Drainage and footing form device
Kind Code:

A water-impervious, non-biodegradable, unitary drainage device for conveying subsoil seepage to suitable disposal areas. The invention features a “sandwich” construction consisting of a planar top and base sheets, set apart by a matrix of supports, disposed between and integrally joined to the sheets. The matrix is a row-column array of frusto-geometrically shaped elements; in an alternate embodiment, this sheet-separating array is a series of parallel row, or columnar, partitions. Partitions, in emulation of discrete posts, contain structural separations, at selected locations, in order to relinquish the inherent rigidity of the unitary construction. The parallel top and bottom sheets are fixed permanently to, or formed integrally with, posts or partitions, rendering the nominal construction quite rigid. Making selective through-cuts in the top sheet imparts, to the invention, a one- or two-dimensional flexibility that facilitates its use under concrete floors, installation on vertical surfaces and as a footing form-drain.

Parker, Alton F. (Clifton Park, NY, US)
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International Classes:
E02B11/00; E02D31/02; E04F17/00; (IPC1-7): E02D19/00; E04B1/70; E04F17/00; E04F17/04; E04F17/08
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Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:

What is claimed is:

1. A seepage drain device for conveying water, passing thereinto, from a first locale to another locale and comprising: a first sheet of a planar, water-impervious and flexible material; a row-column matrix of set-apart, support elements, the support elements projecting essentially orthogonally from the first sheet; and, wherein the support elements of at least one row are top-wise overlaid by and fixedly conjoined to a continuous planar member made of said material, the member being substantially parallel to the base, thereby effecting a rigidity of the device collinearly along said at least one row.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the member exhibits a discontinuity between at least two columns of the matrix, thereby disestablishing said rigidity at a point along said at least one row.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein the member further comprises a sheet that extends over and conjoins substantially all rows and columns of the matrix and exhibits a discontinuity coextensive and between at least two columns of the matrix and coextensive and between at least two rows of the matrix, thereby disestablishing said rigidity in one or more directions in the member.

4. The device of claim 1 wherein the support elements are of frusto-geometrical shape.

5. The device of claim 1 wherein the support elements comprise a plurality of discrete members and are substantially of rectilinear shape.

6. A monolithic drainage device for use in sub-floor and subterranean situations and comprising a non-biodegradable, layered device featuring a continuous, planar bottom layer of a flexible material and a planar top layer that is rendered non-continuous by at least one linear slot cut therethrough, the top layer and the bottom layer disposed in a set apart, parallel registry by, and integrally joined with, a row-column matrix of discrete support elements.

7. The device of claim 6 wherein the at least one linear slot is coextensive and between the support elements of a row of the matrix.

8. The device of claim 7, further comprising at least one linear slot coextensive and between the support elements of a column of the matrix.

9. The device of claim 7, wherein the top layer features a multiplicity of perforations.

10. The device of claim 8, wherein the top layer features a multiplicity of perforations.

11. A unitary drainage means for conveying fluids passing thereinto from a first locale to another locale and comprising: a base member defined by a planar, water-impervious and flexible material; and a row-column matrix of set-apart support elements that project essentially orthogonal from the base, wherein the support elements of at least one row are top-wise overlaid and joined integrally to a continuous, planar top member that is substantially parallel to the base, thereby effecting a rigidity of the device collinearly along said at least one row.

12. The drainage means of claim 11 formed into a plank, wherein the matrix is further defined by a column totality of said supports that is substantially greater than a row totality thereof, thereby effecting rigidity along a length of the plank.

13. The drainage means of claim 12 further comprising at least one non-biodegradable and rigid footing-form stake.



[0001] This application is a Continuation-in-Part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/134,270 filed on Apr. 26, 2002, by the same inventor and entitled: Building Foundation Form With Integral Drain.


[0002] Not Applicable


[0003] 1. Field of the Invention

[0004] This invention relates generally to devices and constructs used to effect subterranean drainage, from building entrenchments, such as footings, foundations and walls, where seepage and ground water are a problem. More specifically, this invention embodies a particular device that can withstand considerable overburden and which serves dual functions of providing both drainage and a form-making structure (form-drain), because it can be realized in two-dimensional modalities (plank/sheet), having rigidity in either one or both dimensions.

