Title:
Interior wall and ceiling construction and method adapted for use with conventional stud frame structures
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved interior wall and/or ceiling construction and method comprised of compressed straw or other such construction panels wherein the finished wall contains no exterior surface penetrations through the panels, thus providing a substantially seamless outer surface. The improved construction is adapted for use with conventional wall constructions comprised of spaced studs or beams and a finished exterior facing. Interior panels are attached by means of a plurality of disc connectors along a first edge and by means of a specially adapted bracket located near a second edge. Attaching the interior panels in a sequence provides a continuous interior wall or ceiling surface with no penetrations therethrough. The construction and method may be adapted for use with a variety of conventional wall constructions.



Inventors:
Burg, John Parker (McKinney, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/060723
Publication Date:
08/17/2006
Filing Date:
02/17/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B2/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
QUAST, ELIZABETH A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Robert W. Brown (Whitewright, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for constructing an improved wall from an existing or newly constructed wall frame consisting of spaced stud members and including a plurality of rigid, elf-supporting panels, said panels each having a substantially rectangular shape with an inner and outer face and a top, bottom, front and rear edge, said front and rear edges having, along a centerline, a plurality of symmetric recesses for accepting a symmetric connector inserted therein, said method comprising the steps of: placing a first bracket connector against the inner face of a first panel; attaching said first bracket connector to said first panel by bracket connection means; placing said first panel and first bracket connector against said wall frame in proper position for mounting such that said first bracket connector is juxtaposed to a stud member; attaching said first bracket connector to said stud member by stud connection means; inserting a disc connector into each of said plurality of symmetric recesses along the front edge of said first panel; placing a second bracket connector against the inner face of a second panel; attaching said second bracket connector to said second panel by bracket connection means; placing said second panel in edge to edge abutted relation to said first panel such that said dis connectors extending from front edge of said first panel are accepted into said plurality of symmetric recesses in said rear edge of said second panel; and attaching said second bracket connector to a said stud member by stud connection means.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein said first and second panel are comprised of compressed straw or other recovered cellulosic material.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein said bracket connector comprises at least two outer faces.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein said outer faces are in substantially perpendicular relative position.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein a cross section of said bracket connector further comprises the substantial shape of an L, T, rectangle, square, circle, or polygon.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein said bracket connector means is comprised of a penetrating connector selected from the group of a nail, screw, bolt, lag screw, rivet, staple, pin, dowel, rod, spindle, stem, brad, peg, spike and stake.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein said bracket connector means is comprised of a non-penetrating connector selected from the group of adhesive, glue, tape, bond, paste, epoxy, cement, and pitch.

8. The method of claim 1 wherein said stud connector means is comprised of a penetrating connector selected from the group of a nail, screw, bolt, lag screw, rivet, staple, pin, dowel, rod, spindle, stem, brad, peg, spike, or stake.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein said stud connector means is comprised of a non-penetrating connector selected from the group of adhesive, glue, tape, bond, paste, epoxy, cement, and pitch.

10. An improved wall construction to provide walls and/or divide or partition space adapted for positioning a plurality of rigid, self-supporting panels to an existing wall frame comprised of stud members, said panels having a substantially rectangular shape with an inner and outer face and a top, bottom, front and rear edge, said front and rear edges having, along a centerline, a plurality of symmetric recesses for accepting a symmetric connector inserted therein, said wall construction comprising: a bracket connector, said bracket connector suitable for providing connection between said panels and said stud members; panel connection means for connecting said bracket connector to said panel; and stud connection means for connecting said bracket connector to a said stud member.

11. The improved wall construction of claim 10 wherein said panels are comprised of compressed straw or other recovered cellulosic material.

12. The improved wall construction of claim 11 wherein said compressed straw or other recovered cellulosic materials resides within an exterior wrapper.

13. The improved wall construction of claim 12 wherein said exterior wrapper is comprised of paper, paperboard, or a woven material.

14. The improved wall construction of claim 10 wherein said bracket connector has at least to substantially flat outer faces.

