Title:
DIVIDER FOR HOLDING AND SEPARATING FOAM BOARD INSULATION PANELS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A foam board divider comprises a front plate, a back plate, and a cross bar generally joining the front plate to the back plate. The front plate is preferably narrower in width than the back plate to facilitate the installation of the divider. The proximal edges of the front and back plates define flares, thereby providing an increased opening size for the insertion of the foam board insulation. The front and back plates are spaced apart a predetermined distance, defined by the thickness of the foam board insulation.



Inventors:
Tamlyn, John Thomas (Katy, TX, US)
Gonzales, Miguel (Deer Park, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/181594
Publication Date:
02/04/2010
Filing Date:
07/29/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/68
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
JAYNE, DARNELL M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Tim Cook (Liberty, TX, US)
Claims:
1. In combination, a first foam board insulation panel and a second foam board insulation panel adjacent to the first panel and a divider to seal a seam between the adjacent foam board insulation panels, the panels defining a predetermined thickness, length, and width and having a front surface and a back surface, the divider comprising: a. a front plate defining a front plate width adapted to fit snugly against the front surfaces of the panels; b. a back plate defining a back plate width adapted to fit snugly against the back surfaces of the panels; and c. a cross bar joining the front plate to the back plate; wherein the divider defines a divider length substantially equal to the length of the panels.

2. The divider of claim 1, wherein the front plate width is less than the back plate width.

3. The divider of claim 1, wherein the back plate width is about equal to the thickness of a stud.

4. The divider of claim 1, where in the front plate defines a front right distal edge and a front left distal edge, and the back plate defines a back right distal edge and the back left distal edge, and further wherein the front right distal edge flares away from the front surfaces of the panels and the front left distal edge flares away from the front surfaces of the panels, thereby defining an enlarged opening to receive one of said foam board insulation panels on either side of the cross bar.

5. The divider of claim 1, wherein the cross bar defines a length about equal to the predetermined thickness of one of said foam board insulation panels.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of construction systems, and, more particularly, to a divider member configured to secure and seal the joint between opposing side edges of insulating foam panels typically used in wall construction.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

As energy costs have soared, builders and homeowners have turned to products that help save energy and therefore their hard-earned dollars. For example, prefabricated foam panels are widely used to form an insulating layer along walls of buildings under construction. These types of panels include products such as Dow Styrofoam™ extruded polystyrene insulation board (foam board), which are used on the exterior of the house to manage energy loss and moisture.

The insulating efficiency of these types of insulating panels depends in part on the degree to which the abutting edges of adjacent panels are sealed. Foam board panels are installed using cap nails or screws to hold the foam board to the studs of the house or building. Installing this product necessarily leaves cracks or seams where the sheets of the foam board butt together.

In addition to the reduction of insulating efficiency caused by gaps between foam boards, groups such as the Energy Star® program are concerned about these seams or cracks allowing moisture, air, and water into the building envelope. Energy Star® is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping citizens to save money and to protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Thus, there is a need to do reduce the thermal losses out through these seams and to reduce the invasion in through these seams of moisture, insects, and the like. Some seams are very tight and might not seem to require any additional measures, while others can be observed with relatively large cracks or separations between the foam board sheets, easily allowing water or air to penetrate to the wall stud and beyond into the house envelope.

Many builders are testing various tapes to seal this joint between the foam boards. For example, Monda et al., in U.S. Pat. No. 6,293,069, assigned to Celotex, teach an insulating structure comprising a board of insulating material having two major surfaces, two side edges and top and bottom edges, and facing sheets on each of the major surfaces. The problem of abutting seams is addressed by Monda et al. with a generally rectangular closure strip having two equal and integral side portions. One side portion is bonded to one of the facing sheets and extends over the facing sheet from the top edge to the bottom edge and inwardly a short distance from one of the side edges of the board. The other side portion extends outwardly away from the board a short distance from the side edge.

Problems experienced with tapes and similar closure strips include the short and long-term effectiveness of the tapes, in other words, they may be effective in sticking to the foam board in the short-term but the adhesive used on these types of sealing tapes are not intended to permanent use over the anticipated useful lifetime of the structure to which the insulating panel is applied, such as a residential or commercial building, because the exterior surface of the panel is slick. There is a genuine concern that the tape may fall off behind the wall over time, thus exposing the structure to penetration from water and air.