[0005] 2. Discussion of Relevant Art

[0006] Several inventions, within the field, have been studied to find a drainage device that would serve the dual functions mentioned above. U.S. Pat. No. 5,224,799 ('799), issued Jul. 6, 1993, for PERMANENTLY INSTALLED BUILDING FOUNDATION FORM, although well suited to the duality of form-drain usage, remains highly limited and not extendable to basement walls or above ground construction, such as elevated garage floors. Essentially, this 1993 invention taught a foraminous, hollow plank device that is used in the manner of standard planking for the formation of foundation forms. The non-biodegradable staking devices of '799 are contemplated for use in the instant invention.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 4,840,515 (515), issued Jun. 20, 1989 for SUBTERRANEAN DRAIN shows a unit for emplacement, by adhesion, to a subterranean wall, and interposed between the wall and (backfilled) soil. Shown is a rollable, planar sheet from which project spaced-apart frusto-conical (i.e., truncated cone) elements that support a geotextile filter fabric. In actual application, the instant inventor has recognized three limitations that prevent or forestall his use of the '515 device: (1) the flexibility of the planar sheet is not restricted enough to use as a form, and waves or ripples form in the sheet(s) when the device is used over soil and under basement floors; further, its adhesion to a wall is potentially frustrated by its (peel-off) flexibility; (2) it cannot be used as a footing form-drain because, in itself, it cannot be rigidified; and, (3) it lacks the support strength necessary to serve as an under-concrete structure, because the fabric is easily pressed into the conduit matrix. Another disclosure, U.S. Pat. No. 4,943,185 ('185), issued Jul. 24, 1990 for COMBINED DRAINAGE AND WATERPROOFING PANEL SYSTEM FOR SUBTERRANEAN WALLS, although exemplifying greater detail than '515, nonetheless shows similar concept, is likewise restricted to subterranean walls and has the same overall limitations.

[0008] FINNED SUBTERRANEAN DRAINAGE DEVICE AND METHOD FOR FABRICATING THE SAME is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,263,792 ('792), issued Nov. 23, 1993, and which shows, generally, a planar and flexible drainage core that projects T-shaped elements (termed “fins”) in lieu of the previously disclosed “frusto-geometricals” (a term used in this paper and meaning, literally, “posts” having geometrical cross sections). The tops of the T-shaped elements are flat and lie within a second, parallel plane which is set apart from the core plane. Significant spacing is shown between the fins and, like the above types of drain devices, a geotextile fabric is overlain the second plane to exclude soil particulate. With the exception of offering better internal flow characteristics, greater support for a non-viscous overburden and possibly less flexibility in a single dimension (along the x-axis, as defined in the patent), no greater aid is provided to the instant inventor, for fulfillment of his above-stated requirements. A late development, in drainage devices, is seen in U.S. Pat. No. 5,857,297, entitled: FOUNDATION WALL CONSTRUCTION. This device is a rigid sheet “sandwich”, defined by two plastic, parallel plies that are separated by a multiplicity of parallel partitions that effect a plurality of channels. It is an integral (monolithic) structure that bears perforations in the sheet facing the soil and is used with a filter fabric or large aggregate, interposed the soil and the perforated sheet.

[0009] Finally, as indicative of the art that pre-existed before the above patents, U.S. Pat. No. 3,888,087, for FOUNDATION WALL PROTECTIVE SHEET, offers one of the first devices for providing dimples (posts or detents), as a stand-off mechanism for spacing a filter fabric, and a physical folding crease to accommodate bending about the footing.

[0010] Two limitations common to all of the discussed art, with the exception of '297 and '799, are that: (1) the highly flexible bases or “cores” present considerable difficulty in adhering them to vertical structures, unless first nailed in place. They are not installed with the comparative ease of plywood or wallboard, which is more readily propped and, if fixed with an adhesive, will not peel; and, (2) geotextile fabric must be used over a highly foraminous support structure (projections). These limitations severely hamper their speed of installation and/or their usage under soil or poured (concrete) floors, where seepage occurs through the overburden and must enter into the interstitial drain network. Further to their total flexibility, the easy roll ability of these planar/sheet devices is a desirable characteristic that lends, to all of them, ease in packaging and shipping, as well as a rapid horizontal lay-down facility, during installation, and, to some extent, accommodation of discontinuities encountered in the vertical lay-up plane. However, high flexibility presents a problem in leveling, over a sub-soil/aggregate; this can require a more labor-intensive installation process, in order to avoid ripple- or wave-created wells.