15. The improved wall construction of claim 10 wherein the cross section of said bracket connector further comprises the substantial shape of an L, T, C, D, rectangle, square, circle, ellipse, or polygon.

16. The improved wall construction of claim 10 wherein said panel connection means further comprises a penetrating connector.

17. The improved wall construction of claim 16 wherein said panel connection means is selected from the group of a nail, screw, bolt, lag screw, rivet, staple, pin, dowel, rod, spindle, stem, brad, peg, spike, and stake.

18. The improved wall construction of claim 10 wherein said stud connection means further comprises a penetrating connector.

19. The improved wall construction of claim 18 wherein said stud connection means is selected from the group of a nail, screw, bolt, lag screw, rivet, staple, pin, dowel, rod, spindle, stem, brad, peg, spike, and stake.

20. The improved wall construction of claim 10 wherein said panel connection means further comprises a non-penetrating connector.

21. The improved wall construction of claim 20 wherein said panel connection means is selected from the group of adhesive, glue, paste, tape, or cement.

22. The improved wall construction of claim 10 wherein said stud connection means further comprises a non-penetrating connector.

23. The improved wall construction of claim 22 wherein said stud connection means is selected from the group of adhesive, glue, paste, tape, or cement.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS (CLAIMING BENEFIT UNDER 35 U.S.C. 120)

This application is not related to any other patent applications.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT STATEMENT

This invention was not developed in conjunction with any Federally sponsored contract.

MICROFICHE APPENDIX

Not applicable.

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

U.S. Pat. No. 6,634,077 issued on Oct. 21, 2003, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,789,977, issued on Sep. 14, 2004, both by Derek John Layfield, and commonly assigned with the present patent application, are hereby incorporated by reference in their entireties, including figures.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to systems and methods for constructing a substantially hollow wall having an exterior set of panels and an interior set of panels, spaced and held by a set of beams disposed between the sets of panels.

2. Background of the Invention

For many years, a primary goal of the residential and commercial construction industry has been to produce marketable quality dwellings as cost efficiently as possible. Residential and light commercial construction methods for homes, classrooms, protective enclosures and the like can generally be divided into three categories with each method having distinct advantages and disadvantages. These categories are: manufactured, wherein a home is fully constructed off site, then moved to a permanent site; modular, component or panelized, wherein elements are fabricated both on and off site; and on-site or stick-built construction, wherein an entire dwelling is constructed on site with no external prefabrication.

The major advantage of manufactured structures is that the entire structure is constructed in a factory setting with a highly controlled environment, thus providing the efficiencies of mass production. Conversely, the advantage to stick-built structures is that there are generally no architectural or dimensional limitations and full-customization is possible. Further, design changes can generally be accommodated throughout the process. Modular or panelized construction incorporate some of the advantages of both stick-built and manufactured methods in that the cost efficiencies from off site panel fabrication are realized and the on site incorporation and assembly of finished panels is generally very fast. Panelized construction is especially beneficial when pre-manufactured panels possess a plurality of physical characteristics that provide multiple benefits such as improved thermal and acoustic insulation, and favorable aesthetic properties.

Modular building panels have been used to lessen the cost of constructing buildings such as houses, schools, office partitions, walls and the like. As the modular building panels can be made in the factory and assembled on site, the panels can be made more uniform in the factory which lessens the labor required for building the walls of a building or similar. One example of the building panels used to make walls, partitions or the like are straw-based panels made from compressed straw. These straw-based panels provide many highly desirable properties such as good thermal and acoustic insulation, smooth surfaces which are easily finished, an excellent substrate for connectors such as nails or screws, and the manufacturing latitude for highly variable sizes.

In modern office buildings, business and conference centers, hotels, classrooms, medical facilities, and the like, the fitting-out of occupiable space is continuously becoming more important and ever more challenging. In the competitive business environment, cost concerns alone dictate the efficient use of interior space. Thus, the finishing or fitting-out of building spaces for offices and other areas where work is conducted has become a very important aspect of effective space planning and layout. Construction techniques, methods and materials which provide for more economical finishing or re-finishing of interior space are needed.

What is needed in the art is a construction method that provides easy assembly of interior walls and ceilings that incorporates modular or panelized components and is compatible with existing structures and conventional methods. The needed construction method should further utilize the favorable physical properties of superior modular components such as compressed straw panels. What is further needed in the art is a construction method that is quicker and more cost effective than conventional methods while providing easy routing of utility wiring, plumbing lines and HVAC ducts. Finally, what is needed in the art is a construction method that provides interior wall surfaces that contain no exterior connectors such as nails, screws, and the like that require additional surface treatment to finish. The invention disclosed herein meets these needs, provides a system that is made primarily of recycled materials, and represents a significant improvement over existing art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the construction and finishing out of interior walls and to the fitting-out of interior space and particularly finds application in construction of homes, offices, classrooms, hotels, conference centers, business centers, meeting rooms, medical facilities, and the like. Particularly, the present invention provides a method and means for constructing interior walls from modular panels wherein the finished wall contains no penetrations through finished wall surfaces. More particularly, the present invention provides for the construction of a wall comprising a plurality of spaced stud members with modular panels, preferably compressed straw panels, assembled thereon in a specific systematic manner resulting a wall or partition that includes no exterior penetrations or connectors. The result is a relatively seamless exterior surface that can be finished in a plurality of ways, but one that, if desired, can be utilized with minimal surface treatment. The finished wall is structurally strong, but remains substantially hollow, thus enabling very easy routing and re-routing of utility wiring therethrough. Further, the present invention provides for first side of the wall, such as the exterior surface of a house, to be constructed first, then provides for the second side of the wall to be constructed with no surface penetrations. Assembly is simple and fast relative to conventional wall constructions and provides superior structural, thermal and acoustic properties thereto. Thus, by virtue of significant savings in labor costs, is cost effective relative to conventional wall constructions. The features and advantages of subject invention will be further understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art by reference to the following written specification, claims, and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention should be more fully understood when the written description is considered in conjunction with the drawings contained herein, wherein:

FIG. 1 shows an isometric view of a section of a finished wall with a conventional exterior face and an interior face comprised of strawboard panels;

FIG. 2a shows an isometric view of a section of an existing conventional wall construction with no interior facing;

FIG. 2b shows the wall construction of FIG. 2a with a first interior panel placed and attached;

FIG. 2c shows the wall construction of FIG. 2b with a second interior panel placed for marking but not attached;

FIG. 2d shows the wall construction of FIG. 2c with the second interior panel removed from the wall and with an angle bracket properly positioned and attached;

FIG. 2e shows the wall construction of FIG. 2d with the second interior panel positioned and attached;

FIG. 2f shows the wall construction of FIG. 2e with a third interior panel properly positioned and attached;

FIG. 3 shows a cutaway top view of a wall joint wherein a first interior panel is attached to an existing stud and a second interior panel attached to the first panel;

FIG. 4 shows an isometric view of a section of a finished wall wherein both faces are comprised of strawboard panels;

FIG. 5a shows an isometric view of a section of a wall construction wherein strawboard panels have been applied to one side;

FIG. 5b shows an embodiment of the wall of FIG. 5a wherein the angle brackets are shorter than the panels;

FIG. 6a shows an isometric view of a section of an existing conventional wall construction with no interior facing wherein stud members are non-parallel or otherwise misaligned;

FIG. 6b shows the wall construction of FIG. 6a with a first interior panel placed and attached;

FIG. 6c shows the wall construction of FIG. 6b with a second interior panel placed for marking but not attached;

FIG. 6d shows the wall construction of FIG. 6c with the second interior panel removed from the wall and with an attached angle bracket properly positioned for match up with a misaligned stud;

FIG. 6e shows the wall construction of FIG. 6d with the second interior panel positioned and attached, and;

FIGS. 7a-7e shows cutaway top views of alternate embodiments of an angle bracket. G. 2a shows an isometric view of a section of an existing conventional wall construction with no interior facing,

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present embodiments utilizes solid core compressed straw or strawboard panels comprised of a matrix of highly compressed straw, usually wheat, rice or other recovered agricultural straw, lined on all sides by paper or paperboard. Typically, the strawboard panels are made through a dry extrusion process wherein straw is compressed into a substantially flat continuous web, normally between 1½″ and 3½″ thick and between 40″ and 60″ wide. The continuous web is then cut into rectangular panels of various lengths. Strawboard panel length is easily varied. The compressed straw is arranged in layers with the straw fibers substantially parallel in orientation extending transversely across the strawboard panel from side to side when the strawboard panel is in a normal in-use orientation. Said strawboard panels are typically rectangular in shape, and for the purposes of this disclosure, will be oriented such that the longer edges are substantially vertical and the shorter edges are substantially horizontal. In this orientation, said straw fibers will assume a generally horizontal orientation.

Strawboard panels have a tackable surface, i.e., are suitable for securely accepting nails, tacks, screws and other connecting means for attaching and/or hanging items from the strawboard panel surfaces. Compressed strawboard panels are typically much thicker and stronger than gypsum board and possess significantly higher nail pull values, thus providing nails, screws, or the like driven therein to support more weight than if driven into gypsum board. Further, surfaces of the strawboard panels are suitable for accepting surface texture, paint, wall paper, and other conventional wall coverings. Strawboard panels can be factory finished with surface texture, paint, wall paper and the like, or said surface treatments can easily be applied to a finished wall. Strawboard panels possess sound insulating properties superior to both conventional gypsum board walls and many currently available commercial interior partition systems. Solid core strawboard panels further provide fire resistant properties superior to materials used in many presently available interior wall construction and partition systems. Additionally, strawboard panels are relatively tough and are much more resistant to surface damage due to impact. This characteristic makes strawboard panels particularly suitable for schools, recreation centers, workshops or other applications wherein wall damage is typical.

To enhance flexibility, strawboard panels can be cut and formed in the field using conventional tools such as circular, saber or band saws, routers, drywall hand saws, utility knives and the like. Ideally, however, the wall will be designed so that field alteration of said strawboard panels is minimized, thus minimizing installation time and costs. In the preferred embodiment, strawboard panels manufactured by Durra Building Systems of Texas are used.

As will be seen, one available embodiment of the invention utilizes the disc connector method disclosed in issued U.S. Pat. No. 6,634,077 and the disc connector apparatus disclosed in issued U.S. Pat. No. 6,789,977, both of which are incorporated by reference herein.

FIG. 1 shows a section of a finished wall comprised of a plurality of spaced wall studs 1 with a conventional exterior wall face 2. As previously stated, embodiments disclosed herein are adaptable to most conventional constructions, thus construction of exterior wall face 2 is of no relevance. The interior wall face is shown comprised of strawboard panels 3, 4, and 4′. Though hidden from view, each panel is attached to a wall stud 1 by means of an angle bracket 5. These connections are better illustrated and disclosed below.

The embodiments illustrated herein comprise conventional wooden wall studs, thus the appropriate connectors, such as lag screws are illustrated. Said embodiments are suitable for use with wall studs made from any material and the appropriate connector should be selected.

FIGS. 2a-2f provide illustration of subject embodiment which is adapted for use with an existing conventional wall construction wherein vertical studs and exterior wall facings remain intact and the interior wall facings have either been removed or were never constructed. This embodiment finds particular use in providing a preferable means of finishing out an existing structure to provide an interior wall facing with no penetrations of the finished interior wall facing.

FIG. 2a shows an isometric view of an existing conventional wall including a plurality of wall studs 1 and an exterior wall 2 attached thereto. As mentioned above, the specific construction of existing exterior wall 2 can be many conventional constructions and is of no relevance herein. FIG. 2b then shows a first interior panel 3 attached to an existing wall stud 1 by means of an angle bracket 5. First interior panel 3 further shows a plurality of disc connectors 9 properly inserted into the visible vertical edge.

FIG. 2c then shows a second interior panel 4 placed in proper edge to edge abutted position next to first interior panel 3 such that the proper location for an angle bracket 5 may be marked as illustrated by bracket location mark 7. FIG. 2d then shows second interior panel 4 removed from the wall with an angle bracket 5 properly positioned and attached by means of lag screws 8. Pre-drilled holes 18 for placement bracket screws 10 can be seen adjacent to each lag screw 8. Holes 18 for both lag screws 8 or bracket screws 10 may be either pre-drilled or made in the field. Attachment between angle brackets 5 and strawboard panels may be by any suitable means such as nails, screws, pins and the like, but is preferably made by means of 1½″ lag screws. Second interior panel 4 further shows disc receivers 6 located along the vertical edge. Though not shown, comparable disc receivers are situated on the opposite edge and positioned to receive the disc connectors 9 located on first interior panel 3 therein.

FIG. 2e then shows second interior panel 4 again positioned next to first interior panel 3 and attached to the existing wall. Though not shown, attachment between angle brackets 5 and existing wall studs 1 may be by any suitable means such as nails, screws, pins and the like, but is preferably made by means of 1″ lag screws. Finally, FIG. 2f shows a third interior panel 4′ juxtaposed with second interior panel 4 and attached to the existing wall. The sequence may be repeated as long as needed and provides attachment of each interior panel by means of disc connectors on one edge and an angle bracket on the other edge. In the preceding illustrations, attachment of the left portion of each panel is made by means of disc connectors 9 while attachment of the right portion of each panel is made by means of an angle bracket 5.

FIG. 3 shows a cutaway top view of a wall joint of subject construction. As shown, connection between wall stud 1 and angle bracket 5 is made by means of bracket screw 10. As previously stated, bracket screw 10 is preferably a 1″ lag screw. Connection between angle bracket 5 and panel 3 is made by means of lag screw 8, preferably a 1½″ lag screw. A plurality of bracket screws 10 and lag screws 8 will be used with each angle bracket 5. Further shown is the connection between first panel 3 and second panel 4 made by means of disc connector 9. As can be seen, connection to angle bracket 5 secures the right portion of first panel 3, while the connection between first panel 3 and second panel 4, made by means of disc connector 9, secures the left portion of second panel 4.

FIG. 4 shows in isometric view of a section of wall wherein both wall facings are comprised of strawboard panels. This construction can achieved by installing one facing of the wall by means of the method disclosed herein, then systemically installing the second facing again utilizing the method disclosed herein. This method will result in a finished wall that includes no penetration through either the first or second facing.

For illustration FIG. 5a provides an isometric view of a section of wall wherein only one side or facing has been applied. This figure provides illustration of the proper placement and installation of angle brackets 5, and shows that a plurality of lag screws 8 will be used to make connection between each angle bracket and the corresponding panel. Further, it can be seen that a plurality of bracket screws 10 should be used to make connection between each angle bracket and the corresponding wall stud. The number of lag screws 8 and bracket screws 10 used is largely a function of wall height and corresponding panel length, but a minimum of three screws per panel and three screws per wall stud are used.

Finally, FIG. 5b shows the wall section of FIG. 5a wherein the length of the angle brackets 5 is less than the length of the panels and corresponding wall height. It is recommended that angle brackets extend to within 6″ of each both ends of the corresponding panel.

FIGS. 6a-6e provide illustration of subject embodiment specifically adapted for use with an existing conventional wall construction wherein vertical studs and exterior wall facings remain intact and the interior wall facings have either been removed or were never constructed. These figures further provide illustration of the embodiments adaptability to wall framing wherein stud members are non-parallel or otherwise misaligned.

FIG. 6a shows an isometric view of an existing conventional wall including a plurality of wall studs 1 and an exterior wall 2 attached thereto wherein said wall studs are misaligned. As previously mentioned, the specific construction of existing exterior wall 2 is of no relevance herein. FIG. 6b then shows a first interior panel 3 attached to an existing wall stud 1 by means of an angle bracket 5. First interior panel 3 further shows a plurality of disc connectors 9 properly inserted into the visible vertical edge.

