Title:
Masonry module spacing and support device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A preferably wedge-shaped device that is inserted between two vertically spaced masonry modules, such as flat stones, that are adhered to a wall having a vertical surface. The wedge maintains the dimension of the gap and supports the upper stone to prevent the upper stone from falling away from the wall.



Inventors:
Flowers, Dean W. (Newark, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/187541
Publication Date:
01/08/2004
Filing Date:
07/02/2002
Assignee:
FLOWERS DEAN W.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/747.1
International Classes:
E04F13/08; E04G21/18; (IPC1-7): E04G21/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
THISSELL, JENNIFER I
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jason H. Foster (Reynoldsburg, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A device adapted to be inserted within a gap formed between vertically spaced masonry modules having adhesive interposed between the masonry modules and a wall having a substantially vertical surface, the device comprising a rigid body having first and second opposing sidewalls, wherein the sidewalls converge near one end forming a substantially pointed tip, and diverge near another end forming a substantially blunt tail end.

2. The device in accordance with claim 1, wherein the first and second sidewalls are substantially planar.

3. The device in accordance with claim 2, further comprising third and fourth substantially parallel sidewalls disposed substantially perpendicularly to said first and second sidewalls.

4. A masonry wall comprising: a) a first masonry module mounted to a substantially vertical wall surface; b) a second masonry module mounted to the substantially vertical wall surface spaced vertically from the first masonry module forming a gap having a vertical component; and c) a wedge inserted within the gap.

5. The masonry wall in accordance with claim 4, wherein the wedge is a rigid body having first and second opposing sidewalls converging near one end forming a substantially pointed tip that is inserted deeper in the gap than an opposite, substantially blunt tail end near which the sidewalls diverge, the first sidewall being in contact with the first masonry module, the second sidewall being in contact with the second masonry module.

6. A method of constructing a masonry wall, the method comprising: a) adhering a first masonry module to a substantially vertical surface of a wall; b) adhering a second masonry module to the substantially vertical surface, the second masonry module being spaced vertically from the first masonry module forming a gap having a vertical component; and c) inserting a wedge in the gap.

7. The method in accordance with claim 6, further comprising the step of inserting a second wedge in the gap, the second wedge being spaced from the first wedge.

8. The method in accordance with claim 7, further comprising the steps of adhering a plurality of masonry modules to the substantially vertical surface forming a plurality of gaps having vertical components, and inserting a plurality of wedges in the plurality of gaps.

9. The method in accordance with claim 8, further comprising the step of removing all of the wedges after an adhesive has cured substantially.

10. The method in accordance with claim 9, further comprising the step of injecting mortar into the gaps after removing the wedges.

11. The method in accordance with claim 6, wherein each wedge is a rigid body having first and second opposing sidewalls converging near one end forming a substantially pointed tip that is inserted deeper in the gap than an opposite, substantially blunt tail end near which the sidewalls diverge, the first sidewall being in contact with the first masonry module, the second sidewall being in contact with the second masonry module.

Description:

(e) BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field Of The Invention

[0002] This invention relates generally to the field of masonry, and particularly to a device for maintaining predetermined spaces between vertically spaced masonry modules, such as stones and bricks, and for supporting vertically spaced masonry modules that are being adhered to a substantially vertical wall.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] It is known in the masonry field that it is difficult to maintain consistent spacing between irregularly shaped masonry modules, such as natural and fabricated stones. These stones are normally adhered, using a mortar or adhesive, to a substantially vertical wall. Once the mortar is cured, the stones are solidly held in place, and then a grout is injected into the gaps between the spaced stones to support the stones and fill the gaps.

[0005] However, after the adhesive is placed between the stones and the wall and before the adhesive cures, the stones are often barely held to the wall by the uncured adhesive. The force due to gravity can easily overcome the adhesive forces of the wet mortar adhesive, causing a stone to fall down, possibly on the person installing the stones. Furthermore, if the falling stone strikes the stone below it, which then strikes the stone below it, a virtual avalanche of massive objects can be created, possibly falling onto the installer. This is undesirable for obvious reasons.

[0006] The prior art has attempted to address this dangerous situation with various devices cited in the accompanying documents. However, none is effective and unobtrusive enough to be used by a significant number of masons and persons who do home remodeling. Most of the prior art apparatuses attach to the wall, and have holding structures beneath or in front of the stones. Attachment to the wall, with holding structures either beneath or in front of the stones, is undesirable because it significantly slows down the installation process, and therefore falls into disuse.

[0007] The need arises for a device that permits an installer safely to install a plurality of spaced masonry modules, such as stones, bricks, blocks, tiles or other objects to a substantially vertical wall without decreasing efficiency. The preferred such device also enables the installer to create consistent spaces between the masonry modules.

