Title:
Extrusion for use in a floor assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An extrusion for use in a floor assembly including a load bearing horizontal portion and at least one horizontal support member in a substantially parallel horizontal plane, and a plurality of leg members extending downwardly from the load bearing horizontal portion. The extrusion also includes a tongue extending outwardly from a first outside surface thereof and a receiving portion provided at the second outside surface thereof that is sized and positioned to receive therein a tongue of a second extrusion forming a part of the floor assembly. The second outside surface also includes at least one aperture that is sized and positioned to receive therethrough at least one fastener for securing the extrusion to a rigid underlying support such as a plurality of wood joists.



Inventors:
Andres, Thomas J. (N. Versailles, PA, US)
Application Number:
10/862841
Publication Date:
12/29/2005
Filing Date:
06/07/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B5/12; E04C3/00; E04F15/10; (IPC1-7): E04C3/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CAJILIG, CHRISTINE T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Philip E. Levy, Esq. (Metz Lewis LLC 18th Floor 11 Stanwix Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222, US)
Claims:
1. An extrusion for use in a floor assembly, comprising: a load bearing horizontal portion in a first horizontal plane; at least one horizontal support member in a second horizontal plane substantially parallel to said first horizontal plane, said extrusion having a first outside surface located adjacent to a first end of said at least one horizontal support member and a second outside surface located adjacent to a second end of said at least one horizontal support member and opposite said first outside surface; a plurality of leg members extending downwardly from said load bearing horizontal portion; a tongue extending outwardly from said first outside surface, said second outside surface having a receiving portion sized and positioned to receive a tongue of a second extrusion therein; said at least one horizontal support surface having at least one first aperture, said at least one first aperture being sized and positioned to receive therethrough at least one fastener for securing said extrusion to a rigid underlying support, said at least one first aperture being located between said receiving portion and said first outside surface at a position that is adjacent to said receiving portion.

2. An extrusion according to claim 1, said plurality of leg members comprising a first outer leg member and a second outer leg member, said tongue being connected to said first end of said at least one horizontal support member, said receiving portion being part of said second outer leg member.

3. An apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising at least one aperture provided in said second outer leg member.

4. An extrusion according to claim 3, said at least one horizontal support member comprising a first horizontal support member and a second horizontal support member, said tongue being connected to said first horizontal support member, said at least one first aperture being provided in said second horizontal support member.

5. An extrusion according to claim 1, said at least one horizontal support member comprising a first horizontal support member and a second horizontal support member, said extrusion further comprising a first inner leg member connected to said first horizontal support member and a second inner leg member connected to said second horizontal support member, said first and second inner leg members defining a channel disposed along a longitudinal axis of said extrusion for receiving a snap connector secured to said rigid underlying support.

6. An extrusion according to claim 5, said first inner leg member and said second inner leg member each including a retaining tab which cooperates with said snap connector for mechanically securing said extrusion to said snap connector.

7. An extrusion according to claim 3, said at least one first aperture comprising a plurality of first apertures, said at least one second aperture comprising a plurality of second apertures, each of said first apertures being aligned with a corresponding one of said second apertures such that each said first aperture and the corresponding second aperture are adapted to receive therethrough a fastener for securing said extrusion to said rigid underlying support.

8. An extrusion according to claim 3, said at least one first aperture and said at least one second aperture each being an elongated slot.

9. An extrusion according to claim 3, said at least one first aperture being aligned with said at least one second aperture such that said at least one first aperture and said at least one second aperture are adapted to receive therethrough said at least one fastener, said at least one first aperture and said at least one second aperture being sized to allow water and debris to pass therethrough when said at least one fastener is received therethrough.

10. An extrusion according to claim 7, each of said first and second apertures being an elongated slot.

11. An extrusion according to claim 7, each of said first and second apertures being sized to allow water and debris to pass therethrough when a fastener is received through each said first aperture and the corresponding second aperture.

12. An extrusion according to claim 2, said receiving portion being an overhang portion, said second outer leg member including a vertical member extending upwardly from said at least one horizontal support member and a horizontal member connected to said vertical member, said vertical member and said horizontal member forming said overhang portion.

13. An extrusion according to claim 3, said second outer leg member including an outwardly and downwardly extending angled member, said at least one second aperture being provided in said angled member.

