Title:
Panel For Covering A Wall With Uplock Engagement
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A siding panel for installation in courses, includes features that allow for proper panel to panel engagement, so that the divisions between the individual panels can not be seen. Panels are joined in a friction fit after being brought together by a free panel being moved vertically upward into a frictional engagement with an attached panel. Joining is complete based frictional engagement and frictional locking between portions of each panel.



Inventors:
Lappin, Rick (New London, NC, US)
Wade, John (Pleasant Hill, MO, US)
Jacobson, David (Liberty, MO, US)
Application Number:
12/475200
Publication Date:
12/03/2009
Filing Date:
05/29/2009
Assignee:
Alcoa Home Exteriors, Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/748.1
International Classes:
E04F13/24; E04B1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HIJAZ, OMAR F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LATHROP GPM LLP (OVERLAND PARK, KS, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A panel for attachment to an exterior of a structure, comprising: a body for supporting at least one element, and including an upper portion, a lower portion, first and second lateral ends, a front side, and a rear side; an attachment hem adjacent the upper portion of the body, the attachment hem defining at least one aperture for a fastener to extend therethrough and into the exterior of a structure; an engagement member at the first lateral end, the engagement member including at least one portion for frictionally fitting in a pocket; and a pocket at the second lateral end, the pocket of a width to frictionally engage the at least one portion of the engagement member when the at least one portion of the engagement member extends into the pocket.

2. The panel of claim 1, wherein the at least one portion of the engagement member and the pocket are configured such that the engagement of the at least one portion of the engagement member in the pocket is indicated tactilely.

3. The panel of claim 1, wherein the engagement member includes a plurality of portions with at least one forward portion for frictionally fitting in a the pocket proximate to the front side of the body, and at least one rearward portion for contacting the exterior of a structure, proximate to the rear side of the body.

4. The panel of claim 3, wherein the rearward portion includes at least one aperture for a fastener to extend therethrough and into an exterior of a structure.

5. The panel of claim 1, wherein the body supports a plurality of elements in a predetermined pattern.

6. The panel of claim 3, wherein the body includes a midflange intermediate the upper portion and the lower portion.

7. The panel of claim 6, wherein the pocket includes a first wall and a second wall substantially perpendicular to each other on the midflange, the first wall intermediate the second wall and the rear side of the body.

8. The panel of claim 3, wherein the upper portion includes at least one flange, extending from the front side of the panel, and the lower portion includes at least one U-shaped portion for engaging the at least one flange when two panels are joined.

9. The panel of claim 1, wherein the upper portion and lower portion are oppositely disposed with respect to each other.

10. The panel of claim 1, wherein the first lateral end and second lateral end are oppositely disposed with respect to each other.

11. A method for joining siding panels comprising: providing at least two siding panels for attachment to an exterior of a structure, each panel comprising: a body for supporting at least one element, and including an upper portion, a lower portion, first and second lateral ends, a front side, and a rear side; an attachment hem adjacent the upper portion of the body, the attachment hem defining at least one aperture for a fastener to extend therethrough and into an exterior of a structure; an engagement member at the first lateral end, the engagement member including at least one portion for frictionally fitting in a pocket; and a pocket at the second lateral end, the pocket of a width to frictionally engage the at least one portion of the engagement member when the at least one portion of the engagement member extends into the pocket; attaching a first siding panel to an exterior of a structure; placing a second siding panel under the attached first siding panel such that the pocket is substantially vertically aligned with the engagement member of the attached first siding panel; and moving the second siding panel vertically upward such that the pocket contacts the engagement member.

12. The method of claim 11, additionally comprising: continuing to move the second siding panel vertically upward until the engagement member locks into place in the pocket in a frictional engagement.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the continuing to move the second siding panel vertically upward includes moving the second lateral end of the second siding panel adjacent to the first lateral end of the first panel.

14. The method of claim 11, wherein the structure includes a wall.

15. The method of claim 11, wherein the structure includes a roof.

16. The method of claim 11, wherein the structure includes the wall of a building.

17. The method of claim 11, wherein the structure includes the roof of a building.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims benefit of and priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/058,095, filed Jun. 2, 2008, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosed subject matter relates to plastic siding panels for covering exterior walls on buildings. In particular, the present disclosed subject matter relates to siding panels that are joined by a vertically upward movement, to secure the panels in place in a locking engagement.