[0011] Thus, the instant inventor required a drainage device that would embody the character of flexibility for rolling, yet retain up to significant inflexibility, in at least one dimension (direction) of the plane, while accommodating, during installation in that direction, transition to another plane. The accommodation facility is simply the ability to maintain integrity of drainage down a wall and over a footing or, from one level of an elevated floor, down a wall and even to another floor. The reader should understand that, to acquire the desired form-drain device, a balance must be struck between the characteristics of flexibility and rigidity. Disruption in the integrity of a drainage system should not be entertained; and, a discontinuity in a form, that allows bulging, cannot be tolerated.


[0012] Because they show the present state of the art in drainage devices having a basic two-dimensional or an ostensible sandwich structure, as well as disclosing various projections therefor, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,857,297, 5,263,792, 5,224,799, 4,943,185 and 4,840,515 are hereby incorporated by reference.


[0013] Generally throughout this disclosure, words of description and claim shall have meanings given by standard English usage; however, certain words will be used that may have a more stylistic meaning and are defined as follows:

[0014] continual—having intermittent, or periodic, breaks or discontinuities;

[0015] continuous—having no breaks or discontinuities;

[0016] form-drain—a device used for forming or molding so as to receive within the mold, proper, a plastic or otherwise viscous material, while providing fluid drainage (seepage) through selected passages within the device;

[0017] integral—necessary to complete or in itself complete;

[0018] rigidity—a physical property of an object wherein the object substantially resists deflection in a particular dimension (direction) or plane; and

[0019] unitary—having wholeness, as in a single unit or monolith composed of plural members.

[0020] The above listing is not exhaustive. Certain other stylized terms, used previously or hereafter, are defined at the time of their first usage or placed in quotation marks and used with conventional wording.


[0021] The instant inventor has overcome the deficiencies or limitations of the earlier art by providing an inexpensive, easily applied innovation that solves the problems of draining water from building floors or subterranean walls and providing a form-drain mechanism for both forming and draining footings or foundations.

[0022] The preferred embodiment of the invention is formed from a non-biodegradable, extrudable or castable plastic such as ABS, PVC, polystyrene, and the like. The desired goal is to acquire a material that has unlimited in-ground use, while yet having a degree of flexibility that would allow rolling or reflexive bending after fashioning into a sheet form.

[0023] The invention consists, essentially, of a “sandwich” device having a top plane of the aforementioned material and a bottom plane, the planes separated by a series of parallel supports, that form an integral unit with the planes. Thus, what is formed, in the first instance, is a substantially planar device, fluid-impenetrable at top and bottom and possessing a multiplicity of parallel fluid conduits or channels, interiorly of the device. The supports may be either of a partition type—continuous (without discontinuity); or, they may be of the discrete post type—continual (with periodic breaks). Such attributes depend on whether a flexion or bending along a principal axis of the supports is desired.

[0024] When a series of discontinuities is desired in partition supports, a concomitant series of discontinuities (or cuts), often including perforations, will appear in the top plane and continue (crosswise), through the partition array, but without violation to the integrity of the bottom plane. This will allow the device, being oriented to the x-y dimensional axes (the x-y plane), to roll about either the x or y axis, say the x, into the −z dimension. Similarly, a series of cuts through the top plane and between the partitions (still without violation of bottom plane integrity) will facilitate rolling of the device about the (remaining) y axis, also into the −z dimension. Optionally, the partition structure is discarded in favor of plane separators consisting of a row-column matrix of projections, or posts, as seen in the above-discussed relevant art. Here, the rows or columns of discrete and uniformly separated projections are simply discontinuous “partitions” separating the top and bottom planes. When the desired thin cuts (as described above) are made in the top plane, to effect a flexibility or roll ability, such characteristics are acquired, but the resultant device remains rigid with respect to roll about the x-y axes, into the +z dimension. This unique condition, a selectable rigidifying, obtains because the top plane, although discontinuous along the x or y axis, because of the multiplicity of cuts, nonetheless remains virtually integral in itself. Each of the projections (integrally) supports a “platform” that is in abutment with its adjacent neighbors, whether they be long, broad strips or multiple squares/rectangles, depending on the direction and/or multiplicity of cuts. Thus, rolling the “sandwich” device into the +z dimension is greatly impeded and, depending on the material and thickness of the top plane, a deliberate force must be exerted to do so.