14. An extrusion according to claim 7, said second outer leg member including an outwardly and downwardly extending angled member, said plurality of second apertures being provided in said angled member.

15. An extrusion according to claim 1, said extrusion having a longitudinal axis, said tongue and said receiving portion extending along an entire length of said extrusion along said longitudinal axis.

16. An extrusion according to claim 1, said extrusion being made of an extruded plastic material.

17. An extrusion according to claim 16, said plastic material being PVC material.

18. An extrusion according to claim 1, said extrusion being made of a first extruded material and a second extruded material, said second extruded material forming an outer surface of said extrusion.

19. An extrusion according to claim 18, said first extruded material being recycled PVC material and said second extruded material being virgin PVC material.

20. An extrusion according to claim 1, said load bearing horizontal portion having an exposed surface, said exposed surface having a plurality of depressions.

21. An extrusion according to claim 1, further comprising at least one soft material layer attached to a bottom surface of said at least one horizontal support member, said load bearing horizontal portion, said at least one horizontal support member, and said plurality of leg members being made of a first material, said soft material having a durometer that is softer than a durometer of said first material.

22. An extrusion according to claim 21, said soft material layer being soft PVC.

23. A floor assembly, comprising: a plurality of extrusions, each extrusion including: a load bearing horizontal portion in a first horizontal plane; at least one horizontal support member in a second horizontal plane substantially parallel to said first horizontal plane, said extrusion having a first outside surface located adjacent to a first end of said at least one horizontal support member and a second outside surface located adjacent to a second end of said at least one horizontal support member and opposite said first outside surface; a plurality of leg members extending downwardly from said load bearing horizontal portion; a tongue extending outwardly from said first outside surface, said second outside surface having a receiving portion sized and positioned to receive therein a tongue of an adjacent one of said plurality of extrusions; said at least one horizontal support surface having at least one first aperture, said at least one first aperture being located between said receiving portion and said first outside surface at a position that is adjacent to said receiving portion; each of said extrusions being secured to a rigid underlying support by at least one fastener inserted through said at least one first aperture and into said rigid underlying supporting, each of said receiving portions of each of said extrusions except for a last one of said extrusions forming said floor assembly receiving therein the tongue of the extrusion located directly adjacent thereto.

24. A floor assembly according to claim 23, said plurality of leg members comprising a first outer leg member and a second outer leg member, said tongue being connected to said first end of said at least one horizontal support member, said receiving portion being part of said second outer leg member.

25. A floor assembly according to claim 24, each said extrusion further comprising at least one second aperture provided in said second outer leg member.

26. A floor assembly according to claim 23, further comprising a plurality of snap connectors secured to said rigid underlying support, each of said extrusions being mechanically secured to a corresponding one of said snap connectors.

27. A floor assembly according to claim 26, said at least one horizontal support member comprising a first horizontal support member and a second horizontal support member, each said extrusion further comprising a first inner leg member connected to said first horizontal support member and a second inner leg member connected to said second horizontal support member, said first and second inner leg members defining a channel disposed along a longitudinal axis of said extrusion for receiving said corresponding one of said snap connectors.

28. A floor assembly according to claim 27, each of said first inner leg members and said second inner leg members including a retaining tab which cooperates with said corresponding one of said snap connectors for mechanically securing said extrusion to said corresponding one of said snap connectors.

29. A floor assembly according to claim 28, each of said snap connectors including an elongated base portion and a pair of flanges attached to opposite sides of said base portion, each said flange including a pilot surface to facilitate mechanical securing of the corresponding extrusion thereto.

30. A floor assembly according to claim 23, further comprising one or more snap connectors secured to said rigid underlying support, each of one or more of said extrusions being mechanically secured to a corresponding one of said one or more snap connectors.

31. A floor assembly according to claim 30, said at least one horizontal support member of each of said extrusions mechanically secured to a corresponding one of said one or more snap connectors comprising a first horizontal support member and a second horizontal support member, each of said extrusions mechanically secured to a corresponding one of said one or more snap connectors further comprising a first inner leg member connected to said first horizontal support member and a second inner leg member connected to said second horizontal support member, said first and second inner leg members defining a channel disposed along a longitudinal axis of said extrusion for receiving said corresponding one of said one or more snap connectors.

