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Rim overflow

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Title: Rim overflow.
Abstract: A sink assembly provides an enhanced overflow system for an under-counter mountable sink. The sink has an overflow cutout with an open top formed adjacent an upper rim of the basin of the sink. When the sink is mounted to the bottom surface of a counter top, the sink and counter together form an overflow opening, thereby permitting the overflow to be more easily concealed and increasing the fill capacity of the sink. Methods of installing such sink assemblies are also disclosed. ...


USPTO Applicaton #: #20100251477 - Class: 4680 (USPTO) -


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20100251477, Rim overflow.

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US 20100251477 A1 20101007 US 12416473 20090401 12 20060101 A
E
03 C 1 24 F I 20101007 US B H
US 4680 RIM OVERFLOW Bates Michael R.
Sheboygan Falls WI US
omitted US
QUARLES & BRADY LLP
411 E. WISCONSIN AVENUE, SUITE 2040 MILWAUKEE WI 53202-4497 US

A sink assembly provides an enhanced overflow system for an under-counter mountable sink. The sink has an overflow cutout with an open top formed adjacent an upper rim of the basin of the sink. When the sink is mounted to the bottom surface of a counter top, the sink and counter together form an overflow opening, thereby permitting the overflow to be more easily concealed and increasing the fill capacity of the sink. Methods of installing such sink assemblies are also disclosed.

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

Not applicable.

STATEMENT OF FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to sinks. More particularly this invention relates to undercounter mountable sinks provided with improved overflow structures.

Conventionally sinks have a rimmed basin mounted to a counter top. Water from a faucet or other water supply is directed into the basin, where it collects and typically then flows down a lower drain.

However, in some cases, the basin of the sink may become overfilled with water. This can occur if the opening to the drain is blocked while the water is still running. This can occur due to the drain being left closed too long when the water is running, or the speed of the water exceeding the drainage capacity of the drain due to clogging or the like.

To prevent the spilling of water over the rim into the room in such a situation, many sinks have an integrally formed overflow outlet along the sides of the basin. See e.g. U.S. Pat. Nos. 306,929 and 321,973. Once the water in the basin reaches the level of overflow opening, the excess water pours into the opening, down an overflow channel extending therefrom, and then to a drain. Thus, regardless of whether the main basin drain is closed, the sink is protected against overflows.

However, from a design perspective such overflows can be ornamentally disruptive. Thus, there have been attempts to partially conceal the overflow opening by locating the overflow on the side of the basin wall nearest to the user. However, for basins with distinctly sloped walls, such an overflow will still be visible from many viewing angles.

Moreover, such overflows are typically punched through the basin's side wall at least one-half inch down from the top of the sink, to minimize manufacturing problems. However, that can significantly reduce the volume of water the basin can hold before the overflow starts. Thus, the plan view area of the sink will need to be greater for any given desired volume of water for the fill.

Hence, a need exists for a sink having an overflow that is more concealed, and has greater fill capacity.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A sink assembly is disclosed which has a counter having a top surface and a bottom surface, with an opening extending through the counter. An under-counter mountable sink is mounted to the bottom surface of the counter about the opening. The under-counter mountable sink includes a basin having walls extending from an upper rim down to a drain opening.

A drain passage extends from the drain opening. An overflow cutout is formed along the upper rim of the basin. The overflow cutout has a lower lip below the upper rim and an open top. An overflow channel extends from the overflow cutout to the drain passage to place the overflow cutout in communication with the drain passage. A portion of the bottom surface of the counter and the overflow cutout together define an opening of the overflow channel such that if the water level in the basin exceeds the lower lip of the overflow opening, then the water flows over the lower lip, into the overflow channel, and into the drain passage. In one form of the sink assembly the bottom surface of the counter serves as a wall of the overflow channel.

In another form of the sink assembly there is a sealant (e.g. a silicone line) located between the upper rim and the bottom surface of the counter. The sealant forms a seal between the upper rim and the bottom surface of the counter, and does so proximate the overflow channel.

In another aspect the invention provides an under-counter mountable sink having a basin with walls extending from an upper rim down to a drain opening. A drain passage extends from the drain opening. An overflow cutout is formed along the upper rim of the basin. The overflow cutout has a lower lip below the upper rim and an open top. An overflow channel extends from the overflow cutout to the drain passage to place the overflow cutout in communication with the drain passage.

The sink is mountable under a counter and, if so mounted, and if a level of water in the basin exceeds the lower lip of the overflow cutout, the water would be able to flow over the lower lip, through the overflow channel, and into the drain passage.