BACKGROUND

Molded plastic siding panels for exterior building walls are being used with increasing frequency. These molded panels are made from synthetic thermoplastic polymers, including polypropylene, polyethylene, and various mixtures and copolymers thereof.

Laterally elongated molded plastic panels are nailed to a wall support surface in horizontal rows, also known as courses, partially overlapping each other in order to provide a pleasing appearance. The molded plastic panels are connected by being moved laterally or horizontally into a position such that the new panel abuts the previously attached (placed) adjacent panel. The courses are normally placed onto the wall support surface from bottom to top.

Contemporary molded plastic panels are fastened to a building wall by means of metal fasteners inserted through apertures on a nailing hem and through a fastening slot on a side flange. This installation requires skill by the installer to match the panels so they look uniform and the breaks between the panels are not visible.

SUMMARY

The present disclosed subject matter is directed to siding panels that are installed in courses, with features that allow for proper panel to panel engagement, so that the divisions between the individual panels can not be seen. The panels are properly joined prior to nailing by a frictional fit and frictional locking between portions of the panels, including a flange on one panel and a pocket on the other panel. The frictional fit and frictional engagement or frictional locking is detectable by tactile and audible indications. Accordingly, this reduces the amount of highly skilled labor needed to install the siding panels of the disclosed subject matter.

The panels can be installed by straight upward or vertical movement, until the frictional engagement, and subsequent locking by the continued frictional engagement is obtained. Installation in this upward or “uplock” manner allows for installation between windows, and other similar structures, as well as for installation of the last panels or pieces of a course.

The panels are such that when placed together, for example, in courses, the building elements look continuous, free of gaps or spaces between panels, such that it is difficult to the eye to distinguish the individual panels. This provides the covered building exterior or wall with an aesthetically pleasing appearance that the panels have been placed evenly, to mimic a cedar shake or wood exterior, for example. Moreover, panel coverage of the building exterior is such that there are not any gaps between panels.

An embodiment is directed to a panel for attachment to an exterior of a structure, for example, a wall or roof or other exterior portion of a building or the like. The panel includes a body for supporting at least one element, with the body including an upper portion, a lower portion, first and second lateral ends, a front side, and a rear side. There is an attachment hem adjacent the upper portion of the body, the attachment hem having at least one aperture for a fastener to extend therethrough and into the exterior of a structure. There is also an engagement member at the first lateral end, the engagement member including at least one portion for frictionally fitting in a pocket and there is a pocket at the second lateral end, the pocket of a width to frictionally engage the at least one portion of the engagement member when the at least one portion of the engagement member extends into the pocket. The at least one portion of the engagement member and the pocket are designed to cooperatingly fit together, such that the engagement of the at least one portion of the engagement member in the pocket is indicated tactilely.

Also disclosed is a method for joining siding panels. The method includes providing at least two siding panels for attachment to an exterior of a structure. Each siding panel includes a body for supporting at least one element, the body including an upper portion, a lower portion, first and second lateral ends, a front side, and a rear side. Each siding member further includes an attachment hem adjacent the upper portion of the body, the attachment hem having at least one aperture for a fastener to extend therethrough and into an exterior of a structure, an engagement member at the first lateral end, the engagement member including at least one portion for frictionally fitting in a pocket, and a pocket at the second lateral end, the pocket of a width to frictionally engage the at least one portion of the engagement member when the at least one portion of the engagement member extends into the pocket. The at least one portion of the engagement member and the pocket are designed to cooperatingly fit together, for example, locking the panels in a frictional engagement. A first siding panel is attached to the exterior of a structure. A second siding panel is then placed under the attached first panel such that the pocket is vertically aligned with the engagement member of the attached first panel. The second panel is then moved vertically upward such that the pocket contacts the engagement member. The initial frictional engagement, as well as the subsequent locking frictional engagement, upon continued upward movement of the second panel, of the engagement member and the pocket, of the respective first and second panels, can be felt tactilely.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Attention is now directed to the drawing figures, where like or corresponding numerals indicate like or corresponding components. In the drawings:

FIG. 1A is a front view of a panel of the disclosed subject matter;

FIG. 1B is a detailed view of a portion of the first lateral end of the front side of the panel of FIG. 1A;

FIG. 1C is a rear view of the panel of the disclosed subject matter;

FIG. 2 is a rear view of two panels of FIGS. 1A-1C prior to their being joined;

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the panel of the disclosed subject matter taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1C;

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the panel of the disclosed subject matter taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 1C;

FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view of the panel of the disclosed subject matter taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 1C;

FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view of the panel of the disclosed subject matter taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 1A;

FIG. 7A is a detailed view of the pocket, from lines 4-4;

FIG. 7B is a top view of the pocket and midflange at the second lateral edge of the panel of the disclosed subject matter;

FIG. 8 is a front view of panels being mounted on a building exterior;

FIGS. 9A-9C are front views of a panel being attached to a panel that has been attached to a building exterior; and

FIG. 10 is a rear view of the two panels joined together with the pocket and engagement flange in a secure engagement, in accordance with FIG. 9C.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In this document, references are made to directions, such as upper, lower, top, bottom, up, down, upward, downward, front, rear, forward, backward, vertical, horizontal, etc., and variations thereof. These directional references are exemplary, to show the disclosed subject matter in a typical orientation, and are in no way limiting.

FIGS. 1A-7 show a panel 20 in accordance with the disclosed subject matter. The panel 20 is designed to be joined with other identical panels in order to cover a wall or other support structure of a building or the like. In describing the panel 20, references are made to joining panels in order to explain operation of the elements and components of the panel 20. These elements and components on the adjacent panel are also on the panel 20, at the opposite end, and accordingly, have the same numbering.

FIGS. 1A-1C show a panel 20 illustrative of the disclosed subject matter. The panel 20 is shown along its front side 22a in FIGS. 1A and 1B. The front side 22a is the side of the panel 20 that is exposed when the panel 20 is attached to a building exterior, wall, roof, or other structure. The front side 22a is formed of simulated building elements 24. For example, the simulated building elements 24, are cedar shake, that may be of a single or multiple sizes, and may be disposed in one or more parallel rows, with two parallel rows, an upper parallel row 26a, and a lower parallel row 26b shown. The upper 26a and lower 26b rows are separated by a mid flange 28, shown in greater detail in FIGS. 1C and 2

Each building element 24, or shake, includes a groove 30 between it and the adjacent building element 24 or shake. Additionally, for example, the illustrated simulated shake pattern is known in the industry as “perfection” shake, wherein the lower edges 26a′, 26b′ of the respective rows 26a, 26b, maybe in a substantially straight line or alternatively with staggered edges. Except for the width of each building element 24 or shake, the individual shake elements are similar in appearance.

The panel 20 includes an upper end 40 terminating in an upper edge 42, and an upper marginal portion 44, extending from the edge 42. The upper marginal portion 44 terminates in an upper marginal edge 46. There is a lower end 48, terminating in a lower edge 49. The upper end 40 is disposed opposite the lower end 48. The panel 20 also includes a first lateral end 50, with first lateral edge portions 52a, 52b, from which marginal portions 53a, 53b (terminating in marginal edges 54a, 54b ), extend. A groove 55 (for receiving an end portion 28b of a midflange 28 of another panel) extends between the marginal portions to below the first or upper marginal portion 53a. As shown in detail in FIG. 1B, the groove 55 includes an open portion 55a and extends inward to an enclosed or cut-out portion 55b, that terminates in an inner edge 55c. The groove 55 extends through the front side 22a to a wall 55x on the rear side 22b of the panel 20 (extending upward from the midflange 28).

There is a second lateral end 56, oppositely disposed from the first lateral end 50, terminating in second lateral edge portions 57a-57c, these portions when combined define the second lateral edge 57. The groove 55 receives the end portion 28b of the midflange 28 (of second lateral edge portion 57b ) when the panels are engaged, as detailed below.

