Title:
SHOWER BASE FOR A SPACE-LIMITED ROOM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed is a shower base for a space-limited room. The base includes a floor and two rear perimeter portions orthogonally connected at a first junction. The rear perimeter portions are sized and shaped to locate the shower base into a corner of the room. Two front perimeter portions are connected respectively to the two rear perimeter portions at second and third junctions at first and second inner angles each greater than ninety degrees. A third front perimeter portion interconnects the two front perimeter portions at fourth and fifth junctions.



Inventors:
Lebrun, Nicolas (Quebec, CA)
Application Number:
13/570909
Publication Date:
03/14/2013
Filing Date:
08/09/2012
Assignee:
MAAX BATH INC. (Lachine, CA)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/00
View Patent Images:
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20050217020Dual water supply systemOctober, 2005Wade
20070174958Sink constructionAugust, 2007Mckay Jr.



Primary Examiner:
CRANE, LAUREN ASHLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LERNER, DAVID, LITTENBERG, (KRUMHOLZ & MENTLIK 20 Commerce Drive, Cranford, NJ, 07016, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A shower base for a space-limited room, the base comprising: a floor; first and second rear perimeter portions orthogonally connected at a first junction, the rear perimeter portions being sized and shaped to locate the shower base into a corner of the room; first and second front perimeter portions connected respectively to the first and second rear perimeter portions at second and third junctions at first and second inner angles each greater than ninety degrees; and a third front perimeter portion interconnecting the first and second front perimeter portions at fourth and fifth junctions, the front and rear perimeter portions being contiguous with the floor.

2. The shower base, as claimed in claim 1, in which the first and second inner angles are between 90 and 102 degrees.

3. The shower base, as claimed in claim 1, in which the first and second angles are 102 degrees.

4. The shower base, as claimed in claim 1, in which the third front perimeter portion is disposed opposite the first junction.

5. The shower base, as claimed in claim 1, in which the first and second front perimeter portions are disposed opposite the respective first and second rear perimeter portions.

6. The shower base, as claimed in claim 1, in which the front and rear perimeter portions are walls projecting upwardly away from the floor.

7. The shower base, as claimed in claim 1, in which the floor includes a drain hole located near the first junction.

8. The shower base, as claimed in claim 1, in which the shower base is a unitary body.

9. The shower base, as claimed in claim 8, in which the unitary body is prefabricated.

10. The shower base, as claimed in claim 1, wherein the first and second rear perimeter portions are between 30 inches and 48 inches in length.

11. The shower base, as claimed in claim 1, is pentagonal.

12. The shower base, as claimed in claim 1, in which the first and second rear perimeter portions are linear.

13. The shower base, according to claim 1, in which the first and second rear perimeter portions are wavy.

14. A shower unit for a space-limited room, the shower unit comprising: a shower base, as claimed in claim 1; first and second wall panels connected to the first and second rear perimeter portions, the wall panels being adapted to be secured against respective walls at the corner of the room.

15. The shower unit, as claimed in claim 14, in which the walls at the corner of the room are disposed at ninety degrees.

16. The shower unit, as claimed in claim 14, in which the shower base is pentagonal.

17. The shower base, as claimed in claim 14, in which the first and second inner angles are between 90 and 102 degrees.

18. The shower base, as claimed in claim 14, in which the first and second angles are 102 degrees.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/521,797 filed on Aug. 10, 2011 and entitled “SHOWER BASE FOR A SPACE-LIMITED ROOM”, the specification of which is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present relates to shower units, and more particularly, to a shower base for use in space-limited rooms.

BACKGROUND

Showers are commonplace in most modern dwellings and in some public facilities such as gymnasiums. However, in some cases the space available to install a shower in a bathroom may be limited. It may therefore be desirable to locate the shower in a corner of the bathroom. To this end, some manufacturers produce and sell showers with shower bases known as a “belly-type base”. This type of base typically includes two orthogonal, straight sides joined together at a right angle and a rounded side joining the two straight sides. The two straight sides are adapted to be placed against the walls in the corner of the bathroom, while the rounded side faces towards the interior of the bathroom. Shower wall panels, such as glass panels for example, are typically placed vertically over the rounded side to form a shower enclosure in which a user may shower. This type of shower usually requires the shower wall panels to be curved to extend along the rounded side of the shower base. Curved shower panels are more expensive and more complicated to produce than planar panels.

Some manufacturers produce and sell pentagonal shower bases, also known in the art as a “neo-angle” or “neo” shower base, which are square shower bases on which one corner has been truncated to form a pentagonal shape. Shower bases of this type are particularly adapted to be placed in a corner of a bathroom, with one of the non-truncated corners of the shower base being fitted in the room corner and the truncated corner being positioned opposite the room corner. Shower wall panels may then be provided over the sides of the shower bases, and a shower door may be installed over this truncated portion to allow a user to access the shower. The advantage of this configuration is that it is possible to use planar shower wall panels instead of curved panels. However, disadvantageously the interior space available in this type of base will usually be less than the interior space available in showers having a rounded base, because the area of the pentagonal base will be smaller than the area of a comparable rounded base, i.e. a rounded base having an apex which is located on the same radius as the pentagonal base.

Furthermore, the space available in the bathroom may also be restricted due to the presence of a toilet, a bathtub, a bathroom cabinet or other types of bathroom furniture. This bathroom furniture is usually installed along the walls of the bathroom. However, if an item of bathroom furniture is positioned too close to the corner of the room where a user wishes to install the shower, it may interfere with a side of the shower base or with a shower wall panel extending upwardly from one of the sides of the shower base. The user may therefore be forced to select a shower having a smaller base, and therefore less interior space, which may be less comfortable to shower in or which may restrict movement of the user when he or she is showering.

Thus, there is a need for an improved shower and/or a shower base which is designed to permit location in a space-limited room, yet provides the user with a sufficient usable area in which to enjoy a shower.

BRIEF SUMMARY

Our new shower base unexpectedly provides a usable area of shower pan which is larger than a conventional corner located shower base. This is particularly desirable in rooms where space for a shower unit is limited, especially if other bathroom fixtures such as toilets and sinks are also located in the room. To achieve this, we have increased the angles at two junctions in the shower base to be greater than 90 degrees, which is used in conventional shower bases. This permits the front portion of the shower base to be extended away from the rear portion of the shower base so as to provide a greater usable area in the shower pan.

According to one aspect, there is provided a shower base for a space-limited room, the base comprising:

    • a floor;
    • first and second rear perimeter portions orthogonally connected at a first junction, the rear perimeter portions being sized and shaped to locate the shower base into a corner of the room;
    • first and second front perimeter portions connected respectively to the first and second rear perimeter portions at second and third junctions at first and second inner angles each greater than ninety degrees; and
    • a third front perimeter portion interconnecting the first and second front perimeter portions at fourth and fifth junctions, the front and rear perimeter portions being contiguous with the floor.

In one example, the first and second inner angles are between 90 and 102 degrees. In another example, the first and second angles are 102 degrees.

In one example, the third front perimeter portion is disposed opposite the first junction.

In another example, the first and second front perimeter portions are disposed opposite the respective first and second rear perimeter portions.

In another example, the front and rear perimeter portions are walls projecting upwardly away from the floor.

In one example, the floor includes a drain hole located near the first junction.

In one example, the shower base is a unitary body, which may be prefabricated.

In one example, the first and second rear perimeter portions are between 30 inches and 48 inches in length.

In one example, the shower base is pentagonal.

In one example, the first and second rear perimeter portions are linear.

In another example, the first and second rear perimeter portions are wavy.

According to another aspect, there is provided a shower unit for a space-limited room, the shower unit comprising:

    • a shower base, as described above;
    • first and second wall panels connected to the first and second rear perimeter portions, the wall panels being adapted to be secured against respective walls at the corner of the room.

In one example, the walls at the corner of the room are disposed at ninety degrees.

In one example, the shower base is pentagonal.

According to yet another aspect, there is provided a shower base for a space-limited room, the base comprising:

    • a floor;
    • first and second rear perimeter portions orthogonally connected at a first junction, the rear perimeter portions being sized and shaped to locate the shower base into a corner of the room;
    • first and second front perimeter portions connected respectively to the first and second rear perimeter portions at second and third junctions at first and second inner angles each greater than ninety degrees; and
    • a third front perimeter portion interconnecting the first and second front perimeter portions at fourth and fifth junctions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that the invention may be readily understood, embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example in the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a shower unit showing a pentagonal shower base, in accordance with one embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view showing a comparison of the shower base area and that of a conventional shower base;

FIG. 3 is a rear perspective view of the pentagonal shower base;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the pentagonal shower base;

FIG. 5 is a cross-section view, taken along cross-section line VII-VII of FIG. 3, of the shower base shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a rear side elevation view of the shower base shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a left side elevation view of the shower base shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view showing a pentagonal shower base, in accordance with an alternative embodiment.

Further details of the invention and its advantages will be apparent from the detailed description included below.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description of the embodiments, references to the accompanying drawings are by way of illustration of an example by which the invention may be practiced. It will be understood that other embodiments may be made without departing from the scope of the invention disclosed.

Referring now to FIG. 1, a shower unit is illustrated generally at 100 installed in a corner of room, such as a bathroom of a dwelling. The shower unit 100 includes a shower base 102 and can include one or more wall panels 116, 118 mounted on the shower base 102 extending upwardly away from it. The shower unit 100 fits snuggly in the corner against two walls 150, 152, which are typically about 90 degrees to each other. The shower unit 100 can also include shelving 124 molded into the either of the two wall panels 116, 118, or the shelving 124 can be a separate piece which can be installed separately. In the example illustrated, the wall panels 116, 118 are sealed against the walls 150, 152 using conventional sealing methods such as caulking. Alternatively, the shower unit 100 may merely include the shower base 102 located snuggly in the corner of the room and sealed against the walls 150, 152 thereby eliminating the need for the wall panels 116, 118.

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the shower base 102 has a pentagonal configuration and includes a floor 104; first and second rear perimeter portions 106, 108 which are orthogonally connected at a first junction 109; and first and second front perimeter portions 110, 112 which are connected respectively to the first and second rear perimeter portions 106, 108 at second and third junctions 113, 115. The rear perimeter portions 106, 108 are sized and shaped to locate the shower base 102 into the corner of the room for a snug fit. Typically, the rear perimeter portions 106, 108 are connected to each other at about 90 degrees to permit installation of the shower base 102 into the corner of the room. In some circumstances, the walls 150, 152 may not intersect at 90 degrees and so the installer may need to add caulk around the perimeter of the shower base near the walls to ensure a watertight, gap-free fit. A third front perimeter portion 114 interconnects the first and second front perimeter portions 110, 112 at fourth and fifth junctions 117, 119. The third front perimeter portion 114 is disposed opposite the first junction 109. The front and rear perimeter portions 106, 108, 110, 112 and 114 are contiguous with the floor 104 and define a shower base which is sufficiently strong to support the weight of a human user. In one example, the front and rear perimeter portions 106, 108, 110, 112 and 114 are walls which extend generally upwardly from the perimeter of the floor 104 and which will be described in more detail below. A drain 128 is located in the floor 104, typically near the first junction, to permit waste water to flow into and away from the shower base 102.

The drain hole 128 includes a generally frusto-conical recess 250, extending below the floor 104. An annular surface 252 is further defined at the bottom of the frusto-conical recess 250, around a central, circular drain hole 254. A person skilled in the art will appreciate that the drain hole 254 is sized and shaped to be operatively connected to a drainpipe (not shown) while the annular surface 252 may be used to support a grate for instance, to prevent large debris from entering the drainpipe.

