Title:
Insulated Concrete Form Installation Protection and Debris Control System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention is new art forming a system of components that enables installers of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) to save labor time and effort in multiple aspects of ICF installation. After a course or row of ICF is placed on the footing, another course is started. This procedure is continued until the desired height is reached. Regardless of the concrete dispensing method, dispensing to fill the ICF cavity with concrete is problematic and contaminates the mating surfaces of the ICF. Concrete spillage and splatter cause the ICF interlocking alignment features to become clogged, requiring a manual and time consuming cleaning step, before proceeding with further wall construction. Once completed, water, leaves, snow, ice, and other debris may enter the ICF wall cavity before it is filled. Protection of the unfilled ICF wall is paramount, especially during inclement weather. This invention details such a protection system.



Inventors:
Morico, Peter Dennis (North Grafton, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/163052
Publication Date:
04/05/2007
Filing Date:
10/03/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/68; E04F15/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FONSECA, JESSIE T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DALY, CROWLEY, MOFFORD & DURKEE, LLP (SUITE 201B ONE UNIVERSITY AVENUE, WESTWOOD, MA, 02090, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus that form part of a protection system for the ICF interlocking alignment surfaces during the ICF wall construction process; Protection against physical damage from machinery, apparatus, concrete, tools and other potentially harmful items used during the filling of the ICF cavity with concrete.

2. Apparatus, in conjunction with claim 1, that form part of a protection system for the ICF cavity of a newly constructed wall, prior to filling the wall with concrete. This system prevents water, ice, snow, leaves, pine needles, small animals such as birds and bats, and other manmade and natural debris and from entering the unfilled ICF wall cavity prior to filling the ICF cavity with concrete.

3. The assembly of claim 1 provides dimensional stability, longitudinally, to the wall during the filling of said ICF wall cavity with concrete, most readily observed as a straightening of the said unfilled wall.

4. The assembly of claim 1 is turned upside down on a wall footing, accepting a said ICF section. The said assembly is fastened to the footing with a plurality of steel or other types of nails, bolts, rods, or other fastener. The fastened assembly of claim 1 is now set to receive ICF blocks, holding them in their true desired position on the footing. The said assembly is left in place after the first ICF wall section is poured.

5. The assembly of claim 1 having sufficient surfaces to allow the installation and removal of said apparatus from the newly poured ICF wall, allowing a single individual to install and remove long sections of the said apparatus without need of any help, in a very short time span.

6. The assembly of claim 1 having features that allow suitable friction and spring forces to prevent said assembly from sliding along the ICF surface during the filling of the ICF cavity with concrete, while other filling apparatus and tools are dragged across the surface of said apparatus.

7. The assembly of claim 1 having an outer surface, allowing concrete filling apparatus such as a hopper or funnel like apparatus, to slide along these surfaces, providing a reduced friction surface, which allows the sliding by a single individual of said hopper or funnel, without the need for wheels or moving parts.

8. The assembly of claim 1 having a receiving slot to the mating of the apparatus in claim 2, to allow the said apparatuses to quickly and easily mate together with a plurality of methods including snapping together, interlocking together, sliding together using tongue-and-groove, including a plurality of said common fastening methods.

9. The assembly in claim 6 being designed to allow the installation and removal of said apparatus from the newly poured ICF wall, allowing a single individual to install and remove long sections of the said apparatus without need of any help, in a very short time span.

10. The assembly in claim 2 having a plurality of holes, punch-outs, punch-through areas, and thinned sections, thus allowing for reinforcement bar to penetrate thru said apparatus without incurring a large aperture whereby said unwanted debris can enter the un-poured wall cavity.

11. The assembly in claim 2 has a mating receiver slot as described in claim 8, allowing the assembly in claim 2 to quickly and easily mate together with a plurality of methods including snapping together, interlocking together, sliding together using tongue-and-groove, round-and-groove, including a plurality of said common fastening methods.

