Title:
Apparently seamless wall covering system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is a wall covering system comprising two or more sheet elements composed of a flexible, rigid, or semi-rigid material. Each sheet element has one or more sides with a smooth, non-linear profile. One non-linear side along each sheet element is arranged in a paired configuration so as to contact in a non-overlapping and interlocking fashion. The resultant non-linear seam minimizes color variations, avoids gaps, and overlapping between sheets thereby minimizing the visibility of the seam. An optional covering may be applied to one or both sides of the sheet element.



Inventors:
Brimo, Joseph (Jeffersonville, PA, US)
Application Number:
10/842816
Publication Date:
11/17/2005
Filing Date:
05/11/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
428/58, 428/61
International Classes:
B65D1/00; E04F13/08; (IPC1-7): B65D1/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
NORDMEYER, PATRICIA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael G. Crilly, Esquire (Hatboro, PA, US)
Claims:
1. An apparently seamless wall covering system comprising at least two sheet elements each having a decorative surface, a bonding surface and a perimeter, said perimeter disposed around and between said decorative surface and said bonding surface, each said sheet element having at least one side composed of at least one smooth, non-linear segment, said sheet elements abutted when applied to a surface to form a seam between said smooth, non-linear segments along two said sheet elements, said seam both non-overlapping and interlocking so as to minimize visibility of said seam.

2. The apparently seamless wall covering system of claim 1, further comprising a removable covering along said decorative surface.

3. The apparently seamless wall covering system of claim 1, further comprising a removable covering along said bonding surface.

4. The apparently seamless wall covering system of claim 3, further comprising a removable covering along said decorative surface.

5. The apparently seamless wall covering system of claim 1, further comprising an adhesive layer disposed along said bonding surface.

6. The apparently seamless wall covering system of claim 5, further comprising a removable covering along said decorative surface.

7. The apparently seamless wall covering system of claim 6, further comprising a removable covering along said adhesive layer.

8. The apparently seamless wall covering system of claim 5, further comprising a removable covering along said adhesive layer.

9. A method for hand hanging a wall covering system: (a) outlining location of at least two sheet elements along a wall, each said sheet element having at least one non-linear surface; (b) bonding first said sheet element to said wall over its respective location; (c) interlocking second said sheet element to at least one other said sheet element so that said non-linear surfaces between said sheet elements are aligned in a non-overlapping fashion; and (d) bonding second said sheet to said wall over its respective location.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

None.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

None.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to a wall covering system that minimizes the visibility of seams therein. Specifically, the invention comprises two or more sheets of flexible material each having a perimeter with one or more sides composed of smooth, non-linear segments. Sheets are arranged along a surface so as to abut in a non-overlapping, interlocking fashion.

2. Description of the Related Art

Home remodeling and decorating is a multi-billion dollar industry fueled in part by the availability of do-it-yourself products. Such products enable one with little skill or experience in a particular task, examples including plumbing and carpentry, to quickly and efficiently complete a project having the quality and appearance that might otherwise require an expert. However, the installation of wall coverings remains a uniquely challenging activity for a novice.

The qualitative appearance of a wall covering system is largely determined by the visibility of seams. In short, appearance quality is compromised when seams are visible.

The related arts do not provide a wall covering system, namely hand hung sheets composed of paper, vinyl, fabric, and combinations thereof, allowing a non-expert to achieve a seamless appearance. For example, conventional wall coverings include two or more rectangular-shaped sheets having a seam of linear extent whereby one sheet abuts another. A linear seam provides a visual reference easily distinguished by the human eye. This visual reference is caused in part by color variations between wall covering sheets, gaps between sheets, and overlapping of sheets. Typically, the visibility of a linear seam is minimized by color matching between sheets and precision alignment of abutting sheets so as to avoid gaps and overlaps.

