Title:
Post trim system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A component for forming a post wrap about a rectangular support member comprises an elongate plastic extruded component having two arms defining a generally “L” shaped cross section with an interior corner rounded recess at a junction of said arms. One of said arms includes a female connector extending the length of said arm and the other arm includes a male connector at a free end thereof. The male connector extends outwardly and at an angle to the other arm and is sized for receipt in the female connector. The component further includes a rounded corner transition joining the male connector to the other arm with the rounded corner transition forming a finished exterior surface of the component. Two of these components can be placed about a post after it is secured in place to provide a sleeve about the post. A trim frame can be provided to provide a finished periphery about the sleeved post at a horizontal surface.



Inventors:
Handley, Stephen R. (Barrie, CA)
Robb, Carlo L. (Barrie, CA)
Application Number:
11/062551
Publication Date:
08/24/2006
Filing Date:
02/23/2005
Assignee:
GSW INC.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02D19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CAJILIG, CHRISTINE T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dennison Associates (Suite 301 133 Richmond Street West, Toronto, ON, M5H 2L7, CA)
Claims:
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A component for forming a post wrap about a rectangular support member comprising an elongate plastic extruded component having two arms defining a generally “L” shaped cross section with an interior corner rounded recess at a junction of said arms, one of said arms including a female connector extending the length of said arm and the other arm including a male connector at a free end of said other arm and extending in the length of said component, said male connector extending outwardly and at an angle to said other arm and sized for receipt in said female connector, said component further including a rounded corner transition joining said male connector to said other arm with said rounded corner transition forming a finished exterior surface of said component.

2. A component as claimed in claim 1 wherein said male and female connector are sized to be within the thickness of said arms.

3. A component as claimed in claim 2 wherein each of said arms include at least two inwardly facing ribs intermediate the interior corner and the ends of the respective arms, and wherein said connectors are of a thickness within the thickness of said arms at said inwardly facing ribs.

4. A component as claimed in claim 3 wherein said male connector has a Christmas tree shape.

5. A component as claimed in claim 4 wherein said female connector has a Christmas tree recess with a circular cavity at an interior portion thereof and joining with said Christmas tree recess.

6. A component as claimed in claim 3 wherein said male connector is elongate with a stepped edge profile defining a camming face and a latching surface and said female connector has a recess for receiving and retaining said male connector.

7. A post wrap comprising first and second extruded plastic components forming an exterior surface about a structural member, said first and second components cooperating to join with one another forming a tube structure, each of said components having a male connector along one longitudinal edge thereof that is received and retained within a female connector provide along an opposite longitudinal edge, said first and second components connecting with one another to one side of a corner portion of said post wrap.

8. A post wrap as claimed in claim 7 wherein said first and second components are of the same cross section.

9. A post wrap as claimed in claim 8 wherein said connectors cooperate to form a generally rectangular post wrap.

10. A post wrap as claimed in claim 8 wherein each connector has an outer surface defined by planar surfaces joined by rounded corner portions and the interior surface of each connector has a stepped cross section with at least two inwardly extending stand off ribs running the length of each planar section and located intermediate a width thereof.

11. A post wrap as claimed in claim 10 wherein each of said connectors are formed within the thickness of the components measured through the component at a standoff rib.

12. A post wrap as claimed in claim 12 wherein the maximum thickness of said components is less than 0.25 inches.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to trim systems for posts and in particular to a post wrap arrangement and a collar arrangement.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is common with many building projects to use wood products for both the vertical support structure as well as horizontal support surfaces. Outdoor wood decks and fencing projects typically use standard sized wood products such as a 4×4 post for vertical supports. More recently it has been proposed to use plastic extruded products with respect to decking. The advantage of a plastic extruded product is weather resistance and quality control. In spite of the number of advantages associated with plastic extruded building components, wood products are often the material of choice particularly for home handyman applications. Plastic systems continue to make in-roads and in some cases a combination of different products are used such as a wood deck in association with a plastic railing system.

Other products have used the traditional wood structure member and provided an outer plastic sleeve thereabout. Often a wood post such as a 4×4 post or 6×6 post is used and an outer tubular sleeve is provided thereabout to define the exterior surface. This extruded tube is of a thin walled section and slides on the post prior to securing the post in place. The plastic extruded tube provides the advantages of a weather resistant surface while the user enjoys the convenience of working with traditional wood products.

