Title:
Groin vault ceiling kit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A groin vault ceiling kit comprises a set of four arch-shaped ceiling segments each having a pair of converging diagonal edges oriented at a 45 degree angle relative to a back edge of each of the ceiling segments. Each of the ceiling segments may be comprised of an arch-shaped triangular tip portion which is axially alignable and abuttingly disposed against an arch-shaped semi-circular main portion. A connecting member may be disposed along concave outer surfaces of the tip and main portions for interconection thereof. Each of the tip and main portions may be fabricated of a plurality of laminated members in a pre-formed arch-shape. The groin vault ceiling kit is adapted for installation into a building structure such as via wall studs and ceiling joists where each of the ceiling segments is configured to be secured thereto.



Inventors:
Barry, Michael A. (Irvine, CA, US)
Goodwin, George E. (Anaheim, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/519690
Publication Date:
03/13/2008
Filing Date:
09/11/2006
Assignee:
Arch-Rite, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/32
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHILCOT, RICHARD E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STETINA BRUNDA GARRED & BRUCKER (ALISO VIEJO, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A groin vault ceiling kit, comprising: a set of four wedge-shaped ceiling segments each having a pair of converging diagonal edges oriented at a 45 degree angle relative to a back edge, the ceiling segments each having an arch-shaped cross section.

2. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein each of the ceiling segments is comprised of a tip portion and a main portion.

3. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein the ceiling segments are configured to intersect in orthogonal relation to one another such that the diagonal edges of adjacent ones of the ceiling segments are disposed in abutting contact with one another.

4. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 further including: a connecting member wherein: each of the arch-shaped ceiling segments has opposing convex and concave surfaces; the connecting member being disposed along the convex surfaces of the tip and main portions.

5. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein the connecting member is fabricated of wood and is mechanically securable to the concave surface.

6. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein the main portion of the arch segments has a semi-circular cross-sectional shape.

7. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein each of the tip and main portions is fabricated from a plurality of laminated members.

8. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 adapted for installation in a building structure having wall studs and ceiling joists wherein the ceiling segment is configured to be secured thereto.

9. A method of fabricating a ceiling segment for a groin vault ceiling kit, the method comprising the steps of: (a) providing an arch segment having forward and back edges; (b) trimming the arch segment to form a pair of intersecting diagonal edges diverging at a 90 degree angle relative to one another toward a back edge such that the arch segment assumes a wedge shape.

10. The method of claim 8 wherein the method further comprises the step of forming the arch segment from a plurality of laminated members.

11. The method of claim 8 wherein the arch segment has a semi-circular cross-sectional shape.

12. The method of claim 8 wherein step (a) comprises disposing a pair of arch segments in axial alignment with one another such that the back edge of one of the arch segments is disposed in abutting contact with a front edge of the remaining one of the arch segments.

13. A method of fabricating a groin vault ceiling kit, the method comprising the steps of: (a) providing an arch segment having a semi-circular cross-sectional shape; (b) trimming the arch segment to form two diagonal edges diverging at a 90 degree angle relative to one another toward a back edge such that arch segment assumes a wedge shape; and repeating steps (a) and (b) to form four of the wedge-shaped arch segments.

14. The method of claim 11 wherein the method further comprises the step of forming the arch segment from a plurality of laminated members.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

(Not Applicable)

STATEMENT RE: FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT

(Not Applicable)

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates generally to building construction and, more particularly, to a uniquely configured groin vault ceiling kit that is constructed of a set of arch-shaped ceiling segments that are pre-manufactured off-site and which may then be shipped to a job site and interconnected to a building structure such as a home.

In building construction and, more particularly, in home construction, the installation of an arched ceiling such as a vaulted ceiling adds to the aesthetic appeal of the interior. More particularly, for certain homes, builders realize that a vaulted ceiling is generally a good investment in that vaulted ceilings add character to the interior design of the home. For example, vaulted ceilings expand the space of the home interior to create volume in the rooms and hallways within which the vaulted ceiling is installed. Vaulted ceilings also add to the sophistication of the interior design and thereby increase the home's resale value compared to homes having conventional, planar or flat ceilings.

