Title:
Mounting points for a shower surround
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A molded tub and shower surround includes a multitude of molded components which are separately attachable to a wall portion at predefined locations. The multitude of mounting locations are provided such that various molded components may be selected and attached in accordance with the desires of a particular user.



Inventors:
Wilson, David J. (New Baltimore, MI, US)
Crawford, Evan Carpenter (Farmington Hills, MI, US)
Deboer, Jeffrey A. (Ann Arbor, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/108055
Publication Date:
10/19/2006
Filing Date:
04/15/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FETSUGA, ROBERT M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Carlson, Gaskey & Olds/Masco Corporation (Birmingham, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A molded tub surround assembly comprising: a molded wall portion which defines an aperture; and a boss mountable at least partially within said aperture.

2. The molded tub surround assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein said boss is egg shaped.

3. The molded tub surround assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein said boss is hook shaped.

4. The molded tub surround assembly as recited in claim 1, further comprising: a second boss mountable within a second aperture formed in said molded wall portion; and a bar mountable between said boss and said second boss.

5. The molded tub surround assembly as recited in claim 1, further comprising a hook mountable to an upper ledge of said molded wall portion.

6. The molded tub surround assembly as recited in claim 5, wherein said hook is a generally planar member.

7. The molded tub surround assembly as recited in claim 6, wherein said hook defines an aperture with a member which extends into said aperture.

8. A molded tub surround assembly comprising: a first molded wall portion which defines an upper ledge; a second molded wall portion mounted to said first molded wall portion through a flexible hinge; and a hook mountable to said upper ledge.

9. The molded tub surround assembly as recited in claim 8, wherein said hook is a generally planar member.

10. The molded tub surround assembly as recited in claim 9, wherein said hook defines an aperture with a member which extends into said aperture.

11. The molded tub surround assembly as recited in claim 8, further comprising a tub portion, said first molded wall portion and said second molded wall portion mountable atop a ledge of said tub portion.

12. A molded tub surround assembly comprising: a first molded wall portion which defines an aperture; a second molded wall portion mounted to said first molded wall portion through a flexible hinge; a tub portion defining a ledge, said first molded wall portion and said second molded wall portion mountable atop said ledge; and a boss including a stem and a head, said stem mountable at least partially within said aperture.

13. The molded tub surround assembly as recited in claim 12, wherein said recess defines a pocket.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a shower, and more particularly to molded mounting point structures for a shower and tub surround.

Oversized luxury showers and tubs are becoming increasing desirable in new construction and bathroom renovations. Tub and shower surrounds are positioned within a recess built around a bathtub or shower. Conventional modular tub/shower units often include a tub portion at the bottom and two or more wall portions. The whole structure is inserted into the wall recess to form a waterproof surround. The fully enclosed waterproof structure is highly advantageous in that it is relatively uncomplicated to install while assuring the prevention of the escape of water into the wall cavity.

One problem which arises with products of this type is the uniformity of the shower surround wall design. That is, conventional shower surround walls are large relatively smooth molded panels.

Disadvantageously, each shower surround is of a particular aesthetic design having particular features such as shelves which cannot be changed. The only alternative is to install a completely different shower surround which may or may not have every particular feature desired by a customer. Furthermore, conventional wall molded features may not project from the wall in a significantly defined manner. Such features may thereby be relatively limited in their utility.

Accordingly, it is desirable to provide user selectable features which are of significant definition to provided specific utility and customization.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A molded tub surround assembly according to the present invention includes a multitude of molded components which are separately attachable to a wall portion at various predefined locations. The multitude of mounting locations are provided such that various molded components may be selected and attached in accordance with the desires of a customer.

One molded component is hook-shaped, knob shaped, and or egg-shaped boss member which provides aesthetic and functional features to the tub surround. The boss provides for direct hanging of bathing equipment, a towel, or such like. Alternatively, the boss provides attachment for another fixture such as a towel bar. Another molded component is a hook which is mounted atop an upper ledge of the wall portions. The hook is attached through an adhesive, fasteners, or such like.