32. A floor assembly according to claim 31, each of said first inner leg members and said second inner leg members including a retaining tab which cooperates with said corresponding one of said one or more snap connectors for mechanically securing said extrusion to said corresponding one of said one or more snap connectors.

33. A floor assembly according to claim 32, each of said snap connectors including an elongated base portion and a pair of flanges attached to opposite sides of said base portion, each said flange including a pilot surface to facilitate mechanical securing of the corresponding extrusion thereto.

34. A floor assembly according to claim 21, further comprising first and second snap connectors secured to said rigid underlying support, a first one of said extrusions being mechanically secured to said first snap connector and a second one of said extrusions being mechanically secured to said second snap connector.

35. A floor assembly according to claim 30, said at least one horizontal support member of said first one of said extrusions and said second one of said extrusions comprising a first horizontal support member and a second horizontal support member, said first one of said extrusions and said second one of said extrusions each further comprising a first inner leg member connected to said first horizontal support member and a second inner leg member connected to said second horizontal support member, said first and second inner leg members defining a channel disposed along a longitudinal axis of said extrusion, said channel of said first one of said extrusions for receiving said first snap connector and said channel of said second one of said extrusions for receiving said second snap connector.

36. A floor assembly according to claim 35, each of said first inner leg members and said second inner leg members including a retaining tab, said retaining tabs of said first one of said extrusions cooperating with said first snap connector for mechanically securing said first one of said extrusions to said first snap connector and said retaining tabs of said second one of said extrusions cooperating with said second snap connector for mechanically securing said second one of said extrusions to said second snap connector.

37. A floor assembly according to claim 36, each of said first and second snap connectors including an elongated base portion and a pair of flanges attached to opposite sides of said base portion, each said flange including a pilot surface to facilitate mechanical securing of the corresponding extrusion thereto.

38. A floor assembly according to claim 34, said first one of said extrusions being a first extrusion forming said floor assembly and said second one of said extrusions being a last extrusion forming said floor assembly.

39. A floor assembly according to claim 25, said at least one horizontal support member comprising a first horizontal support member and a second horizontal support member, said tongue being connected to said first horizontal support member, said at least one first aperture being provided in said second horizontal support member.

40. A floor assembly according to claim 25, said at least one first aperture comprising a plurality of first apertures, said at least one second aperture comprising a plurality of second apertures, and said at least one fastener comprising a plurality of fasteners, each of said first apertures being aligned with a corresponding one of said second apertures, each said first aperture and the corresponding second aperture having inserted therethrough and into said rigid underlying support one of said fasteners.

41. A floor assembly according to claim 25, said at least one first aperture and said at least one second aperture each being an elongated slot.

42. A floor assembly according to claim 25, said at least one first aperture being aligned with said at least one second aperture such that said at least one first aperture and said at least one second aperture are adapted to receive therethrough said at least one fastener, said at least one first aperture and said at least one second aperture being sized to allow water and debris to pass therethrough when said at least one fastener is received therethrough.

43. A floor assembly according to claim 40, each of said first and second apertures being an elongated slot.

44. A floor assembly according to claim 40, each of said first and second apertures being sized to allow water and debris to pass therethrough when said one of said fasteners is received through each said first aperture and the corresponding second aperture.

45. A floor assembly according to claim 24, said receiving portion being an overhang portion, said second outer leg member including a vertical member extending upwardly from said at least one horizontal support member and a horizontal member connected to said vertical member, said vertical member and said horizontal member forming said overhang portion.

46. A floor assembly according to claim 25, said second outer leg member including an outwardly and downwardly extending angled member, said at least one second aperture being provided in said angled member.

47. A floor assembly according to claim 40, said second outer leg member including an outwardly and downwardly extending angled member, said plurality of second apertures being provided in said angled member.

48. A floor assembly according to claim 23, each of said extrusions having a longitudinal axis, each of said tongues and said receiving portions extending along an entire length of each of said extrusions along said longitudinal axis.

49. A floor assembly according to claim 23, each of said extrusions being made of an extruded plastic material.

50. A floor assembly according to claim 49, said plastic material being PVC material.

51. A floor assembly according to claim 23, each of said extrusions being made of a first extruded material and a second extruded material, said second extruded material forming an outer surface of each of said extrusions.

52. A floor assembly according to claim 51, said first extruded material being recycled PVC material and said second extruded material being virgin PVC material.

