Title:
Block construction system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A block construction system for the construction of exterior/interior walls used in residential housing and light commercial construction that utilizes solid concrete blocks. The blocks are secured to one another using two steel or fiberglass rods inserted into the holes manufactured into the blocks, starting in the top of the uppermost block and extending down almost halfway through the next block below. The system is mortar-less, making it less expensive, stronger and more fire resistant than traditional wall construction systems.



Inventors:
Humphrey, Ronald T. (Tyler, TX, US)
Bonham, Gregg P. (Whitehouse, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/386027
Publication Date:
10/11/2007
Filing Date:
03/21/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
KWIECINSKI, RYAN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gregg, Bonham P. (PO Box 881, Tyler, TX, 75710, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A block system for construction of indoor and outdoor walls comprising utilization of plurality of modular construction blocks, said blocks comprising six planar faces including one top face, one bottom face, one outside (front) face, one inside (back) face and two side faces (left and right); a planar lip protruding from the top face of each of said blocks; a planar lip protruding from the left side face of each of said blocks; two wire-housing holes located on the top face of each of said blocks, beginning on each said top face and continuing through the thickness of said block down to the bottom face of each block; two rod-housing holes located on the top face of each of said blocks and continuing through the thickness of said block down to the bottom face of each block; said top face containing slots for the insertion of insulation sheets by placing said blocks in a running bond pattern wherein the left top edges of the top blocks are situated over the center of the block beneath it and the right top edges are situated over the center of yet another block beneath it, said bottom blocks being abutted each next to the other; placement of flexible gaskets on each of the inner faces, i.e., those that will be concealed after assembly of the pattern, of each block; placement of a rod through each of said rod-housing holes located on each said top face and pushing said rod through the interior of said block through said hole in said bottom face of said block and entering into the top hole of the block located directly beneath to approximately half-way through the thickness of said bottom block; permanently affixing said rod into said blocks through the application of construction adhesive; utilization of specialty blocks, manufactured to house switch boxes and/or receptacle boxes to accommodate wiring; utilization of specialty blocks that do not contain one or both said protruding lips for use on the top row and the left end of each row.

2. A system according to claim 1 wherein said blocks are 8″×8″×15 15/16″ for use in the construction of exterior walls.

3. A system according to claim 1 wherein said blocks are 6″×8″×15 15/16″ for use in the construction of interior walls.

4. A system according to claim 1 wherein said rod is made of steel.

5. A system according to claim 1 wherein said rod is made of fiberglass.

6. A system according to claim 1 wherein said planar protruding lips are 1½″.

7. A system according to claim 1 wherein said wire-housing holes are 1¼″ in diameter.

8. A system according to claim 1 wherein said rod-housing holes are ¾″ in diameter.

9. A system according to claim 1 wherein said flexible gaskets are made of rubber.

10. A system according to claim 1 wherein said flexible gaskets have a tolerance between ⅛″ and 3/16″.

11. A system according to claim 1 wherein said insulation sheets are made of polystyrene foam.

12. A system according to claim 1 wherein said flexible gaskets are manufactured onto said blocks.

13. A system according to claim 1 wherein said flexible gaskets are applied to said blocks during construction in the field.

14. A system according to claim 1 wherein said wire-housing holes house electrical wiring.

15. A system according to claim 1 wherein said wire-housing holes house telephone lines.

16. A system according to claim 1 wherein said wire-housing holes house cable lines.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the field of construction materials, specifically a block system for constructing interior and exterior walls without the need for skilled masons to apply mortar between the blocks.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In modern times, concrete blocks have been used in the construction of homes and other structures. Concrete blocks have been in use in the construction business for approximately 100 years. Prior to that, the ancient Romans and Egyptians used solid blocks held together with a concrete base mortar. Many of these structures are still standing today because they were constructed out of the best possible construction material, i.e., concrete. Concrete definitely stands the test of time, especially in the housing industry.

Conventionally, a typical 8″×8″×16″ block, whether solid or hollow, has to be installed using mortar. A professional mason must install these blocks by traditional methods. Although concrete blocks are quite durable, solid blocks mortared together are always the weakest at the mortar joints. A professional mason can be extremely expensive. Although less expensive 8″×8″×16″ hollow blocks may be used, a professional mason must still be hired for installation if the blocks are to be attached using mortar.

