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Tongue and groove board and fastener assembly

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Title: Tongue and groove board and fastener assembly.
Abstract: A wall board assembly and fastening system is provided. The wall board assembly has a first wall board having a tongue on at least one edge thereof. A second wall board is provided having a groove on at least one edge thereof for matingly receiving the tongue of the first wall board. A first opening is provided in at least one of the first and second wall boards having a fastener inserted therein that permits movement. A second opening is also provided in at least one of the first and second wall boards. The second opening has a fastener inserted therein that provides a stationary attachment of the wall board. As a result, the wall board assembly is fixed at a stationary point, but has a tolerance or range of movement about the fastener permitting movement. A method of assembling a wall board assembly using the foregoing is also disclosed. ...


- Minneapolis, MN, US
Inventors: Ronald Jean Degen, Fausto Bejarano Castillo, Pablo Rodriguez Acosta
USPTO Applicaton #: #20080148666 - Class: 525061 (USPTO) - 06/26/08 - Class 525 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20080148666, Tongue and groove board and fastener assembly.

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CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(s)

This application claims benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/862,371, filed on Oct. 20, 2006, entitled “Tongue and Groove Board and Fastener Assembly” (Attorney Docket No. 188026/US), the contents of which are incorporated herein in it's entirety for all purposes.

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to wall and panel devices, systems, and methods, and the means of fastening same.

BACKGROUND

Wall and panel assembly systems are well known. These systems typically include a wall board, or, for example, a siding board, which is attached to a rigid structure, such as a stud or frame by means of a fastening device. Various panels and boards are known. Common examples include products such as siding, wall board, fiber board, and sheet rock. These products are composed of and available in a variety of different materials. Common devices used for fastening the boards include threaded fasteners, such as screws and bolts, as well as nails. These systems require the installer to have on hand the fasteners needed for assembly. Moreover, the installer must have the requisite skill and time to align and fasten the panels or boards to the specific location in the correct orientation. As a result, it is often difficult for the installer to create a consistent, uniform panel assembly.

Attempts have been made to solve this problem in the area of siding. Siding panels are available that include interlocking siding boards. These interlocking members, however, still require a nail or screw to be directly inserted into the board to fasten same in place. Moreover, an additional drawback of such a system is that it does not permit any play or freedom of movement of the boards, particularly when a material is used that expands and contracts due to different climate conditions. As a result, the installer must accurately install each panel. Moreover, the failure to allow room for expansion and contraction results in wear and tear on the structure that supports the panels, as well as the boards or panels themselves.

Accordingly, a need exists in the art for a wall panel assembly system, device and method that provides for the quick assembly of components in a uniform manner, while at the same time providing for play in both the assembly and permitting expansion and/or contraction of the panel or board attached by the system.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A wall board assembly is provided. Generally, the wall board assembly has a first wall board having a tongue on at least one edge thereof. A second wall board is provided having a groove on at least one edge thereof for matingly receiving the tongue of the first wall board. A first opening is provided in at least one of the first and second wall boards having a fastener inserted therein that permits movement and/or expansion of the wall board. A second opening is also provided in at least one of the first and second wall boards. The second opening has a fastener, namely a fixed fastener, inserted therein that provides a stationary attachment of the wall board. As a result, the wall board assembly is fixed at a stationary fixed point, but has a tolerance or range of movement for allowing movement and/or expansion about the fastener(s) permitting movement.

A wall board fastening system for an assembly is also provided. The wall board fastening system comprises providing a board having a first opening for insertion of a fastener and a second opening for insertion of a fastener. The first fastener has a diameter smaller than the diameter of the first opening, and is inserted into the first opening. This permits movement of the board with the fastener in place. A second fastener substantially the same diameter as the second opening is inserted into the second opening. The second fastener may be equivalent in size to the first fastener, but includes a surrounding member to substantially fill the second opening. As a result, a stationary or fixed attachment of the board is provided.

The method of assembling a wall board assembly using the foregoing comprises the steps of providing a first wall board having a tongue on at least one edge. A second wall board having a groove on at least one edge for matingly receiving the tongue of the first wall board is also provided. The tongue of the first wall board is engaged with the groove of the second wall board. A first opening is provided in at least one of the first and second wall boards. A second opening is also provided in at least one of the first and second wall boards. A fastener having a diameter smaller than a diameter of the first opening is inserted into the first opening. A second fastener having a diameter substantially the same diameter as the opening is inserted into the second opening. Finally, the first and second fasteners are secured in their respective positions on a stud or frame member so as to hang and/or retain the wall board assembly in place.

Other aspects, features and details of the present invention can be more completely understood by reference to the following detailed description in conjunction with the drawings, and from the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tongue and groove wall board according to a first embodiment.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a tongue and groove wall board according to a second embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a tongue and groove wall board according to a third embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a tongue and groove wall board according to a fourth embodiment.

FIG. 5 is an end elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 4 having an additional hard surface or rigid member attached.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a wall board.

FIG. 7 is a perspective cross-sectional view of the wall board of FIG. 6, taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 6 absent fasteners.

FIG. 8 is a perspective cross-sectional view of the wall board of FIG. 6, taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 6 having fasteners therein.

FIG. 9 is a cut away cross-section view of a groove of the wall board.

FIG. 10 is a cut away cross-section view of an alternative embodiment of a groove of the wall board.

FIG. 11 is a cut away cross-section view of a tongue of an embodiment of the wall board.

FIG. 12 is a cut away cross-section view of a tongue of an alternative embodiment of the wall board.

FIG. 13 is a cut away cross-section view of the tongue of an alternative embodiment of the wall board.

FIG. 14 is a perspective cut away view of a partial assembly of tongue and groove wall boards.