53. A floor assembly according to claim 23, said load bearing horizontal portion having an exposed surface, said exposed surface having a plurality of depressions.

54. A floor assembly according to claim 23, each of said extrusions further comprising at least one soft material layer attached to a bottom surface of said at least one horizontal support member, said load bearing horizontal portion, said at least one horizontal support member, and said plurality of leg members being made of a first material, said soft material having a durometer that is softer than a durometer of said first material.

55. A floor assembly according to claim 54, said soft material layer being soft PVC.

56. A floor assembly according to claim 23, wherein each of said at least one first apertures of each of said extrusions is not obscured by the tongue of the extrusion located directly adjacent thereto.

57. A floor assembly according to claim 40, wherein each said first aperture and the corresponding second aperture of each of the extrusions define a continuous channel for allowing water and debris to pass from the load bearing horizontal portion of the extrusion through said channel.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to floor assemblies, and more particularly, to extrusions, such as plastic extrusions, which are connected to a rigid underlying support, such as a plurality of wood joists, to form a floor assembly.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is very well known to construct floor assemblies, such as decks for homes and boat docks, using wood planks secured to an underlying support, such as spaced wood joists. There are, however, several disadvantages with using exposed wood planks for these applications. Wood, if left untreated, can quickly rot, thus requiring replacement of some if not all of the wood planks. This occurs especially for wood decks and boat docks that are subject to outdoor weather conditions such as rain, snow and sunlight. In addition, wood planks can shrink, creating unsightly and dangerous gaps in the planking. Finally, wood is becoming more and more expensive.

Pressure treated lumber is widely used to protect the wood from rotting. However, even pressure treated lumber begins to rot over time with exposure to the elements. In addition, it is recommended by most vendors of pressure treated lumber that a protectant be applied to the wood. This protectant usually must be applied annually. This is a major disadvantage of wood decks, due to the expense and time-consuming nature of applying and reapplying this protectant year after year. Failure to be diligent in these applications can lead to early rotting of the exposed wood planks and the major expense and inconvenience of replacing some if not all of the wood planks.

It is known to provide a floor assembly constructed of a number of elongated extrusions. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,553,427 to Andres and U.S. Pat. No. 6,112,479 to Andres, owned by the assignee hereof, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference, each describe a floor assembly constructed of a number of elongated extrusions each secured to an elongated snap connector, which in turn is secured to a rigid underlying support such as a plurality of spaced wood joists. While these floor assemblies are effective and well-suited for their intended purposes, improvements and advancements, which would result in even better floor assemblies, are desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an extrusion for use in a floor assembly such as an outdoor residential deck, boat dock, patio enclosure, dance floor or any other flooring assembly where materials such as wood are currently used. The extrusion includes a load bearing horizontal portion in a first horizontal plane and at least one horizontal support member in a second horizontal plane substantially parallel to the first horizontal plane. The extrusion also includes a first outside surface located adjacent to a first end of the at least one horizontal support member and a second outside surface located adjacent to a second end of the at least one horizontal support member and opposite the first outside surface. A plurality of leg members extend downwardly from the load bearing horizontal portion. In addition, a tongue extends outwardly from the first outside surface and the second outside surface includes a receiving portion that is sized and positioned to receive therein a tongue of a second extrusion forming a part of the floor assembly. The at least one horizontal support surface also includes at least one first aperture that is sized and positioned to receive therethrough at least one fastener for securing the extrusion to a rigid underlying support such as a plurality of wood joists. The at least one first aperture is located between the receiving portion and the first outside surface at a position that is adjacent to the receiving portion. The plurality of leg members may comprise a first outer leg member and a second outer leg member, and the tongue may be connected to the first end of the at least one horizontal support member, with the receiving portion being part of the second outer leg member. The extrusion may also include at least one second aperture provided in the second outer leg member. In one embodiment, the at least one horizontal support member includes a first horizontal support member and a second horizontal support member, with the tongue being connected to the first horizontal support member and the at least one first aperture being provided in the second horizontal support member.

In another embodiment of the extrusion, the at least one horizontal support member includes a first horizontal support member and a second horizontal support member, and the extrusion further includes a first inner leg member connected to the first horizontal support member and a second inner leg member connected to the second horizontal support member. The first and second inner leg members define a channel disposed along a longitudinal axis of the extrusion for receiving a snap connector secured to the rigid underlying support. The first inner leg member and the second inner leg member may also include a retaining tab which cooperates with the snap connector for mechanically securing the extrusion to the snap connector and thus to the rigid underlying support.

