Title:
Tile Flooring System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An acid-resistant tile floor system for biologically clean environments. A tensile-load-bearing grid is placed on a floor substrate. A mixture of an epoxy resin and a resin set-up agent is poured over the grid. Ceramic tiles are adhesively bonded to the epoxy resin mixture. The epoxy resin mixture forms an acid-resistant barrier on the floor substrate and an uninterrupted adhesive surface for the tiles. The grid is made of fiberglass or other suitable material. The openings in the grid allow the epoxy resin mixture to flow down to the floor substrate. The set-up agent in the mixture ensures that the epoxy resin sets up completely around the grid, To form the uninterrupted bonding surface for the tiles.



Inventors:
Heidemann, Heinrich (Ahaus, DE)
Application Number:
12/103351
Publication Date:
10/15/2009
Filing Date:
04/15/2008
Assignee:
KAGETEC, Inc. (Chicago, IL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/747.11
International Classes:
E04F13/08; E04B5/44
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Primary Examiner:
PAINTER, BRANON C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Eaton Peabody PA (Portland, ME, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A floor tile system comprising: a floor substrate; a tile layer; and a bonding layer between said floor substrate and said tile layer, said bonding layer comprising a load-bearing grid and an adhesive mixture of an epoxy resin and a set-up agent, said load-bearing grid having open spaces formed by multi-directional grid members; wherein said load-bearing grid is embedded in said mixture, such that said adhesive mixture surrounds said load-bearing grid so as to form an uninterrupted layer of said adhesive mixture directly beneath said tile layer and to form an uninterrupted barrier over said floor substrate.

2. The floor tile system of claim 1, wherein said load-bearing grid is constructed of strands of fiber.

3. The floor tile system of claim 2, wherein said strands are fiberglass strands.

4. The floor tile system of claim 2, wherein said strands are carbon fiber strands.

5. The floor tile system of claim 1, wherein said load-bearing grid is stamped from a sheet of plastic film material.

6. A method of constructing a tile floor for use in industries that require a biologically clean floor, said method comprising the steps of: a) laying down a floor substrate; b) placing a load-bearing grid on said floor substrate; c) forming a barrier and adhesive layer by pouring a mixture of resin adhesive and a resin set-up agent over said grid, so as to cover said load-bearing grid; and d) laying tiles on said barrier and adhesive layer.

Description:

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a flooring system. More particularly, the invention relates to a tile flooring that is particularly suited for use in environments that require a biologically clean floor.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Facilities that process food, beverages, or other substances ingested by humans or animals, or healthcare facilities typically require a biologically very clean environment. Such facilities frequently have ceramic tile floors, because ceramic is a material that is to a large extent impervious to many chemicals. The tiles provide a good barrier against liquids. Thus, such floors can be washed down and disinfected regularly. The hard, durable surface of tiles that are used in such floors does not have cracks and crevices that can harbor bacteria and other undesirable or unclean substances.

The tiles are adhesively bonded to a flooring substrate, typically a substrate constructed with an acid-resistant mortar. The tiles are adhesively affixed to the floor substrate by an epoxy resin. The resin serves two purposes: to build a barrier layer to prevent acids from reaching the floor substrate, and to provide a very intensive durable adhesive bond between the tile and the floor substrate. The adhesive resin actually penetrates to some extent into the floor substrate, thereby increasing the surface area of contact between resin and substrate and enhancing the adhesive bond.

The German company van koetsveld & grimberg provides a tile floor system for such clean environments. A fleece or batting of a material with high tensile strength, such as fiberglass fleece, was incorporated into the adhesive layer. The fibers of the fleece extend in all directions and serve to carry the tensile load on the floor. This effectively takes the load off the resin, which tends to crack under such loading. Thus, even when the floor is loaded in tension, the resin layer does not fracture and the barrier between the environment and the floor substrate remains intact.

A problem arises, however, when the viscosity of the resin is high. This resin doesn't flow well and, because of that, does not easily flow through the fleece. If insufficient amounts of resin flow through the fleece and, thus, into the floor substrate, the risk is that the tiles are then bonded primarily to the fleece, but that the fleece is insufficiently bonded with the substrate.

What is needed therefore, is a tile floor bonding system that provides a complete barrier layer on the floor substrate and also provides a strong, durable bond between the floor tile and the floor substrate.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is a tile floor system that is particularly well suited for use in environments that require a high degree of cleanliness, such as facilities that process substances that are ingested by humans or animals, veterinary and human health facilities, or animal slaughterhouses. The tile floor system is resistant to chemicals and acids, and capable of being disinfected, so as to provide a biologically clean floor.

