Title:
Two-part composite molding and trim with raceway
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A two-part molding fabricated to include one or nonmetallic components and a wiring raceway. The molding includes a base attachable to a wall or other surface, and a face fabricated of the nonmetallic component, such as a wood polymer composite. The face is easily removably attachable to the base and it and the base are formed such that when they are joined together, the raceway is established between them. The face may be formed by extrusion or other means into a selectable shape, and is suitable for painting, staining, printing, or other surface treatment to give a desired appearance. The two-part arrangement of the molding allows painting of the wall to which it is attached without unintended to the visible surface of the molding. The face includes an interior miter channel for receiving a miter plate to ensure tight fit of the molding around comers.



Inventors:
Weinstein, Gary M. (Westbrook, ME, US)
Application Number:
11/220806
Publication Date:
05/11/2006
Filing Date:
09/07/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B2/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030029096Under-deck shedding and drainage systemFebruary, 2003James Jr.
20060048458STORM SHELTER AND VAULT WITH TRANSPORT SYSTEMMarch, 2006Donald et al.
20050257479Ballistic shelterNovember, 2005Nygren et al.
20100050553SANDWICH PANEL JOINT AND METHOD OF JOINING SANDWICH PANELSMarch, 2010Schofield
20070193140IMPACT RESISTANT DOOR LIGHTAugust, 2007Carnick et al.
20060016130Roof edge windscreenJanuary, 2006Lin
20070289225Family Zone Modules for Hospital WallsDecember, 2007Kern et al.
20080313971DropclothDecember, 2008Frantellizzi
20050108960Polymer concrete pipeMay, 2005Schluter
20060191234Brackets and bracket system for assembling playground equipmentAugust, 2006Gadd et al.
20040194416Method of manufacturing counter top trim moldingOctober, 2004Tonkin



Primary Examiner:
BARTOSIK, ANTHONY N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRIS A. CASEIRO (PORTLAND, ME, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A molding comprising: a. a base having a main body and two sidewalls, wherein each of the sidewalls includes a mating structure; and b. a face having a main body and two sidewalls, wherein each of the sidewalls includes a mating structure for removable attachment of the face to the mating structure of the base, wherein the face is fabricated of a wood polymer composite.

2. The molding as claimed in claim 1 wherein the wood polymer composite is a composite formed of about 70% post industrial wood fiber, about 20% corn starch and about 10% polymer.

3. The molding as claimed in claim 2 wherein the face may be painted, stained, printed, or wrapped.

4. The molding as claimed in claim 1 wherein the mating structure of the base includes corrugations on the exterior surfaces of the sidewalls thereof, and the mating structure of the face includes corrugations on the interior surfaces of the sidewalls thereof fittingly compatible with the corrugations of the exterior surfaces of the sidewalls of the base.

5. The molding as claimed in claim 1 wherein the base and the face are configured such that, when joined together, a wiring raceway is established therebetween.

6. The molding as claimed in claim 1 further comprising a miter plate, wherein the face further includes a miter channel for receiving the miter plate therein.

7. A molding comprising: a. a base having a main body and two sidewalls, wherein each of the sidewalls includes a mating structure; and b. a face having a main body and two sidewalls, wherein each of the sidewalls includes a mating structure for removable attachment of the face to the mating structure of the base, wherein the base and the face are configured such that, when joined together, a wiring raceway is established therebetween.

8. The molding as claimed in claim 7, wherein the face is fabricated of a wood polymer composite.

9. The molding as claimed in claim 8 wherein the wood polymer composite is a composite formed of about 70% post industrial wood fiber, about 20% corn starch and about 10% polymer.

10. The molding as claimed in claim 9 wherein the face may be painted, stained, printed, or wrapped.

11. The molding as claimed in claim 7 wherein the mating structure of the base includes corrugations on the exterior surfaces of the sidewalls thereof, and the mating structure of the face includes corrugations on the interior surfaces of the sidewalls thereof fittingly compatible with the corrugations of the exterior surfaces of the sidewalls of the base.

12. The molding as claimed in claim 7 further comprising a miter plate, wherein the face further includes a miter channel for receiving the miter plate therein.

13. The molding as claimed in claim 7 wherein the base is fabricated of a nonmetallic material.

14. The molding as claimed in claim 13 wherein the base is fabricated of a polymeric material.

15. The molding as claimed in claim 14 wherein the polymeric material is polystyrene.

16. The molding as claimed in claim 7 wherein the face is fabricated of a nonmetallic material.

17. The molding as claimed in claim 16 wherein the face is fabricated of a polymeric material.

18. The molding as claimed in claim 17 wherein the polymeric material is polystyrene.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims the priority benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/625,764, filed Nov. 8, 2004, entitled “EXTRUDED WOOD POLYMER COMPOSITE “FACE” MOLDING PROFILES” of the same named inventor. The entire contents of that prior application are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to molding and trim products. More particularly, the present invention relates to molding to be applied to any of walls, door frames, and window frames. The present invention is directed to a two-part composite molding including a wiring raceway. For purposes of description of the present invention, the word molding refers to any of molding, trim, casing, mopboard or the like that is applied to the perimeter of walls, doors, and windows.

