Title:
Apparatus and method for installing insulation
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to thermal insulation and a method for installing insulation wherein the insulation and the installation method include a double-sided adhesive strip that secures at least one facing sheet, insulation liner, board or the like to a structural support member as found in walls, floors or ceilings. The adhesive can be a double-sided strip of adhesive that is integral to the insulation facing. In one preferred embodiment for installing insulation, the adhesive strip is a distinct component from the insulation that is then secured to both a structural support member and the insulation facing.



Inventors:
Barrow, George D. (West Point, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/330469
Publication Date:
07/19/2007
Filing Date:
01/12/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/74
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KENNY, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John, Thomas H. P. C. (536 Granite Avenue, Richmond, VA, 23226, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A thermal insulator to retard heat transfer between two spaces, the two spaces defined by a plurality of structural support members assembled to form a structural frame, the frame further defining at least one opening between the two spaces, a structural cover substantially covering the opening, the insulator sized and dimensioned to fit within the at least one opening in order to insulate the structural cover, the insulator comprising: an insulating material; at least one facing secured to the insulating material, the facing including at least one flap that extends beyond the insulating material in at least one direction; an adhesive integrally formed on the at least one flap, the adhesive including a releasable film; wherein the releasable film is removed and the adhesive secures the flap provided by the facing to a structural support member.

2. The insulator of claim 1, wherein the insulating material is a fiberglass batt.

3. The insulator of claim 1, wherein the insulating material is flexible.

4. The insulator of claim 3, wherein the facing is flexible.

5. The insulator of claim 4, wherein the facing is kraft paper.

6. The insulator of claim 5, wherein the facing is secured to only one side of the insulating material.

7. The insulator of claim 1, wherein the adhesive is a double-sided adhesive strip with a first side integral to the facing and a second side selectively protected by a releasable film.

8. The insulator of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of adhesive strips placed on the at least one facing, wherein the plurality of adhesive strips further secure the insulator to the structural cover.

9. A thermal insulator to retard heat transfer between two spaces, the two spaces defined by a plurality of structural support members assembled to form a structural frame, the frame further defining at least one opening between the two spaces space, a structural cover substantially covering the opening, the insulator sized and dimensioned to fit within the at least one opening in order to insulate the structural cover, the insulator comprising: an insulating material; at least one facing secured to the insulating material, the facing including at least one flap that extends beyond the insulating material in at least one direction; an adhesive; and wherein the adhesive secures the at least one flap provided by the facing to a structural support member.

10. The insulator of claim 9, wherein the insulating material is a fiberglass batt.

11. The insulator of claim 9, wherein the insulating material is flexible.

12. The insulator of claim 11, wherein the facing is flexible.

13. The insulator of claim 12, wherein the facing is kraft paper.

14. The insulator of claim 13, wherein the facing is secured to only one side of the insulating material.

15. The insulator of claim 9, wherein the adhesive strip is a double-sided adhesive strip with a first side and a second side wherein the strip adheres the facing to one of the plurality of structural support members.

16. The insulator of claim 9, wherein the adhesive is a double-sided adhesive strip with a first side and a second side, the first and second sides selectively protected by a releasable film, the releasable film removed from both the first and second sides, the strip placed against both the facing and one of the plurality of structural support members in order to hold the insulating material within the opening defined by the frame.

17. The insulator of claim 9, wherein the adhesive is a fluid.

18. The insulator of claim 9, further comprising a plurality of adhesive strips placed on the at least one facing, wherein the plurality of adhesive strips further secure the insulator to the structural cover.

19. A method for installing insulation into an opening of a structural frame, the method comprising: providing an insulating material secured on at least one side to a facing; securing one side of a double-sided adhesive strip to the facing; adhering the second side of the double-sided adhesive strip to the structural frame; holding the insulation within the opening of the structural frame via the double-sided adhesive strip.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an apparatus and method for installing insulation. More specifically, the apparatus and method for installing insulation includes the use of an adhesive.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Thermal insulation can technically be any material or combination of materials that retards the flow of heat. High-grade thermal insulation will provide a significantly resistive path to the flow of heat through the insulation material. This means the insulation reduces the “transfer” of heat that occurs through the mechanisms of conduction, convection, and/or radiation.

Conduction is the direct flow of heat through a solid or the transfer of heat between two solids in contact with each other. The molecules of the solid or solids directly transfer heat to adjoining molecules. In this manner, heat is transferred until the molecules are in equilibrium. One example would a solid wall, such as a brick wall, transferring heat from an exterior space to an interior space (or vice versa). As the exterior of the brick gains heat, it transfers the heat to the interior face of the brick.

Convection is the flow of heat within a fluid (gas or liquid). In a commercial or residential structure, “forced convection” occurs where heat is applied to a fluid wherein the fluid is then forcibly introduced into the interior space defined by the structure. Convection can also occur in a structure where openings, gaps, or holes between the interior and exterior space exist. The opening can be a poorly formed joint between two wall members up to an open doorway or window. The fluid (air) with the higher heat content will attempt to flow through any openings to the fluid with the lower heat content.

Radiation is the transmission of energy (heat) through space by means of electromagnetic waves. The most common form of radiation heat transfer is the effect of energy from the Sun heating solids on Earth. Roof shingles will gain significant heat through radiated energy transfer. The shingles will then transfer that heat to an attic space through conduction.

The three types of heat transfer explain the need for specially crafted insulation materials in commercial and residential structures. As the fluid surrounding a structure, or the surface of the structure, gains or loses heat, that heat differential between the interior and exterior of the structure will naturally lead to greater heat transfer. Insulation reduces the rate of heat transfer by conduction, convection, radiation or any combination of these mechanisms. The interior space can then be maintained at a comfortable level by heating or cooling apparatuses. The more effective the insulation, the less energy is needed to operate the heating and cooling devices. Local building codes will often require a minimum amount of insulation to be installed with any new construction.

An extremely common form of insulation on the market today is fiberglass insulation. Fiberglass insulation is a flexible fiberglass batting attached to at least one facing film wherein the facing film is provided for storage, handling, and physical integrity purposes. The facing can be paper, fabric, a plastic film, foil, a solid board, or the like. It is also known to sandwich insulation batting between two identical or different facing materials.

Where the insulation includes a flexible facing material, the insulation is often pressed between two structural support members, be they wall studs or floor or ceiling joists. The installer then staples or nails the facing material to the adjoining structural support member. For instance, in a wood frame structure, the installer would staple the insulation facing to the side or face of a wall stud.

This insulation installation technique is undesirable in several ways. Because the installer staples the facing in distinct locations, the space in between the staples is not securely fastened to the support member. Air can pass through these unsecured spaces, lowering the insulation rating for the installed material. It is also time consuming to fasten the insulation to the support member at numerous points along the length of the support member. In the event that the insulation facing is stapled to the face of a support member, it is then impossible to adhere any other construction material to the support member. It is known that sheet rock or drywall used to cover wall and ceiling structures may be adhered to the face of studs or floor/ceiling joists. The method of stapling insulation facing to the support member face, although quicker then stapling to the sides of the support member, precludes this construction technique. Of course, stapling via power tools is an inherently unsafe activity, and the installer is responsible for maintaining a sufficient supply of staples. In general, there are numerous shortcomings in the known types of insulation or the methods for installing insulation.

As noted above, it is known to place insulation under a floor or above a ceiling. This can occur in many types of residential and commercial applications. Often times in commercial applications, large portions of insulation will be installed under a floor or above a ceiling that require extra support. Therefore, the installers for a commercial ceiling will place the insulation between joists or structural supports that define the ceiling. While holding the insulation, additional supports are installed that cross the face of the insulation in order to hold the insulation in place. It is also possible to install the supports and then work the insulation behind the supports. Both techniques are time consuming. The walls for commercial applications typically do not utilize extra supports, but the added size of the insulation can create airspaces or gaps that lower the effective insulation rating of the insulation.

As such, there is a need for an inexpensive and efficient insulation construction and method to install insulation. The insulation and an installation method in accordance with the present invention would increase the effective insulation rating for the installed material, reduce installation times, and would also, in at least one preferred embodiment, allow building materials, such as sheet rock, to be adhered to the face of a structural support member. For at least the reasons described herein, the present invention substantially departs from the conventional concepts and methods of the prior art, and it provides an original apparatus and/or method for improving insulation and insulation installation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, insulation and a method for installing insulation are provided. The insulation and the installation method include an adhesive, such as a pressure-sensitive adhesive.

The insulation of the present invention can be any type of material that is bonded to at least one facing sheet, insulation liner, board or the like. The insulation is installed by placing the insulation material between structural support members in a wall, floor or ceiling. The insulation is held in place by attaching the facing to the support members by an adhesive, such as a double-sided adhesive strip. The adhesive can be a double-sided strip of adhesive that is integral to the insulation facing. In one preferred embodiment for installing insulation, the adhesive is a distinct component from the insulation that is then secured to both a structural support member and the insulation facing. Extra strips might be included on the facing between the wall studs or floor/ceiling joists to create each contact points between the insulation and a surface to be insulated. It is envisioned that any adhesive capable of substantially sealing two surfaces would be suitable.

In greater detail, and in one preferred embodiment of the invention, a fiberglass batting is adhered or otherwise secured to a facing material, such as Kraft paper, foil, fabric, cardboard, particle board, or the like. The facing material will include a double-sided strip of adhesive that is integral to the facing material. A releasable film would selectively cover the outwardly facing side of the adhesive strip. In use, an installer would remove the releasable film from the adhesive and press the adhesive against structural support members in order to secure the insulation in place.

In another preferred embodiment, a double-sided adhesive strip would be provided wherein the adhesive strip is selectively dispensed from a roll or wherein both sides of the strip have a releasable film. The strip would be dispensed or exposed by an insulation installer. The installer would apply the strip to either a structural support member or the facing. The insulation would then be put in place to be held by the still exposed face of the adhesive strip. Of course, it would be possible to attach the strip to the insulation facing first and then to secure the insulation facing to the support member via the exposed strip. Again, other types of adhesives are envisioned, including double-sided adhesive foams, caulks, or the like.

In another preferred embodiment, the adhesive strips as discussed above could be placed along the insulation facing in a number of positions to increase the adherence of the insulation to a surface to be insulated. In particular, it is envisioned that multiple adhesive strips could be used on the facing of large insulation sections to eliminate the need for supports that specifically hold the insulation in place, as typically used in the prior art.

Insulation and an insulation installation method incorporating an adhesive in accordance with the present invention efficiently address one or more problems associated with prior insulation constructions and insulation installation techniques. The present insulation and method comprise a commercially advantageous product and/or technique. Other functions, advantages or features of the present invention will become obvious to the reader and it is intended that such items fall within the scope of the present invention. To the accomplishment of the above and related functions, advantages or features, the invention enabled herein may be embodied in the form illustrated in the accompanying drawings, attention being called to the fact, however, that the drawings are only illustrative. Changes may be made in the specific structure or method as illustrated without leaving the scope of the invention.

While the above highlights particular features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated, there are additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of the description and should not be regarded as limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The foregoing, and additional objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those of skill in the art from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of insulation with a facing installed between two wall studs as known in the prior art;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of insulation with a facing installed between two wall studs as known in another technique of the prior art;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of insulation in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention in a spaced relationship with a structure to be insulated;

FIG. 4 is a close up view of an adhesive strip integrated onto an insulation facing in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 5 is a top down, cut-away view of insulation in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention installed into a structure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE APPLICATION

Turning now to a more detailed description of the present invention, there is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 embodiments of known insulation installed using known techniques, the illustrated embodiments being necessary to understand the context of applicant's invention. The construction and installation of insulation in general will not be described in extensive detail inasmuch as such details are known to those skilled in the art and have been outlined above. Moreover, the illustrated, installed insulation is merely exemplary. The present invention need not be associated with the illustrated prior art embodiments as it is adaptable for operation with other varieties of insulation or structures.

In general, a structure includes framing 10 comprising a number of structural support members 14. As illustrated, there are vertical frame members 16, often referred to as wall studs, attached to both the bottom and top of the studs to a horizontal sole plate (not illustrated) and a horizontal top plate 18, respectively. The studs are generally a series of vertical structural members placed as supporting elements in walls and partitions. This method of framing is known as stud framing.

Rolls of insulation 20 have been sized and dimensioned to fit within the space defined by studs 16, the sole plate, and top plate 18. Insulation 20 includes a batt of insulating material 22, such as fiberglass, bonded to a facing 24. The batting can be hardened with a resin. However, it is most common for the batting to be flexible, as it is comprised of relatively loosely joined fibers.

The facing can be formed from almost any material, such as foil, plastic, fabric, paper, or the like. Typically, facing 24 is secured to the side of the insulation 20 facing the interior space of the structure as defined by the framing. The facing can be on both sides of the insulation 22. It is also known to bond a flexible insulation material 22 to a rigid facing (not illustrated).

Finally, the insulation can be entirely rigid (i.e., rigid insulation material and rigid facing). Rigid insulation, known as insulation board, would be made of wood or cane fiber.

Facing 24 typically will have a larger lateral dimension than the insulation material 22. The extra lateral length creates “flaps”. Insulation 20, comprising the insulation material 22 and insulation facing 24, is secured to vertical structural members 16 via a plurality of staples 26 through the flaps. Staples 26 pin the flaps to members 16. In FIG. 1, staples 26 are inserted into the sides of members 16. FIG. 2 illustrates the insulation installation technique where facing 24 is stapled into the face of members 16.

Drywall (also known as gypsum wallboard, sheet rock or plasterboard) is a manufactured framing covering that has a central material that is typically encased by cardboard. Drywall can be secured to the framing by mechanical fasteners. However, it is also known to adhere the drywall to the face of the support members. The known technique of FIG. 2, while quicker than the method illustrated in FIG. 1, prevents a drywall installer from adhering the drywall to the face of a support. Other construction materials may be adhered to frame support members. Therefore, it is desirable to improve upon the prior art technique of placing insulation material over the structural support members.

Although the prior embodiments have been shown in wall framing, the technique has been used in ceilings, floor or partitions. It should be appreciated that insulation installed between joists can also be stapled. Joists are the structural support members that are aligned horizontally and parallel to one another to support a floor or ceiling. Often, additional supports are installed across the face of the insulation to hold the insulation in place for horizontal applications.

Turning now to FIG. 3, framing 10 is shown in a spaced relationship with an insulator 30 that is in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. Studs 16 support a top plate 18. Also visible in this perspective is a structural cover 26 (i.e., an outer wall, floor or ceiling covering) that covers the exterior side of framing 10. An exterior veneer, stucco, siding, or the like (not illustrated) is generally secured to the exterior side of structural cover 26 if that cover is acting as an outer wall 26. Carpeting or other surfacing can be placed on the structural cover depending on the type of structural cover and/or structural framing that is being insulated.

Insulation 30 comprises an insulating material 32 and facing 34. The insulating material can be any thermal insulator as known in the art. The most common insulating material in residential structures is a fiberglass batting. The facing material can also be constructed from any suitable material. Kraft paper, a heavy, moisture resistant, building paper, is a very common facing for thermal insulation. The insulation is generally installed so that the facing is on the interior side of the insulation. However, the facing material can be applied to both sides of the insulating material in specific applications.

