Title:
Pool liner
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A liner system for a bathing enclosure includes at least one wall portion configured to be received on a wall of a bathing enclosure and to hold water in a bathing space bounded by the bathing enclosure. The at least one wall portion has a top edge and a bottom edge. The at least one wall portion includes a wall pattern and a border pattern with the border pattern including a first plurality of images having a first appearance. The wall pattern extends to the border pattern and toward the bottom edge. The border pattern has a second plurality of images including a second appearance with the border pattern extending to the top edge.



Inventors:
Vennard, Charles T. (Albany, NY, US)
Liberty, Kelly A. (Averill Park, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/900652
Publication Date:
02/02/2006
Filing Date:
07/28/2004
Assignee:
The Vinyl Works, Inc. (Latham, NY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
PHILLIPS, CHARLES E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HESLIN ROTHENBERG FARLEY & MESITI PC (ALBANY, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A bathing enclosure liner system comprising: at least one wall portion configured to be received on a wall of the bathing enclosure and to hold water in a bathing space within the bathing enclosure; said at least one wall portion having a top edge and a bottom edge, said top edge connected to a bead; said at least one wall portion comprising a wall pattern and a border pattern, said wall pattern comprising a first plurality of printed images having a first appearance, said wall pattern extending to said border pattern and toward said bottom edge; and said border pattern having a second plurality of printed images comprising a second appearance different from said first appearance, said border pattern extending to said top edge and said bead.

2. The liner system of claim 1 further comprising a swimming pool in combination with said at least one wall portion.

3. The liner system of claim 2 wherein said swimming pool further comprises a coping, said top edge extending into said coping to secure said top edge.

4. The liner system of claim 3 wherein said border pattern runs continuously to said coping.

5. The liner system of claim 1 wherein said at least one wall portion comprises a first wall portion of a plurality of wall portions, said plurality of wall portions comprising a liner for containing water in the bathing enclosure.

6. The liner system of claim 1 wherein said at least one wall portion comprises a first portion of a plurality of wall portions forming a liner for containing water in the bathing enclosure.

7. The liner system of claim 1 wherein said at least one wall portion comprises a vinyl material.

8. The liner system of claim 1 wherein said bead is configured to be received in a coping of the bathing enclosure to support said at least one wall portion on the wall of the bathing enclosure.

9. The liner system of claim 1 wherein said wall pattern extends to said bottom edge of said at least one wall pattern.

10. The liner system of claim 1 wherein said at least one wall portion consists of said wall pattern and said border pattern.

11. The liner system of claim 1 wherein said at least one wall portion consists of said border pattern, said wall pattern, and a third pattern, wherein said border pattern differs from said wall pattern and said third pattern.

12. A method for forming a liner system for a bathing enclosure, the method comprising: forming a liner wall having a top edge and a bottom edge; providing a first pattern along the top of the liner, the first pattern extending to the top edge; and providing a second pattern, the second pattern extending to the first pattern and extending toward the bottom edge.

13. The method of claim 12 further comprising extending the top edge to the coping of a swimming pool to secure the top edge to the pool.

14. The method of claim 12 wherein the liner wall comprises a vinyl material.

15. The method of claim 12 further comprising connecting a bead to the top edge.

16. The method of claim 15 further comprising connecting the bead to a coping of the swimming pool to attach the liner wall to the swimming pool.

17. The method of claim 12 wherein the providing the first pattern comprises printing the first pattern along the top edge and extending the first pattern to the top edge.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein the providing the second pattern comprises printing the second pattern below the first pattern and extending the second pattern to the first pattern.

19. A swimming pool comprising: a bathing space; at least one wall; a liner configured to hold water in said bathing space, said liner having at least one wall portion received on said at least one wall; said at least one wall portion having a top edge and a bottom edge, said top edge connected to a bead; said at least one wall portion comprising a wall pattern and a border pattern, said wall pattern comprising a first plurality of images having a first appearance, said wall pattern extending to said border pattern and toward said bottom edge; and said border pattern having a second plurality of images comprising a second appearance different from said first appearance, said border pattern extending to said top edge.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a liner for a bathing enclosure, and more particularly, to a liner for a swimming pool.

BACKGROUND ART

Liners are often used in swimming pools and other bathing enclosures to hold water therein. Such liners are often releasably attached to support or retaining structures (e.g., coping on an inground swimming pool or a bead liner hanger on an aboveground swimming pool) and the liners may be replaced when they wear out such that they no longer hold water. For example, a top edge 30 of a liner (FIG. 1) is often connected to a bead, which may be received in a supporting structure of a swimming pool or bathing enclosure to vertically hold top edge 30.

