Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INSTALLING SHEET BUILDING MATERIALS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tool for guiding the fastening of building material to structural components is provided. The tool may include a longitudinal member, a lateral member and a positioning tab that, when properly positioned over the building material, provide stable guidance as to the proper placement of building material fasteners. The tool may include measurement markings and a level for added utility.



Inventors:
Manion Jr., Robert G. (Torrington, CT, US)
Application Number:
12/577832
Publication Date:
04/14/2011
Filing Date:
10/13/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/749.1
International Classes:
E04F21/00; E04B1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GUADALUPE, YARITZA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LANDO & ANASTASI, LLP (BOSTON, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A tool for guiding the installation of a building material on to a structural component, the tool comprising: a first longitudinal member having a front face and a back face, the front face having a longitudinal axis; a first lateral member having a front face and a back face, the first lateral member disposed across at least a portion of the first longitudinal member; and a positioning tab coupled to the first lateral member, the positioning tab retractably extending through the plane of the back face of the first lateral member and offset from the longitudinal axis of the front face of the first longitudinal member.

2. The tool according to claim 1, wherein the first lateral member is substantially perpendicular to the first longitudinal member.

3. The tool according to claim 1, wherein the first lateral member and the first longitudinal member are arranged in an offset T shape.

4. The tool according to claim 1, wherein the first lateral member is disposed across at least a portion of a face of the first longitudinal member.

5. The tool according to claim 1, wherein the positioning tab comprises a hinge for retractably extending the positioning tab.

6. The tool according to claim 1, wherein the positioning tab comprises a hook.

7. The tool according to claim 1, wherein the front face of the first longitudinal member bears measurement markings.

8. The tool according to claim 7, wherein the markings are formed in a material that enables an installer to see the markings in low light conditions.

9. The tool according to claim 1, wherein the front face of the first lateral member bears measurement markings.

10. The tool according to claim 9, wherein the markings are formed in a material that enables an installer to see the marking in low light conditions.

11. The tool according to claim 1, further comprising at least one second member configured and arranged to enable an installer to physically manipulate the tool.

12. The tool according to claim 1, further comprising at least one leveling device.

13. The tool according to claim 1, further comprising a stabilizing tab, the stabilizing tab coupled to the first lateral member and extending beyond the front face of the first lateral member in a plane parallel to the plane of the first lateral member.

14. The tool according to claim 13, wherein the stabilizing tab has a width of about one and one-half inches.

15. The tool according to claim 1, wherein the first lateral member is sized to enable verification of a distance between adjacent structural components.

16. The tool according to claim 15, wherein the first lateral member is sized to be approximately fourteen and three-eights inches in length.

17. The tool according to claim 1, wherein the tool is constructed from a material that is light in weight, rigid and durable.

18. The tool according to claim 17, wherein the material is one from the group consisting of aluminum, plastic, steel, copper, wood, fiberglass, carbon-fiber and medium-density fiberboard.

19. The tool according to claim 17, wherein the material is aluminum.

20. The tool according to claim 1, further comprising a coupler adjustably coupling the first longitudinal member to the first lateral member.

21. The tool according to claim 20, wherein the coupler allows the first longitudinal member to be rotationally displaced relative to the first lateral member.

22. The tool according to claim 20, wherein the coupler allows the first longitudinal member to be longitudinally displaced relative to the first lateral member.

23. The tool according to claim 22, wherein the coupler allows the first longitudinal member to be decoupled from the first lateral member.

24. The tool according to claim 1, wherein the first longitudinal member comprises at least one aperture.

25. The tool according to claim 24, wherein the at least one aperture comprises a plurality of apertures, the plurality of apertures disposed at a non-uniform interval along the longitudinal axis of the front face of the first longitudinal member.

26. The tool according to claim 24, wherein the at least one aperture comprises a plurality of apertures, the plurality of apertures disposed at a uniform interval along the longitudinal axis of the front face of the first longitudinal member.

27. The tool according to claim 24, wherein the at least one aperture is sized to receive an attachment device.

28. A method for installing building materials comprising: positioning a building material next to a structural component; placing a fastener guidance tool upon the building material; moving the fastener guidance tool relative to the structural component until a portion of the fastener guidance tool contacts the structural component; and fastening the building material to the structural component using the fastener guidance tool.

29. The method according to claim 28, wherein fastening the building material comprises dispensing a fastener through an aperture in the fastener guidance tool using an attachment device.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of Disclosure

Aspects of the present invention relate to devices used in construction, and more particularly, tools and methods for guiding the attachment of building materials to structural components.