FIG. 6c shows a second interior panel 4 placed in proper edge to edge abutted position next to first interior panel 3 such that the proper location for an angle bracket 5 may be marked as illustrated by bracket location mark 7. FIG. 6d then shows second interior panel 4 removed from the wall with an angle bracket 5 positioned to align with a non-parallel stud member and attached by means of lag screws 8. Pre-drilled holes 18 for placement bracket screws 10 can be seen adjacent to each lag screw 8. Holes 18 for both lag screws 8 and bracket screws 10 may be either pre-drilled or made in the field. Attachment between angle brackets 5 and strawboard panels may be by any suitable means such as nails, screws, pins and the like, but is preferably made by means of 1½″ lag screws. Second interior panel 4 further shows disc receivers 6 located along the vertical edge. Though not shown, comparable disc receivers are situated on the opposite edge and positioned to receive the disc connectors 9 located on first interior panel 3 therein.

FIG. 6e then shows second interior panel 4 again positioned next to first interior panel 3 and attached to the existing wall. Though not shown, attachment between angle brackets 5 and existing wall studs 1 may be by any suitable means such as nails, screws, pins and the like, but is preferably made by means of 1″ lag screws. The sequence may be repeated as long as needed and provides attachment of each interior panel by means of disc connectors on one edge and an angle bracket on the other edge. In the preceding illustrations, attachment of the left portion of each panel is made by means of disc connectors 9 while attachment of the right portion of each panel is made by means of an angle bracket 5.

Finally, FIGS. 7a-7e shows several alternate embodiments of angle bracket 5. FIG. 7a shows a slightly modified angle bracket which is compatible with lag screw 8 and bracket screw 10. FIG. 7b shows an angle bracket embodiment 12 having a substantially rectangular cross-section which requires the use of an extra long lag screw 17 and an extra long bracket screw 16. FIG. 7c shows a modified angle bracket 13 having a T-shaped cross-section. FIG. 7d shows a modified angle bracket 14 which provides for bracket screw 10 and lag screw 8 to be located farther apart. Finally, FIG. 7e shows a modification of angle bracket 15 which provides for lag screw 8 to be located on either side of the panel-stud intersect. Though not readily apparent from the FIG. 7b the elevation of extra long bracket screw 16 and extra long lag screw 17 is offset such that the two connectors do not make contact. The amount of offset can be varied. It should be noted that the alternate angle bracket embodiments shown in FIG. 7c and FIG. 7e provide for a flat portion of the bracket to separate wall stud 1 and panel 3. It is obvious from these illustrations that wall stud 1 and panel 3 do not necessarily have to make contact in a finished wall.

The wall constructions disclosed herein are illustrated as walls having at least one facing comprised of panels. However, the disclosure is not limited to use as a wall, per se, and may easily be adapted for use in a ceiling application wherein subject panels are attached to ceiling beams or rafters. The resulting ceiling possess a near-seamless face with no penetrations, thus is provided the same benefits as a wall constructed per the disclosure herein. The embodiments disclosed herein are equally suited for sloped or pitched application as well as vertical application.

The angle brackets 5 and connectors disclosed herein are preferably made from steel, but can be made from any material, metal or non-metal, that provides comparable strength and stiffness. The thickness or gauge of steel or other material required is largely dependent upon the application and the relative structural and stiffness requirements thereof. Further, the lag screws 8 and bracket screws 10 disclosed herein are the preferred means of connection, but any suitable connectors such as nails, screws, bolts, pins, staples, dowels, rivets, or the like may be used instead. Further, to allow for penetration of lag screw 8 and bracket screw 10 through angle bracket 5 or any of the alternate embodiments thereof, holes may be pre-drilled or drilled in the field at the time of installation.

Though the embodiments illustrated herein employ compressed strawboard panels, alternate modular panels that can be suitably attached to the subject beams and clips may be employed, especially if said alternate modular panels are compatible with the disc connectors as disclosed. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the dimensions and relative shapes of the I-beams, T-beams, channel beams, slide clips, T-clips, channel clips, flange clips, panels, and various connectors are illustrative of particular embodiments of the present invention, and that actual dimension and shape of each element may vary subject to the needs of each individual application. Further, it is within the skill of the art to provide elements or perform steps which are well known, and which have not be specifically disclosed herein. As many such variations of embodiment of the present invention may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention, the scope of the present invention should be determined by the following claims.