Title:
Composite porch post/deck post with fastener mounting
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A resilient post for use on a porch or a deck having a floor and/or a roof deck is described. The post includes a plastic outer shell and a stiffening member that extends within the shell. At least one mounting member secures the stiffening member to the floor or roof of the porch or deck. The mounting member extends outside the shell and has at least one inner fastener hole for securing the stiffening member-to the mounting member. The mounting member also has at least one outer fastener hole for securing said mounting member to the floor or roof.



Inventors:
Erwin, Ronald D. (Fayetteville, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/259038
Publication Date:
06/05/2003
Filing Date:
09/27/2002
Assignee:
ERWIN RONALD D.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C3/30; (IPC1-7): E04C3/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HORTON, YVONNE MICHELE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GARDNER GROFF & GREENWALD, PC (Marietta, GA, US)
Claims:
1. A post for use on a porch or a deck having a floor and/or a ceiling comprising: a plastic outer shell; a stiffening member extending within said shell; and at least one mounting member for securing said stiffening member to the floor or ceiling of the porch or deck, said mounting member extending outside said shell and having at least one inner fastener hole for receiving a fastener for securing said stiffening member to said mounting member and at least one outer fastener hole for receiving a fastener for securing said mounting member to said floor or ceiling.

2. A post as claimed in claim 1 wherein said at least one mounting member comprises two mounting members, one mounting member for securing said stiffening member to the floor and one mounting member for securing said stiffening member to the ceiling.

3. A post as claimed in claim 1 wherein said stiffening member comprises a length of metal tubing.

4. A post as claimed in claim 3 wherein said metal extrusion stiffening member defines a plurality of recesses for receiving a threaded fastener therein.

5. A post as claimed in claim 4 wherein said stiffening member is generally rectangular in cross-section with the plurality of recesses formed adjacent corners thereof.

6. A post as claimed in claim 1 wherein said post has relatively large ends and a reduced-dimension intermediate section there-between, said post further including shims positioned within said large ends to securely position said stiffening member centrally within said large ends.

7. A post as claimed in claim 6 wherein said shims are wooden.

8. A post as claimed in claim 6 wherein said shims are foam.

9. A post as claimed in claim 1 wherein said mounting member has four inner fastener holes and four outer fastener holes.

10. A post as claimed in claim 1 wherein said stiffening member comprises an aluminum extrusion.

11. A resilient post for use with a floor and/or a ceiling comprising: an outer shell having relatively large ends and a reduced-dimension intermediate section; a metal extrusion extending longitudinally within said shell; and at least one mounting member for securing said metal extrusion stiffening member to the floor or the ceiling, said mounting member extending outside said shell and having at least one inner fastener hole for securing said metal extrusion to said mounting member and at least one outer fastener hole for receiving a fastener for securing said mounting member to said floor or ceiling; and at least one shim for securely positioning said metal extrusion centrally within said large end.

12. A post as claimed in claim 11 wherein said at least one mounting member comprises two mounting members, one mounting member for securing said stiffening member to the floor and one mounting member for securing said stiffening member to the ceiling.

13. A post as claimed in claim 11 wherein said at least one shim wooden.

14. A post as claimed in claim 11 wherein said metal extrusion comprises a generally rectangular aluminum extrusion with the screw receiving recesses formed in corners thereof.

15. A modular railing for use with a deck or porch comprising: at least one post for mounting to the deck or porch; a plurality of rails extending from said at least one post; wherein said post comprises: a plastic outer shell; a stiffening member extending within said shell; at least one mounting foot for securing said stiffening member to the floor of the porch or deck, said mounting member extending laterally outside said shell and having at least one inner fastener hole receiving a fastener there-through for securing said stiffening member to said mounting foot and at least one outer fastener hole receiving another fastener there-through for securing said mounting foot to the floor.

16. A modular railing as claimed in claim 14 wherein said stiffening member is an aluminum extrusion having a plurality of recesses formed therein for receiving a threaded fastener therein.

17. A modular railing as claimed in claim 14 wherein said post has large ends and a reduced-dimension intermediate section there-between, said post further including a shim positioned within at least one of said large ends to securely position said stiffening member centrally therein.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] The present non-provisional patent application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/336,817, filed on Dec. 5, 2001 which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present invention relates generally to posts, and more particularly, to a resilient deck post or porch post with fastener mounting for secure attachment to a structure.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Outdoor decks and porches are extremely popular in residential home construction. Homes and apartments, as well as a variety of other buildings, often incorporate exterior decks and porches into their design. Additionally, decks are commonly added onto existing structures and landscapes. These provide convenient spaces for a variety of outdoor activities, including cookouts, dining and sunbathing, as well as other leisure activities. Moreover, decks and porches typically include a railing or perimeter fence to keep people from falling over the edge of the deck. A number of posts usually either anchor the railing and/or support a roof structure.

