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This invention relates to outdoor flooring, surfaces for decks, patios and the like, and more particularly, to a decking system and method for enabling use of surface materials that would ordinarily lack suitable structural features to accommodate deck or patio applications.
Stone walkway and step surfaces are frequently used at homes and businesses, as the appearance is attractive and enjoyed by many. Walkway and step stones are typically rather thick, to provide sufficient structural properties to support weight necessary in walkway and step use. As such, given the weight of stone, elevated deck surfaces such as for home decks, do not employ stone surfaces, as the weight of the stone requires substantially structural support beyond what is typically employed for deck construction.
In accordance with the invention, a deck and patio surface system comprises a fiber reinforced structural panel employed as a substrate, a mounting fastener for enabling the panel to be secured to a deck, patio, or the like, and a surfacing material bonded or otherwise attached to the structural panel.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved deck system to enable use of stone surface in above-ground deck applications.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide an improved system for deck or patio applications to allow use of surface material not normally by itself having sufficient structural properties for such use.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide an improved method for providing a deck surface.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a deck or patio system adapted for use over waterproofed living space without requiring penetration of the waterproof membrane.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a system and method for providing a new surface over an existing damaged patio surface.
The subject matter of the present invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of this specification. However, both the organization and method of operation, together with further advantages and objects thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in connection with accompanying drawings wherein like reference characters refer to like elements.
FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a portion of the system according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a top view of the fastener of FIG. 1, during an initial forming phase;
FIG. 3 is a top view of the fastener of FIG. 2 when formed to final shape;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the fastener of FIG. 3 taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a side view of the fastener of FIG. 3 taken in the direction of arrow 5 of FIG. 3;
FIGS. 6-19 are illustrations of the steps of the method of installing a deck system in accordance with the invention.
The system according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a composite deck surface having a structural panel, fastener elements to secure the structural panel to a deck base, and a surfacing material bonded to the structural panel.
Referring to FIG. 1, an exploded perspective view of a portion of the system 10, a structural panel 12, suitably comprising a fiber reinforced polymer panel having a grid pattern of openings 14 in the illustrated embodiment, is adapted to be received on top of a deck base structure, which may suitably comprise wood deck framing timbers 16. A fastener element 18, described in further detail in connection with FIGS. 2-5 herein, is adapted to be received in an opening 14 so as to engage with the structural panel 12, seating such that the top surface of the fastener is below the top surface of the panel 12. The fastener includes a central hole 20 adapted to receive a fastener therethrough, to allow securing the panel to the deck framing timber 16.
A surfacing material 22, which may comprise a cut stone having an aesthetically pleasing appearance, color and/or pattern, is suitably bonded to the structural panel, using a bonding material 24, for example. The surfacing material may also comprise tile, dry laid brick, concrete or stone pavers, for example.
The structural panel is suitably provided in sheets having dimensions of 4 foot by 8 foot, with a 1.5 inch square grid size, in the illustrated embodiment. The panel is suitably approximately 1 inch thick. The individual grid openings narrow somewhat from the top of the panel to the bottom, such that they are wider at the top face than at the bottom. In the particular embodiment, the opening is 1- 5/16th inch at the top measured from interior edge to the opposite edge of an individual grid opening, but is 11-¼th inch at the bottom face of the panel.
A suitable panel that is employed with the system and method may be a fiber reinforced general purpose polyester molded resin panel, although other materials may be used. The panel size is preferably 4 foot by 8 foot in the preferred embodiment, based on construction standards and practices, but may be otherwise re-sized to the desired dimensions, within a 1/16th inch tolerance, so as to provide a system that functions with 16 inch framing dimensions typically used in deck applications. The panel can be provided in other sizes than the illustrated example, chosen to have sufficient support while spanning the supporting elements supporting the panel. Preferably the panel is a pre-configured dimensional size suitable for compliance with customary building practices.
Referring now to FIGS. 2-5, which are views illustrating the fastener 18 and explaining how it is manufactured, the fastener in a preferred embodiment is made of a stainless steel material, stamped to the shape shown in FIG. 2. The fastener is provided with a row series of twelve teeth 26 on each of 2 sides thereof in a central region, as well as a corner tooth 28 at each of the four peripheral corners of the fastener. The corner teeth 28 are on extended arm portions 34 of the fastener having a slight taper inwardly on the outer faces thereof, and an arcuate shape on the inward sides thereof. Teeth 26 and 28 are suitably 3/64th inch in height. A central hole 30 is provided in the fastener, as are two side tabs 32 on opposing sides, next to the sides carrying the rows of teeth. A slight notch is defined between the tabs 32 and the arm portions 34.
After the fastener is formed as in FIG. 2, it is then bent along lines 36, approximately 90 degrees downwardly, to provide the configuration visible in FIG. 1 and 5, where the arm portions 34 and teeth 28 form “legs”. The central portion of the fastener about hold 30 is countersunk to provide a 17/32 inch inner diameter flat bottom countersink, for receiving a fastener head discussed below.
