Title:
Wall panel system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wall panel system comprises an array of panels that provide a prefinished wall surface. The panels may be of the same or different sizes and include grooves or reveals supporting inserts that cooperate to provide rectangular faux panels or other wall panel designs. A trim system for mounting the panels to a support wall includes elongated trim strips for completing panel edges and corners.



Inventors:
Bledsoe, Steven W. (San Clemente, CA, US)
Dobija, Michael J. (Laguna Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/925810
Publication Date:
04/20/2006
Filing Date:
08/25/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PAINTER, BRANON C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PEARNE & GORDON LLP (CLEVELAND, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A kit for constructing a prefinished wall comprising a plurality of trim elements for mounting of rectangular panels in an array to a support wall to form said prefinished wall, said panels having horizontal edges, vertical edges and substantially planar surfaces extending between panel edges, said prefinished wall including at least one outside corner formed by angularly intersecting panels, said trim elements including horizontal trim elements for mounting in a horizontal direction along said horizontal panel edges, vertical trim elements for mounting in a vertical direction along said vertical panel edges and outside corner trim elements for mounting along vertical panel edges at said outside corner of said prefinished wall, each of said trim elements including a base to be secured to said support wall and a trim wall extending from said base along the adjacent panel edge, said trim wall having a planar configuration that is in substantial continuous contact with the entire area of said panel edge and projects beyond the adjacent panel surface to a trim surface that is parallel with said panel surface.

2. The kit of claim 1, wherein said vertical trim element has an L-shape cross-section, said prefinished wall includes at least one inside corner formed by abutting first and second panels separated by a corner mounted vertical trim element having opposed first and second vertical sides, said corner mounted trim element extending along an adjacent edge of said first abutting panel with said first vertical side in substantial contact with said panel edge and said second vertical side extending along the adjacent surface of said second abutting panel, said trim surface of said trim element being spaced from and parallel with said panel surface of said first abutting panel and extending perpendicularly along said panel surface of said second abutting panel whereby said inside corner provides a finished trim appearance similar to that provided by said trim elements extending along the horizontal and vertical edges of said panels.

3. The kit of claim 1, wherein said trim surface has a width equal to less than about 0.1 inch.

4. The kit of claim 1, wherein said trim surface has a width equal to from about 0.05 inch to about 0.125 inch.

5. The kit of claim 1, wherein said outside corner trim element comprises a elongate channel having an X shaped cross section formed by a pair of said trim walls joined at a right angle intersection, each of said trim walls extending from said intersection to form said base as a pair of mounting legs.

6. The kit of claim 1, wherein said outside corner trim element comprises an elongate channel having a double-Y shaped cross-section formed by a pair of said trim walls joined at a first right angle intersection to form a common leg extending from said intersection to a second right angle intersection formed by a pair of mounting legs projecting away from each other at right angles and parallel with said trim walls.

7. The kit of claim 1, wherein a said outside corner trim element includes a central corner element aligned with said intersection and laterally extending trim portions, said trim portions extending over adjacent vertical panel edges and including separately mounted trim pieces selected to match or contrast said planar surfaces of said panels.

8. The kit of claim 1, wherein said outside corner trim element is an integrally formed metallic extrusion.

9. The kit of claim 1, wherein a plurality of intersecting grooves extend in said planar surfaces of said panels, and said kit further includes a plurality of reveal inserts mounted in said grooves.

10. A wall panel system comprising a plurality of rectangular panels adapted to be mounted in abutting relationship to a support wall in a planar array to form a finished wall, each panel having a generally planar surface extending between panel edges arranged along horizontally and vertically extending directions, each of said panels having a plurality of intersecting grooves extending in the panel surface intermediate said panel edges, and a plurality of reveal inserts mounted in said grooves to subdivide the panel surface into a plurality of smaller rectangular faux panels.

11. The wall panel system of claim 10, wherein said intersecting groove has a cross-section, adjacent panel edges each provide one-half of said groove cross-section and cooperate to form an edge groove corresponding in cross-section with said cross-section of said intersecting groove, and said reveal inserts are also mounted in said edge groove.