[0004] Wood products traditionally have been the primary source of materials for use in such construction. However, wood products are becoming increasingly scarce due to the harvesting of trees at ever-faster rates and the rather limited rate at which timber resources can be replenished. Also, environmental concerns and regulations directed to conservation or preservation of forests tend to restrict the availability of wood products. With the diminishing availability of timber resources, wood products are becoming increasingly expensive. There is, therefore, a substantial need for long-lasting substitute construction materials that can reduce harvesting of timber. One potential approach to addressing the above need is to provide substitute porch and decking products made of plastic, rather than wood. However, because deck and porch products must be capable of sustaining certain loads, replacement products need to be stable and rigid. The material should also be capable of economical manufacture and be relatively inexpensive. It also needs to be easily installed and used in the field.

[0005] A variety of plastic building products are known. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,045,603 describes a three-layer synthetic construction material made from recycled waste thermoplastic synthetic resin material and cellulose fiber aggregate. This material includes face surfaces consisting essentially of re-hardened fused and rolled thermoplastic synthetic resin material bits, and an intervening core material consisting essentially of a compressed non-homogenous mixture of cellulose aggregate material bits and re-hardened fused thermoplastic synthetic resin material bits. U.S. Pat. No. 3,764,245 describes an apparatus for producing a light structural board of thermoplastic resin.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 5,862,642 of Erwin describes a reinforced composite deck post for use with a wood joist of a wood deck. The post includes an elongate, hollow, extruded plastic shell and an elongate metal stiffening member positioned within the plastic shell and secured to the shell. Upper and lower shims means are positioned within the plastic shell adjacent to the metal stiffening means. The shims secure the metal stiffening member to the plastic shell.

[0007] Another known post has an all-metal construction including a square metal tubing and a metal mounting foot. The metal mounting foot is secured to a structure with screws or nails and includes upstanding tabs positioned to just fit within the interior of the metal tubing. The metal tubing post is slipped over the tabs to secure the post against lateral movement. However, the post is not secured against vertical movement relative to the tabs.

[0008] According, it can be seen that a need yet exists for a post which can be securely and easily mounted to a structure and which acts as a good substitute for wood posts. It is to the provision of such a post that the present invention is primarily directed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention meets the needs described in a resilient deck post or porch post with fastener mounting that securely mounts the post to a structure.

[0010] In one form, the invention is a post for use on a porch or a deck having a floor and/or a ceiling. The post includes a plastic outer shell and a stiffening member that extends within the shell. At least one mounting member secures the stiffening member to the floor or ceiling of the porch or deck. The mounting member extends outside the shell and has at least one inner fastener hole for securing the stiffening member to the mounting member. The mounting member also has at least one outer fastener hole for securing said mounting member to the floor or ceiling.

[0011] In another form, the invention is a post for use with and/or a ceiling. The post includes an outer shell, and a metal extrusion extends within the shell. At least one mounting member secures the metal extrusion to the floor or the ceiling. The mounting member extends outside the shell and has at least one inner fastener hole for securing the metal extrusion to the mounting member. The outer fastener hole receives a fastener that secures the mounting member to the floor or ceiling. Shims securely position the metal extrusion centrally within the large end.

[0012] In another form, the invention is a ruggedized railing for use with a deck or porch. Several posts connect the railing to the deck or porch. A plurality of rails are connected between adjacent posts. Each of the posts includes a plastic outer shell. A stiffening member extends within the shell. At least one mounting member secures the stiffening member to the floor or ceiling of the porch or deck. The mounting member extends outside the shell and has at least one inner fastener hole for receiving a fastener for securing the stiffening member to the mounting member. At least one outer fastener hole receives a fastener to secure the mounting member to the floor or ceiling.

[0013] The invention utilizes fasteners to effectively secure the post to a structure, such as a floor or a ceiling for a deck or porch. Because the post is fastened to the floor and/or ceiling of the deck or porch, the entire structure is considerably more secure. Consequently, the structure can withstand greater stresses that are particularly evident during inclement weather. Besides the increased rigidity, the invention fastens the post to a mounting member, which makes the post modular. Thus, a user can easily assemble the post before connecting it to the deck or porch. Therefore, the invention can produce a ruggedized railing for either a porch or a deck that is easily assembled and exhibits increased structural strength.

[0014] In view of the foregoing, it will be appreciated that a post assembly, according to the present invention, avoids the drawbacks of prior systems. The specific techniques and structures employed by the invention to improve over the drawbacks of the prior systems and accomplish the advantages described herein will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the embodiments of the invention and the appended drawings and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] FIG. 1 is a front view of a railing with a post fastened to a floor and a ceiling according to a first embodiment of the invention.

