Title:
Sectional flooring
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Sectional flooring includes a first flooring unit and a second flooring unit assembled together using connecting structures that are different along long sides and short sides. With respect to the long sides, the first flooring unit includes a first indentation, a catch extension extending away from the first indentation and in a short side direction of the first flooring unit, and a connecting protrusion extending from a distal end of the catch extension. The second flooring unit includes a protuberance that is inserted into the first indentation, a second indentation formed extending further into the second flooring unit starting from the protuberance and for receiving the catch extension of the first flooring unit, and a third indentation formed extending into the second flooring unit from a side surface of the second indentation and into which the connecting protrusion is positioned.


Inventors:
Kim, Soon-bae (Iksan-city, KR)
Application Number:
10/795275
Publication Date:
02/10/2005
Filing Date:
03/09/2004
Assignee:
KIM SOON-BAE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F15/02; E04F15/04; (IPC1-7): E04C3/00
View Patent Images:
Primary Examiner:
HORTON, YVONNE MICHELE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HARNESS, DICKEY & PIERCE, P.L.C. (P.O. BOX 8910, RESTON, VA, 20195, US)
Claims:
1. Sectional flooring, comprising: a first flooring unit and a second flooring unit assembled together using connecting structures that are different along long sides and short sides, wherein with respect to the long sides, the first flooring unit includes a first indentation, a catch extension extending away from the first indentation and in a short side direction of the first flooring unit, and a connecting protrusion extending from a distal end of the catch extension; and the second flooring unit includes a protuberance that is inserted into the first indentation, a second indentation formed extending further into the second flooring unit starting from the protuberance and for receiving the catch extension of the first flooring unit, and a third indentation formed extending into the second flooring unit from a side surface of the second indentation and into which the connecting protrusion is positioned.

2. The sectional flooring of claim 1, wherein a depression is formed starting from an innermost end of a second opposing surface, which is formed extending a predetermined distance in a short side direction from an edge of one long side of the second flooring unit, the depression resulting in the formation of a first channel between the first and second flooring units.

3. The sectional flooring of claim 1, wherein the first indentation occupies a larger area than the protuberance to thereby form a second channel between the first and second flooring units.

4. The sectional flooring of claim 1, wherein an upper section of the catch extension is extended in a direction toward the first indentation to form a curved area.

5. The sectional flooring of claim 1, wherein a lower section of the second indentation is extended from the protuberance to form a curved area.

6. The sectional flooring of claim 1, wherein the connecting protrusion and the third indentation are substantially identical in shape and are in close contact following assembly of the first and second flooring units.

7. The sectional flooring of claim 1, wherein a first sloped section is formed extending from a long side edge of the first flooring unit closest to the connecting protrusion and reaching the same, and a second sloped section is formed from the third indentation and extending to a long side edge of the second flooring unit closest to the third indentation to thereby form a third channel between the first and second flooring units.

8. The sectional flooring of claim 1, wherein close contact is made between the first and second flooring units at a first contact point between the protuberance and the first indentation, a second contact point between the catch extension and the second indentation, and a contact surface between the connecting protrusion and the third indentation.

9. The sectional flooring of claim 1, wherein a hooking protrusion is formed extending from an end of the protuberance in a direction toward the upper long side of the second flooring unit, and a concavity is formed in the first indentation corresponding to the formation of the hooking protrusion to receive the same.

10. The sectional flooring of claim 9, wherein the hooking protrusion and the concavity are wedge-shaped.

11. The sectional flooring of claim 1, wherein a cutaway section is formed in one of the first flooring unit and the second flooring unit.

12. The sectional flooring unit of claim 1, wherein with respect to the short sides, the first flooring unit includes a protrusion having a catch member extending in one direction, and the second flooring unit includes a cavity section for receiving the protrusion of the first flooring unit.

13. The sectional flooring unit of claim 12, wherein the first flooring unit includes a first facing surface that is extended from a long side of the first flooring unit a predetermined distance into the same, and the second flooring unit includes a second facing surface that is extended from a long side of the second flooring unit a predetermined distance into the same, the first and second facing surfaces being provided at a predetermined distance from each other when the first and second flooring units are assembled to thereby form a fourth channel between the first and second facing surfaces.

