Title:
Fiber reinforced concrete stone panel system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of forming an exterior wall of a building, including the wall, includes the step of mounting a fiber-reinforced panel to the building. The panel has a plurality of masonry units protruding from the face thereof that are spaced from one another with a groove between each of the masonry units. The method includes mounting a second, similar panel to the building spaced from the first panel with a groove therebetween, and injecting mortar into the grooves between the masonry units and the groove between the panels. The mortar covers the grooves between masonry units and the groove between panels to look the same, thereby making it difficult to distinguish the repeat pattern.



Inventors:
Attebery, Harold C. (Granville, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/647679
Publication Date:
07/03/2008
Filing Date:
12/29/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/596, 52/477
International Classes:
E04B1/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
PAINTER, BRANON C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OWENS CORNING (GRANVILLE, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A method of forming an exterior wall of a habitable building having a substructure made of vertical support members, the method comprising: (a) mounting a first concrete panel to the substructure, the first panel having a plurality of adjacent masonry units protruding from the face thereof that are separated by a groove formed between each of said masonry units and the next adjacent masonry unit; (b) mounting a second concrete panel to the substructure, the second panel having a plurality of adjacent masonry units protruding from the face thereof that are separated by a groove formed between each of said masonry units and the next adjacent masonry unit, wherein at least one of the masonry units of the first panel is separated from at least one of the masonry units of the second panel by a groove; and (c) injecting mortar into the grooves between the masonry units on each panel and into the groove between said at least one of the masonry units of the first panel and said at least one of the masonry units of the second panel.

2. The method in accordance with claim 1, wherein the step of mounting the panels comprises inserting fasteners through the panels into the substructure.

3. The method in accordance with claim 2, wherein the step of inserting fasteners further comprises driving screws through the panels in the grooves between masonry units.

4. The method in accordance with claim 1, further comprising cutting a third panel to fit between the second panel and a building structure.

5. The method in accordance with claim 1, further comprising: (a) mounting a corner panel to the substructure, the corner panel having a plurality of masonry units protruding from the face thereof and separated by a groove formed between each of said masonry units and the next adjacent masonry unit, wherein at least one of the masonry units of the corner panel is separated from at least one of the masonry units of one of said panels by a groove; and (b) injecting mortar into the grooves between the masonry units on each panel and into the groove between said at least one of the masonry units of the corner panel and said at least one of the masonry units of said one of said panels.

6. The method in accordance with claim 5, further comprising mounting a masonry unit in a gap formed between two of said panels.

7. An exterior wall of a habitable building having a substructure made of vertical support members, the wall comprising: (a) a first concrete panel mounted to the substructure, the first panel having a plurality of adjacent masonry units protruding from the face thereof that are separated by a groove formed between each of said masonry units and the next adjacent masonry unit; (b) a second concrete panel mounted to the substructure, the second panel having a plurality of adjacent masonry units protruding from the face thereof that are separated by a groove formed between each of said masonry units and the next adjacent masonry unit, wherein at least one of the masonry units of the first panel is separated from at least one of the masonry units of the second panel by a groove; and (c) mortar in the grooves between the masonry units on each panel and in the groove between said at least one of the masonry units of the first panel and said at least one of the masonry units of the second panel.

8. The wall in accordance with claim 7, wherein each of the panels are fiber reinforced and the masonry units are an integral part of the respective panels.

9. The wall in accordance with claim 7, further comprising flashing extending from an upper edge of the second panel, and an overlapping lip that extends from a lower edge of the first panel over the flashing.

10. The wall in accordance with claim 7, further comprising flashing that extends from a left edge of the second panel, and an overlapping lip that extends from a right edge of the first panel over the flashing.

11. The wall in accordance with claim 9, further comprising fasteners extending through the panels into the substructure.

12. The wall in accordance with claim 11, wherein the fasteners further comprise screws extending through the flashing.

13. The wall in accordance with claim 9, further comprising a third panel mounted between the second panel and a building structure.

14. The wall in accordance with claim 9, further comprising: (a) a corner panel mounted to the substructure, the corner panel having a plurality of masonry units protruding from the face thereof and separated by a groove formed between each of said masonry units and the next adjacent masonry unit, wherein at least one of the masonry units of the corner panel is separated from at least one of the masonry units of one of said panels by a groove; and (b) mortar in the grooves between the masonry units on each panel and in the groove between said at least one of the masonry units of the corner panel and said at least one of the masonry units of said one of said panels.

