Title:
Portable shock-absorbing dance floor panel system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable shock-absorbing dance floor system of identical assemblable square panels that may easily be interconnected to form an integrated dance floor surface. The floor system includes a plurality of floor panels, each having a top horizontal surface of rigid PVC and a bottom shock-absorbing surface of open-cell sponge rubber. The perimeter of each floor panel is lined with hook and loop fastener for attaching multiple panels securely together. The completed assembly provides a floor surface for home or studio use where a portable shock-absorbing floor is needed for dancing, specifically the percussive dance forms.



Inventors:
Clarke, Heather Bradford (Rockbridge Baths, VA, US)
Application Number:
10/999015
Publication Date:
07/07/2005
Filing Date:
11/29/2004
Assignee:
CLARKE HEATHER B.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B32B5/18; E04F15/10; (IPC1-7): E04C1/00
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Primary Examiner:
EPPES, BRYAN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Heather Bradford Clarke (Monterey, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A portable dance floor panel system comprising; a horizontal bottom surface of open cell sponge rubber with shock-absorbing properties and having a top side and bottom side and thickness not less than substantially {fraction (1/4)} inch and perimeter edges connecting said top side and bottom side; a horizontal top surface of rigid PVC and having a top side and bottom side and thickness not less than substantially {fraction (1/4)} inch and perimeter edges connecting said top side and bottom side; wherein the panel has an edge of four vertical side surfaces of sponge rubber and rigid PVC forming the perimeter of the said floor panel section.

2. A floor panel assembly as in claim 1, wherein the assembly is made of like portable sections removably secured contiguously together.

Description:

This application claims priority over provisional application number 60/528,898 filed on Dec. 12, 2004.

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,090,462 issued to Kanter in 2000 there is illustrated a shock-absorbing carpet mat system having hook and loop tape fastener on the outer perimeter for secure assembly.

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,572,952 issued to Kanter in 2003 there is illustrated a shock-absorbing carpet mat system having hook and loop tape fastener on the outer perimeter for secure assembly.

In U.S. Pat. No. 4,890,434 issued to Niese in 1990 there is illustrated a free-floating hardwood flooring system designed to reduce stress injuries partially through the use underlayer resilient pads.

In U.S. Pat. No. 4,860,516 issued to Koller in 1989 illustrates a portable cushioned floor system that utilizes a resilient layer sandwiched between top and bottom floor supporting plates.

In U.S. Pat. No. 5,634,309 issued to Polen in 1997 there is illustrated a portable dance floor system of assemblable identical square sections held together along their perimeter edges.

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,128,881 issued to Bue in 2000 there is illustrated a portable floor system showing a plurality of rectangular floor panels adapted for connection along their edges to form an extended floor surface.

In U.S. Pat. No. 3,141,392 issued to Schneider in 1964 there is illustrated individual panels which form an integrated floor when connected along their perimeter edges.

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,189,283 issued to Bentley in 2001 there is illustrated a portable floor system including individual floor sections joined by interlocking elements on four sides.

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,684,592 issued to Martin in 2004 there is illustrated a portable wooden floor system comprised of individual rectangular sections interconnected by tongue and groove mechanisms.

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,032,427 issued to Randjelovic in 2000 illustrates a portable floor system formed by a plurality of components able to be interconnected with a drive mechanism to create a larger sports floor.

In U.S. Pat. No. 5,465,546 issued to Buse in 1995 illustrates a wooden portable dance floor able to be joined through the means of connector plates.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Percussive dancing (e.g. tap dancing, Irish dancing, clogging) is not possible on carpet, not allowed by many owners of hardwood floorings, dangerously slippery on tiles and laminated wood composites, and detrimental to a dancer's health on any surface with concrete slab foundations. There has for a long time then been a need for a lightweight shock-absorbing portable dance floor system that can be easily assembled over unsuitable and inadequate existing floors.