The tile floor system comprises a floor substrate, a layer of tiles, and an adhesive layer therebetween. The adhesive layer includes an epoxy resin, a load-bearing grid, and a set-up agent. Previously, it was generally understood that it was necessary to provide a fiberglass fleece mat with fibers extending in all directions, in order to ensure that the mat be capable of taking up any tension load applied to the floor. It was a surprising discovery to learn that it is not necessary that the fibers of this fleece mat extend in all directions, but that tension-bearing fibers that extend in a grid pattern take up the tension load on the floor just as effectively. The grid used in the tile floor system according to the invention is a fiber grid formed by fibers that run in two directions transverse to each other, forming a regular pattern of open rectangles. The open areas of the grid allow the resin to flow easily down to the substrate and to penetrate to some extent into the substrate.

Although the description herein refers to a “fiber grid” or a “fiberglass grid”, it is not necessary that the grid be made of fiberglass or of fibers. Fiberglass is commonly used in the industry, because the glass material is relatively inexpensive and it is known and proven that glass fibers have a particularly high tensile strength. Other fibers, such as carbon fibers, however, are also suitable for the grid. Moreover, the grid may be stamped from a plastic film. The grid serves to bear the tension loads that may be applied to the floor, to prevent the mortar from cracking under the load. The grid may be constructed of various types of material, just as long as the resulting grid is capable of bearing the loads that will foreseeably be applied to the floor.

The set-up agent is added to the adhesive layer to ensure that the resin is viscous enough to set up against the grid, so as to provide a complete and uninterrupted adhesive surface to which the tiles can bond. Without the set-up agent, too much of the resin may seep down into the substrate, leaving some areas above the grid insufficiently covered with the adhesive. The combination of the grid and the set-up agent in the adhesive layer thus forms a bonding layer that has excellent properties. The layer provides a durable tension-resilient layer that ensures an uninterrupted barrier layer against the substrate, as well as an uninterrupted adhesive surface, and which results in a strong bond between the tiles and the substrate.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is described with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, like reference numbers indicate identical or functionally similar elements.

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of the tile floor system according to the invention, showing a grid embedded in the adhesive layer.

FIG. 2 illustrates a grid made of fiber strands.

FIG. 3 illustrates a grid stamped from a sheet of plastic film.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention will now be described more fully in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which the preferred embodiments of the invention are shown. This invention should not, however, be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, they are provided so that this disclosure will be complete and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art.

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a floor tile system 10 according to the invention comprising a floor substrate 2, a layer of tiles 4, and a bonding layer 6. The bonding layer 6 comprises a grid 8 and an adhesive material 9. The grid 8 is a sheet or mat of material that has a pattern of open spaces 8A. In one embodiment, the grid 8 is constructed of glass fiber, such as the load-bearing fiberglass mat that is commercially available from the German company Baufas of Sonthofen and sold under the name BGL. Grid members in this mat form a regular pattern of open rectangular spaces. Any suitable grid-like construction may be used, as long as the grid members form open spaces and are capable of bearing the tension loads placed on the floor. FIG. 2 illustrates a grid formed of fiberglass strands and FIG. 3 a grid stamped from a sheet of plastic film. The grid 8 is placed on the substrate 2 and the adhesive material 9 poured over it. The adhesive material 9 includes an epoxy resin plus a set-up agent for increasing the viscosity of the resin. Sufficient adhesive material 9 is poured over the grid 8 to allow the adhesive to flow through the open spaces 8A and beneath the grid 8 for form an uninterrupted lower surface against the floor substrate 2, as well as to cover the upper limits of the grid, so as to form an uninterrupted upper surface. Examples of suitable, commercially available materials for the adhesive material 9 are a resin and hardener from the German company Viacor that are sold under the tradename KAGESOL and a set-up agent provided by US company Grace that is sold under the tradename SYLOTHIX.

The purpose of the set-up agent is to ensure that the adhesive resin has enough viscosity to set up around the grid 8, and to prevent excessive amounts of the resin from seeping into the substrate 2 and leaving the top of the grid uncovered. The viscosity of the resin may be adjusted by adding more or less of the set-up agent. For example, more set-up agent is added to the adhesive material 9, when working with the epoxy resin in warm ambient temperatures, in which the epoxy resin is naturally less viscous. FIG. 1 shows cross-sections of members of the grid 8 embedded in the bonding layer 6. As can be seen, the adhesive material 9 fills the open spaces in and surrounds the grid 8 and provides an uninterrupted layer on the top of the grid 8.

The tile layer 4 includes tiles and an adhesive 4A, which is typically the same epoxy resin used in bonding layer 6. The material used for the substrate 2 is a conventional substrate material, such as any commercially available cement-lime mortar.

It is understood that the embodiments described herein are merely illustrative of the present invention. Variations in the construction of the floor tile system may be contemplated by one skilled in the art without limiting the intended scope of the invention herein disclosed and as defined by the following claims.