12. The wall panel system of claim 11, wherein said panel array includes an array edge formed by vertical panel edges and an inside corner formed by angularly intersecting panels, and identical elongate trim strips having trim walls for engaging panel edges form both a vertical trim for said vertical panel edges and an inside corner trim disposed between said angular and he intersecting panels.

13. The wall panel system of claim 11, wherein said intersecting grooves in each of said panels cooperate to form horizontally aligned grooves in an adjacent panels in said array of panels.

14. The wall panel system of claim 11, wherein said panels are of at least two different area sizes.

15. The wall panel system of claim 14, wherein said panels are of the same height and different widths.

16. The wall panel system of claim 15, wherein said panels of different sizes are arranged in a selected panel sequence and said panel sequence is repeated to form said panel array of said prefinished wall.

17. The wall panel system of claim 10, wherein mounting fasteners extend through said grooves to secure said panel to said support wall, said mounting fasteners being hidden from view by said reveal inserts.

18. The wall panel system of claim 17, wherein said panels are individually mounted to said support wall to provide a nonprogressive panel system wherein any panel may be removed without prior removal of an adjacent panel.

19. The wall panel system of claim 10, wherein said intersecting grooves in each of said panels cooperate to form a plaid-like pattern of unevenly spaced repeated grooves crossing at right angles whereby the pattern has an overall linear appearance.

20. The wall panel system of claim 19, wherein said panels are of at least two different area sizes.

21. The wall panel system of claim 20, wherein said panels are of the same height and different widths.

22. The wall panel system of claim 20, wherein said panels of different sizes are arranged in a selected panel sequence and said panel sequence is repeated to form said panel array of said prefinished wall.

23. In a wall panel system comprising a plurality of panels adapted to be mounted to a support wall to form a prefinished wall, each of said panels having a finished front surface extending between panel edges lying in vertical and horizontal orientations, said panels including adjacent vertical edges forming at least one outside corner at the adjacent edges of intersecting first and second panels, the improvement comprising an outside corner trim element mounted to said support wall along said corner, said trim element including a central corner element aligned with said intersection and laterally extending trim portions, said trim portions extending over said adjacent vertical edges and including separately mounted trim pieces that may be selected to match or contrast said finished front surfaces of said panels.

24. The wall system of claim 23, wherein said trim portions include insert channels for receiving said trim pieces.

25. The wall system of claim 24, wherein said insert channel has a height substantially equal to the height of said outside corner trim element, a width substantially equal to the lateral extent of said trim portion and a thickness substantially equal to the thickness of said trim piece.

26. The wall system of claim 25, wherein said insert channel is formed with a generally flat bottom and first and second opposed overhangs for receiving opposite vertical edges of said trim piece.

27. The wall system of claim 26, wherein said central corner element includes said first overhang adjacent each of said trim portions, and a lip projecting from said trim portion provides said second overhang adjacent a lateral extremity of said trim portion.

28. The wall system of claim 25, wherein said trim pieces are formed of a laminated plastic.

29. The wall system of claim 23, wherein said trim portions resiliently engage said panels.

30. The wall system of claim 23, wherein said trim portions cover and hide from view said vertical panel edges at said corner.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION AND RELATED ART

This invention relates to wall systems and, more particularly, to a wall panel system comprising an array of panels that cooperatively provide a finished wall surface.

Systems are known for assembling arrays of individual wall panels to produce a finished wall surface. U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,838,546, 4,783,941 and 4,854,095 each illustrate examples of such systems. Similar systems are also disclosed in assignee's prior U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,417,020 and 5,694,727 wherein panels or tiles of relatively small size, e.g., one or several feet on edge, are provided in an upscale more costly wall system. Typically, a frame or grid is initially installed and the individual panels are then mounted on the frame or grid in such systems. In some instances, clips are provided to secure and position the panels on the grid structure.

Such systems tend to be relatively complex and require a number of different structural elements which must be assembled by skilled installers. The systems do not readily lend themselves to alternative assembly techniques which may provide different overall appearances in accordance with designer aesthetic preferences. Similarly, the systems do not tend to easily accommodate unique support wall configurations.