2. Description of the Prior Art.

Traditionally, solid wood has been used for interior moldings and trim. Once, clear lengths of wood were readily available and affordable. Scarcity has driven up the price for stain grade wood molding. Producers responded by offering smaller profiles with very little aesthetic value. Evolving market conditions and new technologies made it possible for alternative products, including Finger-Jointed Pine (FJP) and Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) to capture significant market share. All profiles, regardless of material, adhere to specifications determined by the Wood Molding and Millwork Products Association (WMMPA).

The molding business is a commodity market. A particular wood molding product made under WMMPA guidelines and product designations made by one manufacturer is identical to that made by another manufacturer. Moldings are undifferentiated in terms of function, performance, appearance and installation. FJP and MDF profiles are pre-primed and offer a cost advantage particularly in the larger profiles; otherwise moldings are sold largely on the basis of price.

Wood, FJP and MDF are typically installed with nails through the face prior to painting or staining. There are no time savings with one product as compared to the others. Installing and finishing interior moldings is labor intensive. More so, painting or papering walls around trim also adds significant labor. In terms of relative advantages of each, wood can be either stained or painted whereas FJP and MDF must be painted. As with clear wood, FJP is devoid of knots and other defects, although occasionally, joints will show through. Also, as a wood product, FJP can crack, split and dent. Additionally, although MDF is more dimensionally stable than wood based products, there are limitations associated with it. Many professional carpenters don't like working with it. It is heavy, dusty and difficult to nail. It also contains Urea formaldehyde that can irritate eyes and the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory system. Even in small amounts, the formaldehyde can cause serious health problems. FJP and MDF, however offer a cost advantage. Based on one example WMMPA casing profile, the WM351, MDF costs 45% less than clear pine, and FJP costs approximately 35% less than clear pine. As the dimension of a profile increases, the cost advantage for MDF and FJP increases.

Another alternative to natural wood is extruded styrene, which is generally available in white (painting optional), profile wrapped or printed with a wood grain. The fact that a wood grain appearance does not require any additional labor represents labor savings. Extruded styrene costs a little more than FJP but less than wood. However, extruded styrene is lightweight and dents easily. The paper or foil used to wrap the extrusion is not a convincing substitute for wood and cannot be repaired or painted like wood. A benefit of extrusions, such as styrene extrusions, is that the extrusions are manufactured to a net shape, whereas wood, FJP and MDF start with an oversized blank and are machined to the net shape, creating waste that must be accounted for. In addition, wood products manufacturing tends to be labor intensive. Extrusion manufacturing processes, on the other hand, generally are not. The number of extruded molding profiles commercially available is limited.

For the most part, little advancement has been made in the technology of much of the molding products used in the building industry. These products are considered commodity items and as long as they meet certain minimum standards of appearance and are relatively easy to install, there has been little incentive to make many changes. Nevertheless, the home and commercial building business has made advancements in many areas, including in the size of the structures made. The moldings industry there remains an important market. On the other hand, some of the better known recent electronic advances have resulted in substantial changes in the operations of homes and businesses, if not the specific appearance. These electronic advances come with side effects, including, but not limited to, a variety of types of wires that must be located somewhere.

Wires associated with telephones, televisions, computers and other electronic devices, and electrical wires used to power the building, are preferably installed within the building walls during construction. They are therefore out of sight. They are also difficult to access when necessary. In buildings built after the availability of cable television, computers, and better telephone systems, the necessary wiring is either placed in exposed locations along the floor, or intrusive constructive activities are required to open the building walls, insert the wiring, and close the walls. It would be preferable to have a convenient arrangement to hide electronics wiring while making it relatively easy to access.

What is needed is molding that is easy to install. What is also needed is molding that is easy to surface treat and has a useful life at least as comparable as that of wood, MDF, or FJP. Further, what is needed is molding that is relatively easy to fabricate and comparably priced in relation to wood, MDF, FJP, and extrusions. Yet further, what is needed is molding that may be employed to hide wiring while allowing for access to the wiring when desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide molding that is easy to install. It is also an object of the present invention to provide molding that is easy to surface treat and has a useful life at least as comparable as that of wood, MDF, or FJP. Further, it is an object of the present invention to provide molding that is relatively easy to fabricate and comparably priced in relation to wood, MDF, FJP, and extrusions. Yet further, it is an object of the present invention to provide molding that may be employed to hide wiring while allowing for access to the wiring when desired.

