Title:
Artificial stone anchoring system and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An artificial stone and a method of fabricating a stone surface area therewith are described. The artificial stone comprises a stone body cast of a cement aggregate and has an outer visible surface area shaped to resemble a real stone. The stone body has a substantially flat rear surface. Fastener means are provided to secure one or more attachment brackets to the rear surface and adjacent at least one edge portion of the stone body to suspend the artificial stone on a support surface. The stone body is preferably cast with a light aggregate including polymeric particles.



Inventors:
Paquette, Michel (Chambly, CA)
Gauvreau, Nicolas (Chambly, CA)
Application Number:
11/297411
Publication Date:
06/14/2007
Filing Date:
12/09/2005
Assignee:
Les Pierres Stonedge Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F15/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HIJAZ, OMAR F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT CANADA LLP (1, Place Ville Marie SUITE 2500, MONTREAL, QC, H3B 1R1, CA)
Claims:
We claim:

1. An artificial stone comprising a stone body cast of a cement aggregate and having an outer visible surface area shaped to resemble a real stone, said stone body having a substantially flat rear surface, and fastener means to secure one or more attachment brackets to said rear surface and adjacent at least one edge portion of said stone body to suspend said artificial stone on a support surface.

2. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 1 wherein said fastener means to secure said one or more attachment brackets is a fastener driven in said cement aggregate in said rear surface.

3. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 2 wherein said fastener is a screw fastener.

4. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 1 wherein said means to secure said attachment brackets is constituted by fastener anchors cast in said rear surface and positioned to receive fasteners wherein to secure said attachment brackets thereto.

5. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 4 wherein said fastener anchors are one of a plastic anchor, a metal anchor or a wood anchor.

6. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 4 wherein said body is a substantially rectangular or square outline, there are at least two of said fastener anchors disposed spaced-apart adjacent said at least one edge for securing at least two spaced-apart ones of said attachment brackets.

7. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 6 wherein said fastener anchors are disposed adjacent two or more edges of said rear surface.

8. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 1 wherein said attachment bracket is a flat strip of material capable of supporting the weight of said cast body, said strip having a length sufficient to protrude beyond said edge portion to provide a securing section for securement to said support surface.

9. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 8 wherein said securing section is secured to said support surface by a fastener.

10. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 8 wherein said flat strip is constructed by a flat flexible metal strip which can be bent is a flat plane thereof thereby permitting a stone suspended thereby to be hinged outwardly from an opposed end thereof for access to a rear surface thereunder.

11. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 10 wherein said flat flexible metal strips are provided with two or more holes therein to receive said fasteners for securing same to said rear surface and said support surface, said holes and fasteners permitting said anchors to pivot about said fasteners to permit limited lateral displacement of a stone body secured thereby.

12. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 11 wherein said metal strips are thin metal strips provided with embossed ribs to solidify said strips and to provide adherence to mortar joints formed thereover.

13. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 11 wherein said artificial stone body is disposed spaced from adjacent stone bodies, said lateral displacement permitting adjustment to a joint width to a side and bottom edge of said stone body.

14. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 2 wherein said cement aggregate is a light density concrete aggregate including polymeric particles whereby to permit said fastener to be driven in said rear surface without, fragmenting said stone body.

15. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 14 wherein said polymeric particle is one of “Perlite”, a polystyrene particle mixture or a polymeric fiber mixture.

16. An artificial stone as claimed in claim 14 wherein said cast body has a weight density of approximately 6 lbs/sq.ft.

17. A method of fabricating a stone surface area with artificial stones, comprising the steps of: i) providing a plurality of artificial stones having a substantially flat rear surface, ii) securing one or more attachment brackets to said rear surface adjacent at least one edge portion thereof with fastener means, said attachment bracket having a securing section extending beyond said at least one edge, iii) positioning said artificial stone at a desired position against a backing support surface, and iv) attaching said securing section to said backing support surface by the use of a fastener to suspend said stone thereover.

18. A method as claimed in claim 17 wherein there is further provided the step of: v) displacing one or more of said suspended stones by causing said bracket to pivot on said fastener means and fastener to adjust the width of one or more joints formed between adjacent suspended stones, and vi) filling said joints with mortar.

19. A method as claimed in claim 17 wherein there is further provided after step (iv) the step of lifting said suspended stone from a lower edge thereof opposite said edge where said securing section of said bracket extends to cause said bracket to flex and thereby expose one or more attachment brackets of a stone supported thereunder to detach said stone supported thereunder for the removal of same and the replacement by one or more other stones.

