Title:
Hi grid bracket system for suspended ceilings
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The Hi Grid Bracket System for Suspended Ceilings is a grid bracket that is fastened to a wood floor joist. A plastic anchoring “L” shaped block with one hole drilled into one leg of the “L” and two holes drilled into the other. Two properly installed “L” shaped blocks are considered a grid bracket when attached to floor joists. Suspended ceiling grid is attached to the bracket. The bracket provides for easier installation, removal and re-installation of suspended ceiling grids in a residential or commercial setting. The Hi Grid Bracket System improves upon the installation of existing conventional acoustical suspended ceiling grids eliminating the use of wire and leveling devices. In addition, the Hi Grid Bracket System provides other distinct advantages over alternative suspended ceiling systems such as improved ease of access to mechanical ductwork, plumbing and electrical components for maintenance and repair.



Inventors:
Dadlez, Thaddeus M. (Canton, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/079488
Publication Date:
12/21/2006
Filing Date:
06/03/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B9/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060137268Continuous matting surfaceJune, 2006Trageser et al.
20080196347Combinable floor boardAugust, 2008Yaw
20060059861Multi-pane glass assembly for a refrigerated display caseMarch, 2006Grassmuck et al.
20010039777BUILDING COMPONENTS AND METHOD OF MAKING SAMENovember, 2001Karalic
20020121057Cedar impression siding cornerSeptember, 2002Steffes et al.
20060236618Pan flashing with sill wedge and window clipOctober, 2006Williams
20090178365METHOD OF FABRICATING A PRECAST CONCRETE METER PITJuly, 2009Anderson et al.
20080302031INTEGRATED SOLAR ROOFING TILE CONNECTION SYSTEMDecember, 2008Bressler et al.
20040168397Shear connectorSeptember, 2004Gruen et al.
20090100767AUDIO-VISUAL SYSTEMApril, 2009Kondo et al.
20070277470Lightweight structural panelDecember, 2007Vichniakov



Primary Examiner:
CHAPMAN, JEANETTE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Thaddeus M. Dadlez (Canton, OH, US)
Claims:
1. This invention relates to Suspended Ceiling Systems. Particularly, the invention provides for easier installation of suspended ceilings in a residential setting. Specifically, the invention relates to fastening the ceiling grid to the wood floor joists. The suspended ceiling system is primarily used in residential homes were plumbing, electrical and duct work require quick and ready access in case of future maintenance needs. A drywall ceiling would require access panels which, in most cases, make for a more costly ceiling and time consuming installation. And if required, sheet rock ceilings involve more costly removal and re-installation as opposed to a suspended ceiling. The Hi Grid Ceiling Suspended Ceiling System augments the benefits of the traditional suspended ceiling. The following application shows the Hi Grid Bracket System affords the installer and consumer additional installation and maintenance ease and affordability. Where access panels are not needed homeowners may still opt to install a suspended grid system only because they can avoid having to install a drywall ceiling. Such installations are labor intensive, messy and time consuming work for the non-professional installer. A homeowner often opts for the suspended ceiling system because installation requires minimum training and relatively few tools with less manpower.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of Invention

This invention relates to Suspended Ceiling Systems. Particularly, the invention provides for easier installation of suspended ceilings in a residential setting. Specifically, the invention relates to fastening the ceiling grid to the wood floor joists.

The suspended ceiling system is primarily used in residential homes were plumbing, electrical and duct work require quick and ready access in case of future maintenance needs. A drywall ceiling would require access panels which, in most cases, make for a more costly ceiling and time consuming installation. And if required, sheet rock ceilings involve more costly removal and re-installation as opposed to a suspended ceiling. The Hi Grid Ceiling Suspended Ceiling System augments the benefits of the traditional suspended ceiling. The following application shows the Hi Grid Bracket System affords the installer and consumer additional installation and maintenance ease and affordability.

Where access panels are not needed homeowners may still opt to install a suspended grid system only because they can avoid having to install a drywall ceiling. Such installations are labor intensive, messy and time consuming work for the non-professional installer. A homeowner often opts for the suspended ceiling system because installation requires minimum training and relatively few tools with less manpower.

