Title:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR FORMING FLUSH JOINTS BETWEEN ADJACENT WALLBOARD PANELS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system and method for forming flush joints and improving the shear strength in wallboard panels are provided. The system includes using a clamping mechanism to apply simultaneous opposing pressure against the butt joint area so as to cause the edges of adjacent wallboard panels to align level with the plane of the drywall panels. In certain implementations, the system utilizes an elongated tie strap to interconnect a back support disposed on the back side of the drywall panels with a tensioning device which is disposed on the front side of the panels. Adhesive prepackaged in packets can be used to attach the back support to the drywall.



Inventors:
Misbin, Harvey (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/549911
Publication Date:
05/15/2008
Filing Date:
10/16/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B2/00; E04C2/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CANFIELD, ROBERT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CALROCK CORPORATION (PHOENIX, AZ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for forming flush joints between wallboard panels, said system comprising: a back support adapted to be attached to a back side of two wallboard panels and sized to extend across at least a portion of a joint area; a front support adapted to extend across at least a portion of the joint area on the front side of the panels; and an interconnect member, said interconnect member is adapted to extend from the back support through the joint area and to the front support; said interconnect member is adapted to attach to the back and front supports and exert a force on the supports so as to cause the back support and the front support to exert simultaneous opposing inward pressure against the joint area.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the front support comprises at least one tensioning device, wherein said tensioning device is adapted to exert a tension on the interconnect member when the interconnect member is attached to the tensioning device.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the interconnect member comprises an elongated cable and a ratcheted sliding member slidably disposed along said cable, wherein the sliding member is adapted to engage with said cable to lock the sliding member in place.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the front support comprises at least one substantially planar surface, said surface is adapted to contact the joint area on the front side of the wallboard panels.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the back support comprises at least one substantially planar surface, said surface is adapted to contact the joint area on the back side of the wallboard panels.

6. The system of claim 2, wherein the tensioning device comprises a horse shoe shaped protrusion.

7. The system of claim 2, wherein the tensioning device comprises a material having elastic properties.

8. The system of claim 1, further comprising adhesives adapted to attach the back support to the wallboard panels.

9. A method for installing wallboard panels, said method comprising: attaching a first drywall panel to a framing member; attaching a support to a back side of the first drywall panel, wherein the support is disposed adjacent an edge of the first drywall panel such that at least a portion of the support extends past the edge of the first drywall panel, wherein the support is attached to the first drywall panel by an adhesive; attaching a second drywall panel to a framing member, wherein the second drywall panel is disposed adjacent the first drywall panel, wherein an edge of the second drywall panel is abutted against the edge of the first drywall panel, wherein the portion of the support extending past the edge of the first drywall panel is attached to the second drywall panel via the adhesive; extending an interconnect member from the support, through the joint area between the drywall panels; applying a pulling force on the interconnect member so as to pull the support against the back side of the first and second drywall panels and force the edges therebetween to align; and locking the interconnect member in place.

10. The method of claim 9, further comprising attaching a first end of the interconnect member to the support and a second end to a tensioning device.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein attaching the second end of the interconnect member to a tensioning device comprises attaching the interconnect member to a triangular shaped protrusion.

12. The method of claim 9, wherein locking the interconnect member into position comprises pulling taut the interconnect member and placing a ratchet locking device on the interconnect member.

13. The method of claim 9, wherein said interconnect member comprises a plastic tie.

14. The method of claim 9, wherein applying a pulling force on the interconnect member comprises applying sufficient pulling force to cause adhesive between the support and the back sides of the wallboard panels to flow into a seam area between the panels.

15. An adhesive system for drywall installation, comprising: a sheet member comprising individual compartments; an adhesive, said adhesive is positioned in each of said compartments, wherein application of pressure against the compartment forces the adhesive to be released from the individual compartments.

16. The adhesive system of claim 15, wherein the adhesive comprises a joint compound.

17. The adhesive system of claim 15, wherein the planar sheet member is perforated.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention generally relates to systems and methods for installing wallboards, and in particular, relates to a system and method that can be used to form flush joints between adjacent wallboard panels and improve the overall shear strength of the finished drywall.

