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This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/069,482 filed Mar. 14, 2008 and which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.
The disclosed invention relates to construction and building framing. More particularly it relates to a system and method providing a base plate component configured to support vertical walls and vertical studs overhead, which concurrently provides an unobstructed raceway or conduit within the finished wall for internal wires, networks, and other modern house and business wiring.
Normal wood frame construction wherein vertical walls are formed and mounted to a wood frame floor or a cement slab, conventionally affix the vertical walls of the structure to a base plate. This base plate is conventionally a planar board or member.
The conventional board member base plate consists generally of a single board which is bolted or nailed to the floor surface. On the top surface of this base plate, upright or vertical wall support boards are engaged to the base plate substantially perpendicular thereto, to form the skeleton for the finished wall. To this skeleton, surfacing such as drywall or plaster is secured to form the vertical exterior and interior walls of the structure.
Doors are generally placed to communicate through the formed walls. Wherever a door is placed, the bottom of the vertical wall terminates for the width of the door and consequently, there is no baseplate. (Best shown in FIG. 2, prior art)
Positioning wiring through the interior of such conventionally built walls presents a problem both during initial construction and especially in any retrofitting of building wiring. This is because the wires and cables communicating to the various sockets and network and telephone connectors must be run behind the drywall surface and through apertures formed in each of the upright boards forming the internal wall skeleton. Also, wherever a door communicates through the wall, modern framing techniques make it virtually impossible to run cabling and wires from the wall in which the door is situated, to the wall on the opposite side of the door, once the door is in place. This as noted is caused by the cessation of the wall at the bottom portion of the door, and the heavy reinforcement of the vertical members on either side of the door which support overhead weight.
In finished buildings installing new or additional wires and cables in the formed walls, after the drywall or plaster or other exterior surfacing has been attached is generally a nightmare. Removal of drywall is not a task that is easily undertaken since it easily disintegrates or is damaged and because conventionally a decorative texture is applied to the exterior surface. Once so removed to route new wires through and around interior vertical members, the drywall must be replaced and then the exterior surface must be matched to the surrounding surface at great expense of time and money.
Running new wiring and cables through existing walls without removal of the drywall, if possible, requires the employment of long drills and specialty tools to provide new passages for the cabling through the vertical supports. In many cases it is a necessity to run wiring from the attic above a room, through the heavy top header of the wall similar to the weight supporting header above a door, and then down the wall to the location of the new component or fixture to be located at the terminating end of the new wiring. This endeavor is frequently impeded by the risk of running into a horizontal member between the vertical members of the skeleton which functions as a fire block. Such fire blocks are frequently placed between vertical supports at odd or unpredictable locations further complicating the job at hand.
Despite the laborious and expensive consequences of retrofit wiring and cabling of framed walls, such conventional methods must be employed due to the nature of the frame wooden or steel skeleton of the wall described above. Accordingly, there is an unmet need for a method and apparatus for frame and wall construction, which will allow for conventional construction techniques, and conventional material use, thereby encouraging wide scale use by workers experienced in such construction. Such a device and method however should also provide a unimpeded interior raceway for the path of initial and subsequently placed cables and wiring through the interior of a framed wall. Such a device should be easily incorporated into conventional frame construction of buildings. Further, such a device and method should provide an easily accessed raceway for retrofit or additional cabling and wiring which may be necessary long after the building is finished, especially with the ever widening employment of networks and cabling for computers, phones, and the internet. Still further such a device should allow access to the raceway with minimum destruction or alteration of the drywall or plaster surface of finished walls to allow the easy communication of new wiring through framed walls as required in the future without costly damage to the decorative exterior surface.
It is thus an object of the invention to provide a device and method for the provision of an unimpeded wire raceway in a framed wall of a building which will alleviate the above noted current deficiencies in frame construction and wiring.
It is a further object to provide such a device and method of wall formation, which is employable in initial conventional frame construction, and subsequently provides easy retrofit or addition of wiring or cabling through the as-built framed walls in the building which may be long since finished but in need of new or upgraded wire and cabling.
Finally such a device should be capable of pre-manufacture and delivery to job sites, just like current lumber and studs and roof supports and the like to better enable widespread use without changing the normal construction or delivery methods.
These together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of the formulation and method as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part thereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout.
The foregoing has outlined some of the more pertinent objects of the invention. These objects should be construed to be merely illustrative of some of the more prominent features and applications of the intended invention. Many other beneficial results can be attained by applying the disclosed method and device in a different manner or by modifying the invention within the scope of this disclosure. Accordingly, other objects and a fuller understanding of the invention may be had by referring to the summary of the invention and the detailed description of the preferred embodiments in addition to the scope of the invention defined by the claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the raceway device installed in a typical wall and providing a permanent uninterrupted race at floor level and optionally around a typical door. (For wires run from above on both sides of a door).
FIG. 2 is a prior art rendering of the conventional manner of running wires in wood frame construction, where holes must be formed in vertical columns to accommodate wires there through.
FIG. 3 is sliced view along line 3-3 showing a finished wall with the device in place supporting vertical overhead wall studs.