Thus, there remains a need for a means to seal the seam between adjacent foam boards in building construction. The means of sealing should be permanently affixed to the insulating boards as long as the insulation remains in place. Further, the foam board sealing means should be inexpensive and easy to install, so as not to increase the cost of construction of the building. The present invention addresses these and other needs in the art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A foam board divider in accordance with the teachings of the present invention addresses these concerns and provides a permanent solution. The divider generally comprises a front plate, a back plate, and a cross bar generally joining the front plate to the back plate. The front plate is preferably narrower in width than the back plate to facilitate the installation of the divider. The proximal edges of the front and back plates define flares, thereby providing an increased opening size for the insertion of the foam board insulation. The front and back plates are spaced a part a predetermined distance, defined by the thickness of the foam board insulation.

The installer simply installs the foam board divider in between two adjacent sheets of the foam board. The back plate, intended to be closest to the inside of the house or other structure, is slightly wider than the front side, for drainage in case anything gets past the seal on the front. The edges of the front and back of the divider are fashioned to bend away so the foam board will more easily slide into the foam board divider, greatly aiding and speeding up installation.

Additionally, the foam board divider is strong enough to hold the two joining sheets of foam board together for situations when the seam is not located with a stud immediately behind the seam

These and other features and advantages of this invention will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

So that the manner in which the above recited features, advantages and objects of the present invention are attained and can be understood in detail, more particular description of the invention, briefly summarized above, may be had by reference to embodiments thereof which are illustrated in the appended drawings.

FIG. 1 is an end view of a divider in accordance with this invention.

FIG. 2 is a section view of a divider with a foam board inserted on either side of the divider.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the divider.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the divider with a foam board inserted on either side of the divider.

FIG. 5 is a top down view of a wall construction incorporating the divider.

FIG. 6 is an elevation view of the wall construction of FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring first to FIGS. 1 through 4, a divider 10 in accordance with this invention is illustrated. The divider 10 generally comprises a front plate 12, a back plate 14, and a crossbar 16 joining the front plate and the back plate. The front plate is so called because it faces the installer as the wall construction is assembled, and the back is so called because it is behind the foam board insulation panels when the wall is completed. Each of the front and back plates defines a distal edge 18, which is flared away from the opposing plate. The edges may thus be referred to a right distal edge and left distal edge. This structure provides additional rigidity to the divider and provides an opening wider than the thickness of the foam board insulation panel, thereby facilitating the insertion of the panel into the divider. The front plate and the back plate are spaced apart from one another by a distance, t, which is roughly equal to the thickness of foam board insulation, whereas the distance between opposing distal edges of the front and back plates is defined as t′, which is great than t.

This feature can be more easily seen in FIGS. 2 and 4. One factor in the cost of the construction of a building is the labor, and the longer each step in the construction process takes, the more the building will cost. This feature of the invention makes it easier for workers to insert a board panel 20 between front and back plates.

As previously described, the front plate is narrower than the back plate. Preferably, the back plate defines a width, W, as shown in FIG. 4. The width W is roughly equal to the narrower dimension of a standard 2×4 stud, so that the flares 18 on the distal edges of the back plate extend on either side of the stud to which it is mounted.

This feature of the invention is illustrated in greater detail in FIGS. 5 and 6. FIG. 5 shows three adjacent studs, 26, 26′ and 26″. Stud 26 coincides with a foam board insulation seam, which is joined by a divider 10. A nail 22 is used to nail through the front plate of the divider, through the panel 20, through the back plate, and into the stud 26. At the stud 26′, no seam between adjacent panels is present, so no divider is called for. A nail 22′ is used to secure the panel to the stud 26′. Between the studs 26′ and 26″, a seam is present, calling for the installation of a divider 10′, which is secured with a nail 22″.

This is also illustrated in FIG. 6, in which the divider 10 is nailed to the stud 16, and a divider 10′ seals a seam at a position between studs. It should also be apparent to those of skill in the art that the divider defines a vertical length, l, which is approximately equal to the long dimension of an insulation panel. However, the divider may be manufactured in this standard length, or to accommodate differences in panel dimensions, the divider may preferably be manufactured in lengths greater than the length l, and cut to fit in situ.

The principles, preferred embodiment, and mode of operation of the present invention have been described in the foregoing specification. This invention is not to be construed as limited to the particular forms disclosed, since these are regarded as illustrative rather than restrictive. Moreover, variations and changes may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention.