Title:
Tiling Apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tile having a front face for displaying and an underside for securing to a tile support surface, the underside having a closed path seal wall extending backwards. The seal wall is configured to provide a seal between the tile and a tile support surface to prevent substance ingress interior of the closed path of the seal wall. A tile having a seal wall also configured to provide a seal between the tile and a second like tile. A tile having an underside that presents a tile coupling configured to communicate with a tile support coupling to provide a first releasable coupling arrangement. A tile support board having a rear face for securing to a support surface and a front face providing a tile support surface and presenting a tile support coupling, such that the tile may be releasably coupled to the tile support board.



Inventors:
Rippin, Daniel John (Long Eaton, GB)
Henderson, Mark (Shepshed, GB)
Application Number:
11/944782
Publication Date:
05/28/2009
Filing Date:
11/26/2007
Assignee:
RHR SOLUTIONS LIMITED (Sheffield, GB)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F21/00; E04F13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KATCHEVES, BASIL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RICHARD M. GOLDBERG (HACKENSACK, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. Tiling apparatus comprising: a tile support board having a rear face for securing to a support surface and a front face providing a tile support surface, and a tile having a front face for displaying and an underside for securing to a tile support surface, the underside of said tile having a closed path seal wall extending backwards and configured to prevent substance ingress interior of the closed path of the seal wall; wherein: the underside of said tile has a peripheral groove having opposing inside walls and a base wall and said seal wall has a first profile along an inside wall of said peripheral groove; the front face of said tile support board has a plurality of projections having an outer surface having a second profile, and said first profile and said second profile are arranged to releasably couple with a positive mechanical fit.

2. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the seal wall is configured to provide a seal between the tile and a second like tile.

3. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the tile has: a rectangular shape with four edges only, and a thickness provided by a perimeter side wall extending backwards from the front face; the seal wall extends along the underside of the tile interior of the perimeter side wall from a first edge of the tile around a first corner to a second different edge of the tile, adjacent the first edge, to provide a first pair of adjacent edges of the tile with a seal underhang providing a tile overhang, and the seal wall widens from the underside of the tile to the exterior of the perimeter side wall and extends from a third different edge of the tile, adjacent the second edge, around a second corner to a fourth different edge of the tile, adjacent the first edge, to provide a second different pair of adjacent edges of the tile with a seal overhang, whereby one corner of the tile has a full seal underhang and the diagonally opposite corner of the tile has a full seal overhang.

4. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 3, wherein the seal overhang of the second pair of adjacent edges extends upwards along the exterior of the perimeter side wall to a depth that is greater than the mathematical result of subtracting the depth of the tile overhang along the first pair of adjacent edges from the overall depth of the tile, and the seal overhang is compressible.

5. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the seal wall is fabricated from a first material, the projections of the tile support board are fabricated from a second material, and one of the first material and second material is more flexible than the other of the first material and second material.

6. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the front face of the tile support board has a cell wall extending forwards and interior of which is a recessed cell, and the tile is arranged to be coupled to the tile support board such that the seal wall of the tile encircles the cell wall of the tile support board.

7. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 6, wherein the front face of the tile support board has a plurality of cell walls extending forwards and interior of which is a recessed cell, such that the tile support board has a plurality of cells, and the tile has a recessed tile sector interior of the peripheral groove, defining an inner peripheral groove wall that has discontinuities located to accommodate pairs of opposed corners of cell walls such that the tile is arranged to be coupled to the tile support board such that the seal wall of the tile encircles a plurality of cells of the tile support board.

8. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein a projection of the tile support board forms part of a cell wall.

9. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 6, wherein the cell is configured to receive an insert component.

10. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the tile has a recessed tile sector interior of the seal wall.

11. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the seal wall is fabricated from a first plastic material, the rest of the tile is fabricated from a second plastic material, and the first plastic material is more compliant than the second plastic material.

12. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 11, wherein both the first material and the second material is a fire-resistant plastic.

13. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 11, wherein both the first material and the second material is a waterproof material.

14. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the rear face of the tile support board has a matrix of connection channels that extend between the edges of the tile support board.

15. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 14, wherein the tile support board has connection lugs that extend from an edge thereof and that are dimensioned to connect into the connection channels.

16. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 15, wherein the connection lugs are configured to be manually removed from the tile support board.

17. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 15, further comprising an edging strip having connection lugs that are dimensioned to connect into the connection channels of the tile support board.

18. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the tile is provided with an attachment member, by means of which an accessory may be connected to the tile.

19. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the tile is manufactured by a two stage moulding process.

20. Tiling apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the rear face of the tile support board is continuous.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to tiling apparatus, in particular to tiling apparatus comprising a tile having a seal wall, a tile support board, and coupling means to releasably couple the tile to the tile support board.