Although wood products are sold in standard sizes for example 4×4 or 6×6 posts, variations occur in these dimensions. Variations can occur due to different manufacturers of the wood product, due to warpage of the wood product or the presence of knots etc. This variation leads to difficulty in producing a plastic sleeve that confirms to the wood post.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention provides a post sleeve system comprising first and second extruded plastic components which are connectable one to the other to form a tubular wrap about a structural component such as a wood post. Preferably, each of these components has a male connector along one longitudinal edge and a female connector provided along an opposite longitudinal edge.

In a preferred embodiment, the first and second extruded components are the same component and are connectable with one another by reversing the orientation thereof.

In a preferred aspect of the invention, each extruded plastic component has a thin profile male and female connector which are positioned on opposite longitudinal edges of the component. These connectors are of a relatively shallow thickness allowing the overall thickness of the post sleeve to be relatively low. The recess port for the female connector is several times deeper than the width of the opening and the male connector has a series of engaging surfaces along its length to improve the mechanical connection. Preferably, the male and female connectors are of a thickness less than 0.25 inches. Basically, the extruded component includes a series of standoff ribs intermediate the length of planar surfaces of the component and these ribs serve to add strength as well as act as stand off faces along the planar surface. These ribs are provided on the interior of the component whereby the outer surface of the component is smooth. With this arrangement and with a particular curved corner portion of reduced thickness, the component has the ability to flex and accommodate minor variations in the configurations of the post. The thin profile male/female connector allows the post sleeve to be kept in close proximity to outer faces of the post. The male/female connector has a number of securing points and if necessary some extensions of the sleeve is provided by using only the first securing point without compromising securement.

The present invention is also directed to the component for forming a post wrap. The component is an elongated plastic extruded component having two arms defining a generally L-shaped cross section with an interior rounded recess at the junction of the arms. One of the arms includes a female connector extending the length of the arm and the other arm includes a male connector at the free end of the other arm. The male connector extends outwardly at an angle to the other arm and is sized for receipt in the female connector. The component further includes a rounded corner transition joining the male connector to the other arm and the rounded corner transition forms a finished exterior surface of the component.

As previously noted, the component as outlined above is reversible such that a post wrap can be formed by two of these components.

Preferably, the interior rounded recess at the junction of the arms is of reduced thickness. This structure acts like an integral hinge.

Preferably, the male and female connectors are sized to be within the thickness of the arms. In this way the component may be used to wrap a post with the component lying in close proximity to the surface of the post.

In a preferred aspect of the invention each of the arms include at least two outwardly facing ribs intermediate the interior and the ends of the respective arms. The connectors are of a thickness within the thickness of the arms at the inwardly facing ribs. Thus the arms of the component are of varying thickness and the thickness of the arms between the ribs is reduced.

In yet a further aspect of the invention the male connector is of an elongate Christmas tree shape and the female connector has a similar shaped recess with a circular cavity at an interior portion thereof to allow some flexing of the recess. The female cavity basically has two arms which flex outwardly and resiliently close either side of the male connector.

In yet a further aspect of the invention the post wrap is used in combination with a mechanically connected collar provided about the base of the post sleeve system and any top portion as may be necessary. This basically provides a finished frame about the post sleeve and hides any cut edges in the post sleeve.

In an aspect of the invention the mechanically connected frame has four V-shaped sections of the same structure with the V-shaped section having a male connector on one arm thereof and a female connector on the other arm. The same frame component when reversed positions the male component adjacent to the female component for mechanical connection. Preferably this mechanical connection is a female connector having a pair of resilient arms joined at a circular recess and a male connector defined by a post inserted between the resilient arms.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above as well as other advantages and features of the present invention will be described in greater detail according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention in which;

FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of the post sleeve system;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of a post sleeve secured about a post;

FIG. 3 is a partial end view showing the male/female connectors;

FIG. 4 is a partial perspective view of the post sleeve system secured about a post with upper and lower trim frames;

FIG. 5 is a top view of a series of components of a trim frame;

FIG. 6 is a top view of an assembled trim frame for a 4×4 post;

FIG. 7 is a top view of an assembled trim frame for a 5×5 post; and

FIGS. 8, 9, 10 and show details of the mechanical securement of the trim frame components.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION ACCORDING TO THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION IN WHICH

FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4 show the post sleeve system 2 defined by the two-piece post sleeve 4 and the post collars 6. As each of these components are of a split configuration they can be applied about a post once it is secured in place.