These and other objects are achieved with the present invention, which is a two-part molding system formed of a wood polymer composite material in a way that establishes an interior wiring raceway. A first part of the molding is a base permanently or removably affixable to a surface where the molding is to be applied. The second part of the molding is a face that is removably affixable to the base. The base preferably includes one or more channels and a mating structure to retain the face. For purposes of description of the present invention, a channel may also refer to a space, hollow, or cavity. The face also includes one or more channels and a mating structure for removable affixing to the base. The mating structures of the base and face preferably permit the face to be snapped on and off of the base. When the base and the face are connected together, the combined one or more channels, hollows and spaces established between the two form one or more raceways for wiring. One or more additional channels on the inside of the face adjacent to the exterior surface thereof are preferably adapted to receive a miter interface component. Use of the miter interface component permits use of the molding of the present invention around corners while maintaining a close fit.

The base of the molding may be formed of any suitable material including, for example, a metal material or a nonmetallic material. It is intended that the observer not see the base when the base and face are joined together. It therefore does not have to be of any particular appearance. Instead, its function is directed to acting as a structure for removably affixing the face in place where desired on the surface to be covered. As a result, the surface to which the molding is applied may be papered, painted or stained after the base has been installed without concern of getting the treatment on the molding. The face may then be installed on the base after the wall, door, or window has been prepared.

Unlike the base, the exterior surface of the face of the molding is to be seen. Therefore, it is fabricated of material or treated in a manner suitable to conform to consumers' expectations of the appearance of traditional molding products. The face material is preferably of a material capable of being surface treated, such as by painting, staining, or printing. That material may be a nonmetallic material. The face may be surface treated when fabricated or after an initial installation. An advantage of the molding of the present invention over traditional one-piece molding relates to re-painting or re-staining the molding after it has been installed. The face of the molding of the present invention may be easily removed from the wall, placed flat and surface treated away from the wall, and then re-attached to the base. Similarly, a re-painting of the wall may be done without unintentional painting of the molding by first removing the face from the base, painting the wall, and then re-attaching it to the base.

As indicated, the face of the molding is preferably fabricated of a nonmetallic material. The nonmetallic material may be a polymeric material, such as polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, or co-polymers thereof, or other polymeric materials with structural characteristics sufficient for the expected environment of the molding. Alternatively, the nonmetallic material may be something other than a polymeric material including for example a wood-based product and more particularly, a wood polymer composite. While various combinations of materials may be used to form the composite, the face of the molding is preferably fabricated of a composite comprising about 70% post industrial wood fiber, about 20% corn starch and about 10% polymer. The Fasalex® composite available from Fasalex GmbH of Austria is suitable for this application. The composite is stronger, lighter and more environmentally efficient than recent wood substitutes. The composite may be extruded to any selectable shape, thereby enabling the fabrication of complex and ornate shapes as desired by the consumer, without extensive machining or waste material generation. Product not within specification can be ground up and introduced back into the process. The composite molding of the present invention is price competitive with MDF. The composite can be painted, stained, printed or profile wrapped without any prior treatment. The exterior surface of the face may optionally be printed with a wood grain, eliminating the need for any decorative finish, and conforming to expectations of the traditional appearance of molding.

These and other advantages of the molding of the present invention will become apparent upon review of the following detailed description, accompanying drawings, and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the molding of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional end view of the base and face of the molding of the present invention spaced apart from one another.

FIG. 3 is a perspective end view of the face of the molding of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a front view of the molding of the present invention as applied to a corner, the molding in phantom to show the miter interface plate.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A molding 10 of the present invention is shown assembled in FIG. 1 applied to a wall 100, and disassembled in FIG. 2. The molding 10 includes a base 12 and a face 14. The molding 10 is configured for attachment of the base 12 to the wall 100 (or other desired structure). Means for attaching the base 12 to the wall 100 may be nails (for permanent attachment) or screws (for removable attachment), or other means, such as bolts, staples, adhesive, or the like. Preferably, the base 12 is screwed to the wall 100 through one or more attachment ports 16.

The base 12 is preferably configured in the shape of a channel with main body 18, first sidewall 20, and second sidewall 22. The base 12 may be fabricated of one or more pieces of selectable length. The base 12 may be fabricated of a metallic material or a non-metallic material. The base 12 is preferably fabricated of a polymeric material such as a thermoplastic including, but not limited to, polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene or combinations thereof. The base 12 is preferably fabricated into its final configuration rather than machined to a final configuration, although that may optionally be done. The first sidewall 20 and the second sidewall 22 each includes a series of ribs or corrugations 24 at least on the exterior surface thereof. The corrugations 24 are arranged to be compatible with and fit into corresponding corrugations of the face 14 when the base 12 and face 14 are to be removably joined together.

