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This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/469,100, filed on May 8, 2003. The priority of the prior application is expressly claimed and its disclosure is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
This invention relates to the construction of buildings, and in particular to a method of constructing a building by stacking blocks to define walls, floors and roofs of a building where the blocks define a void that is filled with concrete, sand, or other material.
Known methods of constructing a building include erecting forms that define the location and size of the wall and that are then filled with concrete to make the finished wall. The forms come in different forms and styles. One method of forming walls is to stack styrofoam blocks in two spaced apart stacks, tying the forms together with ties or brackets, then filling the space between the blocks with concrete. The concrete dries in place and the styrofoam forms remain in place, becoming part of the wall structure. This method is limited in its application by the labor intense aspect of erecting the forms from the styrofoam blocks. In addition, the outer surfaces of the finished wall are styrofoam must be covered on both faces with a suitable exterior covering.
The present invention provides an improved method of building that provides a dry stacked block forming method of erecting walls. The form blocks are simple in design, accommodate most any building design, and can be manufactured with finished decorative exterior and/or interior surfaces. The preferred embodiments of the invention will now be described by referring to the enclosed drawings.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the interior surface of the block.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the exterior surface of the block.
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of the block.
FIG. 4 is a top view of the block.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the bracket.
FIG. 6 is a front view of the bracket.
FIG. 7 is a side view of the bracket.
FIG. 8 is a side view of the wall assembly process.
FIG. 9 is a front view of a staggered wall assembly process.
FIGS. 10-16 are side views of alternate block designs.
FIGS. 17-22 are perspective views of alternate bracket designs.
FIG. 23 is a top view of a corner wall assembly.
FIG. 24 is a perspective view of the corner wall assembly shown in FIG. 23.
FIG. 25 is a perspective view of an alternate corner wall assembly.
FIG. 26 is a perspective view of a footing block.
FIG. 27 is a side view of the footing block shown in FIG. 26.
FIG. 28 is an end view of the footing block shown in FIG. 26.
FIG. 29 is a perspective view of a monolithic bracket.
FIG. 30 is a side view of a monolithic footing portion.
FIG. 31 is a side view of a wall assembly of the present invention with a standard floor joist.
FIG. 32 is a side view of footing and wall sections constructed with the blocks of the present invention.
FIG. 33 is a side view of a standard truss with a wall assembly of the present invention.
FIG. 34 is a front view of a radius block.
FIG. 35 is a top view of a radius block.
FIGS. 1 and 2 show that the basic block form comprises a rectangular block shown at 10. Each block 10 includes an interior surface 12, an exterior surface 14, a recessed end portion 16, a protruding end portion 18, a recessed bottom portion 20, and a protruding top portion 22. Deep recesses 24 and 26 extend into the block 10 from the top and bottom surfaces, respectively. The block 10 also comprises channel portions 32 that extend from the recesses 24, 26 to the top edge of the interior surface 12. Thus, the recesses 24 and 26 and the channel portions 32 are not visible from the exterior surface 14 of the block.
Turning to FIGS. 3 and 4, recesses 24 and 26 are shown in greater detail. FIG. 3 is a side view of the block 10 and FIG. 4 is a top view. Recesses 24 and 26 include a channel area 32. Recess 24 extends from the top surface of the block 10 down to about one-third of the depth of the block. Recess 26 extends from the bottom surface of the block up to about one-third of the depth of the block. The channel area 32 is continuous with the recesses.
The blocks as described in FIGS. 1-4 are assembled using brackets. Turning now to FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, bracket 28 includes left and right flanges 34 and 36 and webbing 38. The upper and lower portions of each flange insert into the respective recesses of an upper and lower stacked block as will be described in greater detail below. The bracket 28 is preferably made of steel, but could be made of any suitable material.
FIG. 8 is a side view showing how the blocks 10 are stacked using the bracket 28. As shown in FIG. 8, the recesses 24, 26 and the channel portions 32 are provided to permit the attachment of a bracket 28 in each recess. The left flange 34 of the bracket is attached to a first block on the top and a second block on the bottom. The right flange 36 of the bracket is attached to a third block on the top and a fourth block on the bottom, thus defining a central void 42 between the two sets of blocks. The central void 42 is filled with concrete, sand, or other material after the blocks are assembled. The webbing 38 of the bracket 28 is accommodated by the channel area 32. When the blocks are assembled, the protruding portion 22 fits snugly within the recessed portion 20.
FIG. 9 is a front view that shows blocks 41, 43 and 46 being assembled in a staggered manner. Using bracket 44, the leftmost recess in the bottom of block 41 is attached to the rightmost recess in the top of block 43. Using second bracket 45, the rightmost recess in the bottom of block 41 is attached to the leftmost recess in the top of block 46. Although not specifically illustrated in FIG. 9, the protruding end portion of block 46 fits within the recessed end portion of block 43 and the protruding top portions of blocks 43 and 46 fit within the recessed bottom portion of block 41.
When assembled, the outer surface of the wall does not reveal the clips or recesses of the individual blocks, and normal window and door openings are achieved using half blocks in combination with full-length blocks. In a preferred embodiment a full-length block is 2 feet long, 1 foot tall and 3 inches thick, although the invention is not limited to any specific dimension. The blocks can be made of any known construction materials, such as Styrofoam or concrete. In a preferred embodiment, the blocks are made of all-natural and recycled products and the blocks do not contain any petroleum-based materials.