2. Discussion of Related Art

Many techniques and tools exist to facilitate the assembly of building materials into physical structures. A subset of these tools and techniques are focused on affixing building materials to previously installed structural components using various fasteners. For example, hammers and screw drivers are used to affix plywood sheeting and drywall to studded construction framing using nails and screws. Conventionally, such installation is labor intensive and involves multiple steps including measuring and/or marking the building material, aligning the building material to the structural component, and affixing the building material to the structural component using some attachment device. Some or all of these steps may be complicated due to the physical dimensions and characteristics of the building material and structural components, as well as the requirements of local building codes.

Many different tools are used to perform these techniques. For example, an installer may use a t-square, ruler, and/or level to make measurements; a pencil, chalk or pen to mark the positions in the building material targeted for fasteners; a t-square or level to align the building material to the structural component and a hammer and nails and/or a drill, screwdriver and screws to affix the building material to the structural component. Various technological improvements have been made in these tools, such as, for example, pneumatic nailers and screw guns. These technological improvements provide economic value by increasing the productivity of the installer.

SUMMARY

The applicant has recognized that installers often forgo measurement and marking and simply apply fasteners without guidance. Conventionally, marking the building material at targeted fastener locations often takes more time than actually applying the fasteners. Thus, at least one embodiment of the present invention may provide for a construction tool and process that increases the productivity of the installer of building materials. More specifically, at least one embodiment may increase the productivity of the installer when fastening building materials to structural components, such as, for example a housing frame

Still other aspects, embodiments, and advantages of these exemplary aspects and embodiments, are discussed in detail below. Moreover, it is to be understood that both the foregoing information and the following detailed description are merely illustrative examples of various aspects and embodiments, and are intended to provide an overview or framework for understanding the nature and character of the claimed aspects and embodiments. The accompanying drawings are included to provide illustration and a further understanding of the various aspects and embodiments, and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification. The drawings, together with the remainder of the specification, serve to explain principles and operations of the described and claimed aspects and embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings are not intended to be drawn to scale. In the drawings, each identical or nearly identical element that is illustrated in various figures is represented by a like numeral. For purposes of clarity, not every element may be labeled in every drawing. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a fastener guidance tool in accord with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a flow chart of a process for installing building materials according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an illustration of a prototype fastener guidance tool according to one embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of a fastener guidance tool in accord with an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

According to some embodiments of the present invention, there may be provided a fastener guidance tool that may direct the placement of fasteners on and/or within building materials according to a defined pattern. The building materials that may be fastened using embodiments of the present invention include sheetrock and plywood, although other building materials may be so fastened. The fastener guidance tool may be constructed of any suitable material. A non-limiting list of suitable materials may include aluminum, plastic, steel, copper, wood and medium-density fiberboard, but other materials may be used.

It is to be appreciated that embodiments of the methods and apparatuses discussed herein are not limited in application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the accompanying drawings. The methods and apparatuses are capable of implementation in other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways. Examples of specific implementations are provided herein for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be limiting. In particular, acts, elements and features discussed in connection with any one or more embodiments are not intended to be excluded from a similar role in any other embodiments. Also, the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. The use herein of “including,” “comprising,” “having,” “containing,” “involving,” and variations thereof is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items.

The fastener guidance tool may be configured, in general, into an offset T shape design. FIG. 1 illustrates such a fastener guidance tool 9 in which a longitudinal member 7 may be coupled to a longitudinal member 13 and to a lateral member 11 by a coupler 8. The lateral member 11 may have a lip 12 and may be coupled, in turn, to a positioning tab 6, a level 4, a lateral member 10 and a stabilizing tab 5.

The longitudinal member 7 may include, as shown in FIG. 1, a front face 20, a back face 21 and two opposed edges 22 and 23. The longitudinal member 7 may be fabricated in various lengths, widths and depths or may have adjustable dimensions. For example, in one embodiment, the longitudinal member 7 may have a uniform cross-section and may be four feet long by one and three-quarter inches wide by one-quarter inch deep. In another embodiment, to increase the strength of the longitudinal member 7, the width may be two or more inches. The cross-section of longitudinal member 7 may be shaped into various forms. For example, in one embodiment a cross-section of the longitudinal member 7 may have a rectangular shape. In another embodiment, the cross-section of the longitudinal member 7 may be shaped into a low profile C channel for enhanced stability and ridgidity. In yet another embodiment, the edge of the longitudinal member 7 may be marked as a ruler. The markings may be spaced according to any measurement system, including the imperial and/or metric systems. The markings may be formed in a material, for example luminescent material or highly reflective material, that enables an installer to see the markings in low light conditions, for example in little or no light.