The floor 104 is funneled to permit flow of waste water into the drain hole 128. The floor 104 is concave downward and the drain hole 128 is located at the lowermost point of the floor 104 to direct waste water along the floor 104 and into the drain hole 128.

The shower unit 102 also includes additional shower unit features such as one or more shower heads, which are well known in the art and will not be described in detail.

When the shower unit 100 is installed, the first rear perimeter portion 106 extends along the first room wall 150 and the second rear perimeter portion 108 extends along the second room wall 152 to define a corner angle C1 of about 90 degrees. The first front perimeter portion 110 is connected to the first rear perimeter portion 106 and is angled away from the first room wall 150 to define a first inner angle O1 of greater than 90 degrees with the first rear perimeter portion 106. Similarly, the second front perimeter portion 112 is connected to the second rear perimeter portion 108 and is angled away from the second room wall 152 to define a second inner angle O2 of greater than 90 degrees with the second rear perimeter portion 108. The third front perimeter portion 114 is connected to the first and second front perimeter portions 110, 112 and defines third and fourth inner angles O3 and O4. If the first and second inner angles O1 and O2 are greater than 90 degrees, the third and fourth inner angles O3 and O4 will each be less than 135 degrees. For example, if the first and second inner angles O1 and O2 are each 102 degrees, then the third and fourth inner angles O3 and O4 will each be 123 degrees.

In the illustrated example, the shower base 102 is a unitary body which may be prefabricated using any material and techniques known in the art such as thermoset composite, injection thermoplastic, hand laid composite, by casting, by thermoforming or the like. Alternatively, the front and rear perimeter portions 106, 108, 110, 112 and 114 and the floor 104 may all be provided as distinct elements which can be assembled using known assembly techniques. For example, the shower base 102 may be a concrete base structure defining the shape of the shower base 102 with tiles covering the concrete base structure.

Advantageously, by increasing the first and second inner angles O1 and O2 to greater than 90 degrees each, the lengths (L1 and L2) of the two rear perimeter portions 106 and 108 and also the wall panels 116, 118 can be decreased while maintaining constant the size of the usable area on the shower base 102, thereby providing more wall space near the shower unit 102 to, for example, add electrical switches, electrical outlets or ornamental features such as pictures.

The shower unit 102 typically includes one or more doors (not shown for ease of presentation) known in the art, which are either hingeably connected to the shower unit or slidably mounted on either the shower base 102 or on rails located on the shower base or directly above the shower base. Other conventional items such as curtains can be included in the shower unit so as to define a closable interior space 126 to prevent water from exiting the shower unit 102.

In conventional shower units, the size of the interior space 126 inside the shower enclosure limits movement of the user during showering. By providing the shower base 102 with first and second inner angles O1, O2 which are greater than 90 degrees, it is possible to provide a shower unit 100 which covers the first and second room walls 150, 152 along the same wall covering distances L1 and L2 as a conventional shower, while providing greater interior space inside the shower unit 100.

As best shown in FIG. 2, the first and second front perimeter portions 110, 112 extend away from the first and second room walls 150, 152 while converging towards each other and are interconnected with the third front perimeter portion 114.

Referring now to FIG. 3, in the shower base 102 illustrated, the front and rear perimeter portions 106, 108, 110, 112 and 114 are walls which extend generally upwardly along the perimeter of the floor 104. The walled design of the shower base 102 is a pan configuration which catches water as it falls into the pan and channels it towards the drain 128.

As best seen FIG. 3 and FIG. 5, the front and rear perimeter portions 106, 108 each includes a panel connector 220, 222 for receiving the wall panels and holding them upright. In this embodiment, the front and rear perimeter portions 106 each further comprise a step 204 extending from the panel connectors 220, 222 downwardly towards the pan to permit the rear perimeter portions 106, 108 to be mounted onto floor joists or plinths adjacent the walls by locating the rear of the step 204 onto the joists or plinths. The step 204 includes a ledge 200, which extends around the periphery of front and rear perimeter portions 106, 108. The step 204 permits location of a generally pentagonal recess 202, which is located below the ledge 200. The edges of the step 204 are rounded to provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance to the shower base 102, to simplify cleaning and to significantly reduce or essentially eliminate cracking of the shower base 102 at the step 204.