2. Description of the Related Art

Various drywall installation systems have been developed to create level and smooth drywall joints. Joint compound and tape are typically applied to the joint area to conceal the seam between two drywall panels. Joint areas formed by abutting the beveled edges of drywall panels are inherently recessed and/or tapered thus can be filled with joint compound and covered by joint tape without creating a visible ridge in the finished drywall. However, joint areas formed by abutting the cut edges of panels, often referred to as butt joints, are usually already level with the plane of the drywall panels. Once joint compound and tape are applied thereto, a slight ridge is often visible. Thus, a taper is usually artificially created in the butt joint area during drywall installation in an effort to eliminate or at least reduce the ridging effect created by the joint compound and tape so as to form a more smooth and flat finish.

Back blocking is a common practice designed to create such an artificial taper in the butt joint area. However, the conventional back blocking process is generally costly and time consuming. It involves multiple steps including attaching a strip of wood to the framing joist adjacent to the back surface of the drywall directly behind joint seams to provide some backing and resistance. The process also involves mounting a temporary brace on the joists through the finished side of the drywall panels. The brace is adapted to exert pressure against the seam to force the seam to become slightly recessed with respect the plane of the finished side of the drywall. Once the joint compound is set, the temporary brace would have to be removed and the holes from attaching the brace filled. These complicated and time-consuming steps often discourage drywall installers from using the back blocking process. As a consequence, the butt joint areas of many installed drywall are not as flat and smooth as desired.

Moreover, drywall panels are typically fastened at the joint area to a building stud, joist or other framing component. Gradual movement of the building frame over time due to moisture and other factors can cause deformation of the drywall joint. For example, panel edges forming the drywall joint can be forced out of alignment and protrude outwardly due to moisture movement of the stud to which the edge is mounted. Such deformation greatly detracts from the appearance of the finished drywall.

In view of the foregoing, it will be appreciated that there is a need for an improved system and method for forming flush drywall joints. The preferred embodiments of the present invention are intended to ameliorate one or more of the shortcomings discussed above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The preferred embodiments of the present invention provide a novel system and method for installing drywall panels. The system and method have several features, no single one of which is solely responsible for their desirable attributes. Without limiting the scope of this invention, its more prominent features will now be discussed briefly. However, not all of the following features are necessary to achieve the advantages of the system or method. Therefore, none of the following features should be viewed as limiting. After considering this discussion, and particularly after reading the section entitled “Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments,” one will understand how the features of the preferred embodiments provide advantages over prior art systems.

One such advantage is that the system and method can be easily and conveniently implemented to form aesthetically appealing, flat and smooth drywall joint areas without requiring complex or multiple process steps. Additionally, the system and method also provide a finished drywall with improved shear strength and a joint area that is not susceptible to deformation over time due to moisture movement of the building frame.

In one embodiment, the present invention provides a system for forming flush joints between wallboard panels. The system comprises a back support adapted to be attached to a back side of two wallboard panels and sized to extend across at least a portion of a joint area; a front support adapted to extend across at least a portion of the joint area on the front side of the panels; and an interconnect member, wherein the interconnect member is adapted to extend from the back support through the joint area and to the front support, wherein the interconnect member is adapted to attach to the front and back supports and exert a force on the supports so as to cause the back support and the front support to exert simultaneous opposing inward pressure against joint area.

In another embodiment, the present invention provides a method for installing wallboard panels. The method comprises attaching a first drywall panel to a framing member; attaching a support to a back side of the first drywall panel. Preferably, the support is disposed adjacent to an edge of the first drywall panel such that at least a portion of the support extends past the edge. The support can be attached to the first drywall panel by an adhesive such as joint compound known in the art. The method further comprises attaching a second drywall panel to a framing member. The second drywall panel is preferably positioned adjacent to the first drywall panel, wherein an edge of the second drywall panel is abutted against the edge of the first drywall panel so as to form a butt joint. Preferably, the portion of the support extending past the edge of the first drywall panel is attached to the second drywall panel via an adhesive such as joint compound known in the art. The method further comprises extending an interconnect member from the support through the joint area between the drywall panels and applying a pulling force on the interconnect member so as to pull the support against the back side of the first and second drywall panels and force the edges therebetween to align. The method further comprises locking the interconnect member in place.

