Title:
Preformed Niche Assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A preformed niche assembly and method of forming a niche include attaching the niche assembly in a stud cavity before a wall covering is installed. The preformed niche assembly includes a body that is constructed to be received in a stud cavity and a flange that extends about a perimeter of the body. The flange includes a first surface constructed to engage a stud and a second surface generally aligned with the first surface. The second surface of the flange is constructed to engage a non-exposed surface of a wall covering. The preformed niche assembly simplifies niche formation and allows positioning of a niche prior to installation of the wall covering.



Inventors:
Brinkley, Jonathan (Endeavor, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/562859
Publication Date:
05/22/2008
Filing Date:
11/22/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/745.16
International Classes:
E04B1/19
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
IHEZIE, JOSHUA K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOYLE FREDRICKSON S.C. (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A preformed niche assembly comprising: a body constructed to be received in a stud cavity; a flange extending generally about a perimeter of the body and having a first surface and a second surface generally aligned with the first surface; and wherein the first surface is constructed to engage a stud and the second surface is constructed to engage a non-exposed surface of a wall covering.

2. The preformed niche assembly of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of holes formed in the flange.

3. The preformed niche assembly of claim 1 further comprising a groove formed between the flange and the body for guiding a cutter

4. The preformed niche assembly of claim 1 wherein the flange is offset from a front edge of the body a distance of approximately a thickness of a desired wall board.

5. The preformed niche assembly of claim 4 further comprising a lip formed at the front edge of the body and extending in a direction generally opposite a direction of the offset.

6. The preformed niche assembly of claim 1 wherein the body and flange are integrally formed of a plastic material.

7. A preformed wall cavity comprising: a back panel; a side panel extending generally perpendicular from the back panel; a rib extending generally perpendicular from the side panel; and a groove formed in the rib proximate the side panel and constructed to guide a cutter about the side panel.

8. The preformed wall cavity of claim 7 further comprising a mud lip extending from the side panel in a direction generally perpendicular to a direction of the rib from an edge of the side panel generally opposite the back panel.

9. The preformed wall cavity of claim 8 wherein the side panel and the mud lip has a length that is generally equally to the sum of a stud depth plus a thickness of one wall covering plus a joint compound thickness.

10. The preformed wall cavity of claim 7 formed of a plastic material.

11. The preformed wall cavity of claim 7 further comprising a plurality of nail holes formed in the rib for securing the wall cavity to a stud.

12. The preformed wall cavity of claim 7 having a width approximately equal to a distance between an outside surface of adjoining studs.

13. The preformed wall cavity of claim 7 wherein the rib has a generally S-shaped cross-section.

14. The preformed wall cavity of claim 7 wherein the rib has a portion that extends in a first direction from a stud face and the groove extends from the stud face in a second direction generally opposite the first direction.

15. A method of forming a niche comprising: forming a cavity constructed to be received in a stud space, the cavity being defined by an end panel and a upstanding side panel; extending a flange from the cavity for engaging studs positioned on generally opposite sides of the stud space; and offsetting the flange from a front edge of the upstanding side panel for engaging the stud and a backside of a wallboard.

16. The method of claim 15 further comprising forming a cutting guide in the flange and extending the cutting guide about the cavity.

17. The method of claim 15 further comprising forming the cavity and flange as a unitary assembly.

18. The method of claim 15 further comprising forming at least one hole in the flange for receiving a fastener to secure the flange to a stud.

19. The method of claim 15 further comprising forming a mud lip on the front edge of the upstanding side panel.

20. The method of claim 15 further comprising forming the niche to receive a drywall compound over an exposed face of the cavity and an exposed portion of the flange.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to preformed niche assemblies for installation into walls, and more specifically, to a preformed niche assembly that is constructed to be installed prior to installation of a wall covering material, such as drywall.

A niche is generally understood as a recess or a cavity formed within a wall surface. The niche is frequently used to provide an architectural detail to structures and/or provide storage or display recess within a wall surface. Conventionally, the formation of such niches was a time consuming and labor intensive process. Generally, a carpenter was required to rough frame a recess or cavity within a wall and a dry wailer or plasterer was required to finish the surfaces and corners of the niche assembly. Understandably, the appearance of many such niches relied on the skill and ability of the tradesman forming such niches. More recently, preformed niche assemblies have been provided which are configured to be inserted into a wall cavity after the wall covering is positioned thereon. Although such assemblies simplify the installation process, such configurations are not without their own drawbacks.