Liners often have patterns on them to present an attractive appearance. Also, such liners sometimes have a border pattern 10 around a top portion of the liner. Between such border pattern and a top edge 30 of the liner is often a non-printed portion 20, as depicted in FIG. 1. Alternatively, adjacent such a top edge and above border pattern could be a printed portion but with a pattern different than the border pattern. Also, as depicted in FIG. 2, a strip 50 resembling a wall pattern 55 or a floor pattern (not shown) may also be printed above a border pattern 60 and may extend to a top edge 57. The presence of an unattractive non-printed layer or a layer with a different printed pattern between the coping and the border may detract from the overall appearance of the liner and bathing enclosure or pool.

Thus, a need exists for a liner which is formed and/or printed such that it is visually appealing and holds water in a bathing enclosure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides, in a first aspect, a liner system for a bathing enclosure which includes at least one wall portion configured to be received on a wall of the bathing enclosure and to hold water in a bathing space within the bathing enclosure. The at least one wall portion has a top edge and a bottom edge. The top edge is connected to a bead. The at least one wall portion includes a wall pattern and a border pattern. The wall pattern includes a first plurality of images having a first appearance and the wall pattern extends to the border pattern and toward the bottom edge. The border pattern has a second plurality of images comprising a second appearance and the border pattern extends to the top edge and the bead.

The present invention provides, in a second aspect, a method for forming a liner system for a bathing enclosure which includes forming a liner wall having a top edge and a bottom edge. A first pattern is provided along the top of the liner with the first pattern extending to the top edge. A second pattern is provided below the first pattern, extending to the first pattern, and extending toward the bottom edge.

The present invention provides, in a third aspect, a swimming pool which includes a bathing space, at least one wall, and a liner configured to hold water in the bathing space. The liner includes at least one wall portion received on the at least one wall. The at least one wall portion has a top edge and a bottom edge. The top edge is connected to a bead. Also, the at least one wall portion includes a wall pattern and a border pattern with the wall pattern including a first plurality of images having a first appearance. The wall pattern extends to the border pattern and toward the bottom edge. The border pattern includes a second plurality of images having a second appearance different from the first appearance and the border pattern extends to the top edge.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The subject matter which is regarded as the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the claims at the conclusion of the specification. The foregoing and other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a portion of a prior art pool liner;

FIG. 2 is an elevational view of another example of a portion of a prior art pool liner;

FIG. 3 is a pool liner in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 is another pool liner in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is yet another pool liner in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a further pool liner in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a side cross-sectional view of the pool liner of FIG. 3 connected to a bead and the bead being received in a coping of an inground pool with the liner being received along a wall of the inground pool;

FIG. 8 is a front perspective view of a portion of the liner and pool of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an inground swimming pool in combination with a liner in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 10 is another perspective view of the portion of the liner and pool of FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

In accordance with the principles of the present invention, a liner 100 for a bathing enclosure is provided. The liner may include at least one wall portion 110 configured to be received on a wall 200 of a bathing enclosure 210 (e.g., a swimming pool) and to hold water in a bathing space 220 bounded by bathing enclosure 210, as depicted in FIGS. 7 and 9. Wall portion 110 has a top edge 120 and a bottom edge 130. Wall portion 110 includes a wall pattern 140 and a border pattern 150.

Wall pattern 140 includes a first plurality of images having a first appearance as depicted in FIG. 3. The first plurality of images may be printed on wall portion 110 at the location depicted for wall pattern 140 via an electronically controlled printer, for example.

Wall pattern 140 may extend to bottom edge 130 of wall portion 110, for example. Also, wall pattern 140 extends vertically on wall portion 110 to border pattern 150 which has a second plurality of images presenting a second appearance different from the first appearance of wall pattern 140 as depicted in FIG. 3. Border pattern 150 extends to top edge 120. For example, border pattern 150 could be a printed pattern resembling an arrangement of ceramic tiles (e.g., including tile nosing), which runs to top edge 120 of wall portion 110. Such border pattern may have an appearance similar to ceramic tiles provided on masonry inground swimming pools. Also, border pattern 150 may extend ten inches from top edge 120 vertically to a top end 142 of wall pattern 140 in one example. Border pattern 150 may also run along an entire top edge of bathing enclosure 210 (e.g., around the entire circumference of an inground swimming pool). Further, border pattern 150, as referred to herein, indicates an entirety of border pattern 150, as opposed to merely a portion thereof. FIGS. 4-6 depict variations of wall portion 110 by itself (i.e., shown without connection to a bead or bathing enclosure) having border pattern 150 and wall pattern 140 as described above relative to FIG. 3.

Top edge 120 may be attached to a bead 300 by welding, glue or another adhesive as best depicted in FIG. 7. Further, bead 300 may be attached to a back side 115 of wall portion 110 as depicted in FIG. 7. The attachment of bead 300 to back side 115 of wall portion 110 may reduce or eliminate the visibility of bead 300 when bead 300 is received in cavity 310. Alternatively, top edge 120 may be formed integrally to bead 300 or bead 300 could be attached to a front side 113 of wall portion 110. Also, bead 300 may be configured (e.g., shaped and dimensioned) to be received in a track or cavity 310 of a coping 320. The attachment of bead 300 to liner 100 and the insertion of bead 300 into cavity 310 allow liner 100 to be vertically supported by coping 320. Coping 320 may be located on a top surface of an inground swimming pool, for example. Liner 100 may be horizontally supported by a force caused by a weight of the water received in bathing enclosure 210. As depicted in FIGS. 7-10, a pool deck 322 (e.g., made of concrete) may be installed adjacent and/or on top of coping 320 and may hold coping 320 in place. Alternatively, bead 300 could be received in a cavity of a bead liner hanger (not shown) of an aboveground swimming pool, or a cavity retaining structure of any of various types of bathing enclosures, to vertically support liner 100.