FIG. 4 a second sliced view showing a narrower wall which employs the device and method herein at a base portion to support the vertical studs overhead.
FIG. 5 depicts the unique elongated stiffener component, herein disclosed, which communicates between a horizontal top wall member and horizontal bottom wall member of the device on a side opposite the vertical support member and with optional electrical box attached.
FIG. 6 depicts the device formed as a component of a typical frame wall and easily employed in new construction as a standard component.
Referring now to the drawings, wherein similar parts of the invention are identified by like reference numerals, there is seen in FIGS. 1 and 3-6, various components of the device 10 which is employable as a component of conventional wood frame construction shown in FIG. 2. The base plate 12 of conventional construction shown in FIG. 2, will be provided or supported by a horizontal top member 14 of the device 10. Vertical supports 11 for the internal wall skeleton of FIG. 2 are therein supported overhead.
A horizontal bottom member 16 in the formed device 10 runs parallel to the top member 14 and is held spaced therefrom by a vertical support member 18 secured at both ends to the top member 14 and the bottom member 16 positioned in a plane between the top member 14 and bottom member 16 best shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. On a side opposite the support member 18, a planar support wall component 20 is securely engaged to the top member 14 and bottom member 16 upon an outside edge 22 of both horizontal members and communicates between the top member 14 and bottom member 16. Securement can be with one or a combination of conventional fasteners 17 including nails, screws, or adhesives. The support wall component 20 is best formed of plywood, laminate, or a material of sufficient sheer and support strength, to support the top member 14 spaced above the bottom member 16 and any intended structures positioned upon the top member 14. The support wall component 20 so secured provides a means to both support the load overhead and prevent shearing.
The device 10 is preferably prefabricated into various lengths much like lumber is provided in various lengths, and then cut to finished length on the job site. This allows the device 10 to be employed by framers and carpenters much the same as regular lumber and without any learning curve as to use.
Between the top member 14 and bottom member 16, and support wall component 20 and vertical support 18, a cavity 24 formed. The cavity 24 is unimpeded for the length of the device 10 and defines a horizontal race through which wires or cables 26 may be threaded in both new construction, and any subsequent retrofit or remodel of the structure employing the device 10.
In the preferred mode of the device 10 and method, the vertical support members 18 are formed of metal such as steel and are engaged opposite the support wall component 20 of the device 10. The support members are best formed as preformed metal members having a first end adapted to engage the top horizontal member 14, and a second end adapted to engage the bottom horizontal member 16 in a very secure and permanent fashion. The current preferred means of such engagement of the two ends of the horizontal member 16 to the respective top and bottom horizontal members employs a planar endplate 28. These endplate 28 are preferably formed as an “L” shaped endplate 28 to thereby allow for engagement of two surfaces of each of the top member 14 and the bottom member 16 thereby increasing structural integrity. Fasteners 17 including one or a combination of nails, screws, or other means of attachment of the metal endplate 28 of the metal vertical supports 18, to the horizontal top member 12 and bottom member 16 are employed through apertures 30 therein, to hold the endplate 28 proper position. So positioned, the device 10 has a substantially open side 32 opposite the vertical support wall component 20. The use of the “L” shaped endplate 28 is especially preferred in that a horizontal portion 33 provides vertical support to overhead loads and a vertical portion 35 provides shear and sideways support to the device 10.
Optionally, and in a particularly preferred mode of the device 10, the metal vertical supports 18 may also have one or a combination of apertures 38 preformed therein at the proper height from the base member 16 for the connection of electrical boxes 40 or network junction boxes or the electrical or cable boxes attached between both ends of the vertical support 18 at a mounting point 44. This mounting point 44 of the electrical boxes would be predetermined by the apertures 38 properly positioned to engage with the electrical boxes 40 which the thereby properly position to specifications of local building codes an eventual electrical socket, network plug, phone plug, or other electrical outlet which would mount inside the electrical box 40 and communicate through the finished surface such as drywall 50. Such positioning of the apertures 38 to provide this engagement of electrical boxes 40 in proper positions will save much time and many mistakes by subsequent communications and electrical contractors who currently must measure and place the box 40 into walls.
Prior attempts to provide preformed wall raceways required special tools or were made from metal or materials requiring special glues or unconventional means for attachment to conventional industry standard construction. Consequently they have not been well received in the construction industry.
Because the device 10 forming a baseplate or floor joist raceway herein disclosed, is pre-manufactured in appropriate lengths and widths, and substantially from wood products or plastic or combinations thereof, they lend themselves to standard construction practices using standard construction tools and can be accepted as a product that is easily incorporated into existing construction and material channels of trade.
While all of the fundamental characteristics and features of the improved disclosed and described floor joist raceway with reference to particular embodiments thereof, a latitude of modification, various changes and substitutions are intended in the foregoing disclosure and it will be apparent that in some instance, some features of the invention will be employed without a corresponding use of other features without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth. It should be understood that such substitutions, modifications, and variations may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Consequently, all such modifications and variations are included within the scope of the invention as defined herein.