[0016] FIG. 2 is an enlarged partially cut-away perspective view of a portion of the post of FIG. 1.

[0017] FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a bottom portion of the post of FIG. 1.

[0018] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the post and floor of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

[0019] In describing the embodiments of the present invention, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected.

[0020] FIG. 1 is a partial front view of a railing 100 with a post 110. The railing 100 can connect to a ceiling 120 and/or to a floor (not shown). The railing 100 can include several posts, such as 110, a handrail 130, a lower rail 133, as well as spindles 135 that extend between these rails. The post 110 typically includes large ends 113 and narrow, or reduced dimension, intermediate sections 115. Typically the large ends 113 are rectangular in cross-section, while the intermediate sections are round in cross-section. In this way, the composite post 110 has the appearance of a traditional turned wooden post. The large ends assist when connecting the post 110 to the ceiling or floor, handrail 130, or lower rail 133. A mounting member or mounting foot 117 vertically connects the post 110 to the roof 120 or floor (not shown). This mounting member is described in greater detail with reference to FIGS. 3-4.

[0021] FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of the post 110. This post includes an outer shell 210 that is generally hollow. When configured as a deck post, the shell 210 could have a length of approximately 43 inches and a wall thickness of 0.150 inches. When configured as a porch post, the post (and shell) typically would be longer so as to extend from floor to ceiling. Typically, this length would be 8 feet (or more). In addition, this outer shell could be composed of a plastic, polyvinylchloride, or some other suitable weatherable material. The components in the post 110 can be made from a single plastic material, varying plastic materials, plastic or wood, plastic and metal, or a combination of plastic, wood and metal.

[0022] An upright stiffening member 220, preferably in the form of a metal extrusion, extends within the shell 210 and serves as a reinforcing element. Preferably, the stiffening member 220 can be composed of a metal aluminum or some other suitable material. The stiffening member 220 has a generally rectangular cross-section with recesses or fastener holes 225 positioned in the corners to receive fasteners. Though not shown, the shape of the fasteners holes 225 can vary depending on the types of fasteners used. Generally, the fastener holes 225 are not pre-threaded. Instead, they can be threaded during use by receiving self-tapping screws. Like the shell 210, the stiffening member 220 is generally hollow with a wall thickness of approximately 0.075 inches and an area of approximately 0.707 inches.

[0023] The post 110 also includes a wedge, or shim, 230 positioned between the shell 210 and the stiffening member 220 within the large ends 113. This shim positions the stiffening member 220 in the center of the large ends 113. In this manner, the stiffening member 220 can fit securely in both the large ends 113 and the small ends 115. The shim 230 could be composed of one or more of several materials, such as wood, plastic, polyurethane foam, stone, or metal. The shim 230 secures the stiffening member 220 against lateral movement within the shell 210. To further limit movement of the stiffening member 220, a fastener can secure the stiffening member 220 to the shim 230. An opening 240 within the large end 113 can receive the handrail 130. The shim can also receive fasteners or recesses therein for securing the rails to the post.

[0024] FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a bottom portion of the post 110 that illustrates the mounting member 117. The mounting member 117 includes inner fastener holes 310 and outer fastener holes 315 that receive fasteners 320. Fasteners received through these inner fastener holes 310 secure the mounting member 117 to the bottom of the stiffening member 220. Though four inner fastener holes 310 are shown, the number of holes and the arrangement of these holes may vary. Similarly, outer fasteners can secure the post 110 to a floor using the outer fastener holes 315. The fasteners 320 could be a pin, bolt, screw, rivet, nail or some other suitable fastener. For example, the fasteners 320 could be self-starting screws. A single mounting plate can be used (for the top of the bottom of the post) or two mounting plates can be used (one at the top and one at the bottom). Further, while thread fasteners are preferred for securing the mounting plate to the stiffening member, in many instances nails will be preferred for securing the mounting plate to a floor or ceiling.

[0025] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the post 110 mounted a floor 400. The fastener 422 secures the mounting member 117 to the metal extrusion 220. In contrast, the fastener 424 secures the mounting member 117 to the floor 400. Consequently, making the fastener 424 larger can assure a more rigid connection to the floor 400. Because the mounting member 300 can be connected to the metal extrusion 220 using the fastener 422, the post 110 is modular. That is, the post 110 can be fully assembled and trimmed for length before it is connected to either a ceiling or a floor. Hence, workers can quickly and effectively secure the post to a floor and/or a ceiling using only a few fasteners and outer fastener holes 315.

[0026] In view of the foregoing, it will be appreciated that present invention provides a resilient post that securely fastens to a structure. While the invention has been disclosed in preferred forms for illustration purposes, those skilled in the art will readily recognize that many modifications, additions, and deletions can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.