2. Description of Prior Art

Homeowners, when installing a suspended ceiling system commonly use lag screws. The screws are driven into the upper floor joists with the aid of lag screw driver attachment for your drill. A 12 gage wire is then attached through the eye of the screw. The opposite end of the wire is attached to the grid system of the ceiling.

Steps in installing a conventional suspended ceiling system:

    • 1. Choose a ceiling height. Leave at least a 4 in minimum clearance below the lowest air duct, pipe or beam to allow for installing ceiling panels. Then measure a mark the desired height at each room corner.
    • 2. Mark the perimeter of the entire room. Snap a chalk line ¾-in. above your desired ceiling height. Check it with a level to be sure the ceiling will be level all around. (Note: a large 4-ft. level could be used but to be accurate this will require water or laser level.)
    • 3. Install wall angles by placing the top of the wall angle along the chalk line and screw it into wall. Space fasteners every 2 ft. on center of closer.
    • 4. Cut corners at outside corners, cut wall angles at 90 degrees and butt them together. At inside corners, miter them 45 degrees and fit them snugly together.
    • 5. Mark main tees by stretching a string across the room at ceiling height to mark each main tee location. To do this, pull a string taut around fasteners you inserted in Step 3. Mark main tees every 4 ft. off center.
    • 6. Mark cross tees by stretching a string perpendicular to the main tee strings to mark the first row of cross tees only. Main tees are equipped with pre-punched slots for aligning the remaining cross tees.
    • 7. Install hanger wires by installing lag screws at 4-ft. intervals along the main tee string lines. (Note: this will require the purchase or rental of a lag screw driver attachment for your drill.) Then attach the hanger wire and cut it at 6-in. below the string line.
    • 8. Bend hanger wires by using pliers to bend each hanger wire at a 90 degree angle ¾-in. above the string line.
    • 9. Align main tees in each row trim the main tee so that the slot for the first row of cross tees lines up at the string. Rest the end of the main tee on the wall angle.
    • 10. Hang main tees by pulling each hanger wire through the lower, round hole in the main tee. After checking the string line to be sure the tee is level, bend the wire up around, twisting the end 3½ full turns (within a 2-in. span) to secure it.
    • 11. Install cross tees carefully to prevent damage to the main tee hold the cross tee above the main tee and insert down into the main tee. On the opposite end, push the cross tee through the main tee slot until you hear it click and go until all cross tees are in place for the entire system.
    • 12. Lay in ceiling panels. To install full tiles into the grid system, first check the back side of the tile for printed arrows. If it's a directional panel, all panels must be inserted so the arrows point in the same direction. If it's a non-directional panel, no arrows will appear on the back, and panels may be inserted in any direction. To slide the panel into place, simply angle the tile up through the opening. Then, straighten and lower it until it rests evenly on the tee.

There is an alternative grid system “Ceiling Max Grid System” on the market which is a flexible plastic tee grid system that attaches directly to the floor joists, U.S. Pat. No. 5,611,185. This system saves up to 6″ of ceiling height, has no wires to hang. It requires no time-consuming leveling. The system utilizes any 2′×2′ or 2′×4′. It is easy for one person to install.

The “Ceiling Max Grid System” can be costly relative to conventional metal grid systems. Further, its costs increase when a home owner needs to access a specific area of the ceiling for mechanical or plumbing repairs or maintenance. One needs to disassemble the ceiling grid possibly damaging the grid and or tile to gain access to the area above the ceiling system.

Steps in installing a Ceiling Max ceiling system:

    • 1. Using screws install the Wall Brackets around the perimeter of the room, directly beneath the joists or finished ceiling. Drywall screws can be installed into the ceiling, joists or wall, and should be spaced 16″ to 24″ apart.
    • 2. To ensure professional looking results, the room layout should be balanced-equal size border panels used on opposite sides of the room. Establish your string or chalk line at this measurement Repeat these same steps for the other direction. Top hangers will be installed either perpendicular to exposed joists or across the longest dimension.
    • 3. Using a drill with Phillips tip, attach the first row of Top Hangers to the joist or current ceiling with screws, placing one screw in each joist, alternation sides.
    • 4. Using the pre-cut Top Hangers form Step 2, align the first notch with the Cross Tee dry line. Using an uncut Cross Tee as a spacer, place one end in the notch of the previously installed Top Hanger. Place the other end in the matching notch of the next Top hanger. Make certain that both ends of the Cross Tee fit snugly into the notches, and then attach Top Hanger using screws. Continue to install uncut Cross Tees parallel to the previous row. Cut the last Top Hanger to fit into Wall Bracket. Continue installation of rows. When all the rows are installed, measure cut and install first and last row of Cross Tees, resting the cut ends in the wall bracket. Do not install the last Cross Tee in the border rows until step 5.
    • 5. Beginning where the first Top Hanger was installed, cut ceiling tiles to fit each location and slide into the Wall Bracket. Rock the cross Tee slightly as you insert the tile. When the end ceiling tile is correctly cut to size and in place, install the final Cross Tee. (Note: Ceiling tile with this method has to be installed along with the grid system. If for any reason the tile is to be removed the grid and tile have to be disassembled in the same manner).
    • 6. Install full ceiling tiles in the remaining rows by rocking the Cross Tee and resting each tile in the grid system. As each row of ceiling tiles is put into place, finish the installation by snapping the Runners into the Top Hangers as shown below. Cut the last row of Runners as required.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

Accordingly, besides the objects and advantages of the above systems described, several objects and advantages of the Hi Grid bracket invention are:

The Hi Grid bracket system is designed to install existing conventional acoustical suspended ceilings, tile and metal grid without the use of wire and a leveling device (water level or laser level). The Hi Grid bracket attaches directly to the floor joists replacing lag screws and wire. Hi Grid bracket also maximizes the ceiling height of the basement by minimizing the space between the floor joist and the grid to approximately two inches. The Hi Grid bracket reduces the six inches required using the conventional wire system.

In contrast, the Ceiling Max systems eliminate the space between the floor joist and ceiling system but do not afford easy access to electrical, plumbing, and duct work. Due to its design, the Ceiling Max system would require a homeowner to literally disassemble the ceiling and grid to gain access to a particular area above the ceiling. Thus, risk of damage to the tile and grid system due to repeated disassembly increases. Still further, the homeowner would have the task of reassembling the system once the reason for access was completed.

The Armstrong and USG Ceilings conventional suspended system sacrifices six inches of ceiling height to install. In some residential homes six inches less ceiling height can detract from the overall finished look of the living space making it uncomfortable psychologically for tall individuals to even enter the space. The Hi Grid bracket, using the Armstrong and USG ceiling tile and grid, eliminates the wire and the lag screw bringing up the grid system from 6 to 2 inches below the floor joists and still allowing for individual ceiling tile accessibility throughout the suspended ceiling.

The conventional suspended system requires that the installer space out the anchor bolts at 4 ft.intervals, hang the wire and level. Using a 4 ft.level, water level or laser level, in conjunction with a string line, an installer bends the wire, feeding the wire through the main tee hole. The installer bends the wire up around, twisting the end 3½ full turns (within a 2-in. span) to secure it”, six inches from joist to desired level recommended.

A skilled installer can bring the ceiling height tighter to the joists relative to the conventional wire system. However, efforts to increase ceiling height add to the time off installation, due to the fact that the installer still has to twist the wire on itself to secure it. It is also difficult and clumsy for the novice installer. Further, manufacturer recommended specifications for the product limit the gained height via this method to approximately one inch.

Additional Advantages to the Hi Grid bracket system are:

    • A simplified process so that an installer needs only a screw driver, tape measure, and snap line to install brackets using the recommended self taping screws. Thus,
      • eliminating the lag screw and wire
      • eliminating the use of lag screw driver adapter for a drill
      • There is no wire to bend and twist back on it self.
      • No string line to stretch for leveling purposes.
      • No time-consuming leveling involved eliminating a need for a water level or laser level. An additional savings of purchase or rental fees from your local home store.
      • Space savings of up to 4″ of ceiling height allowing a homeowner to remove the needed ceiling tile, as required, gaining access to pipe valves, pipes, electrical junctions and wires, air conditioning/heating duct work without the risk of damaging the tile and without disturbing the grid.
      • Hi Grid bracket system uses the conventional Armstrong or USG Ceiling grids and 2′×2′ or 2′×4′ tiles.
      • Ease of installation, the Hi Grid bracket system can be installed by one person.
      • The Hi Grid bracket system for any light fixture that can be installed on a drywall ceiling.
      • Fastens directly to joists, plaster or drywall.
      • My system uses the same 4 foot on center spacing as the wire suspension system so it is easy to determine how many of each components to buy.
        Installation of Suspended Ceiling with Hi Grid Bracket System is as follows:
        Step One

Installer/homeowner finds the center of the room in which he wants to install a suspended ceiling.