The post sleeve 4 comprises a reversible extruded component 8 which joins to a reversed like component due to a male connector 10 provided at one edge of the component which is received within a narrow elongate female recess 12 provided on the opposite arm. The component includes a first arm 14 and a second arm 16 joined by a curved recess portion 18. Each of the arms 16 and 14 include standoff ribs 20 which are of a thicker section with the stand off ribs joins by thinned portions 22. The second arm 16 is of a slightly reduced width with respect to arm 14 as the male connector includes a small transition segment that extends arm 16 when the male connector is joined with the female connector.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 the standoff rib 20 and the thickness of the female recess 12 are approximately the same whereby the male and female connector are elongate but relatively thin to lie within the thickness of the arms when the components are in their final assembled condition. The preferred thickness is less than 0.25 inches. The male connector 10 preferably has a Christmas tree shape and is generally perpendicular to the arm 14. It is connected to the arm 14 by a curved corner recess 24 which forms a corner of the post sleeve. The exterior surface of the extruded component 8 is smooth to provide a pleasing outer appearance.

The standoff ribs 20 have angled walls to blend into the thinned portions 22. This helps to avoid sink lines on the smooth outer surface of the post sleeve.

Details of the male and female connectors are shown in FIG. 3. Once again, the female connector 12 includes a symmetrical recess 26 which is of a greater depth than width. This recess has the Christmas tree configuration for engagement with the male connector 10 and has a series of cam surfaces 28 either side thereof and engagement surfaces 30. It is preferred that this recess 26 is symmetrical to provide mechanical connection on both sides of the recess 26. At the inner most portion of the recess a cylindrical cavity 32 joins with the elongate recess and provides a resilient flexing of the arms 34 and 36 of the female connector. Several securing points are provided to allow limited extension of the sleeve, if necessary while still achieving positive securement.

The male connector 10 has been spaced to one side of the curved corner 24 to allow this corner portion to be of reduced thickness. Basically, the male/female connection requires a certain thickness and this thickness has been reduced by shifting the connection to one side of the corner portion 26 and by elongating the male and female connectors. There can often be some variation in the corner of a wood post and therefore it is desired to provide some additional tolerance to the interior of the post sleeve as shown in FIG. 2 where the curved portions 18 and 24 are offset from the corners 13 of the post 15.

The male connector is spaced to one side of the corner portion 26 to also assist in ease of securement. The end user can push the male connector into the female recess which are aligned with the arm 16. This orientation of the connection is easier than a corner connection.

The assembled post sleeve and collars are shown in FIG. 4.

Once the post sleeve 4 has been applied about the post 15 it is desirable to provide a trim frame 60 about a bottom junction point and a top junction point. The top junction point could be a top rail or it could be a top beam. The bottom collars is typically provided at a deck or support surface level.

FIGS. 5 through 7 show the multi-piece frame 60 for securement about a post. The frame 60 in its smallest configuration has four components 64 which cooperate and interlock with each other to form the frame 65 shown in FIG. 6. This frame could be for a 4×4 post. The component 64 forms a corner portion of the frame. A male connector 66 is provided on one arm 67 and a female fork connector 68 is provided on the arm 69. Basically the female connector 68 includes two spring arms 70 and 71 which spring outwardly and engage the center post 72 of the male connector. This center post is spaced slightly upwardly from a support surface such that the arms can spring inwardly and lock with the bottom surface of the post. The two female arms have a common connection at the rounded transition 75 that engages the opposite rounded edge 77 of the post 72. This provides positive vertical support of the joined components 64 to each other to maintain alignment. Also the length of the two arms 70 and 71 of the female connector 68 are such to terminate at the approximate level of the support surface 73 of the component 64.

The male connector also includes the outwardly shifted flange 82 which is spaced from the vertical edge 84 of the component the thickness of the two spring arms 70 and 71. Thus the spring arms 70 and 71 are captured between the flange 82 and vertical edge 84 and the connection cannot pull apart as the spring arms are locked in position. This connection provides a positive locking of one frame component to the other while maintaining alignment of the top surfaces of the members to reduce the visibility of the seam therebetween.

In the preferred embodiment as shown in FIG. 5 the frame can be provided with additional spacer elements 90 also having a male/female connector which act as extensions for the trim frame. In this way the trim frame can be adjusted in length for accommodating different structures. For example, a 4×4 frame and a 5×5 frame can be formed as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. A different length spacer or additional spacer can be provided for a 6×6 post.

A two-piece frame 80 is shown in FIG. 11 where each section 82 is of a generally U-shape. In this structure only 2 mechanical connections 84 are required.

The particular mechanical fastener used with this frame is also useful for connecting of other plastic molded components for decking and railing systems. It is found to be particularly strong connection of the components such that they cannot separate in the longitudinal direction while providing positive locking thereof due to the spring arms as well as providing common support surface such that the components remain in alignment. In this way the visibility of seams between components is reduced.

Although various preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described in detail, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that variations may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the appended claims.