Title:
Locating device and method for locating tiles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A substantially planar locating device for locating tiles has a plurality of spacers upstanding from a first side of the device. The second side of the device is substantially planar for placing against a substantially planar surface. The device has a plurality of through holes extending through the device from the first side to the second side. In use, tiles can be placed against the first side of the device and be spaced apart from each other by the spacers. Adhesive can pass from the first side through the through holes to the second side to fix tiles to a surface against which the second side is placed.



Inventors:
Precey, Anthony D. (London, GB)
Application Number:
10/489962
Publication Date:
12/02/2004
Filing Date:
03/18/2004
Assignee:
PRECEY ANTHONY D
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/589.1
International Classes:
E04F13/08; E04F15/02; (IPC1-7): E04C3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KENNY, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC (ARLINGTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A substantially planar locating device for locating tiles, the device comprising: a plurality of spacers upstanding from a first side of the device; the second side of the device being substantially planar for placing against a substantially planar surface; and, a plurality of through holes extending through the device from the first side to the second side; whereby in use tiles can be placed against the first side of the device and be spaced apart from each other by the spacers and adhesive can pass from the first side through the through holes to the second side to fix tiles to a surface against which the second side is placed.

2. A device according to claim 1, wherein a first set of the spacers extend substantially parallel to each other.

3. A device according to claim 2, wherein a second set of the spacers extend substantially orthogonally to the first set of spacers.

4. A device according to claim 1, wherein a first set of spacers are spaced apart substantially equally.

5. A device according to claim 1, wherein a second set of spacers are spaced apart substantially equally.

6. A device according to claim 1, comprising at least one projection projecting outwardly from an edge of the device in the plane of the device, whereby the at least one projection can be received in a complementary recess of a neighbouring device to connect the device and a said neighbouring device together.

7. A device according to claim 6, wherein said at least one projection has at least one re-entrant edge.

8. A device according to claim 1, comprising at least one recess in an edge of the device in the plane of the device, whereby the at least one recess can receive a complementary projection of a neighbouring device to connect the device and a said neighbouring device together.

9. A device according to claim 8, wherein said at least one recess has at least one re-entrant edge.

10. A device according to claim 1, comprising at least one recess in the first side for receiving one or more heating elements.

11. In combination, a device according to claim 1 and a plurality of pads that each have adhesive surfaces on opposite sides, the pads being locatable in respective through holes of the device to provide the adhesive that can pass from the first side to the second side of the device.

12. A combination according to claim 11, wherein the pads are of substantially the same shape and size as the through holes.

13. A method of attaching a plurality of tiles to a substantially planar surface using a substantially planar locating device having a plurality of spacers upstanding from the first side of the device, the second side of the device being substantially planar for placing against the substantially planar surface, and a plurality of through holes extending through the device from the first side to the second side; the method comprising: placing the second side of the device against a substantially planar surface; aligning a tile with at least some of the spacers; and, pressing the tile onto the first side of the device such that the tile is held in position by adhesive and the tile is positioned by at least some of the spacers.

14. A method according to claim 13, wherein adhesive is applied to the substantially planar surface through the holes in the device in sufficient quantity to allow the tile to be pressed directly onto the adhesive.

15. A method according to claim 13, wherein adhesive is applied to the substantially planar surface and/or the second side of the device before the second side of the device is placed against the substantially planar surface.

16. A method according to claim 13, wherein adhesive is applied to the first side of the device before the tile is pressed onto the device.

17. A method according to claim 13, wherein adhesive is applied to the tile before the tile is pressed onto the device.

18. A method according to claim 13, wherein the adhesive is in the form of pads that each have adhesive surfaces on opposite sides, the pads being locatable in respective through holes of the device.

19. A method according to claim 18, wherein the pads are of substantially the same shape and size as the through holes.

Description:
[0001] The present invention relates to a locating device for and to a method of locating tiles or other tile-like members.

[0002] Many problems are encountered when tiling a surface such as a floor or wall. For example, the surface to be tiled may be uneven, making it difficult to apply rigid tiles to the surface. In general, it can also be difficult to space the tiles evenly apart. It can also be difficult to ensure that the tiles are equally spaced from the floor or wall.

[0003] To space the tiles evenly apart, it is known to manufacture spacing lugs integrally with the tiles. This has the disadvantage that two additional configurations of tile are required, one for the outside edges and one for the outside corners of the tiled arrangement. Producing different types of tile is expensive.