In a particularly preferred form of the under-counter mountable sink, the sink is made of a ceramic material where a portion of the overflow cutout is positioned within one-half inch of the upper rim of the under-counter mountable sink.

In another form of the invention, the under-counter mountable sink may define only a portion of the overflow channel, such that the open top can permit a counter to form another part thereof.

In still another form of the invention, the upper rim may have an inner periphery and an outer periphery substantially equally spaced from one another about a perimeter of the upper rim except near the overflow flow channel. Proximate the overflow channel, a distance between the inner periphery and the outer periphery may be locally decreased to provide the overflow channel.

In other forms a wall of the basin may double as a wall of the overflow channel, the overflow channel may extend in part at an angle towards the drain passage, and the overflow channel may place the basin in communication with the drain passage below the drain opening.

In yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of installing an under-counter mountable sink to a counter to form an overflow. The sink has a basin having walls extending from an upper rim down to a drain opening. A drain passage extends from the drain opening. An overflow cutout is formed along the upper rim of the basin. The overflow cutout has a lower lip below the upper rim and an open top. An overflow channel extends from the overflow cutout to the drain passage to place the overflow cutout in communication with the drain passage.

The method involves mounting the under-counter mountable sink to a bottom surface of the counter such that the bottom surface of the counter and the overflow cutout each define a portion of the overflow opening. Optionally, a line of sealant may be positioned between the counter and the under-counter mountable sink.

As will be better appreciated from the following description and accompanying drawings, the present invention places the overflow closer to the top of the sink, thereby permitting it to be more concealed. Moreover, the sink can be formed without a subsequent punching operation.

Further, as the overflow opening is located at the top of the basin, the sink can hold more water than a similarly-shaped sink having an overflow opening punched in the side wall of the basin at a lower position. For those tasks which the user is intentionally filling the sink with water (e.g., soaking of clothing, preparing a reservoir for shaving, and the like), this improves the functionality of the sink, better maximizing the depth of the basin.

These and still other advantages of the invention will be apparent from the detailed description and drawings. What follows is merely a description of one preferred embodiment of the present invention. To assess the full scope of the invention the claims should be looked to as this preferred embodiment is not intended to be the only embodiment within the scope of the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a left, top, frontal perspective view of an under-counter mountable sink of the present invention installed to create a sink assembly of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1, albeit slightly enlarged, and without showing the counter;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring first to FIG. 1, a sink assembly 10 is shown including a counter 12 and an under-counter mountable sink 14 mounted under the counter 12. The under-counter mountable sink 14 can be made from any one or more of a number of materials including ceramic, metal, and/or plastic. A faucet and one or more control handles (not shown) may be positioned on top of the counter 12, adjacent sink 14.

As best seen in FIG. 2, the under-counter mountable sink 14 has a basin 16 having walls 18 extending down from an upper rim 20 to a drain opening 22. A drain passage 24, best seen in FIG. 3, extends down from the drain opening 22. The drain passage 24 typically is then connected to a sewer line in a manner well understood by the art.

The drain passage 24 could house a controllable plug or stop that can be actuated via a pull-up knob or other means to selectively seal the drain opening 22. By sealing the drain opening 22, a user can prevent water from draining out from the bottom of the basin 16, thus (when the faucet is supplying water) filling the basin 16.

An upper rim 20 may be integrally formed with the basin walls 18. In the embodiment shown the side walls extend down all the way to the drain opening 22. However, side walls may instead blend into a generally horizontally configured bottom wall, with the bottom wall then linking to the drain opening.

The upper rim 20 has a substantially planar surface 26 that extends in a generally horizontal direction when the under-counter mountable sink 14 is positioned in a use position (i.e., rim side up and drain side down). The substantially planar surface 26 is bounded by an inner periphery 28, nearest the basin and defining the transition between the upper rim 20 and the walls 18 of the basin 16, and an outer periphery 30. The planar surface 26 of the upper rim 20 is designed to be positioned against the bottom surface of the counter 12.

Now with particular reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, note that along the inner periphery 28 of the upper rim 20 an overflow cutout 32 is formed. Note that by using the term “cutout” we do not mean to require that anyone have actually cut out that portion. Rather, that structure may also be formed by molding in a shape as if it had been cut out. Thus, “cutout” means a structure shaped like a cutout, regardless of how formed.

