Floor panel and method for manufacturing a floor panel.
This invention relates to a floor panel, as well as to a method for manufacturing such a floor panel.
More specifically, the invention relates to a floor panel of the type commonly referred to as laminate panel.
It is known that such a floor panel can be of a different construction. Such floor panels generally contain at least one substrate, a printed decor, and a top layer based on plastic.
It is also known that such floor panels can be used to form a floating floor covering. These floor panels are hereby coupled to their edges during laying, either by means of a traditional tongue and groove connection, whereby they may be glued together, or by means of a mechanical coupling which is interlocked both horizontally and vertically. of the floor panels, for example as described in international patent application No. WO 97/47834. This patent document also describes a possibility for manufacturing such coupling means. In this case, the edge of the top of the floor panel is used as the reference plane for machining.
It is known from patent application No. WO 01/96689 to make impressions by means of a pressing operation with a shaped pressing plate in the transparent top layer, wherein these impressions imitate a wood structure, such as wood pores and wood knots. The applied impressions can follow the printed wood decor, with the intention of making the imitation more realistic. In the case of such wood imitation, the impressions are limited to small impressions that are pressed in at a substantially constant depth.
It is an object of the present invention to imitate in a realistic manner with a floor panel of the aforementioned type a flaked stone, more particularly flaked natural stone, for example slate.
To this end, the invention according to its first aspect relates to a floor panel, wherein this floor panel comprises a decor, as well as a top layer based on plastic, and wherein the top side of the floor panel imitates slate or another flake-like type of stone, characterized in that the floor panel adheres to the has terraced impressions at the top.
"Terraced impressions" is to be understood as meaning impressions which have at least two stepwise transitions in the same direction, either downwards or upwards, between substantially continuous impressions, further referred to as "terraces". The application of such an impression offers a technical solution whereby the realistic appearance of a floor panel that imitates a flaky type of stone is improved. Namely, such terraced impressions form a technical means whereby flakes lying above one another, the lower of which partially protrudes below the upper can be imitated very faithfully. The terraces then, for example, each imitate a visible part of a flake, while the step-by-step transitions in the terraced impressions imitate the transition between every two consecutive flake.
It is noted that notwithstanding these impressions are mainly applied in a generally transparent top layer of plastic, against the expectations in such terraces are clearly noticeable and thus the flake-like structure to be imitated is optimally emphasized.
The deepest impressions will preferably be less deep than the greatest thickness of the top layer, and even better, they are less than 350 & mt. Deep. Deeper impressions, however, are not excluded. These can even extend into the underlying substrate.
The decor can generally only show one color. In the case of slate imitation, for example, it can be black or gray, although other colors, including light-tinted colors, are not excluded.
Preferably, however, the decor displays a motif that is designed as a function of the type of stone to be imitated, whereby generally or multiple colors and / or shades of a color are used. More specifically, it is preferable that the motif is formed by an image of the imitated flaky stone.
In the latter case, for example, a real slate or other flaky stone type can be used, the image of which is reproduced, for example by scanning it. When scanning or the like, both colors and height differences can be saved. After a possible processing to compensate for, for example, paper shrinkage, these data form the basis for the motif of the printed decor and the design of the press plate. Also, according to the present invention, it is not excluded to artificially construct an image for the decor and / or to determine the structure for the impressions, more particularly the aforementioned terrace-shaped impressions and any other impressions.
It is of course also possible to combine data obtained on the one hand from a real example of a flaky type of stone with data that is artificially constructed.
The decor is preferably realized by means of a printing technique.
The possible addition of dark shadow lines and / or transition lines on the decor, where height changes occur in the natural material, benefits the imitation. The shadow lines and / or transition lines preferably follow at least partially the contour of one or more imitated flakes.
In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the terraced impressions are at least partially in accordance with the motif of the decor. In this case, some and preferably more than 50% of the transitions between flakes displayed in the decor show a corresponding stepwise transition in the terraced impressions of the top layer. The terraces formed thereby will in this case at least partially coincide with the visible parts of the flakes that are depicted in the motif of the decor.