The longitudinal member 7 may form a series of spaced apertures 101-107 that may extend from the front face 20 through the back face 21. Each of the apertures may be sized to receive various attachment devices including, for example, pneumatic nailers and/or screw guns, or may be sized based on the width of structural components 200. In one embodiment, for example, the apertures 101-107 may have a diameter of one and one-half inches, which is the width of a common framing stud and provides a safe, convenient and realistic guidance for the attachment device. In other embodiments, the apertures 101-107 may have varying sizes or may be individually or collectively adjustable in size. In still more embodiments, the series of spaced apertures 101-107 may be disposed at regular or irregular intervals or may be adjustably positioned relative to one another. In one particular embodiment, the centers of the apertures 102-106 are positioned eight inches apart, while the center of the apertures 101 and 107 are positioned less than eight inches from the center of the adjacent apertures to accommodate common building material dimensions. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the series of spaced apertures 101-107 includes seven apertures, although according to the present invention any number of apertures may be used in any given embodiment. Various configurations of aperture number, size and position enable an installer to optimally fasten building materials of various sizes and compositions to previously installed structural components using various attachment devices. Moreover, these various configurations may enable an installer to more easily comply with local building codes and increase the structural integrity of the construction.

The longitudinal member 13 may be formed in any configuration suitable to enable an installer to physically manipulate the fastener guidance tool 9. In one embodiment, the longitudinal member 13 may be a center footed pull handle. In another embodiment, the longitudinal member 13 may be adjustably coupled to the longitudinal member 7 by a coupler that, when disengaged, may allow the longitudinal member 13 to be rotated or otherwise moved relative to the longitudinal member 7, and that, when engaged, prevents the longitudinal member 13 from rotating or otherwise moving thusly.

The lateral member 11 may include, as shown in FIG. 1, a front face 30, a back face 31 and two opposed edges 32 and 33. The lateral member 11 maybe be fabricated in various lengths, widths and depths or may have adjustable dimensions. For example, in one embodiment, the lateral member 11 may have a uniform cross-section and may be sixteen inches long by one inch wide by one-quarter inch deep. In another embodiment, the lateral member 11 may be sized to allow for measuring the distance between structural components. For example, in one embodiment, the lateral member 11 may have a length of fourteen and three-eights inches to facilitate verification that adjacent 2×4 wall studs are sixteen inches apart on center.

The lateral member 11 may be shaped into various forms. In one embodiment, the cross-section of lateral member 11 may be a simple rectangle. In another embodiment, the cross-section of lateral member 11 may be shaped into an L shape with a lip 12 that extends away from the plane of longitudinal member 7. The lip 12 may allow the tool to sit positively atop a sheet of building material. In still another embodiment, the cross-section of lateral member 11 may be shaped into a C channel. In yet another embodiment, the edge of the lateral member 11 may be marked as a ruler. The markings may be spaced according to any measurement system, including the imperial and/or metric systems. The markings may be formed in a material, for example luminescent material or highly reflective material, that enables an installer to see the markings in low light conditions, for example in little or no light.

The coupler 8 may adjustably or non-adjustably couple the longitudinal member 7 to the lateral member 11. In one embodiment, the coupler 8 may include one or more rivets. In other embodiments, the coupler 8 may include an axle or similar device to enable the longitudinal member 7 to move rotationally with respect to the lateral member 11. In another embodiment, the coupler 8 may include a securing device that, when disengaged, allows the longitudinal member 7 to slide longitudinally with respect to lateral member 11, and that, when engaged, prevents such longitudinal movement. In still another embodiment, the coupler 8 may include a securing device that, when disengaged, allows the lateral member 11 to slide laterally with respect to the longitudinal member 7, and that, when engaged, prevents such lateral movement. In yet another embodiment, the coupler 8 may allow for the longitudinal member 7 to be decoupled from the lateral member 11. Various angular and positional configurations of the lateral member 11 and the longitudinal member 7 may enable an installer to optimally fasten building materials to structural components previous installed at any angle relative to the building materials. Further, longitudinal member 7, when decoupled from lateral member 11, may be used where obstructions such as rafters may hinder usage of the tool in a coupled configuration.