FIG. 15 is a cut away cross-section view of the engagement of a tongue and a groove in an embodiment of the assembly.

FIG. 16 is a cut away cross-section view of the engagement of a tongue and a groove in an alternative embodiment of the assembly.

FIG. 17 is a cut away cross-section view of the engagement of a tongue and a groove in an alternative embodiment of the assembly.

FIG. 18 is a partial exploded, perspective view of a rivet fastening device in an embodiment of the assembly.

FIG. 19 is a perspective, cut away view of the fastening device of FIG. 18 inserted into a wall board.

FIG. 20 is a perspective, cut away view of an assembly disclosed herein.

FIG. 21 is a top plan view of the tongue and groove wall board assembly.

FIG. 22 is a cut away top plan view of an alternative embodiment of the assembly.

FIG. 23 is a cut away top plan view of an alternative embodiment of the assembly.

FIG. 24 is a cut away top plan view of an alternative embodiment of the assembly.

FIG. 25 is an exploded view of a stationary rivet fastener device in an embodiment of the assembly.

FIG. 26 is an exploded view of a fastener permitting movement in an embodiment of the assembly.

FIG. 27 is a cut away plan view of a wall board assembly having alternative fasteners.

FIG. 28 is an end elevational view of a fastener device of an alternative embodiment.

FIG. 29 is a perspective view of the fastener device shown in FIG. 28.

FIG. 30 is a cross-section view of the washer shown in FIG. 29.

FIG. 31 is a perspective view of a fastener device, a screw having breakable flanges, of an alternative embodiment.

FIG. 32 is a perspective view of the fastener device of FIG. 31, showing the flanges broken away.

FIG. 33 is a perspective view of a fastener device of an alternative embodiment.

FIG. 34 is an end elevational view of the fastener device shown in FIG. 31 taken along line 34-34 of FIG. 31.

FIG. 35 is an end elevational view of the fastener device shown in FIG. 31, taken along line 35-35 of FIG. 31.

FIG. 36 is a cut away side elevational view of the fastener device of FIG. 31.

FIG. 37A is a cut away side elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the fastener device shown in FIG. 36.

FIG. 37B is a cut away side elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the fastener device shown in FIG. 36.

FIG. 37C is a cut away side elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the fastener device shown in FIG. 36.

FIG. 37D is a cut away side elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the fastener device shown in FIG. 36.

FIG. 38 is a side elevational view of the fastener device of FIG. 31, partially inserted.

FIG. 39 is a side elevational view of the fastener device of FIG. 31, fully inserted.

FIG. 40 is a cross section view of taken along line 40-40 of FIG. 39.

FIG. 41 is a side elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the fastening device of FIG. 31.

FIG. 42 is a side elevational view of the fastener device of FIG. 41, fully inserted.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As will be seen generally from the Figures and the following description, a wall board assembly, a wall board fastening system and a method are provided. The wall board assembly, system and method comprise an arrangement and devices for quick and easy assembly of the wall board assembly at the construction site, reducing both cost and time in the assembly processes. The assembly and system further provides a means to uniformly attach the wall boards and to permit movement once the wall board is secured in place with a fastener.

The wall board assembly comprises a first wall board having a tongue on at least one edge thereof. A second wall board is provided having a groove on at least one edge thereof for matingly receiving the tongue of the first wall board. A first opening is provided in at least one of the first and second wall boards having a fastener inserted therein for permitting movement of the wall board about the fastener. A second opening is provided in at least one of the first and second wall boards having a stationary fastener inserted therein, so that the wall board does not move about the fastener, or moves only a minor amount.

Accordingly, the wall board fastening system using the foregoing assembly comprises one or more boards having a first opening for insertion of a fastener and a second opening for insertion of a fastener. A first fastener is provided having a diameter smaller than the diameter of the first opening. This fastener is inserted into the opening, permitting movement of the board with the fastener in place on a supporting structure. A second fastener having substantially the same diameter as the second opening is provided. The second fastener is inserted into the second opening, permitting a stationary attachment of the board(s).

In a preferred embodiment, each wall board may have a plurality of openings for insertion of fasteners, aligned in rows and columns. Each board preferably comprises at least four openings, but may have more than four openings depending of the board size and the distance between the structural frame components. In this arrangement, each wall may comprise two fasteners that are stationary, and two or more fasteners permitting movement. Preferably, the fasteners permitting movement have a diameter smaller than the diameter of the opening, and are inserted into the opening. The fasteners permitting movement allow the expansion and/or movement of the wall board with the fastener(s) in place. The fixed or stationary fasteners preferably comprise a diameter equivalent to the size of the opening and are inserted into the opening. The stationary fastener(s) may be equivalent in size to the fasteners permitting movement, but may include a surrounding member to substantially fill the opening. As a result, a stationary attachment of the board is provided.

The tongue and groove wall board(s) and their assembly will now be described in greater detail in reference to the Figures. Turning to FIGS. 1-17, the tongue and groove board assembly is illustrated in detail. As can be seen from FIGS. 1-4, each wall board 20 or 22 comprises a first edge 24, a second edge 26, a third edge 28, a fourth edge 30, a first side 32, and a second side 34. The thickness of the wall board 20, 22 may be of any dimension acceptable to the manufacturer or the user. In a preferred embodiment, the thickness is approximately ⅝th of an inch to 11/16th of an inch, and may include an additional structure 36 secured thereto by laminate, adhesive, fastener, or any means commonly available in the art (See, e.g., FIG. 5). Such additional structure may be, for example, an aluminum or steel sheet, providing a surface of greater hardness than the wall board material. However, any material acceptable to the user or manufacturer would be acceptable for the present embodiment. Likewise, the wall board 20, 22 may be composed of fiber board, fiber cement, masonite, wood, granite, plaster, polyurethane composites and/or any combination thereof. The use of “wall board” herein is for purposes of description only, and one of skill in the art would understand that the system, devices, and method described herein have numerous applications to other planar structures, including, but not limited to wall boards, fiber boards, siding, sheet rock, wood boards, plastic panels, composites, and combinations thereof.

