Title:
Modular stone surfacing system with field adjustable components for different applications
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A modular surfacing system has edge pieces with skirts attached using a break away adhesive material allowing separation of the pieces without damage. The edge rail pieces may be used alone or with the skirt piece attached at any of a variety of overhanging heights to cover different substrate edge thicknesses. Skirts may be interchanged. The modular surfacing pieces may be solid seamless cut natural stone modular pieces, laminated natural stone modular pieces, composite material or synthetic material shaped into modular pieces. The pieces are cut into any desired sizes with wide edging of any desirable thickness and solid piece corners as well as mating modular surface tiles and mating modular backsplash tiles.



Inventors:
Shaw, Steve (Irvine, CA, US)
Gerstein, Gregory Carl (Lakeforest, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/395009
Publication Date:
08/17/2006
Filing Date:
03/31/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C2/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FERENCE, JAMES M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Donald W. Meeker (Newport Beach, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An adjustable skirt edging surfacing system for a variety of surfacing applications on a variety of types of structures having at least one edge, the system comprising: a series of edge rail pieces, each of the series of edge rail pieces comprising a flat horizontal surface covering portion and a vertical edge overhang portion extending orthogonally down from the horizontal surface covering portion, the edge overhang portion extending down a sufficient distance to cover an edge of a substrate used on a horizontal surface of a structure requiring surfacing, the flat horizontal surface covering portion positioned above the substrate, the vertical edge overhang portion comprising an outer edge front shaped surface and an inner vertical surface facing the structure; a skirt piece comprising an elongated element comprising an inner skirt surface facing the structure and an outer skirt surface adjustably attachable to the inner vertical surface of the vertical edge overhang portion of each of the edge rail pieces by a means for attaching the outer skirt surface at any desired height so that the skirt piece extends below the vertical edge overhang portion by an adjustable desired height to cover an edge of a substrate of any of a variety of thicknesses.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein the outer skirt surface of the skirt piece is removably attachable to the inner vertical surface of the vertical edge overhang portion of the edge rail piece by a break away adhesive substance, the break away adhesive substance fracturing before the pieces so that the skirt piece may be removed by a user from the edge rail piece without damage to either of the pieces, so that the skirt piece is removable from the inner vertical surface of the edge overhang portion of the edge rail piece and re-attachable at an adjustable height on the inner surface of the edge overhang portion of the edge rail piece.

3. The system of claim 2 wherein the edge rail piece is alternately installed on a structure in a first position with the skirt piece attached to the inner flat vertical surface with a top edge of the skirt piece adjacent to the flat horizontal surface covering portion but not attached to the horizontal surface covering portion in a standard position as originally assembled with a standard lower extension portion of the skirt piece extending below the edge overhang portion to cover an edge of an typical height substrate on the structure, and alternately installed by a user in a second application with the skirt piece removed, the edge rail piece alone attached to a second structure having a minimum height substrate on the structure, the vertical edge overhang portion covering an outside edge of the minimum height substrate, and alternately installed by a user in a third application on any of a number of other structures with the skirt piece removed and re-attached to the inner flat vertical surface of the edge overhang portion at any desired position on the inner flat vertical surface so that the skirt piece is vertically adjustable relative to the edge overhang portion to create a desired height of the lower extension portion of the skirt piece to cover a substrate of any of a variety of thicknesses.

4. The system of claim 2 wherein the break away adhesive substance comprises a chemical adhesive material.

5. The system of claim 1 wherein the outer skirt surface of the skirt piece is removably attachable to the inner vertical surface of the vertical edge overhang portion of the edge rail piece by a break away adhesive substance, the break away adhesive substance fracturing before the pieces so that the skirt piece may be removed by a user from the edge rail piece without damage to either of the pieces, so that the skirt piece is removable and re-attachable so the skirt piece is interchangeable by the user with any of a number of other skirt pieces of a variety of heights, types, colors and patterns.

6. The system of claim 1 wherein the means for attaching the outer skirt surface at any desired height comprises an adhesive applied between the outer skirt surface and the inner vertical surface of the edge overhang portion of the edge rail piece with the skirt piece positioned at any of a variety of vertical positions relative to the edge overhang portion of the edge rail piece.

7. The system of claim 1 wherein the means for attaching the outer skirt surface at any desired height comprises the inner vertical surface of the edge overhang portion having at least two vertically spaced horizontal grooves cut therein and the skirt piece having a mating horizontal protrusion extending from the outer skirt surface so that the horizontal protrusion fits alternately within the at least two horizontal grooves to hold the skirt piece in place without an adhesive when the edge rail piece is attached to the structure.

8. The system of claim 1 further comprising a second skirt piece adhered to the inner skirt surface of the attached skirt piece on each of the edge rail pieces, the second skirt piece extending downwardly below the attached skirt piece.