(f) BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The invention is a device that is adapted to be inserted within a gap formed between vertically spaced masonry modules. The contemplated masonry modules are natural and manufactured stones for forming a veneer. The stones have an adhesive interposed between the masonry modules and a wall having a substantially vertical surface. The device is a rigid body having first and second opposing sidewalls. The sidewalls converge near one end forming a substantially pointed tip. The sidewalls diverge near the opposite end forming a substantially blunt tail. The preferred such device is a wedge with planar first and second sidewalls.

[0009] The invention also contemplates a masonry wall comprising a first masonry module mounted to a substantially vertical wall surface. A second masonry module is mounted to the substantially vertical wall surface spaced vertically from the first masonry module forming a gap having a vertical component. A wedge is inserted within the gap.

[0010] The invention also contemplates a method of constructing a masonry wall. The method comprises adhering a first masonry module to a substantially vertical surface of a wall. A second masonry module is adhered to the substantially vertical surface at a position spaced vertically from the first masonry module forming a gap having a vertical component. A wedge is inserted in the gap. In a preferred embodiment of the method, a plurality of masonry modules is mounted to the substantially vertical surface forming a plurality of gaps, and a plurality of wedges is inserted in the plurality of gaps.

(g) BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 is a front view illustrating a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

[0012] FIG. 2 is a view in perspective illustrating a preferred wedge device.

[0013] FIG. 3 is a view in perspective illustrating a preferred wedge device.

[0014] FIG. 4 is a view in perspective illustrating a preferred wedge device.

[0015] FIG. 5 is a side view illustrating a preferred wedge device.

[0016] FIG. 6 is a view in perspective illustrating an alternative wedge device.

[0017] FIG. 7 is a side view in section illustrating a preferred wedge combined with first and second stones.

[0018] FIG. 8 is a side view illustrating a wedge device combined with a plurality of stones.

[0019] In describing the preferred embodiment of the invention which is illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology will be resorted to for the sake of clarity. However, it is not intended that the invention be limited to the specific term so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific term includes all technical equivalents which operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose. For example, the word connected or term similar thereto are often used. They are not limited to direct connection, but include connection through other elements where such connection is recognized as being equivalent by those skilled in the art.

(h) DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0020] When constructing a wall according to the present invention, the preferred first step is to orient a substrate wall substantially vertically. The substrate wall 12 is shown in FIG. 1 having a substantially planar surface 14, although it could be curved or irregularly shaped. Examples of such vertical walls are the front side of a home, the inside wall around a fireplace, and an outdoor block chimney, and the material is plywood, oriented-strand board, stucco, concrete block or any other conventional building material. A metal diamond lath may be attached to the wall if necessary.

[0021] A plurality of masonry modules, such as the stones 1-11, will be mounted against the surface 14. The masonry modules contemplated by the present invention include stones, whether natural or manufactured, tiles, blocks, bricks, or any other discrete and massive objects normally adhered to a home's walls having vertical surfaces.

[0022] The next step, according to the preferred embodiment, is to apply an adhesive, such as masonry mortar, to the back side of a stone, such as the stone 1. Of course, the adhesive could be a construction adhesive, mastic, resin or any other material that causes a masonry module to adhere to the wall surface. Next, the stone 1 is placed manually near the wall 12 with the mortar pressed against the wall surface 14, thereby interposing the mortar between the stone 1 and the wall surface 14. The lower surface of the stone 1 rests against the horizontal support 16, which can be a floor, a subfloor, a board (such as dimensional lumber) or any other preferably flat surface capable of supporting the weight of the stones. In this position, the stone 1 is supported from beneath against the force due to gravity by the horizontal support 16, and is adhered, albeit with a weak bond until the mortar cures, to the wall surface 14.

[0023] Once the stone 1 is in place, the second stone 2 is attached to the wall in substantially the same manner as the stone 1, but spaced laterally from the stone 1 forming a horizontal gap. The gap formed between the stones 1 and 2 can vary from between a small fraction of an inch to a large fraction of an inch, depending upon the mortar being used, the desired appearance of the finished product and other factors known to the skilled artisan. It is preferred that the gaps between the stones be equal to less than about one-half of an inch in most applications. Stones 3, 4 and 5 are attached to the wall in the same manner as stones 1 and 2, and are spaced from their next adjacent stones a similar distance to form similar horizontal gaps.

[0024] Once the first course of stones 1 to 5 is in place, and before the mortar is cured, the second course of stones is attached to the wall surface 14. In order to consistently space the second course of stones vertically from the first course, and in order to support the second course of stones against a component of force due to gravity which acts in the vertical direction, a wedge device is used.

[0025] The preferred wedge device 20 is shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 4 and 5 having a first sidewall 22 and an opposing, second sidewall 24 (FIG. 4). The sidewalls 22 and 24 are planar and have surfaces that face away from one another. The planes containing the sidewalls 22 and 24 converge near a pointed, tip end 26 and diverge near a blunt, tail end 28 (FIG. 5). The tip end 26 may be of infinitesimal height, such as to form a sharp edge, or it can be on the order of one-eighth of an inch. In a preferred embodiment, the wedge device 20 also has two opposing, parallel planar sidewalls 32 and 34, and a top sidewall 36. The wedge can have dimensions of one and one-half inches wide by three-quarters of an inch tall by one and three-quarters of an inch long. The angle formed between the sidewalls 22 and 24 can be approximately 30 degrees.