12. The assembly in claim 2 has sufficient rigidity to stop rain, debris, and snow penetration. The spanning nature and arc form of said apparatus enables an extremely strong holding force, being held in place by the slots and grooves described in claims 8 and 11.

13. The assembly in claim 2 has an overlapping feature to provide positive runoff of water and debris from the surface of said apparatus, directing said debris away from the unfilled ICF wall cavity and over the edge of said wall.

14. The assembly in claim 10 has, as part of the top surface, a small flat feature which facilitates ease of manufacture when the punch-outs, press-throughs, and holes are made.

15. The assemblies in claims 1 and 2 are ideally made from a plurality of common plastics such as vinyl, poly vinyl chloride, metals such as steel, aluminum, paperboard products, wood, wood by-products, rubbers both natural and synthetic, combinations of composite products of said materials, although other types of plastic, rubber, wood products, paperboard, and metals may be used which lend themselves to achieve the properties noted in claims 3 through 14.

Description:

The field of the invention is that of apparatus for use;

Used to protect Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) walls, top mating surfaces, during the ICF cavity concrete filling operation, while providing a suitably robust surface that can withstand the dragging of concrete hoppers, funnels, and tools along said wall, while protecting the underlying top ICF mating surface.

Used to protect the unfilled ICF wall cavity from unwanted debris during the time before the concrete is poured into the ICF cavity.

Used to provide dimensional longitudinal straightening of the ICF wall during ICF cavity filling with concrete.

Used to provide a fastening system for the starter row of ICF blocks onto the footing, providing a dimensionally straight and positive anti-slip fastening system for the ICF block, being received into said apparatus

This invention provides significant time savings during the construction of ICF walls. The invention is designed to be lightweight and applied to the unfilled ICF blocks by a single individual, taking several seconds installation and removal time per block, enabling great time savings by eliminating time consuming cleanup steps.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) wall is erected by stacking expanded polystyrene block forms which interlock together, forming a hollow wall structure which will receive concrete to fill the air space in the formed wall. The concrete provides the structural support and strength of the wall. Walls are poured in sections, starting at the footing and are usually poured one building story at a time. The ICF blocks have keying features which allow the blocks to easily stack together to form the hollow wall form that will receive poured concrete. When pouring, concrete spillage is inevitable and concrete contaminates said interlocking features, resulting in significant time and effort removing said contaminating concrete from these interlocking features.

As previously stated, ICF walls start at the footing. Attachment of ICF blocks to concrete footings has been problematic. Due to the light weight nature of the ICF block, the block is easily displaced on the footing, causing major misalignment problems. This can be cause for extremely expensive teardown and rebuild if the blocks shifted on the footing and concrete was subsequently poured. Allowing a positive method of attachment of the forms to the footing is a major advantage afforded by this invention.

After erecting the ICF block wall, some time may pass, days, weeks, or longer, before concrete is poured into the ICF block cavity. Like any construction project, delays are a very real part of the process. Open to the weather for a period of time, the wall cavity will being to fill with various unwanted debris, snow, rain water, leaves, even small animals may fall into the hollow cavity. It is important that the cavity be free of debris, especially during cold weather. Debris, snow and ice inside ICF wall cavities must be removed before concrete is poured otherwise voiding in the wall structure will occur, which will cause structural faults some severe enough to have to replace said section of wall. These actual problems are routinely encountered during ICF wall construction.

The apparatus described herein fits the ICF block very tightly, providing dimensional longitudinal stability to the ICF block wall during concrete cavity filling operations. The apparatus can be made to conform to the exact cross sectional shape of the interlocking area on the ICF block. The apparatus can be made to lengths which enables it to span two or more blocks, thus providing block-to-block straightening.

There are significant patents addressing ICF block technology, scaffolding for ICF construction, and other apparatus for the construction of the ICF wall itself, however there are no protection and alignment apparatus designed specifically for ICF blocks identified. Form and bracket patents such as U.S. Pat. No. 6,536,172 and applications 2001/0020351 and 2003/0033782 and 2002/0117596 address the ICF form itself. The subject invention does not address the form itself and is therefore separate from patents related specifically to form technology, as this invention is applied to any form at the job site and has no relationship to the design of the form.