FIGS. 10-16 depict alternate designs for the block. The standard block, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, for example, comprises protruding portions 18 and 22 and recessed portions 16 and 20 that are substantially square or rectangular in shape. Alternatively, the protruding portions and recessed portions may be semi-circular (as shown in FIG. 10), V-shaped (as shown in FIG. 11), or lapped (as shown in FIG. 12). FIGS. 13 and 14 show alternative block designs wherein the blocks are assembled by a bracket and by depositing adhesive in the grooves 130 and 140. FIG. 15 shows a block design wherein radiant heating tubes may be positioned in the grooves 150. Any of the block designs described herein can be made to accommodate radiant heating tubes. The blocks may be non-locking, as shown in FIG. 16.
FIGS. 5-7 show the standard design for the bracket 28, while FIGS. 17-22 show alternate designs for the bracket. FIG. 17 depicts a bracket that is formed of one continuous piece of material 171 that is folded upon itself to form the H-shape, similar to the standard bracket. The bracket in FIG. 17 comprises welding points 172 and 173. FIG. 18 depicts a top wall bracket design that can be used in the topmost blocks of a wall. FIG. 19 is a top view of a bracket that may be used to form a curved wall, wherein the flanges of the bracket are cylindrical rather than flat. FIG. 20 depicts an alternate bracket design wherein the bracket serves as a cable anchor. FIG. 21 depicts an alternate bracket design that comprises tie wires. FIG. 22 depicts a corner bracket that will be described in greater detail in FIGS. 23 and 24.
FIGS. 23 and 24 show how the blocks of the present invention are used to form a corner, wherein FIG. 23 is a top view of FIG. 24. Corner 230 is formed by blocks 231, 232, 233 and 234 each have an angled end selected to jointly form the desired angle. The angled end of the blocks 231 and 233 includes a groove into which a corner bracket 50 is epoxied or otherwise secured. The angled end of the blocks 232 and 234 includes a groove into which a corner bracket 51 is epoxied or otherwise secured. Corner bracket 50 is larger than corner bracket 51. The corner bracket is also shown in FIG. 22. FIGS. 23 and 24 also show a steel corner post 235 and a steel cable 236 positioned in the central void 42 between the two blocks.
Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 25, the corner portion may comprise a solid block 253, thus eliminating the corner brackets 50 and 51 and the steel corner post 235 shown in FIGS. 23 and 24. In this embodiment, the end surfaces of the solid corner block comprise an anchor bolt 252 to which the steel cable 251 is attached.
As shown in FIGS. 26-28, the building block of the present invention may also be used as a footing block 261. The footing block 261 is used as the bottommost block in a wall structure. Therefore, the recesses 262 are formed only in the top surface of the block. In addition, the width 263 of the footing block 261 is greater than or equal to the width of a standard block plus the width of a central void plus the width of another standard block. Preferably, the width of a standard block is three inches and the width 263 of the footing block 261 is three feet. The width of the footing block 261 is about equal to the desired width of the wall.
FIGS. 29 and 30 show a monolithic footing design. The monolithic bracket 290 comprises a steel bar 291 and four flanges. The first and second flanges 292 are attached to the ends of the steel bar 291 to extend only on one side of the bar 291. The third and fourth flanges 293 are attached to the middle portion of the bar 291 to extend on the other side of the bar. As shown in FIG. 30, the first and second flanges 292 are inserted into the top recesses of first and second standard blocks 301. The third and fourth flanges 293 are inserted into the bottom recesses of third and fourth standard blocks 302. Additionally, there is a rebar mesh 303 positioned horizontally in the central void between the first and second blocks 301 and vertical rebar mesh 304 that extends from the central void between the first and second blocks 301 to the central void between the third and fourth blocks 302. An advantage of the monolithic footing design is that the fill between blocks 301 and 302 can be poured all at one time.
FIG. 31 shows a wall 311 formed with the blocks of the present invention in conjunction with a floor formed by methods known in the art. The floor comprises a typical post and beam 312, a typical I-joist 313, and sheeting 314. Thus, the novel block structure of the present invention can be integrated with materials and methods known in the art.
Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 32, the flooring may be constructed using the blocks of the present invention. FIG. 32 shows a side cross sectional view of a footer 170, an exterior wall 172, and a floor 174. Footer 170 is a typical concrete footer with an embedded rebar tie 176 extending upward into the wall 172. Wall 172 is formed as described above with spaced apart blocks 178 connected by brackets 180. The space between the spaced apart stacked blocks is filled with concrete 182, or another material known in the art. A floor 174 is formed with a slab 186 having embedded radiant heating tubes 188, and a layer of interconnected blocks 190 (similar to those illustrated in FIGS. 1-2) atop the slab 186. As described above blocks 190 can include a decorative upper surface 192, or can be covered with any suitable floor covering. Compacted fill 194 is deposited under the slab 186 and between the slab 186 and the footer 170.
FIG. 33 shows how a wall constructed with the blocks of the present invention is used with a truss of the prior art. The wall 331 is constructed with the blocks and brackets of the present invention as described above. The topmost blocks 332 are assembled using a top wall bracket 333, as shown in FIG. 18. A top plate 334 is then attached to the blocks 332 using nails 335. FIG. 33 also shows a positive connection 336 and a typical truss 337.
As an alternative to the standard rectangular block shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, FIGS. 34 and 35 show a radius block 340 that is used to form curved walls. The radius block 340 has a curved exterior surface 341 and a curved interior surface 342. The deep recesses 343 are cylindrical to accommodate a radius bracket, which is shown in FIG. 19. The radius block 340 also has channel portions 344 to accommodate the webbing portion of the bracket.
While the invention has been described by reference to the preferred embodiments described above those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention as described and illustrated can be modified in arrangement and detail without departing from the scope of the invention.