2. Description of the Related Art

A first method of tiling a surface, such as an interior wall, involves ensuring the surface to be tiled is suitably clean and flat. A starting point on the surface is then selected and tiles adhered to the surface in a pattern radial from the starting point. Tiles are aligned in a spaced apart arrangement providing gaps between neighbouring tiles into which grout, sealant or other filler is applied. A variety of different tools or aids may be utilised, for example a tile cutter may be used to trim tiles when accommodating obstructions or tiling around recesses, and tile spacers may be used to ensure uniform grouting gaps. This method requires a degree of skill to produce an array of tiles that is securely bonded and aesthetically pleasing.

A tiling system is disclosed in United Kingdom Patent No. GB 2 368 855. The tiling system comprises a support matrix and tiles that are removably locatable on the matrix. The support matrix defines an array of aperture and tiles are secured to the matrix by means of projections configured to engage with the apertures. A tile removal tool may be provided.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a Tiling apparatus comprising: a tile support board having a rear face for securing to a support surface and a front face providing a tile support surface, and a tile having a front face for displaying and an underside for securing to a tile support surface, the underside of said tile having a closed path seal wall extending backwards and configured to prevent substance ingress interior of the closed path of the seal wall; wherein: the underside of said tile has a peripheral groove having opposing inside walls and a base wall and said seal wall has a first profile along an inside wall of said peripheral groove; the front face of said tile support board has a plurality of projections having an outer surface having a second profile, and said first profile and said second profile are arranged to releasably couple with a positive mechanical fit.

In a preferred embodiment, the seal wall is configured to provide a seal between the tile and a second like tile.

In a preferred embodiment the tile has: a rectangular shape with four edges only, and a thickness provided by a perimeter side wall extending backwards from the front face; the seal wall extends along the underside of the tile interior of the perimeter side wall from a first edge of the tile around a first corner to a second different edge of the tile, adjacent the first edge, to provide a first pair of adjacent edges of the tile with a seal underhang providing a tile overhang, and the seal wall widens from the underside of the tile to the exterior of the perimeter side wall and extends from a third different edge of the tile, adjacent the second edge, around a second corner to a fourth different edge of the tile, adjacent the first edge, to provide a second different pair of adjacent edges of the tile with a seal overhang, whereby one corner of the tile has a full seal underhang and the diagonally opposite corner of the tile has a full seal overhang. Preferably, the seal overhang of the second pair of adjacent edges extends upwards along the exterior of the perimeter side wall to a depth that is greater than the mathematical result of subtracting the depth of the tile overhang along the first pair of adjacent edges from the overall depth of the tile, and the seal overhang is compressible.

In a preferred embodiment, the seal wall is fabricated from a first material, the projections of the tile support board are fabricated from a second material, and one of the first material and second material is more flexible than the other of the first material and second material.

In a preferred embodiment, the front face of the tile support board has a cell wall extending forwards and interior of which is a recessed cell, and the tile is arranged to be coupled to the tile support board such that the seal wall of the tile encircles the cell wall of the tile support board. Preferably, the front face of the tile support board has a plurality of cell walls extending forwards and interior of which is a recessed cell, such that the tile support board has a plurality of cells, and the tile has a recessed tile sector interior of the peripheral groove, defining an inner peripheral groove wall that has discontinuities located to accommodate pairs of opposed corners of cell walls such that the tile is arranged to be coupled to the tile support board such that the seal wall of the tile encircles a plurality of cells of the tile support board.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a wall having a pattern of tiles adhered thereto;

FIG. 2 shows a tile having a seal wall extending from the underside of the tile;

FIGS. 3A and 3B show features of the tile of FIG. 2 in further detail;

FIG. 4 shows a tile and a tile support board to which the tile is arranged to be releasably coupled;

FIGS. 5A, 5B and 5C show features of the tile of FIG. 4 in further detail;

FIGS. 6A and 6B show features of the tile support board of FIG. 4 in further detail;

FIGS. 7A, 7B, 7C and 7D illustrate the operation of the releasable coupling arrangement of the tile and tile support board of FIG. 4;

FIG. 8 shows a perspective view of the tile of FIG. 4 coupled to the tile support board of FIG. 4;

FIG. 9 shows features of the tile support board of FIG. 4 in further detail;

FIG. 10 shows a plurality of like tile support boards connected together to form a larger tile support board;

FIG. 11 shows a plurality of tiles coupled to the tile support board of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 illustrates a seal between neighbouring tiles of the arrangement shown in FIG. 11;

FIGS. 13A and 13B show the tile support board of FIG. 4 and an edging strip;

FIGS. 14A and 14B illustrate an accessory tile and accessory removably connectable to the accessory tile;

FIG. 15 shows the interior of a kitchen.

WRITTEN DESCRIPTION OF THE BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

FIG. 1

A tiled wall is shown in FIG. 1. Tiles, such as tile 101, are arranged in a regular pattern upon wall 102. A number of the tiles are to be removed, by a building operative 103, and replaced with a new tile, such as tile 104.

In accordance with conventional practice, the tiles to be removed were previously adhered directly to the wall 102. Removing one of these tiles involves comprising the tile away from the wall, typically using a tool, until the adhesive bond between the tile and wall breaks. This action may undesirably damage the tile being removed and/or neighbouring tiles. Often, following removal of a tile, a rough patch of cured adhesive is left behind that needs to be leveled off before a replacement tile or other finish can be provided in that area. The condition of the wall may also have been adversely affected by factors such as the ambient humidity and temperature, and impact damage sustained by the tiled wall.

Thus, stripping a wall of tiles and preparing the wall for different decoration can be an untidy and drawn-out task.

In addition, when applying the tiles onto a substrate surface, attention is often given to achieving an aesthetically pleasing finish. For example, strict adherence to a particular design of a pattern of different tiles may be sought or neatness of placement may be desired. Tiles may be aligned with an edge or guide, and orienting tiles with respect to the edge of a wall corner or another tile for example, may involve corrective adjustment of individual tiles when first applied to the base surface. This aspect of tiling is often a tiresome hindrance to efficient completion.

FIG. 2

A tile is shown in FIG. 2. Tile 201 has a front face 202 for displaying and an underside 203 for securing to a tile support surface. The underside 203 of the tile 201 has a closed path seal wall 204 extending backwards and having an outer side wall 205. The seal wall 204 forms a loop surrounding an internal zone of the underside 203 of the tile 201. The seal wall 204 is configured to provide a seal between the tile 201 and a tile support surface, to prevent substance ingress interior of the outer side wall 205 of the seal wall 204. Thus, the seal wall of the tile serves to inhibit substance ingress interior of the closed path of the seal wall.

The tile 201 has a thickness provided by a perimeter side wall 206 extending backwards from the front face 202.

Tile 201 has a rectangular shape, a square shape, with four edges 207, 208, 209, 210 only.

In plan view of the front face 202 of the tile 201, it looks as though seal wall 204 has the same perimeter shape and dimensions as the front face 202 of the tile 201, but that the relative positions of each are offset The seal wall 204 is positioned relative to the front face 202 of the tile 201 such that in plan view of the front face 202 of the tile 201, there is a tile underhang and a tile overhang relative to the seal wall 204. In plan view of the underside 203 of the tile 201, the tile underhang is seen as a seal overhang relative to the tile, and the tile overhang is seen as a seal underhang relative to the tile.

The terms “overhang” and “underhang” are used as though describing a layer of wares loaded on a pallet. Ideally, the load is flush with the edges of the pallet. The term “overhang” is used where the load protrudes over an edge of the pallet and the term “underhang” is where the load does not extend to an edge of the pallet.

The seal wall 204 extends along the underside 203 of the tile 201, interior of the perimeter side wall 206, from a first edge 207 of the tile 201 around a first corner 211 to a second different edge of the tile 208 adjacent the first edge 207. This provides a first pair of adjacent edges of the tile 201 with a seal underhang, or when viewed from the other side a tile overhang. This will be described in further detail with reference to FIGS. 3A, 3B, 5A-5C and 12.

The seal wall 204 widens from the underside 203 of the tile 201 to the exterior of the perimeter side wall 206 and extends from a third different edge 209 of the tile 201, adjacent the second edge 208, around a second corner 212 to a fourth different edge 210 of the tile 201, adjacent the first edge 207. This provides a second different pair of adjacent edges of the tile 201 with a seal overhang, or when viewed from the other side a tile underhang. This will also be described in further detail with reference to FIGS. 3A, 3B, 5A-5C and 12.

The seal wall 204 may be considered to provide a first corner 211 of tile 201 with a full, or complete, seal underhang, and to provide a second corner 212 of tile 201, diagonally opposite the first corner 211, with a full, or complete, seal overhang. The other diagonally opposite corners 213, 214 may be considered to have a partial, or incomplete, seal overhang.

In an alternative arrangement, the length dimension of the seal overhang and the length dimension of the seal underhang of a tile are equal.

It is to be appreciated that the front face of a tile may have a decorative profile, texture and/or graphic decoration. The front face of a tile may have one or more recesses into which a functional or decorative component, for example a ceramic or glass decorative tile, may be secured. The additional component may be secured to the tile by means of adhesive or a mechanical fixing.

FIGS. 3A and 3B

A perspective view of tile 201 is shown in FIG. 3A. First edge 209, corner 214, fourth edge 210 and the seal wall 204 are shown in further detail.

It can be seen that the perimeter side wall 206 of the tile extends backwards from the front face 202 to provide a thickness to the tile 201. The perimeter side wall 206 is also shaped to provide a seal support wall 301. The seal support wall 301 extends backwards from a position interior of the edges of the front face 202 of the tile 201.

The seal wall 204 extends along the underside of the seal support wall 301. In this example, the length of the seal wall 204 that provides the seal underhang 302 extends along the seal support wall 301 with the seal wall flush with the perimeter side wall 206 and with a uniform depth.

At the turn of corner 214 to fourth edge 210, the seal wall 204 extends upwards along the exterior of the perimeter side wall 206. In this example, the seal overhang 303 has a uniform width and depth.