20. A method as claimed in claim 17 wherein said step (ii) comprises securing said one or more attachment brackets by driving a screw fastener into said rear surface, said artificial stone being cast with a cement aggregate having properties which prevent fragmentation when a fastener is driven therein.

21. A method as claimed in claim 17 wherein prior to step (i) there is provided the step of casting a plurality of artificial stones with fastener anchors disposed therein in a spaced-apart manner adjacent at least one rear edge portion thereof and visible from said flat rear surface thereof, and securing said one or more attachment brackets with fasteners engaged in selected ones of said fastener anchors.

22. A method as claimed in claim 17 wherein said artificial stones are rectangular and/or square rectangular stones, said step (iii) further comprising positioning said artificial stone over a top flat edge surface of a lower attached stone and against said backing surface for attaching said bracket thereto and wherein no mortar joints are formed between said attached suspended stones.

23. A method as claimed in claim 22 wherein said stone surface area extends above a bottom load support surface formed at a lower end of said backing support surface whereby the total load of said attached stones of said stone surface area is transferred to said load support surface with each artificial stone being attached to said backing support surface by said attachment brackets.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to an artificial stone and its anchoring system and method of fabricating a stone surface area therewith.

BACKGROUND ART

Artificial stones and bricks have been known for several years and there exist a few systems for the securement thereof. One well known system uses an artificial stone commonly known as a “cultured stone” and it is affixed to a wall surface by a mortar cement which is trowelled on a specially prepared surface. In order for the cement to adhere to vertical surfaces it is necessary that a waterproof construction paper and a metal mesh be attached to the surface whereby to hold the cement in place. It is important also that the consistency of the cement be sufficiently tacky, that is to say not liquidly, in order for the stone to be retained thereby. These stones are fabricated with a substantially flat rear surface and by placing the stone on the cement and applying pressure against the stone a suction is created with the cement and the artificial stone remains substantially in place. However, when these stones are of a larger size, the weight of the stone will have a tendency to cause the stone to gravitate in the cement texture until it abuts a lower stone and therefore needs to be repositioned. Often these stones also become detached before the cement sets and fall to the ground. To circumvent these problems nails or screws can be driven into the rigid backing support structure behind the stones to provide a support thereof. This is time-consuming and once the cement has set these nails or screws need to be removed and this can cause damage to the cement and the joint.

A further disadvantage of the above-described system is that it is not possible to construct a wall outdoors using such cement and stones when the weather is rainy. It is therefore necessary to construct a cover or shelter to shield rain from the wall and from the person constructing the wall. This is again time-consuming and a costly procedure. A still further disadvantage of this system is that it is difficult to construct a large surface area quickly unless the installer has developed an expertise for mixing the consistency of the cement and a technique to select proper stone sizes and arrangements or pattern whereby there is minimal slippage. A still further disadvantage is that during the construction of a wall using this system, if the installer finds that the pattern of stone is not appealing, it is difficult to change any installed stones as these are set in the cement and cannot be easily dismantled and re-arranged, at least in sections thereof. For the above reasons, this system has proven to be labor intensive and costly.

Support systems are also known to secure artificial stones or bricks to a wall surface and these utilize complicated supports which are first attached to the wall with bricks or stones secured to the support or molded integral therewith. In masonry work, when constructing brick walls it is also known to use masonry anchor strips which are bent at 90° and nailed to a rear surface of the brick wall. A bent portion of this anchor strip extends in the joints between rows of bricks. The anchor strips are set in the mortar placed in the joints and this provides a form of support to prevent the brick wall from falling forwardly.

It is also known to construct thin bricks with projecting flanges and cavities whereby the flange can receive fasteners to attach the brick onto a wall surface. These bricks are costly and difficult to install.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

It is a feature of the present invention to provide an artificial stone anchoring system and a method of constructing a stone surface area therewith and which substantially overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages of the prior art.

According to the above feature, from a broad aspect, the present invention provides an artificial stone which comprises a stone body cast of a cement aggregate and having an outer visible surface area shaped to resemble a real stone. The stone body has a substantially flat rear surface. Fastener means is provided to secure one or more attachment brackets to the rear surface and adjacent at least one edge portion of the stone body to suspend the artificial stone on a support surface.

According to a still further broad aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of fabricating a stone surface area with artificial stones as above-described. The method comprises providing a plurality of artificial stones having a substantially flat rear surface and securing one or more attachment brackets to the rear surface thereof adjacent at least one edge portion thereof with fastener means. The attachment bracket has a securing section extending beyond the at least one edge. The artificial stone is positioned at a desired position against a backing support surface. The securing section is attached to the backing support surface by the use of a fastener to suspend the stone thereover.