In another embodiment of the extrusion, the at least one first aperture may include a plurality of first apertures, and the at least one second aperture may include a plurality of second apertures, wherein each of the first apertures is aligned with a corresponding one of the second apertures such that each first aperture and the corresponding second aperture are adapted to receive therethrough a fastener for securing the extrusion to the rigid underlying support. The apertures may each be an elongated slot, and are preferably sized to allow water and debris to pass therethrough, from the load bearing horizontal portion, when a fastener is inserted therethrough.

The receiving portion of the extrusion may be an overhang portion, wherein the second outer leg member includes a vertical member extending upwardly from the at least one horizontal support member and a horizontal member connected to the vertical member, the vertical member and the horizontal member forming the overhang portion. In addition, the second outer leg member may further include an outwardly and downwardly extending angled member, with the at least one second aperture being provided in the angled member.

The extrusion is preferably made of an extruded plastic material, such as PVC material. The extrusion may also be made of a first extruded material and a second extruded material, wherein the second extruded material forms the outer surface of the extrusion. The first extrusion material may be recycled PVC material and the second extruded material may be virgin PVC material. Furthermore, the load-bearing horizontal portion may include a plurality of depressions on the exposed surface thereof. Also, the extrusion may further include at least one soft layer attached to the bottom surface of the at least one horizontal support member, wherein the load-bearing horizontal portion, the at least one horizontal support member and the plurality of leg members are made of a first material, and the soft material is a material having a durometer that is softer than a durometer of the first material. Such a soft material may be soft PVC.

The present invention also relates to a floor assembly including a plurality of extrusions according to one or more of the embodiments just described, wherein each of the extrusions is secured to a rigid underlying support by at least one fastener inserted through the at least one first aperture of each extrusion and into the rigid underlying support, and wherein each of the receiving portions of each of the extrusions except for a last extrusion forming the floor assembly receives therein the tongue of the extrusion located directly adjacent thereto. In one embodiment, the floor assembly comprises a plurality of snap connectors secured to the rigid underlying support, and each of the extrusions forming the floor assembly is mechanically secured to a corresponding one of the snap connectors. In another embodiment, the floor assembly includes one or more snap connectors secured to the rigid underlying support, and each of one or more of the extrusions is mechanically secured to a corresponding one of the snap connectors. In this embodiment, the one or more snap connectors may include first and second snap connectors secured to the rigid underlying support, and a first one of the extrusions may be mechanically secured to the first snap connector and a second one of the extrusions may be mechanically secured to the second snap connector. In addition, the first one of the extrusions may be a first extrusion forming the floor assembly, such as an extrusion located adjacent to a wall, and the second one of the extrusions may be the last extrusion forming the floor assembly, that is the extrusion located farthest away from the first extrusion. In yet another embodiment, no snap connectors are used at all, and instead each extrusion is secured to the rigid underlying support using fasteners inserted through the apertures of the extrusion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description of the present invention, taken in conjunction with the following drawings, in which like reference characters refer to like parts, and in which:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of an extrusion according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the extrusion shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an end plan view of the extrusion shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an end plan view of a snap connector used to construct a floor assembly according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIGS. 5A through 5D illustrate the construction of a floor assembly using the extrusion shown in FIGS. 1 through 3 according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 shows a floor assembly constructed using the extrusion shown in FIGS. 1 through 3 according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 7 shows a floor assembly constructed using the extrusion shown in FIGS. 1 through 3 according to a further alternate embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The extrusions shown herein are used to form floor assemblies, such as an outdoor residential deck. It will be appreciated, however, that there are numerous other uses for the extrusions disclosed herein including, but not limited to, boat docks, enclosure patios, dance floors or any flooring assembly where other materials, such as wood, are currently used. Therefore, although the description set forth herein focuses on a residential deck, it will be appreciated that the invention is not so limited and can encompass other flooring assemblies such as those mentioned above as well as more.