Frequently, such systems are so-called progressive systems in that assembly and disassembly of the wall system must be sequential beginning with an edge or periphery panel. That is, in order to remove an intermediate panel, neighboring panels must first be removed beginning at an extremity of the wall panel system. This is a time consuming process, and it is especially disadvantageous in wall panel systems having locations of high wear or incidence of damage since frequently worn or damaged panels are not individually and easily replaced. For example, panel installations in public buildings, a hallway, door adjacent locations or the like tend to require frequent replacement of individual panels.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides an improved panel system which offers flexibility of configuration and enables combinations of panels of various area sizes. The panels are rectangular which includes square for purposes herein.

The panels may be scored vertically and horizontally in square, rectangular or linear patterns. The panels are mechanically fastened to the wall through the horizontal reveals.

The wall panel system may include repeating sequences of panels of different area sizes which cooperate to provide a prefinished wall surface. The panels are typically formed of a high-pressure laminate on a wood fiber substrate. The laminate may be provided with a wood grain or colored front or exposed surface.

The panels may be sized for floor-to-ceiling, wainscot or column-wrap installations. Accordingly, full wall panels may be 4′ or 5′ wide by 8′ or 10′ tall, wainscot may be 4′ by 4′, 8′ by 4′ or 10′ by 4′ and column-wrap panels may be 2′ by 8′ or 2′ by 10′. As described below, panels of different sizes may be combined to provide a finished wall surface. The panels include reveals and reveal inserts that may be arranged to provide a repeating uniform pattern from panel-to-panel or a combined panel comprehensive pattern.

As indicated, the prefinished wall surface may be provided with a repeating design characterized by a plurality of smaller faux panel surfaces. For example, a 4′×4′ panel may be provided with horizontal and vertical grooves fitted with reveal inserts that cooperate to provide the prefinished wall surface with the appearance of an array of four 2′ by 2′ square faux panels. In this manner, the panels provide the appearance of smaller, individually installed panels or tiles, and the advantages of large panel installation.

In another arrangement, the prefinished wall surface may be provided with an overall integrated design appearance wherein adjacent panels provide different portions of a comprehensive design pattern extending over a plurality of panels. For example, a repeating array of three adjacent panels may include an aligned pair of horizontally extending reveal inserts extending along the surfaces of all three panels and intersecting vertical reveal inserts in only one or more of the panels. Of course, the pattern of reveal inserts may be identical in all three panels.

The panel system is directly fastened to a support wall, as by fasteners within the grooves, and covered by the reveal inserts. In addition, a trim system cooperates in the panel mounting.

The trim system complements the appearance of both the faux panel designs and the integrated plural panel designs. To that end, the trim system includes elongate trim strips or elements characterized by substantially planar flat trim walls. The trim wall engages substantially the entire area of the associated panel edge to provide effective protection against panel edge impacts that might otherwise tend to delaminate the panel.

The flat trim wall extends slightly beyond the surface of the panel to a flat trim surface that is substantially parallel with the panel wall surface. The trim system forms a dimensional outline of the panel disposed in a plane different from that of the panel surface.

In addition to providing a finished trim appearance that is aesthetically pleasing, the trim system is also efficient in that the strips thereof may be used for multiple purposes. For example, the vertical trim strips may also be used as inside corner trim strips as described below.

The outside corner trim strips or elements similarly outline the panel edges while providing protection against side impacts. To that end, the outside corner trim strips also include planar trim walls engaging adjacent panel edges and terminating in trim surfaces that are parallel with the adjacent panel surface. The trim strips are provided with simple geometric configurations that are easily manufactured, as metallic extrusions.

In an alternative arrangement, the trim system may include an array edge trim strip having a channel shape. The edge of the panel array is received in the channel shape to present a trim surface of increased width. For example, the front surface of the edge trim may have a width substantially equal to that of the reveal insert. This may be used with faux panel surfaces to complete the appearance of an array of smaller panels.