In any event, the overflow cutout 32 has an open top 34 on the planar surface 26 of the upper rim 20. As best seen in FIG. 4, the overflow cutout 32 is substantially U-shaped having a lower lip 38 that curves upward on either lateral side to a pair of side walls 40. The overflow cutout 32 extends back from the inner periphery 28 to connect to an overflow channel 36. The overflow channel 36 and the overflow cutout preferably share the open top 34 on the planar surface 26 of the upper rim 20.

In the form shown, the inner periphery 28 and the outer periphery 30 are substantially equally spaced from one another about a perimeter of the upper rim 20 except proximate the overflow channel 36. Proximate the overflow channel 36, the distance between the inner periphery 28 and the outer periphery 30 is locally decreased to provide for the placement of the overflow channel 36. However, in other forms the distance between the inner periphery 28 and the outer periphery 30 could be substantially equal even around the overflow channel 36 by increasing the material of the upper rim 20 in this region.

As best seen in FIG. 3, the overflow channel 36 extends from the overflow cutout 32 to the drain passage 24 placing the two in communication with each other. The overflow channel 36 is connected to the drain passage 24 at a junction 42 located downstream of the drain opening 22.

The overflow channel 36 is, in part, integrally formed in the under-counter mountable sink 14 and extends back at an angle back towards the drain passage 24. As such, the overflow channel 36 includes the wall 18 that on one side forms a surface 44 of the basin 16 and on the other side forms a surface 46 of the overflow channel 36. The overflow channel 36 further includes an outer wall 48 that provides the remaining surfaces of the overflow channel 36. This outer wall 48 can be generally U-shaped in cross section with each of the ends being joined to the wall 18.

Depending on the particular geometry of the under-counter mountable sink 14, the overflow channel 36 may narrow as it extends from the overflow cutout 32 to the junction 42 between the overflow channel 36 and the drain passage 24. However, the overflow channel 36 could also have a generally uniform cross-sectional area.

With reference to FIGS. 1, 3, and 4, a preferred particular manner in which the under-counter mountable sink 14 is mounted relative to the counter 12 is shown. The counter 12 has a top surface 50 and a bottom surface 52 with a opening 54 extending through the counter 12. The opening 54 is generally shaped and sized to match the inner periphery 28 of the upper rim 20, with the exception of the overflow cutout 32. The under-counter mountable sink 14 is positioned such that the inner periphery 28 of the upper rim 20 generally aligns with a side wall 56 that defines the perimeter of the opening 54.

As the opening 54 is generally sized and shaped to match the inner periphery 28 of the upper rim 20, the side wall 56 is preferably structured to smoothly transition into the wall 18 of the basin 16. In the form shown, this means that the side wall 56 extends in an essentially vertical direction to match the essentially vertically extending portions of the wall 18 of the basin 16 near the mounting seam. By doing this, the side wall 56 of the counter 12 can effectively act as an extended wall of the sink. Although the side wall 56 is shown as having sharp 90 degree edges with the top surface 50 and the bottom surface 52 of the counter 12, these edges could have a bevel, a radius, or the like to provide the desired aesthetic appearance.

The under-counter mountable sink 14 may be mounted or secured to the bottom surface 52 of the counter 12 in a number of ways. The sink 14 could be secured to the counter 12 using a strong adhesive or the like which permanently bonds the planar surface 26 to the upper rim 20 to the counter 12. In other forms, the sink 14 could be secured to the counter 12 using brackets, bolts, screws, other fasteners or the like. In some forms, the sink 14 could be additionally supported by structural elements other than the counter 12 to reduce the stress on the counter 12 of supporting the sink 14. These structural elements may be concealed by a vanity, cabinetry or the like.

Regardless, most preferably there is a bead line of sealant 58 positioned to form a seal proximate the overflow cutout 32 between the planar surface 26 of the upper rim 20 of the sink 14 and the bottom surface 52 of the counter 12. The sealant 58 helps prevent water from leaking between the sink 14 and the counter 12. Preferably the sealant 58 extends around the entire periphery of the upper rim 20 such that, in the event any water collects over the upper rim 20, the water does not leak between the sink 14 and the counter 12. It is contemplated that in some forms, the sealant 58 could also be an adhesive that mounts the sink 14 to the counter 12.

When the under-counter mountable sink 14 is mounted to the counter 12, a portion of the bottom surface 52 of the counter 12 and the overflow cutout 32 together define an opening 60 of the overflow channel 36. The bottom surface 52 of the counter 12 also forms a top wall 62 of the overflow channel 36. The sealant 58 around the open top 34 of the overflow cutout 32 assists in retaining any water that flows through the overflow channel 36 within it.