Prior to now the available portable dance floor systems have had many flaws, principally related to the lack of shock-absorbing qualities and the excessive weight and size of each section limiting its use for the home or small studio. Additionally with respect to the ability to create larger spaces from individual panels, prior portable dance floor systems require cumbersome methods of interconnecting.

It is an object of this invention to provide a physically beneficial alternative portable dance floor system that is both shock-absorbing and has improved joining means between sections so as to easily produce larger dancing surfaces as needed.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a portable shock-absorbing dance floor system comprising a plurality of identical square sections, each said section having a top horizontal dancing surface, a bottom shock-absorbing horizontal surface and four vertical sides lined with a hook and loop fastening tape. The present invention is directed to the problem of preventing stress injuries for percussive dancers while providing a top dancing surface solid enough to create the required “tapping” sounds. Each square section is sized to be readily portable, preferably 2 foot by 2 foot in size, and constructed out of lighter-weight materials than previously used in portable flooring.

In specific and preferred embodiments of this invention, the dance floor sections have a lightweight PVC material as a top surface and a shock-absorbing open-cell sponge rubber bottom surface that also provides quick impact recovery. The perimeter of each section is lined with hook and loop fastener for attaching multiple sections of the floor panel system securely together. Multiple panels may be connected to create unlimited dancing space for studio and home use where shock-absorbing properties are needed in conjunction with a system easily assembled and disassembled.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a portable shock-absorbing dance floor system formed in accordance with this invention.

FIG. 2 is a top view of a portable shock-absorbing dance floor system showing multiple sections attached together in accordance with this invention.

FIG. 3 is a top view of a portable shock-absorbing dance floor system showing a hook and loop tape fastening system used to interconnect the floor panels securely in accordance with this invention.

FIG. 4 is a top view of a portable shock-absorbing dance floor system showing multiple sections with a hook and loop fastening system in mating alignment for correct assembly of larger floor areas in accordance with this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

This invention is best understood by reference to the attached drawings,

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a shock-absorbing portable floor panel 1. In the preferred embodiment, floor panel 1 is made in sections 2 foot by 2 foot. Each floor panel includes a bottom layer 2 made of an open cell sponge rubber. In the preferred embodiment, bottom rubber layer 2 has a thickness of {fraction (1/4)} inch or other as necessary to provide shock-absorption. Variations in density and hardness of the sponge rubber, however, may allow a bottom rubber layer as thin as {fraction (1/8)} inch. I believe that with present materials the sponge rubber layer should be at least {fraction (1/8)} inch thick. Each floor panel has a top layer 3 made of a rigid PVC material. In the preferred embodiment, the top rigid PVC layer 3 has a thickness of {fraction (1/4)} inch or other as necessary to provide adequate structural support. Variations in density and hardness of PVC may allow a top layer as thin as {fraction (1/8)} inch. I believe that with present materials the PVC layer should be at least {fraction (1/8)} inch thick. The vertical perimeter edges 4 of the floor panel 1 may have a hook and loop fastener system 5 attached.

FIG. 2 is a top view of a shock-absorbing portable floor panel system 6 showing multiple floor panels 1 attached contiguously together. The sections are attached by means of a hook and loop fastener system such as Velcro 805/3610 5 along the perimeter edges 4 of each floor panel section 1.

FIG. 3 is a top view of a shock-absorbing floor panel 1 showing the placement of a hook and loop fastener system 5 attached to the perimeter edge 4 of said floor panel 1. In the preferred embodiment, the hook fastener Velcro 805 7 is utilized on two adjacent vertical perimeter edges 4. The loop fastener Velcro 3610 8 is utilized on two adjacent vertical perimeter edges 4.

FIG. 4 is a top view of a shock-absorbing floor panel system 6 showing multiple panel sections 1 aligned for connection 9 in mating relationship of hook fastener 7 and the loop fastener 8 for interconnecting multiple floor panels for assemblage of larger and custom shaped dance floor areas.

Although elements of the invention have been illustrated in the accompanying drawings and described in the foregoing description, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiments disclosed, but is capable of rearrangements, modifications, substitutions and reversals of parts and elements without departing from the spirit of the invention