A perspective view of tile 201 is shown in FIG. 3B. First edge 209, corner 214 and fourth edge 210 and the seal wall 204 are shown in further detail. It can be seen that the seal underhang 302 provides a tile overhang 304. The tile 201 also has an overall depth 305. In this example, the overall depth comprises the thickness 306 of the tile 201, a depth 307 of the perimeter side wall 206 and a depth 308 of the seal wall 204.

According to tile 201, the length of the seal wall 204 providing the seal overhang 303 extends upwards of the perimeter side wall 206 to overlap the thickness 306 of the tile 201. This feature will be described in further detail with reference to FIG. 12.

As previously mentioned the seal wall 204 of the tile 201 is configured to provide a seal between the tile 201 and a tile support surface to prevent substance ingress interior of the closed path of the seal wall. The seal overhang and seal underhang of tile 201 also provides for a seal between neighbouring like tiles 201 to be formed. Two such tiles are locatable relative to each other such that the seal overhang of a first of the tiles extends under the tile overhang of the second of the tiles to abut against the seal underhang of the second of the tiles to form a seal between the first tile and the second tile. In this example, the seal underhang extends under, and in contact with, the tile overhang.

Thus, the tiles are individual components of a modular tiling system.

Tile 201 may be secured directly to a base support surface, such as a wall. Such an application would accommodate a tile having a seal wall that takes the shape of a slab, or of a picture frame. The feature to be achieved is that the seal wall encloses an internal zone of the underneath of the tile. The seal wall functions to provide a barrier against substance ingress, in particular, liquid ingress into the enclosed area of the underside of the tile.

Alternatively, a tile may be secured to an intermediate surface, such as a tile support board, which is secured directly to a base support surface, such as a wall.

FIG. 4

FIG. 4 shows a cross-section view of a tile 401, having a front face 402 for displaying and an underside 403 for securing to a tile support surface. The underside of the tile 401 presents tile coupling means, and the tile coupling means are configured to communicate with tile support coupling means to provide a first releasable coupling arrangement.

FIG. 4 also shows a cross-section view of a tile support board 404, which has a rear face 405 for securing to a support surface and a front face 406 providing a tile support surface. The rear face 405 of tile support board 404 is continuous to prevent substance ingress from the rear face 405 into the tile support board 404, and vice versa.

The front face 406 of the tile support board 404 presents tile support coupling means, and the tile support coupling means are configured to communicate with tile coupling means to provide a first releasable coupling arrangement.

Thus, tile 401 is arranged to be releasably coupled to the tile support board 404. The first coupling arrangement provides for a tile to be connected to the tile support board, disconnected and reconnected to the tile support board if desired. A tile may be disengaged from the tile support board and be relocated elsewhere on the tile support board. A tile may be removed from the tile support board and may be replaced by a different tile. This arrangement allows for different patterns and arrays of tiles to be displayed on the tile support board. For example, the effect of a brick wall may be achieved.

The underside of tile 401 is also provided with a seal wall 407 arranged to provide a seal underhang, providing a tile overhang, as indicated at 408, and arranged to provide a seal overhang, as indicated at 409.

In the example shown in FIG. 4, tile 401 presents a connection recess 410 and the tile support board 404 presents a connection projection 411. The connection projection 411 of the tile support board is configured to be received within the connection recess 410 of tile 404, to releasably couple the tile 401 to the tile support board 404 with a positive mechanical fit an interference or friction fit. A positive mechanical fit may provide tactile feedback to a user to indicate entry into and exit from the engaged arrangement, and provides an initial resistance functions to prevent undesired release of a tile from a tile support board.

FIGS. 5A, 5B and 5C

Tile 401 is shown in further detail in FIGS. 5A, 5B and 5C.

FIG. 5A shows the underside 403 of the tile 401 in further detail. The underside 403 of the tile 401 has a peripheral groove 501 having an inside outer wall 502, an inside inner wall 503 opposing the inside outer wall 502, and a base wall 504.

It can be seen that the seal wall 407 takes the form of a frame. The tile 401 has a recessed tile sector 505 interior of the peripheral groove, defining an inner peripheral groove wall 506 that has discontinuities, such as those indicated at 507. This feature will be described in further detail with reference to FIGS. 7A-7D.

The peripheral groove 501 of tile 401 is shown in further detail in FIG. 5B, which illustrates a part of the tile 401 having a seal underhang. It can be seen that the seal wall 407 has a first profile along an inside wall of the peripheral groove 501.

According to the construction of tile 401, the seal wall 407 is fabricated from a different material to the rest of the tile 401. Tile 401 defines a first outer seal support wall 508, providing the inside outer wall 502, and a second inner seal support wall 509, providing the inside inner wall 503 and the inner peripheral groove wall 506. In an alternative arrangement, the seal support walls 508, 509 are integrated with the seal wall 407. According to the construction of tile 401, the seal wall is fabricated from a first plastic material and the rest of the tile is fabricated from a second plastic material. Preferably, and in this example, both the first material and the second material are waterproof and fireproof. ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) fireproof plastic may be used. The first material may also be more compliant than the second material. The seal wall is preferably fabricated from a rubber or other elastomeric material.

