Title:
METHOD AND CORNER PANEL FOR A VENEER WALL PANEL SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A corner panel for a veneer wall panel system includes a body having a fastener section extending in a first plane and a fastenerless section extending in a second plane. The first and second planes define an included corner angle A. In addition, a method is provided for securing a corner panel of a veneer wall panel system to a corner of an underlying support structure. That method includes the step of positioning the corner panel on the corner of the underlying support structure, fastening the corner panel to the support structure only along a first section of the corner panel and maintaining a second section of the corner panel free of any fasteners. In this way, it is possible to decouple any corner stresses between the corner panel and the underlying support structure.



Inventors:
Tyler, Francis S. (Westerville, OH, US)
Hines, David C. (Swanton, OH, US)
Wolf, David H. (Newark, OH, US)
Broehl, Joshua Michael (Worthington, OH, US)
Float, Jamison Joseph (Westerville, OH, US)
Lua, James Huang (Columbus, OH, US)
Application Number:
12/062223
Publication Date:
10/08/2009
Filing Date:
04/03/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KATCHEVES, BASIL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALSTON & BIRD LLP (BANK OF AMERICA PLAZA 101 SOUTH TRYON STREET, SUITE 4000, CHARLOTTE, NC, 28280-4000, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A corner panel for a veneer wall panel system, comprising: a body including a fastener section extending in a first plane and a fastenerless section extending in a second plane wherein said first plane and said second plane define an included corner angle A.

2. The corner panel of claim 1, wherein said body includes a facing and a backer.

3. The corner panel of claim 2, wherein said facing is made from a cast material selected from a group consisting of concrete, reinforced concrete, gypsum, reinforced gypsum, reinforced cementitious material, and mixtures thereof.

4. The corner panel of claim 3, wherein said facing includes at least one design element.

5. The corner panel of claim 4, wherein said facing includes only one design element selected from a group of possible design element images consisting of brick, stone, and tile.

6. The corner panel of claim 2, wherein said backer is made from a material selected from a group consisting of metal, plastic, composite, steel, corrosion-resistant steel, aluminum, stainless steel, zinc, copper, and combinations thereof.

7. The corner panel of claim 1, wherein said corner angle A is between about 90 to about 120 degrees.

8. The corner panel of claim 1, wherein said angle A is about 90 degrees.

9. The corner panel of claim 1, wherein said body includes a projecting hem.

10. The corner panel of claim 1, wherein said body includes a first hem projecting from a first edge of said fastener section and a second hem projecting from a second edge of said fastener section.

11. The corner panel of claim 10, wherein said first hem and said second hem project in opposite directions.

12. The corner panel of claim 11, further including fasteners received and held in said first hem and said second hem to secure said panel to an underlying support structure.

13. The corner panel of claim 2, further including a plurality of dimples projecting from said backer away from said facing.

14. The corner panel of claim 1, wherein said corner panel is reversible.

15. A method of securing a corner panel of a veneer wall panel system to a corner of an underlying support structure, said method comprising: positioning the corner panel on the corner of the underlying support structure so that a first section of said corner panel extends along a first portion of said support structure extending away from said corner in a first direction and a second section of said corner panel extends along a second portion of said support structure extending away from said corner in a second direction; fastening the corner panel to the support structure only along the first section of the corner panel; and maintaining the second section free of any fasteners to fasten the wall panel to the underlying support structure so that said corner panel may accommodate imperfections in a corner angle formed by the underlying support structure while decoupling any corner stresses between the corner panel and the underlying support structure.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD AND INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to the construction field and, more particularly to a corner panel for a veneer wall panel system and a method of mounting that corner panel to an underlying support structure whereby any corner stresses between the corner panel and the underlying support structure are decoupled.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Prefabricated or cast veneer wall panels have been developed as a quick and efficient way to provide a masonry appearance for a building while simplifying construction and lowering construction cost. The design elements of prefabricated wall panels typically simulate brick, stone, tile, and other masonry building components or materials commonly used in the construction of buildings. Examples of prefabricated wall panels are disclosed in, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 1,592,591 to Amele; U.S. Pat. No. 4,659,055 to Hardt; U.S. Pat. No. 3,426,490 to Taylor; U.S. Pat. No. 4,644,719 to Salazar; and U.S. Pat. No. 3,740,910 to Taylor et al.