The positioning tab 6 may be hinged to swing between extended and non-extended positions. When in the extended position, positioning tab 6 extends beyond the lip 12 of lateral member 11 to enable it to make contact with objects that are located behind the building material 110, such as the structural components 200. These structural components 200 may include, among other examples, common 2×4 framing studs. In one embodiment, the positioning tab 6 may be positioned at an offset from the longitudinal axis of the longitudinal member 7 to align the apertures 101-107 with the structural components 200 to which the building material 110 will be fastened. In another embodiment, the positioning tab 6 may be adjustably coupled to lateral member 11 by a securing device that, when disengaged, enables positioning tab 6 to slide laterally along lateral member 11, and that, when engaged, prevents such sliding. An installer may use this feature to align longitudinal member 7 with structural components of various dimensions. When in the non-extended position, positioning tab 6 may expose a hook or some other fastener, as shown by 302 in FIG. 3, to allow an installer to hang the fastener guidance tool 9 on some other object, such as the building material 110, a ladder, etc.

The stabilizing tab 5 may extend below the lateral member 11 so that when the lateral member 5 is resting flush atop the building material 110, the stabilizing tab 5 extends below the upper edge 121 of the building material 110 and abuts the face 120 of the building material 110. Thereby the stabilizing tab 5 enables an installer to securely position the fastener guidance tool 6 by applying force normal to the plane of the building material 110.

The lateral member 10 may be formed in any configuration suitable to enable an installer to physically manipulate the fastener guidance tool 9. In one embodiment, the lateral member 10 may be a center footed pull handle. In another embodiment, the lateral member 10 may be adjustably coupled to the lateral member 11 by a coupler that, when disengaged, may allow the lateral member 10 to be rotated or otherwise moved relative to the lateral member 11, and that, when engaged, prevents the lateral member 10 from rotating or otherwise moving thusly.

The level 4 may be any level known to those of skill in the art and may be adjustably coupled to the lateral member 11 by a coupler that, when disengaged, allows the level 4 to rotate relative to lateral member 11, and that, when engaged, prevents the level 4 from rotating thusly. In another embodiment, the level 4 may be removably coupled to the lateral member 11. Using this embodiment, an installer may remove the level 4 from the fastener guidance tool 9 and use the level 4 in areas where the entire fastener guidance tool 9 cannot be used.

Embodiments may include other elements without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, in one embodiment, an attachment bracket (not shown) may be coupled to the lower end of the longitudinal member 7 to enable the tool to be used upside down. Such use could be needed, for example, when a final course of plywood sheeting is to be affixed to a roof with roof rafters already in place.

FIG. 2 depicts a process 200 for building material installation that may employ a fastener guidance tool. At block 202, process 200 begins. At block 204, an installer abuts building material to a structural component. The building material and the structural component may be composed of any suitable material. In one embodiment the building material may be, for example, sheet rock and the structural component may be a wooden 2×4 framing stud, while in another embodiment the building material may be plywood sheets.

At block 206, the installer may align the fastener guidance tool with the structural component. In one embodiment, the act of aligning may include extending a positioning tab, or some other physical alignment device, beyond the back of a lateral member element of the fastener guidance tool. In another embodiment, the act of aligning may include resting the fastener guidance tool atop the building material with the fastener guiding member resting against the building material on the side opposite the structural component. The installer may then slide the fastener guidance tool laterally until the positioning tab, or some other physical alignment device, comes in contact with the structural component behind the building material and causes the fastener guidance tool to stop its lateral movement. In this embodiment, when the fastener guidance tool is so stopped, the fastener guidance tool will be aligned with the structural member. In another embodiment, the act of aligning may include adjusting the positions of the elements of the fastener guidance tool. For instance, a lateral member element may be adjusted relative to a longitudinal member element.

At block 208, the installer may fasten the building material to the structural component as directed by the fastener guidance tool. In one embodiment, the act of fastening may include inserting an attachment tool through an opening in the fastener guidance tool and actuating the attachment tool. This act may be repeated several times to ensure that the building material is securely fastened to the structural component. The attachment tool may be any suitable attachment tool including a pneumatic nailer and/or screw gun.

At block 210, process 200 ends. Process 200 may be repeated several times during an overall construction project to, for example, finishing the interior of a structure with drywall or finishing the exterior with plywood sheeting. The acts of process 200 may be performed sequentially on multiple pieces of building material without departing from the scope of the present invention. In one exemplary embodiment, several pieces of building material may first be positioned near the structural components before fastening each using the fastener guidance tool.

Having thus described several aspects of at least one embodiment of this invention, it is to be appreciated various alterations, modifications, and improvements will readily occur to those skilled in the art. Such alterations, modifications, and improvements are intended to be part of this disclosure, and are intended to be within the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the foregoing description and drawings are by way of example only.