In the illustrated embodiment, a double-sided adhesive strip 36 has been integrally formed onto a set of side flaps 38, 38′ provided by facing 34. The flaps are formed by dimensioning the facing so that it has a larger lateral length than the insulating material. The extra lateral length creates two flaps. In a preferred embodiment, these flaps will be about two inches wide on each side. Adhesive strip 36 would be about one inch wide. It is envisioned that the dimensions could vary based on manufacturing techniques or specific installation applications. In the illustrated embodiment, adhesive strip 36 is on the side of the facing proximate to insulation material 32. In this manner, flaps 38, 38′ can be folded back so that strip 36 can be placed against studs 16.

In more detail, a close-up view of the adhesive strip in FIG. 3 is provided in FIG. 4. Strip 36 is double-sided and one side of strip 36 is applied to facing 34 during assembly of insulation 30. A releasable film 42 covers a pressure sensitive adhesive 40 that is pressed against structural support member 14, such as wall studs 16, in order to hold insulation 30 in place. The strip can be placed against either the side of the structural support member (as seen below in FIG. 5) or strip 36 can hold the flap of facing 34 to the face of the structural support member. Either way, the strip replaces the mechanical fasteners known in the art while better sealing the air space between the exterior wall and the facing. A better seal for the air space is thought to result in an increased insulation rating.

FIG. 5 illustrates a top down view of insulation 30 installed between studs 16 and against outer wall 26. In use, an installer simply removes the releasable film 42 (as illustrated in FIG. 4). Insulation 30 is pressed between the studs, joists or other structural support member. Flaps 38, 38′ are then pressed against the support members so that adhesive 40 secures the insulation in place.

Although not illustrated, it is also envisioned that adhesive strip 36 might be a distinct component that is not integrally connected to insulation 30 during assembly of the insulation. In this embodiment, strip 36 would include releasable films on both sides of the strip. It is also possible to dispense a double-sided adhesive from a roll wherein at least one side includes a releasable film. In either instance, the installer would secure the adhesive to the insulation flaps so that the strip holds the insulation in place. This could be accomplished by first attaching the strip to the insulation facing or to the structural support members. Compared to the known method of mechanically fastening the insulation in place via staples, nails, or the like, the new method of installing insulation is safer, quicker, and provides a greater fluid seal to increase the insulation rating of the installed insulation.

It will also be obvious to one of skill in the art, based on this disclosure, that additional strips could be placed along the face of an insulator in order to secure that insulator to a surface. Therefore, it is envisioned that integral or dispensing adhesive strips could be included on locations other than the flaps. This technique would be particularly beneficial in commercial applications where the size of the insulation requires the installation of additional supports to hold the insulation in place.

It will be apparent to one skilled in the art that the adhesive strip can take the form of any type of adhesive strip (foam, tape, or the like). It should be further understood that the adhesive might be a fluid adhesive (glue, caulk, or the like). For instance, an adhesive, flexible foam strip with one or more release sheets could be integrally or selectively combined with the facing. A foam adhesive strip or a foam-injected adhesive would fill irregularities in the corresponding structural support member. A foam adhesive strip or foam adhesive also work to seal around fasteners in the wood, metal, or plastic support members by conforming to the shape of the fastener. A more effective seal will increase the insulation rating or the installed insulation.

Still further types of adhesives might include caulking, wood glue, or the like. In one preferred embodiment, the adhesives are integrally formed on the facing with a release sheet to facilitate the installation of the insulation. It is also envisioned that such adhesives could be applied by the installer during installation.

Although the present invention has been described in terms of one or more preferred embodiments, it will be understood that numerous variations and modifications may be made without departing from the invention. Thus, for example, the insulation, framing, or adhesive strip can take numerous shapes other than the generally rectangular shapes illustrated. The insulation material, facing, and adhesive strip can also be formed from numerous materials that are suitable for unique application or types of framing materials. Additional embodiments will become apparent to one skilled in the art. Thus, it is to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described above.