2002/0073634 and similar patents detail specific apparatus used in the construction of the wall. No patents have been identified that demonstrate apparatus that addresses the protection of the unfilled wall interlocking surfaces and cavity prior to and during concrete pouring.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention consists of a channel apparatus with features 1 through 13 as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, forming a dimensionally accurate fit around the interlocking alignment features or teeth as they are sometimes referred, in the ICF block. The channel assembly fits tightly over the interlocking features of the block, held firmly in place by the friction between the block material, usually expanded polystyrene and the said channel assembly. Features 2, 5, and 12 provide the static force necessary to generate this holding friction. The apparatus, when installed on an ICF wall, has a load, and hence a static force component similar to that of a spring under a load.

The user snaps the channel apparatus over the interlocking edge of the ICF block, causing the interlocking alignment features to be totally covered and protected by said channel apparatus, as depicted in FIG. 2. The channel apparatus as previously described, can be made from a multitude of materials some of which are lightweight durable plastics, such as but not limited to, polyvinyl chloride, which is lightweight, cost effective, durable, and easily handled by one person. The channel may be cut to lengths that facilitate ease of installation and removal at the job site. Lengths from six to ten feet are likely to be the most advantageous. Transportation of the channel apparatus is also made more economically attractive when made from lightweight materials such as plastics, wood or wood by-products, or fiber including carbon fiber materials, or lightweight metals such as aluminum. A very large number of different materials are candidates for consideration of use in manufacturing the apparatus.

Referring to FIG. 2, at the job site, features 7 and 13 facilitate the installation and removal of the channel apparatus using bare or gloved hands, as normal dexterity is all that is required to apply and remove the channel apparatus. These features allow workers fingers easy access to pull off a section of said channel onto and off of ICF blocks, allowing for speedy and efficient installation and removal by a single individual without the need of tools.

The dimensionally accurate and conforming fit between the channel apparatus and the ICF block, as depicted in FIG. 2, allows the channel apparatus to snap into place on the block, facilitated by an interference fit with a static holding force. The important static holding force is generated by the spring action of the two sides of the apparatus channel, formed with the top of the channel. The said fit characteristics of the invention aids in keeping the wall longitudinally straight by imparting the rigidity of the channel apparatus to the ICF blocks. Additionally, the channel apparatus is sufficiently long as to bridge at least two ICF block joints, ensuring the channel joints do not coincide with the ICF block joints. As there are two channels running along the top of the ICF block wall, one for the outside and one for the inside of the wall, staggering the channels, allows a 100% coverage of all the ICF block joints, and will impart the maximum possible rigidity to the unfilled ICF block wall.