As best illustrated in FIGS. 3 to 5, the front perimeter portions 110, 112, 114 each includes a thin piece of material having a generally V-shaped cross-section which defines an inner wall 700 and an outer wall 702. A person skilled in the art will appreciate that this piece of material may be formed by molding during manufacturing of the shower base 102. Furthermore, when seen from above, the front perimeter portions 110, 112, 114 are wavy. As shown in FIG. 4, the second front perimeter portion 110 has a first end portion 300 which is generally straight and extends away from the first rear perimeter portion 106 generally orthogonally thereto. An outwardly curved elbow 302 connects the first end portion 300 to a second, also generally straight end portion 304 which extends at an angle relative to the first end portion 300. The first inner angle O1 is therefore defined between the first rear perimeter portion 106 of the shower base 102 and the second end portion 304 of the first front perimeter portion 110. Alternatively, the first front perimeter portion 110 may include a single straight portion angled away relative to the first rear perimeter portion 106 of the shower base 102, in which case the first inner angle O1 would be defined between the first rear perimeter portion 106 and this single straight portion.

Since the third front perimeter portion 112 is substantially identical to the second front perimeter portion 110, it will not be described in any detail.

Still referring to FIGS. 3 to 5, the pentagonal recess 202 is thus bounded by the floor 104 and is surrounded by the inner surface 212 of the first and second rear perimeter portions 106, 108 and by the inner wall 700 of the first, second and third front perimeter portions 110, 112, 114. As best shown in FIG. 5, the inner surface 212 is angled inwardly to direct the waste water in the shower base 102 to the drain 128. Similarly, the inner wall 700 of the first, second and third front perimeter portions 110, 112, 114 is also angled inwardly for the same purpose.

As best shown in FIG. 7, the outer walls 702 of the first, second and third front perimeter portions 110, 112, 114 extend below the floor 104. A person skilled in the art will understand that the shower base 102 is adapted to be mounted on a support structure which is laid out on the floor of the room, and that the outer walls 702 hide this support structure from view when the shower base 102 is installed. In one example, the support structure is a foam layer made of a foam material such as polystyrene-based foam. Alternatively, the support structure may be a molded structure sized and shaped to be inserted below the floor 104. For example, the molded structure could be a generally pentagonal-shaped structure slightly smaller than the shower base such that it could fit under it, between the first room wall 150, the second room wall 152, and the outer walls 702 of the first, second and third front perimeter portions 110, 112, and 114. The pentagonal-shaped structure would comprise a flat panel on which are provided a plurality of protrusions or ribs, which would be sufficiently rigid to support the user when the user is using the shower. Since the outer walls 702 of the first, second and third front perimeter portions 110, 112, 114 hide this support structure from view when the shower base 102 is properly installed, the outer walls 702 may be provided with an aesthetically pleasing design.

In the example illustrated in FIGS. 2 to 7, the shower base 102 has few, if any, sharp edges, which advantageously permits ease of manufacturing of the shower base 102 and facilitates cleaning of the shower base 102 by preventing water and/or scum from accumulating in the internal edges.

It will be appreciated that the shower 100 and/or shower base 102 may be configured according to one of various other configurations. For instance, in an alternative embodiment, the shower does not comprise any wall panels. Instead, the room walls may be covered with tiles, for example, as is known to a skilled addressee.

Referring now to FIG. 2, a comparison between the shower base 102 (shown in solid lines) and a conventional shower base 800 (shown in broken lines) is shown which emphasizes the structural differences therebetween. In FIG. 8, the shower unit 100 is installed in the corner of the bathroom. By way of example, a toilet 850 is shown located next to the shower 100.