Commonly, such assemblies protrude beyond the wall surface and/or require the installation of complex trim assemblies in order to provide a finished appearance to the niche. Another complication of such systems is the ability to centrally locate such a niche within a wall cavity. That is, choosing a desired niche location that is not centrally disposed within a stud cavity, presents the potential of severing the wall covering material across a stud surface only to discover that the niche cannot be installed in such a location. Another consideration of such assemblies is the hidden potential of wiring and/or plumbing being contained within a desired wall cavity. The locations of such systems can generally only ascertainable by forming an opening in the wall covering and performing a visual inspection of the cavity therebehind. Only upon discovering such obstructions is it realized that the desired niche location is unusable or useable only at considerable cost associated with moving the obstructing wiring or plumbing systems. Accordingly, such systems, although simplifying the niche assembly, do not necessarily simplify the installation of the niche.

Accordingly, it is desired to provide a niche assembly which can conveniently and efficiently be installed in a wall cavity prior to installation of the wall covering, wall board, or dry wall.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a system and method of forming a niche that overcomes the aforementioned drawbacks. A preformed niche assembly according to one aspect of the invention includes a body that is constructed to be received in a stud cavity and a flange that extends about a perimeter of the body. The flange is offset from a front face of the cavity and is constructed to be disposed between a stud and a wall covering positioned over the stud. The niche includes a cutting guide constructed to guide cutting of the wall covering to expose the body. A mud lip is formed proximate the cutting guide and is constructed to assist in the uniform application and finishing of a finish compound such as drywall compound about the engagement between the wall covering and the niche.

Another aspect of the invention includes a preformed niche assembly having a body and a flange that extends from the body. The body is constructed to be received in a stud cavity. The flange extends generally about a perimeter of the body and has a first surface and a second surface wherein the second surface is generally aligned with the first surface. The first surface is constructed to engage a stud and the second surface is constructed to engage a non-exposed surface of a wall covering.

A further aspect of the invention discloses a preformed wall cavity having a back panel, a side panel, and a rib. The side panel extends generally perpendicular from the back panel and the rib extends generally perpendicular from the side panel. A groove is formed in the rib proximate the side panel and is constructed to guide a cutter about the side panel. Such a construction allows the preformed wall cavity to be easily installed prior to installation of a wall covering or drywall material.

Yet another aspect of the invention includes a method of forming a niche which includes the steps of forming a cavity constructed to be received in a stud space wherein the cavity is defined by an end panel and an upstanding side panel. The method further includes extending a flange from the cavity for engaging studs positioned on generally opposite sides of the stud space. The flange is offset from a front edge of the upstanding side panel for engaging the stud and a backside of a wallboard. Such a construction allows the niche to guide installation of drywall around the niche.

These and various other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will be made apparent from the following detailed description and the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings illustrate one preferred embodiment presently contemplated for carrying out the invention.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a niche assembly according to the present invention installed in a wall;

FIG. 2 is an elevational view of the niche assembly shown in FIG. 1 with a wall covering removed from the area about the niche assembly;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the niche assembly along line 2-2 shown in FIG. 2 with a wall covering positioned over the niche assembly and a cutting tool engaged with a guide of the niche;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the niche assembly similar to FIG. 3 with the wall covering engaged therewith; and

FIG. 5 is a detailed view of the finished installation of the niche assembly along line 5-5 indicated in FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 shows a preformed wall cavity or niche assembly 10 installed in a wall 12. Niche assembly 10 includes a body 14 having an end or back panel 16 and a side panel 18 that generally surrounds the back panel 16. Side panel 18 is constructed to extend generally perpendicular from back panel 16 and extends between an exposed wall surface 20 and back panel 16. Side panel 18 includes a bottom portion 22 that is oriented generally parallel to a floor 24. Side panel 18 includes an arcuate or curved surface 26 configured to provide a more aesthetically pleasing niche assembly. Understandably, niche assembly 10 could be constructed to provide any shaped recess within a wall cavity. Niche assembly 10 is constructed preferably of a plastic-type material and is constructed to be paintable and/or to receive a dry wall compound thereacross. Frequently, many people prefer a texture sprayed wall finish or a skip trowel type finish. Niche assembly 10 is constructed to accommodate any of a number of wall finishes including those listed above as well as simply painting of the niche.

As shown in FIG. 2, niche assembly 10 includes a flange 28 constructed to extend from side panel 18. Flange 28 includes a number of holes 30 constructed to allow passage of fasteners 32 therethrough. Fasteners 32 pass through flange 28 of niche assembly 10 and engage wall materials or studs 34. An optional horizontal brace 36 may extend between studs 34 and provides additional support for bottom portion 22 of niche assembly 10. As commonly understood, the distance between adjacent studs 34 is commonly referred to as a stud cavity 38 and back panel 16 and side panel 16 are configured to fit within stud cavity 38. Accordingly, back panel 16 and side panel 18 forms a cavity 40 that is constructed to be exposed when the wall surface is finished. A protrusion or mud lip 42 extends about side panel 18 and provides an edge for wall finishing as will be further described.