As shown in FIG. 5B, the seal wall 407 extends along the bottom of the first outer seal support wall 508, upwards inside along the inside outer wall 502 and onto the base wall 504. According to this example, the seal wall 407 continues downwards along the inside inner wall 503 and extends along the bottom of the second inner seal support wall 509. In an alternative arrangement, this feature is omitted such that the seal wall 407 extends along the bottom of the first outer seal support wall 508 only.

According to the construction of tile 401, there is a discontinuity in the seal wall 407, dividing the seal on the base wall 504 of the peripheral groove 501. In an alternative arrangement, the seal wall 407 extends continuously from the inside outer wall 502 along the base wall 504 onto the inside inner wall 503 of the peripheral groove 501.

According to the construction of tile 401, the seal wall 407 has a first profile along the inside outer wall 502 of the peripheral groove 501. In this example, the first profile has a substantially “P” shaped cross-section however, an alternative shape may be utilised. The peripheral groove 501 of tile 401 is also shown in further detail in FIG. 5C, which illustrates a part of the tile 401 having a seal overhang.

FIGS. 6A and 6B

Tile support board 404 is shown in further detail in FIGS. 6A and 6B.

FIG. 6A shows a perspective view of the tile support board 404. The front face 406 of the tile support board 404 has a cell wall 601 extending forwards and interior of which is a recessed cell 602. The tile support board 404 may present one or more cells, and in this example presents a 2×2 matrix of cells, each having a square shape.

The rear face 405 of the tile support board 404 has a connection channel 603 that extends between the edges of the tile support board. This feature will be described in further detail with reference to FIGS. 9, 13A and 13B.

The tile support board 404 also has a connection lug 604 that extends from an edge thereof. This feature will be described in further detail with reference to FIGS. 9, 13A and 13B.

FIG. 6B shows cell wall 601 in further detail. According to the construction of tile support board 404, the front face is substantially planar, such that the cell wall 601 has an inside wall 605 and an outside wall 606. The cell wall 601 has a second profile along the outside wall 606. In this example, the second profile has a substantially “P” shaped cross-section. However, the orientation of the second profile is the reverse of the orientation of the first profile of tile 401, hence, one of the first profile and the second profile has a substantially “P” shaped cross-section and the other has a substantially upside-down “P” shaped cross-section.

As with the first profile, an alternative second profile may be used. For example, the first profile and the second profiles may each have a substantially “L” shaped cross-section. Alternatively, other complementary first and second profiles may be utilised; the feature to be achieved is that the profiles allow the two components to be releasably connected.

The projection 411 of the tile support board 404, shown in FIG. 4, forms part of the cell wall 601.

Thus, the peripheral groove 501 of the tile 401 couples with the cell wall 601 of the tile support board 404. The tile 401 is arranged to be coupled to the tile support board 404 such that the seal wall 407 of the tile 401 encircles the cell wall 601 of the tile support board 404.

Depending on the relative dimensions of the tile and the tile support board, the seal wall of the tile may encircle only one cell, or more than one cell of the tile support board.

The square shape of the peripheral groove 501 of tile 401 and the square shape of cell 602 of tile support board 404 allows the tile 401 to be oriented in up to four different orientations.

FIGS. 7A, 7B, 7C and 7D

FIGS. 7A, 7B, 7C and 7D illustrate the operation of the releasable coupling arrangement of the tile and tile support board of FIG. 4.

FIG. 7A shows the tile 401 and the tile support board 404 in a disengaged arrangement. However, the tile 401 is aligned for coupling to the tile support board 404. It can be seen that the cell wall 601 of cell 602 of the tile support board 404 is aligned with peripheral groove 501 of the tile and also a first discontinuity 701 in second inner seal support wall 509. Similarly, the cell wall 702 of cell 703 is aligned with peripheral groove 501 of the tile and also a second discontinuity 704 in second inner seal support wall 509.

FIG. 7B shows the tile 401 being coupled to the tile support board 404. To connect the tile and tile support board, the tile 401 and tile support board 404 are brought together, as indicated by arrow 7101. It can be seen that as the tile 401 is being pushed towards the tile support board 404, the cell wall 601 of cell 602 is being moved into engagement with the peripheral groove 501 of the tile 401.

FIG. 7C shows the tile 401 and the tile support board 404 in an engaged arrangement. In the engaged arrangement, the seal wall 407 of the tile 401 forms a seal with the front face 406 of the tile support board 404.

The complementary profiles of the first profile of the tile 401 and the second profile of the tile support board 404 maintain the tile 401 and the tile support board 404 in the engaged condition. However, although cell walls 601 and 702 are received within discontinuities 701, 704 of the second inner seal support wall 509, the discontinuities 701, 704 are not profiled to engage with the cell walls 601, 702. In an alternative arrangement, the cell walls of a tile support board may engage with discontinuities of an underside wall of the tile.

The coupling between the tile 401 and the tile support board 404 is releasable.

Under a pulling force applied to the tile 401 from the engaged arrangement with the tile support board 404, above a release force threshold, the tile 401 will disengage from the tile support board 404, as illustrated in FIG. 7D. Thus, to disconnect the tile and tile support board, the tile 401 and tile support board 404 are separated apart together, as indicated by arrow 7201.