Referring also to FIGS. 1C, 2 and 3-6, the grooves 30 are shown protruding from the adjacent building elements 24 on the rear side 22b (the side of the panel 20 that faces the building exterior when the panel 20 is attached to the exterior, as shown in FIG. 1C) of the panel 20. The mid flange 28 supports wall portions 60a, 60b, perpendicular to each other, or approximately perpendicular to each other, to define a pocket 62 on the rear side 22b of the panel 20 (with the mid flange 28 serving as a floor for the pocket 62). One wall portion 60a joins the angled building element 24 (at the rear side 22b of the panel 20). The other wall portion 60b is supported by a support member 60c, that extends from the mid flange 28. The wall portion 60b includes a diagonally outwardly extending lead 60d, and the inner side of the wall portion 60b includes an inner surface 62a with an outwardly tapered or chamfered exposed peripheral edge 62b, as shown in detail in FIG. 7A.

The pocket 62 receives the engagement flange 120 on another panel, in a frictional engagement, as detailed below. The pocket 62 is of a width between the wall portion 60a and the building element 24, and coupled with the tapered exposed peripheral edge 62b, and the resilient material of the wall portions 60a, 60b (that behaves in a spring-like manner), provides for a frictionally sung fit, with some movement or “play” of the engagement flange 120 in the pocket. The wall portion 60b, for example, is shown as being perpendicular to the midflange 28, but alternately, it may be angled up to approximately 90° with respect to the midflange 28, provided the aforementioned frictionally snug fit with the engagement flange 120 is obtained upon panel engagement.

As shown in detail in FIG. 7B, the mid flange 28 decreases in width from the pocket 62, along the lateral edge portion 57b, to an end 28a at the lateral edge portion 57a. This portion of decreased width defines an end portion 28b. This end portion 28b fits in the groove 55 with the end 28a abutting the inner edge 55c when two panels are joined.

Turning back to FIG. 3, the second lateral edge portions 57a-57c are such that the elements 24 of the upper row 26a extend beyond the elements 24 of the lower row 26b at the mid flange 28. Sidewalls 66, 67 extend from the building elements 24 of the upper 26a and 26b rows. These side walls 66, 67 define stop surfaces and are positioned to abut the first lateral edge 52 of the first lateral end 50, for proper joining of two panels.

In the side views of FIGS. 3-6, the upper marginal portion 44 is a flat portion, above, the first row 26a of building elements 24. Each of the parallel rows 26a, 26b of building elements 24 is shown, with respect to the vertical axis VX (FIG. 5), as tapering outward in a 7-like shape. The lower end 48 includes a folded over portion 70, that is U-shaped and defines the lower edge 49 of the panel 20, at its rear side 22b. This folded over portion 70 includes a lip 72, having an extension 72a, the lip 72 for engaging an interlock flange 92 on the upper marginal portion 44, detailed below, to secure panels together vertically, as detailed below.

The folded over portion 70 defines a channel 74 of a width suitable for receiving a portion of the lateral lower marginal portion 53b of another panel in a frictional engagement, for supporting the joining of two panels, as detailed below. At the edge 54b of the lateral marginal portion 53b, the opening 74a of the channel 74 is formed from the sidewall 67, extending from the building element 24 of the lower row 26b. This opening is of a width “Wo” (FIG. 3) less than the width “Wc” (FIG. 5) of the channel 74, but of a distance suitable for receiving the lateral marginal portion 53b of another panel in a frictional engagement, for supporting the joining of two panels, as detailed below.

The upper end 40 of the panel 20 at the upper marginal portion 44 includes a nail hem 80. The nail hem 80 includes openings 82 sufficient to accommodate the body of a nail or other fastener, but of a diameter smaller than the head portion of a nail, to maintain the nail head outside of the panel 20. A portion 80a of the nail hem 80 extends to and beyond the lateral marginal edge 54a. This portion 80a rises outward from an indent 83 at the first lateral edge portion 52a, and includes vertical ribs 84, that when the panel 20 joined with another panel provides an audible and tactile indication of the joining being proper and complete. This portion 80a is designed to fit over a correspondingly shaped indent portion 86 of the nail hem 80 of another panel.

The indented portion 86 of the nail hem 80 is on the front side 22a of the panel 20 at the second lateral end 56. This indented portion 86 is dimensioned to receive the portion 80a of a panel in an abutting or nearly abutting contact along the front side 22a of the panel 20.

The upper end 40, at the upper marginal portion 44, also includes a flat strip portion 90, intermediate the nail hem 80 and the upper row 26a of building elements 24. Interlock flanges 92, formed of members that extend outward and downward are positioned along the flat strip indented portion 90. There is open space 94 behind each flange 92 to facilitate engagement of the flange 92 with a corresponding lip 72, positioned on the lower end 44 of the panel 20. The extension 72a of the lip 72 occupies additional space in the interlock, so as to enhance the frictional engagement of the interlock between the flange 92 and the lip 72.

The lateral upper marginal portion 53a extends vertically from the upper marginal edge 46 to the groove 55, and horizontally or outward from the first lateral edge portion 52a. It is offset rearward from the elements 24. This leaves a surface 68a that serves as a stop surface for the sidewall 66 of the second lateral edge portion 57a of another panel, when the panels are joined together, for a proper fit between the panels, for example, panels 200 and 201, as shown in FIG. 8.

Similarly, the lateral lower marginal portion 53b extends vertically from the groove 55 to an edge 98 just above the lower edge 49 (to fit in the channel 74), and horizontally or outward from the first lateral edge portion 52b. It is offset rearward from the elements 24. This leaves a surface 68b that serves as a stop surface for the sidewall 67 of the second lateral edge portion 57c of another panel, when the panels are joined together, for a proper fit between the panels, for example, panels 200 and 201, as shown in FIG. 7A. The edge 98 includes a lip 99 extending rearward, to provide the marginal portion 53b with a 7-like shape (FIG. 6). The lip 99 is dimensioned for extending into the opening 74a and the channel 74 of the folded over portion 70 of the lower end 48 of the panel 20.

The groove 55 between the lateral marginal portions 53a, 53b accommodates the mid flange 28 that defines the second lateral edge portion 57b. The groove 55 is at the junction of the upper 26a and lower 26b rows of building elements 24 at the first lateral end 50, with its inner edge 55c, serving as a stop surface for the edge 28a of an end portion 28b of the mid flange 28.

The lateral lower marginal portion 53b at its end 54b may include a chamfered segment or lead 102 as seen in FIG. 1B, for fitting against the rear side 22b of panel 20. Each of the lateral marginal portions 53a, 53b may also include grooves, extending vertically (parallel to the vertical axis VX) to allow for an audible and tactile indication of a connection between panels.

The first marginal portion 53a terminates in a sidewall portion 110, that extends rearward from the front side 22a of the panel. An engagement flange 120 extends from the sidewall portion 110 (FIG. 6). The engagement flange 120 includes a front or leading portion 122, with a chamfered edge 122a (FIG. 6), that is the forward most portion of the engagement flange 120. The leading portion 122 may be, for example, flush with the surface of the lateral upper marginal portion 53a. The leading portion 122 extends a distance so that when panels are joined, the leading portion 122 seats within the pocket 62 of the rear side 22b of the panels 20 in a frictional engagement. As indicated above, the frictional engagement is snug but there is some space or “play” within the pocket 62. This allows the siding panels 20 to expand and contract with changes in temperature, yet remain frictionally engaged during this expansion and contraction, as the engagement flange 120 (the leading portion 122) remains seated in the pocket 62.

An angled transition portion 124 extends rearward from the leading portion 122 to a tail portion 126. The tail portion is, for example, flush with the edge of the sidewall portion 110. The tail portion 126 is, for example, triangular in shape, and includes a slot 127 extending therethrough. The tail portion 126 places the slot 127 against or in close proximity to the building exterior, such that a nail or other fastener can be placed through the slot 127, to join the panel 20 to the building exterior, wall or the like. The engagement flange 120 with its shape and configuration, including the arrangement of the portions 122, 124, 126, coupled with the resilient material from which it is made, allows for it to behave in a spring-like manner upon the aforementioned engagement in the pocket 62.

The panel 20 is made of plastic or polymeric materials, such as thermoplastic polymers, for example, polyolefins, such as polypropylene and polyethylene, polycarbonates, polyvinyl chlorides, and mixtures and copolymers thereof. As a further example, polypropylene, in mixtures and copolymers with polyethylene, may be used. The panel 20 is made by techniques, such as injection molding, and for example, may be made as a single or unitary member.

Attention is now directed to FIGS. 8-10, detailing two panels 200, 201 being joined in an “uplock” manner. The panels 200, 201 are identical panels and in accordance with the panel 20 detailed above, and illustrated in FIGS. 1A-7B.

As shown in FIG. 8, panels 200, 200a-200e are in place on a building exterior 205, in horizontal courses 206x-206z, with one side of the panels in courses capped by a corner piece 207. A panel 201 is now positioned below the attached panel 200, with its upper edge 46 below the engagement flange 120 of the attached panel 200, as shown in FIG. 9A.

This panel 201 is such that its second lateral end 56 is in alignment with the respective first lateral end 50 of the attached panel 200. Remaining in FIG. 9A, the panel 201 is moved vertically upward, in the direction of the arrow 210.

Upward movement in the direction of the arrow 210 continues, until the panel 201 is in the position shown in FIG. 9B. In this position, contact has been made between the leading portion 122 of the engagement flange 120 and the pocket 62. This contact is felt tactilely. Continued vertical movement of the panel 201 in the direction of the arrow 210 (FIG. 9B) moves the pocket into engagement with the leading portion 122, that now seats in the pocket 62 in a frictional engagement, and the panel 201 drops into the panel 200, such that the first lateral edge 52a, at the surface 68a (FIG. 6) of the panel 200 abuts the sidewall 66 at the lateral edge portion 57a of the panel 201, and the second lateral edge 52b, at the surface 68b (FIG. 6) of the panel 200 is adjacent to the sidewall 67 at the lateral edge portion 57b of the panel 201 as shown in FIG. 9C.

FIG. 10, to which attention is also directed, shows the frictional engagement of FIG. 9C from the building exterior side. The midflange 28 seats in the gap 102. The edge 28a of the end portion 28b of the midflange 28 abuts the inner edge 55c of the groove 55, as the end of the end portion 28b seats in the enclosed portion 55b of the groove 55. Additionally, at the upper end 40, a nail hem portion 80a of the panel 200 rests in the indented portion 86 of the panel 201, and the marginal portion 53b of the panel 200, rests in the channel 74 of the free panel 201, as shown in broken lines.

These aforementioned engagements are felt tactilely, with the engagement of the engagement flange 120 into the pocket 62, felt tactilely as a “snap,” due to the resilience of the material of the panel 200 (the engagement flange 120) and of the free panel 201 (the pocket 62), that behave in a spring-like manner. With the “snap,” the frictional engagement of the engagement flange 120 in the pocket 62 is secure and “locked,” and is also felt tactilely. Coupled with the abutment of the lateral ends 50, 56 of the respective panels 200, 201, the panel 201 is now ready for attachment by nails fasteners or the like, to the building exterior.

A lower end 48 of a panel 201 joins to an upper end 40 of a panel 200c as lips 72 on the panel 201 engage interlock flanges 92 on the panel 200c. The panel 201 can now be joined to the wall 205 or the like by nails or other fasteners through the openings 82 of the nail hem 80 and the slot 127.

Covering of the wall or other surface continues in as many courses are required. Attachment and engagement of the panels 20 is as detailed above, with the corners handled as noted above.

Alternately, the panel 201 may be installed initially from the side (replacing FIG. 9A). The panel 201 may then be moved upward, vertically or diagonally and then vertically, as detailed above for FIGS. 9B and 9C, arriving at the engagement of FIGS. 9C and 10.

While preferred embodiments of the disclosed subject matter have been described, so as to enable one of skill in the art to practice the disclosed subject matter, the preceding description is intended to be exemplary only. It should not be used to limit the scope of the disclosure, which should be determined by reference to the following claims.