[0025] When used as a drain for walls, the sheeted device is adhered to the wall so that its top, or perforable surface, faces the source of seepage or ground water and its conduits direct the fluid (usually) downward. As a drain for floors, the same surface is oriented upward and fluid is drawn off to the sides. Use as a form-drain requires construction of the invention with flexibility or roll ability in but one direction; this application is discussed hereinafter to greater length.


[0026] Of the Drawings:

[0027] FIG. 1 is a prior art illustration of a matrix of finned projections;

[0028] FIG. 2 is a prior art illustration of the FIG. 1 art using frusto-conical projections;

[0029] FIG. 3 is a depiction of the Cartesian Coordinate System, which serves as a reference throughout the Detailed Description of the Invention:

[0030] FIG. 4 is depiction of the invention's base, with partitions;

[0031] FIG. 5 is an illustration of the FIG. 4 device showing cuts in the partitions;

[0032] FIG. 6 is an illustration of the FIG. 4 device showing the second, top plane of the invention, with cuts crosswise to the partitions;

[0033] FIG. 7 is an illustration of the FIG. 4 device showing the top plane of the invention, with cuts parallel to (between) and crosswise to the partitions;

[0034] FIG. 8 is an illustration, depicting the invention, featuring a post projection matrix with a limited top plane construction;

[0035] FIG. 9 is an elevation view of the invention of FIG. 8, looking into the channel network;

[0036] FIGS. 10 and 11 are illustrations of one mode of the invention and depict, respectively, a cross sectional view of a sheet of the invention, emplaced on a wall, and a detail thereof;

[0037] FIGS. 12 through 17 are drawings of various perforate patterns of the top plane;

[0038] FIGS. 18 and 19 are partial, orthographic illustrations of the invention in its form-drain mode or other vertical placement; and

[0039] FIG. 20 shows a limited installation view of the FIG. 18 modality.


[0040] A great deal of variety exists relative to sheet-type, rollable drain devices that possess multi-channel flow and fabric stand-off features. FIGS. 1 and 2 depict examples of two such devices, the first 10, showing fin projections 11, and the second 12, depicting frusto-conical posts 13. The second, FIG. 2, also shows a geotextile 14, superposed (but not secured to) the posts 13.

[0041] Turning to FIGS. 3 through 7, the instant invention 20 is depicted, in a first modality, through progressive stages of generation (deemed “items”), with reference being had to FIG. 3, the Cartesian Coordinate System. In a first stage, FIG. 4, the incipient invention is shown composed of a planar (x,y) base 22, from which projects upward (+z) a series of parallel, fixed partitions 24. The material of composition may be any reasonably flexible, water-impervious, non-biodegradable material such as ABS, PVC, polystyrene, etc. At this point, the item may be rolled about the y axis, into the −z dimension. Progressing to FIG. 5, the partitions of the FIG. 4 structure are subjected to multiple transverse, inline cuts 26 that give rise to multiple, smaller partitions 27. The cuts, which may be of variable thickness, do not penetrate the base 22; but, as can be envisioned, the item may now be rolled about the x axis, into the −z dimension. Having acquired an item that emulates the prior art (FIGS. 1 and 2), in its ability to roll about the x and y axes, FIG. 6 shows how a substantially complete rigidity is acquired in the item, along the x axis, by securing, to the tops of the projections, a continuous strip 28 (or top plane) of the base-type material. Alternative to placing individual strips, a complete top plane may be fixed to the tops of the projections, of FIG. 4, and then cut along the x axis, through the partitions to effect the FIG. 6 item. Significant rigidity along the y axis, into the +z dimension, is maintained, but roll into the −z is allowed. In FIG. 7, the invention 20 is realized by the further cutting of the strips 28 (or top plane) to form, essentially, finned elements 27, 28′. What would appear similar to the FIG. 1 device is a significant improvement, in that the invention 20 is a “sandwich” of selective rigidity (in x or y planes), but capable of rolling into the −z dimension. The instant inventor thus teaches a drain device that may be rolled for packaging, placed on walls and not peel, placed under concrete flooring without wrinkling and able to sustain heavy overburden, and most significantly, is suitable as a subterranean form-drain device.