In a first embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 1-3, the wall board 20 comprises a first groove 38 on at least one edge 24 thereof. For ease of reference, the following description will include reference to a single wall board 20, but any number of wall boards may be added to the structure described. A second groove 40 may be provided on a second edge 26 of the board 20. Preferably, the second groove 40 is provided on the edge 26 adjacent to, and perpendicular to the first edge 24, although an additional groove may be provided on any one or more edges. For example, a wall board may comprise a groove surrounding the entire board which would mate on all edges with a corresponding tongue.

In addition to the first and second grooves 38, 40 on the first and second edges 24, 26, the wall board 20 further comprises a first tongue 42 on the third edge 28 and a second tongue 42 on the fourth edge 30. Like the groove, the placement of the tongue may be on any one, any combination or all of the first edge 24, second edge 26, third edge 28 and/or fourth edge 30, in any combination, for mating with a corresponding groove.

In an alternative embodiment, as shown in FIG. 4, a wall board 20 may be provided with a tongue 46 on one edge 30 of the wall board 20 and a groove 48 on the opposing edge 26 of the wall board. As a result, a plurality of wall boards may be vertically stacked on top of one another or horizontally aligned in an interlocking manner.

In addition, the wall boards 20 described herein may comprise a first opening 50 extending from the first side 32 through to the second side 34 of the board 20. A second opening 52 may also be provided in the same board 20 or in an additional wall board 22. Alternatively, no openings may be provided, and the wall board 20 or 22 may be attached to a structure using a threaded fastener 54, such as a self-tapping or self-drilling screw, or a screw having flanges 120 or 172 as discussed in further detail below.

Each board preferably comprises at least four openings, but may have more than four openings depending of the board size and the distance between the structural frame components. Turning to FIGS. 6-8 in a preferred embodiment, each wall board 20 or 22 comprises openings 50, 52, 53, and/or 55 for the insertion of one or more fasteners 108, and/or 112. Preferably, as can be seen in FIGS. 6-8, the fasteners and openings may be aligned in rows and/or columns. More specifically, each wall board 20 or 22 preferably comprises at least two fixed or stationary fasteners 112. The remaining fasteners may comprise fasteners permitting movement 108. It is noted that while a specific arrangement and number(s) of fasteners are discussed above, variations thereon would be acceptable for the purposes provided, such as one, two, three, four or more fasteners for use with one, two, three, four or more wall boards in any combination thereof. Two stationary fasteners 112 and two fasteners permitting movement 108 are provided in a preferred embodiment. Correspondingly, at least four openings 50, 52, 53, 55 are provided for receiving the fasteners 108 and 112. More preferably, the foregoing arrangement may be provided on a single wall board.

The fasteners permitting movement 108, comprise of a diameter smaller than the diameter of the opening 50, 53, and are inserted into the opening. They allow the expansion and/or movement of the board with the fastener in place. The fixed or stationary fasteners 112 comprise a diameter of equivalent size to the size of the opening 52, 55 and are inserted into the opening. The fixed fasteners 112 may be equivalent in size to the fasteners permitting movement 108, but include a surrounding member 102 to substantially fill the opening. As a result, a stationary attachment of the board is provided.

Various wall boards are contemplated to contain the tongue(s) 42, 44 and groove(s) 38, 40 described herein. The tongue 44 of the wall board 20 mates with a groove 40 on an adjacent second wall board 22, thereby interlocking the first and second wall boards together (FIGS. 14-17). Any number of wall boards may be attached in this fashion. Referring to FIGS. 1-3, a wall board 20 of a preferred embodiment generally comprises a first outer member 56 and a second outer member 58 separated by an integral inner member 60. The inner member 60 is generally spaced a distance from an edge 62 of the first and second outer members to form a groove 38 between the first and second outer members 56, 58. In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 1, the first and second outer members 56, 58 are of the same length and the inner member 60 is offset from the first and second outer members 56, 58 so as to be positioned a distance above the top edge 64, 66 of the first outer member 56 and second outer member 58, forming a tongue 44 (the opposing side forming a groove 40), and spaced a distance from an edge 62 of the first and second outer members 56, 58, forming a groove 38 (the opposing side forming a tongue 42). The first outer member 56 and second outer member 58 lower edges 68 are also positioned a distance below the lower edge 70 of the inner member 60.

In an alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the first outer member 56 comprises a height shorter than the second outer member 58. In other words, the top edge 64 of the first outer member 56 terminates below the top edge 66 of the second outer member 58. In addition, the inner member 60 is offset from the first and second outer members 56, 58 as described above. However, the distance between the top edge 72 of the inner member 60 and the top edge 64 of first outer member 56 is greater than the distance between the top edge 72 of inner member 60 and the top edge 66 of second outer member 58 due to the first outer member 56 having a shorter height.

In the third embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the arrangement of inner and outer members 56, 68, 60 is similar to that shown in FIG. 1, but at least one of the outer members 56 includes a sloped outer surface 74 extending from the upper edge 64 of the outer member 56 to a point 76 a distance below the edge of the member.