Unfortunately, the costs associated with constructing a vaulted ceiling are generally greater than the costs associated with constructing a simpler flat ceiling. The increased expense is due in large part to the increase in time required to forming the curved portions of the vaulted ceiling. In addition, the installation of a vaulted ceiling generally requires a higher degree of skill that that which is required for installing conventional ceilings. In this regard, the level of skill required for installing a vaulted ceiling may be compared to the high level of skill required in cabinet making.

The increased costs associated with vaulted ceilings is also due in part to the time-consuming manner in which such vaulted ceilings are traditionally constructed. For example, traditional methods of vaulted ceiling construction include trial-and-error cutting and fitting of ceiling framing that tie the vaulted ceiling into the surrounding building structure such as wall studs and ceiling joists. Furthermore, prior art methods for construction of vaulted ceilings typically require construction of the entire vaulted ceiling at the job site wherein the vaulted ceiling is built into the structure piece by piece.

Traditional construction methods may entail cutting and fitting of specially-formed ribs or frame members which are interconnected to existing structural members of the building. Flexible panels may then be mounted to the curved frame members to form the arch-shaped surface that defines the vaulted ceiling. Typically, such flexible panels are generally thin and are therefore lacking in strength which presents problems in securing other fixtures such as lighting fixtures to the vaulted ceiling. Furthermore, the curved flexible panels must be carefully fit to size on a trial-and-error basis to prevent the formation of gaps in the vaulted ceiling and to prevent gaps at locations where the vaulted ceiling ties into other frames of the building.

As may be appreciated, conventional methods for constructing vaulted ceilings are extremely time-consuming and are highly dependent upon the availability of skilled labor and specialized tooling to produce a finished ceiling that has the desired aesthetic appeal. Local and national building codes further impact the degree of skill and amount of time required to construct a vaulted ceiling with the necessary structural integrity.

In addition, the installation of vaulted ceilings such as in a hallway presents even more complex problems at locations where hallways intersect with a room or an adjacent hallway having vaulted ceilings. The intersection of a pair of barrel vaults or vaulted ceilings at right angles is typically referred to as a groin vault due to the formation of four diagonal edges along which the barrel vaults intersect one another. However, like vaulted ceilings, the construction of a groin vault is extremely time consuming and costly due to the complexity of the structure created by the intersection of multiple compound-curved surfaces. In addition, the construction of a groin vault requires a relatively high degree of precision to interconnect the groin vault to the existing frame members of the building structure.

As can be seen, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault ceiling that can be manufactured to precise tolerances such as by using specialized tooling in climate-controlled conditions such as at a pre-manufacturing facility. Additionally, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault ceiling that may be pre-manufactured in modular form at a pre-manufacture facility and shipped as individual components to a job site.

Also, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault ceiling that can be initially designed to be compatible with the known layout of a building structure using computer-aided-design (CAD) techniques so as to avoid costly errors during final installation of the groin vault ceiling. Furthermore, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault that can be constructed to conform with various building codes. Finally, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault ceiling that can be constructed at low cost and which can be easily installed in a drastically reduced amount of time compared to the time involved using conventional construction techniques.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The present invention specifically addresses the above referenced needs associated with groin vaults of the prior art. More specifically, the present invention is a uniquely configured groin vault ceiling kit that may be pre-manufactured or pre-fabricated at an off-site location such as a climate-controlled factory and which may be later assembled and installed at a job site into a building structure. The groin vault may be required in buildings such as homes having halls and/or rooms with vaulted ceilings (e.g., barrel vaults) that intersect at right angles. Advantageously, the groin vault ceiling kit of the present invention may be pre-fabricated using unskilled labor in order to reduce construction costs.

