Title:
Method of creating an arificial flagstone surface
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of creating an artificial flagstone-like surface over a job surface at a job site generally comprises the steps of procuring a large concrete tile, breaking the procured tile over a vertical elongate straight edge at the job site into two dissimilar pieces, and installing the dissimilar pieces on the job surface. Preferably the tile has a surface of greater than three and a half square feet. Preferably, the tile is held by spaced hands and broken over the straight edge. Preferably the tile has an imitation flagstone top surface. A plurality of tiles are shipped to the job site in side by side configuration standing on a peripheral edge.



Inventors:
Thomsen, Christian W. (La Mesa, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/879290
Publication Date:
01/17/2008
Filing Date:
07/17/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B5/38
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SAFAVI, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Palomar Patent (San Diego, CA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A method of creating an artificial flagstone surface over a job surface at a job site comprising the step of: procuring a large concrete tile; the procured tile having: a top having a surface, a bottom having a surface; and a peripheral wall; the bottom surface spaced apart from and generally parallel to the top surface; procuring a shaping tool including an elongate straight edge; at the job site, breaking the procured large concrete tile over the elongate straight edge of the shaping tool into two dissimilar pieces; and installing the dissimilar pieces on the job surface.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of breaking the large tile comprises: holding the large tile; and contacting the straight edge with a tile surface at a right angle to the straight edge.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein the step of holding the large tile comprises: placing one's hands on the tile in spaced apart relationship on either side of the place where it is desired that the tile be broken.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of installing comprises: placing the pieces at a desired spaced relationship on the job surface.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of procuring comprises: selecting a tile having an imitation flagstone top surface.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of procuring comprises: selecting a tile having an area of greater than three and one-half square feet.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of procuring the shaping tool comprises: procuring a shaping tool wherein the straight edge is substantially as long as or longer than the longest dimension of the tile.

8. A method of creating an artificial flagstone surface over ajob surface at ajob site comprising the step of: procuring a plurality of large concrete tile; each procured tile having: a top having a surface, a bottom having a surface; and a peripheral wall; the bottom surface spaced apart from and generally parallel to the top surface; procuring a shaping tool including an elongate straight edge; at the job site, breaking each procured large concrete tile over the elongate straight edge of the shaping tool into two or more dissimilar pieces; and installing the dissimilar pieces on the job surface.

9. The method of claim 8 wherein the step of breaking each large tile comprises: holding the large tile; and contacting the straight edge with a tile surface at a right angle to the straight edge.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein the step of holding the large tile comprises: placing one's hands on the tile in spaced apart relationship on either side of the place where it is desired that the tile be broken.

11. The method of claim 8 wherein the step of installing comprises: placing the pieces at a desired spaced relationship on the job surface.

12. The method of claim 8 wherein the step of procuring comprises: selecting a tile having an area of greater than three and one-half square feet.

13. The method of claim 8 wherein the step of procuring the shaping tool comprises: procuring a shaping tool wherein the straight edge is substantially as long as or longer than the longest dimension of the tile.

14. A method of creating an artificial flagstone surface over a job surface at a job site comprising the step of: shipping a plurality of large concrete tiles to a job site; each tile having: a top having a surface, a bottom having a surface; and a peripheral wall; the bottom surface spaced apart from and generally parallel to the top surface; the tiles shipped in side by side configuration standing on a peripheral edge; procuring a shaping tool including an elongate straight edge; at the job site, breaking each received tile over elongate edge of the shaping tool into two or more dissimilar pieces; and installing the dissimilar pieces as desired in spaced apart relationship on the job surface.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein the step of breaking each large tile comprises: holding the large tile to be broken; and contacting the straight edge with a tile surface at a right angle to the straight edge.

16. The method of claim 15 wherein the step of holding the large tile to be broken comprises: placing one's hands on the tile in spaced apart relationship on either side of the place where it is desired that the tile be broken.

17. The method of claim 14 further comprising the step of: selecting tiles having an area of greater than three and one-half square feet.