Step Two

Installer/homeowner offsets another two marks, two feet from the center mark (two feet each side).

Note: [ceiling panels are 2×2 ft. or 2×4 feet. The offsetting of the main runners is only done if the installer/homeowner wants the panels to be centered on the room. If the grid is to be the center line then use original center mark as the starting point. These marks will be the main runner which will run perpendicular to the floor joists. Note: main runners in a suspended ceiling system are the main supports for the ceiling. They are anchored to the floor using the bracket assembly and are spaced four feet parallel to each other running perpendicular to the floor joists above. All anchor assemblies are spaced four foot on center.]

Step Three

Installer/homeowner holds up a main runner perpendicular and centered on floor joist along the second or third mark installer/homeowner just made. Inspect the holes on the main runner. Do the holes line up with the floor joists above? Floor joists should be spaced every sixteen inches apart. Floor joist and spaces in-between should total 4 ft. If the holes on the main runner should not line up a block will have to be installed between the joists. (A block is a piece of wood that will fill in the space between the joists in order to fasten or support the anchor brackets to the joist level).

Another option is to go to the closer joist to the center mark. If a hole on the tee does not line up then mark the location and pre-drill a new hole using a metal drill bit of the same diameter of lower round anchoring holes already on the tee. Once spacing of ceiling bracket anchors is established proceed to step four.

Note: [Main runners are sold in eight foot sections. For rooms larger then eight feet main runner tees can be extended by interlocking the ends of the runners. If room is smaller than sixteen feet in length then the runner will have to cut with metal snips or hacksaw to desired length. Chances are that you will have to extend the main tee's length. Before you start cutting double check spacing of holes with joists and interlocking slots so that your grid pattern on the finished ceiling will be where you intended it.]

Step Four

Hi Grid system brackets are spaced four feet center to center throughout the ceiling area.

    • A. With a straight edge or snap line mark all floor joists that would intersect main runner at a 90 degree/perpendicular. Start with most centered main runner location.
    • B. Place first half of Hi Grid ceiling bracket along side mark or snap line chalk mark and secure it to floor joist using recommended anchoring screw.
    • C. Take main runner and a line hole in runner with first bracket, place a small bolt with nut into holes temporary securing the runner to the first half of bracket.
    • D. Repeat this every four feet up and down length of room were main runner will be placed.
    • E. Take second half of Hi Grid ceiling bracket and starting from the center repeat securing the bracket to the floor joist and permanently securing the brackets to the main runner with small nut, washers and bolt. Do this until all brackets are secured to joists and runner every four feet.
    • F. Measure four feet perpendicular from the newly installed runner, again mark the floor joist.
    • G. Snap a chalk line perpendicular to the joists. Note: Snap line should be four feet parallel to the main runner just installed. Repeat steps B, C & D do not repeat step 4 E as of yet.
      Step Five

Install four foot sections of grid. Interlock the sections with the main runners. A four by four grid pattern should take shape. Again install four foot sections interlocking the previous four foot sections allowing a two foot by four foot grid to take shape.

If one uses a two by four foot panel stop installation is complete. If one uses two by two foot panel one needs to install the two foot sections interlocking the four foot grids making a two foot by two foot grid pattern. At this time from Step four on the second main runner installed do step E.

Note: [The reason the second half of the bracket is not installed until now is to allow for some flexibility in the main runners so as to allow for the four foot sections to interlock. If the second half of the bracket were to be installed prior to the installation of the four foot sections the grid may be to stiff and harder to manipulate so as to snap the components into place.]

Repeat step four A through G and step five until entire room has grid.

Step Six

The installer/homeowner then needs to put up the edging around the perimeter of the room following the ends of the main runners as the height and the ends of the grid. Screw in fasteners every 24 inches.