In a special embodiment, shadow lines and / or explicit transition lines are shown in the motif and the terraced impressions are arranged at least partially in accordance with these shadow lines and / or transition lines. The presence of a shadow line or transition line in the motif where a step-by-step transition occurs in the terraced impressions in the top layer increases the natural appearance of the imitation of a flaky type of stone. Within the scope of the invention, it is clear that the floor panel can also contain shadow lines that do not have a corresponding impression in the top layer.
According to a first possibility of the invention, the terraced impressions will comprise terraces which are mainly situated in planes which are substantially parallel to the plane in which the floor panel extends, these terraces forming zones realized from terrace to terrace at different depths.
Such a terraced impression can be obtained as a result of a pressing operation with a pressing plate which has obtained a terraced surface by means of several etching cycles, for example at least five and more preferably at least eight etching cycles. Partly overlapping areas are preferably etched in the pressing plate and, even more preferably, these etching cycles are per se carried out with different etching depths. The use of such a pressing plate for producing the terraced impressions ensures that the number of different heights on which pressed terraces on the floor panel are located is greater than the number of etching turns on the pressing plate.
In order to make the most of this specific technique, it is preferable that the overlapping areas are chosen at least in such a way that at least twice as many height levels occur in the same floor panel as etching turns have been applied in the corresponding part of the pressing plate.
A method for manufacturing a floor panel where such a pressing plate is used offers a wide range of new possibilities for the design of surface structures, more particularly surface structures that are compatible with printed decors that represent natural materials such as natural stone.
Therefore, the invention also relates to a method for manufacturing a floor panel of the type intended for forming a floating floor covering, wherein this floor panel consists of a base plate with a top layer based on plastic, with indentations, on the top side. characterized in that the indentations are applied during a pressing operation with a pressing plate on which at least five and more preferably at least eight etching cycles have been applied, at least a number of which per se have different etching depths and at least a number of which partially overlap. It is clear that this method is not limited to the imitation of flaked types of stone.
Such terraced impressions can of course also be obtained as a result of a pressing operation, wherein the pressing plate is manufactured in a different manner than described above. Such terraced impressions can also be realized as a result of a different operation than a pressing operation, for example by systematically applying plastic to a terraced structure.
According to a second possibility of the invention, the floor panel comprises terraced impressions formed by successive terraced stepwise transitions, the surface of the zones lying between them changing in height, so that the difference in height between two successive terrace edges is smaller than the height difference at the location of a transition, and preferably zero or substantially zero. A floor panel with such indentations has the same desired appearance of terrace-shaped indentations, as well as the same tactile structure, and furthermore has the advantage that more stepwise transitions can be realized in a top layer of the same thickness.
Such a technique for manufacturing a laminate panel which imitates a flake-like type of stone is advantageous, since preferably the deepest impression is smaller than the largest thickness of the
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top layer for the same pressed structure can therefore also be made thinner, for example by forming it from a less thick resin layer.
Other possibilities for realizing the aforementioned terraced impressions are not excluded.
It is also clear that, within the scope of the invention, terraced impressions according to the aforementioned first possibility can be combined with terraced impressions according to the aforementioned second possibility in one and the same floor panel.
Within the scope of the invention, it is also possible that the laminate panel additionally, either over its entire surface or over only a part thereof, for example in some terraces, has impressions which imitate the surface texture of a natural stone, more particularly imitate a surface texture that usually appears on a visible portion of a flake of actual stone.
According to a special embodiment, the floor panel of the present invention comprises several gloss levels. It preferably has at least two zones of varying gloss, each of these zones essentially corresponding to a visible portion of a flake of the imitated stone. Preferably at least the entire or substantially complete surface of one or more terraces is matte, while the complete or substantially complete surface of other terraces is relatively glossy again. The use of different gloss levels causes the optical illusion that the matt impression is deeper than in reality. By making a number of terraces mat, the number of optically "perceived" height differences on the floor panel can be increased, while the actual number of height differences remains limited.
In this way, a pressing operation using a pressing plate that has been etched a limited number of times and matted in some places can still achieve a realistic result with a visual impression of several height differences in the imitated type of stone.