[0004] Another known method to space tiles evenly is to place cross-shaped spacers at the corners of the tiles. The material costs of this method are low but labour costs are high as the spacers are troublesome to use. Alternatively, matchsticks, folded card and the like can be placed between tiles. However, it is easy for these devices to slip and in any event they provide uneven spacing.

[0005] Moreover, the above techniques can lead to a cumulative spacing error in both (typically orthogonal) directions, resulting in tiles being significantly out of square and/or out of true.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 4,809,470 describes a panel for mounting bricks. The panel has countersunk blind recesses. Nails or screws pierce the recesses, the heads of the nails or screws being received in the recesses. The nails or screws secure the panel to a wall. Adhesive is then applied to the panel and bricks are placed on the adhesive. Frictional engagement with channel bars secures the bricks until the adhesive has sufficiently hardened. Mortar is also laid between the bricks.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 3,533,206 describes a building block holder which supports building blocks between tabs. The holder is secured to a wall using nails. The panel has an inwardly extending flange to space the holder from the wall. Insulation material can be placed in the space provided by the flange between the panel and the wall. Adhesive is used to secure bricks to the panel. Holes or recesses are provided to accommodate excess adhesive. Mortar is placed between the bricks.

[0008] According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a substantially planar locating device for locating tiles, the device comprising: a plurality of spacers upstanding from a first side of the device; the second side of the device being substantially planar for placing against a substantially planar surface; and, a plurality of through holes extending through the device from the first side to the second side; whereby in use tiles can be placed against the first side of the device and be spaced apart from each other by the spacers and adhesive can pass from the first side through the through holes to the second side to fix tiles to a surface against which the second side is placed.

[0009] An advantage provided by the locating device of the present invention is that tiles can be fixed to a wall or floor or the like using a single application of adhesive as the adhesive can pass through the through holes of the device to contact the wall, floor, etc. against which the second side of the device is placed in use. This increases the speed with which tiles can be secured to a wall. The spacers of the device ensure that the tiles are arranged in the desired configuration without requiring any modification to the shape of the member or the use of separate spacing devices. The tiles can thus be evenly spaced from each other and from the wall in a simple manner.

[0010] In a preferred embodiment, a first set of the spacers extend substantially parallel to each other.

[0011] In another preferred embodiment, a second set of the spacers extend substantially orthogonally to the first set of spacers.

[0012] In a preferred embodiment, a first set of spacers are spaced apart substantially equally. In another preferred embodiment, a second set of spacers are spaced apart substantially equally. Tiles of substantially equal size to the spacing between the spacers can be easily spaced apart substantially equally thereby to provide a neat finish. Typically, such tiles will be square or rectangular, though other shapes can be accommodated by appropriate arrangement of the spacers.

[0013] In a preferred embodiment, the device comprises at least one projection projecting outwardly from an edge of the device in the plane of the device, whereby the at least one projection can be received in a complementary recess of a neighbouring device to connect the device and a said neighbouring device together. Said at least one projection may have at least one re-entrant edge.

[0014] In a preferred embodiment, the device comprises at least one recess in an edge of the device in the plane of the device, whereby the at least one recess can receive a complementary projection of a neighbouring device to connect the device and a said neighbouring device together. Said at least one recess may have at least one re-entrant edge.

[0015] When a plurality of devices are required, for example to tile a large area, neighbouring devices can be easily aligned. Furthermore, by connecting neighbouring devices together, the devices will help position each other, especially in the initial stages of use when the devices are first offered up to the wall or the like.

[0016] The device may comprise at least one recess in the first side for receiving one or more heating elements. The heating elements may be electrical heating elements, hot water pipes, etc. This embodiment enables heating elements to be easily and quickly located under tiles during tiling. The device may have features, such as projections partially across the or each said recess for retaining the heating elements in position.

[0017] In another embodiment, there is provided in combination, a device as described above and a plurality of pads that each have adhesive surfaces on opposite sides, the pads being locatable in respective through holes of the device to provide the adhesive that can pass from the first side to the second side of the device.

[0018] Such an embodiment permits very convenient installation of the complete system of locating device, adhesive and tiles without the use of any wet adhesive. The locating device means that the tiles can be located accurately on initial application, which in turn means that the adhesive of the adhesive pads can be very strong, even on initial contact, as it is unlikely that the tiles will have to be repositioned at all after the initial location. This all allows rapid and accurate fixing of tiles to a wall, floor or other surface and avoids the delay which would otherwise be caused by waiting for a wet adhesive to cure.