9. The system of claim 1 wherein the edge overhang portion has at least one horizontal groove cut therein and the skirt piece has a mating horizontal protrusion extending from the outer skirt surface so that the horizontal protrusion fits within the at least one horizontal groove to hold the skirt piece in place without an adhesive when the edge rail piece is attached to the structure.

10. The system of claim 1 wherein the edge rail piece further comprises a stepped extension down from the bottom of the horizontal covering surface adjacent to the edge overhang portion, the stepped extension having a rear vertical surface spaced from the edge overhang portion equal to a thickness of a skirt piece so that the skirt piece adhered to the inner vertical surface of the edge overhang below the stepped extension extends below the edge rail an additional amount equal to the height of the stepped extension to cover an edge of a substrate of greater thickness than the height of the skirt piece.

11. The system of claim 1 further comprising a series of flat modular surface pieces used in conjunction with the series of the edge rail pieces for covering flat portions of the horizontal surface on the structure.

12. The system of claim 11 the edge pieces, skirt pieces, and surface pieces comprise a series of natural stone modular surfacing pieces, the modular surfacing pieces securable to the structure in a surface and edge covering array to form a modular surfacing system, each of the modular surfacing pieces cut into any desired vertical dimensions, any desired horizontal dimensions, any desired depth dimensions, and any desired shapes, each of the pieces comprising a modular piece cut to mate with the other modular pieces to fit within the surface covering array including modular surface tile pieces, modular edge rail pieces each having a surface covering portion to mate with the modular surface tile pieces and an edge overhang portion having the outer edge front of any desired dimension and shape, and rail corner pieces, each having a surface covering portion to mate with the modular surface tile pieces and two orthogonal edge overhang portions of any desired dimension and shape to mate with the modular edge rail pieces.

13. The system of claim 12 further comprising modular backsplash pieces comprising vertical pieces matching the tile pieces, the surface tile pieces each have at least one side equal in length to a length of a backsplash piece.

14. The system of claim 12 wherein the surface covering portion of each of the edge rail pieces comprises a horizontal surface matching the surface tile pieces in thickness and length and the surface tile pieces each have at least one side equal in length to a length of an edge rail piece.

15. The system of claim 12 wherein the rail corner pieces each comprise a horizontal surface matching the surface tile pieces in thickness and each of the two edge overhang portion having an outer edge front configured to mate with an outer edge front of an edge overhang portion of an adjacent edge rail piece.

16. The system of claim 11 wherein the edge pieces, skirt pieces, and surface pieces comprise a series of modular surfacing pieces fabricated of composite material, the modular surfacing pieces securable to the structure in a surface and edge covering array to form a modular surfacing system, each of the modular surfacing pieces shaped into any desired vertical dimensions, any desired horizontal dimensions, any desired depth dimensions, and any desired shapes, each of the pieces comprising a solid modular piece shaped to mate with the other modular pieces to fit within the surface covering array including solid modular surface tile pieces, solid modular edge rail pieces each having a surface covering portion to mate with the modular surface tile pieces and an edge overhang portion having the outer edge front of any desired dimension and shape, and solid rail corner pieces, each having a surface covering portion to mate with the modular surface tile pieces and two orthogonal edge overhang portions of any desired dimension and shape to mate with the modular edge rail pieces.

17. The system of claim 11 wherein the edge pieces, skirt pieces, and surface pieces comprise a series of modular surfacing pieces fabricated of synthetic material, the modular surfacing pieces securable to the structure in a surface and edge covering array to form a modular surfacing system, each of the modular surfacing pieces shaped into any desired vertical dimensions, any desired horizontal dimensions, any desired depth dimensions, and any desired shapes, each of the pieces comprising a solid modular piece shaped to mate with the other modular pieces to fit within the surface covering array including solid modular surface tile pieces, solid modular edge rail pieces each having a surface covering portion to mate with the modular surface tile pieces and an edge overhang portion having the outer edge front of any desired dimension and shape, and solid or laminated rail corner pieces, each having a surface covering portion to mate with the modular surface tile pieces and two orthogonal edge overhang portions of any desired dimension and shape to mate with the modular edge rail pieces.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part application of U.S. utility patent application Ser. No. 11/056,993 filed on Feb. 11, 2005.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

THE NAMES OF THE PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to surface coverings for structures requiring horizontal surfacing and edging and in particular to a modular system of tile surfacing having edge rail pieces with skirt pieces that are removable and re-attachable at adjustable heights for covering different thicknesses of substrate and replaceable by other skirt pieces which may be formed composite or synthetic man made pieces or modular seamless pieces cut from granite or other natural stone for a durable finishing surface that is adjustable by a user to meet the user's requirements.

