Title:
LOW PROFILE SHOWER BASE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A low profile shower base includes a base, a threshold cover element and a support structure. The base has a floor with a perimeter wall extending upwardly from the floor, including a threshold wall section at the shower entrance, and with a drain hole located in a catchment area of the floor adjacent to the threshold wall section. The support structure holds the threshold cover element in position contiguous to the threshold wall section above the drain hole, the support structure including spaced elements that allow drainage of water therethrough under the threshold cover element and that allow the threshold cover element to be moved to give access to the catchment area.



Inventors:
Lemire, Guy (Beaumont, CA)
Application Number:
13/028413
Publication Date:
08/18/2011
Filing Date:
02/16/2011
Assignee:
Maax Bath Inc. (Lachine, CA)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/40
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20100050335Cover and Sump Assembly For Preventing Suction EntrapmentMarch, 2010Baker
20050278842Toilet tank automatic flush apparatusDecember, 2005Yen
20080098506Drain cover with fluid flow enhancerMay, 2008Mjelde et al.
20010034906Cable operated automatic pool cover system using buoyant-slat pool coversNovember, 2001Last
20070107116Training potty linerMay, 2007Zamberlan et al.
20060143816Foldable toilet supportJuly, 2006Su
20060031982Portable personal waste deposal unitFebruary, 2006Pittman
20080098508Hair care basin head support apparatusMay, 2008Barrett
20090049600OUTLET ELEMENT FOR A SANITARY FITTINGFebruary, 2009Weis
20040098796Toilet seat and a toilet cover assembly with integrated hinge eyesMay, 2004Christensen et al.
20070204391Toilet Seat With Urine DeflectorSeptember, 2007Marra



Primary Examiner:
SKUBINNA, CHRISTINE J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FASKEN MARTINEAU DUMOULIN, LLP (STOCK EXCHANGE TOWER, SUITE 3700 P.O. BOX 242, 800 PLACE VICTORIA, MONTREAL, QC, H4Z 1E9, CA)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A low profile shower base, comprising: a) a base having a floor with a perimeter wall extending upwardly from the floor, including a threshold wall section at the shower entrance, and with a drain hole located in a catchment area of the floor adjacent to the threshold wall section; b) a threshold cover element; and c) a support structure for holding the threshold cover element in position contiguous to the threshold wall section above the drain hole, the support structure including spaced apart elements that allow drainage of water therethrough under the threshold cover element and that allow the threshold cover element to be moved to give access to the catchment area.

2. The shower base, according to claim 1, in which the shower entrance is located at the front of the base.

3. The shower base, according to claim 2, in which the floor is generally rectangular.

4. The shower base, according to claim 1, in which the support structure is integral with the base.

5. The shower base, according to claim 4, in which the support structure includes a ledge extending along the threshold wall section upon which the threshold cover element can rest.

6. The shower base, according to claim 5, in which the support structure includes a line of supports extending upwardly from the floor and separated by passages.

7. The shower base, according to claim 6, in which the supports have shoulders upon which the threshold cover element can rest.

8. The shower base, according to claim 7, in which the supports demarcate a transition between the floor pan area and the catchment area of the floor.

9. The shower base, according to claim 5, in which the support structure includes at least one support member extending downwardly from the threshold cover element.

10. The shower base, according to claim 1, in which the threshold cover element includes a plurality of openings.

11. The shower base, according to claim 10, in which the plurality of openings are discrete holes or substantially parallel elongate openings.

12. The shower base, according to claim 10, in which the threshold cover element is a grate.

13. The shower base, according to claim 1, in which the threshold cover element is a plate.

14. The shower base, according to claim 1, further includes a ramp element extending outwardly from the threshold wall section; and a platform insert adapted to rest upon the bottom of the base behind the threshold cover element providing a generally level upper surface and providing the drainage of water there through.