According to a further broad aspect of the present invention one or more of the suspended stones can be adjusted laterally with the attachment bracket pivoting about its fasteners. Also, the suspended stone can be lifted from a free edge thereof opposite to the bracket connection to provide access thereunder.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

A preferred embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an artificial stone and attachment bracket secured thereto;

FIG. 2 is a rear view of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing an embodiment of the fastener anchor;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing how an attachment bracket can be secured to the rear flat surface of an artificial stone constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective fragmented view showing a vertical wall of a building being built with the artificial stone and anchoring system of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a fragmented front view showing artificial stones secured to a rear support surface and the pivotal displacement of a stone about its support bracket(s);

FIG. 7 is a sectional side view showing how a stone attached to a backing surface can be pivoted outwardly thereof for access to the attachment bracket of a lower stone;

FIG. 8 is a front view of a stone wall constructed with the artificial stone and anchoring system of the present invention and wherein mortar joints are formed between the stones; and

FIG. 9 is a view similar to FIG. 8 but showing stones positioned one on top of each other with substantially no joints formed between the artificial stones.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings and more particularly to FIGS. 1 to 3 there is shown an artificial stone 10 which comprises a stone body cast of a cement aggregate and having an outer visible surface area 11 extending in the front and sidewalls thereof which are shaped irregularly to resemble a real stone. The stone 10 is cast in a rubber mold formed from a real stone. A colored pigment is also incorporated in the aggregate or applied to the stone surface area 11 after casting. This stone body has a substantially flat rear surface 12 and one or more attachment brackets, herein two brackets 13, are secured to the rear flat surface 12 adjacent at least one edge 14 of the stone and project outwardly thereof.

The attachment bracket 13 is herein constituted by a flat metal strip capable of supporting the weight of the cast stone body. The bracket 13 is of rectangular outline and has a length sufficient to permit a lower section 13′ thereof to be secured on the rear surface 12 adjacent the edge 14 of the stone body, and a projecting section 13″ projecting outwardly thereof. Reinforcing ribs 15 are stamped in this flat metal strip to provide rigidity and good adherence with mortar cement. The strip is also flexible and can be bent in the flat plane thereof for reasons as will be described later. The brackets 13 may also be formed of either materials, such as plastics material.

The cement aggregate for casting this stone preferably a light density cement aggregate which includes polymeric particles whereby to permit fasteners to be driven into the rear flat surface 12 thereof without fragmenting the stone body. However, if the aggregate is more dense it is preferable to cast fastener anchors, such as the anchor 16 illustrated in FIG. 3, into the rear surface as shown in FIG. 2. These fastener anchors 16 are plastic anchors that are commonly used to set anchors in gypsum walls and they consist of an anchoring cylinder body 17 and an enlarged head flange 18 having a hole 19 therein to receive a fastener. As shown in FIG. 2 these anchors are positioned all about the stone and spaced the side edges 14 thereof whereby to permit anchors to be positioned adjacent any of these edges depending on how the stone is to be disposed on a support wall surface being vertically or horizontally from either end as decided by the person installing the stone.

As shown in FIG. 4 the attachment bracket 13 can be secured to the rear flat surface 12 by simply drilling a screw-type fastener 20 within the stone. When the stone is cast with a light aggregate including polymeric particles such as “Perlite”™, or a polystyrene particle mixture or any other suitable polymeric fiber mixture, wherein the cast body of the stone has a low weight density, for example approximately 6 pounds per square foot, it is easy to drive screws, such as the screw 20 directly into the stone rear surface whereby to anchor one or more attachment brackets 13 therein. This method provides rapid installation of the brackets and it is less costly to produce the cast stones as anchors need not be disposed into the rear surface thereof.

Although in FIG. 3 there is shown a fastener anchor constructed of a plastic material, it is of course intended to cover other types of anchors such as metal anchors or wood anchors. In fact it may also be possible to mold a flat piece of wood within the rear surface to provide such attachment.

Although in FIGS. 1 and 2 the artificial stone is herein shown as a substantially rectangular or square stone, these stones may have any shape and may be hung by one or more of the attachment brackets 13. These anchors may also project from one or two of the edges 14. As also herein shown the flat metal strip attachment brackets 13 are provided with holes 21 therein to receive fasteners such as screws or nails for securement to the stone and for suspending the stone on a rear support wall.