Traditionally, typical 8″×8″×16″ cinder blocks are a construction option, but they must be laid with mortar and filled with concrete. Then, electrical conduit must be installed. The construction process requires skilled laborers. On the other hand, new construction using the instant invention may result in a savings between 30-60% because the blocks can be installed with common laborers more quickly and cost-effectively than conventional housing construction techniques.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the device is a mortar-less interlocking solid block system for constructing interior and exterior walls and is designed for use, primarily, in the residential housing and light commercial building industries. The instant system is are less expensive, stronger and more fire resistant than traditional construction methods. In the instant invention, the blocks are dry stacked, i.e., they are stacked with no mortar bed between the blocks, one on top of another, similar to a conventional block installation, in a running bond pattern.

The blocks are then permanently secured to one another using two steel or fiberglass rods inserted in the top of the uppermost block and extending down almost halfway through the next block below. These rods are permanently cemented into the blocks with construction adhesive during installation of each block. The holes holding these rods are ¾″ in diameter and are designed to line up with the matching holes located on the block upon which they will be laid. The holes for these rods are manufactured into the block and extend through the blocks. Also manufactured into the blocks are two more holes, approximately 1¼″ in diameter. Like the rod holes, they go completely through the block from the topside through the bottom side and they also line up with the matching holes from the block below. The purpose of these holes is to accept the electrical wiring, as well as cable and phone lines. Special blocks are to be manufactured containing switch boxes and receptacle boxes to accommodate the wiring process. The location of these special blocks is to be determined during construction, according to the plans. These special blocks are to be installed where needed.

Dry stacking is possible because of the installation of a rubber gasket, either in the manufacturing stage or in the field, on all concealed sides of the block. With the concealed areas of the blocks being airtight due to the application of the gasket, elements from the outside of the wall or the house are sealed off. Blocks can be similarly manufactured for use on inside/outside corners, as well as around windows and door openings. These blocks can be manufactured in a way that is aesthetically pleasing. Designs and creative configurations are endless.

With these blocks, new homes can be constructed with a savings between 30 and 60%. They can be installed with common labor at a much cheaper price and much faster than with the use of skilled mason labor. The electrical conduit channels are already manufactured into these blocks, as well as switch boxes and receptacle boxes. Because of this, the builder saves both time and money. The blocks do not need to be painted after installation, and they come in a variety of colors. Again, time and money is saved.

The features of the instant invention significantly challenge conventional construction methods. In addition to what has already been described, the instant invention contains many significant advantages. First, building with concrete is environmentally friendly. Trees are not needed and are therefore not used. Concrete blocks are produced without destroying the environment. Concrete and its additives come from the soil. Concrete is the best and least expensive building material available and is the strongest man has been able to produce.

Second, with this system, new housing can be attained at a lesser expense, estimated between 30 and 60%. The bigger the structure, the cheaper the cost per square foot. Additional costs can be cut if the homeowner personally completes some of the work. Housing built with this system can be used for low, medium, or high-income housing. In each case, it is less expensive.

Third, this system can help alleviate some of the problems of low-income housing, such as the existence of homes that are stripped down to the bare bones. With this system, families unable to afford a new home, conventionally built, will be able to purchase a new block system home. No other current system can offer such quality at an extremely low price. Fourth, this system can be manufactured and used internationally, even in developing countries. Factories can be set up in developing countries that will help eliminate unemployment while providing another housing option for families of modest means. Shelter for families will be provided and self-respect will be restored to many.

Fifth, construction time is drastically reduced using this system because of the elimination of some trades. General contractors can turn houses/buildings out faster, therefore paying less in construction monies on interest. Sixth, since this system utilizes concrete, the blocks are safer and stronger against natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Additionally, the structures will survive a flood much better than a conventional one.

Finally, the structure will be termite-free. Termites hate concrete. With no wood near the ground level, termites are not enticed to the structure. Property owners could then, in turn, save on insurance. Because the walls of the structure are concrete block, the structure is also fire resistant. Although furnishings, carpet, and cabinets are flammable, the only flammable area in these structures would be the attic space. However, using a metal framing system may protect the attic space. Residential and commercial property insurance on structures could be lowered considerably.