As described and best depicted in FIGS. 3-6, border pattern 150 extends to top edge 120 of wall portion 110. This is in contrast to the prior art described above in which non-printed strip 20 or portion is located between border pattern 10 and a bead connected thereto, which is configured to be received in a coping, as depicted in FIG. 1. Alternatively in the prior art, strip 50 may be located above the border pattern which utilizes the same design as a wall pattern located below such border pattern as depicted in FIG. 2. By extending border pattern 150 to top edge 120 as depicted in FIGS. 3-6, an unsightly non-printed strip, or a strip which matches a wall pattern, is avoided. Instead, border pattern 150 extends to bead 300 (FIGS. 7-10) and may extend with bead 300 into a cavity (e.g. cavity 310) of a coping (e.g., coping 320). By extending border pattern 150 in this manner, liner 100 may resemble a concrete or masonry pool since there may be no unsightly non-printed (e.g., strip 20) or differently printed strip (e.g., strip 50) above border pattern 150 which makes it clear to an observer that the liner is a flexible (e.g., vinyl) liner as opposed to a masonry or concrete enclosure. For example, an installer of liner 100 may insert bead 300 into cavity 310 at a top of a bathing enclosure (e.g., an inground swimming pool), which allows border pattern 150 to extend substantially to coping 320 as depicted in FIG. 7. Such installation may minimize and/or eliminate a non-printed strip (e.g., strip 20), a differently printed strip (e.g. strip 50), or any other space between border 150 and coping 320.

Further, border pattern 150 projects an image of a decorative design which extends to top edge 120 of the pool liner. The border pattern image is different from the image of the pool liner below the border pattern. In other words, border pattern 150 forms a decorative image at the top edge (e.g., top edge 120) or margin of the pool liner (e.g., pool liner 100) which is different from the image (e.g., wall pattern 140) on the pool liner located on the wall of the pool covered by the liner below the border and above a floor of the pool.

Also, the border (e.g., border pattern 150), typically depicted as a tile pattern, extends to the edge (e.g., top edge 120) of the liner. Thus, the tile pattern extends all the way to the bead (e.g., bead 300) thereby allowing the tile pattern to run seamlessly into the coping (e.g., coping 320) when the pool liner is installed and substantially eliminating an unnatural and unsightly line of color between the coping and the liner which may otherwise extend around the top perimeter of the pool.

Wall portion 1 10 may be one of a plurality of wall portions of bathing enclosure 210 (e.g., a swimming pool as depicted in FIG. 9). Such wall portions may be connected to one another or may be formed integral to one another. Bottom edge 130 of wall portion 110 may be connected to a bottom portion 160 of liner 100. Wall portion 110 and the bottom portion may be welded, or otherwise connected, to each other or they may be integrally formed.

Also, border pattern 150 and wall pattern 140 could each be any combination of image and text as desired except that border pattern 150 and wall pattern 140 differ from each other and that the difference be easily evident to an observer thereof.

Also, in one example, a computing unit (not shown) may control a printer (not shown) to print wall pattern 140. The computing unit may be a processor or computing unit, for example, an IBM mainframe or server, a personal computer, such as a personal computer with Microsoft WINDOWS as the operating system and based on the Intel PC architecture, or any other useable system. The computing unit includes, for example, one or more central processing units, memory, one or more storage devices and one or more input/output devices, as is well known in the art. For example, the computing unit may have a display (not shown) to enable visual output for viewing by a user. The printer may be any printer configured to print on a liner such that the printing is water resistant. Alternatively, wall pattern 140 may be applied to wall portion 110 by methods other than printing. The second plurality of images may be printed by an electronically controlled printer on wall portion 110 at the location depicted for border pattern 150, as described above for the wall pattern 140.

As will be evident to one skilled in the art, bathing enclosure 210 could be an inground swimming pool, aboveground swimming pool, hydrotherapy spa, or any other enclosure for holding water and receiving humans, animals or other objects. Liner 100 may be any type of liner configured to be received in such a bathing enclosure to hold water therein. In a preferred environment, liner 100 is a flexible vinyl liner usable in an inground swimming pool.

Although preferred embodiments have been depicted and described in detail herein, it will be apparent to those skilled in the relevant art that various modifications, additions, substitutions and the like can be made without departing from the spirit of the invention and these are therefore considered to be within the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.