The magnitude of the release force threshold at and/or above which a tile releases from a tile support board may be sufficiently low to allow manual release. This feature is advantageous when manually relocating tiles when forming a tile display. Alternatively, the magnitude of the coupling arrangement release force threshold may be sufficiently high such that manual release is inhibited, requiring a tool (not shown) to be used. Such a tool may comprise a suction cup or a lever. Thus, the magnitude of the coupling arrangement release force threshold may be selected to prevent unintentional removal of a tile from a tile support board.

According to one arrangement, the seal wall 407 of tile 401 is fabricated from a first material, the connection projections of the tile support board 404 are fabricated from a second material, and one of the first material and the second material is more flexible than the other. This feature facilitates releasable coupling and reduces the incident of damage to the tile and tile support board during engagement/disengagement. Preferably, the seal wall of the tile is arranged to flex.

FIG. 8

FIG. 8 shows a perspective view of tile 401 coupled to tile support board 404. It can be seen that the tile 401 encloses the 2×2 matrix of cells of the tile support board.

FIG. 9

FIG. 9 shows connection channel 603 and connection lug 604 of tile support board 404 in further detail.

Connection channel 603 has a depth 901 and a width 902. Similarly, connection lug 604 has a depth 903 and a width 904. The depth 903 and width 904 dimensions of the connection lug 604 are equal to or less than the corresponding depth 901 and width 902 dimensions of the connection channel 603, such that the connection lug 604 may be fully received within the connection channel 603.

This feature enables two like tile support boards to be connected together and flush with each other by means of the connection lug of one tile support board being connected into the connection channel of the other tile support board.

FIG. 10

FIG. 10 shows a plurality of like tile support boards 404 connected together to form a larger tile support board 1001. Thus, the tile support boards are individual components of a modular tiling system. This feature enables a tile support board to be built up from smaller tile support boards. Alternatively, a large tile support board may be provided that can be reduced in size. The tile support board may be cut in any direction and still provide connection channels and connection lugs.

According to a specific arrangement, a tile support board having a width dimension of 300 mm and a length dimension of 300 mm and presenting a regular 6×6 matrix of cells is provided.

The tile support board 404 may be fabricated from a plastic sheet, along which snap lines are marked. Snap lines may extend between cells of the tile support board, allowing the tile support board 404 to be reduced in size by increments. The tile support board 404 may be fabricated from a material that can be cut using a readily available tool, such as a knife.

FIG. 11

FIG. 11 shows a plurality of like tiles 401 coupled to the tile support board 1001 of FIG. 10. Due to the seal overhang and seal underhang of each of the like tiles, to ensure a continuous seal around each tile, the position and orientation of the first tile coupled to a tile support board should be selected to allow the subsequent tiles to be located such that each tile makes a seal with a neighbouring tile.

Thus, tile 401 may be located upon tile support board 1001 with first corner 211, having a full seal underhang, in the corner of the tile support board 1001. This will enable second and third tiles to be located next to tile 401 with the tile overhang of each of the second and third tiles overlapping the seal overhang of tile 401.

A fixed relationship between the tile coupling means and the tile support coupling means provides for a tile to be quickly and conveniently coupled to a tile support board.

The arrangement of the cells of the tile support board 404 and the tile 401 is such that insert components may be located within cells of the tile support board, over which tiles may be coupled. Together the tile and tile support board create an enclosed cell. The cell of the tile support board extends into the internal zone of the underside of the mounted tile that is surrounded by the closed path seal wall. Thus, the seal wall functions to prevent water and other substance ingress into the cell of the tile support board.

Insert components may be electrical components, which may be electrically connected to an electrical circuit by means of a flexicircuit cable running between the tile support board and a tile.

Insert components may take the form of a solid insert, which may be located within a cell, for example to provide a mounting substrate for a mechanical fixing for an attachment to be secured to the tiling system. Thus, a mechanical fixing, such as a screw, may extend through a tile into the tile support board. In some applications, an attachment may be connected to a mounted tile.

Insert components may take the form of electrical wiring, electrical connectors, switch plates, electrical lighting, speakers, heating components, pipes or sensors.

FIG. 11 shows an electrical insert component 1101, located within a cell 1102. An electrical connector 1103 connects the insert component 1101 to an external electrical power source. Electrical connector 1103 also connects to a second different electrical insert component 1104, located in a second cell 1105 of the tile support board 1001. Thus, electrical connections can be made to connect an insert component into an electrical circuit and electrical connections can be made to provide a connection path between insert components.

Electrical connectors that may be accommodated within the tiling system include: laminated flexible electrical circuits and electrical connectors in the form of rigid strips with inlaid electrical tacks.

The arrangement of the tile support board 1001 allows an insert component to be hidden from view behind an opaque tile 401.