18. The method of claim 14 wherein the step of procuring the shaping tool comprises: procuring a shaping tool wherein the straight edge is substantially as long as or longer than the longest dimension of the tile.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/831,408, filed Jul. 17, 2006.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates in general to a method of forming an artificial flagstone surface and specifically involves forming tiles of dissimilar shapes at the job site.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Natural Flagstone is one of the most desirable materials in both shape and form in today's marketplace. Flagstone is a type of flat stone often used for patios, walkways, steps, fences, housing, fireplaces, and many construction projects. Flagstone is a sedimentary rock which is cut or split in layers for walkways and patios. Flagstone is a sandstone which makes the rock essentially quartz. The material that binds flagstone is usually composed of silica, calcium, or iron oxide. The color of the rock usually comes from the cementing material. Typical colors of flagstone are red, blue, buff, and there are exotic colors like chocolate.

Since the shape of flagstone is irregular, installing a flagstone surface is like putting a puzzle together. This irregularity creates a pleasing effect that accounts for much of flagstone's popularity and millions of square feet taken annually out of quarries.

However, use of natural flagstone has several shortcomings. Flagstones vary in thickness such that they cannot easily form a flat surface if laid over another flat surface. Flagstone is quite heavy which makes it expensive to ship and difficult to handle on the job site. Some flagstone does not have the durability for heavy use, such as for driveways. With natural flagstone there tends to be lack of consistency in color, thickness, weight and durability.

Additionally, flagstone installation costs are high as an installer is required to shape pieces to fit. This shaping is very time consuming and requires considerable skill.

Therefore, it is desirable to have an artificial flagstone that overcomes shortcomings of natural flagstone and a method for easily shaping artificial flagstone tiles at installation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention is a method of creating an artificial flagstone surface over a job surface at a job site and it generally comprises the steps of procuring a large concrete tile, breaking the procured tile over a vertical elongate straight edge at the job site into two dissimilar pieces, and installing the dissimilar pieces on the job surface. Preferably the tile has a surface of greater than four and a half square feet. Preferably, the tile is held by spaced hands and broken over the straight edge. Preferably the tile has an imitation flagstone top surface.

The method includes the step of shipping a plurality of the large concrete tiles to a job site in side by side configuration standing on a peripheral edge.

Other features and many attendant advantages of the invention will become more apparent upon a reading of the following detailed description together with the drawings wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of flagstone textured molded concrete tile of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a shipping pallet containing a multitude of the tiles of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing a shaping tool and method of creating imitation flagstones tiles from the tile of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an end view of an alternate tile shaping tool.

FIG. 5 is an end view of a second alternate tile shaping tool.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the method of installing broken tiles on a walkway.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a flagstone textured concrete molded tile, denoted in general as 10, of the invention. Molded Tile 10 includes a top 12 including a surface 13 that is textured, such as to imitate natural flagstone, a spaced-apart, substantially flat and parallel bottom 14 having a surface 15, and a periphery side 16. Molded tile 10 is formed, such as in a mold. The mold is shaped such that, when first molded, periphery side 16 is a molded periphery side 16M. Molded periphery side 16M will be similar in appearance to a broken periphery side as will be explained later.

Preferably, molded tile 10 has a surface area of 3.5 to 7 square feet. Molded tile 10 of the exemplary embodiment has a width of 21 inches, a length of 33 inches, and a nominal thickness of 0.72 inches so as to cover 4.815 square feet. Thus, tile 10 plus with its periphery grout will cover approximately 5 square feet of surface when applied. Molded tile 10 has weight of twenty to forty pounds, such that an installer can manipulate the tile. Tile 10 of the preferred embodiment has a weight of approximately 6.8 pounds per square foot such that tile 10 weights about 32.725 pounds. A thickness of 0.5 inch to 1.25 inches works adequately, with a thickness of about 0.75 inches being preferred.

Molded tile 10 has a high performance concrete base comprising high performance concrete, sand, aggregate, and a plasticizer as is known in the art. The sand and aggregate are cleaned. The aggregate is relatively small with maximum size being approximately one-half the tile thickness, or three-eighths inch size for the three-quarter inch thick exemplary embodiment. The high performance concrete base is fortified with fiber reinforcement, not including fiberglass, for added durability and to lessen the migration of water into the tile. Colors, including “high-lighting” colors, in the form of natural oxides are added to the mix such the color is integrated in the mix so as to be dispersed throughout the tile.