In one embodiment, referring to FIG. 4, the first outer member 56 and second outer member 58 are of equal length and have co-terminus ends 62, so that the length and width of each of the first and second outer members is the same. Likewise, the length of the inner member 60 is the same as the outer members, but the inner member 60 is offset vertically from the outer members 56, 58, resulting in a groove 48 on one edge and a tongue 46 on the opposing edge of the board 20.

Referring to FIGS. 9-13 and 15-17, the cross-sections of the various tongues and grooves are illustrated. In FIGS. 9 and 10, the groove 38, 40, 48 is defined by two outer members 56, 58 separated by an integral inner member 60. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 9, the outer members 56, 58 are of equivalent dimensions and mirror images of each other. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 10, the groove 38, 40, 48 is formed by a first outer member 56, an inner member 60, and a second outer member 58 having a sloped side surface 74.

Three tongue configurations are also contemplated for mating with the above-described grooves. The tongue 42, 44, 46 of the embodiment shown in FIG. 11 comprises a protrusion 78 extending from the upper edge 64, 66 of the board defined by the outer and inner members 56, 58, 60. The shape and size of the protrusion 78, or tongue, matingly corresponds to the shape and size of the groove 38, 40, 48 into which the tongue 42, 44, 46 is to be inserted. In an alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 12, the tongue 42, 44, 46 comprises a shape and dimension as described hereinabove. However, a slope 80 is provided on a side of an outer member 56 or 58 on at least one side of the tongue. In a third embodiment shown in FIG. 13, the tongue 42, 44, 46 comprises a shape and size substantially as described above. However, on one side of the tongue a notch 82 is formed by a first section 84 and a second section 86 perpendicular to the first section. This notch 82 may be used in the assembly 88 for contact with a supporting member or insertion of, for example, a fastener 50 and/or 52 (See FIG. 21). In a preferred embodiment, the notch 82 provides a space into which a head of the screw may be inserted, thereby avoiding any unsightly appearance or rough edges caused by the head of the screw above an outer surface of the wall board assembly.

Accordingly, referring to FIGS. 14-17, the tongues 42, 44, 46 of the respective embodiments mate and interlock with grooves 38, 40, 48 in various configurations. FIG. 15 illustrates a tongue 42 of FIG. 11 mating with a groove 38 of FIG. 9. FIG. 16 illustrates a tongue 42 of FIG. 13 mating with a groove 38 of FIG. 9. FIG. 17 illustrates a tongue 42 of FIG. 12 mating with a groove 38 of FIG. 10. While specific arrangements are illustrated, the tongues and grooves may be assembled in any combination based upon the assembler's preferences.

The fastening system for the wall board assembly will now be described in further detail in reference to FIGS. 18-42. As can be seen from the Figures, various fasteners are acceptable for use in the embodiments disclosed, including but not limited to rivets, threaded fasteners such as screws, screws having flanges or breakable flanges, and bolts, nails, or any means commonly available for the assembly or attachment of panel materials such as is described above, or like building materials. In a preferred embodiment, referring to FIGS. 18 and 19, the fastener 90 comprises a rivet. The rivet 90 may comprise a first cap 92 at a first end 94, a shaft 96, and a second end 98 having a second cap 100. The rivet(s) 90 of the preferred embodiment may be inserted through the wall board 20, 22 directly, through an opening 50, 52 in the wall board or through a surrounding member 102, such as a bushing (see FIG. 25). Alternatively, a threaded fastening member 54, such as a screw, may be inserted in the same manner, namely, through a wall board 20, 22 directly, through an opening 50, 52, or through a surrounding member 102. A screw 54 having a recessed washer 104 may also be used with the embodiments disclosed (see FIGS. 28-30). The composition of the fasteners 90, 54 used with the present embodiment may be metal, such as galvanized or stainless steel, zinc, bronze, copper or aluminum, or may be of alternative compositions, such as plastics, composites, and other materials suitable for the manufacturer's and/or user's purposes.

Referring to FIGS. 20-24, the fastener 90 is used to attach the wall board 20, 22 or the assembly 88 to a structure 106 such as a stud or frame. Examples of variations on frame structure 106 are illustrated in FIGS. 21-24. A fastener 54 may be provided below the assembly 88, as is shown in FIG. 21, and may be used to assemble the frame structure 106. A first fastener 108 may be attached by insertion through an opening 50 provided in the wall board 20 and secured to a structural frame member 106 on one side of the wall board. An opening or space 50 may exist surrounding the shaft 96 of the fastener 108, due to the smaller diameter of the shaft in comparison to the diameter of the opening. As the fastener 108 is inserted directly through the frame member 106 and held in place by either threading into the frame or by means of a cap 92, 100, it does not move from its position. In addition, the opposing end 110 of the fastener 108 preferably comprises a diameter or width larger than the diameter or width of the opening. Thus, the wall board 20 is retained in position by the fastener 108, but is permitted to move a small distance about the shaft 96 of the fastener, the distance being dictated by the size of the opening 50 and the size of the shaft 96, or more specifically, the difference between these dimensions. As a result, a minor amount of play or tolerance for assembly 88, and/or room for expansion and contraction of the wall board 20 is provided around the fastener. In a preferred embodiment, one and more preferably, at least two fastening points 108 may be provided for each wall board.