It is also known in the art to provide specialized corner panels for forming outside building corners in cast veneer wall panel systems. Examples of corner panels are disclosed in the Taylor, Taylor et al and Hardt patents mentioned above. Such corner panels include two sections extending in different planes that define an included angle of 90 degrees. In the past, such corner panels have been anchored to the underlying support structure along both sections of the corner panel, that is, on both sides of the corner defined by the underlying support structure. Where the corner angle (as defined by the corner panel) and the corner angle (as defined by the underlying support structure) do not perfectly match and the corner panel is subsequently attached or mounted to the underlying support structure, such a mounting arrangement or approach causes stresses to build in the corner panel and/or the underlying support structure, which can lead to premature failure over time and a reduced service life for the veneer wall panel system.

The present invention relates to a new and improved corner panel and a method of mounting that corner panel that decouples the stresses between the corner panel and the underlying support structure. By eliminating these stresses, the integrity and service life of a wall panel system are significantly enhanced.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the purposes of the present invention as described herein, an improved corner panel is provided for a veneer wall panel system. The corner panel comprises a body including a fastener section extending in a first plane and a fastenerless section extending in a second plane, wherein said first plane and said second plane define an included angle A. The body of the corner panel includes a facing and a backer.

The facing may be made from a cast material selected from a group consisting of concrete, reinforced concrete, gypsum, reinforced cementitious material and mixtures thereof. The facing includes at least one design element. In a typical embodiment, the facing includes only one design element. That design element is selected from a group of possible design element images consisting of a brick, a stone, and a tile.

The backer is made from a material selected from a group consisting of metal, plastic, composite, steel, corrosion-resistant steel, aluminum, stainless steel, zinc, copper and combinations thereof. The corner angle A defined by the two sections of the body may be substantially any angle desired. Typically, the corner angle A is between about 90 to about 120 degrees. For most applications the corner angle A is about 90 degrees.

Further describing the invention, the fastener section includes a projecting hem. In one embodiment, the fastener section includes a first hem projecting from a first edge of a fastener section and a second hem projecting from a second edge of the fastener section. The first hem and second hem may project in opposite directions. In addition fasteners are received and held in the first and second hems to secure the panel to the underlying support structure.

In accordance with still an additional aspect of the present invention, a plurality of dimples may be provided projecting from the backer away from the facing. These dimples serve to provide a drainage space between the corner panel and the underlying support structure. In addition, it should be appreciated that the corner panel is reversible, that is, the corner panel can be used to form left handed or right handed corners.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, a method is provided of securing a corner panel of a veneer wall panel system to a corner of an underlying support structure. The method comprises the step of positioning the corner panel on the corner of the underlying support structure so that a first section of the corner panel extends along a first portion of the support structure extending away from the corner in a first direction and a second section of the corner panel extends along a second portion of the support structure extending away from the corner in a second direction. In addition, the method includes the steps of fastening the corner panel to the support structure only along the first section of the corner panel and the maintaining of the second section free of any fasteners that would fasten the wall panel to the underlying support structure. By mounting the corner panel to the support structure in this way, the corner panel may accommodate imperfections in a corner angle formed by the underlying support structure, while decoupling any corner stresses between the corner panel and the underlying support structure.

In the following description there is shown and described several different embodiments of the invention, simply by way of illustration of some of the modes best suited to carry out the invention. As it will be realized, the invention is capable of other different embodiments and its several details are capable of modification in various, obvious aspects all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and descriptions will be regarded as illustrative in nature and not as restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings incorporated herein and forming a part of the specification, illustrate several aspects of the present invention and together with the description serve to explain certain principles of the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is perspective view of the corner panel of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front plan view of the first or fastener section of the wall panel illustrated in FIG. 1; and

FIGS. 3A and 3B are top plan views illustrating how the corner panel and fastening method of the present invention decouple stresses between the corner panel and the underlying support structure when the corner panel is mounted or secured to that structure.