In yet another arrangement, the trim system may include an outside corner trim strip or element having a central trim portion aligned with the intersection line of the corner and laterally extending trim portions overhanging and engaging the adjacent panel surfaces. The trim portions include separately mounted trim pieces that may be selected to match or contrast panel surfaces.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view illustrating a portion of a wall panel system in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention, with parts-omitted for clarity of illustration;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary front elevational view of the wall panel system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view on an enlarged scale taken along the line 3-3 in FIG. 2 showing a mid-wall fastening in the array of panels of the first embodiment and illustrating one form of a reveal insert that may be used to cover the finished fastening;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view on an enlarged scale taken along the line 4-4 in FIG. 2 showing a vertical butt joint between two panels in the array of panels;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view on an enlarged scale taken along the line 5-5 in FIG. 2 showing a vertical edge of the array of panels and one form of trim that may be used to provide a finished vertical edge trim;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary sectional view on an enlarged scale taken along the line 6-6 in FIG. 2 showing a top edge of the array of panels and one form of trim that may be used to provide a finished top edge trim;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary-sectional view on an enlarged scale taken along the line 7-7 in FIG. 2 showing a horizontal joint between lower and upper panels in the array of panels of the first embodiment and illustrating a stacking rail trim strip that may be used to provide a finished horizontal joint;

FIG. 8 is a sectional view on an enlarged scale showing the reveal insert used in the first embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary sectional view on an enlarged scale showing an inside corner in an array of panels of the first embodiment and illustrating one form of trim that may be used to provide a finished inside corner trim;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary sectional view on an enlarged scale showing an outside corner in an array of panels of the first embodiment and illustrating one form of trim that may be used to provide a finished outside corner trim;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary sectional view on an enlarged scale showing an outside corner in an array of panels of a second embodiment and illustrating one form of trim that may be used to provide a finished outside corner trim;

FIG. 12 is a sectional view on an enlarged scale showing another form of a reveal insert used in the second embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 13 is a sectional view through a panel showing alternative forms of an upper trim edge, a lower trim edge and a mid-wall fastening arrangement used in the second embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 14 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 13 showing an alternative form of a lower trim edge used in the second embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 15 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 13 showing additional alternative forms of an upper trim edge and a lower trim edge arrangement used in the second embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 16 is an elevational front view of a wall surface formed by a three panel array having reveal inserts in each panel forming portions of a more comprehensive combined or integrated design;

FIG. 17 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along the line 17-17 in FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 is an elevational front view of a wall surface formed by a three panel array having reveal inserts in each panel forming portions of a more comprehensive combined or integrated design;

FIG. 19 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along the line 19-19 in FIG. 18;

FIG. 20 is a fragmentary sectional taken along an outside corner in an array of panels illustrating another form of trim that may be used to provide a finished outside corner trim; and

FIG. 21 is a fragmentary perspective view showing the outside corner of the array of panels shown in FIG. 19.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In accordance with the invention, a wall panel system includes a plurality of rectangular panels consisting of rows or courses of horizontally aligned panels assembled and mounted to provide a finished wall surface. As required, the courses may be of indefinite length and panels may be stacked in columns to provide a desired height.

The panels may be provided with substantially any desired surface finish and appearance. For example, the exposed panel surface may be provided with a simulated wood grain, a single or multicolor, abstract or like surface. Similarly, the panels may be provided with a wood veneer, a metal finish, or a high pressure laminate construction including a medium density fiberboard core or a particle board core and a backer layer.

FIGS. 1 through 10 illustrate a first embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, a wall system 10 comprises a plurality of panels 12a and 12b mounted by a trim system 14 to a support wall 16. The support wall 16 may comprise a conventional drywall structure supported by studs, such as the stud 18.

With particular reference to FIG. 2, the panels 12a are arranged in a lower course 20 and the panels 12b are arranged in an upper course 22. The panels 12a are 4′ by 8′ and the panels 12b are 4′ by 4′ so that a wall system 10 provides a 12′ tall prefinished wall surface 24 of indefinite length.