A second attachment device or fastener 112 may also be provided extending through a second opening 52 in the wall board 20 or 22 and secured to a structural or frame member 106 in the same manner as described above. As with the above described first fastener or attachment member 108, the second fastener 112 has an end 114 with a diameter or width larger than the diameter or width of the second opening so as to cover the opening. The shaft 96 of the fastener 112 may be narrower than the second opening 52 to allow movement about the shaft. Alternatively, the fastener may be received within a surrounding member 102, such as a bushing. In a preferred embodiment, the bushing 102 is inserted into the opening 52 or around the shaft 96 of the fastener prior to insertion of the fastener 112. The diameter or size of the bushing 102 is substantially equal to the diameter of the second opening 52. A hole or opening 116 is also provided within the inner portion of the bushing 102 having a diameter substantially the size of the shaft 96 of the fastener 112. As a result, the opening 52 in the wall board 20 or 22 is filled by the combination of the bushing 102 and the shaft 96 of the fastener 112, such as a rivet, preventing movement of the wall board about the fastener (apart from the possible rotational movement around a fixed axis), and providing a stationary, secured engagement of the wall board at this location. In a preferred embodiment, only two appropriately positioned fixed or stationary fasteners 112 may be necessary to secure the wall board 20 or 22 (see FIG. 6). However, additional fasteners 112 are contemplated.

In a preferred embodiment, the first opening 50 and the second opening 52 are of equal dimensions. Likewise, the first fastener 108 and the second fastener 112 are preferably equivalent. As a result, a manufacturer may pre-prepare a wall board by creating the openings therein and providing the installer with the fasteners to fit within the pre-formed openings. Moreover, only a single fastener type is needed to complete the assembly. In order to create the stationary engagement of at least one, and preferably two fasteners per board, the surrounding member(s) 102 may be added to the opening 50 or 52. As a result, only a few materials and tools are needed to assemble the system.

Moreover, while a first opening 50 and a second opening 52, and a first fastener 108 and a second fastener 112 are specifically described above, a plurality of openings, a plurality of fasteners, and/or one or more bushings or surrounding members 102 may be used to create an entire assembly of wall boards attached by the fastening system described. Preferably, as illustrated in FIGS. 6-8, four fasteners may be used for each wall board 20 or 22 comprising two stationary fasteners 112 and two fasteners permitting movement 108. Conversely, it is contemplated that a wall board or wall board assembly may comprise only a single opening having a single fastener, either stationary or permitting movement, in some assemblies of the system provided herein.

While a rivet 90 is illustrated and referenced herein, a threaded member 54, such as a screw may be used in place of a rivet as the fastening device. Referring to FIGS. 20 and 28-42, the screw 54 may be provided alone, or may be used in connection with a washer having a recess 104. The screw 54 may further have an outwardly tapered head 118 that is received within the recessed washer 104. Similar to the cap 92, 100 of the rivet 90, the combination of the washer 104 and screw head 118 forms a “cap” over the opening 50, 52 provided in the wall board 20 or 22. The screw 54 is further inserted through an opening 50 or 52 or directly into the wall board 20 and/or 22 and into the structural or frame member 106 onto which the wall board is attached (see FIGS. 21, 28, 38, 39, and 42). A surrounding member 102 such as a bushing may also be provided surrounding the screw 54 (not shown).

In an alternative embodiment, the wall board 20 or 22 may be secured to a frame or structure member 106 by a screw or, more preferably a tip breaking screw 120, which is inserted through a side 32 or 34 of the wall board. As shown in FIGS. 31-40, the fastener may comprise a screw having a breakable flange thereon. Preferably, the flanges 132 have a strength and rigidity sufficient to bore or form an opening into an object 148, such as a wall board or fiber cement, but then break or bend when contacting a harder surface 150, such as a stud wall, aluminum wall, steel wall or other metal or hard structure. Namely, upon contact with a harder surface, the flange(s) 156 break away or bend, permitting the 120 screw to be threaded into the hard surface and seams thereof. As a result, as the screw is inserted into a wall board it forms an opening 156 wider than the diameter of the shaft of the screw. However, upon contact with a harder surface, the flanges 132 break away, allowing the screw to tightly secure itself into the hardened surface. As a result, an area of movement about the shaft 124 of the screw 120 is provided, permitting movement of the board with the screw 120 in place.

The tip breaking screw 120 comprises a head 122 for engaging a tool. A shaft 124 is attached to the head 122. The head 122, at its lower edge which is in contact with the shaft 124 of the screw, is substantially flat. From the outer diameter 135 of the flat lower portion 137, the tapered portion 134 of the head 122 tapers inward to the tool engaging portion 136, forming an inward slope 137. As illustrated in FIGS. 36 & 37A-37D, alternative embodiments of the head 22 are also contemplated. In each embodiment, the lower portion 162 of the head 122, at its outer diameter 135, remains wider than the opening created by the flange(s) 132 of the screw 120. For example, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 37A, the head 122 is not tapered, but instead comprises a lower portion 162 having a diameter wider than an upper portion 164 which contains the tool engaging portion 136. FIG. 37B illustrates a head 122 having a lower portion 162 and a narrow upper portion 164 containing the tool engaging portion 136. FIG. 37C shows a head 122 having an inward taper 166 on a lower portion 162, upper portion 164, and flanges 168 positioned on or adjacent the sloped, inward taper 166. FIG. 37D illustrates a head 122 having a narrowed lower portion 162 supporting an upper curved portion 170 which forms a central recess that receives an upper portion 164 having a tool engaging portion 136. The above referenced head 122 shapes are provided for purpose of example only, and it is contemplated that other variations thereon would be acceptable for the purposes provided. As a result of the forgoing, the object into which the screw 120 is placed can not be removed over the head 122 of the screw, thereby preventing removable of the object, such as, for example, a board, when the screw 120 is in place. The lower portion of the head 122, at its outer diameter 135 is wider than the opening 156 created by the breakable flanges 132 of the screw 120.