In yet another embodiment, the present invention provides an adhesive system for drywall installation. The system comprises a sheet member comprising individual compartments; and an adhesive, wherein the adhesive is positioned in each of the compartments, wherein application of pressure against the compartments forces the adhesive to be released from the individual compartments. In one embodiment, the sheet member comprises a plurality of perforations so that the sheet can be divided into smaller sections.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a system of one embodiment of the present invention, which is adapted to form flush butt joints between adjacent wallboard panels;

FIG. 2 illustrates a system of another embodiment of the present invention, showing the interconnect members being formed on the back support;

FIG. 3 illustrates a system of yet another embodiment of the present invention, showing the tensioning device as having a triangular configuration;

FIG. 4 illustrates an adhesive system of one embodiment of the present invention that can be used in conjunction with the system of the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIGS. 5A-5G schematically illustrate a method of using the system of certain preferred embodiments of the present invention in installation of drywall panels; and

FIG. 6 illustrates a system of another embodiment of the present invention, which is adapted to form flush joints between beveled edges of adjacent wallboard panels.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 generally illustrates a system 100 of one embodiment of the present invention, which is adapted to form flush butt joints between adjacent drywall panels and improve the shear strength of the resulting installed drywall. As shown in FIG. 1, the system 100 generally includes a back support 102, a front support 104, and an interconnect member 106. The back and front supports 102, 104 are adapted to be positioned against opposing sides of a butt joint area between two drywall panels while the interconnect member connects the two supports 102, 104 in a manner such that the system functions like a clamp by applying inward pressure to opposing sides of the butt joint area.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the back support 102 has two flat opposing surfaces 106a, 106b and a plurality of openings 108 extending therethrough. Preferably, the openings 108 are linearly aligned and spaced apart by a predetermined distance. In one implementation, the back support 102 has three openings that are linearly aligned and spaced apart by about four inches. The back support 102 can be made of a variety of different materials including, but not limited to, cementitious, plastics, and composite materials. In a preferred implementation, the back support 102 comprises an elongated strip of gypsum drywall with a plurality of holes drilled through. It will be appreciated that the back support 102 can assume a variety of shapes and dimensions. In one embodiment, the back support 102 is rectangular in shape and has a length of between about 24 to 48 inches, a width of between about 4 to 8 inches. As will be described in further detail below, the back support 102 is adapted to be attached to the back surface of a drywall directly behind the butt joint area in a manner such that the flat surface 106a of the back support 102 is pressed up against and exerts pressure on a section of the butt joint so as to force the panel edges forming the butt joint to align at a flush level with the drywall panels. The back support 102 can be attached to the back side of the drywall using adhesives such as joint compounds, plaster or the like.

As also shown in FIG. 1, the front support 104 comprises a base 105 having two opposing surfaces 110a, 110b and a plurality of tensioning devices 112 disposed on one of the surfaces 110a of the base. In one embodiment, each tensioning device 112 comprises a horseshoe shaped protrusion having two ends 114a, 114b. The first end 114a is fastened to the surface 110a while the other end 114b remains unattached and has a limited freedom of movement. In one embodiment, the tensioning device 112 is made of a known plastic composite material, preferably one that has elastic properties. Preferably, the tensioning device 112 will be deformed slightly upon application of a force by an object but will exert an opposing force against the object. The unattached free end also helps the tensioning device 112 to snap back to its original shape when the force is removed. In other embodiments, the tensioning device 112 can be attached to the base 105 on both ends. Openings 118 are also formed in the tensioning device 112 and through the base 105 of the front support 104. Preferably, the openings 118 formed in the tensioning devices 112 vertically aligns with corresponding openings 120 formed in the base 105. In a preferred embodiment, the front support 104 has tensioning devices linearly aligned and spaced apart by about 4 inches. It will be appreciated that the tensioning device can assume a variety of different configurations and can be made of different materials. In some embodiments, the tensioning device comprises a spring loaded device. In certain other embodiments, the tensioning device comprises a rigid material, such as metal or wood, with or without elastic properties.

As briefly described above, the interconnect member 106 is adapted to interconnect the back support 102 and the front support 104 in a manner such that the back support and the front support 104 each simultaneously exert opposing pressures against an object to create a clamping effect. In one embodiment, the interconnect member 106 comprises a T-shaped plastic tie having an elongated body 122, a cross piece 124, and a sliding member 126 which is configured to lock in place on the tie body 122. In one embodiment, the sliding member 126 is ratcheted and engages with the tie body in a known manner to grip the tie body, thus locking the sliding member in place. However, it will be appreciated that the interconnect member can assume other configurations and utilize other locking mechanisms. In some implementations, the interconnect member can comprise an elongated cable that can be locked in place by forming a knot near one end of the cable.

When used as part of the system 100, the tensioning device 112 in conjunction with the interconnected member 122 can be used to cause the back and front supports to apply opposing pressures against the butt joint area so as to create a clamping effect in the butt joint area. In one embodiment, the interconnect member 122 is extended from the opening 108 in the back support 102 through the openings 120, 118 in the base 105 and tensioning device 112 of the front support 104. The sliding member 126 is then slid along the body of the interconnect member 122 to the tensioning device and locked in place when it is tightly pressed against the tensioning device.