It is clear that, without departing from the scope of the invention, additional impressions can also be made with the pressing plate in the top layer of the floor panel, for example impressions which imitate a joint. It is also possible that the different characteristics of the surface of the flaked stone are realized by means of different pressing operations, for example a pressing operation which makes the difference in degree of gloss and the surface texture and a subsequent pressing operation which makes the terraced impressions. It is also possible that the aforementioned structure or certain parts thereof can be obtained in a different way than by means of a profiled pressing plate, for example with the aid of a structural foil, a profiled roller, etc.
To further increase the sense of authenticity during installation, a base plate or substrate can be provided with a color that matches the imitated stone type. This can be done, for example, in the case of MDF (Medium Density Fiber board) or HDF (High Density Fiber board), by coloring the base plate with a color component and / or the profiled edges completely or almost completely. A floor panel that imitates slate can thus be provided with an MDF or HDF base plate that is colored with a black-gray color component.
The imitation of the flaked stone will preferably continue over the entire floor panel, possibly with the exception of the edges. It is possible to imitate a joint on the edges. However, the invention does not exclude the possibility that a plurality of tiles are displayed on one floor panel which are possibly mutually separated by an imitation of a joint. The shape of the floor panel can in principle be chosen freely, but preferably the floor panel is rectangular, either elongated or square. The size of the floor panels is also free to choose. For example, relatively small floor panels are possible with all sides smaller than 20 cm, as well as large floor panels with two or more sides larger than 40 cm. Other dimensions are of course not excluded.
A particularly useful format of tile for the imitation of flaked types of stone, more particularly of slate, is in the order of 40 x 40 cm, given that these dimensions also occur in practice with actual flaked natural stone.
For one and the same floor covering, preferably several tiles with different motifs are produced, for example with more than five and more preferably at least nine motifs, tiles with different motifs being mixed mixed, such that different motifs occur in one pack of floor panels, so that a good mixing when laying the floor covering is obtained.
According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the floor panel comprises cut-away edge portions on one or more edges, preferably on at least two opposite edges, and more preferably on all edges, such as chamfers. The surface obtained by the cut-away edge portions may or may not be colored. This can be achieved, for example, with the aid of a coating which is applied to the surface, for example by means of transfer printing. The surface can also be provided with a color by direct coloring with a colorant, such as a colorant applied by means of a marker or by means of impregnation, a lacquer, a paint or the like. The coloring may or may not be adapted to the color of the imitated stone.
In the case of a color-matched coloration, such cut-away edge portions imitate the small rounding that is always present at the edges of real natural stone tiles. In the case of the floor panels of this invention, they can be used solely to cause a more true-to-life representation or, for example, to imitate a small joint. In both cases the size of the road cut in the horizontal direction is best smaller than three millimeters, and even better smaller than two millimeters. The size of the road cut in height is preferably at least one millimeter. The color can also be chosen such that it imitates a filled joint, such as a cement joint.
When the coloring of the obtained surface also goes down to the edge of the cut-away, it is prevented that the material of the base plate becomes visible in a disturbing manner due to a possible poor alignment of adjacent floor panels in height.
To enable installation of the floor panel of this invention in a floating floor covering, it preferably comprises coupling means on at least two opposite edges. In the case of a rectangular or square floor panel, it preferably comprises coupling means on all edges. These coupling means preferably provide for locking in the vertical and horizontal direction.
In forming these coupling means, it is customary to take the edge of the top of the floor panel as a reference for machining, since the top of the floor panel is required to fit perfectly with the top of all adjacent floor panels in the floor covering. By the fact that the top side is taken as a reference plane, it is meant that during the forming of the coupling means the floor panel is moved with its top side along a reference plane, such as a sliding shoe, the position of which is adjusted as a function of the cutting tools arranged along it.
In order to prevent that the location of the coupling means along the edge at which they are situated varies in height relative to the base plate, it is preferable that the height differences which occur along the upper edge of the floor panel as a result of the terraced impressions are limited up to zones smaller than 10 cm, to be measured along the edge of the floor panel. By this is meant that a pressed-in zone along an edge of the floor panel, according to this preferred embodiment, never extends over a length of more than 10 cm, such that during the forming of the coupling means the floor panel always reaches the highest or nearly highest points of its upper edge is supported by said sliding shoe or the like.