In its broadest sense, the groin vault ceiling kit comprises a set of four arch-shaped ceiling segments. Each of the ceiling segments has a pair of diagonal edges which diverge from an apex outwardly at a 45 degree angle and extend to a back edge of the ceiling segment. In this regard, each of the ceiling segments is formed in a wedge shape such that the ceiling segments may be configured to intersect one another in orthogonal relation. When joined, the diagonal edges of adjacent ones of the ceiling segments are disposed in abutting contact with one another. The set of four ceiling segments are thus comprised of two pairs of opposing ceiling segments which contact one another at the respected apexes and along the diagonal edges thereof

Alternatively, each of the ceiling segments may be fabricated of a combination of an arch-shaped tip portion and an arch-shaped main portion. The tip portion is axially alignable with and is disposable in abutment against the arch-shaped main portion. Each of the tip and main portions may initially be fabricated from an arch segment formed as a semi-circular element from a plurality of laminated members. The tip and main portions may be interconnected to one another using a connecting member or other suitable means.

For example, each of the tip and main portions have outer concave surfaces along which the connecting member is preferably disposed to connect the tip and main portions. The connecting member may be fabricated of wood or any other suitable material or combination of materials. Mechanical fasteners and/or adhesive or any other suitable connection means may be utilized to connect the tip and main portions.

The ceiling segments may be fabricated by initially providing at least one semi-circularly shaped arch segment having forward and back edges. The arch segment may be trimmed along the diverging diagonal edges which are disposed at a 90 degree angle relative to one another and which extend from the front edge toward the back edge of the ceiling segment such that the ceiling segment assumes the wedge shape.

In forming the ceiling segments from separate tip and main portions, the method of the present invention further includes providing a pair of the arch segments which preferably have generally matching radii of curvature. The arch segments are disposed in axial alignment with one another such that the back edge of one of the arch segments is disposed in abutting contact with a front edge of the remaining arch segment.

The arch segments are then trimmed to form the diagonal edges which diverge from the apex toward the back edge. Once the diagonal edges are trimmed to create the tip portion and main portion, a connecting member may be used to interconnect the tip and main portions such as with the aid of mechanical fasteners, adhesive or any combination thereof.

Following prefabrication of the ceiling segment, a set of four similarly-configured ceiling segments may then be shipped to a job site such as a home construction site for installation. Each of the ceiling segments may be interconnected to appropriate structural members such as to wall studs and/or ceiling joists of the building. The ceiling segments are preferably sized and configured during pre-manufacturing to match the existing dimensions of the building.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the various embodiments disclosed herein will be better understood with respect to the following description and drawings in which like numbers refer to like parts throughout and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a groin vault comprised of a set of four ceiling segments;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the groin vault illustrating the ceiling segments oriented at right angles relative to one another;

FIG. 3 is a partial perspective view of the groin vault taken along line 3 of FIG. 1 and illustrating the inner section of the groin vault at respective apexes thereof;

FIG. 4 is a partial exploded perspective view of the groin vault illustrating the interconnection the ceiling segments;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a set of four of the ceiling segments in a disassembled state such as may be provided prior to shipment;

FIG. 6 is a perspective side view of one of the ceiling segments comprised of a tip portion connected to a main portion;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the tip portion joined to the main portion and illustrating a diagonal edge formed along one side thereof; and

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the ceiling segment constructed as a unitary structure and illustrating one of the diagonal edges along which the ceiling segment is trimmed in its final configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings wherein the showings are for purposes of illustrating the present invention and not for purposes of limiting the same, shown in the figures is a groin vault ceiling kit 10 which is constructed of pre-manufactured ceiling segments 12. The ceiling segments 12 may be fabricated using specialized tooling and precise tolerances in a climate-controlled environment such as in a pre-manufacturing facility. The ceiling segments 12 are preferably arch-shaped such that a set of four of the ceiling segments 12 may be constructed at the pre-manufacturing facility and shipped to a job site wherein the ceiling segments 12 may be joined to one another and ultimately interconnected to the building structure such as the wall studs and ceiling joists.