15. The shower base, according to claim 1, in which the drain hole has a cover and the top of the threshold cover element is approximately 2 inches above the cover of the drain hole.

16. The shower base, according to claim 1, in which the overall height of the base is approximately 2-¼ inches.

17. The shower base, according to claim 1, in which the bottom slopes downwardly in a floor pan area toward the threshold wall section.

18. A shower enclosure installation, comprising a low profile shower base, according to claim 1, installed directly on a support structure for a finished floor.

19. The installation, according to claim 18, in which the support structure is floor joists.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The applicants hereby claim priority from previously filed U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/305,690, filed on Feb. 18, 2010, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present subject matter concerns pre-fabricated shower bases and more particularly to a pre-fabricated low profile shower base for a shower enclosure.

BACKGROUND

Conventional pre-fabricated shower bases have a drain hole that is located remote from an entrance or front, usually near the centre of a floor pan. A slope on the floor pan of a minimum of 2 degrees is required to direct water to the drain hole. To meet generally accepted North American standards, the threshold of the shower entrance has to be at least 2 inches above the top of the drain hole. However, allowance has to be made for deformation of the base, such as warping, between the drain and the threshold, or the material thickness has to be built up to provide adequate rigidity. Moreover, the drain hole should be provided with a cover that has to be sufficiently thick to meet standards for deflection resistance under load. For typical covers made of plastic material, thicknesses of ¾ inch or more above the drain are common. This design As a result, in practice prefabricated shower bases generally have an overall threshold height considerably more than 2 inches, typically at least 3 inches and often considerably higher.

Many consumers, however, wish to have a shower enclosure with a floor pan that is approximately level with the surrounding finished floor of the room in which the shower enclosure is located, and with as low an entrance threshold as possible. The height of the entrance threshold is particularly a concern for people with disabilities or mobility constraints. In North America, there are specific standards for such installations that permit a much lower threshold than usual, but only if the floor of the room where the shower enclosure is located is equipped with another drain to capture water that may splash out of the shower enclosure.

Thus there is a need for a low profile shower base.

BRIEF SUMMARY

Accordingly in one aspect, there is provided a low profile shower base, comprising:

    • a) a base having a floor with a perimeter wall extending upwardly from the floor, including a threshold wall section at the shower entrance, and with a drain hole located in a catchment area of the floor adjacent to the threshold wall section;
    • b) a threshold cover element; and
    • c) a support structure for holding the threshold cover element in position contiguous to the threshold wall section above the drain hole, the support structure including spaced apart elements that allow drainage of water therethrough under the threshold cover element and that allow the threshold cover element to be moved to give access to the catchment area.

In one example, the shower entrance is located at the front of the base.

In another example, the floor is generally rectangular.

In another example, the support structure is integral with the base. The support structure includes a ledge extending along the threshold wall section upon which the threshold cover element can rest. The support structure includes a line of supports extending upwardly from the floor and separated by passages. The supports have shoulders upon which the threshold cover element can rest. The supports demarcate a transition between the floor pan area and the catchment area of the floor. The support structure includes at least one support member extending downwardly from the threshold cover element.

In one example, the threshold cover element includes a plurality of openings. The plurality of openings are discrete holes or substantially parallel elongate openings. The threshold cover element is a grate.

In another example, the threshold cover element is a plate.

In another aspect, a ramp element extending outwardly from the threshold wall section; and a platform insert adapted to rest upon the floor of the base behind the threshold cover element providing a generally level upper surface and providing the drainage of water there through.

In one example, the drain hole has a cover and the top of the threshold cover element is approximately 2 inches above the cover of the drain hole.

In another example, the overall height of the base is approximately 2-¼ inches.

In another example, the bottom slopes downwardly in a floor pan area toward the threshold wall section.

In another aspect, a shower enclosure installation, comprising a low profile shower base, as described above, installed directly on a support structure for a finished floor.

