Title:
Spline installation systems
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A demountable surface covering system which includes an elongated spline member that secures construction material to the building framing. Attaching construction material to the building framing via the spline member eliminates damage to the panels, which in turn, permits immediate reuse of all components of the system after the system is uninstalled.



Inventors:
Bergman, Todd M. (Lititz, PA, US)
Miller, Ann M. (Columbia, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/157063
Publication Date:
12/18/2008
Filing Date:
06/06/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B2/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KWIECINSKI, RYAN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John M. Olivo (Lancaster, PA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A surface covering system for covering the framing of a building, the system comprising: a plurality of panels and a plurality of elongated spline members, the plurality of spline members secure the plurality of panels to the framing of the building and align the panels relative to one another panels, wherein the surface covering system is demountable.

2. The system of claim 1, comprising a decorative trim member which locks onto the spline member and which provides a visible joint between adjacent panels.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the panels are available for immediate reuse after the panels are demounted.

4. The system of claim 3, wherein the panels require no resurfacing prior to reuse.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/933,481, filed Jun. 6, 2007.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of building construction and more particularly to a system for use in forming joints in construction material.

Many interior spaces of homes and commercial buildings are finished by attaching construction material directly to the buildings framing members. The construction material, which is generally in the form of panels, is typically face mounted to the framing members, for example by nails or screws. In order to provide a continuous appearance to the surface covering, it is necessary to form joints at the edges of adjacent panels. Such joints include: butt joints where panels lie in the same plane and abut one another; and ninety degree corner joints. The prior art includes a variety of products for use in forming these joints.

Unfortunately, surface covering systems in which the construction material is face mounted are permanent in that some, if not all, of the components of the system upon being installed or uninstalled are either destroyed, or at the very least modified in a manner that they require at least some reconstitution before reuse. In other words, all components of the system are not easily demountable and immediately reusable. For example, construction material, such as drywall or fiberboard, is conventionally attached to wooden studs by passing a nail or screw through the cross section of the drywall and into the stud. This technique results in modification of the panel to the extent that it will require at least some reconstitution. There is also a strong possibility that the drywall panel will be completely destroyed, i.e. damaged to the point that it cannot be reused, as a result of the demounting procedure.

Therefore, what is desired is a surface covering system which utilizes construction material and an attachment and detachment system in which all components can be reused without the need to reconstitute one or more components.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is directed to a surface covering system which includes a plurality of panels and a plurality of elongated spline members which are secured to the underlying building structure and connect abutting edges of two panels. The system also includes a decorative trim which provides the visible joint between adjacent panels.

A key feature of the invention is that the system is demountable. More specifically, the elongated spline member secures the panels to the building structure using a screw-type fastener and eliminates the need to damage the panels in order to attach them to the underlying building structure. In conventional surface covering systems, such as drywall installation, the fastening hardware actually penetrates through the surface, as well as the cross section, of the panel. By contrast, the panels of the instant invention are: neither modified nor destroyed; more easily removed; and immediately reusable after the system is uninstalled.

These and other features of the present invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings that are briefly described as follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevated side view in partial cross section of a portion of an example embodiment of the system.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the concealed spline member shown in FIG. 1.

FIGS. 3a-e are top side views in partial cross section showing the progressive steps of installation of the surface covering system used as a surface covering for a wall.

FIG. 4 is a partial sectional view of an example embodiment of a corner spline system.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the concealed corner spline member shown in FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now in greater detail to the figures, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout the drawings.

The terms “demountable” and “demountable surface covering” as used herein includes, but is not limited to, surface coverings for ceiling, flooring and wall systems in which all of the components, and, in particular, the visible components, of the system are not modified during installation or tear down of the system and are available for immediate reuse. In other words, all of the components can be uninstalled and reused without the need for reconstitution prior to reuse.

For purposes of illustration, FIG. 1 is a top side view, in partial cross section, showing the system used as a surface covering for a wall. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the surface covering system 10 includes first and second panels, 12 and 14 respectively, made of construction material. Types of construction materials include wood, drywall, fiberboard and composites thereof. The system also includes an elongated spline member 16, also referred to herein as a spline connector, which attaches the panels to the building structure and registers and aligns the panels 12, 14 relative one another.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, the spline member 16 in described in greater detail. The spline member 16 can be fabricated from materials such as metal, plastic, wood and compressed cardboard. The spline member 16 includes a base 20 which includes an indexing groove 22 that extends along the longitudinal length of the spline member 16. The indexing groove 22 provides an area of preferred attachment of a screw-type fastener 24. The indexing groove 22 also provides relief for ease in penetrating a fastener 24 through the base 20.