In this example, the shower base 102 extends along the first and second room walls 150, 152 along the same wall covering distances L1 and L2 as the conventional shower base 800. However, the inner angles O′1, O′2 of the conventional shower base 800 are substantially equal to 90 degrees, whereas the inner angles O1, O2 of the shower base 102 are greater than 90 degrees. In the example illustrated, the inner angles O1, O2 of the shower base 102 are about 102 degrees each. This allows the shower base 102 to be provided with first and second front perimeter portions 110, 112 which are longer than the corresponding first and second rear portions 802, 804 of the conventional shower base 800. The third front perimeter portion 114 has the same length as a third front perimeter portion 806 of the conventional shower base 800. This advantageously permits the shower base 102 to be fitted with a similar door panel as the conventional shower base 800 to provide the user with the same clearance to enter the shower unit 100 as would the conventional shower base 800. This configuration also advantageously permits the shower unit 100 to be provided with a conventional door panel as used with conventional showers, instead of having to manufacture a new door panel sized specifically to be used with the shower base 102.

It can further clearly be seen from FIG. 2 that the shower base 102 has a greater surface area than the conventional shower base 800, and therefore offers greater interior space inside the shower unit 100. For example, the first and second rear perimeter portions 106, 108 of both the shower base 102 and the conventional shower base 800 have a length of about 36 inches. However, the conventional shower base 800 only provides an area of about 1126 square inches, whereas the shower base 102 has an area of about 1450 square inches. This advantageously provides the user with greater interior space to move around freely while showering. Providing more interior space in the shower unit 100 may also leave the user feeling less confined and more comfortable when showering, which may advantageously cause a user shopping for a shower to select the shower base 102 over the conventional shower base 800.

Furthermore, the shower base 102 provides sufficient clearance relative to the toilet 850. Specifically, it may be possible to provide a conventional shower base 800 having the same area as the shower base 102 illustrated in FIG. 2, but in that case, the first and second rear perimeter portions of this conventional shower base would have to be longer than the first and second rear perimeter portions 106, 108 of the conventional shower base 800. This may make the toilet 850 uncomfortable or impractical to use because of the proximity of the shower unit 100, or may even cause the conventional shower base and/or a wall panel mounted to the conventional shower base to interfere with the toilet 850, making it impossible to install the shower unit 100 in the corner of the room.

Alternatively, to obtain a similar interior space as with the conventional shower base 800, the shower base 102 may be provided with shorter first and second rear perimeter portions 106, 108, which would advantageously provide even more clearance relative to the toilet 850.

Alternatives

Although the shower base 102 referred to above is described as “pentagonal”, the shower base need not have straight front and rear perimeter portions. Referring now to FIG. 8, an alternative design of a shower base is shown generally at 900, which may be located in the corner of the room in a similar fashion to that described above.

Since the shower base 900 is essentially identical to the shower base 102 described above, only the salient differences will be described. The shower base 900 includes wavy first and second rear perimeter portions 902, 904. The first and second rear perimeter portions 902, 904 do not contact their respective wall along its whole length, but each one comprises at least one contact point with its respective wall to allow proper positioning of the shower base 900 in the corner of the room. The first rear perimeter portion 902 forms a first corner 912 with a first front perimeter portion 906. The first rear portion 902 further includes a sharp bend located between a first corner 912 and the second rear perimeter portion 904 which defines a second corner 914. As can be seen from FIG. 8, when the shower base 900 is installed in the corner of the room, the first and second corners 912, 914 both contact a first wall 950. The second rear perimeter portion includes third and fourth corners 916, 918 which contact a second wall 952 when the shower base 900 is installed. First, second and third front perimeter portions 906, 908 and 910 are essentially identical to the front perimeter portions of the shower base 102 and include first and second inner angles O1 and O2 which are each greater than 90 degrees. The alternative shower base 900 also has the same advantages as the shower base 102.

Although the above description relates to a specific preferred embodiment as presently contemplated by the inventor, it will be understood that the invention in its broad aspect includes mechanical and functional equivalents of the elements described herein.





 
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