The high cost of construction is a critical issue in the contemporary building industry. In construction, the only way to save money is to eliminate parts of the process. By eliminating some of the trades and by using fewer materials, the cost, as well as the erection time, can be greatly reduced. The reduction in the cost of the trades is further detailed below.

First, this system will reduce the need for framers and framing material. All exterior and interior walls are solid concrete blocks so the framer is used only for cutting in the roof system out of typical framing material. There is no need for any wall material such as studs, 2″×4″ plate material, 2″×4″ top plates, bracing, nails, bolts or sheathing, all of which have now been eliminated for interior and exterior wall installation with the instant invention.

Second, painting and painters will be optional. The interior and exterior walls need not be painted unless the customer prefers it. The block color and style can be quite extensive. This system will feature a Euro type look. With this system, it is very easy to achieve an “Old World” look. Walls in some rooms may be left “as is,” while in other rooms the block walls may be hand waxed to achieve an “Old World” look. Still, in other rooms, some of the blocks may be hand washed with color, while block walls elsewhere may be stained. In addition, walls may be plastered conventionally or by using an Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS).

Third, insulation and insulators are no longer needed to their former extent. None of the exterior or interior walls need to be insulated since all walls are solid concrete blocks. They are already insulated and are the best possible sound barrier. Insulation will only be needed for the attic. Fourth, sheetrock and sheetrock installers are no longer needed to their former extent. Sheetrock is not needed on any interior walls or garage walls. Interior walls may be left unfinished or finished as desired. If sheetrock is preferred, it can be applied directly to the wall. Another option is to lathe the block with a 1″×4″ material to which sheetrock can be applied. The only sheetrock for the house would be on the ceiling and would be attached to trusses or to ceiling joints.

Fifth, brick and brick masons no longer needed. A professional brick mason is not needed since the block assembly requires no mortar. Only trained laborers are needed to assemble the blocks, reducing labor costs significantly. Sixth, the need for exterior siding is eliminated unless the customer prefers that look. Siding can be applied over the blocks using lathe. Available current is exterior siding and trim made out of concrete products for use on the eves of a house. These products are non-combustible and usually have a 50-year warranty. They do, however, have to be primed and painted. The baseboard, as well as other interior trim typically used in conventional housing is eliminated, saving both material and carpentry labor. There are also substantial savings to be found in the installation of the blocks because professional subcontractors are not required for this process. One would only need a well-trained laborer or a semi-professional person to do the block installation. More money can be saved if the homeowner wishes to do some of the work himself, such as installing the block, framing the roof system, painting, installing the doors and windows, staining the concrete floor instead of using flooring material, installing ready-made cabinets, etc. The list is endless.

This system will be attractive to both speculative and custom builders who will be able to construct an affordable home or commercial building and still maintain a healthy margin of profit. Property owners will be attracted to the strength and durability of concrete block structures that are safer than any conventional home today. Blocks made of cement and sand products mean that walls are constructed from non-combustible materials. Fire resistant structures will have a huge positive impact on the property owner's insurance costs, saving thousands of dollars over the course of the mortgage. The only flammables would be carpet, if used, built-in cabinets and furnishings. Although the ceiling would be sheetrock, only the paper on the sheetrock is flammable. Should a fire break out in the attic, the situation would be like any conventional fire because of the wood framing material in the roof. However, the structure can be made more fireproof if metal framing material is used in the roof system, as opposed to wood. By using the metal roof framing technique along with the instant block wall construction system, one would ultimately have a much more fire resistant structure.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

The principal object of the invention is to provide a system of construction that eliminates the need for mortar, and therefore skilled masons, thereby reducing the cost of building construction.

It is a further object of the invention to reduce the need for other skilled trades, such as framers, painters and sheetrock installers through the use of an improved block construction system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of the invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a top view of the invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates two side views of the invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates the top left hand corner of one block in the system.