Reference will now be made in detail to the present preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Reference is now made to FIGS. 1, 2, 3A, and 3B, which illustrate one possible embodiment of the corner panel 10 of the present invention. As illustrated, the corner panel 10 comprises a facing 12 and a backer 14. The facing 12 may be made from a cast material such as concrete, reinforced concrete, gypsum, reinforced cementitious material and mixtures thereof. Typically, the cast material reinforcement comprises fibers selected from a group of materials consisting of glass fibers, mineral fibers, natural fibers, polymer fibers and mixtures thereof. When glass fibers are used they are typically E-glass or AR-glass type which exhibits some alkali resistance.

The backer 14 may be made from a material selected from a group consisting of metal, plastic, composite, steel, corrosion-resistant steel, aluminum, stainless steel, zinc, copper, and combinations thereof. The corrosion-resistant steel may take any number of forms, including but not limited to galvanized, galvanneal, GAVALUME brand, tin coating, chromium coating, nickel coating phosphorous coating, magnesium coating, copper coating, weathering steels (i.e., alloys of steel with small additions of copper, aluminum, nickel and/or phosphorous), polymer coatings, paint, and combinations thereof.

Polymer materials useful for making of the backer 14 includes various thermoplastic and thermoset resins, including but not limited to polyolefins, polyesters, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, polyethylene, polyamide, epoxy, vinyl ester, acrylic, polystyrene, ABS, melamine, and mixtures thereof. Composite materials used to make the backer 14 include a reinforcing material and a matrix binder. Appropriate reinforcing materials useful in the present invention can include glass fibers, natural fibers, mineral fibers, basalt fibers, carbon fibers, kenaf fibers, jutte fibers, hemp fibers, E-glass fibers, C-glass fibers, R-glass fibers, S-glass fibers, ECR-glass fibers, AR-glass fibers, and mixtures thereof. It should be appreciated, that substantially any type of glass fiber may be used for reinforcement fibers. Glass fibers appropriate for use in the present invention may be loose chopped strand or glass mat and include those available under the trademarks ADVANTEX. Matrix binders useful for this purpose can include polyolefins, polyesters, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, polyethylene, polyamide, epoxy, vinyl ester, and mixtures therefore.

The facing 12 and backer 14 are connected together by any appropriate manner known in the art including but not limited to embedding a portion of the backer 14 in the cast material of the facing 12.

The body of the corner panel 10 comprises the facing 12 and the backer 14. The body also includes a first or fastener section 16 extending in a first plane P1 and a second or fastenerless section 18 extending in a second plane P2. The first plane P1 and the second plane P2 (i.e., the first section 16 and second section 18 respectfully) of the corner panel 10 define an included corner angle A. In one embodiment the corner angle A may be substantially any angle, but is typically between about 90 to about 120 degrees and in another embodiment typically about 90 degrees.

In the illustrated embodiment, the included corner angle is 90 degrees and the facing 12 forms a single design element. In the illustrated embodiment that design element has the appearance of a single brick. It should be appreciated, that the design element may take other forms, such as stone or tile. In fact, the design element may simulate substantially any masonry material known to be used in the art. The corner panel 10 is provided for a cast veneer wall panel system of the type used as a wall cladding for a building. Further applications can include the construction of a fireplace surround or an outdoor living component, such as a decorative wall or grill surround. The illustrated corner panel 10 simulates a single design element or brick; it should be appreciated that the corner panel could simulate more than one design element. Such a corner panel would typically include a mortar field for receiving and holding mortar that outlines the design elements to provide the desired masonry appearance.

As best illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, a series of spaced dimples 20 are provided on the first and second sections of the backer 14. These dimples project rearwardly or away from the facing 12. When the corner panel 10 is mounted to a support structure S, as illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, the dimples 20 ensure that a space or gap G is provided between the corner panel and the support structure to allow drainage of moisture.