It will be appreciated that components of the system described above can assume a variety of different configurations and still perform the intended functions. For example, FIG. 2 illustrates a system of another embodiment in which the interconnect member is pre-formed on the back support. As shown in FIG. 2, the back support 202 comprises an elongated strip of material with pre-formed interconnect members 206 disposed on a planar surface 208 of the back support. In one embodiment, the back support 202 is a plastic composite material with the elongated strips being integrally formed with the support. In another embodiment, the strips can be attached to the back support, which comprises a cementitious panel, using various known techniques, such as cement bonding or casting. Each interconnect member 206 comprises a thin, elongated strap which extends outwardly from the planar surface 208 of the back block. In one embodiment, the length of each strap is preferably longer than 12 inches. The back support 202 with pre-formed interconnect members can be used in conjunction with a tensioning device described above or any other devices to apply simultaneous opposing pressures to two sides of an object.

FIG. 3 illustrates a system 300 of another embodiment which can be used to form flush joints between drywall panels. As shown in FIG. 3, the system 300 generally comprises a support 302 and an interconnect member 304. The support 302 is triangular in shape and comprises a base 305 and two legs 306a, 306b extending from opposite ends of the base and converging at a common vertex 308. The base 305 of the support 302 has a joint bridge section 310 and two corners 312a, 312b, each corner having a substantially planar bottom surface 313a, 313b. The support 302 also has a plurality of guide holes 314 for insertion of the interconnect member 304. A locking device 320 is also formed on the support and adapted to lock the interconnect member in place. Preferably, the support 302 is constructed of a material that is capable of creating tension in the interconnect member when the interconnect member is locked in place by the locking device. In one embodiment, the locking device comprises a ratcheted opening having teeth that engage with the interconnect member in a known manner to lock the interconnect member in place. It will be appreciated that the base can assume a variety of shapes and sizes other than what is shown in FIG. 3. For example, the shape of the base can be square, hexagonal, circular, and the like. Preferably, the base comprises at least one substantially flat surface that is adapted to be in contact with the drywall panel. As also shown in FIG. 3, the interconnect member 304 comprises an elongated strap 320 and a cross-piece 322 disposed on one end of the strap 320. In one embodiment, the interconnect member 304 comprises a conventional plastic tie. The system 300 can be used in conjunction with a strip of drywall board or the like to apply simultaneous force to the front and back sides of a drywall joint area to create a clamping effect.

FIG. 4 illustrates an adhesive system 400 of one embodiment that can be used in conjunction with the system of certain preferred embodiments to create flush joints and improve the shear strength of the installed drywall. The adhesive system 400 is generally designed to release adhesive components only upon application of a threshold pressure. In one embodiment, the adhesive system 400 comprises one or more sheets 402 of prepackaged joint compound or other types of adhesive. In a preferred implementation, the system comprises a sheet 402 having a plurality of compartments 404 formed on the sheet. The adhesive, such as joint compound, is packaged into and stored in the compartments 404. Preferably, each compartment is configured in a manner such that pressure applied to the sheet 402 would force the adhesive to push through the covering of the compartments 404. Similar to blister packaging, the adhesive is stored in separate compartments in the sheet and would be released upon application of pressure. As such, the sheet 402 containing the prepackaged packets of adhesive can be easily and conveniently placed between the back support and the joint area. In one embodiment, applying pressure to the sheet of adhesive would force the adhesive therein to burst out of the compartment and flow between the back support and the butt joint and through the joint seam. In other embodiments, perforations 408 are located across the sheet 402 to facilitate cutting the sheet of adhesive into different sizes. Advantageously, this system permits joint compound and the like to be applied to a surface in a very clean and tidy manner.

FIGS. 5A-5G schematically illustrate a method of using the system 100 of one preferred embodiment in installing drywall panels. FIG. 5A provides a side view showing a drywall panel 500 having an untapered or cut edge 502 is first attached to a joist, stud, or other framing member (not shown). FIG. 5A also shows that the back support 102 is then attached to a back side 504 of the drywall panel 500 in a manner such that the opening 108 in the back support is positioned about level with the cut edge 502 of the panel. Additionally, at least a portion 109 of the back support 102 extends past the cut edge 502 of the panel. As also shown in FIG. 5A, an adhesive 510 is applied to the back support 102 to attach the back support 102 to the drywall panel 500. In one embodiment, the adhesive 510 comprises pre-packaged joint compound that is adapted to release the adhesive components upon application of pressure. However, the adhesive can also be applied using conventional techniques such as using a trowel, knife, brush, roller, sprayer and the like.