2. Description of Related Art Including Information Disclosed Under 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98

Countertops made of natural stone have become quite popular in kitchens, bathrooms, and offices. The growing popularity of stone countertops is due to the material having high durability, ease of cleaning and sterilization, and natural beauty. The high cost of granite slab installation, downtime for slab fabrication and limited availability of quality fabricators deters most homeowners from installing a granite countertop.

New materials and new methods for stronger and less labor intensive countertop substrates of variable heights. One which is not limited to the simulation of a slab appearance edge, and one which is not restricted to the typical slab thickness dimensions for making a countertop edging component.

As stone products have become more popular as a countertop material, it has been difficult to find a stone edging component which will satisfy the need for countertops and the like with varying substrates. For example, it is typical for some installation methods to “float” a countertop. Floating is the making of a strong countertop substrate which allows for the reliable installation of the final countertop material (i.e ceramic tile or stone). Floating is a typical 2″ height. This two inch height is achieved with a wood base laid on top of cabinets and a mixture of sand and cement placed on top of the wood base.

For other installation methods it is more typical to not “float”, but rather to install a layer of plywood on top of the cabinets followed by a cementous underlayment nailed to the plywood. This is an equally acceptable and strong practice as a substrate for ceramic tile and stone. This method is typically a more economical and less timely preparations for ceramic tile and stone. This type of substrate yields a base much less in height than from floating. Typically about one inch in height is the net of this type of substrate.

Another common substrate height is greater than the typical “floating” height of two inches. It is common for BBQ island manufacturers and heavy countertop bases usually made of steel or cement to exceed the two inch height substrate common to standard floating.

All the various types of substrates require different materials, skill levels, and hence preferences. All are acceptable and common substrates, but unfortunately vary in height. It is unfortunate because previous edging inventions made of ceramic tile and stone can't accommodate substrates of varying heights. Either the edging product isn't tall enough to cover the substrate, or it is too tall and interferes with the underlying structure (cabinet doors and drawers). For example, if a two inch edging component were placed over a one inch substrate, the edging component could interfere with the drawers and cabinet doors. This is common, because full face or “European” style cabinets have doors and drawers which sit near the top of the cabinet structure.

Prior inventions require a bond on the upper edge of the vertical facing member to the lower surface of the upper member, thus restricting adjustability adequate to cover substrates of varying heights. Previous inventions are restricted by limiting front facing height by a limiting bonding location, thus limiting the overall usefulness of those inventions.

If the skirt of the stone edging component could be easily removed to prevent the interference, but still provide a nice aesthetic edge, it would prove to be novel and useful. Furthermore, an edging component which could adjust to cover tall substrates would be additionally useful.

Still common are cabinet doors which sit lower on the cabinet structure.

Contractors, homeowners, and manufacturers have different skill levels and different requirements for a countertop or surface edge component. It would be useful to have a single edge component which could easily be useful for the functional and aesthetic needs of different installation methods with different substrate heights.

A common countertop substrate height is 2″ and is in fact a standard for ceramic tile V-cap. It is standard practice to “float” a countertop to this two inch height, which is considered a professionally or artisan installed substrate.

However with the advent of new materials such as “hardibackerboard” and “wonderboard” a two inch fixed substrate height is no longer a necessity, but rather a chosen professional or artisan standard.

A typical substrate height common to current installation practices is one inch. The installation of a piece of plywood with a layer of cementous underlayment board on top of the plywood yields a one inch substrate height (suitable for countertop strength). Another use for an edging system of varying height is for BBQ islands or stair risers. While it is typical to have a 2″ floated or 1″ substrate for some countertops, it would also be useful to have an edging component, which covers a substrate of greater than the artisan or professionally installed substrate of 2″ for other applications. Manufacturers of BBQ islands typically steel frame their tops or cast a concrete formed top which often yields a substrate greater then two inches.