Do-it-yourself wall covering systems attempt to achieve a nearly seamless appearance via sheets having minimal thickness so as to minimize the depth of gaps between abutting sheets and/or the height of ridges resulting from the overlapping of sheets. For example, Gauss, U.S. Pat. No. 6,324,811, teaches lightweight, non-fabric sheets of hand-torn wallpaper applied in an overlapping fashion so as to have a seam-free appearance. The ragged edge of hand-torn paper avoids the appearance of seams by complimenting the chromatic presentation and/or random motif printed on the visible surface of the paper. However, higher-quality and professional grade wall coverings are thick, since they are typically composed of one or more layers of heavy paper, vinyl and/or fabric, and thereby frustrate the teachings of Gauss.

What is currently required is a wall covering system that enables a novice to hand hang two or more sheets, composed of paper, vinyl, fabric, and combinations thereof, so as to produce an apparently seamless appearance that might otherwise require an expert to achieve.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide a wall covering system comprised of sheets of flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid material each having a perimeter composed in part or whole of smooth, non-linear segments wherein sheets are arranged along a surface in a complimentary non-overlapping, interlocking fashion.

The present invention is comprised of at least two sheet elements each having a decorative surface, a bonding surface and a perimeter disposed around and between both decorative and bonding surfaces. Each sheet element has at least one side composed of at least one smooth, non-linear segment. The complimentary, non-linear sides along two sheets are abutted to form a seam of non-linear extent so as to create a visual reference which is less distinctive than a linear seam and as such seamless. Alternate embodiments of the present invention include an adhesive layer disposed along the bonding surface. In other embodiments, a thin removable covering is provided along one or both sides of the sheet element to achieve the desired degree of rigidity to simplify installation. A method for hand hanging the present invention is also provided.

Three advantages are offered by the apparently seamless wall covering system. The present invention greatly reduces installation cost by eliminating professional services required for a professional appearance. The present invention eliminates the tedium of hand hanging a wall covering by providing a decorative system that is both challenging and enjoyable in its application. The non-linear sides of the present invention improve sheet interlock thereby avoiding gaps and overlaps.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described in more detail, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an enlarged section view of the present invention showing two sheet elements with a seam there between and bonded to a wall via an adhesive layer.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of several exemplary interlocking sheet elements.

FIG. 3a is an enlarged section view of an exemplary sheet element showing optional removable coverings along decorative and bonding surfaces.

FIG. 3b is an enlarged section view of an exemplary sheet element showing optional removable coverings along decorative surface and adhesive layer.

FIG. 4 is an elevation view showing a decorative wall having an exemplary wall covering system thereon.

FIG. 5 is an elevation view of an exemplary wall covering system comprising repeating and interlocking sheets.

FIG. 6 is an elevation view of an exemplary wall covering system comprising repeating and interlocking unit cells composed of multiple sheet elements.

FIG. 7 is a flowchart describing a method for hand hanging the present invention.

REFERENCE NUMERALS

    • 1 Wall covering system
    • 2 Sheet element
    • 3 Decorative surface
    • 4 Bonding surface
    • 5 Adhesive layer
    • 6 Wall
    • 7 Perimeter
    • 8 Seam
    • 9 Protrusion
    • 10 Opening
    • 11 Wave-shaped edge
    • 12 Corner edge
    • 13 Ceiling
    • 14 Wall
    • 15 Wall
    • 16 Floor
    • 17 Decorative wall
    • 18 Side
    • 19 Unit cell
    • 20-23 Steps in FIG. 6
    • 24 Male side
    • 25 Female side
    • 26 Design
    • 27 Diagonal
    • 28 Removable covering

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

While a planar disposed arrangement is shown in FIGS. 1-6, the present invention is applicable to a wide variety of surface shapes including but not limited to concave and convex surfaces.

Referring now to FIG. 1, the wall covering system 1 of the present invention is shown in cross section view having a pair of sheet elements 2a, 2b bonded to a wall 6 via an adhesive layer 5. Each sheet element 2a, 2b has a decorative surface 3a, 3b, a bonding surface 4a, 4b, and a perimeter 7a, 7b. The perimeter 7a, 7b is disposed between the decorative surface 3a, 3b and bonding surface 4a, 4b. As shown in FIG. 2, the perimeter 7a-7c defines the overall shape of each sheet element 2a-2c, respectively.