In the known embodiments, such a sliding shoe is after all so long that impressions over lengths of less than 10 cm cannot be felt on a floor panel that moves along such a sliding shoe, with the result that the aforementioned impressions have no adverse effect on the linearity of the profile of the coupling means along the edges of the floor panels. Thus, a disadvantageous factor is excluded or minimized, namely that the aforementioned profiles are not linear, which, as is known, can make it difficult to connect such floor panels to each other.
It is generally noted that coupling means whose location along the edge at which they are located varies in height relative to the base plate as aforesaid may lead to difficult coupling and poor connection of floor panels in a floor covering. That is why it was always assumed that varying impressions along the edges of the floor panels always had to be limited in length. It is indeed the case that, if this is taken into account, such a disadvantage is excluded and minimized. Contrary to all expectations, the inventors have found that this adverse factor, which will preferably still be avoided, is, however, less harmful than was previously thought to be.
This therefore also means that pressed zones varying in depth varying along the edges can be created which extend over a distance of more than 10 cm along the edges concerned. On the one hand, this can make the joining of floor panels to each other somewhat difficult, but according to the present invention is not a real problem. On the other hand, the freedom of design possibilities is increased, so that, for example, more true-to-life imitations can be realized, since it has now been established that the criteria for making impressions along the edges of a floor panel are less stringent than previously assumed. It is clear that the unexpected possibility of providing indentations over such distances along the edge increases the natural appearance of floor panels that imitate flake-shaped bricks.
Thus, for example, starting from this given, terrace-shaped indentations can be made along the edge of a panel which, from the beginning to the end of an edge, extend globally in one direction.
This unexpected effect, in other words the fact that floor panels with non-linear and / or sloping coupling means, more specifically coupling parts, can still be assembled relatively quickly, can also be used in floor panels that have other motifs and structures than for imitating flake-shaped types of stone, for which for whatever reason there are also pressed-in zones along one or more edges which cause a fluctuation in the height of these coupling means relative to the substrate when the coupling means are arranged.
Consequently, according to a second independent aspect, the invention also relates to a floor panel, of the type intended to form a floating floor covering, wherein this floor panel comprises a single-layer or multi-layer or one-part or multi-part substrate, a decor, and a top layer on plastic base, characterized in that zones are pressed on the top side of the floor panel which extend along at least one upper edge of the floor panel and that the floor panel is at least at the edge where said upper edge is located and at an opposite edge provided with mechanical coupling means which allow two of such floor panels to be coupled to each other and which can thereby effect a locking in vertical and horizontal direction;
and that these coupling means are the result of a machining operation where the top of the floor panel has been taken as a reference, the location of the coupling means fluctuating in height relative to the substrate as a result of the depressed zones.
Even with a fluctuation of more than 0.2 mm in height, it was unexpectedly determined that the floor panels can still be effectively joined together.
According to the second aspect of this invention, the floor panel can be provided on the top edge with a cut-away edge portion that is colored in, such as a bevelled edge. This achieves that any differences in height between the substrates and top layers of interconnected floor panels are less noticeable. Masking the poor connection of floor panels, instead of having a cut-away edge portion, can also be partially achieved by using a base plate with a color that matches the imitated type of stone.
According to a third and last aspect, the invention also relates to a floor panel, of the type intended for forming a floating floor covering, said floor panel being a single-layer or multi-layer or one-part or multi-part substrate, a decor, and a top layer based on comprises plastic, and wherein this floor panel is provided with mechanical coupling means at least at two opposite edges, which coupling means allow two of such floor panels to be coupled to each other, said coupling means being able to effect a locking in vertical and horizontal direction, characterized in that at the top of the floor panel is provided with at least one depressed zone which is located along an upper edge of at least one of the aforementioned two opposite edges of the floor panel;
that this pressed-in zone has an indentation which causes a height difference at least in the upper edge with the largest value being at least 0.1 mm; and that this pressed-in zone extends along the above-mentioned top edge over a distance of at least 10 centimeters. As the inventors have unexpectedly determined that a floor panel with the characteristics of this third aspect has fewer adverse effects on the joining and joining of two such floor panels than was previously assumed, the possibility of nevertheless producing such panels opens and relatively easy to connect with a relatively good connection and a wide range of new design options.