It is conceivable that substrates of varying thicknesses arise in the construction and preparation of countertop and other surfaces. What is missing in the prior art is an edging component which is flexible enough to be useful for the covering substrates of varying heights. Prior art systems have not adequately solved the problem of providing the skirt of the stone edging component which could be easily removed to prevent the interference with cabinet drawers and doors, but still provide a nice aesthetic edge or an edging component which could adjust to cover tall substrates would be additionally useful.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,258,190, issued Jul. 10, 2001 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,413,337, issued Jul. 2, 2002 both to Sciarrino, claim a natural stone edging tile having a top portion and a generally perpendicular facing portion can be mounted on the forward edge of a countertop substrate and has a portion extending rearward of the forward edge that is approximately half as thick as the forward edge and the same thickness as conventional stone tiles that can be mounted rearward of the edging tile. The conventional tiles have a thickness that is approximately half as thick as a typical stone slab countertop, but to a person viewing the countertop, the entire appears to have the substantial thickness of a typical slab countertop because the forward edge of the edging tile has such a thickness. These pieces are cut from stone slabs and are therefore limited in size of components, such as edging, and also less likely to form mating pieces because of cutting from a thin slab rather than cutting from a large block enabling both vertical and horizontal cuts of any desired dimensions. The present invention does not require a skirt piece adhered to the edge and corner pieces since the actual edge overhang of the edge pieces and corner pieces of the present invention can be cut to any desired dimension to cover what a skirt normally covers, although a skirt may be used with the present invention if desired. The Sciarrino patents show corner pieces which are adhered together from two separate pieces thereby having a seam between the pieces. In the present invention the corner pieces as well as the edge pieces and all the others are each solid seamless pieces cut from solid stone.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,253,932, issued Oct. 19, 1993 to Nesovic, provides a modular countertop structure. It is supported by an underlying base and has a flat unedged surface-providing sheet supported by the base and having an edge including a peripheral recess, a preformed elongated edge facing with a rearward extending tongue which fits into the recess, and adhesive for directly bonding the sheet to the edge facing through their adjacent surfaces in the recess. The countertop sheet and the edge facing are made of materials which are impervious to moisture penetration, impact and scratching, including natural stone, synthetic stone-like material, ceramic, concrete, glass-like sheets, agglomerated stone, cement materials, metal or terrazzo. They may be made of the same or contrasting materials, so that the edge facing and the countertop present appearances which are the same or consistent with each other. In some embodiments, an underlying substrate will also be used to support the countertop sheets. The modular countertop structure or system of this invention has numerous advantages over the prior systems, such as ceramic tile systems. Components of the system can be pre-fabricated by mass production methods for delivery and simple assembly at the job site and can be manufactured using automated procedures and specialized machinery, thus eliminating the need for the current hand grinding and shaping used to finish such materials, thus reducing the costs of manufacture and installation and insuring uniform fit and finish of the countertops. The Nesovic patent is for slab installments rather than a tile and edging system. Nesovic has a single slab with an indented edge to which a flat (not overhanging) indented edge piece is interlocked to simulate a flat slab with no overhang. Nesovic intentionally provides a variety of different colors or patterns of slab and edging. The present invention claims a tiling type of modular surfacing system including edge rail pieces sufficient in height to cover minimal thickness substrates and with removable and adjustable height skirts to provide an adjustable overhang to cover edges of any of a variety of substrate thicknesses.

The prior art systems are limited in a number of ways including restriction to a fixed height of covering a substrate of 2″, not have the flexibility of a “skirt” or “no skirt” option, not being able to interchange different materials, interchange different colors of the same materials, not being able to slide a longer or shorter or different skirt onto the base, not being able to interchange a different design or etched skirt, and in fact not being able to interchange anything for its existing skirt.

What is needed is a skirt of the stone edging component which could be easily removed to prevent the interference with cabinet drawers and doors, but still provide a nice aesthetic edge or an edging component with a flexible and/or adjustable skirt which could adjust to cover different substrate heights and also a modular surfacing system of solid natural stone modular pieces cut for matching coloration and pattern and cut into any desired sizes with wide edging of any desirable thickness and outside corners as well as mating modular surface tiles.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A primary object of the present invention is to provide a modular stone countertop comprising edge rail pieces formed from composites or synthetic man made materials or cut from thick blocks of natural stone to produce edge overhang portions extending down a sufficient distance to cover the edge of common substrates and further provide skirt pieces attached by a break away bonding material, such as a chemically based adhesive material, to an inner vertical surface of the overhang portion so that the skirt piece may be removed from the edge overhang portion of the edge rail piece by fracturing only the adhesive material and not damaging the skirt piece or the edge rail piece by the user installing the tile pieces, and the edge rail piece used alone to cover edges of minimum thickness substrates or with the skirt piece re-attached to the inner vertical surface of the edge overhang portion at any desired height relative to the edge overhang portion to adjust the height of the skirt piece extending below the edge overhang portion forming an adjustable height skirt piece to cover an edge of a any of a variety of thicknesses of substrates in a variety of different applications. The non-standard and exaggerated dimensions of the facing member in addition to the weak adhesion to the backside of the edge overhang portion allow for the present flexible stone edging invention to be useful by meeting the need of edging countertops and the like with varying substrate heights.

The purpose of the present invention is to provide a new and novel solution for solving the problem of capping off countertops, tables, barbeque islands, stair edges and other structures having a variety of different substrate thicknesses requiring surfacing with one adjustable skirt height edge overhang product that is modifiable by the user during installation.

A further object of the present invention is to provide an edge overhang portion of the edge rail piece which covers the substrate height and does not extend below the substrate, especially necessary for full face or “European style cabinets” with doors that extend nearly to the top of the cabinet which would interfere with an edging component that extended below the substrate.

One more object of the present invention is to provide a tile edging component which allows for the mixing of different materials and different colors of the same material.

A yet further object of the present invention is to provide an attractive and cost effective modular surfacing system which may be fabricated from composite or synthetic man made materials or cut into solid seamless or laminated natural stone modular pieces cut into any desired sizes with wide edging of any desirable thickness and outside corners as well as mating modular surface tiles and mating modular backsplash pieces which may be installed with minimal tile setting skills to produce an attractive all matching and lasting surface.

The present invention serves both a functional purpose of edging countertops and other surfaces with substrates of varying thicknesses, and the aesthetic purpose of easily mixing different materials and different colors of materials using the same base component. For the functional purpose, what is required is an edge rail piece with a skirt piece of adjustable height to allow for adjustment to cover the substrate in a wide array of stone or tile installations.

In brief, the present invention incorporates a modular tile system which includes edge rail pieces having edge overhang portions extending down a sufficient height to cover edges of minimal substrate thicknesses and having removable and replaceable skirt pieces which are re-attachable by a user at any desired height on the edge overhang portion of the edge rail piece to provide an adjustable overhang portion of the skirt piece to cover substrates of varying heights. This flexible edging invention is achieved by using a break away chemical adhesive material or other easily fractured initial bonding material to attach a front surface of a skirt piece to a back vertical surface of the edge overhang portion of the edge rail piece which allows for the removal and discarding of the skirt piece or removal and reattachment of skirt piece lower down relative to the edge element by the end user. The skirt piece may be broken away, without damage to either component, to use just the edge rail for minimal substrate heights so that the edge overhang of the edge rail does not affect the opening of cabinet doors or drawers below. For typical height substrates the integrated edging component is used as is. For thicker substrates, the skirt may be broken away and re-attached at lower positions on the edge overhang of the edge rail so that the skirt covers a range of substrate thicknesses including the very thick substrates.

This is not obvious in the prior art because prior inventions require the upper edge of the vertical facing member permanently bonded to lower said surface of top member. This bonding does not allow for adjustability of the skirt along the back surface of the facing edge.

Furthermore, it is apparent in the art, embodiment and claims of the Scarrino invention that the intent is to simulate the look of slab, and make its edging system from defacto ¾″ slab material, which is limiting in appearance and function.

The present invention uses a break away bonding method to allow the skirt member to be used in various positions or not used. The bonding agent is not a typical epoxy used in the tile fabrication industry.

The primary advantage of the present invention is that it provides a modular edging system which provides flexibility in applications and allows in-the-field adjustment of the invention to adapt to a wide variety of counter situations including a wide range of substrate height and various matching combinations of components.

An advantage of the present invention is that it provides attractive and cost effective modular tile pieces.

Another advantage of the present invention is that the skirt pieces are removable and re-attachable to the inner vertical surface of the edge overhang portion of the edge rail piece so that the skirt pieces are adjustable in height relative to the edge overhang portion and interchangeable with other skirt pieces of various heights, types, colors, and patterns.

A further advantage of the present invention is the use of edge rail overhangs extending downward a sufficient distance to cover edges of substrates of minimal thickness, the extra height of downward extension enabled by cutting them from thick blocks of stone or forming them from composites or man made synthetic material, thereby enabling the edge rail to be used with no skirt and also enabling a skirt when used to attach to any desired vertical position on the edge overhang to adjust for different height substrates and to enable a 2″ typical skirt or a longer(adjusted) skirt for full tile BBQ island applications with interchangeable skirts to change to any different color, size, material, etc.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other details of my invention will be described in connection with the accompanying drawings, which are furnished only by way of illustration and not in limitation of the invention, and in which drawings:

FIG. 1A is a perspective view of a solid seamless stone or composite or synthetic material edge rail piece having a bull nose shaped outer surface on an edge overhang portion which extends downward a sufficient height to cover an edge of a minimal substrate height and an optional removable and re-attachable skirt piece (shown dashed) attached to the inner vertical surface of the edge overhang portion;

FIG. 1B is a perspective view of a solid seamless stone or composite or synthetic material edge rail piece having an ogee shaped outer surface on an edge overhang portion which extends downward a sufficient height to cover an edge of a minimal substrate height and an optional removable and re-attachable skirt piece (shown dashed) attached to the inner vertical surface of the edge overhang portion;

FIG. 1C is a perspective view of a solid seamless stone or composite or synthetic material edge rail piece having a square shaped outer surface on an edge overhang portion which extends downward a sufficient height to cover an edge of a minimal substrate height and an optional removable and re-attachable skirt piece (shown dashed) attached to the inner vertical surface of the edge overhang portion;

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a solid seamless stone or composite or synthetic material corner piece having bull nose shaped outer surfaces on orthogonal edge overhang portions which extend downward a sufficient height to cover a corner edge of a minimal substrate height and an optional removable and re-attachable skirt pieces (shown dashed) attached to the inner vertical surfaces of the edge overhang portions;

FIG. 2B is a perspective view of a solid seamless stone or composite or synthetic material corner piece having ogee shaped outer surfaces on orthogonal edge overhang portions which extend downward a sufficient height to cover a corner edge of a minimal substrate height and an optional removable and re-attachable skirt pieces (shown dashed) attached to the inner vertical surfaces of the edge overhang portions;

FIG. 2C is a perspective view of a solid seamless stone or composite or synthetic material corner piece having square shaped outer surfaces on orthogonal edge overhang portions which extend downward a sufficient height to cover a corner edge of a minimal substrate height and an optional removable and re-attachable skirt pieces (shown dashed) attached to the inner vertical surfaces of the edge overhang portions;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a solid tile piece;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a solid backsplash piece;

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of the modular surfacing pieces of the invention aligned for mounting on a cabinet:

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the modular surfacing pieces of the invention mounted on a cabinet to form a stone surface thereon;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a block of natural stone showing how the modular surfacing pieces of the invention are cut from the block;

FIG. 8 is an elevational end view of a preferred embodiment of an integrated edging component comprising an edge rail piece and a skirt piece adhered together with a break-away chemical adhesive material, or other adhesive material that breaks away without damaging the pieces, between a back vertical surface of an edge overhang portion of the edge rail piece and a front face of the skirt piece to cover a substrate edge of a standard height for a countertop as shown;

FIG. 9 is an elevational end view of a preferred embodiment of the integrated edging component of FIG. 8 with member the skirt piece removed to allow the edge overhang of the edge rail piece to cover a substrate of minimal height without interfering with a cabinet door immediately below the substrate as shown;

FIG. 10 is an elevational end view of a preferred embodiment of the integrated edging component of FIG. 8 with the skirt piece removed and re-attached to the inner vertical surface of the edge overhang portion at a different location further down the edge overhang portion to adjust the amount of overhang of the skirt piece below the edge rail piece for an adjustable height skirt to cover substrate edges of a variety of thicknesses, including a maximum thickness substrate as shown;

FIG. 11 is an elevational end view of the preferred embodiment of the edge rail piece of FIG. 8 showing an additional taller skirt adhered to a back vertical surface of the adjustable skirt piece for a double overlapping skirt piece extending a greater distance below the edge rail for covering substrates of greater thickness;

FIG. 12 is an elevational end view of another alternate embodiment of the edge rail piece having a stepped extension down from the bottom of the horizontal covering surface adjacent to the edge overhang portion, the stepped extension having a rear vertical surface spaced from the edge overhang portion equal to a thickness of a skirt piece and a skirt piece adhered to the back vertical surface of the edge overhang below the stepped extension so that the skirt piece extends below the edge rail an additional amount equal to the height of the stepped extension to cover the edge of a substrate of greater thickness;

FIG. 13 is an elevational end view of an alternate embodiment of an edge rail having a horizontal groove in the inner vertical surface of the edge overhang portion and a skirt piece having a horizontal protruding ridge to fit within the horizontal groove to hold the skirt piece in place when the edge rail is attached to a countertop to cover a substrate edge of a standard height for a countertop similar to FIG. 8;

FIG. 14 is an elevational end view of another alternate embodiment of an edge rail piece having a pair of spaced horizontal grooves in the back surface of the edge overhang portion and a skirt piece having a horizontal protruding ridge to fit within one of the horizontal grooves to adjust the amount of overhang of the skirt piece below the edge rail for an adjustable height skirt piece with ridges and grooves rather than adhesive to hold the skirt piece in place when the edge rail is attached to a countertop to cover to cover substrate edges of a variety of thicknesses, including a standard thickness substrate similar to FIG. 8 with the skirt ridge in the top groove;

FIG. 15 is an elevational end view of the alternate embodiment of an edge rail piece of FIG. 14 showing the skirt piece horizontal protruding ridge inserted within one the lowest horizontal groove to adjust the amount of overhang of the skirt piece below the edge rail piece to cover a maximum thickness substrate as shown.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In FIGS. 1-15, a modular surfacing system comprises a series of modular surfacing pieces all cut from a stone block or formed from composite or man made synthetic material and cut or formed into any desired mating vertical, horizontal, and depth dimensions with edge rail pieces 20A of any desirable thickness having edge overhang portions 21A, 21B, and 21C extending downwardly a sufficient height to cover an edge of a minimal height substrate, removable and re-attachable skirt pieces 23 attachable at an adjustable height to an inner vertical surface 25 of the edge overhang portions, mating solid or laminated rail corner pieces 20B, mating modular surface tile pieces 20C and optional mating modular backsplash pieces 20D as needed, the modular pieces all interchangeable to match or mix styles, colors, and patterns.

In FIGS. 1A, 1B, and 1C, the seamless solid or laminated edge rail pieces 20A each comprise a horizontal surface 22 matching the surface tile pieces 20C in thickness “b” and an edge overhanging portion 21A, 21B, and 21C of any desired vertical and horizontal dimension and any desired shape outer surface.