As can be seen in the figures, the groin vault ceiling kit 10 may comprise a set of four arch-shaped ceiling segments 12. Each of the ceiling segments 12 may have a pair of diagonal edges 20 converging from an apex 24 outwardly at a 45 degree angle relative to a back edge 16 of the ceiling segment 12. Each of the ceiling segments 12 may be formed from an arch segment 22 comprised of a plurality of laminated members formed in a circular shape in a manner similar to that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,955,168 issued to Barry (the “Barry reference”), the entire contents of which is expressly incorporated by reference herein.

Advantageously, by prefabricating the ceiling segments 12 from pre-manufactured arch segments 22, the shape and, more particularly, the radius of curvature of the ceiling segment 12 may be precisely controlled. Furthermore, the ceiling segment 12 fabricated from pre-manufactured arch segments 22 may provide enhanced structural load bearing capability to the vaulted ceiling due to the ability to tailor the thickness of the ceiling segment 12 by selecting the quantity of laminated members.

As can be seen in the figures, the ceiling segments 12 are configured to intersect in orthogonal relationship to one another (i.e., at right angles) such that diagonal edges 20 of adjacent ones of the ceiling segments 12 are disposed in abutting relationship with one another. In such an arrangement, the four orthogonally arranged ceiling segments 12 are comprised of two pairs of opposing ceiling segments 12. The ceiling segments 12 of each of the pairs are preferably coaxially aligned with one another. The back edge 16 of each of the ceiling segments 12 is preferably oriented perpendicular to an axis of the ceiling segment 12. However, the back edge 16 of each of the ceiling segments 12 may be formed in any shape and at any angle relative to the axis of the ceiling segment 12.

Each of the ceiling segments 12 further has opposing convex and concave surfaces 32, 30. As may be appreciated, the concave surface 30 is exposed to an interior of the building structure when the groin vault ceiling kit 10 is installed. Preferably, the radius of curvature of the concave surface 30 is complimentary to the building structure into which the groin vault ceiling kit 10 is installed. Advantageously, the ability to pre-design the shape of the groin vault ceiling kit 10 using computerized design (e.g., CAD) techniques avoids mismatches between the ceiling segments 12 and the building structure to which the ceiling segment 12 is interconnected.

In order to achieve the desired radius of curvature of the ceiling segments 12, the arch segments 22 are preferably formed of a plurality of the laminated members which are layered over one another. As shown in the figures, the ceiling segment 12 may be comprised of anywhere from 2 to 6 or more laminated members which may each be formed of bonded particulate material. The particulate material itself may be fabricated of cellulose fiber, shredded paper, wooded particles, sawdust and various other materials and combinations thereof as disclosed in the Barry reference.

The particulate material is bonded together via a matrix resin to form the laminate material. Individual ones of the laminated members may consist of individual thin wooden members made of the particulate material which are formed around a curved jig. The laminated members may be bonded together in juxtaposition to one another so as to result in a unitary laminated structure having a pre-determined size, thickness and shape, or curvature.

Under sufficient temperature, pressure and other conditions, the desired arcuate or arch-shaped configuration may be compressed into the laminated members in order to result in an arch segment 22. A mold may be used to form the arch segment 22 into the desired radius of curvature. In this regard, the arch segment 22 may be formed at any radius of curvature and at any length other than that which is shown in the figures. Furthermore, the arch segment 22 may be formed in any suitable manner such as that which is disclosed in the Barry reference or using any other suitable means.

The arch segments 22 may comprise laminated members formed of material that is one quarter-inch thick in order to arrive at a total desired thickness of the arch segment 22. Any number of laminated members of any thickness may be layered together in order to form the arch segment 22 of a desired thickness. Each of the ceiling segments 12 thereby forms a partial arch-section that has sufficient strength and rigidity for interconnection to the building structure.