It is clear that here too the use of a cut-away edge portion at the top edge provides the aforementioned advantages.
Various other preferred embodiments of the invention are possible, according to every aspect. For this, reference is made to the detailed description and appended claims.
With the insight to better demonstrate the characteristics of the invention, a few preferred embodiments are described below as an example without any limiting character, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
Figure 1 is a schematic representation of a floor panel according to the invention; figure 2 represents a section on a larger scale according to line II-II in figure 1; Figure 3 shows in cross-section how two of such floor panels can be connected to each other; figures 4 and 5 show highly schematically and enlarged in height the part which is indicated with F4 in figure 2, for two variants; figure 6 represents on a larger scale a variant for the part indicated by F6 in figure 4; figure 7 represents a possible embodiment of the part indicated by F7 in figure 1 in top view;
figures 8 to 11 represent schematic representations related to methods for manufacturing floor panels according to the invention; figure 12 represents an enlargement of the part indicated by F12 in figure 3; figure 13 shows on a larger scale the part which is indicated by F13 in figure 2; figures 14 and 15 represent views analogous to those of figure 13, but for two variants; figures 16 and 17 schematically represent a possible shape of a cross-section according to line XVI-XVI in figure 2. Figure 1 is a highly schematic representation of a tile-shaped floor panel 1 according to the invention. The top 2 of the floor panel 1 imitates the typical structure of a flaky type of stone.
The imitated structure shown relates to a slate structure, defined by sections 3 mimicking superimposed chips, the lower of which only partially protrude below the upper, the transitions 4 between the sections 3, as further explained below, at least by means of a relief in the top 2 can be made more clearly known.
As shown in figures 2 and 3, the floor panel 1 is provided on at least two opposite edges 5A-6A with coupling means, more in particular coupling parts 7-8 which, in the coupled state, cause locking in horizontal and vertical direction. Preferably also on the other edges, in this case the edges 5B-6B, coupling means are also present which can effect a locking in the horizontal and vertical direction, which may or may not be designed uniformly to the coupling parts 7-8.
As shown in Figures 2 to 4, the floor panel 1 has a substrate or base plate 9, a preferably printed decor
10 and a top layer 11 of plastic 12.
The substrate 9 preferably consists of a wood-based plate, such as chipboard or fiberboard, more particularly MDF or HDF. It is also not excluded that such substrate 9 consists of other materials, for example plastic. Such a substrate can also per se consist of several parts and / or layers.
The floor panel 1 shown is of the DPL type (Direct Pressure Laminate), which means that the aforementioned top layer
11 is directly compressed on the substrate 9.
Here, the top layer 11, at least in the example shown, consists of a so-called decor layer 13 and overlay 14. The decor layer 13 is formed from a resin-soaked support 15, such as a paper web, on which the printed decor 10 is located in the form of a printing. The overlay 14 is also formed from a resin-soaked support 16, which preferably also consists of paper or the like and is of such a nature that the support becomes transparent after pressing. The resin of the decorative layer 13 and the overlay 14 form the aforementioned plastic 12 of the top layer 11.
A counter layer 17 may be present in a known manner on the underside of the substrate 9.
Figure 4 shows the terrace-shaped indentations 18 present in the top layer 11 of the floor panel 1 in accordance with the present invention. It is noted that the depth of the terrace-shaped indentations 18 is strongly exaggerated. While the section shown, which runs along the line II-II of Figure 1, is a full floor panel in width direction with the preferred dimensions 40 x
40 cm, the impressions shown here exhibit 18 in <EMI ID = 2.1>
The purpose of exaggerated display is to better describe the geometry of the terraced impressions 18.
In the embodiment of Figure 4, the terrace-shaped indentations 18 are characterized by substantially flat zones, which form terraces 19 and are separated by stepwise transitions, in particular the aforementioned transitions 4. In this case the indentations 18, and more particularly the terraces 19 substantially parallel to the plane in which the floor panel 1 extends. The depth of the impression 18 changes from terrace to terrace. Figure 4 also shows that not only the overlay 14, but possibly also the decorative layer 13 can be pressed in as a result of the impressions 18.