In one example, the support structure is floor joists.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that the claimed subject matter may be more fully understood, reference will be made to the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numbers are employed to designate similar features, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a low profile shower base;

FIG. 2 is an exploded front perspective view of the shower base of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an exploded rear perspective view of the shower base of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an exploded rear perspective view of a shower base showing an alternative design of a low profile shower base;

FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view taken along line 5-5′ of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternative threshold cover element;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another alternative threshold cover element;

FIG. 8 is a front perspective view of an alternative low profile shower base;

FIG. 9 is an exploded view of the shower base of FIG. 6;;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a shower enclosure with an integral shower base;

FIG. 11 is an exploded view of an alternative design of a low profile shower base;;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a floor and subfloor showing an opening to receive a low profile shower base;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an installed low profile shower base; and

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of an installed alternative low profile shower base.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, specific details are set out to provide examples of the claimed subject matter. However, no embodiment described below is intended to define or limit the claimed subject matter. It should be apparent to those skilled in the art that many variations of the provided examples may be possible within the scope of the claimed subject matter.

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, a low profile shower base is shown generally at 10 and comprises a base 21 with a rectangular bottom floor 22, which defines a floor pan area 35 and a water catchment area 36. A front wall 23, a rear wall 25 and left and right side walls 24 extend upwardly from the floor 22 and form a perimeter. The front wall 23 includes an inward projection 26 which includes a ledge 27.

As best seen in FIG. 3, a line of spaced apart supports 28 extend upwardly from the floor 22 parallel to the front wall 23 demarcating a transition between the floor pan area 35 and the catchment area 36. The supports 28 are separated by passages 29. Each support 28 is stepped to provide a shoulder 30 facing toward the front wall 23. The height of the shoulders 30 is approximately the same as that of the ledge 27 of the front wall 23.

Still referring to FIG. 3, a drain hole 39 is located in the floor 22 near the center of the catchment area 36, between the front wall 23 and the line of spaced apart supports 28. The floor 22 is sloped downwardly in the floor pan area 35 away from the rear wall 25 to the line of supports 28. The floor 22 is generally level in the catchment area 36 between the front wall 23 and the line of supports 28. A grate 31 is removably positioned over the catchment area 36 and when in place rests upon the ledge 27 of the front wall 23 and upon the shoulders 30 of the line of supports 28. The grate 31 establishes a threshold cover element that hides the drain hole 39 from view. The grate 31 may be removed from the base 21 so that the catchment area 36 can be cleaned. The drain hole 39 may additionally include a perforated drain cover (not shown) to prevent loss of objects down the drain while allowing drainage of water.

When the shower base 20 is in use, water will collect on the base 21 and travels down the slope of the floor 22 in the floor pan area 35, through the passages 29 that separate the supports 28, and under the grate 31 into the catchment area 36 and then down the drain hole 39. The base 10 may be used with pre-fabricated wall panels or tiled walls known to a person skilled in the art. The shower enclosure may also include either a curtain or a door to prevent water from escaping while the shower is in use. The walls 23, 24, 25 and the bottom 22 may have an integral surface pattern, and may also be adapted for covering with tiles.

It will also be appreciated that because the drain hole 39 is located behind the front wall 23 and under the grate 31, the base 21 can be made to closer tolerances and minimal material thickness to meet the minimum depth of 2 inches between the top of the drain and the threshold, compared to conventional shower bases where the drain is located remote from the threshold and where allowance must be made for warping or other deformation or where the material must be made substantially thicker to provide sufficient rigidity. In certain examples, the maximum height of the entire base 21 can be as little as 2- 1/4 inches, assuming a material thickness of ¼ inch.