Molded tiles 10 are for use in broken configuration in light commercial and most residential applications, on existing and new concrete bases or slabs, interior and exterior. Molded tiles 10 have a compressive strength of 2,500-8,000 PSI and the preferred embodiment has a compressive strength of 5500-6000 PSI. Other test properties of the preferred embodiment include: ASTM: C31-91, C39-86, C78-84, C617-87, C42-90. Coefficient of Friction is (wet) 0.61 and (dry) 0.84 (ASTM: C1028). Water Absorption: (unsealed) 10.7 (ASTM: C642) and freeze/thaw: passed (ASTM: C1026).

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a shipping pallet 90 containing a multitude of molded tiles 10 of FIG. 1. Shipping pallet 90 includes an upper surface 92 and an end wall 94 supported by side braces 95. Molded tiles 10 are stacked on upper surface 92 with each tile 10 resting on its peripheral edge 16M so as to be substantially vertical. Ropes or banding 96 cinch tiles 10 to pallet 90. This lowers the cost of shipping due to not having to put tiles inside of a box that is more costly. Also, molded tiles 10 are less likely to be damaged and cracked during shipping than if stacked in the conventional horizontal method. Also, shipping of large molded tiles 10 is more efficient than shipping natural flagstone. Typically, the described packing method of molded tile 10 allows twice the square foot of tile to be shipped on a comparable pallet. For example, a typical pallet 90 containing molded tile 10 set on end will cover 250 square feet, as compared to the average pallet of natural flagstone that covers an estimated average of only 125 square feet. Because natural flagstone varies in thickness and figuring its square footage would be quite time consuming for the seller, natural flagstone is sold by weight. Since the buyer cannot be sure of the square footage that will be delivered, he must over order to assure enough is on hand to do the job or, in an attempt to save money up front, the buyer can order low and run the risk of shortfall or the risk of later not being able to match color or texture on a make-up order.

At some point in the process, preferably before shaping, molded tiles 10 are pre-sealed. Pre-sealing comprises coating molded tile 10 with a penetrating masonry sealer as is known in the art. The sealer also acts as a grout release.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing the method of creating shaped tiles 10F, such as imitation flagstones 20, from molded tile 10 of FIG. 1. In FIG. 3, a first shaped tile 10A is shown lying on the ground and has already been broken off the original molded tile 10. The remained of the molded tile 10 is shown being broken over a shaping tool 70 into shaped tiles 10B and 10C.

Shaping tool 70 includes a vertically directed, elongate, straight edge 72 over which molded tile 10 is broken. In the exemplary embodiment, shaping tool 70 is a two and three-quarter inch angle iron 73. Molded tile 10 is shaped by breaking it of over the exterior included angle 74 as shown. The tile 10 to be shaped is held horizontally, top 12 up, above straight edge 72 by the shaper with the shaper's hands 89 spaced apart on either side of straight edge 72. The place where tile 10 is desired to be broken is struck directly onto straight edge 72 such that tile 10 is broken along an irregular break 17 approximately parallel to straight edge 72. Because of the sand and aggregate in tile 10, the break 17 propagates in irregular manner, not a straight line, so as to imitate the edge of a natural flagstone. Straight edge 72 encounters surface 14 of tile 10 at a right angle. Straight edge 72 is substantially as long as or longer then the longest dimension on tile 10 so that tile 10 may be broken along any desired dimension, even along the longest possible diagonal.

Preferably, shaping tool 70 is mounted, such as on a raised, stable surface, such as on a 4 by 4 or 4 by 6 inch wooden beam 81, such that the shaper's hands 89 do not contact the ground during breaking.

Small tile pieces can be broken off a large tile or tile piece by placing the desired break line across straight edge 72 and hitting the small piece with a hammer, such as a rubber mallet, to break it off over straight edge 72.

FIG. 4 is an end view of an alternate tile shaping tool 70B comprising an angle iron 73 on its side with a vertical leg 75 being straight edge 72. The upper end 76 of vertically leg 75 may be slightly pointed or sharpened to aid in inducing the break. Tool 70B is shown mounted to a wooden beam 85.