It is noted that in Figure 4, as well as in the other relevant figures, the carriers 15 and 16 are only shown schematically, and that in reality they will not necessarily deform in the manner as shown.
Figure 5 shows a view similar to that of Figure 4, but for a variant. The impressions 18 shown here are formed by successive step-by-step transitions 4, wherein the surface of the zones 20 between them, which form the terraces 19, changes in height per se, so that the difference in height between two successive terrace edges 21, which thus form the transitions 4 is smaller than the height difference at the location of a transition 4, and is preferably zero or substantially zero. The latter means that the terrace edges 21 shown in Figure 5 are all located in the same or substantially the same plane 22.
The embodiment of Fig. 5 allows the indentations 18 to be made less deeply, while the same step-by-step step or even a larger step-by-step step can be applied per transition 4 as with every transition 4 in Fig. 4.
Figure 6 shows that the terraced impressions 18 can also be further combined with a relief 23 which imitates a surface texture in the terraces, in this case 19, and / or that certain of the terraces 19 can be provided with a mat making relief 24, such as that the surface has terraces 19 of varying gloss. Different combinations are of course possible. The reliefs 23 and 24 may or may not be applied in the same floor panel and / or in the same terrace. Furthermore, all of this is also possible in any form of terrace-shaped indentations 18, so both in embodiments according to figures 4 and 5, and in other possible embodiments.
Figure 7 shows an embodiment in top view, wherein the terrace-shaped indentations 18 are in accordance with the motif of the printed decor 10, which is printed here as a function of the imitated type of stone. The stepwise transitions 4 of the terraces are mainly located where the decor 10 represents a transition between two flakes. The successive flakes are shown schematically in Figure 7 by means of different hatches.
As is also shown in Figure 7, a shadow line 25 in the decor 10 can also be shown at the level of one or more transitions 4, more specifically in addition to one or more of the transitions 4.
A possible method of manufacturing a floor panel 1 according to the invention is shown in figure 8. This is a floor panel of the type which, as already described with reference to figure 4, a base plate 9 from MDF, a, in this case, printed , decorative layer 13, an overlay 14 and a counter layer 17. This base plate 9 and all other layers are hereby compressed in a heated press 26, thereby forming a consolidated whole. Because a press plate 27 is used in the press 26 which contains protrusions 28 which are essentially the negative of the aforementioned indentations
18, after pressing, a surface is obtained which has the aforementioned terraced impressions 18.
It is noted that, with the help of such a pressing operation, in reality a larger consolidated plate is usually realized, namely a plate with a typical dimension of, for example, 2 x 5.5 m, from which several floor panels 1 are subsequently sawn. The possible coupling means 7-8 are then applied floor panel per floor panel by a milling operation on their edges 5A-5B-6A-6B.
In order to minimize the chance of porosity occurring in the top layer at the level of the transitions 4, it is preferable that pressures that are higher than 70 bar are used, and more preferably at least 77 bar.
If a correspondence between the motif of the decor 10 on the decor layer 13 and the terrace-shaped indentations 18 is required, at least the decor layer 13 and the pressing plate 27 must be accurately aligned with respect to each other. Various possibilities are known for this purpose, such as, for example, applying marks on the decorative paper, such that positioning under the press is possible.
Figures 9 and 10 illustrate a special technique for realizing a pressing plate 27 for manufacturing a specific embodiment of a floor panel 1 according to the invention. To this end, figure 9 shows a pressing plate 27 which has been etched a first time over a zone Z1 with a depth E1. Figure 10 shows the result of a second etching operation on the same press plate 27. The second etching operation is performed over a zone Z2, which is partially overlapping with the zone Z1 of the first operation. The second etching operation is continued to a depth E2 that is different from E1. It is clear from Figure 10 that with the aid of these two etching operations three different depths have been obtained in the pressing plate, namely the depth E1, E2 and E3 which is the sum of E1 and E2.