15. The method in accordance with claim 14, further comprising a masonry unit mounted in a gap formed between two of said panels.

16. The wall in accordance with claim 15, further comprising a plurality of spacers extending from one of said panels to the other of said panels for limiting the size of the groove between said panels.

17. A wall panel for forming an exterior surface of a building, the wall panel comprising a fiber-reinforced concrete rear plate and a plurality of masonry units protruding from a face of the rear plate, each of said masonry units being spaced from the next adjacent masonry unit by a groove for receiving mortar, wherein shoulders are formed on the periphery of the panel adjacent each of said masonry units for forming a groove that can receive mortar when the wall panel is mounted to the building.

18. The wall panel in accordance with claim 17, further comprising a flashing formed on at least one edge of the rear plate for being received under a masonry unit of another wall panel.

19. The wall panel in accordance with claim 17, further comprising at least one rib formed on a major surface of the rear plate and protruding in a direction substantially opposite the masonry units for positioning the wall panel against the building.

20. The wall panel in accordance with claim 17, wherein the rear plate and the masonary units comprise a one-piece unitary structure.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to a wall on the exterior of a habitable building, and more particularly relates to a wall made of a panel of fiber reinforced concrete stones.

2. Description of the Related Art

Most habitable buildings are made of vertical support members, such as wood or metal studs or steel beams. The support members form a substructure to which sheets of sheathing material is attached. Typical sheathing includes plywood, oriented strand board (OSB) or some type of lightweight, insulating material, such as that sold under the trademark CELOTEX.

The conventional method of applying masonry units, such as stones, bricks and artificial stone, to the exterior surface of a building, such as a house, involves many steps. Once the sheathing is in place on the building, a tar-paper or other moisture-impermeable sheet is stapled or otherwise mounted to the exterior surface of the sheathing. The next step is the attachment of a screen or wire over the paper to the sheathing to which the mortar can attach. The screen is typically stapled or nailed to the sheathing. A common problem with attaching the screen to the sheathing is securely attaching the screen using enough fasteners to keep the screen in place. Once the screen is fastened, a mortar is troweled over the screen. When the mortar will form the base for a plurality of masonry units, such as stones, the mortar is rough so that the stones have a subsurface to which to attach. The stones are then attached to the wall in a pattern that gives the building a pleasing appearance and has sufficient structural integrity. Mortar is then injected in gaps between the stones.

The process of attaching paper, screen and mortar to the sheathing of a conventional building requires substantial skill. Any problems in constructing the underlying structure may not be apparent to the owner of the building until many years have passed and water has infiltrated the building or large amounts of stucco or stone have fallen off the building. Additionally, the process of selecting, cutting and attaching stones to a building's exterior is one that requires time and skill in mechanically cutting and aesthetically arranging the stones.

Therefore, the need exists for a method of forming an exterior of a building that requires less skill than the conventional method, and which is less susceptible to damage from lower skilled artisans.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is a method of forming an exterior wall of a habitable building having a substructure made of vertical support members. The method comprises mounting a first fiber-reinforced concrete panel to the substructure, such as by driving screws through the panel. The first panel has a plurality of adjacent masonry units protruding from the face thereof that are separated by a groove formed between each of the masonry units and the next adjacent masonry unit. The method includes the step of mounting a second fiber-reinforced concrete panel to the substructure, the second panel also having a plurality of adjacent masonry units protruding from the face thereof separated by a groove. At least one of the masonry units of the first panel is separated from at least one of the masonry units of the second panel by a groove. The method includes the step of injecting mortar into the grooves between the masonry units on each panel and into the groove between said at least one of the masonry units of the first panel and said at least one of the masonry units of the second panel. This provides a structural connection between the panels, and hides seams that are formed between panels.

The invention contemplates the use of a wall panel comprising a fiber-reinforced concrete rear plate and a plurality of fiber-reinforced concrete masonry units protruding from a face of the rear plate. Each of the masonry units is spaced from the next adjacent masonry unit by a groove for receiving mortar. Shoulders are formed on the periphery of the panel adjacent each of the masonry units for forming a groove that can receive mortar when the wall panel is mounted to the building. In a preferred embodiment, a flashing is formed on at least one edge of the rear plate for being received under a masonry unit of another wall panel. In a preferred embodiment, at least one rib is formed on a major surface of the rear plate and protruding in a direction substantially opposite the masonry units for positioning the wall panel against the building. The rib prevents rocking of the wall panel when it is aligned against the building.