Referring to FIG. 1, an isometric view of extrusion 5 for use in constructing a floor assembly according to the present invention is shown. FIGS. 2 and 3 are bottom and end plan views, respectively, of extrusion 5. Extrusion 5 includes load bearing horizontal portion 10, outer leg members 15 and 20 extending downwardly from load bearing horizontal portion 10, and inner leg members 25 and 30. Outer leg members 15 and 20 are thus located at, and form a part of, first and second outside surfaces of extrusion 5. Preferably, load bearing horizontal portion 10 includes an exposed surface having a plurality of depressions (not shown) which make the surface slip-resistant. Outer leg member 15 is connected to inner leg member 25 by horizontal support member 35, and outer leg member 20 is connected to inner leg member 30 by horizontal support member 40. In addition, inner leg member 25 includes retaining tab 45, and inner leg member 30 includes retaining tab 50. As seen in FIGS. 1 and 3, inner leg members 25 and 30 form a channel extending along the longitudinal axis of extrusion 5 for receiving a snap connector, described below, used to create a floor assembly according to certain specific embodiments of the present invention.

Horizontal support member 35 includes tongue 55 extending outwardly therefrom at an end of horizontal support member 35 located opposite retaining tab 45. Tongue 55 thus extends outwardly from the first outside surface of extrusion 5. Tongue 55 preferably extends along the longitudinal axis of extrusion 5 along the entire length thereof, although it is possible that it extend along only a part of such length. Outer leg member 20 includes a lower portion 60 that includes outwardly and downwardly extending angled member 65, first vertical member 70, horizontal member 75 and second vertical member 80. As seen in FIG. 3, horizontal member 75 and second vertical member 80 together form a receiving portion for receiving an adjacent tongue 55. In particular, the receiving portion is, in the illustrated embodiment, an overhang portion under which, as described below, the tongue 55 of an adjacent extrusion 5 may be fit. Alternative receiving portions, such as a groove or channel, are also suitable. As seen in FIG. 1, the receiving portion preferably extends along the longitudinal axis of extrusion 5 along the entire length thereof, although, like tongue 55, it may extend a shorter distance. The receiving portion is thus provided in the second outside surface of extrusion 5. Lower portion 60 of outer leg member 20 is preferably connected to horizontal support member 40 by angled member 85 to provide additional structural support.

As shown in FIG. 1, angled member 65 is provided with one or more, and preferably a plurality, of apertures 90 therein. Similarly, as shown in FIG. 2, horizontal support member 40 is provided with one or more, and preferably a plurality, of apertures 95 in a portion thereof located between second vertical member 80 and angled member 85. Due to this positioning, apertures 95 will not be obscured by a tongue 55 of an adjacent extrusion 5, thereby allowing for water and debris to pass therethrough as described below. Each aperture 90 provided in angled member 65 is aligned with a corresponding aperture 95 provided in horizontal support member 40, and, as described below, are adapted to receive therethrough a fastener such as a screw or nail. Preferably, apertures 90 and 95 have an oblong, elongated shape, such as a slot, to allow for varied placement of the fastener therein. In addition, elongated apertures 90 and 95 are preferably sized and shaped to extend beyond the location of the head of the fastener that is inserted therethrough to allow for water and debris to pass through apertures 90 and 95 (from load bearing horizontal portion 10) when the fastener is in place.

Extrusion 5 preferably consists of a substrate made of an extruded plastic material, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Most preferably, extrusion 5 is made of recycled PVC covered by a co-extruded virgin capstock material, such as weatherable, hard, virgin PVC material. It will be appreciated that recycled PVC can, in this most preferred embodiment, be used in the substrate because the substrate has all of its exposed surfaces covered by the virgin capstock material. Thus, the bulk of the extrusion can be made of less expensive, less attractive and readily available recycled PVC. In addition, the virgin capstock material is preferably applied to the substrate so as to provide a crown on the top surface and at the center of extrusion 5. Advantageously, this allows water, such as rain, to run off of extrusion 5.

In order to eliminate annoying squeaking sounds which may be made when load bearing objects, such as persons, move across the floor, a soft, PVC layer or layers may be applied to the bottom surface of each of the horizontal support members 35 and 40. This layer (or layers) has a softer durometer than the PVC used for the remainder of extrusion 5. In this way, the soft layers act as a cushion between the rigid underlying support, such as a wood joist, and the remainder of extrusion 5 so that there is not rigid structure-to-rigid structure contact therebetween. This, in turn, eliminates the annoying squeaking sound common to such floor assemblies.