With the original level included, the two etching operations lead to four different levels in the press plate. For example, it can generally be said that etching operations of different depths which partially overlap each other to 2n different levels can be achieved. Figure 11 shows schematically that after the pressing operation with the obtained pressing plate 27 of Figure 10, a relief can be obtained in the top layer 11 of a floor panel 1 with terraces 19 which are also situated at different levels.
In order to minimize the chance of an adhesion between the pressing plate 27 and the plastic 12, a so-called "release" paper can optionally be provided between them.
Figure 12 shows two coupled floor panels 1 whose terrace-shaped indentations 18 extend to the edge of the floor panels 1. It is clear from Fig. 12 that the differences in height may result in the presence of the indentations 18, more particularly an edge 29 can be formed which may be perceived as disturbing. This edge 29 is less desirable, particularly with dark decors 10, since it will usually appear white. Figure 13 shows that the generally lighter colored edge 29 of the floor panel 1 can be colored in, in order to exclude a possible disturbing effect. According to figure 13 this is easily done with a pin 30 or the like. Figure 14 shows a floor panel 1 with a cut-away edge portion 31 in the form of a bevelled edge, in this case a chamfer below 45 [deg.].
This cut-away edge portion 31 preferably has a dimension H1 in the horizontal direction that is smaller than 3 mm and more preferably smaller than 2 mm, while the indicated height H2 is preferably larger than 1 mm, but on the other hand is preferably also smaller than 3 mm and better still smaller than 2 mm.
The surface of the cut-away edge portion is provided with a coating 32 in Figure 14, for example obtained by means of transfer printing. As set out in the introduction, other decorative layers such as lacquer or the like can also be used for this purpose.
Figure 15 shows a variant of the cut-away edge portion
Such cut-away edge portions 31 can be provided on one or more edges 5A-5B-6A-6B of the floor panel 1.
Figure 16 shows highly diagrammatically a floor panel 1 in which the coupling means 7, in this case the groove 33, vary in height relative to the base plate 9, this as a result of a terraced depressed zone 18A in the edge zone of the floor panel 1 which has such a has a great length L that when forming the groove 33 the floor panel 1 has moved up and down locally. This occurs in practice with lengths L that are larger than 10 cm. It was unexpectedly found that notwithstanding the non-linear course of the groove 33, such floor panels can still be coupled to each other relatively well, without any substantial problem of twisting or snapping them together.
This fact therefore forms the basis for the aforementioned second aspect of the invention set out in the preamble and claimed in the claims, wherein it is clear that this second aspect is not limited to imitations of flaked types of stone. Figure 17 shows a variant of the floor panel 1 of figure
16, wherein the coupling means 7 run down to one side of the floor panel 1 in general, because the depression 18A is also roughly inclined to one end of the floor panel 1.
In the top layer 11, products such as corundum or the like can be processed in known manner to increase the scratch and wear resistance of the surface of the floor panel 1. To increase the wear resistance of the floor panel 1, it is also advantageous to use a relatively heavy overlay 14, preferably an overlay 14 with a carrier weight of at least 80 grams per square meter, preferably still in combination with hard particles, such as corundum. , the latter then, for example, at the top of the overlay
It is noted that the printed decor 10 does not necessarily have to consist of a print on a carrier 15 which is resin-coated. For example, it is also possible to work with a printing which is pressed directly onto the base plate 9, with or without the intervention of additional layers such as primers or the like, wherein the top layer 11 is then formed by a plastic layer applied over the decor 10 in any way. wherein the indentations 18 are formed.
Finally, it is noted that in a different embodiment of the invention, the decor 10 instead of a slate or other flaky stone may also have a fantasy motif, wherein, for example, the aforementioned terraced impressions 18 are simply arranged over a monochrome brightly colored decor 10 to become.
The aforementioned terraces are preferably bounded by clear transitions extending along the entire circumference, or where the floor panel ends, by the relevant edge of the panel.
By the "top edge" referred to in the second and third aspect is meant the edge 34 of the top layer 11 indicated in figures 13 and 14. The largest value referred to in the third aspect is understood to mean the value indicated by W in Figures 13 and 14.
The present invention is by no means limited to the embodiments described as examples and shown in the figures, but such floor panels can be realized in various variants without departing from the scope of the invention.