[0019] In a preferred embodiment, the adhesive pads are self-adhesive and have their adhesive surfaces initially protected by a suitable releasable medium, such as release paper.

[0020] The pads are preferably of substantially the same shape and size as the through holes.

[0021] According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of attaching a plurality of tiles to a substantially planar surface using a substantially planar locating device having a plurality of spacers upstanding from a first side of the device, the second side of the device being substantially planar for placing against the substantially planar surface, and a plurality of through holes extending through the device from the first side to the second side; the method comprising the steps of: placing the second side of the device against a substantially planar surface; aligning a tile with at least some of the spacers; and, pressing the tile onto the device such that the tile is held in position by adhesive and the tile is positioned by at least some of the spacers.

[0022] Adhesive may be applied to the substantially planar surface through the holes in the device in sufficient quantity to allow the tile to be pressed directly onto the adhesive.

[0023] Adhesive may be applied to the substantially planar surface and/or the second side of the device before the second side of the device is placed against the substantially planar surface.

[0024] Adhesive may be applied to the first side of the device before the tile is pressed onto the device.

[0025] Adhesive may be applied to the tile before the tile is pressed onto the device.

[0026] Tiles can be secured to the device and the device can be secured to a wall using a single application of adhesive. This increases the speed with which tiles can be secured to a wall using a device.

[0027] As an alternative, the adhesive may be in the form of pads that each have adhesive surfaces on opposite sides, the pads being locatable in respective through holes of the device. The pads are preferably of substantially the same shape and size as the through holes.

[0028] An embodiment of the present invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0029] FIG. 1 shows a plan view of an example of a locating device in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0030] FIG. 2 shows a plan view of a projection and recess of another example of a locating device in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and,

[0031] FIG. 3 shows a cross-section through adjacent locating devices in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.

[0032] Referring to the drawing of FIG. 1, a substantially planar locating device 10 has a generally square or rectangular shape. One side 11 of the device 10 has upstanding spacers 12,14 in the form of projecting elongate ridges. A first set of the spacers 12 extends along an axis substantially parallel to one side of the device 10 and a second set of the spacers 14 extends perpendicularly to the first set of spacers 12.

[0033] The distance between adjacent spacers 12,14 of the first and second sets is substantially the same as the width of a tile 16 to be stuck to the wall. The space 18 formed between spacers 12,14 may be square or rectangular or another suitable shape for housing correspondingly shaped tiles. The spacers 12,14 may not necessarily form straight lines. For example, the spacers 12,14 may be curved in the plane of the device 10 suitable for supporting curve shape tiles, or may be arranged to provide support for hexagonal or other polygonal tiles.

[0034] The spacers 12,14 may extend continuously along the device 10 as shown or may extend discontinuously along the device 10. The spacers 12,14 may for example be L shape, T shape or cross shape. L shape, T shape or cross shape spacers 12,14 may be arranged so that they can support the corners or edges of a tile 16.

[0035] The surface of the space 18 between the spacers 12,14 may be substantially smooth. Alternatively, the surface of the space 18 between spacers 12,14 may be rough to improve the adhesion of a tile 16 to the device 10. The surface of the space 18 between spacers 12,14 may have indents (not shown). The indents may result in less material being used to make the device 10 and/or the indents may improve the adhesion of a tile 16 to the device 10.

[0036] The second side 13 of the device 10 is substantially planar. The surface of the second side 13 may be substantially smooth or may have a texture so that adhesive will adhere well to the surface. The surface of the second side 13 may additionally or alternatively have a series of grooves or other texturing to allow moisture emanating from the wall to be conducted away.

[0037] The device 10 is provided with large through holes 20. The through holes 20 extend from the first side 11 of the device 10 to the second side 13.

[0038] To attach the tiles 16 to a wall, the device 10 is first positioned against the wall. For example, the device 10 may be held by hand or nailed or stapled or screwed to the wall or adhesive may be used between the device 10 and the wall. In another example, the second side 13 of the device 10 may have sticky pads which can be used to tack the device 10 to the wall.