Referring to FIG. 4, an end view of elongated snap connector 100 is shown. Snap connector 100 is, according to certain embodiments of the present invention, used to construct a floor assembly with extrusion 5. Snap connector 100, which is preferably made of an extruded PVC material but may also be made of metal, includes an elongated base 105 having a middle section 110 and pair of inverted “L” sections 115 and 120 extending from the opposite edges of the middle section 110. Attached to the “L” sections 115 and 120 are respective flanges 125 and 130 which are disposed in an angular relationship to the “L” sections 115 and 120. Each flange 125 and 130 includes respective pilot surfaces 135 and 140, as well as respective bottom sections 145 and 150. The bottom sections 145 and 150 cooperate with the inner leg members 25, 30 and the retaining tabs 45, 50 for mechanically securing extrusion 5 to snap connector 100, as will be described in detail herein.

According to a first embodiment of the present invention shown in FIGS. 5A through 5D, a plurality of snap connectors 100 are secured to rigid underlying support 155, such as a plurality of spaced parallel wood joists, using fasteners 160. An extrusion 5 is then mounted onto each snap connectors 100 as described below. First, a first extrusion 5A, referred to as a starter extrusion, is mounted adjacent wall 165 of a house or other structure. To do so, tongue 55 of extrusion 5A must first be removed or trimmed away using a knife or other similar instrument. In order to connect extrusion 5A to snap connector 100, extrusion 5A is merely pressed down on the snap connector 100. As a result of the extrusion 5A being formed of a sufficiently resilient material, extrusion 5A bends, allowing for extrusion 5A to be pressed onto snap connector 100 and ultimately being mechanically secured thereto. As extrusion 5A is pressed onto snap connector 100, retaining tabs 45 and 50 are in intimate contact with pilot surfaces 135 and 140 of snap connector 100. It will be appreciated that the contact between retaining tabs 45 and 50 and the pilot surfaces 135 and 140 result in an outward bending action of the extrusion 5A. The forces acting on retaining tabs 45 and 50 are translated to horizontal support members 35 and 40 and inner leg members 25 and 30 during the bending action of extrusion 5A.

Once extrusion 5A, and in particular retaining tabs 45 and 50, are pressed down far enough to clear bottom sections 145 and 150 of flanges 125 and 130, extrusion 5A and snap connector 100 snap into position as shown in FIG. 5A. This results in extrusion 5A being mechanically connected to snap connector 100. More specifically, once retaining tabs 45 and 50 clear bottom sections 145 and 150, extrusion 5A returns to its normal shape, as opposed to its bended shape during the pressing action. Once extrusion 5A and snap connector 100 are securely connected to one another, bottom sections 145 and 150 are in intimate contact with retaining tabs 45 and 50. This results in bottom sections 145 and 150 actually being wedged in the corners formed by retaining tabs 45 and 50 and the remainder of inner leg members 25 and 30. This arrangement resists both upward and side-to-side relative movement of extrusion 5A with respect to snap connector 100. Next, after extrusion 5A is snapped onto snap connector 100, a fastener 170, such as a screw or nail, is inserted through apertures 90 and 95 and into rigid underlying support 155 to further connect extrusion 5A to rigid underlying support 155.

Next, referring to FIG. 5B, the next extrusion 5B is mounted onto snap connector 100 located adjacent to extrusion 5A. In particular, as shown in FIG. 5B, tongue 55 of extrusion 5B is slid under the overhang created by horizontal member 75 and second vertical member 80 of extrusion 5A. Once this is done, extrusion 5A is connected to snap connector 100 in the manner described above by pressing extrusion 5B down onto snap connector 100. Next, as shown in FIG. 5C, fastener 170 is inserted through apertures 90 and 95 of extrusion 5B and into rigid underlying support 155. As seen in FIG. 5C, tongue 55 is inserted into the overhang created by horizontal support member 75 and second vertical member 80 of extrusion 5A, and in particular is in contact with those elements. This contact serves to further secure extrusion 5B in place and helps to resist any forces that may tend to cause extrusion 5B, and in particular outer leg member 15 of extrusion 5B, to otherwise lift upwardly. In addition, tongue 55 is sized so as to produce a gap between load bearing horizontal portion 10 of extrusion 5A and load bearing horizontal portion 10 of extrusion 5B when tongue 55 contacts second vertical member 80 of extrusion 5A. This gap is advantageous as it allows for water and debris to pass between the extrusions 5A and 5B. Preferably, the gap between extrusions 5A and 5B has a width in the range of 1/16 inch to 3/16 inch, and most preferably is ⅛ inch. As described above, each of extrusions 5 preferably has a crown to allow water, such as rain, to run off extrusions 5 and through the gap provided between adjacent extrusions 5. In addition, as described above, apertures 90 and 95 provided in extrusions 5 are sized to allow such water and debris to pass therethrough. The process of adding additional extrusions 5 is repeated as just described as many times as is necessary to form the desired floor assembly. Thus, in this embodiment, each extrusion 5 used to construct the floor assembly is mounted to a corresponding snap connector 100. FIG. 5D shows a floor assembly wherein at least three extrusions 5A, 5B and 5C have been secured to rigid underlying support 155 in this manner.