Flange 28 includes a cutting groove 44 that extends about cavity 40 of niche assembly 10. Preferably, flange 28 is constructed to provide a cutting guide associated with the installation of a wallboard or drywall about the niche assembly 10. It is appreciated that niche assembly 10 be configured to fit within any desired stud cavity 38 and have any desired shape and/or appearance.

As shown in FIG. 3, niche assembly 10 is constructed to be snuggly positioned within the stud cavity 38 associated with adjacent studs 34. Optional spacer blocks 46 may also be provided to prevent lateral translation of niche assembly 10 and ensure centered installation of niche assembly 10 in the selected stud cavity 38. Back panel 16 is constructed to be disposed against an unexposed surface 48 of a wall covering 50 associated with an opposite side 52 of wall 12. Flanges 28 extend from side panel 18 and include an S-shaped portion 54 constructed to provide an offset, as indicated by dimension 56, between a front edge 58 of side panel 18 and a stud face 60. Preferably, offset 56 is slightly larger than a thickness, indicated by dimension 62, of wall covering or dry wall 64. Understandably, offset 56 may be constructed to accommodate a number of thicknesses 62 associated with different wall covering materials.

During installation of dry wall 64, a cutter 66 is passed through dry wall 64 and cuts the dry wall to expose cavity 40 of niche assembly 10. Flange 28 is constructed to guide operation of cutter 66 about niche assembly 10 to allow for the efficient installation of drywall 64. Understandably, although cutter 66 is shown as a rotary cutting tool 68, other cutting tools, such as a dry wall knife, are envisioned and equally applicable to the present invention and operative with the guided cutting construction of niche assembly 10.

Referring to FIG. 4, after cutter 66 passes generally around a perimeter of the front edge 58 of niche assembly 10, that portion of dry wall 64 not overlapping niche assembly 10 is allowed to move past front edge 58 of niche assembly 10 toward flange 28 and stud face 60. A number of fasteners 70 secure dry wall 64 to stud 34 such that drywall 64 is secured to studs 34 generally about niche assembly 10. Exposed surface 72 of dry wall 64 is generally aligned with a land 74 of flange 28 and is offset slightly inward of mud lip 42.

As shown in FIG. 5, application of mud, plaster, or a dry wall compound 76 provides a finished appearance of the transition between dry wall 64 and niche assembly 10. Drywall compound 76 is introduced to groove 44 and feathered between mud lip 42 and an extending wall portion 80. Such an application provides a uniform transition between extending wall portion 80 and cavity 40 of niche assembly 10 and increases the engagement area of the drywall compound 76 with the interface between niche assembly 10 and extending wall portion 80. Such a configuration reduces the potential of the chipping, peeling, or cracking of compound 76 cause by inadvertent impacts therewith.

Installation of niche assembly 10 prior to installation of dry wall 64 prevents the installation of a niche assembly in a stud cavity that may otherwise be occupied with electrical and/or plumbing connections. Furthermore, flange 28 and mud lip 42 provide for simple and generally common finishing of the connection between the niche assembly 10 and dry wall 64. Furthermore, cutting guide 65 provides for efficient installation of the wall covering after the niche assembly 10 has been installed within a stud cavity. Accordingly, niche assembly 10 provides a niche that is relatively easy to install and finish about as well as inexpensive to manufacture.

Therefore, one embodiment of the present invention includes a preformed niche assembly having a body and a flange that extends from the body. The body is constructed to be received in a stud cavity. The flange extends generally about a perimeter of the body and has a first surface and a second surface that is generally aligned with the first surface. The first surface is constructed to engage a stud and the second surface is constructed to engage a non-exposed surface of a wall covering.

Another embodiment of the invention includes a preformed wall cavity having a back panel, a side panel, and a rib. The side panel extends generally perpendicular from the back panel and the rib extends generally perpendicular from the side panel. A groove is formed in the rib proximate the side panel and is constructed to guide a cutter about the side panel. Such a construction allows the preformed wall cavity to be easily installed prior to installation of a wall covering or drywall material.

A further embodiment of the invention includes a method of forming a niche, which includes the steps of forming a cavity constructed to be received in a stud space wherein the cavity is defined by an end panel and an upstanding side panel. The method further includes extending a flange from the cavity for engaging studs positioned on generally opposite sides of the stud space. The flange is offset from a front edge of the upstanding side panel for engaging the stud and a backside of a wallboard. Such a construction allows the niche to guide installation of drywall around the niche.

The present invention has been described in terms of the preferred embodiment, and it is recognized that equivalents, alternatives, and modifications, aside from those expressly stated, are possible and within the scope of the appending claims.