularly if a roll-over gutter is desired, the advantages associated with an integrally piped panel using the illustrated conduit supporting material can be realized with conventional fiberglass reinforced plastic panels which customarily have a thickness of about one-fourth inch. Similarly, while with respect to the feature of this invention concerning providing an integrally piped panel, the fittings can be secured into the panel by any well known techniques such as by bolting in combination with appropriate liquid sealing gaskets, preferably the fittings are affixed as hereinafter explained.
Turning again to the preparation of the integrally piped pool wall pane] after fiberglass reinforced plastic is chopped into the mold the conduit reinforcing material is applied generally as a sprayed plastic foam followed by the application of the backing layer of fiberglass. Being a plastic, the conduit supporting material readily bonds to the fiberglass reinforced plastic layer thus resulting in a unitary panel structure. As shown in FIG. 3, the conduit supporting material is not applied in the regions near the ends of the panels in order to leave sufficient room for connecting the in dividual panels together.
Referring now to FIGS. 1-4 in combination, the manner of constructing the pool illustrated in FIG. 1 can be readily appreciated. The individual pool wall panels 14 which are already equipped with the necessary liquid conveying conduits and fittings, i.e., the integrally piped panels, are placed on an earth ledge around the sides of the pool excavation. The panels are suitably leveled by means of the adjustable-screw levelers 36 (two generally on each panel) and the individual panels joined together as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4. As shown, the panels are provided with flanged ends containing holes through which bolts 38 are inserted. As particularly illustrated in FIG. 3, a rubber gasket or a suitable caulking compound 40 is typically placed between mating flanges of adjoining panels in order to insure against leakage. The conduits in adjoining panels are united by means of dresser couplings such as shown at 42. After the panels have been suitably positioned and joined together, the conduits l8 and 20 can be tied into an appropriate water supply and circulation system.
Once the pool wall panels have been joined together and the water supply and the circulation system connected, concrete is then poured as indicated in FIG. 1. Typically, in order to avoid the necessity for extensive concrete molding, free form concrete is ordinarily employed. After the concrete has been poured and set, it is simply necessary to back-fill with dirt around the pool. Also, a caluking compound such as rubberized mastic is ordinarily placed along the panel joints and along the joints where the panels meet the concrete.
As indicated previously, the fact that the panel illustrated in the drawings contains a roll-over gutter which is generally U-shaped does not constitute an integral feature of that aspect of the present invention which concerns providing a pool wall panel with integral piping. However providing a fiberglass reinforced plastic panel with a roll-over gutter, with or without integral piping, does constitute a further important aspect of the present invention. As previously indicated, heretofore it has been difficult to fabricate such panels. Now, however, as particularly illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 2a a panel is provided which contains an integrally molded roll-over gutter. With respect to its essential characteristics, the illustrated panel consists of layers of fiberglass reinforced plastic material 46 and 48 and an additional ridged reinforcing member 44. Generally, the rigid reinforcing member is not continuous but rather is made up of a number of individual pieces. Such is particularly true in the curved gutter portion of the panel where, in order to make the necessary turns, the rigid reinforcing member is made up ofa number of short individual pieces fitted to the desired curvature of the gutter. Such as particularly shown in FIG. 2a. The layers of fiberglass reinforced plastic are ordinarily continuous throughout the panel and, in essence, encapsulate the rigid reinforcing member. In fabricating a panel with a roll-over gutter, the presence of the rigid reinforcing member in the U-shaped gutter portion is particularly important, though it is usually desirable to employ the reinforcing member throughout the whole panel in order to provide exceptional strength.
Consistant with the general requirements for lightweight, a material such as balsa wood is preferably used as the rigid reinforcing member. The panels can be fabricated by first chopping a polyester resin such as PPGs 5834 resin catalyzed with methyl, ethyl ketone peroxide containing a reinforcing quantity of fiberglass onto a suitable mold. About one sixteenth inch of such fiberglass reinforced plastic is initially applied.
Thereafter, pieces of balsa wood are placed on the surface of the chopped fibers. The balsa wood employed suitably has a thickness of about one-fourth inch. Following the balsa wood application, a fiberglass-plastic mixture is again applied in a thickness of about one-sixteenth of an inch. Where a panel with integral piping is also desired, the appropriate piping is positioned prior to the above fabrication steps and, after the final application of fiberglass, the conduit supporting material can be foam ed into place.