FIG. 5 is an end view of a second alternate tile shaping tool 70C comprising a T-beam 77 with the webbing 78 facing upward to serve as straight edge 72. The upper end 79 of webbing 78 may be slightly pointed or sharpened to aid in inducing the break. Tool 70C is shown mounted to a wooden beam 85.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the method of installing broken tiles 10F on a job surface, such as walkway 50. A base or substrate 51 of very hard, rigid material, such as non-flexing wood sub-floor or new or existing concrete 52 is prepared for application of shaped tile 10F. Concrete 52 can be prepared according to industry-accepted methods. Typically, this includes cleaning, removal of residual coatings, such as curing compounds, paint, bond breaker, etc, present that may affect the bonding of thinset mortar to the substrate, and repair of all cracks and imperfections.

Concrete substrate 52 is covered with a high quality thinset mortar 60 as is well-known in the art. Preferably, thinset mortar 60 has acrylic additives. Thinset mortar 60 is mixed per manufacturer's recommendation. A bed of thinset mortar is applied to a working portion 55 of prepped substrate 51 per manufacturer's recommendations, such as using a one-half inch notched trowel 65. Working portion 55 should only include an area of thinset mortar 60 that can be used before thinset mortar 60 sets up or develops a dry skin over the top.

Molded tile 10 is shaped into shaped tiles 10F as shown in described with respect to FIG. 3. The size and shape of a shaped tile 10F is chosen so as to aesthetically fit in working portion 55. The selected shaped tile 10F is hand pressed firmly into position into thinset mortar on working portion 55. The positioned tile 10F is wiggled slightly while applying a slight pressure to tiles 10F in order to ensure a firm bond by excising any entrapped air and to position tile 10F at the desired joint width in the pattern. Upon wiggling, thinset mortar 60 will extrude slightly around the edges of positioned tile 10F. If precise leveling of the tiles is necessary or if increased adhesion is desired, the tile 10F to be positioned may back buttered. Tiles 10F of greater size than about eight inches by eight inches should be backed buttered in order to achieve 100 percent adherence every time.

Excess thinset mortar is removed from the joint area. Residual thinset mortar 60 is removed from surface 13 of tile 10F before it dries. Some thinset mortars 60 can leave stains on tiles if left to dry on surface 13.

Fill in the small areas between larger shaped tiles 10F with smaller shaped tiles 10F.

Grout between the installed tiles 10F according to grout manufacturer's recommendations for type of grout and grouting widths. Preferably a Portland cement and sand with acrylic additive is used. Add your grout mix (or pre-mix) and fill all joints, preferably using a grouting bag. Clean surfaces of all residues to make them ready for sealer. As little water as possible is used during the clean-up. Excessive water can cause the grout to expand and will cause it to have shrink cracks, become brittle and or pull away from the tiles. American National Standards Specifications for Ceramic Tile (ANSI) mandates that all newly installed tile floors have at least a 72 hour cure time before beginning surface traffic. It is also recommended to damp cure the installation.

When surface is completely dry, clean and all grouting residue has been removed, apply final coat of selected sealer over entire job, including the grout or, if a pre-seal coat was not applied before grouting, apply the recommended two coats. Sealer needs to be a breathable type, non-film forming, non-yellowing masonry type of sealer suitable for concrete surfaces.

Having described the invention, it can be appreciated that the invention provides a very effective method of constructing an artificial flagstone surface wherein the flagstones are each shaped at the job site. The user can order exactly the square feet needed for the job. The pieces have uniform thickness and there will be little or no waste. Each piece is unique and there are no cut edges. The breaking does not affect the integrity or strength of the tiles. Other than each tile piece having a unique shape and each layout being unique, the results are consistent.

Although a particular embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, various changes may be made in the form, composition, construction, and arrangement of the parts herein without sacrificing any of its advantages. Therefore, it is to be understood that all matter herein is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in any limiting sense, and it is intended to cover in the appended claims such modifications as come within the true spirit and scope of the invention.

In the attached Claims, the terms horizontal and vertical are intended to be taken in the relative sense and do not denote absolute directions. Also, the term “flagstone surface” is meant to denote a puzzle-like surface produced by random shaped tiles and not a particular surface texture. Where surface texture is meant, it will be specified.