A plurality of reveals or grooves 26 are provided in the front or exposed surfaces of the panels 12a and 12b. In this embodiment, the grooves 26 are arranged to intersect at right angles in a spaced pattern that divides the surface of each panel 12a into eight squares and the surface of each panel 12b into four squares, all squares being of the same size.

Reveal inserts 28 are mounted within the grooves 26 to further enhance the appearance of the surface. In this manner, the panels 12a, 12b cooperate to provide the prefinished wall surface 24 with a repeating pattern of relatively smaller square faux panels 30 that simulate the appearance of individual panels or tiles.

The wall panel system 10 is fastened directly to the support wall 16 by fasteners 32 mounted within the grooves 26 as shown in FIG. 1. The fasteners 32 may comprise screws or nails. For purposes of added reinforcement, the trim system 14 includes aluminum furring strips 34 aligned with the grooves 26 and disposed at array edges. The strips 34 may be of a suitable thickness, such as 16 gauge. If a vertical groove 26 is aligned with a stud, such as stud 18, furring strip 34 is not required. The fasteners are covered by the reveal inserts 28 as shown in FIG. 2. The reveal inserts 28 are adhesively mounted within the grooves 26.

Referring to FIGS. 2 through 4, the grooves 26 include mid-wall grooves 26a as shown in FIG. 3. Mid-wall grooves 26a are provided for purposes of design and/or fastening the panel to the support wall. In addition to mid-wall grooves 26a, vertical butt joint grooves 26b are provided between the edges of adjacent panels as shown in FIG. 4. The butt joint grooves 26b are formed by mating router-cut channels or half-grooves 56 extending along the edges of the panels 12a.

The vertical edge of the wall panel system 10 is mounted to the support wall 16 with a vertical edge trim strip 36 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 5. The horizontal lower and top edges of the wall panel system 10 are respectively mounted with horizontal edge trim strips 38 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 6. The trim strips 36 and 38 may also be secured to the support wall 16 by the fasteners 32 comprising rails.

The trim strip 36 has an L-shaped cross-section including a base 40 and a perpendicularly extending trim wall 42 of substantially flat or planar configuration. The trim wall 42 is in substantial contact with the adjacent edge of the panel 12a or 12b, and protects the edge against delamination. The trim wall 42 is relatively thin, 1/16″ to 3/16″ thick, and projects beyond the surface on the panels about 0.03″ to a trim surface 44 that is substantially parallel when the wall panel surface 24.

The trim strip 38 has an L-shaped cross-section including a base 46 and a perpendicularly extending trim wall 48. The trim wall 48 also extends about 0.03″ beyond the wall surface 24 to a trim surface 50 that is parallel with the wall surface 24. The trim wall 48 also has a substantially flat or planar configuration, but includes a laterally projecting tongue 52 sized to be received within a mating kerf or groove 54 in the horizontal edge of the panel 12b.

As best shown in FIG. 7, the panels 12b of the upper course 22 are connected to the panels 12a of the lower course 20 by a stacking joint rail 60. The rail 60 has an H-shape cross-section including a base 62 secured to the support wall 16 by fasteners 32. A central connector 64 extends from the base 62 to a joining leg 66 that is disposed in a vertical plane. The leg 66 includes lower and upper tongues 66a and 66b respectively received in mating kerfs or grooves 54 cut in the horizontal edges of the panels 12a and 12b. The leg 66 and the kerfs 54 are sized to space apart the adjacent panel edges at the front surface of the array a distance corresponding with the thickness of the reveal insert 28.

The details of the cross-section of the reveal insert 28 are shown in FIG. 8. The insert 28 is reversibly mountable within the grooves 26, and therefore includes opposed alternate finish surfaces 68 and 69. The surface 68 is provided with a concave configuration. The surface 69 includes a pair of spaced grooves 69a and 69b. In addition to providing desired aesthetics, the concave configuration of the surface 68 and the grooves 69a and 69b of the surface 69 serve to retain adhesive used to mount the insert 28 in the groove 26.