According to one specific arrangement, the tile support board 404 has a width dimension of 100 mm, a length dimension of 100 mm and a section of 2 mm. The tile support board 404 is provided with a 2×2 matrix of square cells having a width dimension of 40 mm, a length dimension of 40 mm and cell walls with a depth of 5 mm. The distance between cells is 10 mm and the distance between cell walls and the edges of the tile support board 404 is 5 mm. The tile 401 has a width dimension of 100 mm, a length of 100 mm a section of 2 mm, which may be reduced to 1 mm locally, if required to accommodate an insert component between the tile 401 and the tile support board 404 when in the engaged arrangement. The tile 401 has an overall depth of 5 mm. The dimensions of the tile support board 404 are such that it will allow tiles having a width dimension of 50 mm and a length dimension of 50 mm to be coupled thereto. The tile support board 404 will therefore allow tiles having a width dimension that is any increment of 50 mm and a length dimension that is any increment of 50 mm to be coupled thereto. The distribution of the cells across the tile support board is such that a regular pattern is formed when like tile support boards are connected to form a larger tile support board. The gaps between the cells form a regular pattern of channels into which may be run electrical connections between insert components, for example.

The material from which a tile support board and/or a tile is fabricated may be selected according to the type of insert component that is to be located within the tiling system. A protective shield may be located between an insert component and a tile or tile support board. Such a protective shield, for example used to protect cables, may be releasably clipped into place and may be secured to either an insert component, a tile or tile support board. A shield or bridge may be placed over a component located in an access channel.

Components may also be incorporated in or secured to a tile. Fixings and/or components may be secured to the front face and/or rear face of a tile, and may be secured by means of adhesive or a mechanical fixing, such as a clip. For example, an electrical socket or communication network connection may be integrated with a tile or a tile itself may incorporate or be an audio speaker or visual display. A tile may incorporate or be an electrical switch, for example to allow on/off switching of low voltage insert components, and such a tile may utilise a rocker element or light/touch sensitive functionality. The rear of a tile may hold a lighting element, such as a diffuser, to allow back lighting of a tile or tile display. Thus, insert components received within an insert region may be secured to the rear of a tile.

The tile may be manufactured using a moulding process. A two stage moulding process may be performed, a first stage to produce the body of the tile and a second stage to produce the seal wall.

FIG. 12

FIG. 12 illustrates a seal between neighbouring tiles 1201, 1202 of the arrangement shown in FIG. 11. It can be seen that the tile overhang 1203 of tile 1201 overlaps the seal overhang 1204 of tile 1202. The seal overhang 1204 of tile 1202 abuts the seal underhang 1205 of tile 1201 to form a seal between the two tiles 1201, 1202.

The seal between the two tiles 1201, 1202 functions to prevent substance ingress to the underside of the tiles 1201, 1202.

It can be seen that the seal between the two tiles 1201, 1202 presents a gap between the two tiles 1201, 1202, where the surface of the seal is exposed. Grout, sealant or other filler may be applied to the exposed part of the seal, or the seal may act as grout and therefore may be coloured for decorative effect.

The depth of the seal overhang 1204 of tile 1202 may be dimensioned such that the tile overhang 1203 of tile 1201 compresses the seal overhang 1204. The compressed seal provides a more robust seal between the two tiles 1201, 1202. A similar arrangement may be provided between the seal overhang of one tile and the seal underhang of another tile, by providing one or both of the seal overhang and seal underhang with a greater width dimension.

According to the example illustrated in FIG. 12, the seal wall of tiles 1201, 1202 have an outer side wall that extends perpendicular to the plane of the tile. However in other arrangements, the outer side wall of the seal wall of like tiles may have a different profile, and the seal wall may be chamfered.

FIGS. 13A and 13B

FIGS. 13A and 13B show tile support board 404 and an edging strip 1301. The edging strip 1301 functions to provide a tidy border to the tile support board 404 and mounted tile(s).

FIG. 13A shows the underside 405 of the tile support board 404. The underside 405 of tile support board 404 has a matrix of connection channels, such as connection channel 603, extending at 90° to each other, and a plurality of connection lugs, such as connection lug 604. It can be seen that the connection channels extend fully between opposite edges of the tile support board, however, connection lugs are provided at two adjacent edges only of the tile support board.

The edging strip 1301 has a side wall and a plurality of connection lugs, such as connection lug 1302, which are distributed along the length of the edging strip 1301 at positions that coincide with the positions of the connection channels of the tile support board 404. The connection lugs of edging strip 1301 extend perpendicular to the side wall. Thus, the edging strip 1301 and the tile support board 404 are connectable in the same way as the tile support board 404 is connectable to a second like tile support board, as shown in FIG. 13A.

The edging strip 1301 may be arranged to fit under a tile overlap of a tile. The edging strip 1301 may be configured to provide a gap between a tile coupled to the tile support board 404 and the side wall, into which grout, sealant or other filler may be applied.

Connection lug 604 is configured to be removable from the tile support board 404. The connection lug 604 may be configured to be snapped off from the tile support board 404, for convenience of use, or otherwise removed with a tool. Connection lugs may be removed from a tile support board to accommodate a corner between support surfaces, for example, or to provide a straight edge as an alternative to providing a border by using an edging strip. It can be seen that a connection lug can be removed to expose a connection channel along an edge of the tile support board.