In FIGS. 2A, 2B, and 2C, the seamless solid or laminated rail corner pieces 20B each comprise a horizontal surface 22 matching the surface tile pieces 20C in thickness “b” and two overhanging edge surfaces 21A, 21B, and 21C each of any desired vertical and horizontal dimension and shape.

In FIG. 3, the surface tile pieces 20C each have at least one side equal in length “a” to a length “a” of an edge rail piece 20A, in FIGS. 1A, 1B, and 1C.

In FIG. 3, the surface tile pieces 20C each have at least one side equal in length “a” to a length “a” of a backsplash piece 20D, in FIG. 4. The backsplash piece may be cut or formed to any desired height, such as the height of the dashed line or the full height of the backsplash piece shown.

In FIGS. 1A and 2A, the edge rail pieces 20A and the corner pieces 20B each having mating overhangs 21A in an ogee configuration.

In FIGS. 1B and 2B, the edge rail pieces 20A and the corner pieces 20B each have mating overhangs 21B in a bull nose configuration.

In FIGS. 1C and 2C, the edge rail pieces 20A and the corner pieces 20B each have mating overhangs 21C in a square corner configuration.

In FIGS. 1A, 1B, and 1C, optional matching stone skirt piece 24 (shown dashed) of any desired height may be positioned between the overhang 21A, 21B, and 21C of an edge rail piece 20A and an external vertical surface, the stone skirt piece adhered to a back vertical surface of the edge overhang portion.

In FIGS. 2A, 2B, and 2C, a pair of matching orthogonal stone skirt pieces 24 (shown dashed) of any of a variety of matching heights are removable and re-attachable at any desired height to the inner vertical surfaces of the edge overhang portions 21A, 21B, and 21C of the corner piece to cover any of a variety of corner edges of substrates of various thicknesses.

In FIG. 7, a solid block 50 of solid natural stone, such as marble or granite, is cut along the straight lines to form the modular pieces 20A, 20B, 20C, and 20D of the modular surfacing system of the present invention. Some of the pieces, such as the edge rail pieces 20A and the rail corner pieces 20B require further shaping to create the edge overhang portion 21A, 21B, and 21C and the surface contact space 23 (as seen in FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B, and 2C) underneath the piece for receiving the edge of the exterior surface and for adhering to the exterior surface.

The modular pieces 20A, 20B, 20C, and 20D may be all cut from the same stone block 50 larger in each dimension than a corresponding dimension of the modular piece or formed from composite or man made synthetic material so that the modular pieces may be cut or formed into any desired vertical dimensions, any desired horizontal dimensions, any desired depth dimensions, and any desired shapes. The modular pieces 20A, 20B, 20C, and 20D are preferably cut side by side from the stone block 50 in the same configuration that they will be arrayed to form a surfacing system covering an external surface, such the top 34 with the standard built-up siding and layers 31, 32, and 33 of a cabinet 30 to form a natural stone countertop, as shown with the modular surfacing pieces 20A, 20B, 20C, an 20D aligned for covering in FIG. 5 and in place forming the covering surface in FIG. 6.

In FIGS. 5 and 6, the modular pieces 20A, 20B, 20C, and 20D are secured to an external surface in a surface covering array to form a modular surfacing system. Adjacent modular pieces bear matching natural colorations and patterns 51 (in FIG. 6) of the natural stone block 50 from which all of the modular pieces were cut (as seen in FIG. 7), each of the pieces comprising a solid seamless modular piece cut to mate with the other modular pieces to fit within the surface covering array.

All of the modular surfacing pieces in each system may be cut from the same block of solid stone, such as granite or marble or other finishing type of stone. The modular surfacing pieces may be applied to countertops, fire places, stairs, treads, barbeques or any other desired places where an attractive durable natural surface finish is desired. Since all pieces of the system are cut from a thick block of stone both horizontal and vertical cuts may be made of any desired length to create truly matching modular pieces of any desired dimensions.

In FIGS. 8-10, a preferred embodiment of the invention comprises a modular multi-application stone surfacing system comprising an rail edging piece 20A having a removable skirt piece 23 which is adjustable in height relative to the edge rail piece 10 to create extensions of the skirt piece below the edge rail of a variety of heights to cover substrate edges of various heights.

The edge rail piece 10, comprises a piece with a flat horizontal surface covering portion 22 and a vertical edge overhang portion 23 extending orthogonally down from the horizontal surface covering portion and extending down a sufficient distance to cover an edge of a substrate of minimal thickness, such as a piece of plywood 32 topped by a piece of cementous underlayment 36, as shown in FIG. 9, on a countertop 30 below the flat horizontal surface covering portion 22. The vertical edge overhang portion comprising an outer edge front shaped surface, such as a bull nose shaped outer front shaped surface 21A and an inner flat vertical surface 25.