In employing the system to provide a deck or patio surface, the installation steps illustrated in FIG. 6-19 are employed. The example shown in FIGS. 6-19 is in a deck installation, where a wood frame deck is present and the system is installed thereon.
Referring to FIG. 6, first, a waterproof membrane 38, such as a 40 mil bituminous based material, is placed over the wood framing to protect the framing from water damage over time. Next, in FIG. 7, plural structural panels are cut and positions as necessary to fit over the area of the deck framing that the system is to be installed upon. Next, (FIG. 8) fasteners 18 are placed into openings 14 in the structural panel in locations where the panel is to be secured to the frame 16. The fasteners are tapped with a hammer so as to have the top surface of the fasteners be flush with the top surface of the structural panel. Next, as shown in FIG. 9, a punch (e.g., a ½ inch punch) is used with a hammer to set the fastener in the structural panel. Use of the punch results in the teeth of the fastener “biting” into the inner walls of the opening in the structural panel, as well as setting the fastener to be below the top surface of the structural panel.
Referring now to FIG. 10, a bead of adhesive material (for example, fiberglass adhesive) is applied between the joints of the panel sections. Stainless steel screws are then screwed through the openings 30 in each fastener, to secure the structural panels to the deck frame 16, as shown in FIG. 11 and 12, FIG. 12 being a split view showing both a close up view of a single secured fastener/screw and a father away view illustrating a wider area, with 5 fasteners visible.
An edge trim 40 may now be applied to the peripheral edges of the assembled structural panel group, by cutting the trim to length and applying adhesive thereto (to the inside corners of the edge trim) and then mounting the edge trim to the edges of the panels (FIGS. 13-15). The edge trim can be, for example, metal edge trim and may be provided in a variety of colors and finishes, as desired for the aesthetic taste of the user.
The surface material 22 is now prepared and applied to the structural panel, illustrated in FIGS. 16-18. In the illustrated embodiment, surfacing material 22 comprises quarried stone tiles having dimensions of 15-¾ inch by 15-¾ inch, and approximately 11/32nd inch thickness. The surface material tiles are first dry set and cut to fit around any obstacles 42 (a vertical post in FIG. 16). Next, an adhesive is applied to the back of the stones and spread with a notched trowel in the particular embodiment shown. The adhesive suitably comprises Hold-Tite brand adhesive, suitably an elastomeric polymer. The surface material is now placed adhesive side down onto the structural panel surface, positioned suitably with ⅛th inch spacing between the tiles. The joints between tiles are not grouted, but are left open, allowing drainage and room for expansion and providing an appearance that is visually appealing. FIG. 18 illustrates the steps of placing the tiles in left, middle and right portions. FIG. 19 illustrates a finished deck surface employing stone tiles as the surfacing material, with edge trim on the peripheral edges of the structural panel.
In an alternative embodiment, the bonding material 24 is provided in the form of a sheet membrane 24′, such as an EPDM rubber or similar material, which is flexible and soft. The sheet is suitably 1/16th inch thick, of dimensions corresponding to those of the surfacing material 22, and is coated on both sides with a pressure sensitive contact adhesive. The sheet membrane 24′ is placed onto the surfacing material 22 and then the surfacing material is placed onto the structural panel 12. This alternative manner of adhering the material to the panel results in a flexible bond.
Accordingly, as system and method are provided whereby a deck surface of quarried stone is feasible. The use of the fiber reinforced polymer structural panels, the fasteners and the adhering of the stone tiles results in a lightweight high strength system weighing only 8 to 10 pounds per square foot in the preferred embodiment. The bonding of the surface material to the structural panel provides further strength to the overall system. As noted above, other surface materials may be employed, including but not limited to tile, brick, concrete and stone pavers.
Under an ASTM #E72-98 test, an exemplary system withstood 6282 lbs. of force with no failure, a maximum 1.47″ deflection and a maximum 0.35″ set deflection.
The preferred material for the surfacing material 22 is natural quarried stone, which includes slates, quartz and sandstone. All stones are suitably from deep cuts producing the highest quality and highest density stone for exterior applications.
In preferred embodiments, all stones have an ASTM #C121 Water Absorption of 0.10%-0.37%. and an ASTM #C1026 Freeze Thaw unaffected rating or a natural resistance to damage under these conditions. Generally all stones have an ASTM #1028 Coefficient of Friction equal to or greater than most wood or composite products, so as to not be overly slippery as a walking surface. In most cases sealing of the surface is not required due to the high density of this material. However, sealing can enhance the natural beauty if applied, but it is not required for long term durability.
Although the illustrated embodiment shows an outdoor flooring system use for a deck surface mounted to a wood frame, other uses are also possible. For example, the system and method can be employed as ground level patios, either as new construction or to cover a cracked or otherwise undesirable patio, providing positive drainage. Application to steps is also another use. Further, the system and method can be employed over waterproofed living spaces, for example, by placing the structural panels over the top of the waterproof deck on sleepers (horizontal structural member on or near the ground that support weight) as a level, floating deck, without penetrating the waterproof membrane.
While a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that many changes and modifications may be made without departing from the invention in its broader aspects. The appended claims are therefore intended to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.