Referring now to FIGS. 5 to 7 there is shown the manner in which these stones are secured to a surface area and as shown in FIG. 5 to an exterior building wall 25. The exterior wall is 25 provided with a backing surface, herein constituted by a plywood sheet 26. This plywood sheet may have conventional waterproofing and vapor barrier sheeting, such as illustrated at 27, secured thereon. As herein shown the exterior building wall is disposed on a foundation 28 which may be provided with a lip 29 for receiving a brick or stone wall thereover. However, with the system of the present invention such a lip is not required when the stones are supported by their attachment brackets 13.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged view of bricks secured to the plywood support 26 and as herein shown these artificial stones can be installed over the entire surface to be covered in a very quick manner as the only thing necessary is to position the artificial stones 10 at desired positions with a proper joint spacing between the stone and then inserting a fastener, such as a nail 31, within the hole 21 of the extension portion 13″ of the attachment bracket 13 to attach the stone to the support surface. These stones are positioned to create a mortar joint or gap 30 therebetween wherein mortar cement can later be applied after an entire wall has been constructed with these stones. If after installation of the stones, it is found that a particular stone needs to be displaced slightly whereby to vary the width of a joint, such as illustrated by the stone 10′ in FIG. 6, the stone 10′ can be moved sideways. This is done by applying pressure on the stone causing the bracket 13 to pivot on its fasteners 31 and 32. After the stone 10′ is displaced to its desired position as indicated by phantom lines 33, the stone can be arrested by either inserting another nail within the projection portion 13″ of the attachment bracket 13 or applying a nail against an edge of the stone.

Another advantage of the attachment bracket is it flexibility as previously described and this permits a stone, such as the stone 10″ illustrated in FIG. 7, to be lifted and pivoted outwardly in the direction of arrow 35 providing access to the upper section 13′ of the bracket 13 disposed thereunder. This permits the stone 10 ′″ to be removed and replaced by another stone should it be necessary, for example if the stone color is not proper or if the stone needs to be replaced by two other stones covering the same surface area. Accordingly it can be seen that this attachment system is very flexible even after the stones have been installed where it still provides adjustability and replacement of stones. After the entire stone surface has been installed and the installer is satisfied with its composition of stone sizes and color and joint spacings, he can then apply mortar in the joints 30. It can be appreciated that with this system it is possible to install the stones even if the weather is inclement as the cement can be applied in the joints only when the weather is suitable to do so. Accordingly, it is possible to erect stone walls during rainy weather. The result of this is that it reduces the cost of installation and it accelerates the construction time of the project.

An advantage of using light stones constructed of aggregate wherein the weight of the stone is in the range of about 6 pounds per square foot, is that stones can be installed on very large surfaces and providing little load on the back support wall, such as the plywood wall 26 illustrated in FIG. 5. Such a finished wall is illustrated in FIG. 8 where finished mortar joints 37 are formed between square and rectangular stones of different sizes.

FIG. 9 illustrates another stone wall fabricated in accordance with the present invention but wherein the individual cast stone, such as stone 40, is cast with an outer surface 41 resembling a plurality of stones herein five different stones 42, 43, 44, 45 and 46 and no spacer joint therebetween. There are several stone blocks herein illustrated, namely blocks 40, 40′, 40″, and these are attached to a backing surface, such as the surface 26, by attachment brackets 13. Each of these blocks is positioned in contact one on top of the other. If a lip or ledge 29 is provided on a foundation, such as the foundation 28 as illustrated in FIG. 5, then these blocks can all sit one on top of another and with most of the load transferred on this lip to provide total load transfer on the lip. Accordingly, such blocks 40 or stones can have a much higher density and need not have a polymeric aggregate therein as very little weight will be suspended from the backing wall 26. However, the attachment brackets would provide some of the advantages as described herein above.

Summarizing, the method of fabricating a stone surface area with these artificial stones consists of providing a plurality of these stones with a flat rear surface and to each of which are secured one or more attachment brackets by the use of fasteners. These artificial stones are positioned at desired positions against a backing support surface and the attachment brackets are secured to this backing support surface by fasteners to suspend the stone thereover. A pattern of these stones is created over the entire surface or portions thereof, with or without joints formed therebetween, and they may be displaced on their support brackets if deemed necessary to remove stones or to displace them laterally or hinge them out on their attachment brackets. Of course, after the mortar joints 37 are formed in the spaced joints 30 the brackets are no longer visible. With a stone wall as illustrated in FIG. 9 these brackets are concealed by the stone blocks. Although FIG. 9 has illustrated stone blocks it is of course understood that these flat rectangular stones can be unitary stones and not necessarily consist of a block of several flat rectangular stone patterns.

It is within the ambit of the present invention to cover any obvious modifications of the preferred embodiment described herein provides such modifications fall within the scope of the appended claims.