FIG. 13B shows a different perspective view of the arrangement shown in FIG. 13A.

The connection lugs of edging strip 1301 may be removable and may be movable along the edging strip 1301 to accommodate different spacing between channels of a tile support board.

The connection lugs of edging strip 1301 function to provide a barrier to substance ingress into the channels of a tile support board.

The edging strip 1301 may be provided with a length of seal wall to provide a barrier against water or other substance between the edging strip 1301 and the tile support board and/or tiles.

FIGS. 14A and 14B

FIGS. 14A and 14B illustrate an accessory tile and accessory removably connectable to the accessory tiles.

The front face 402 of tile 401 may be provided with an attachment member to which an accessory may be connected.

FIGS. 14A and 14B show neighbouring accessory tiles 1401 and 1402, each of which have an attachment member 1403 of the front face 1404, 1405 respectively thereof. In the illustrated example, the attachment member 1403 extends forwards from the front face and takes the form of a horse-shoe shaped lip.

An accessory rail 1406 is also shown in FIGS. 14A and 14B. Each end of the accessory rail 1406 is provided with an accessory insert plate 1407. To connect the accessory rail 1406 to the tiles 1401, 1402, the accessory insert plates 1407 are slid into the attachment members 1403, as shown in FIG. 14A.

FIG. 14B shows the accessory rail 1406 in the connected arrangement, in which the accessory insert plates 1407 are inserted into the attachment members 1404. When the tiles 1401, 1402 are vertical with edge 1408 uppermost, the accessory rail 1406 rests within the attachment members 1403. To disconnect the accessory rail 1406 from the accessory tiles 1401, 1402 the accessory insert plates 1407 of the accessory rail 1406 are slid out from the attachment members 1404.

A tile may be provided with one or more different arrangements of attachment member.

An attachment member may take the form of a cylindrical member extending forwards and having a side wall that is threaded. An accessory may be provided with a complementary rotating end cap that has an internal wall that is threaded. Thus, the end cap may be screwed onto and unscrewed from the cylindrical attachment member. The end cap may be movable along an accessory.

An attachment member may take the form of a press-stud member, a clip, for example configured to receive a strip light or a bracket.

Alternative accessory attachments include: toilet paper holders, soap dishes, hooks and clips.

Preferably, the coupling arrangement between a tile and an accessory or insert component allows an attachment to be releasably coupled to the tile.

FIG. 15

FIG. 15 shows a view of the interior a kitchen 1501. A tile support board (not shown) extends across wall 1502. An arrangement of tiles, such as tile 1503, are shown coupled to the tile support board. In this example, the tile support board is fabricated from recyclable plastic.

A tile support board may be secured to a wall by means of adhesive, cement or a mechanical fixing. In some applications, adhesive may be preferred on the basis that an aperture may allow water ingress between the tile support board and a tile. Alternatively, a mechanical fixing, such as a screw, may be used and sealant, such as waterproof sealant, applied over the fixing.

The front face of tile 1503 presents a display surface replicating that of a traditional ceramic tile. The display surface of a tile may be configured to receive printed or transfer applied graphics or other indicia. The tile may be manufactured using an in mould decoration process.

Tiles of different shapes may be coupled to the tile support board.

Different tiles may be provided for practical and/or novelty purposes. Tiles that may be provided include: magnetic tiles, tiles that present a corkboard, chalkboard or other notice board surface, tiles that present an advent calendar, tiles that present or a simple game board, for example on which to play noughts and crosses.

Tiles may have surface colouring or the material from which the tile is fabricated may be coloured or contain decorative items or particles, such as foil shapes. The tile may be transparent, translucent or opaque. As previously mentioned, back lighting for one or more tiles may be provided. A tile may incorporate a design that becomes visible or more visible when illuminated from behind. Tiles may be provided with an antibacterial coating on the display surface. Tiles may be provided that can be washed by hand or in a dishwasher.

The described tiling system provides a convenient method of securing tiles to a wall. Once a tile support board is installed on a wall, tiles may be secured thereto and removed as required. The tiling system enables a tile display to be changed quickly and easily. For example, a tile support board may be installed in a bathroom of a house for sale, and the purchasers of the house can choose whatever style of tile to use in the bathroom. The tiles can subsequently be easily removed and replaced with new tiles that co-ordinate with new decoration. In a further example, a tile support board may be installed in a kitchen of a house and have a tile coupled thereto that incorporates an electrical socket. By releasing and relocating the tile on the tile support board the electrical socket can be repositioned to accommodate a new appliance or wall fitting.

Substance ingress between a tile support board and a tile is undesirable, particularly when electrical components are inserted between the tile support board and tiles coupled thereto. Water and other liquid ingress is a particular problem. The present invention provides a tile that provides a seal between the tile and a tile support surface and like tiles. The present invention provides tiles and tile support boards that may be tessellated to achieve an aesthetic finish to an interior or exterior surface.