According to an alternate embodiment of the present invention, snap connectors 100 are only used in connection with certain extrusions 5 used to create the floor assembly. In other words, not every extrusion 5 used to create the floor assembly is secured to a corresponding snap connector 100. In this embodiment, shown in FIG. 6, those extrusions 5 that are to utilize a snap connector 100 are secured to the snap connector 100 and rigid underlying support 155 in the manner described in connection with FIGS. 5A through 5D. Extrusion 5A shown in FIG. 6 is an example of such an extrusion 5. Extrusions 5 that are not to be secured to a snap connector 100, such as extrusion 5B shown in FIG. 6, are secured to rigid underlying support 155 by inserting the tongue 55 of the extrusion 5 under the overhang created by horizontal member 75 and second vertical member 80 of the directly adjacent extrusion 5 (extrusion 5A in FIG. 6) and inserting fasteners 170 through apertures 90 and 95 of the extrusion 5 and into rigid underlying support 155. Thus, such extrusions 5 (those for which no snap connector 100 is used) are secured in place and to rigid underlying support 155 by both the combination of its tongue 55 and the overhang of the directly adjacent extrusion 5 and the fasteners 170 secured to rigid underlying support 155. In one particular implementation of this embodiment of the present invention, snap connectors 100 may be used in connection with only two extrusions 5, namely the extrusions 5 that are to be the first and last extrusions 5 located on opposite ends of the floor assembly. Alternatively, extrusions 5 and snap connectors 100 may be used together intermittently throughout the floor assembly as often as desired.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 7, a floor assembly may be constructed using a plurality of extrusions 5 without any snap connectors 100. In this embodiment, tongue 55 is removed from a first extrusion 5A and extrusion 5A is then secured to rigid underlying support 155 using fasteners 170 inserted through apertures 90 and 95 of extrusion 5A. Each subsequent extrusion, such as extrusion 5B shown in FIG. 7, is secured to rigid underlying support 155 by first sliding tongue 55 of the extrusion 5 under the overhang formed by horizontal member 75 and second vertical member 80 of the directly adjacent extrusion 5. Next, fasteners 170 are inserted through apertures 90 and 95 of extrusion 5 and into rigid underlying support 155. This process is repeated for as many extrusions 5 as is required to construct the floor assembly.

In any of the embodiments described herein, an elongated end cap (not shown) as is known in the art may be provided over the outside surface (including outer leg member 20) of the last extrusion 5 forming the floor assembly (i.e., the extrusion 5 positioned opposite wall 65). Such an end cap covers outer leg member 20, giving the floor assembly a more pleading finished look.

The terms and expressions which have been employed herein are used as terms of description and not as limitation, and there is no intention in the use of such terms and expressions of excluding equivalents of the features shown and described or portions thereof, it being recognized that various modifications are possible within the scope of the invention claimed. Although particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated in the foregoing detailed description, it is to be further understood that the present invention is not to be limited to just the embodiments disclosed, but that they are capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications and substitutions. For example, an alternate extrusion 5 may be constructed having only a single horizontal support member instead of two horizontal support members such as horizontal support members 35 and 40. In such an extrusion 5, there would be no channel created by inner leg members for receiving a snap connector 100, such as the channel created by inner leg members 25 and 30. Thus, such an extrusion 5 would only be able to be utilized in embodiments, or portions thereof, where a snap connector 100 is not used to secure the extrusion 5 to a rigid underlying support.