Step Seven

And then finally install the ceiling panels by sliding them into place. Around perimeter of room you may have to cut the tile to fit the opening. Using a utility knife sharp blade and a drywall T-square cut tile to desired size.

DRAWING FIGURES & REFERENCE NUMERALS IN DRAWINGS

Page 3 of 6 shows an isometric or 3-D view of the bracket.

FIG. 1 shows the bracket

FIG. 2 shows the lower 3/16 hole of the bracket which lines up with the lower hole on the Main Tee FIG. 6

FIG. 3 shows two anchoring 3/16 holes. Holes except 2-#8-1×1¼″ Self Drilling Point Simpson Strong-Tie Connections.

FIG. 4 shows the surface of the bracket which mates with the side of the Main Tee. Profile of this surface is the mirror profile of the Tee-main runner.

FIG. 5 shows the Tee-main runner.

FIG. 6 shows the lower hole which is used to insert wire in conventional applications of grid.

FIG. 7 shows the floor joist.

Page 5 of 6 shows an isometric or 3-D view of a typical conventional installation of suspended ceiling.

FIG. 1 shows the Tee-main.

FIG. 2 shows the lag screw anchored to floor joist, FIG. 3, twelve gage steel wires attached to lag screw and Tee main, FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows floor joist.

FIG. 4 shows cross interlocking four foot Tee.

Page 6 of 6 shows an isometric or 3-D view of a typical installation of suspended ceiling using the ceiling bracket system.

FIG. 1 shows the Tee-main.

FIG. 2 shows the suspended ceiling bracket anchored to floor joist, FIG. 3, and attached to Tee main, FIG. 1. Note: an enlarged picture of FIG. 2 on lower portion of Drawing.

FIG. 3 shows floor joist.

FIG. 4 shows cross interlocking four foot Tee.

DESCRIPTION-PAGES 1 TO 7

Page 1 of 7 shows a top profile and side view of the bracket (not to scale), overall dimensions and locations of holes of the Hi Grid ceiling bracket.

Page 2 of 7 shows two cross-sectional views of the Hi Grid ceiling bracket Application, and recommended connections to be used when installing the brackets.

Page 3 of 7 shows an isometric or 3-D view of the bracket and related components.

Page 4 of 7 shows the same isometric or 3-D view with the hardware include that would be needed to complete one anchoring point of the Hi Grid ceiling Bracket. Arrows are also shown to give the reader an idea of how the system is to be installed.

Page 5 of 7 shows an isometric or 3-D view of a typical conventional installation of suspended ceiling.

Page 6 of 7 shows an isometric or 3-D view of a typical installation of suspended ceiling using the ceiling bracket system.

Page 7 of 7 shows typical suspended ceiling layout using 2×4 foot and 2×2 foot ceiling panels. The main runners are marked on the page as well as the 4 foot tees and 2 foot tees if applicable.

Operation-Pages 1 to 6 of the Hi Grid Ceiling Bracket

The manner of using the Hi Grid ceiling bracket is as follows:

    • 1. Lay out the grid pattern desired of the ceiling to be installed on a piece of paper (Dwg. Pg 7 of 7).
    • 2. Using the drawing of the grid pattern determine which tees are to be your main runners. Note: these should be the tees which perpendicularly intersect the floor joists and are at 4 foot intervals from the general center of the room. Inter-locking cross tees fill in the grid in-between the main runner tees.
    • 3. Holding a tee to the floor joist line up a lower round hole and determine if four feet from this hole a floor joist lines up with a similar hole (Dwg. Pg 3 of 6 FIG. 2 & 6). Note: Floor joists should be spaced sixteen inches apart, three spaces equals four feet. Some builders will fudge and space the joists nineteen inches apart, if this is the case and if hole does not line up with joist two options are available, one mark were hole should be and drill out a new hole with a 3/16 inch metal drill bit, two install a block or a piece of wood in-between joists so that the anchors can be applied.
    • 4. Once location is determined snap a perpendicular line down the room as a guide. Start at the most center of snapped line and install first half of bracket on one side of snapped line, Profile side (refer to Dwg Pg 3 of 6—FIG. 4) top edge should touch the line. Refer to drawing page numbers 2 of 6, 3 of 6, and 4 of 6 to get an idea how the system is assembled.
    • 5. With screw driver install the first of four #8×1¼″ self -drilling Point Simpson Strong-Tie connections (refer to Dwg Pg. 3 of 6 FIG. 1 & 7 and Pg 4 of 6). When completed install the second of the four connections. The fist half of the bracket should at this point be in line with the floor joist.
    • 6. Take main runner tee and line up lower hole with remaining open hole (refer to Dwg Pg 3 of 6—FIG. 2 & 6) on bracket. Profile on bracket should be a mirrored profile to the Tee. When holes are lined up insert one #6-32×1⅛″ stainless steel screw with one #6 flat cut washer (refer to Dwg Pg 4 of 6). On opposite side of screw loosely insert another washer and one #6 nut, do not tighten yet.
    • 7. Repeat step six above up and down the snapped line every four feet (refer to Dwg Pg 6 of 6 to visualize the finished look).
    • 8. Starting from the most center install the opposite side of the bracket by removing the nut and washer, mating the second piece of the bracket to the opposite side of the tee, sandwiching the tee between the two brackets locking the two together with the #6 washer and nut, tighten to a snug fit. Then one would install the two remaining Self-Drilling Point Simpson Strong—Tie connections. Repeat this step until all Second half's of the brackets are installed. (refer to Dwg Pg 2 of 6, 3 of 6, 4 of 6, and 6 of 6)
    • 9. Repeat 1 through 8 every four feet parallel to the main tee runner installed. (refer to Dwg. 6 of 6 for finished look)

SUMMARY, RAMIFICATIONS AND SCOPE

Accordingly, the reader will see that the Hi Grid bracket anchoring system provides considerable savings in time and money for the installer/homeowner. The Hi Grid bracket can be used to minimize the space between floor joists and suspended ceiling without sacrificing accessibility to electrical, plumbing and AC & Heating duct work. The Hi Grid bracket also simplifies installation with minimal tools required. As stated previously, the Hi Grid bracket anchoring system for suspended ceilings has the additional advantages:

    • Only a screw driver, tape measure, and snap line is required for installation. The Hi Grid bracket system installed with recommended self tapping screws:
      • eliminates the lag screw and wire
      • no bending and twisting wire back on itself
      • the use of lag screw driver adapter for a drill is eliminated
      • no string line to stretch
    • The Hi Grid bracket system has no time-consuming leveling involved.
    • The Hi Grid bracket system saves up to 4″ of ceiling height and would still allow a homeowner to remove the needed ceiling without the risk of damaging the tile and without disturbing the grid.
    • The Hi Grid bracket system uses the conventional Armstrong or USG Ceiling grids and 2′×2′ or 2′×4′ tiles.
    • Ease of installation, one person can install a suspended ceiling, in an average size room, using the Hi Grid bracket, in one day.
    • Use any lighting that can be installed on a drywall ceiling
    • Fastens directly to joists, plaster or drywall
    • The Hi Grid bracket system uses the same 4 ft. on center spacing as the wire suspension system so it is easy to determine how many of each components to buy.
      The Hi Grid Bracket for Suspended Grid Acoustical Tile Ceilings

Abstract: A plastic anchoring “L” shaped block with one hole drilled into one leg of the “L” and two holes drilled into the other. Two “L” shaped blocks make up one anchoring point with recommended fasteners is attached to the floor joists. The Leg with one hole drilled also has the same mirror contour/profile of the Tee Main Runner.

The block is positioned and screwed into place on one side of the centerline marking on the floor joist which indicates the location of the Tee Main Runner of the Ceiling grid, the Tee is then placed along side the block allowing the profile of the tee to fit into the block and the same time aliening the hole of the block with the hole in the tee. The second block is then mated with the opposite side of the tee again allowing the profile of the tee to fit into the block, insert small bolt washer into hole which alien blocks with tee, loosely secure with washer and nut on opposite side of bolt. Snuggly, sandwich all three together, anchor second block to floor joist then tighten bolt locking the three parts together.

The block itself is made of a polymer which can be mass produced at a low cost making it extremely competitive with conventional lag bolt & wire hanger cost. The consumer benefits by saving ceiling height in a tight space, time in installing the grid and cost in not having to buy or rent tools needed for a conventional wire grid system.