[0039] In one specific example, the through holes 20 of one space 18 are then filled with adhesive. A tile 16 is then aligned with the spacers 12,14 and pushed onto the adhesive so that the adhesive holds the tile 16 to the wall. The device 10 is thus sandwiched between the tile 16 and the wall. Further tiles 16 can then be stuck to the wall in the same way. Adhesive may be placed through the through hole or holes 20 of more than one space 18 between spacers 12,14 before plural tiles 16 are respectively pushed onto the adhesive. In another specific example, after the device 10 is held against the wall, adhesive may be applied only to the tiles 16 which are then pressed against the device 10, the adhesive passing through the through holes 20 to fix the tiles 16 to the wall. In another example, adhesive may be applied both to the device 10 and the tiles 16. The device 10 can bridge hollows or other uneven parts of the wall, such hollows or other uneven parts optionally being filled with adhesive.

[0040] In the example shown, the device 10 is provided with rectangular protrusions 22 along two adjacent edges of the device 10. The device 10 is provided with corresponding recesses 24 along the other two edges of the device 10. A plurality of devices 10 can be joined together by mating protrusions 22 of one device 10 with corresponding recesses 24 of an adjacent device 10. The protrusions 22 may be a shape other than rectangular, for example triangular, semi-circular or part-circular.

[0041] In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the protrusions 22 and recesses 24 each have at least one re-entrant edge, the embodiment shown having opposed re-entrant edges. This provides for quick and easy location of the locating devices 10 relative to each other and a strong mechanical lock between adjacent locating devices 10.

[0042] In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, each locating device 10 has along the whole or part of one or two edges a wedge-shape projection 28 of triangular cross-section that mates with a correspondingly shaped recess 30 in an adjacent locating device 10. This again allows for quick and easy location of the locating devices 10 relative to each other.

[0043] When a plurality of devices 10 are placed together, tiles 16 may extend to bridge the devices 10 and thus the edges of the device 10 may conveniently be a distance to the nearest parallel spacer 12,14 which is half the distance between adjacent parallel spacers 12,14. At the edges of each device 10, half of each bridging tile 16 may be on one device 10 and the other half of the tile 16 may be on another device 10. At the corners of the devices 10, the bridging tile 16 may have a quarter of its surface on each of four neighbouring devices 10. When the tiles 16 extend to bridge devices 10 in this way, the tiles 16 themselves can help locate neighbouring devices 10 relative to each other.

[0044] The adhesive placed through the through holes 20 may be a standard tile-to-wall adhesive or a more suitably formulated adhesive better adapted to application by a gun and/or for multipoint adhesive contact with the tiles. Where used, the adhesive used between the device 10 and the wall may be a standard tile-to-wall adhesive or a more suitably formulated adhesive better adapted for sticking the material of the device 10 to the wall.

[0045] Alternatively, the adhesive placed through the through holes 26 may be in the form of pads that each have adhesive surfaces on both sides. The adhesive surfaces may be of the self-adhesive type and may initially be covered by release paper. The pads are preferably of the same shape and size as the through holes 26.

[0046] Countersunk recesses 26 may be provided in a portion of the device 10. These recesses 26 can accommodate the head of nails or screws used to fix the device 10 to the wall. The nail head or screw head will then not protrude into the space 18 provided for the tile 16.

[0047] The device 10 may be made from any suitable material such as expanded polystyrene, polythene, PVC, fibre, fibreboard, compressed paper, compressed cellulose, etc. The type, density and thickness of the material of the device 10 may be chosen for its thermal insulating properties to provide for insulation between the wall and the tiles 16, for its rigidity or flexibility, and/or for its ability to accommodate any unevenness of the wall.

[0048] The device 10 may be made in a range of formats and sizes in order to accommodate different sizes, numbers, shapes and lay-outs of tiles 16.

[0049] The device 10 may have guides to guide cutting of the device 10. These guides may be marked on the device 10 or they may be moulded or otherwise formed on the device 10. The guides may be in a square grid. The device 10 may have indents or it may be scored so that the device 10 may be broken along the indents or scoring. Having broken the device 10 along the indents or scoring, the device 10 may be trimmed using for example a knife.

[0050] Where used for locating floor tiles in particular, the first side 11 of the device 10 may have channels or recesses. These can receive underfloor heating elements, such as electrical heating elements, hot water pipes, or the like.

[0051] Whilst reference has been made particularly to fixing of tiles 16 to walls, the device 10 may be used for fixing any tile-like member, i.e. a member having a thickness which is small compared to its width/length, and for fixing other members, such as bricks or the like, and to other surfaces, such as a floor.

[0052] An embodiment of the present invention has been described with particular reference to the example illustrated. However, it will be appreciated that variations and modifications may be made to the example described within the scope of the present invention.