The shaft 124 has a width that is preferably narrower than the width of the head 122. The shaft 124 includes a threaded portion 126 and a point or tip portion 128. The threaded portion 126 has an outer diameter (X) that is greater than the diameter (Y) of the shaft. In addition, the outer diameter (X) of the threaded portion 126 is greater than the diameter (Y) of the drill-bit portion 130, and narrower than the distance from the outside edge(s) 133 of attached flange(s). The tip portion is opposite the head 122 and preferably includes a drill-bit portion 130. The drill-bit portion 130 of the screw is fluted similar to a drill bit so that the screw 120 may be self-drilling. A breakable flange 132 is also positioned on the shaft 124. In a preferred embodiment, more than one flange 132 is provided, and preferably two flanges 132 are positioned on the shaft 124 or the screw 120. The flange 132 is capable of forming a hole or opening 156 wider than the threaded portion 126 of the screw, but narrower than the head 122 as the screw is rotationally inserted into a wall board. When the screw 120 is rotated into an object, the flanges 132 bore or form a hole or opening 156 in the wall board 148 surrounding the screw 120. The opening 156 has an outer diameter 154 wider than the width of the shaft 124 or threaded portion 126 of the screw 120. The flange 132 is breakable, so that upon contacting a hard surface, such as the frame or stud, the flange or flanges break away or bend to allow the screw 120 to continue to be inserted into the hard surface 150, such as a stud or frame member, thereby securing the screw 120 to the hard surface and providing a space about the shaft 124 of the screw 120 with a diameter larger than the shaft 124 of the screw 120. As a result, an area of play, or tolerance, or movement about the shaft of the screw for the attached wall board is provided, permitting play in assembly and expansion and/or contraction of the wall board attached with the screw 120. Moreover, the wall board 148 does not fall off, nor can it be removed from the screw 120 in this position, due to the wide tapered head 122 which covered opening 156. In at least one embodiment a washer 146 is additionally provided on the shaft of the screw.

An alternative embodiment of the screw is illustrated in FIGS. 41-42. A screw 180 of this embodiment has certain advantages for use in association with wood structures, such as wood framing. The screw 180 of this embodiment comprises a head 122 similar to the head described herein. Below the head 122 is a shaft 124. The shaft 124 comprises an upper section 182 having one or more flanges 172 thereon. A threaded section 126 is also provided on the shaft 124. The flanges 172 may or may not be breakable as set for herein and may be positioned 180 degrees apart. Moreover, in a preferred embodiment, the flange(s) is positioned between the head 122 and the threaded section 126 of the screw 180. Furthermore, a drill-bit portion is not provided on the shaft 124 of screw 180, as it may not be necessary for use in association with “wood threading.” Instead, the shaft 124, at its threaded section 126, comprises a customary wood threading and a finely pointed tip 128. While the flanges 172 may not break or bend in one embodiment, the flanges 172 may be positioned so that they are embedded in the structural beam or element 176, such as a wood stud, into which the screw 100 is inserted (see FIG. 42). In a preferred embodiment, the screw 180 is rotationally inserted through, for example, a wall board panel or siding. As the screw is inserted, the finely pointed tip 128 and threaded portion 126 cooperate to draw or thread the screw 180 into the object or element 176. The flanges 172 which follow the threaded portion 126 form an opening 178 that is wider than the shaft 124 of the screw 180. In a preferred embodiment, the distance between the head 122 and the flanges 172 corresponds to a thickness of the object or panel 174 which is attached using the screw 180. In this manner, the screw 180 may be inserted and secured into a frame or stud 176, but permits the panel 174 thereon to move about the shaft 124 of the screw 180 at the opening 178. In addition, the head 122, as has been described herein, comprises a diameter wider than the diameter of the shaft having attached flanges 172 so that the head 122 covers the opening 178 formed by the flanges 172, preventing removal of the object 174 from the screw 180. While “wood,” “panel,” “wall board,” and “siding” are specifically referenced herein, these terms are use for purpose of example only, and one of skill in the art would understand that other structures, compositions, and materials would be acceptable for the purposes provided.

While specific embodiments are disclosed herein, alternative fasteners may be acceptable for the purposes provided.

Using any combination of the foregoing components, a method of assembling a wall board assembly may be accomplished. The assembly comprises the steps of providing a first wall board 20 having an opening 50 therein and inserting a fastener 54 or 90 into the opening, which fastener has a diameter narrower than the diameter of the opening, and securing the fastener 54 or 90 to a structural member 106 on the opposite side from the insertion point of the fastener. The fastener 54 or 90 is secured in place, and the opening 50 is covered by the fastener so that the wall board 20 cannot be removed. In addition, due to the area of opening 50 surrounding the shaft 96 of the fastener, a distance of movement is available to the wall board 20 which is secured in place on the structural member 106.

The method may further comprise attaching an additional wall board 22, or a second wall board, to the first wall board 20, and including a second opening 52. Preferably, the openings 50, 52 are predrilled or formed in the wall board prior to reaching the construction site, so that the assembler must simply insert the fastener in the designated location in the board. A second fastener 54 or 90 is inserted into the second opening 52 and is secured to the structural member 106 on the opposite side from the insertion point. The second fastener 54 or 90 may have a diameter smaller than the diameter of the second opening, or may include a surrounding member 102, such as a bushing which fills the second opening 52, thereby providing a stationary attachment at that location. Alternatively, a fastener 54 or 90 may be inserted directly through the wall board 20 or 22 in any location to form a stationary point of attachment. By use of a surrounding member 102, the assembler may use identical fasteners throughout the assembly process, but may accommodate a stationary attachment by the use of the surrounding member, rather than using additional alternative fasteners. The number of openings and fasteners have been described above in various combinations. The assembler would continue assembly by the insertion of additional fasteners into additional openings in the manner described.