FIG. 5 illustrates the running bond pattern to be used with the block construction system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN ENABLING AND PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

For a better understanding of the invention, turning now to the drawings, FIGS. 1-5 illustrate the device, generally designated as the number 10. FIG. 1 illustrates the system as one block is stacked over two blocks in a row beneath it. The blocks measure 8″×15 15/16″ rather than the traditional 8″×16″ to allow for any variance when the blocks are stacked end to end. The flexible rubber gasket seal (not shown) that encases the concealed parts of each block will have at least a ⅛″ to 3/16″ tolerance. This will assure that the block wall will be the correct measurement when the blocks are stacked end to end.

As see in FIG. 1, each block has a front side 11a, 11b, 11c (the outside) and a back side 12a, 12b, 12c (the inside) that mirrors the front side 11a, 11b, 11c. A horizontal lip 13a, 13b, 13c protrudes 1½″ on the top side 19a, 19b, 19c of each block connecting to a vertical 1½″ lip 14a, 14b, 14c on the left side 21a, 21b, 21c of each block. The 1½″ lips 13a, 13b, 13c, 14a, 14b, 14c interlock with matching grooves on adjacent blocks (not shown).

The top side 19a, 19b, 19c of each block contains two wire-housing holes 15a, 15b, 15g, 15k, 15l, 15i that are approximately 1¼″ in diameter. These holes 15a, 15b, 15g, 15k, 15l, 15i are spaced 8″ on center. Once a wall is built, these holes 15a, 15b, 15g, 15k, 15l, 15i match or line-up vertically from the top of the wall to the bottom of the wall. As illustrated, each of these holes 15a, 15b, 15g, 15k, 15l, 15i contain space that opens out to corresponding hole 15c, 15d, 15h, 15e, 15f, 15j on the bottom face of each block 22a, 22b, 22c. Electrical outlet boxes will match up with the holes in the block so the electrical wiring can be installed.

Each block contains two more holes 16a, 16b, 16g, 16k, 16l, 16i on the top face 19a, 19b, 19c that are approximately ¾″ in diameter and that house rods that are used for anchoring the walls once the blocks have been set in place and leveled properly. These rods (not shown) can be made of steel or fiberglass. The rods are inserted through the top block and are extended down to the middle of the lower block. Once in place, or during application, special cement glue is used to set the rods securely in place.

The top block in the wall will have to be a flat block instead of a lipped block so that it will be able to accept a 2″×8″ runner for a top plate. The 2″×8″ (not shown) will be anchored to the top block through the holes used for the ¾″ rods. The rods can be cut 4 inches from the top of the block to allow bolts to be installed to anchor the 2″×8″. The 2″×8″s are needed for the installation of the roof framing such as the ceiling joists and rafters, or even trusses. The blocks will be laid in what is called a running bond pattern, as illustrated in FIG. 6.

FIG. 2 illustrates the top face 19a, 19b, 19c of the blocks and how the holes 16g, 15g, 16a, 15a, 16b, 15b, 16i, 15i are aligned. Also shown are ½″ slots 18a, 18c in the top faces 19a, 19c of the blocks where sheets of ½″ insulation, such as polystyrene foam, can be inserted for insulation and to serve as a vapor barrier. The slots 18a, 18c can be modified to a larger size for thicker polystyrene foam applications. The 1½″ protruding upper lips 13a, 13b on the top sides 19a, 19b of each block are to be completely covered on all three sides with a rubber gasket (not shown). The rubber gasket should have some compression value to terminate any air infiltration through the blocks or their connections.

FIG. 3 illustrates the side view of a block. The left side 21 shows the 1½″ protruding lip 13 facing forward. The right side 20 shows only an indentation 22 for the 1½″ lip to be placed. FIG. 4 shows the top left hand corner of a block. The protruding lips 13, 14 form a right angle to the top and will accept the next running bond block.

Additional blocks can be developed using the same principles of the instant invention. These include blocks around windows, bay windows, doors, posts and gables. All are easily implemented into the system. With the instant invention, very few exterior blocks have to be cut to fit. Only those blocks that are located around windows and doors will have to be cut.

The illustrations and examples provided herein are for explanatory purposes and are not intended to limit the scope of the appended claims, as those skilled in the art will make modifications to the invention for particular uses.