Referring to FIG. 9, the wall panel system 10 is shown applied to an inside corner generally indicated at 70. The support wall 16 includes walls 16a and 16b that intersect at substantially a right angle to form the inside corner 70. In this instance, a first panel 12′, which may be a panel 12a or 12b, is mounted to the surface of the wall 16a, as by fasteners 32. The edge of the panel 12′ received in the corner 70 is tightly abutted against the surface of the support wall 16b.

A vertical edge trim strip 36 is mounted to the wall 16b by securing the base 40 of the strip to the wall surface. A first side 42a of the trim wall 42 is positioned against the front or exposed surface of the panel 12′. A second panel 12″, which also may be a panel 12a or 12b, is then mounted to the surface of the wall 16b. The edge of the panel 12″ is tightly butted against a second side 42b of the trim wall 42.

The trim wall 42 extends beyond the front or exposed surface of the panel 12″ to dispose the trim surface 44 in parallel and spaced relationship with the front surface of the panel. It should be appreciated that the exposed portion of the trim wall 42 provides a similar trim appearance with respect to the front or exposed surface of the panel 12′.

Referring to FIG. 10, an outside corner generally indicated at 72 is formed by the right angle intersection of walls 16c and 16d of the support wall 16. An outside corner trim strip 74 is mounted along the corner. The trim strip 74 has an X-shaped cross-section formed by a pair of trim walls 76 and 78 that are joined at a right angle. The trim walls extend to form base mounting legs 80 and 82 that are respectively secured to the surfaces of the walls 16c and 16b by fasteners 32. The trim strip 74 is particularly adapted for use with panels having a thickness of about 7/16″.

For purposes of illustration, panels 12′ and 12″ are also shown forming the outside corner 72. Accordingly, the edge of the panel 12′ abuts the trim wall 76 and the edge of the panel 12″ abuts the trim wall 78. Each of the trim walls 76, 78 extends slightly beyond the adjacent surface of the panel to form trim surfaces 84, 86. The trim surfaces 84, 86 are respectively spaced from and parallel with the adjacent surfaces of the panels 12′ and 12″.

With particular reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the installation of the wall panel system 10 is described. Initially, vertical trim strips 36 and lower horizontal trim strips 38 together with furring strips 34 are secured to the support wall 16 at one extremity of the wall system. A first lower course 20 of adjacent panels 12a is engaged with the trim strip 38 and fixed to the support wall with fasteners 32. Adjacent panels 12a are butted with half-grooves 56 joined to form a groove 26 for receipt of an insert 28. An upper or second course of panels 12b may be mounted to the top edge of the panels 12a with stacking joint rail 60 and fasteners 32. Any inside corners 70 and outside corners 72 may be completed as described above.

The wall panel system 10 is then completed by application of horizontal trim strip 38 to the upper edge of the panel array and vertical trim strip 36 to the remaining vertical edge of the panel array. The reveal inserts 28 are adhesively mounted within the grooves 26 of the panels 12. The adhesive mounting of the inserts 28 is primarily intended to avoid tampering. Accordingly, the inserts may be removed without damage to the panels.

As noted above, the wall panel system 10 is non-progressive since a single panel may be removed without prior removal of a neighboring course panel. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to remove an upper course panel before removing a lower course panel. Even such limited disassembly of upper and lower course panels provides considerable time and cost savings as compared with the disassembly required in progressive systems.

Referring to FIG. 11, an outside corner 90 is completed by an outside corner trim strip 92 in accordance with a further embodiment of the invention. This embodiment is particularly adapted for use with thicker panels, e.g., ¾″ thick.

The trim strip 92 has a double-Y shaped cross section formed by a pair of trim walls 94 and 96 joined at a right angle intersection to form a common leg 98. The leg 98 extends toward the support wall 16 to a pair of perpendicularly disposed base mounting legs 100 and 102. The mounting legs 100 and 102 are secured to the support wall by fasteners 32.

In this embodiment, corner-forming panels 108 and 110, which may comprise panels 12a and 12b, have shaped edges 108a and 110a engaging the trim strip 92. More particularly, the rearward portions of the edges 108a and 110a are chamfered to accommodate the angular intersection of the connecting leg 98. The forward portions of the edges 108a and 110a are cut at right angles to the panel surface to assure a tight abutting relationship with the trim walls 94 and 96. It should be appreciated that the rearward portions of the edges 108a and 110a may be cut at any angle to clear the leg 98 and that such cuts need not be finish cuts.