In the event that the drain opening 22 of the under-counter mountable sink 14 is blocked/closed when the sink 14 is already filled with water and water is still running, once the water level rises to the height of the overflow opening 60, any additional water is routed through the overflow channel 36 and down the drain passage 24. Once the water level in the basin 16 reaches the level of the opening 60 (and more specifically exceeds the lower lip 38 of the opening 60), then the water flows over the lower lip 38, into the overflow channel 36, and into the drain passage 24. Hence, under typical operating conditions, the overflow prevents water from spilling from the sink 14 when the water level becomes too high.

Thus, an under-counter mountable sink for a sink assembly is provided with an improved overflow capability. It should be appreciated that various other modifications and variations to the preferred embodiment can be made within the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the top view shape need not be octagonal (as distinguished from rectangular or oval). Therefore, the invention should not be limited to the described embodiment. To ascertain the full scope of the invention, the following claims should be referenced.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

The invention provides a sink having improved overflow capability.

What is claimed is: 1. A sink assembly, comprising: a counter having a top surface and a bottom surface, with an opening extending through the counter; an under-counter mountable sink mounted to the bottom surface of the counter about the opening, the under-counter mountable sink having: a basin having walls extending from an upper rim down to a drain opening; a drain passage extending from the drain opening; an overflow cutout formed along the upper rim of the basin, the overflow cutout having a lower lip below the upper rim and an open top; and an overflow channel extending from the overflow cutout to the drain passage to place the overflow cutout in communication with the drain passage; wherein a portion of the bottom surface of the counter and the overflow cutout together define an opening of the overflow channel such that if a water level in the basin exceeds the lower lip of the overflow opening, water flows over the lower lip, into the overflow channel, and into the drain passage. 2. The sink assembly of claim 1, wherein the bottom surface of the counter serves as a wall of the overflow channel. 3. The sink assembly of claim 1, further comprising a sealant located between the upper rim and the bottom surface of the counter. 4. The sink assembly of claim 3, wherein the sealant forms a seal between the upper rim and the bottom surface of the counter. 5. The sink assembly of claim 4, wherein the sealant forms a seal between the upper rim and the bottom surface of the counter proximate the overflow channel. 6. An under-counter mountable sink, comprising: a basin having walls extending from an upper rim down to a drain opening; a drain passage extending from the drain opening; an overflow cutout formed along the upper rim of the basin, the overflow cutout having a lower lip below the upper rim and an open top; and an overflow channel extending from the overflow cutout to the drain passage to place the overflow cutout in communication with the drain passage; wherein the under-counter mountable sink is mountable under a counter and, if so mounted and if a level of water in the basin exceeds the lower lip of the overflow cutout, the water would be able to flow over the lower lip, through the overflow channel, and into the drain passage. 7. The under-counter mountable sink of claim 6, wherein the under-counter mountable sink comprises a ceramic material. 8. The under-counter mountable sink of claim 7, wherein a portion of the overflow cutout is positioned within one-half inch of the upper rim of the under-counter mountable sink. 9. The under-counter mountable sink of claim 6, wherein the under-counter mountable sink defines only a portion of the overflow channel, such that the open top can permit a counter to form another part thereof. 10. The under-counter mountable sink of claim 6, wherein the upper rim has an inner periphery and an outer periphery substantially equally spaced from one another about a perimeter of the upper rim except proximate the overflow channel in which a distance between the inner periphery and the outer periphery is locally decreased to provide the overflow channel. 11. The under-counter mountable sink of claim 6, wherein a wall of the basin doubles as a wall of the overflow channel. 12. The under-counter mountable sink of claim 6, wherein the overflow channel in part extends at an angle towards the drain passage. 13. The under-counter mountable sink of claim 6, wherein the overflow channel places the basin in communication with the drain passage below the drain opening. 14. A method of installing an under-counter mountable sink to a counter to form an overflow, the under-counter mountable sink having: a basin having walls extending from an upper rim down to a drain opening; a drain passage extending from the drain opening; an overflow cutout formed along the upper rim of the basin, the overflow cutout having a lower lip below the upper rim and an open top; and an overflow channel extending from the overflow cutout to the drain passage to place the overflow cutout in communication with the drain passage; the method comprising: mounting the under-counter mountable sink to a bottom surface of the counter such that the bottom surface of the counter and the overflow cutout each define a portion of the overflow opening. 15. The method of claim 14, further comprising forming a seal between the counter and the under-counter mountable sink.


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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20100251477 A1
Publish Date
10/07/2010
Document #
12416473
File Date
04/01/2009
USPTO Class
/4680
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
03C1/24
Drawings
3



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