14. The sectional flooring of claim 12, wherein a hollow is formed in the first flooring unit to thereby form a fifth channel between the first and second flooring units when the same are assembled, and the cavity section is formed covering a larger area than the protrusion such that a sixth channel is formed between these elements when the first and second flooring units are assembled.

15. The sectional flooring of claim 12, wherein a projection is formed on the first flooring unit on a side of the protrusion opposite the side on which the catch member is formed, and a concave surface is formed in the second flooring unit at an area corresponding to the projection when the first and second flooring units are assembled.

16. The sectional flooring of claim 1, wherein the first and second flooring units include a waterproof lubricant layer formed on a whole surface of at least one of the long sides and short sides.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(a) Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to sectional flooring, and more particularly, to sectional flooring that allows for an increased interconnection strength and easy assembly between the different flooring units, and that is minimally deformed due to external factors such as moisture.

(b) Description of the Related Art

Sectional flooring is made of individual flooring units of predetermined dimensions. The individual flooring units are assembled on the floor of a building, home, apartment, etc. The individual flooring units are typically quadrilateral (i.e., rectangular), and have a specific connection structure along sides thereof to allow for interconnection with other flooring units.

In more detail, protrusions and grooves are formed along at least one pair of opposing sides, and the individual flooring units are interconnected by inserting the protrusions of one unit into the grooves of another unit. An adhesive is then applied on the floor where the units will be placed, after which the flooring units are secured to the floor of the structure. Alternatively, nails may be used to fix the flooring units to the floor of the structure. However, a drawback of such a method is that removal of the flooring is difficult. Also, if an adhesive is used, it is typically an epoxy-based material which is harmful to humans.

A slight variation to the above method is to apply an adhesive only to the grooves so that the protrusions are more tightly held therein. That is, the adhesive is applied between the flooring units but not to the floor of the structure on which the flooring units are placed. Since the flooring is not adhered to the floor of the structure, this method is referred to as a suspension type and is advantageous with respect to removal and interconnection. However, if the adhesive used for such a method is applied after it has been frozen or stored for long periods, its adhesivity decreases. Also, gaps may form between the flooring units and surface uniformity may not be adequate if the adhesive is not properly applied.

Another configuration used with the suspension method is that of forming locking members along sides of the flooring units and omitting the use of the adhesive altogether to interconnect the flooring units. U.S. Pat. No. 4,426,820 and Japanese Laid-Open Patent No. Heisei 3-169967 disclose such sectional flooring in which the individual flooring units have locking members.

However, a drawback of the configurations disclosed in these patents is that the interconnection strength between the flooring units is reduced considerably if there are defects in the floor of the structure or if a force is given to the flooring in one direction. If the floor of the structure is dampened by humidity in a state where the interconnection strength between the flooring units is reduced, this moisture makes its way into the spaces between the flooring units such that the same expands in the short direction and stress is generated. As a result, large gaps are formed or surface uniformity differences occur between the flooring units.

Further, in the conventional sectional flooring, the same type of locking member is formed in the sides regardless of whether the side is the long side or the short side. However, in the rectangular flooring units of conventional sectional flooring, the long sides determine the interconnection strength between the flooring units while the short sides minimally affect interconnection strength. Therefore, there is a need for a locking member configuration that takes into consideration these aspects of interconnection strength and assembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, there is provided sectional flooring in which locking members are formed taking into consideration long side and short side characteristics of individual flooring units such that the interconnection strength between the flooring units is increased and assembly is made simple, and in which deformation caused by external factors such as moisture is minimized.

In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, sectional flooring includes a first flooring unit and a second flooring unit assembled together using connecting structures that are different along long sides and short sides. With respect to the long sides, the first flooring unit includes a first indentation, a catch extension extending away from the first indentation and in a short side direction of the first flooring unit, and a connecting protrusion extending from a distal end of the catch extension.

The second flooring unit includes a protuberance that is inserted into the first indentation, a second indentation formed extending further into the second flooring unit starting from the protuberance and for receiving the catch extension of the first flooring unit, and a third indentation formed extending into the second flooring unit from a side surface of the second indentation and into which the connecting protrusion is positioned.