The invention permits stone, brick, tile and other modular masonry units to be formed on individual panels before the panels are attached to a building. This may eliminate the need to attach tar paper and screen to the sheathing of the building, and removes much of the room for error in the installation process. Additionally, the finished product is mold-resistant, much stronger than walls made with conventional sheathing materials, and less costly to construct.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a view in perspective illustrating a preferred panel of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view illustrating the panel of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a end view illustrating the panel of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a schematic side view illustrating a panel of the present invention in an operable position on a building wall with masonry units attached to the wall.

FIG. 5 is a schematic view in perspective illustrating a panel according to the present invention having grooves on a second major surface thereof.

FIG. 7 is a front view illustrating an alternative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 is a top view illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 6.

FIG. 9 is a rear view illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 6.

FIG. 10 is an end view illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 6.

FIG. 11 is a front view illustrating an alternative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 12 is a top view illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 is a rear view illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 11.

FIG. 14 is an end view illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 11.

FIG. 15 is a front view illustrating an alternative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 16 is a side view illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 15.

FIG. 17 is a rear view illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 15.

FIG. 18 is a top view illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 15.

In describing the preferred embodiment of the invention which is illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology will be resorted to for the sake of clarity. However, it is not intended that the invention be limited to the specific term so selected and it is to be understood that each specific term includes all technical equivalents which operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose. For example, the word connected or term similar thereto are often used. They are not limited to direct connection, but include connection through other elements where such connection is recognized as being equivalent by those skilled in the art.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The panel 10 in FIG. 1 is preferably a single body with one or more masonry units, such as simulated stones 13, 14, 15 and 16 protruding from a rear plate 17. A “masonry unit” is defined herein to be any module that is commonly used to form a weather-resistant surface on a building exterior, and is typically attached by adhesive or mortar with other similar modules, which are then typically grouted in place by injecting mortar between the modules. For the sake of this description, “injecting” includes any manner of placing the mortar into the joints, such as with a grout bag, trowel, or other known manner. The stones 13-16 are not the only size or shape of masonry unit possible on the invention, but are merely exemplary of a common masonry unit: the stone. Other masonry units can be formed on the face of a panel, including bricks and tiles, and other shapes, sizes and colors of stones are contemplated than those shown. Any masonry unit that is commonly mounted to the exterior of a building spaced from other similar units with a grouting material placed between the units is contemplated for the invention.

The stones 13-16 are preferably integral with the rear plate 17 (see FIG. 3) that extends from the flashing 12 at the top (in the orientation shown in FIG. 1), along the back of the stones 13-16 to a lower shoulder 18 shown in FIG. 2 and from the flashing 11 at the left end in the orientation shown in FIG. 1 to the rightward edge 19 (see FIG. 2). The rear plate 17 has the flashings 11 and 12, which are used to mount the panel 10, and prevent precipitation, objects or other moisture from penetrating the wall before mortar is injected between the stones 13-16 as described in more detail below.

The panel 10 is preferably formed from glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC), but can be made of other fiber-reinforced cementitious materials, or may be made from unreinforced concrete, or a combination of a reinforced plate 17 and unreinforced stones 13-16. When the panel 10 is formed, preferably by pouring or spraying uncured concrete into a mold, the stones 13-16 are preferably formed at the same time as, and integrally with, the rear plate 17. Thus, no adhesive or mortar is needed to connect the stones 13-16 to the rear plate 17, because the entire unit is one piece. Alternatively, the process could involve a first pour for the stones and a second pour for the backer, which may be a different or the same material; or the backer could comprise a separate piece. The concrete may be colored before molding, or colored afterward.

The preferred panel 10 is preferably made of about 1-2 weight percent water reducer, about 1 percent plasticizer, about 25 percent alkali-resistant chopped glass fibers (different sizes and shapes) with the balance being half portland cement and half lightweight sand. These materials are mixed together, sprayed into a mold and cured to form a sheet. Of course, the panel 10 can be formed by pouring or injecting into a mold, and using other processes.