FIG. 5B shows that the interconnect member 106 is then inserted through the opening 108 in the back support 102. In one embodiment, the interconnect member 106 is a T shaped plastic tie. FIG. 5C shows that a second drywall panel 504 is attached to a joist, stud or other framing member in a manner such that an untapered or cut edge 506 of the second panel 504 is abutted against the untapered edge 502 of the first drywall panel 500 with the interconnect member 106 extending therebetween. Additionally, adhesive 510 is also applied to the area between the back support 102 and the second drywall panel 504 to attach the back support to the second panel. FIG. 5D shows that the front support 104 is subsequently positioned adjacent a finished surface 150 of the drywall panels 500, 504. The front support 104 extends across at least a portion of the joint area 518. As also shown in FIG. 5D, the interconnect member 106 is extended through the openings 118, 120 in the base 105 of the front support and through the tensioning device 112. Preferably, the interconnect member 106 is first pulled taut and then the sliding member is slid up against the tensioning device 112 and locked into place. The tensioning device 112 pushes against the sliding member, thus creating tension in the interconnect member. When locked in place as shown in FIG. 5D, the back and front supports 102, 104 simultaneously exert opposing forces on the butt joint area 518 like a clamp while the adhesive sets. The opposing forces exerted by the supports 102, 104 cause the drywall panels to align in a flush manner in the joint area. Additionally, the pressure exerted by the back support 102 also causes the adhesive 510 to flow into the seam area 520 between the two panels. Thus, the two panels are structurally attached together at the joint area, which substantially prevents individual movement, buckling, or other deformation of the panel edges due to movement of the stud, joist or framing. The back support 102 also serves as a reinforcement of the drywall and thus greatly improves the shear strength.

FIG. 5E shows the front support is subsequently removed from the drywall and the interconnect member 106 is trimmed so that the finished drywall surface 522 is smooth and does not have any protrusions. In some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 5F, a divot 526 is made on the finished surface 522 of the drywall to remove any small tip sections of the interconnect member 106 that may be protruding. The divot 526 is subsequently patched up as shown in FIG. 5G to form an even and smooth drywall joint area. Since the drywall seam is filled with adhesive, the seam becomes much less visible, which can result in the elimination of using joint compound to conceal the seams. As such, the method of the preferred embodiments creates a seamless, flush butt joint with significantly reduced process steps and material. Further, the system of the preferred embodiments is simple to use and forms a flush butt joint without many additional steps as compared to the prior art back blocking process. Additionally, the system also provides a finished drywall with improved shear strength as the system provides structure reinforcement between two adjacent drywall panels. While FIG. 5A-5G illustrate the method in the context of installing wall panels, it will be appreciated that the method has a wide range of applications and can also be used for installing ceiling panels as well as both interior and exterior wall panels.

FIG. 6 illustrates a system 600 of another embodiment, which is adapted for forming drywall joint areas comprised of a beveled and/or tapered edge of drywall panels. As shown in FIG. 6, the system 600 generally includes a back support 602, a front support 604, and an interconnect member 606. The back support 602 comprises a rectangular strip of rigid panel, such as a strip of gypsum drywall. The front support 604 has a clamping surface 610b with a protrusion 608 that is configured to apply pressure to the tapered recess typically present at joint areas between two beveled edges. As shown in FIG. 6, the protrusion 608 extends outwardly from the clamping surface support 610b. The protrusion can assume a variety of different cross-sectional configurations, such as rectangular or V-shaped. In practice, the front support 604 is positioned adjacent the finished surface of the drywall in a manner such that at least a portion of the protrusion is received into the tapered recess between two drywall panels. The front support 604 in conjunction with the back support 600 and the interconnect member 606 functions as a clamping device to form flush joint areas in a manner similar to the system described above for forming flush butt joints.

Although the foregoing description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention has shown, described and pointed out the fundamental novel features of the invention, it will be understood that various omissions, substitutions, and changes in the form of the detail of the invention as illustrated as well as the uses thereof, may be made by those skilled in the art, without departing from the spirit of the invention. Particularly, it will be appreciated that the preferred embodiments of the invention may manifest itself in other shapes and configurations as appropriate for the end use of the article made thereby.