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 The invention generally relates to flooring panels. More specifically, the invention is directed to flooring panels which are maintained in position relative to each other by the use of tongue and groove technology.
 Many different flooring options are available to consumers who are building structures or remodeling existing structures. Flooring such as carpeting, linoleum, and ceramic tile have been around for many years. These types of flooring can be professionally installed or can be installed by an industrious homeowner. However, the installation of these types of flooring can be time consuming and can result in a less than perfect floor if not done right.
 Wood flooring is another alternate flooring option. In the past, wood flooring has been an expensive option and one that requires a good deal of skill to install properly. However, today wood flooring and simulated wood flooring can be manufactured in such a manner to make it cost competitive with other options. Because wood is an affordable option, more homeowners are installing these types of floors. Therefore, in order to further enhance the desirability of wood flooring, it is advantageous to make the installation as easy and straightforward as possible. This reduces the labor required to install the floor, whether it is installed by a professional or a “do-it-yourselfer.” By minimizing the amount of tools, hardware, and adhesives needed for installation, wood flooring installations will dramatically increase in popularity.
 The invention is directed to a flooring system made of flooring panels. A first flooring panel or member has a first top surface and a first engagement portion. A second flooring member has a second top surface which is essentially parallel to the first top surface, and a second engagement portion. The first engagement portion can be an elongated tongue with a locking projection extending therefrom. The locking projection has a first inclined surface which is inclined at a first angle relative to the first top surface. The second engagement portion can be in the form of an elongated recess with a locking cavity extending therefrom. The locking cavity has a second inclined surface which is inclined at a second angle relative to the first top surface. The second angle is larger than the first angle. Whereby, as the first and second members are moved into engagement, the first inclined surface cooperates with the second inclined surface to bias the first flooring member relative to the second flooring member such that the first top surface and the second top surface are positioned in the same plane.
 Many advantages are provided by the flooring panels and system of the present invention. The configuration of the flooring panels insures that the top or upper surfaces of the panels will be positioned in the same plane, adding significantly to the aesthetic and functional nature of the floor. Also the cooperation of the panels insures that the panels will fit together properly and prevents the separation of the panels from each other, thereby eliminating inappropriate spaces between panels.
 As the panels are moved together, a positive retention force is exhibited between the panels. This positive retention provides sufficient force to retain the flooring panels together, with or without the use of a glue or adhesive. Consequently, the invention can be used with or without glue.
 In the present invention, the cost of tooling to produce the flooring panels is minimized. As many of the dimensions of the panels do not have to be as precisely controlled as the prior art panels, the tooling does not need to be reconditioned as often, thereby eliminating costly downtime for the tooling.
 The present invention will be more fully understood by reference to the following drawing figures wherein:
 As best shown in
 As best shown in
 Side surface
 Referring to
 Referring to
 The cooperation of first inclined surface
 In order to insure coplanarity, the interaction between first inclined surface
 It is important to note that while the angles described with respect to the preferred embodiment have certain defined values, the scope of the invention is not limited to those specific values. Rather the invention is accomplished if angle A is greater than angle C, thereby causing surface
 With respect to angle B and D, these angles are identical in the embodiment shown. This insures that surfaces
 Referring to
 In the embodiment described above, the tongue
 Many advantages are provided by the flooring panels
 Due to the fact that the angles do not have to be precisely controlled (i.e. angle A must be greater than angle C, but the exact measurement of the angles can vary), the cost of tooling to produce the flooring panels is minimized. As the exact angles must not be cut with extreme precision, the tooling does not need to be reconditioned as often, thereby eliminating costly downtime for the tooling.
 The configuration of the sides and ends of the flooring panels also helps insure that the flooring panels will fit together properly. Other than the tongues and recesses, the only other portions of the flooring panels which engage are the portions
 As the panels are moved together, portions of the panels resiliently deform, which allows the tongue to effectively click in place in the recess. This positive retention of the tongue in the recess provides sufficient force to retain the flooring panels together, with or without the use of a glue or adhesive. Consequently, the invention can be used with or without glue.
 The foregoing illustrates just come possibilities for practicing the invention. Many other embodiments are possible within the scope of the invention. It is, therefore, intended that the foregoing description be regarded as illustrative rather than limiting, and that the scope of the invention is given by the appended claims together with their full range of equivalents.