With respect to the short sides, the first flooring unit includes a protrusion having a catch member extending in one direction, and the second flooring unit includes a cavity section for receiving the protrusion of the first flooring unit. An inclination that catches on the catch member is formed in the cavity section. Also, a projection is formed on the first flooring unit on a side of the protrusion opposite the side on which the catch member is formed, and a concave surface is formed in the second flooring unit at an area corresponding to the projection when the first and second flooring units are assembled.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, together with the specification, illustrate exemplary embodiments of the present invention, and together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 1 is a plan view of an individual flooring unit of sectional flooring according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their long side connection structure before assembly according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their long side connection structure after assembly according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their long side connection structure used for describing assembly according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their short side connection structure before assembly according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their short side connection structure after assembly according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their long side connection structure after assembly according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their long side connection structure after assembly according to yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is an elevational view of a pair of individual floorings units and their long side connection structure after assembly according to still yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their short side connection structure after assembly according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their short side connection structure after assembly according to yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Exemplary embodiments of the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is a plan view of sectional flooring according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

With reference to FIG. 1, a flooring member 1 is a substantially rectangular board having a predetermined thickness and area. The flooring member 1 includes a pair of long sides 2 and a pair of short sides 3. The long sides 2 have a connection configuration that is different from the short sides 3, and the long sides 2 are interconnected with the long sides of other flooring units and the short sides 3 are interconnected with the short sides of other flooring units.

FIGS. 2 and 3 are views showing a pair of individual flooring units and their long side connection structure according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Also, FIG. 4 is used to describe assembly of the flooring units.

A first flooring unit 10A includes a first opposing surface 11 that is formed from an edge of one long side and extends a predetermined distance in the short side direction; a first indentation 12 formed extending further into the first flooring unit 10A starting from the first opposing surface 11; a catch extension 13 extending away from the first indentation 12 and in the short side direction of the first flooring unit 10A; and a connecting protrusion 14 extending from a distal end of the catch extension 13.

Further, a second flooring unit 10B includes a second opposing surface 15 that is formed from an edge of one long side and extends a predetermined in the short side direction; a protuberance 16 that extends starting from the second opposing surface 15 in the long direction of the second flooring unit 10B, and which is inserted into the first indentation 12 of the first flooring unit 10A when the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B are assembled; a second indentation 17 formed extending further into the second flooring unit 10B starting from the protuberance 16, for receiving the catch extension 13 of the first flooring unit 10A; and a third indentation 18 formed extending into the second flooring unit 10B from a side surface of the second indentation 17, into which the connecting protrusion 14 is positioned.

Reference numeral 20 in the drawings indicates a material layer realized through fiberboard or plywood, and reference numeral 21 indicates a surface layer of a hardened impregnated paper or liquid coating.

The first indentation 12 includes a first inclined surface 12a that extends at a predetermined angle to the first opposing surface 11 and starts from an end of the same. Further, the protuberance 16 includes a second inclined surface 16a that extends at a predetermined angle to the second opposing surface 15 and starts from an end of the same. The protuberance 16 is inserted into the first indentation 12 by contacting outermost corners of the first and second opposing surfaces 11 and 15 at point A (see FIG. 4), then pivoting the second flooring unit 10B about point A so that insertion of the protuberance 16 into the first indentation 12 is easily performed. Further, the protuberance 16 includes a third inclined surface 16b that is formed opposite the side on which the second inclined surface 16a is formed. The third inclined surface 16b allows for connection at a small angle of inclination when the protuberance 16 is inserted into the first indentation 12.

The first opposing surface 11 of the first flooring unit 10A and the second opposing surface 15 of the second flooring unit 10B are closely contacted following assembly without a gap being formed therebetween. This prevents moisture from the ground of the building structure from making its way to an upper surface of the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B, and prevents foreign particles from being lodged between the same.

The second flooring unit 10B also includes a depression 19 formed starting from an innermost end of the second opposing surface 15. Since there is no corresponding element extending from the first flooring unit 10A, the formation of the depression 19 results in the creation of a predetermined gap between the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B when assembled. This gap is referred to as a first channel 30. Further, since the first indentation 12 covers a larger area than the protuberance 16, a predetermined gap, that is, a second channel 31, is formed between the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B when assembled. The first and second channels 30 and 31 absorb stress exerted by the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B if the same attempt to expand as a result of having absorbed moisture or as a result of foreign substances becoming lodged between the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B.