The base 21 and the grate 31 may be made of extruded plastic, other synthetic polymers, such as polyvinyl chloride, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, tripolymer, acrylic, polyurethane, fiberglass with gel coat, cast polymer, stainless steel, painted galvanized steel or aluminum, among other materials that are known to those skilled in the art.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a plate 32 can be used as a threshold cover element in place of the grate 31. The plate 32 is an inverted channel with downward flanges to provide support and rigidity with less material thickness. It will though of course be appreciated that other configurations could be used for the plate 32, including a solid plank or an inverted pan with reinforcements webs, including a reinforcement web grid. The plate 32 also can be adapted to permit overflow water to drain in the event that drainage through the passages 28 is blocked, for example by providing for a gap around the plate 32 and the surrounding base structure.

As best seen in FIG. 5, the front wall 23 may be extended outwardly to provide a sill 50 that can form a seal with a mounted door 51 of a shower enclosure.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7, two alternative threshold cover elements, respectively 31a and 31b are shown, which include a plurality of openings to permit water to flow downwardly through the threshold cover elements 31a and 31b and into the catchment area 36 located below. The threshold cover element 31a is a grate which includes a plurality of substantially parallel elongate openings 46 which extend across the length of the threshold cover element 31a. Alternatively, the threshold cover element 31b includes a plurality of discrete holes 48.

Referring now to FIGS. 8 and 9, an alternative design of a low profile shower base is shown generally at 100 and is intended for shower enclosures used by people with disabilities or mobility constraints. The shower base 100 includes a flooring insert 40 that rests on the floor 22 covering the floor pan area 35, and a ramp 41 that extends outwardly from the front wall 23. The insert 40 has a rectangular platform 42 which is supported by a plurality of flanges 43 that depend downwardly from the front, rear and side edges of the platform 42. The front flange 43a includes spaced apart gaps 44 that align with the passages 29 that separate the supports 28. The side flanges 43b are tapered to match the slope of the bottom 22 in the floor pan area 35 so that the platform 42 is generally level. The platform 42 also includes a plurality of drainage holes 45.

As best seen in FIG. 10, the side walls 24 and rear wall 25 extend upwardly as an integral one piece shower stall.

Referring to FIG. 11, a support structure for the plate 32a is integral with the plate 32a, rather than being integral with the base 21. The plate 32a is configured as an inverted channel with downward flanges to provide support and rigidity; like that described above in FIG. 4, however, a downwardly depending flange 52 on the side that is farthest from the front wall 23 is extended to support the threshold cover element 32a directly on the floor 22 of the base 21. The flange 52 includes a plurality of spaced apart leg elements 53 with gaps 54 between them that allow drainage of water in a manner analogous to the supports 28 and passages 29 described above..

The present shower base can be used for regular shower enclosures and for shower enclosures intended for use by persons with disabilities or who have mobility constraints. As noted above, in certain examples, the total maximum height of the present shower base 21 can be as little as 2-¼ inches, assuming a material thickness of ¼ inch. In other words, if the shower base 21 is installed over a finished floor, the threshold of the resulting shower enclosure would be merely 2-¼ inches above the floor of the surrounding room. However, it should be noted that the present shower base can be supported directly on joists or similar floor support structures.

As shown in FIGS. 12, 13 and 14, an appropriate opening 56 to accommodate the shower base 21 or 100 is made in the finished floor and sub-floor 58. The shower base can then be inserted into the opening 56 resting on the underlying joists 60. The resulting shower enclosure can have a threshold less than 1 inch above the surrounding finished floor of the room in which the shower enclosure is located. It will be noted that in such an installation for a shower enclosure intended for use by persons having disabilities or mobility constraints that the ramp 41 can be made shallower.

It will of course be appreciated by those skilled in the art that many variations are possible within the scope of the claimed subject matter. The embodiments that have been described above are intended to be illustrative of the claimed subject matter and not defining or limiting. For example, while the above embodiments include a shower fixture base whose bottom is generally rectangular, numerous other rectilinear or curvilinear shapes could be used. Moreover, the shower may have its entrance at a location other than at the front, such as at a side, and may have more than one entrance, and more than one drain hole.