The method may further comprise, or alternatively comprise, using a tip breaking screw 120 or a screw 180 having flanges as a fastener to form the attachment permitting movement about the shaft of the fastener. For example, the screw 120 or 180 may be rotationally inserted into the wall board at any location. As the screw is inserted, the flanges 132 or 172 form an opening 156 or 178 wider than the shaft of the threaded portion 126 of the screw, providing an area of movement for the wall board 20 or 22 (or 174) about the shaft of the screw. In the case of screw 120, upon contact with a harder surface 106 or 150, such as a supporting structural member or frame member, the breakable flanges 132 break away or bend allowing the screw 120 to be rotationally inserted into the structural frame member and be secured thereto. Furthermore, the wide tapered head 122 of the screw 120 or 180 covers the opening 156 or 178 created by the screw, and secures the wall board in place in that location.

In addition to the foregoing, or as an alternative, the method may further comprise providing a first wall board 20 and having a tongue 42, 44 and a second wall board 22 having a groove 38, 40 which mates with and/or interlocks with the tongue 42, 44. The first wall board 20 is placed in contact with the second wall board 22 by engaging the tongue 42 or 44 with the groove 38 or 40. Subsequently, fasteners 54 or 90 are inserted as described above. Additional wall boards having tongues and/or grooves may be engaged or interlocked to form a wall board assembly with a plurality of wall boards having a uniform appearance (see FIG. 14).

While specific assemblies are described hereinabove, additional wall boards and fasteners may be added as desired by the assembler, or per manufacturer instructions.

Accordingly, a wall board assembly device, system, and method is provided that permits quick and easy assembly at the construction site, requires few components, provides for uniform attachment of the wall boards, and permits an amount of play, and/or expansion and contraction of the wall board while secured in place on the frame or structural member to which the wall board is attached.

Although various representative embodiments of this invention have been described above with a certain degree of particularity, those skilled in the art could make numerous alterations to the disclosed embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the inventive subject matter set forth in the specification and claims. All directional references (e.g., upper, lower, upward, downward, left, right, leftward, rightward, top, bottom, above, below, vertical, horizontal, clockwise, counterclockwise, x-axis, y-axis, and z-axis) are only used for identification purposes to aid the reader's understanding of the embodiments of the present invention, and do not create limitations, particularly as to the position, orientation, or use of the invention unless specifically set forth in the claims. Joinder references (e.g., attached, coupled, connected) are to be construed broadly and may include intermediate members between a connection of elements and relative movement between elements. As such, joinder references do not necessarily infer that two elements are directly connected and in fixed relation to each other.

In some instances, components are descried with reference to “ends” or “edges” having a particular characteristic and/or being connected with another part. However, those skilled in the art will recognize that the present invention is not limited to components which terminate immediately beyond their points of connection with other parts. Thus, the term “end” or “edge” should be interpreted broadly, in a manner that includes areas adjacent, rearward, forward of, or otherwise near the terminus of a particular element, link, component, part, member. While “diameter” is used herein in reference to various components, it is contemplated that the components described may be of any shape without departing from the overall scope of the present invention. In methodologies directly or indirectly set forth herein, various steps and operations are described in one possible order of operation, but those skilled in the art will recognize that steps and operations may be rearranged, replaced, or eliminated without necessarily departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. It is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative only and not limiting. Changes in detail or structure may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.

The following paragraphs enumerated consecutively from 1 through 49 provide for various aspects of the present invention. In one embodiment, in a first paragraph (1), the present invention pertains to a wall board assembly comprising:

a first wall board having a tongue on at least one edge;

a second wall board having a groove on at least one edge for matingly receiving the tongue of the first wall board;

a first opening in at least one of the first and second wall boards having a first fastener permitting movement of the wall board; and

a second opening in at least one of the first and second wall boards having a second fastener providing a stationary attachment of the wall board.

2. The wall board assembly of paragraph 1, wherein the first wall board further comprises a groove on at least one edge.

3. The wall board assembly of either of paragraphs 1 or 2, wherein the second wall board further comprises a tongue on at least one edge.

4. The wall board assembly of any of paragraphs 1 through 3, wherein the first fastener comprises a rivet.

5. The wall board assembly of any of paragraphs 1 through 4, wherein the first fastener comprises a threaded member.

6. The wall board assembly of paragraph 5, wherein the threaded member comprises a screw.

7. The wall board assembly of paragraph 5, wherein the threaded member comprises a screw having flanges.

8. The wall board assembly of any of paragraphs 1 through 7, wherein the second fastener comprises a fastener having a surrounding member.

9. The wall board assembly of paragraph 8, wherein the surrounding member is a bushing.

10. The wall board assembly of any of paragraphs 1 through 9, wherein the second fastener comprises a rivet.

11. The wall board assembly of any of paragraphs 1 through 10, wherein the second fastener comprises a threaded member.

12. The wall board assembly of paragraph 11, wherein the second fastener comprises a screw.

13. The wall board assembly of any of paragraphs 1 through 12, comprising more than two openings and more than two fasteners.

14. The wall board assembly of paragraph 13, comprising a third opening in at least one of the first and second wall boards having a third fastener providing a stationary attachment of the wall board.

15. The wall board assembly of paragraph 14, comprising a fourth opening in at least one of the first and second wall boards having a fourth fastener permitting movement of the wall board.

16. The wall board assembly of any of paragraphs 1 through 15, wherein at least one of the first and second wall boards comprise at least four openings and wherein a third fastener is provided for a stationary attachment of the wall board.

17. The wall board assembly of paragraph 16, comprising a fourth fastener permitting movement of the wall board.

18. The wall board assembly of any of paragraphs 1 through 17, comprising more than two wall boards.

19. The wall board assembly of any of paragraphs 1 through 18, wherein the wall board is selected from the group consisting of sheet rock, fiber cement board, wood cement composite board, fiber board, siding, and paneling.