Referring to FIG. 12, a reveal insert 112 especially adapted for use in connection with relatively thicker panel systems is shown. The insert 112 has a rectangular U-shaped cross-section including a concave connecting wall 114 joining opposed walls 116. The walls 116 are spaced to form an opening 118. The insert 112 may be mounted in a panel reveal with either the wall 114 or the opening 118 adjacent the front or exposed surface of the panel.

Referring to FIG. 13, a ¾″ thick panel 120 is shown mounted to a support wall 122. To that end, a furring strip 124 is provided and fasteners 32 are used. The lower edge of the panel 120 is supported by a horizontal edge trim strip 126 having a construction similar to the strip 38. A mid-wall fastening 128 includes a reveal or groove 130. The fasteners 32 extend through the bottom of the groove 130, and they are covered by the reveal insert 112. In this embodiment, the reveal insert 112 is mounted with the concave connecting wall 114 exposed.

The top edge of the panel 120 is secured to the support wall 122 by a modified horizontal edge trim strip 132. The trim strip 132 has a J-shape including a base mounting leg 134 extending along and fastened to the support wall 122. A laterally extending connecting wall 136 projects from the base mounting leg 134 to a trim face wall 138 which overlies a portion of the upper surface of the panel 120. The trim face wall 138 may have a vertical dimension corresponding with that of the reveal insert 112.

The panel 120 is shown in FIG. 14 with a router cut forming a lower edge channel 140 for receiving an insert 112. The resulting panel has matching mid-wall and lower edge trims. The top edge of the panel may be completed with another trim strip 126 or an L-shaped trim strip 132 may be used as illustrated.

Referring to FIG. 15, the panel 120 is further modified to include a router cut at its top edge to form an upper edge channel 142 which also receives an insert 112. In this arrangement, the panel now has three identical inserts mounted at the top, mid and lower regions of the panel. The inserts 112 may be mounted as shown or reversed to expose openings 118.

Referring to FIGS. 16 and 17, a wall panel system 150 includes a selected panel sequence comprising a central 4′ by 8′ wall panel 152 and a 2′ by 8′ column panel 154 on each side thereof. The adjacent vertical panel edges are router cut to form half-grooves that cooperate to form grooves 156. Horizontal grooves 156 are vertically spaced at 2′ intervals.

Reveal inserts 158, such as inserts 28 or 112, are mounted within the grooves 156. In this manner, the panels 152 and 154 cooperate to provide the wall panel system 150 with a wall panel surface 160. As shown, the wall panel surface 160 is formed of four 2′ by 4′ rectangular faux panels and eight 2′ by 2′ square faux panels.

The wall panel system 150 may be provided with an indefinite length by repeating the selected panel sequence or three array pattern of wall panels 152 and 154. The vertical and horizontal edges of the panel array may be completed with trim strips 36, 38, 126, with or without a mated reveal insert, or 132.

Referring to FIGS. 18 and 19, a wall panel system 162 is shown. The wall panel system includes a three panel sequence comprising a central 4′ by 8′ panel 164 and a 2′ by 8′ column panel 166 on each side thereof. Once again, vertical and horizontal grooves 168 are scored in the surface of the panels and the adjacent vertical panel edges are router cut to form half-grooves that cooperate to form vertical grooves 168. Reveal inserts 170, such as inserts 28 or 112, are mounted within the grooves 168.

Each of the panels includes a first pair of lower horizontal grooves 168 containing inserts 170 located at a height of about 3′ from the panel bottom edges and vertically spaced apart about 2″. The panels also include a second pair of lower horizontal grooves and inserts, also at about a 2″ spacing, and positioned about 4″ above the first pair of lower horizontal grooves. The groove pattern is completed by an upper groove 168 and inserts 170 spaced about 8″ form the top edge of each panel.