Sheet elements 2a, 2b may be composed of a variety of materials including but not limited to fabrics, paper, vinyl, cloth backed paper, cloth backed vinyl, and combinations thereof The adhesive layer 5 may be composed of a variety of bonding materials known within the art. For example, the adhesive layer 5 may be a water or heat activated material applied onto the bonding surfaces 4a, 4b during fabrication of the sheet element 2 and dried to a solid. It is likewise possible for the adhesive layer 5 to be a liquid and/or solid adhesive applied between bonding surfaces 4a, 4b and wall 6 during application.

The composition of sheet element 2 and adhesive layer 5 may provide the desired degree of rigidity in the sheet element 2 to facilitate application to a wall 6. For example, it is possible for the sheet element 2 alone or in combination with the adhesive layer to be flexible, rigid, or semi-rigid.

It is likewise possible to have an optional removable covering 28, preferably a polymer, contacting and adhered to decorative surface 3 and/or bonding surface 4, as shown in FIG. 3a, or decorative surface 3 and/or adhesive layer 5, as shown in FIG. 3b. The removable covering 28 may provide a flexible, rigid, or semi-rigid structure when contacting the sheet element 2. The removable covering 28 may be water soluble so as to first provide a rigid or semi-rigid sheet element 2 thereby aiding in the application of the sheet element 2 to a wall 6 and thereafter softening to allow its removal. It is also possible for the removable covering 28 to be water insoluble so as to provide the desired degree of rigidity yet be readily separable or peel-able from the sheet element 2 before or after application to a wall 6. It is preferred that the removable covering 28 not obscure the decorative surface 3 so as to facilitate alignment of decorative patterns between sheet elements 2. Removable covering 28 may be composed of such non-limiting exemplary materials including cellophane, polyethylene and polypropylene formulations sprayed or rolled onto the sheet element 2 during manufacture.

Decorative surfaces 3a, 3b are outwardly disposed and visible. A variety of exemplary decorative surfaces 3a, 3b are possible including murals, photographs, portrait, floral designs, faux finishes, single and multiple color motifs, repeating designs, randomly disposed and arbitrary designs, and textured finishes.

Sheet elements 2a, 2b are abutted so as to minimize gaps and avoid overlapping there between. The resultant seam 8 is disposed at a right angle with respect to the bonding surfaces 4a, 4b. It is preferred that the sheet elements 2a, 2b contact across their thickness, as represented in FIG. 1.

Referring now to FIG. 2, three exemplary and interlocking sheet elements 2a-2c, are shown in a plan wise view with their respective decorative surfaces 3a-3c clearly visible. The perimeter 7a-7c about each sheet element 2a-2c is shown comprised of a series of smooth, non-linear segments that define complimentary and interlocking boundaries. Perimeters 7a-7c include a limitless variety of non-linear designs.

The perimeter 7 of a sheet element 2 may include three or more sides 18. For example, the middle sheet element 2b in FIG. 2 is shown with four sides 18a-18d. Each side 18 may be composed of one or more non-linear segments. For example, the right side 18b of the middle sheet element 2b in FIG. 2 is comprised of a series of undulations defining a wave-shaped edge 1 la. In an other example, the left side 18d of the middle sheet element 2b in FIG. 2 is comprised of two non-linear segments about an opening 10. Perimeters 7a-7c are either sheared or cut into a planar-shaped sheet element 2 via techniques understood in the art.

In the examples described above, a portion of the respective perimeters 7a and 7c along the sheet elements 2a and 2c contact the middle sheet element 2b in a complimentary fashion so as to provide intimate contact over the entire length of the interlock. As such, the sheet element 2c to the right has a wave-shaped edge 11b. Whereas, the sheet element 2a to the left has a protrusion 9a so as to occupy the opening 10 along the middle sheet element 2b. One or more protrusions 9a-9c may reside about a perimeter 7a, as shown in FIG. 2. A limitless number of designs are possible to interlock two or more sheet elements 7a-7c.