The present invention therefore provides user selectable features which are of significant definition to provided specific utility and customization.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The various features and advantages of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the currently preferred embodiment. The drawings that accompany the detailed description can be briefly described as follows:

FIG. 1 is a general exploded view a tub surround assembly according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a general perspective view of an assembled tub surround assembly according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a general exploded view a tub surround wall assembly in a folded transportable configuration;

FIG. 4A is a general front exploded view of a boss assembly;

FIG. 4B is a general rear exploded view of a boss assembly;

FIG. 4C is a sectional view of a boss assembly;

FIG. 4D is a sectional view of a plug prior to mounting of a boss assembly;

FIG. 5 is a general exploded view of a towel bar boss assembly;

FIG. 6 is a general exploded view of a hook; and

FIG. 7 is a general perspective view of the hook of FIG. 6 mounted to a shower surround wall.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 illustrates a general perspective view of a molded tub and surround assembly 20 which is formed of a multitude of pieces manufactured from a molded plastic material. A tub portion 22 receives wall portions 24a, 24b and 26 to form the combined tub and surround 20 (FIG. 2). It should be understood that any number of wall portions will benefit from the present invention. Preferably, the wall portions 24a, 24b are side wall portions which are mounted to a back wall portion 26 with a hinge 25 or the like. The hinge 25 is preferably a flexible material to provide a living hinge which permits the wall portions 24a, 24b and 26 to be folded for transportation and unfolded for installation (FIG. 3). It should be understood that the term “tub” is not limited to bath tubs only and that relatively shallow shower bases and the like will also benefit from the present invention.

The tub portion 22 defines a horizontal deck area 28 and a substantially vertical flange 30 extending therefore. The flange may also be known as a nailing flange. The flange 30 preferably extends along three sides of the tub portion 22 and behind the wall portions 24a, 24b and 26 when in an assembled condition (FIG. 2).

A showerhead opening 32 is located within the wall 24b such that water will move in the direction of right to left in FIG. 1. That is, wall portion 24b is considered the “wet” wall as it is closer to showerhead opening 32. It should be understood that various attachment devices other or in addition to the hinges 25 such as clamps and fasteners will also be usable with the present invention.

A multitude of molded components 34 are separately attachable to the walls portions 24a, 24b and 26 at predefined locations. Preferably, the molded components include a boss 36 and a hook 38. It should be understood that molded components 34 of various types, which are molded separate from the wall portions, will be usable with the present invention. Each molded component 34 is attachable to the wall portions 24a, 24b and 26 to provide a user defined arrangement. That is, a multitude of predefined mounting locations L are provided and the molded components are selected and attached in accordance with the desires of a user. It should be understood that the predetermined mounting locations may be located anywhere in the surround 20.

Referring to FIG. 4A, the boss 36 is selectively mountable within a boss aperture 40 formed in the wall portion 24a (also illustrated in FIG. 4B). The boss apertures 40 are preferably molded as a recess to assure that water cannot seep behind the wall portion 24a through the aperture (FIG. 4C). That is, the boss aperture 40 is preferably a pocket and not just an aperture through the wall portion 24a.

The boss aperture 40 may includes an outer cover surface 41 such that the boss aperture 40 is effectively hidden (FIG. 4D). In other words, the cover surface 41 conceals the boss aperture 40 and may be a molded surface or a plug which is selectively removed should a user desire to utilize that particular predetermined location for a boss 36 or the like.

The boss 36 is preferably hook-shaped, knob shaped, and or egg-shaped to provide aesthetic and functional features to the shower surround 20. It should be understood that other shapes as well as colors will also be usable with the present invention. It should be further understood that the boss apertures 40 may be located on any wall portion 24a, 24b and/or 26, and that reference to wall portion 24a herein is for descriptive purposes only.

Referring to FIG. 4B, the boss 36 includes a stem 42 and a head 44. The stem 42 engages and corresponds to the shape of the boss apertures 40. Preferably, the stem 42 is non-circular in cross section to provide a predefined orientation which resists rotation. The stem 42 is retained within the boss aperture 40 with an adhesive or a friction fit. The boss 36 provides for direct hanging of bathing equipment, a towel, or such like. Alternatively, a multitude of bosses 36′ provide attachment for another fixture such as a towel bar T (FIG. 5). It should be understood that such a boss structure provides a defined support structure heretofore unavailable in a conventional molded wall portion 24a.

Referring to FIG. 6, the hook 38 is a generally planar member which defines an aperture 44 and an extension 46 which extends within the aperture 44. Such an arrangement provides for a hook which permits hanging of bathing equipment, towels or the like within a corner shower surround. Preferably the hook 38 is mounted atop an upper ledge 48 adjacent a corner of the wall portion 24a and the back wall portion 26. The hook 38 is preferably attached through an adhesive, fasteners, or such like.

Although particular step sequences are shown, described, and claimed, it should be understood that steps may be performed in any order, separated or combined unless otherwise indicated and will still benefit from the present invention.

The foregoing description is exemplary rather than defined by the limitations within. Many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. The preferred embodiments of this invention have been disclosed, however, one of ordinary skill in the art would recognize that certain modifications would come within the scope of this invention. It is, therefore, to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described. For that reason the following claims should be studied to determine the true scope and content of this invention.