As best illustrated in FIG. 2, the body of the corner panel 10 includes a first hem 22 projecting from a first edge 24 and a second hem 26 projecting from a second edge 28. As illustrated the two hems 22, 26 project in opposing directions. Each hem 22, 26 include a series of apertures 30 that receive appropriate fasteners to secure the corner panel 10 to the support structure S. The fasteners can include nails and/or screws.

As illustrated in FIG. 3A and/or 3B, the corner panel 10 is only fastened to the underlying support structure S along the fastener section 16. No fasteners are provided along the fastenerless section 18. Accordingly, the corner panel 10 is secured to the corner of an underlying support structure S by (a) positioning the corner panel on the corner of the underlying support structure so that the first or fastener section 16 extends along a first portion B of the support structure extending away from the corner C in a first direction and the second or fastenerless section 18 of the corner panel extends along a second portion D of the support structure extending away from the corner C in a second direction; (b) fastening the corner panel to the support structure only along the first section of the corner panel; and (c) maintaining the second section free of any fasteners to fasten the wall panel to the underlying support structure. In this way, the corner panel 10 may accommodate imperfections in the angle of the corner C formed by the underlying support structure S while decoupling any corner stresses between the corner panel and the underlying support structure.

More specifically, reference is made to FIG. 3A showing the situation where the angle of the corner C actually formed by the support structure S is slightly less than the 90 degree corner angle of the corner panel. Since the corner panel 10 is only secured to the support structure S by fasteners extending through the first and second hems 22, 26 along the fastener section 16, the second section 18 is cantilevered from the first section so as to float above the surface of the support structure. Neither the support structure S nor the corner panel 10 are subjected to the stresses that would be incurred if the second or fastenerless section 18 of the corner panel were also secured or fastened to the support structure, that is, if the 90 degree angle of the corner panel were forced to follow the slightly smaller acute angle of the support structure.

FIG. 3B shows the opposite situation. In this illustration, the support structure S includes a corner C having an angle slightly greater than the 90 degree angle of the corner panel 10. Once again, since the corner panel 10 is only secured to the support structure S along the first or fastener section 16, the second or fastenerless section 18 is held cantilevered over the support structure S and the 90 degree corner angle formed in the panel 10 is not forced to conform to the slightly larger angle of the support structure. As a result, corner stresses between the corner panel 10 and the underlying support structure S are decoupled. By decoupling these stresses, both the support structure and the corner panel maintain their integrial and provide a longer service life.

FIGS. 3A and 3B also illustrate the reversibility of the corner panel 10 of the present invention. More specifically, by simply inverting the corner panel 10, the corner panel 10 can be made to fit a right hand or left hand corner C.

Summarizing, the corner panel 10 is only connected to the underlying support structures S along the hems 22, 26 projecting from the fastener section 16. The fastenerless section remains free floating over the underlying support structure. In addition, the corner panel 10 is not directly connected or fastened to any other veneer wall panel above it, below it, or at either end; this minimizes the stress placed upon the corner panel 10. For purposes of aesthetics, mortar is used to fill any gap between the corner panel 10 and the adjacent panels. It should be appreciated that mortar is weaker than the corner panel 10 and, accordingly, the mortar will crack due to any building movement or stress before the corner panel 10 will be damaged. Advantageously, cracked mortar is a relatively simple and inexpensive repair. Thus, an aesthetic appearance is achieved while maintenance costs are controlled.

The foregoing description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Obvious modifications or variations are possible in light of the above teachings. The embodiments were chosen and described to provide the best illustration of the principles of the invention and its practical application to thereby enable one of ordinary skill in the art to utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. All such modifications and variations are within the scope of the invention as determined by the appended claims when interpreted in accordance with the breadth to which they are fairly, legally and equitably entitled. The drawings and preferred embodiments do not and are not intended to limit the ordinary meaning of the claims in their fair and broad interpretation in any way.





 
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