The panels 164 and 166 cooperate to provide the wall panel system 162 with a wall panel surface 172. In this arrangement, the faux panels and multiple reveal inserts cooperate to provide the surface 172 with a plaid-like pattern characterized by groups of horizontal inserts and groups of vertical inserts forming a pattern of unevenly spaced repeated stripes crossing at right angles. The plaid-like pattern has a linear appearance as opposed to a geometric pattern of squares, rectangles or other closed simple shapes.

The three panel sequence or array may be repeated to provide the wall panel system 162 with an indefinite length. The vertical and horizontal edges of the panel array may be completed with trim strips 36, 38, 126, with or without a mated reveal insert, or 132.

Referring to FIGS. 20 and 21, an outside corner, generally indicated at 178, is formed by the walls 16c and 16d of the support wall 16. An outside corner trim strip 180 is mounted along the corner to an outside corner mounting base 182. The strip 180 and the base 182 typically extend the full height of the wall.

The mounting base 182 includes mounting legs 184 and 186 secured to the adjacent walls 16c and 16d by fasteners 32. The legs 184 and 186 are joined to a U-shape female mounting coupler 188 that is aligned with the intersection of the corner and opens outwardly to form a female mounting channel 190 that extends along the full length of corner 178. The interior surface of the mounting channel is provided with teeth or grooves 192.

The trim strip 180 includes a central corner portion 194 having a rearwardly projecting male mounting rib 196 and laterally projecting trim portions 198 and 200. The rib 196 has teeth or grooves 201 extending along its exterior surface.

The rib 196 is sized to be laterally inserted or pushed into the channel 190. The engaging teeth or grooves 192 and 198 form a mechanical interlock that secures the trim strip 180 to the mounting base 182.

The outside corner is finished with wall panels 12′ and 12″, which may be provided by panels 12a or 12b. The adjacent corner edge of the panel 12′ is cut at an acute angle to fit against the mounting coupler 188. For purposes of illustration, the adjacent corner edge of the panel 12″ is not specially finished, but rather, extends at a right angle as formed during manufacture. In both cases, the trim portions 198 and 200 are provided with a sufficient lateral dimension to extend beyond the finished surface edges of the panels 12′ and 12″ so that no special finish edge cut is required. Also, the trim portions 198 and 200 are configured to tightly abut against the surface on the panels 12′ and 12″, and thereby provide a finished joint.

The trim portions 198 and 200 respectively include laterally disposed and vertically extending insert channels or trim slots 202 and 204. The trim slots 202 and 204 may have a lateral dimension of less than an inch, e.g., ⅝, as desired, and generally extend along substantially the entire lateral width of the trim portion. The vertical height of the trim slots 202 and 204 generally corresponds with that of the outside corner trim strip 180.

The trim slots 202 and 204 have flat bottoms provided by the trim portions 198 and 200. The trim slots 202 and 204 are bounded by overhangs 206 and 208 and, respectively associated, lips 210 and 212. The lips project from the trim portions 198 and 200, and have a slight reverse bend to provide a J-shape cross-section and overhang.

The trim slots 202 and 2Q4 have a thickness or depth equal to thickness of commercially available laminate materials such as FORMICA brand laminate, e.g., 0.030″ TO 0.060″. Laminate trim pieces 214 and 216 are mounted in the trim slots 202 and 204. The trim pieces 214 and 216 may be inserted longitudinally into the trim slots prior to-the mounting of the trim strip 180, or they may be laterally flexed and pushed into the trim slots.

The front or exposed surfaces of the trim pieces 214 and 216 are finished and may match or contrast the front or exposed surfaces of the panels 12′ and 12″. In most cases, the trim pieces 214 and 216 will match each other, but this is not necessary.

While the invention has been shown and described with respect to particular embodiments thereof, this is for the purpose of illustration rather than limitation, and other variations and modifications of the specific embodiments herein shown and described will be apparent to those skilled in the art all within the intended spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the patent is not to be limited in scope and effect to the specific embodiments herein shown and described nor in any other way that is inconsistent with the extent to which the progress in the art has been advanced by the invention.