With continuing reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the face 14 is preferably configured with an interior shape to mate with the base 12, and exterior shape selectable to conform with any standardized or customized molding shapes of interest to consumers. The face 14 may be fabricated of one or more pieces of selectable length. The face 14 is preferably fabricated as a unitary piece of a non-metallic material and, more preferably, of a wood polymer composite to be described herein. Alternatively, the face 14 may be fabricated of a nonmetallic material such as a polymeric material. Suitable polymeric materials include, but are not limited to, polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, or co-polymers thereof. The face 14 includes a main body 26, a first sidewall 28, and a second sidewall 30. The first sidewall 28 and the second sidewall 30 each include a series of ribs or corrugations 32 on the interior surface thereof. The corrugations 32 are arranged to be compatible with and fit into corresponding corrugations 24 of the base 12 when the face 14 is removably snapped onto the base by fitting the corrugations 24/32 together as shown in FIG. 1.

As indicated, the face 14 is preferably fabricated of a wood polymer composite. While various combinations of materials may be used to form the composite, the face 14 is preferably fabricated of a composite comprising about 70% post industrial wood fiber, about 20% corn starch and about 10% polymer. The Fasalex® composite available from Fasalex GmbH of Austria is suitable for use in forming the face 14. The wood polymer composite may be used to form the face 14 into any selectable shape, including a curved portion, for example, such as curved portion 34 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The composite enables painting, staining, printing, or profile wrapping of an exterior surface 36 of the face 14 visible when observing the molding 10 when in place. The exterior surface 36 of the face 14 may optionally be printed with a wood grain when fabricated of the wood polymer composite, eliminating the need for any decorative finish, and conforming to expectations of the traditional appearance of molding generally.

The face 14 of the molding 10 is fabricated with dimensions exceeding the dimensions of the base 12 such that when the two are joined together, the base 12 cannot be seen and only the exterior surface 36 of the face 14 can be seen. When the two are joined together, a raceway 38 is established between the opposing main body 18 of the base 12 and the main body 26 of the face 14. The dimensions of the raceway 38 are dependent upon the width of the main body 18/26 and the height of the sidewalls 20/22 of the base 12 and the sidewalls 28/30 of the face 14. The dimensions of the raceway 38 are preferably sufficient to fit one or more electrical or electronic wires therein. The base 12 may optionally include one or more clips on the interior surface of the main body 18 to permit the wires to be removably held in place as the face 14 is applied to the base 12.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the face 14 preferably further includes a first flange 40 and a second flange 42 spaced from the interior surface of the main body 26 and from each other to form therebetween a miter channel 44. The miter channel 44 can also be seen in FIGS. 1 and 2. The miter channel is preferably configured as a slot to receive therein a miter plate 46 shown in FIG. 4. Flanges 40 and 42 and miter channel 44 may be formed in the fabrication process of the face 14. Specifically, the face 14 may be extruded in the cross sectional form as shown in FIG. 2 to create a portion of the raceway 38 and the entirety of the miter channel 44.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, the miter plate 46 may be used to secure a first mitered face 48 and a second mitered face 50 tightly together on the perimeter of a corner, such as a corner 52 of a door frame 54. Specifically, two bases of the molding 10 may be cut at desired opposing angles, such as 45°, and secured to the frame 54. The first mitered face 48 and the second mitered face 50 may also be cut at opposing angles, again such as 45°. A first leg 56 of the miter plate 46 may be inserted into the miter channel of the first mitered face 48. Next, the miter channel 44 of the second mitered face 50 may be slid onto a second leg 60 of the miter plate 46 until it the second mitered face 50 fits snugly against the first mitered face 48. Finally, the first mitered face 48 and the second mitered face 50 may be jointly snapped into place on their respective bases. The miter plate 46 is preferably fabricated of a material of sufficient stiffness to minimize bending or torquing of the first mitered face 48 and the second mitered face 50. The miter plate 46 may be fabricated of a metallic material, such as steel.

The molding 10 of the present invention offers numerous advantages over molding products currently commercially available. These advantages include, but are not limited to, reduced labor and simplified installation along with improved functionality and versatility. Because the molding 10 is formed of the base 12 and removable face 14, its surface may be prepared on a flat surface, and adjacent walls can be painted prior to the installation of the moldings, saving time and labor. The face 14 is preferably fabricated of a material permitting its printing with a wood grain appearance, eliminating the need for any decorative finish. The snap on and off feature of the interface between the base 12 and the face 14 makes for ease of application and removal. The shapes of the base 12 and 14 establish the interior raceway 38, making it possible to run wires through the molding for ease of access but remaining hidden from view.

While the present invention has been described with particular reference to certain embodiments of the molding 10, it is to be understood that it includes all reasonable equivalents thereof as defined by the following appended claims.