The skirt piece 23 comprises a flat cut stone element with a front outer surface 26A and an inner surface 26B facing the structure to be covered. The skirt piece is removable attached on a front face 26A by a break away adhesive substance 27, such as a silicone adhesive material or other chemically adhesive material more easily fractured than the material of the pieces, to the inner vertical surface 25 of the edge overhang portion so that the skirt 23 piece may be removed from the edge rail piece without damage to either piece so that the edge rail piece 10 is alternately installed with or without the skirt piece 23 in different applications.

In a first application, as shown in FIG. 8, the skirt piece 23 is attached to the inner flat vertical surface 25 with a top edge of the skirt piece adjacent to the flat bottom 28 of the horizontal surface covering portion 22 in a standard position as originally assembled with a standard lower extension portion 24 of the skirt piece extending below the edge overhang portion with the edge rail piece 10 and the standard position skirt piece 23 attached to a countertop 30 having an average height substrate, comprising a bottom plywood layer 32 and a top layer of sand and cement 33 for a standard 2 inch height substrate used on the countertop under stone and ceramic tile, especially in western United States. The standard lower extension 24A of a two inch skirt piece covers an outside edge of the average height substrate, as shown in FIG. 8.

In a second application, as shown in FIG. 9 with a minimal substrate, such as a layer of plywood 32 with a layer of cementous underlayment 36, such as hardibacker board for a total substrate height of one inch, the skirt piece removed is removed by breaking it away from the edge rail without damaging either piece and the edge rail piece alone is attached the countertop having the minimum height substrate. The vertical edge overhang portion with an inner face 25 of at least one inch covers the outside edge of the minimum height substrate without the need for a skirt.

In the third application of FIG. 10, the skirt piece 23 is removed and re-attached to the inner flat vertical surface 25 of the edge overhang portion at any desired position on the inner flat vertical surface so that the skirt piece 23 is vertically adjustable relative to the edge overhang portion to create a desired height of the lower extension portion 24B of the skirt piece to cover a substrate of a variety of thicknesses, including a substrate of maximum thickness, such as a heavy countertop of steel or cement 37, which may have a cementous underlayment 36, such as hardibacker on top, as used in barbeque islands with a total substrate of exaggerated thickness .

The removable and re-attachable skirt piece 23 is interchangeable with any of a number of other skirt pieces of a variety of heights, types, colors and patterns.

A series of the edge rail pieces 10 with or without the skirt pieces are used with a series of flat modular surface tile pieces for covering a horizontal surface having at least one edge.

In FIG. 11, a second skirt piece 23A may be adhered to an exposed back side 26B of the attached skirt piece 23 on each of the edge rail pieces with the second skirt piece 23A extending downwardly below the attached skirt piece 23 to cover an edge of a substrate of a greater thickness than the height of the original skirt piece 23, such as that of FIG. 10.

In FIG. 13, the inner flat vertical surface 25 of the edge overhang portion has at least one horizontal groove 18 cut therein and the skirt piece 23B has a mating horizontal protrusion 19 extending from a front face 26A of the skirt piece so that the horizontal protrusion fits within the at least one horizontal groove to hold the skirt piece in place without an adhesive when the edge rail is attached to a countertop to cover a substrate edge of a standard height for a countertop.

In FIGS. 14 and 15, the inner flat vertical surface 25 of the edge overhang portion has at least two vertically spaced horizontal grooves 18A and 18B cut therein and the skirt piece 23B has a mating horizontal protrusion 19 extending from a front face of the skirt piece so that the protrusion fits within one of the at least two vertically spaced horizontal grooves to adjust a height of the lower extension portion 24A and 24B of the skirt piece below the edge overhang portion to cover substrate edges of different heights, such as a standard substrate which would be covered with the horizontal protrusion 19 in a top horizontal groove 18A, as shown in FIG. 14, or cover a substrate 33 of maximum thickness with the horizontal protrusion 19 in a bottom horizontal groove 18B, as shown in FIG. 15.

In FIG. 12, the edge rail further comprises a stepped extension 29 extending down from the bottom 28 of the horizontal covering surface 22 and extending back from the rear face 25 of the edge overhang portion a distance equal to a thickness of a skirt piece so that the skirt piece 23 adhered to the back vertical surface 25 of the edge overhang below the stepped extension 29 has a lower extension portion 24B below the edge rail an additional amount equal to the height of the stepped extension to cover an edge of a substrate of greater thickness than the height of the skirt piece.

The modular surfacing pieces may be solid seamless cut natural stone modular pieces, composite material or synthetic material shaped into modular pieces.

It is understood that the preceding description is given merely by way of illustration and not in limitation of the invention and that various modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit of the invention as claimed.