The base 20 also includes at least one raised bump 26 which provides a bypass for the top, or head, of the screw 24 used to attach the spline connector 16 to the building structure 18. This bypass provides for a smooth transition between panels 12, 14 as the panels are permitted to rest on the raised bumps 26 instead of the screw heads which, upon manual insertion, can be angled and/or positioned at varying heights. Allowing the panels 12, 14 to rest on the screw heads often results in uneven, i.e. offset, alignment of the panels 12, 14 relative one another. For example, the misalignment of panels can provide a sawtooth appearance. Though the raised bumps 26 are of sufficient height to clear the thickness of the head of a screw, the bumps 26 still allow the panels 12, 14 to be attached to the spline member 16 without excessive interference form the bumps 26.

Extending integrally from the base 20 of the spline connector 16 are two transversely extending legs 30, 32 spaced from one another. The space between the two transverse legs 30, 32 provides a decorative trim member receiving cavity 34. Extending from the edge of transverse leg 30 in a direction toward transverse leg 32 is a return flange 36 which forms a portion of the keying mechanism for locking a decorative trim member 40 in the decorative trim member receiving cavity 34. Each leg 30, 32 has an arm, 35 and 37 respectively, extending integrally therefrom in a direction generally perpendicular to its respective leg. Each arm and leg, in combination with the base, forms a panel receiving cavity 39.

The system also includes a decorative trim member 40 which ultimately forms the visible joint between the panels 12, 14. The decorative trim member 40 includes a top portion 42 and a bottom portion 44. The top surface of the top portion 42 can include various designs to provide the joint between panels 12, 14 with varying visuals, such as the cupped visual shown throughout the drawings. The bottom portion 44 of the decorative trim member 40 includes a notch 46 which provides a locking groove for return flange 36.

FIGS. 3a-e are top side views in partial cross section showing the progressive steps of installation of the surface covering system used as a surface covering for a wall. In FIG. 3a, panel 12 is shown having an edge abutting an adjacent wall panel 50. The opposing edge of panel 12 has a slot into which arm 35 extending from leg 30 of a spline connector 16 is inserted. For purposes of indexing panels relative to one another, the spline connector 16 is slid until leg 30 is abutting the edge of the panel 12. Base 20 of spline connector 16 is permitted to slide in between panel 12 and the underlying building structure 18. As shown, the spline connector 16 is then attached to the building structure using a screw-type fastener 24 via the indexing groove 22.

As shown in FIGS. 3b and 3c, decorative trim member 40 is inserted into decorative trim member receiving cavity 34 in the direction indicated by Arrow A until it comes into contact with, i.e. bottoms out on, the spline connector. The decorative trim member 40 must be inserted in the cavity 34 such that notch 46 formed in the bottom portion 44 of the decorative trim member 40 faces leg 30 which has return flange 36 extending therefrom.

As shown in FIG. 3d, the decorative trim member 40 is slid in the direction of Arrow B, i.e. in the direction of panel 12, until the return flange 36 is in mating engagement with notch 46. Preferably, the components will be dimensioned so that the bottom portion 44 of the decorative trim abuts leg 30. As shown in FIG. 3e, panel 14 is then attached to spline connector 16 by sliding panel 14 in the direction of Arrow B. By abutting panel 14 with top portion 42 of decorative trim member 40, decorative trim member 40 will be locked in the trim member receiving cavity 34, i.e. trim member 40 will not be removable unless the system is progressively uninstalled using the steps set forth in reverse order.

Various other alternative materials, securing methods, profiles and configurations can be used without departing from the scope of the invention. Other changes in construction will occur to those skilled in the art and various apparently different modifications and embodiments may be made without departing from the scope of the invention. The matter set forth in the foregoing description and accompanying drawings is offered by way of illustration only. It is therefore intended that the foregoing description be regarded as illustrative rather than limiting.

For example, FIG. 4 is a partial sectional view of an example embodiment of a system for use in forming corner joints in construction material. The corner spline system 110 includes a corner spline member 116 having a crease 117 extending lengthwise down the center of the base 120 of the spline member from one end to the other (See also FIG. 5). Preferably, the base of the spline member is bent at a ninety degree angle about the crease. As described with respect to the base 20 of the spline connector 16, the base 120 of the corner spline 116 includes at least one raised bump 126 which provides a bypass for the top, or head, of the screw 124 used to attach the spline connector 116 to the building structure 118. As shown in the Figures, the corner spline member includes a barbed protrusion 130 which extends integrally from the base at the location of the crease. A decorative trim member 140 can be friction fit over the barbed protrusion to finish the joint, and, in turn, completely hide the corner spline member.