20. A wall board fastening system comprising:

a board having a first opening for insertion of a fastener and a second opening for insertion of a fastener;

a first fastener having a diameter smaller than a diameter of the first opening inserted into the first opening, permitting movement of the board with the fastener in place; and

a second fastener substantially the same diameter as the second opening inserted into the second opening, permitting a stationary attachment of the board.

21. The wall board fastening system of paragraph 20, wherein the second fastener comprises a diameter equivalent in size to the first fastener and is inserted into a surrounding member.

22. The wall board fastening system of either paragraph 20 or 21, wherein the surrounding member comprises a bushing.

23. The wall board fastening system of any of paragraphs 20 through 22, wherein the first and second fasteners comprise rivets.

24. The wall board fastening system of any of paragraphs 20 through 23, wherein the fasteners comprise threaded members.

25. The wall board fastening system of any of paragraphs 20 through 24, wherein the first fastener comprises a screw having breakable flanges.

26. The wall board fastening system of any of paragraphs 20 through 25, wherein the board comprises a first board section and a second board section, the first board section having a first opening, the second board section having a second opening.

27. The wall board fastening system of any of paragraphs 20 through 26, further comprising more than two openings, and more than two fasteners.

28. The wall board fastening system of paragraph 27, comprising a third opening having a third fastener substantially the same diameter as the third opening inserted into the third opening, permitting a stationary attachment of the board.

29. A wall board fastening system of paragraph 27, further comprising a third fastener having a diameter smaller than a diameter of a third opening inserted into the third opening, permitting movement of the board with the fastener in place.

30. The wall board fastening system of paragraph 27, comprising a third opening and a fourth opening; and a third fastener having a diameter smaller than a diameter of the third opening inserted into the third opening, permitting movement of the board with the fastener in place; and a fourth fastener substantially the same diameter as the fourth opening inserted into the fourth opening, permitting a stationary attachment of the board.

31. The wall board fastening system of any of paragraphs 20 through 30, wherein the second fastener is inserted directly into a wall board.

32. The wall board fastening system of paragraph 31, wherein the fastener comprises a threaded member.

33. A wall board assembly comprising:

a first wall board having a first edge comprising a tongue and a second edge comprising a groove; a second wall board having first edge comprising a tongue and a second edge comprising a groove, wherein the tongue of the first and second wall boards mates with a groove of an adjacent wall board.

34. The wall board assembly of paragraph 33, wherein the first and second wall boards each comprise a first outer member and a second outer member attached to an offset inner member.

35. The wall board assembly of either of paragraphs 33 or 34, wherein the first outer member has a height shorter than the second outer member.

36. The wall board assembly of paragraph 34, wherein the first outer member has a slope on a side opposite the inner member.

37. The wall board assembly of paragraph 34, wherein the first outer member comprises a notch.

38. The wall board assembly of any of paragraphs 33 through 37, wherein the wall board comprises an attached material having a greater hardness than the wall board.

39. The wall board assembly of any of paragraphs 33 through 38, wherein the wall board is selected from the group consisting of sheet rock, fiber board, fiber cement board, wood cement composite board, siding, and paneling.

40. A wall board assembly comprising:

a board having an opening for insertion of a fastener; and

a fastener having a diameter smaller than a diameter of the first opening inserted into the opening.

41. The wall board assembly of paragraph 40, wherein the fastener comprises a screw having a breakable flange.

42. The wall board assembly of either of paragraphs 40 or 41, wherein the fastener comprises a screw having a flange for creating an opening in a board which is wider than the shaft of the screw.

43. The wall board assembly of any of paragraphs 40 through 42, wherein the screw comprises a flange spaced a distance from a head of the screw, the distance equivalent to a thickness of the board.

44. A method of assembling a wall structure comprising:

providing a first wall board having a first opening and a second opening;

inserting a first fastener into the first opening, the first fastener having a shaft smaller than a size of the first opening;

securing the first fastener to a first structural support member, whereby the first fastener provides an area of movement about the fastener;

inserting a second fastener into the second opening, the second fastener filling the second opening; and

securing the second fastener to a second structural support member, whereby the second fastener provides a stationary attachment of the wall board at the second fastener.

45. The method of paragraph 44, wherein the first wall board comprises a groove.

46. The method of either of paragraphs 45 or 46, further comprising providing a second wall board having a tongue for mating with the groove.

47. The method of any of paragraphs 44 through 46, wherein at least one opening is provided on the second wall board.

48. The method of any of paragraphs 44 through 47, wherein the first wall board further comprises a third opening and a fourth opening; and wherein the method further comprises the steps of inserting a third fastener into the third opening, the third fastener having a shaft smaller than the size of the third opening; securing the third fastener to at least one of the first structural support member and second structural support member, whereby the third fastener provides an area of movement about the fastener; inserting a fourth fastener into the fourth opening, the fourth fastener filling the fourth opening; and

securing the fourth fastener to at least one of the first structural support member and the second structural support member, whereby the fourth fastener provides a stationary attachment of the wall board at the fourth fastener.

49. A method of assembling a wall structure comprising:

providing a first wall board comprising a groove and a tongue;

providing a second wall board comprising a groove and a tongue for mating with at least one of the groove and the tongue of the first wall board;

placing the first wall board in contact with the second wall board by engaging the tongue of the first wall board with the groove of the second wall board; and

securing the first and second wall boards to a structural support member.

Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, persons skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20080148666 A1
Publish Date
06/26/2008
Document #
11873628
File Date
10/17/2007
USPTO Class
525061
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
04B2/32
Drawings
25



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