In accordance with a still further aspect of the present invention, there is provided an improved manner in which customary metal plumbing fittings such as those illustrated at 22 and 24 in the drawings can be securely affixed into a fiberglass reinforced plastic pane] so as to provide a liquid-tight seal. As particularly illustrated in FIG. 5, a liquid-tight seal is achieved by providing the metal fitting 22 with a plastic adaptor 50 which is appropriately threaded so that it can screw into the metal fitting. The fiberglass-plastic mixture in the region of the fitting is chopped on in an amount such that it extends beyond the metal fitting and thus completely surrounds the plastic adaptor over a short portion of its exposed length. Since, as opposed to metal fittings, the chopped fiberglassplastic mixture makes a tight seal with a plastic adaptor, liquid leakage from the pool is prevented.
While the material of construction for the plastic adaptor is not particularly critical so long as the adaptor can make a strong bond with fiberglass reinforced plastic, polyvinyl chloride adaptors have been found to be quite useful due to their ready availability. Moreover, preferably all of the piping contained in the panel, other than the visible fittings, are prepared from such polyvinyl chloride material since such as lightweight and inexpensive. In addition, using plastic piping results in good bonding between the piping and a plastic conduit reinforcing material which contributes to over-all structural integrity.
Referring again to the drawings, FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate further aspects of the present invention. Therein, there is shown a liquid contianing pool 52 comprised of an integrally molded fiberglass reinforced sheet material 54. The pool is provided with liquid inlet fittings 56 and a drain fitting 58 which extend through the fiberglass reinforced plastic sheet material. Conduits 60 and 62 such as illustrated in FIG. 7 are connected to the fittings. The conduits are supported by a conduit supporting material 64 such as has been previously discussed. In addition, the fittings. and the conduits can be connected together by means of a plastic adaptor in order to achieve a liquid-tight seal in the previously described manner. Furthermore, as should be apparent, the integrally molded fiberglass reinforced plastic sheet material can be additionally reinforced with a rigid member such as the above described balsa wood to provide added strength. Also, in the load bear ing portions of the pool such as the bottom, it may also be desirable to employ additional reinforcing members such as metal pipes. While not essential, the use of such additional reinforcement is particularly desirable when pools of large size are to be constructed.
1 claim as my invention:
1. A prefabricated pool wall comprising a fiberglass reinforced rigid plastic panel having one side impervious to liquid and having secured to the other side a light-weight conduit supporting material and a conduit in contact with and supported by said conduit supporting material, said conduit being provided with a metal fitting which extends through the liquid impervious side of said fiberglass reinforced rigid plastic panel and is connected to said conduit by means of a plastic adaptor, said pool wall being further characterized as having fiberglass reinforced plastic material in contact with and completely surrounding the plastic adaptor over a portion of its length to form a liquid-tight seal and thereby prevent liquid leakage around said metal fitting and through said pool wall.
2. The pool wall of claim 1 wherein the conduit supporting material is rigid polyurethane foam.
3. The pool wall of claim 1 wherein the plastic adaptor is polyvinyl chloride.
4. The pool wall of claim 3 wherein the conduit sup porting material is a rigid polyurethane foam.
5. The pool wall of claim 4 containing integrally molded flanged ends for joining the pool wall to other pool walls.
6. The pool wall of claim 4 wherein the conduit is polyvinyl chloride.
7. The pool wall of claim 6 wherein the conduit supporting material contains a back covering of fiberglass reinforced plastic material. V
8. The pool wall of claim 1 wherein the fiberglass reinforced rigid plastic panel contains an additional rigid reinforcing member which is encapsulated by the fiberglass reinforced plastic material.
9 The pool wall of claim 8 containing an integrally molded roll-over gutter.
10. A pool comprised of a plurality of pool w alls suchas described in claim 1..
11. A liquid containing pool comprised of an integrally molded fiberglass reinforced rigid plastic sheet material having one side impervious to liquid and having secured to the back sides thereof a light-weight conduit supporting material and a conduit in contact with and supported by said conduit supporting material, said conduit being provided with a metal fitting which extends through the liquid impervious side of said material and is connected to said conduit by means of a plastic adaptor, said pool being further characterized as pool walls.
15. The pool of claim 13 wherein the conduit supporting material is rigid polyurethane foam.
16. The pool of claim 15 wherein the conduit is polyvinyl chloride.
17. The pool of claim 11 wherein the fiberglass reinforced rigid plastic sheet material contains an additional rigid reinforcing member which is encapsulated by the fiberglass reinforced plastic material.