Referring now to FIG. 4, an exemplary wall covering system 1 is shown completely covering a decorative wall 17 bounded by two other walls 14, 15, a floor 16, and a ceiling 13. Nine interlocking sheet elements 2a-2i are shown. Several sheet elements 2a-2c and 2e-2i are shown having at least one corner edge 12. For example, the upper left sheet element 2a is shown having two linear corner edges 12a and 12b terminating the sheet element 2a at the corner formed between decorative wall 17 and wall 14 and between decorative wall 17 and ceiling 13. It is likewise possible for the wall covering system 1 to traverse the corner between the decorative wall 17 and one or both walls 14, 15 so as to completely cover all surfaces thereof While a variety of interlocking shapes are possible with the present invention, it is likewise possible for two or more sheet elements 2 to include one or more interlocking yet repeating designs. For example, FIG. 5 shows six sheet elements 2a-2f of identical shape each having a perimeter 7 with a protrusion 9, an opening 10, and two wave-shaped edges 11a, 11b. In another example, FIG. 6 shows four unit cells 19a-19d each comprising a plurality of sheet elements 2a-2p and each having two male sides 24 and two female sides 25 that interlock to form a continuous and seamless wall covering system 1. It is likewise possible for each unit cell 19 to have one or more male sides 24 and female sides 25 so as to provide a unit cell 19 having multiple interlocking edges.

Each unit cell 19 may have one or more designs 26 on its decorative surface 3. For example, FIG. 6 shows one unit cell 19a having a first design 26a and a second design 26b disposed about a diagonal 27a traversing the unit cell 19a. A large sheet element 2j may be provided so as to traverse the unit cell 19a in a lengthwise fashion along the diagonal 27a. However, it is also possible to have two or more smaller sheet elements 2 across the diagonal 27a. Likewise, FIG. 6 shows three additional unit cells 19b, 19c, and 19d having designs 26gand 26h about a diagonal 27d, designs 26c and 26d about a diagonal 27b, and designs 26eand 26fabout a diagonal 27c, respectively. Designs 26a-26h may comprise one or more patterns providing for a contiguous appearance across each interlocking male side 24 and female side 25. The described use of decorative variability between designs 26a-26h facilitates a broad range of repeating and non-repeating patterns. Designs 26a-26h also provide visual references that assist installation and alignment of unit cells 19a-19d.

While a variety of sizes and shapes are possible for the described unit cells 19a-19d, exemplary embodiments may be comprised of a square-shaped element having sides with an approximate length (L) of 48-inches wherein each interlocking male side 24 and female side 25 are provided over a depth (D) of 2.5-inches. As shown in FIG. 6, approximately three sheet elements 2 may be provided along each edge so that each sheet element 2 is approximately 16-inches long.

Referring now to FIG. 7, a preferred method for hand hanging the above described wall covering system 1 is shown and described. In step 20, the paperhanger outlines the location of at least two adjacent sheet elements 2a, 2b along a wall 6. Step 20 is accomplished by placing each sheet element 2a, 2b or a template having a perimeter 7 of identical shape to each sheet element 2a, 2b onto the wall 6 and marking the respective perimeters 7a, 7b with a pencil, chalk or other similar device. It may be desired to mark the wall 6 with a reference numeral corresponding to a reference numeral on the decorative surface 3 or bonding surface 4 of the sheet element 2. Next in step 21, the paperhanger bonds a first sheet element 2a onto the wall 6 over its respective location. Next in step 22, the paperhanger interlocks a second sheet element 2b with the first sheet element 2a so that the second sheet element 2b resides over its respective location. The non-linear surfaces between the two sheet elements 2a, 2b are aligned in a non-overlapping fashion. Next in step 23, the second sheet element 2b is bonded to the wall 6 over its respective location. The bonding step is achieved via techniques understood in the art. The described method is repeated until all sheet elements 2 are adhered to the wall 6 in a non-overlapping and interlocking fashion.

The description above indicates that a great degree of flexibility is offered in terms of the present invention. Although the present invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to certain preferred versions thereof, other versions are possible. Therefore, the spirit and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the preferred versions contained herein.