The panel 10 can be a standard size for construction sheathing, such as four feet wide by eight feet long, or it can be in smaller sizes to reduce weight so that two average men can lift and install the panel 10. The thickness can vary between about one inch and several inches, such as a eight inches, ten inches or even twelve inches thick. The dimensions of the panel are not limited other than by the ability of the end user to install it. Thus, if two men are going to install the panels, the dimensions will be different than if a crane is going to be used.

Of course, other materials can be used to make the panel. Additionally, panels of other sizes can be made, as will be recognized by the person having ordinary skill in the art. For example, a panel could be made that is the length and width of the entire side of the building. Panels can be manufactured that have window openings already formed in the appropriate areas. Still further, panels can be made that extend around corners of the building to avoid seams at building corners.

The panel 10 is mounted to the substructure of a building, such as a home, office, commercial building, outbuilding, condominium or any other building that is habitable, and forms the exterior sides of the building. The substructure of the typical building is made of wooden or steel stud walls, such as those referred to as “two-by-fours”, vertically oriented to support the floor above. However, the substructure in some buildings is made of large wooden, steel or other posts or beams at corners only. The present invention can be used with any such substructure to which it can be mounted.

The panel is attached to the substructure by fasteners, such as nails, screws, staples or any other fasteners driven through the panel into the studs of the substructure, or alternatively may be adhered thereto. The nails mount the panel to the substructure in a manner similar to a sheet of a material conventionally used as a sheathing, such as OSB or plywood, is mounted to a substructure in a conventional building. The panel 10 is rigidly mounted to the studs to provide the same or better sheathing as conventional sheathing materials. The panel 10 can be used in combination with conventional sheathing, or as a substitute for conventional sheathing and may provide structural reinforcement for the wall.

The fasteners are driven through the rear plate 17 on the flashing 11 and 12 and into the substructure of the building, such as the studs or sheathing that lies behind the panel 10. The fasteners can also be driven through the gaps 100 and 103 between the stones 13-16. The rear plate 17 is preferably parallel to the plane formed by the exterior walls of the building. The invention can also be mounted on a floor or roof of a building, for example, if the product has tile-shaped masonry units or other structures suitable for such an environment. In this configuration, the rear plate is parallel to the plane of the structure to which the panel is mounted. It may also be desirable to seal between the panels in such applications to make a more waterproof system.

Once the panel 10 is mounted in place, another similar panel 20 is mounted adjacent the panel 10 as shown in FIG. 4. The panel 20 has simulated stones 24 and 26 that form an overlapping lip that extends over the flashing 11 of the panel 10. This overlapping lip provides a weather-resistant joint between the panels 10 and 20 due to water's tendency to flow downwardly, thereby preventing water from flowing upwardly into the joint.

When the stones 24 and 26 overlap the flashing 11, grooves are formed between the stones 24 and 13 and the stones 26 and 15. The grooves simulate the grooves formed between conventional stones mounted to a wall, as are the grooves 100, 101, 102 and 103 (see FIG. 1) formed between the stones 13-16. These grooves will be filled with mortar, as discussed below. The rear plate 17 forms a floor in the grooves so that mortar injected therein will not simply pour out the rear of the panel 10.

After the panels 10 and 20 are mounted to the building, the panel 30 is mounted to the building with its stones 33-36 aligned with the stones of the panel 20 in an aesthetically pleasing manner. The panel 30 is fastened to the building using fasteners, and grooves are formed between the stones of the panel 30 and the stones of the panel 20. The stones 35 and 36 overlap the upwardly facing flashing of the panel 20, thereby providing another weather-resistant seal prior to mortar being injected in the groove. With the invention, a wall can be constructed when the weather is very cold, because the panels are cured concrete. Subsequently, when the weather is warm enough, mortar can be injected between the masonry units. Between installation of panels and the injection of mortar, the wall is still weather-resistant enough, by virtue of its water-shedding structures, to be unconcerned about substantial weather-related problems.

It is preferred that a sufficient number of panels be attached to the wall of the building to substantially cover the portion of the building that is desired to be covered by the masonry units on the panels. Once this is accomplished, a grout material is disposed, preferably by injecting, in every groove between every masonry unit. This grouting of the stones in the panels accomplishes many purposes. First, grout completely prevents rain, snow, air, insects and other outdoor matter from penetrating the panel. Second, grout may provide some mechanical support between the panels. Third, grout hides all grooves and panel seams in such a way that it is virtually impossible to determine whether the wall formed by the panels was installed as panels with multiple, integral stones, or one stone at a time in a conventional manner. This is because the same grout is injected in the grooves between masonry units on the same panel as is injected into the grooves between stones on separate panels. Thus, the grout between each stone within a panel is the same as the grout between each stone on different panels, and once the grout is in place the seams between panels are not visible. Thus, one cannot distinguish between panels, which would not be the case with pre-grouted panels.