The catch extension 13 and the second indentation 17 act as a locking mechanism following assembly of the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B. Preferably, the catch extension 13 includes an upper section 13a extended in a direction toward the first indentation 12 and having a curvature radius R1, and the second indentation 17 includes a lower section 17a extended from the protuberance 16 and having a curvature radius R2. The locking ability of the catch extension 13 and the second indentation 17 is determined by the curvature radii R1 and R2. That is, an increased locking function is realized by reducing the curvature radii R1 and R2. However, manufacture is made more difficult if the curvature radii R1 and R2 are excessively minimized.

Further, the connecting protrusion 14 and the third indentation 18 enhance the locking mechanism of the catch extension 13 and the second indentation 17 to thereby increase the connecting strength between the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B. Preferably, the connecting protrusion 14 and the third indentation 18 have substantially the same shape with only minimal extra space therebetween. As a result, with the close contact between the connecting protrusion 14 and the third indentation 18 following assembly of the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B, the interconnecting strength between the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B is increased.

A first sloped section 22 is formed extending from a long side edge of the first flooring unit 10A closest to the connecting protrusion 14 and reaching the same, and a second sloped section 23 is formed from the third indentation 18 and extending to a long side edge of the second flooring unit 10B closest to the third indentation 18. Following assembly of the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B, a predetermined gap, that is, a third channel 32, is formed between the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B as a result of the first and second sloped sections 22 and 23. The third channel 32 prevents deformation of the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B as a result of moisture present on the floor.

With the configuration of the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B described above, the protuberance 16 is inserted into the first indentation 12, the catch extension 13 is inserted into the second indentation 17, and the connecting protrusion 14 is inserted into the third indentation 18 to thereby realize a three-stage connecting structure. Following assembly of the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B as shown in FIG. 3, an increased interconnection strength is realized through contact points B and C, and at the contacting surface between the connecting protrusion 14 and the third indentation 18. Accordingly, the flooring member 1 realizes an increased interconnecting strength along the long sides 2 thereof through this structure.

FIGS. 5 and 6 are views showing a pair of the individual flooring units 10A and 10B and their short side connection structure according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the first flooring unit 10A includes a protrusion 41 having a catch member 40 extending in one direction, and the second flooring unit 10B includes a cavity section 42 corresponding roughly to the shape of the protrusion 41 of the first flooring unit 10A. An inclination 43 that catches on the catch member 40 is formed in the cavity section 42 to thereby realize a locking mechanism after the protrusion 41 is inserted into the cavity section 42. Since the short sides 3 of the flooring member 1 minimally affect the interconnecting strength of the flooring units 10A and 10B, the protrusion 41 and the cavity section 42 in this simple configuration are such that assembly is made easy.

The first flooring unit 10A includes a first facing surface 44 that is at a predetermined distance from a second facing surface 45 of the second flooring unit 10B when the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B are assembled. A fourth channel 33 is formed by this gap between the first and second facing surfaces 44 and 45. The fourth channel 33 absorbs the stress exerted by the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B when the same attempt to expand as a result of having absorbed moisture or as a result of foreign substances becoming lodged between the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B. Therefore, the fourth channel 33 helps prevent deformation of the flooring units 10A and 10B.

An adhesive may be selectively used along the short sides 3 to improve interconnection strength. In this case, a hollow 46 is formed toward a side of the first flooring unit 10A such that a predetermined gap, that is, a fifth channel 34, is formed between the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B when the same are assembled. The cavity section 42 is formed covering a larger area than the protrusion 41 such that a sixth channel 35 is formed between these elements when the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B are assembled. The fifth and sixth channels 34 and 35 act as glue pockets that are filled with adhesive.

In the flooring member 1 described above, a connecting structure including the protuberance 16, the catch extension 13, and the connecting protrusion 14 is provided along the long sides 2, which significantly affect the interconnection strength of the flooring, to thereby improve the interconnection strength of the flooring. On the other hand, a relatively simple connecting structure of the protrusion 41 and the cavity section 42 is provided along the short sides 3, which minimally affect the interconnection strength of the flooring, to allow for easy assembly.