[0042] Having disclosed the salient features of the invention, there is now presented a series of drawings that illustrate these features, in different style and shapes, as well as uses of the invention. FIG. 8 depicts the invention, as employing frusto-geometrical projections, specifically truncated, three-dimensional cones 30 (frusto-conical) to acquire passageways P, along the x axis, Px, and the y, Py. Secured to the top of each projection is a single, planar top 28′. The spacing δ between tops varies, depending on the size desired, and the use to which the invention is placed, but small enough to effect practical abutment. This figure illustrates how the basic, flexible drain device can be rigidified, selectively, in (along) the x (xR) or y (yR) directions, or both. Much of the detail is left out of the drawing (including invisible or phantom definition), for the sake of clarity. FIG. 9 is an elevation of the invention, taken at 9-9 of FIG. 8. As mentioned previously, it is lacking in some detail and the δ observed between tops 28′ is somewhat exaggerated.

[0043] FIGS. 10 and 11 show, respectively, a nominal installation of the invention and a detail taken at 11 of FIG. 10. In FIG. 10: the invention is adhesively 32 attached to a vertical subterranean wall 36; forcibly bent, causing displacements 34 in rows of tops 28′ at the proximate juncture of the wall and its footing 38; formed about the footing; and, directed downwards to a collection zone C, so that drained water may be taken off to a sewer, sump or drywell. Seepage and other ground water may pass from the soil S into the interstitial passageways, through the cuts 26.

[0044] Regardless of the narrowness δ of the cut 26, provision is made by the inventor to allow adequate entry into the drain device. This is accomplished by perforating the top plane, whether it be of the continuous 28 or continual 28′ type. FIGS. 12 through 17 depict several of these perforate tops, in plan views; elemental identification is consistent with the item numbering used previously. Generally, these various patterns are attained through use of techniques well-known in the art, such as stamping, gluing, drilling and/or crosscutting (ibid., FIGS. 5-7). All of these figures, save FIG. 13, exhibit bending constraint (rigidity) in both directions of the plane; whereas, FIG. 13 exhibits flexibility in one direction, due to the lack of tops 28′, along at least one column of posts 30.

[0045] The fabricator of this invention has wide latitude of design variation available. For example, the thickness of the base 22 may be varied, depending on the intended use and situs of application: for concrete form usage, it will be relatively thick; while, for a wall placement, the demand may be only a few millimeters. Selection of the δ of various slots/cuts 26, to obtain a desired degree of rigidity, is another parameter enjoying such variability.

[0046] In FIGS. 18 and 19, respectively, the invention 20 is shown in two modes, using post projections 30 and partition projections 27. The orientation of both embodiments is that of FIG. 10, a placement on a vertical wall, the top plane having the separated strip 28 configuration. These modalities are made with hole H perforations or foramens. As may be reasoned with a reference to the footing 38 coverage of FIG. 10, both are excellent drain devices when used under soil or concrete floors, such as in a parking garage or basement.

[0047] Final to the Drawings, FIG. 20 suggests a portion of the structure used for a footing or foundation form, employing the invention 20, in the mode of FIG. 18. When the invention 20 is manufactured for shipment in rolls, cuts 26 are made at intervals commensurate with the desired roll size. The desired widths W of the form planks are cut on-site with circular or similar saws, then placed, as is the norm, and curved about corners using a single, transverse cut T through the top plane 28. Non-biodegradable stakes 40 are used, as required, to position the planks, as well as to prevent any tendency of a plank to bend because of the manufacturer's cut 26. All elements in the drawing are consistent with those earlier identified, the one exception being the concrete reservoir 38′ that is formed by the illustrated plank working in cooperation with its parallel complement (not shown). This basically sheet device can also be made in plank form or flat sheets, such as plywood. In these cases, the cut 26 would, most likely, not be made. Such variations depend on the manufacturer's desire and its fabrication plant, as well as its shipping facilities.

[0048] As can be seen, the invention may be made in a wide range of dimensions and with great variation in projection geometries. Those skilled in the construction trades will readily comprehend and appreciate the invention; and, they will no doubt conceive many more uses for its application. Such are commended to the field, consistent with the hereinafter appended claims.