Features 3, 4, and 9, as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, present a flat surface at the interlocking alignment features interface of the ICF block, regardless of the specific shape and size of the interlocking alignment features. This surface protects the alignment features from breakage and concrete contamination. The surface is made to spread the load and has sufficient strength to allow concrete dispensing equipment to slide across the surface of the channel apparatus without damaging the ICF block. The weight from said concrete dispensing equipment is dispersed over the surface of the channel apparatus so that the yield strength of the material is not exceeded, allowing a low friction sliding action between the channel apparatus and the concrete dispensing equipment. The channel apparatus may endure scratches and other cosmetic effects as the result of heavy loads, however the interlocking alignment features will be unaffected. The friction coefficient between the channel apparatus and the ICF block is sufficiently large enough principally due to the dimensionally tight fit and spring force afforded by features 2,3,4,5,8,9,11, and 12, thus ensuring the channel apparatus does not move when the concrete dispensing equipment is moved. These features allow for a robust surface for dispensing equipment to move across. The channel apparatus does its job, and stays in place on the block, protecting the ICF block as well as providing for a surface which is many times stronger than the ICF block itself.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the apparatus described by features 15 through 22, describe the second part of the debris containment system, which also utilizes the channel apparatus to secure it to the ICF block. This cap apparatus, provides a rain, snow, ice, leaves, and general debris cap over the unfilled ICF opening. This is most useful during rainy and winter months whereby large quantities of water and snow tend to fill the bottom portion of the unfilled wall. Concrete cannot be poured until the unwanted material is removed, which is an extremely costly and time consuming process. The cap apparatus snaps across the ICF opening, interlocking with joining features 10, 15, 16, and 23 in the channel apparatus. The cap apparatus is arched to provide for the strongest possible support across the span of the ICF opening, and is designed to withstand snow loads as called out in the US building code.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, features 18 and 19 provide openings that allow reinforcement bar to be inserted into freshly poured concrete, thereby giving heretofore unprecedented accuracy to the placement of the reinforcement bar. Due to the thinned sections, and/or cut and cut-out features 18, the cap apparatus can be installed on an existing wall with protruding reinforcement bar, as the cuts and cut-outs are on 1 foot or similar center spacing, allowing for ease of placement. Feature 19 provides for a rail, along which the cuts and/or cut-outs are made. Feature 19 is rigid and provides for strength along the uppermost portion of the arch, and is suitable for pressure to be applied to it, facilitating the manual penetration of the reinforcement bar through the cuts and/or cut-outs, or thinned sections.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, specifically features 15 and 16 provide for positive snap in of the cap apparatus between the channel apparatuses. Furthermore, a water drip edge overhang is designed into feature 16 to allow rainwater to flow off the top of the cap apparatus and onto the channel apparatus, thus preventing the runoff from finding its way into the unfilled ICF cavity.

The cap apparatus is made purposely larger than necessary in the width dimension so to induce a preset amount of bow, as shown in feature 23 of FIG. 5. The optimal amount of bow is prescribed for a given type of material, material thickness, and ICF span distance, in order to withstand the maximum load, which is likely to be due to snow. Typical ICF spans of four, six, eight, and ten inch (representing blocks of nine, eleven, thirteen, and fifteen inches) are most common, and therefore a separate cap apparatus is made for each span distance. As in the channel apparatus, the cap is made in lengths, likely from four to ten feet being optimal, and of the same said material types as the channel apparatus.

At the job site, the cap apparatus is applied after the ICF wall is erected, after the channel apparatus has been applied, and before the concrete is poured. The cap apparatus seals the ICF wall cavity, features 15 and 16 of the cap apparatus enabling a tight fit with the receiving features 10 and 11 of the channel apparatus, keeping all debris and contamination out of the newly erected wall, as can be seen in FIG. 4. When it is time to pour concrete into the wall, which may be days, weeks, or even several months, the cap apparatus is quickly removed, allowing the uncontaminated as-erected wall cavity to be filled with concrete.

If the wall being built is the first of a multi-story building or the footing of a single story building, the cap apparatus is re-applied after the previous concrete cavity wall pour. Typically, after a concrete cavity wall pour of a multi-story wall structure, there is approximately 4 to 6 inches of space left in the ICF cavity. This allows for a suitable mating surface for the next wall section. Additionally, reinforcement bar will be utilized to act as vertical strengthening members of the wall, and can be placed through the thinned sections, cuts and/or cut-outs in the cap apparatus. This not only aligns the reinforcement bars keeping them centered in the wall, but provides for the minimum amount of exposed area around the reinforcement bars that protrude through the cap apparatus, thereby preventing undesired amounts of water to pass into the space left in the previous ICF wall section.

The description of the channel and cap apparatuses are to illustrate embodiments of this invention, in sufficient detail, and with many possible variations to the shapes shown in the drawings. The embodiments described herein are illustrative and not restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a plan view of one of many possible physical implementations , of the channel apparatus

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional side view of the channel apparatus

FIG. 3 is both a cross sectional and perspective view of one of many embodiments of the cap apparatus.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view detailing the installation of the channel and cap apparatuses onto a representative generic Insulated Concrete Form

FIG. 5 is a detailed close-up cross sectional view of the area where the channel and cap apparatuses interlock