Further, with the flooring member 1 of the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the connecting structure formed along the long sides 2 provides spaces along which moisture present on the floor of the building structure can travel such that absorption of the moisture by the flooring member 1 is minimized. Absorption of moisture by the flooring member 1 may be completely prevented by applying a waterproofing agent on the connecting protrusion 14 and the third indentation 18.

FIGS. 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 show additional exemplary embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their long side connection structure after assembly according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Using the basic long side connection structure as described with reference to FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, a hooking protrusion 24 is formed extending from an end of the protuberance 16 in a direction toward the upper long side of the second flooring unit 10B. A concavity 25 is formed in the first inclined surface 12a of the first indentation 12 corresponding to the formation of the hooking protrusion 24. The hooking protrusion 24 and the concavity 25 add further support to the locking mechanism of the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B. Preferably, the hooking protrusion 24 and the concavity 25 are wedge-shaped such that that hooking protrusion 24 is not easily separated from the concavity.

In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 7, the interconnection strength and the locking mechanism in the vicinity of the first and second opposing surfaces 11 and 15 are improved by the hooking protrusion 24 and the concavity 25. As a result, a gap is prevented from being formed between the first and second opposing surfaces 11 and 15 such that foreign substances are unable to get between these elements.

FIG. 8 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their long side connection structure after assembly according to yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Using the basic long side connection structure as described with reference to FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, a cutaway section 26 is formed in an upper surface of one of the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B, for example, in the upper surface of the first flooring unit 10A. An elastic material (not shown) is then fixed to the cutaway section 26 during assembly.

The flooring member 1 increases in size if exposed to moisture for long periods. As a result, the spacing between the wall and the flooring is reduced and the flooring becomes removed from the floor of the structure. That is, since an upper surface of the conventional flooring is a hardened impregnated paper or liquid coating such that the surface layer 21 has a higher density than the material layer realized through fiberboard or plywood, deformation of the upper surface caused by humidity is made even greater, and contact occurs with no extra space between the flooring units 10A and 10B.

Such deformation reduces the quality of flooring more than any other factor. As a result, with the formation of the cutaway section 26 in the upper surface of the first flooring unit 10A and the insertion of an elastic material with the cutaway section 26 as described above, changes in the outer dimensions of the flooring is prevented.

FIG. 9 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their long side connection structure after assembly according to still yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Using the basic long side connection structure as described with reference to FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, a waterproof lubricant layer 50 is formed on the whole surface of the long side connection of the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B for making the assembly easy and enhancing water-resisting qualities of the flooring units. The waterproof lubricant layer 50 is, for example, made of conventional wax.

FIG. 10 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their short side connection structure after assembly according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Using the basic short side connecting structure as described with reference to FIGS. 5 and 6, a projection 47 is formed on the first flooring unit 10A on a side of the protrusion 41 opposite the side on which the catch member 40 is formed. Also, a concave surface 48 is formed in the second flooring unit 10A at an area corresponding to the projection 47. This structure enhances the locking mechanism in the short side direction.

FIG. 11 is an elevational view of a pair of individual flooring units and their short side connection structure after assembly according to yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Using the basic short side connection structure as described with reference to FIGS. 5 and 6, a waterproof lubricant layer 51 is formed on the whole surface of the short side connection of the first and second flooring units 10A and 10B for making the assembly easy and enhancing water-resisting qualities of the flooring units. The waterproof lubricant layer 51 is, for example, made of conventional wax.

In the present invention structured as described above, connecting structures are realized according to the specific characteristics and needs of flooring. That is, a connecting structure is realized along the long side direction that significantly improves the connection strength between the flooring units, while the connecting structure in the short side direction allows for easy assembly. As a result, an increased interconnection strength and ease of assembly are both realized. Further, deformation of the flooring caused by external factors such as moisture is minimized to thereby improve the overall quality of the flooring.

Although embodiments of the present invention have been described in detail hereinabove in connection with certain exemplary embodiments, it should be understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed exemplary embodiments, but, on the contrary is intended to cover various modifications and/or equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the present invention, as defined in the appended claims.