In the preferred embodiment, the panels are installed from right to left and from bottom to top, which is determined by the positioning of the flashing on the top and left edges. The textures and surfaces of stones are of standard artificial stone. Alternatively, the panels could be installed from top to bottom and/or left to right, especially if the panels are reconfigured for such installation, but the first technique is preferred for the panels shown in the Figures.

Each panel preferably has spacers formed on edges, such as the edges with the flashing, to space each panel's stones from the adjacent panel's stones and thereby maintain a constant gap for the mortar. Referring to FIG. 5, the panel 40 has spacers 42 and 44 extending from its upper edge, which is the same edge with the flashing over which the stones of a subsequently-installed panel will overlap. Other spacers can be formed on other edges. The spacers 42 and 44 extend to about the preferred width of the grooves between panels, such as one inch, and extend from the rear plate less than the depth of the grout that will fill the grooves, such as three-eighths of an inch. Thus, the spacers will not be visible once the grout is in place.

An alternative to the stone-shaped masonry units as on the FIG. 1 embodiment is the brick-shaped masonry units on the embodiments shown in FIGS. 6-10. The wall panel 50 has a rear plate 51 to which masonry units, such as the bricks 53 and 54 that are integral with the rear plate 51 as in the FIG. 1 embodiment. Flashings 55 and 56 are formed at the periphery of the rear plate 51. When viewed in FIG. 9, it can be seen that the rear plate 51 does not extend behind all of the masonry units, but forms a rib 58 on the rear of the wall panel 50. The rib 58 provides a void 59 that is defined by the backs of the masonry units and the edge of the rib 58. The rib 58 is the mounting surface that ensures that the wall panel 50 forms a substantially parallel relationship between the faces of the masonry units and the wall to which the wall panel 50 is attached. The void 59 permits the masonry units to overlap the flashing of an adjacent wall unit, and therefore the void is slightly deeper than the thickness of the flashing of an adjacent wall panel. Of course, the depths could be the same, but a slight difference permits some tolerances. Thus, after the wall panel 50 is mounted to a wall, a second, similar wall panel is mounted to the wall with its lower masonry units overlapping the flashing 55.

By having the rib 58 and the cooperating void 59, the panel 50 can be cut along its length at any point and still rest with stability against the wall. Additionally, the panel 50 will also still overlap another panel's flange.

An alternative wall panel 60 is shown in FIGS. 11-14. The ribs 65, 66 and 67, and corresponding voids 62, 63 and 64, all shown in FIG. 13, permit cutting of the panel 60 at any point along the panel's length. Additionally, because there are multiple ribs and voids, the panel 60 can be cut through any of the voids, and will still overlap the flashing of an adjacent panel. Thus, the use of multiple ribs and voids provides the advantage of flexibility in fitting the wall panel to a particular building.

Cornerpieces can be made to fit over corners of buildings to reduce the infiltration at the weak area of a building. A cornerpiece 80 is shown in FIGS. 15-18. The cornerpiece 80 has a plate 81 from which masonry units protrude. However, the plate 81 is formed at an angle, preferably 90 degrees, to conform to the corner of a conventional building. Of course, other angles are possible.

The corners having flashing 82 and 83 that the masonry units at the end of an adjacent wall panel overlap. Masonry units 85 and 86 (see FIG. 15) overlap the flashing of an adjacent wall panel. Thus, the cornerpieces have similar cooperating features to the wall panels, and thereby cooperate with the wall panels.

The masonry units in each wall panel and the cornerpieces are arranged so that they can be cut at any point and they will match up with (by either over or under lapping) the next panel.

The panels have flashing at one end and at the top, which is preferably about one-half inches thick. The panels also have masonry units at the opposite end and at the bottom having a rear relief, so that the overlapping masonry units extend over the flashing when two panels are mounted adjacent one another. This provides a water shedding feature while the building is under construction.

While certain preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed in detail, it is to be understood that various modifications may be adopted without departing from the spirit of the invention or scope of the following claims.