[0026] Of course, the top sidewall 36 is not necessary, as is shown in the embodiment of FIG. 6, which is a wedge device 120 having only five sidewalls. Furthermore, other shapes of wedge devices are possible, and will become apparent to the person having ordinary skill in the art from the description herein. For example, the sidewalls of an alternative wedge can be curved or stair-stepped. The preferred wedge is made of wood, but it will be appreciated by the skilled artisan that the wedge could be made of any solid material, i.e., any material that is not substantially deformed under the weight of the masonry objects, such as hard plastic, pressed wood and resin, ceramic, stone, composite, amorphous materials, metals, etc.

[0027] The wedge device 40, which is essentially identical to the wedge device 20 of FIGS. 2-5, is placed upon the stone 1 just before or just after the stone 6 is installed above the stones 1 and 2. The stone 6 is installed in the same manner that the stones 1 and 2 were installed, except that a vertical gap 50 is formed between the lower stones 1 and 2 and the upper stone 6. The wedge device 40 is thus inserted, pointed, tip end 46 first, into the vertical gap 50 between the two stones 1 and 6, as is shown in FIG. 7. Upon being inserted far enough into the gap 50, the wedge device's upper sidewall 42 and the opposing lower sidewall 44 seat gently against the lower surface of the stone 6 and the upper surface of the stone 1, respectively. Any further insertion would cause the wedge device 40 to force the stones 1 and 6 apart, thereby increasing the width of the gap 50. If this is desired, the wedge device 40 can be driven in further by striking the tail end with a mallet, or other object. Otherwise, the wedge device 40 is snugly placed between the stones 1 and 6 when the vertical gap 50 is the size desired.

[0028] Once the wedge device 40 is in place, it provides a support between the lower stone 1 and the upper stone 6, which support tends to prevent stone 6 from moving vertically or horizontally. Any weight of the stone 6 that would otherwise displace the stone 6 downwardly is transferred through the wedge device 40 to the stone 1, and that weight is transferred to the horizontal support 16. Thus, the stone 6 has little or no tendency to slide downwardly or pull away from the wall surface 14 due to the force of gravity or impact to the wall or an adjoining structure. It is preferred that at least two such wedge devices be used in vertical gaps near each end of each such stone and the stone or stones beneath it. The wedge device thus provides support and consistent spacing all along the stones' lengths.

[0029] Once the stone 6 is positioned as described above, the remaining stones 7 and 8 are attached to the wall in substantially the same manner. Long stones, such as the stone 7, may require more than one wedge device. Likewise, short or oddly shaped stones may require only one. The stones 9, 10 and 11 are subsequently placed against the wall 12 in the same manner as the stones 6, 7 and 8.

[0030] The preferred wedge device is shown inserted in vertical gaps, because the force due to gravity acts in the vertical direction, and therefore it is in this direction that support is needed. However, when installing oddly-shaped stones it may be advantageous to use wedge devices in gaps that are not completely vertical, but have a vertical component, such as is shown in FIG. 8. The wall 60 has a surface 62 upon which many stones are mounted. Inserted in gaps between the stones are wedge devices that serve the same purpose as the wedge device 40 described above. The wedge devices 64, 66 and 68 are inserted in gaps that are not completely vertically-oriented, but which also have a horizontal component. Thus, the gaps have a horizontal and a vertical component. However, because the stones have a tendency to slide downwardly under the force due to gravity, such wedge devices provide the same advantages in such gaps as with the completely vertical gaps shown in FIG. 1.

[0031] After a wall is constructed with wedge devices supporting the stones, the adhesive holding the stones to the wall surface will eventually cure, thus rigidly holding the stones in place. At least one step in the wall construction process remains, however. That step is filling in the gaps with mortar. In order to mortar the gaps, the wedge devices should be removed. Of course, it is possible to mortar around the wedge devices if the blunt, tail end is forced far enough behind the front face of the stones. However, this is not preferred. In the preferred embodiment, the wedge devices are pulled by hand or are struck in a sideways direction with a mallet or other instrument to remove them from the gaps. The wedge devices can often be used over and over again, and therefore are collected, cleaned if necessary and then stored for later use.

[0032] The gaps formed between the stones are then filled with a conventional mortar, preferably by using a mortar bag with a small opening forming a spout that is inserted into the gaps. Once the mortar is injected into the gaps, it is smoothed, such as by a screwdriver, stick or other instrument to the shape and depth desired. Then any remaining mortar is swept away with a broom and then later with water.

[0033] While certain preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed in detail, it is to be understood that various modifications may be adopted without departing from the spirit of the invention or scope of the following claims.