Optionally, as shown in FIGS. 1-7, each of the ceiling segments 12 may be formed of a triangularly-shaped tip portion 26 that is axially aligned with and disposable against a semi-cylindrically shaped main portion 28. The tip portion 26 and main portion 28 collectively the ceiling segment 12 when the tip portion 26 is connected to the main portion 28. Toward this end, the groin vault ceiling kit 10 may further include a connecting member 34 which may be disposed along the convex surfaces 32 of the tip and main portions 26, 28.

The connecting member 34 is preferably mechanically and/or otherwise securable to the concave surface 30. In this regard, it is contemplated that once the tip portion 26 is aligned with the main portion 28 such that the diagonal edges 20 thereof are generally aligned, the connecting member 34 may be bonded to the tip and main portions 26, 28 via an appropriate adhesive in additional to or as an alternative to mechanically fastening the connecting member 34 to the tip and main portions 26, 28.

Each of the tip portions 26 and main portions 28 is preferably fabricated from a plurality of laminated members (i.e., arch segments) similar to that which is described above for the unitarily-fabricated ceiling segment 12. In this regard, the tip portion 26 has an apex 24 at one end and a back edge 16 at an opposite end. The main portion 28 also has opposing front and back edges 18, 16. The back edge 16 of the tip portion 26 is preferably disposed in abutting contact with the front edge 18 of the main portion 28 such that substantially no gap exists between the front and back edges 18, 16.

The combined tip and main portions 26, 28 preferably form the wedge-shape similar to the wedge-shape described above for the unitarily-formed ceiling segment 12. The connecting member 34 may be fabricated of wood or any other suitable material or combination thereof. Mechanical attachment of the connecting member 34 to the tip and main portions 26, 28 may be facilitated through the use of nails, screws and/or any other appropriate or suitable mechanical fastener 36 means.

Also disclosed herein is a method of fabricating a ceiling segment 12 such as may be used in the groin vault ceiling kit 10. The method comprises the steps of providing an arch segment 22 having forward and back edges 16 and which is fabricated from a plurality of laminated members similar to that described above. The method further comprises the step of trimming the arch segment 22 to form a pair of diagonal edges 20 extending outwardly at a 90 degree angle in divergence from an apex 24 of the ceiling segment 12.

The diagonal edges 20 extend outwardly toward the back edge 16 such that the arch segment 22 assumes a general wedge shape. The step of providing the arch segment 22 may itself be comprised of providing a tip portion 26 and a main portion 28 and joining the tip and main portions 26, 28 at the respective ones of the back and forward edges 16, 18 such as via a connecting member 34 as was described above.

Each of the tip and main portions 26, 28 may initially be provided in a semi-circular shape. In this regard, the method of fabricating the groin vault ceiling kit 10 may further comprise the steps of trimming each of the arch segments 22 forming the tip and main portions 26, 28 in order to form the two diagonal edges 20 which diverge at a 90 degree angle from the apex 24 toward a back edge 16 such that the arch segment 22 assumes a wedge shape of the ceiling segment 12.

A set of four ceiling segments 12 may be formed in this manner in order to construct a complete groin vault ceiling kit 10 as may be installed in a building structure. As was earlier mentioned, the ceiling segments 12 which comprise the tip and main portions 26, 28 may be fabricated off-site at a pre-manufacturing facility using specialized tooling in order to produce precisely-dimensioned ceiling segments 12.

The above description is given by way of example, and not limitation. Given the above disclosure, one skilled in the art could devise variations that are within the scope and spirit of the invention disclosed herein, including various ways of interconnecting the tip portion 26 to the main portion 28. Further, the various features of the embodiments disclosed herein can be used alone, or in varying combinations with each other and are not intended to be limited to the specific combination described herein. Thus, the scope of the claims is not to be limited by the illustrated embodiments.