US20040240943A1 - Piling Wrap - Google Patents

Piling Wrap Download PDF

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Publication number
US20040240943A1
US20040240943A1 US10/449,381 US44938103A US2004240943A1 US 20040240943 A1 US20040240943 A1 US 20040240943A1 US 44938103 A US44938103 A US 44938103A US 2004240943 A1 US2004240943 A1 US 2004240943A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
piling
wrap
sheet
edges
plastic
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Abandoned
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US10/449,381
Inventor
Frank Brensinger
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SPECTRUM DOCKSYSTEM Inc
Spectrum Dock Systems Inc
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Spectrum Dock Systems Inc
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Publication date
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Priority to US10/449,381 priority Critical patent/US20040240943A1/en
Assigned to SPECTRUM DOCKSYSTEM, INC reassignment SPECTRUM DOCKSYSTEM, INC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BRENSINGER, FRANK J.
Publication of US20040240943A1 publication Critical patent/US20040240943A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E02HYDRAULIC ENGINEERING; FOUNDATIONS; SOIL SHIFTING
    • E02DFOUNDATIONS; EXCAVATIONS; EMBANKMENTS; UNDERGROUND OR UNDERWATER STRUCTURES
    • E02D5/00Bulkheads, piles, or other structural elements specially adapted to foundation engineering
    • E02D5/22Piles
    • E02D5/60Piles with protecting cases

Abstract

An apparatus and method for protecting a piling and protecting items that would impact the piling includes a plastic sheet of substantial durability and fluid impermeability having flexibility to be wrapped around a piling and be in close conformance with its exterior surface. Mounting hardware would affix the wrap to the piling at various places along the overlapping portions of the wrap.

Description

    I. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • A. Field of the Invention [0001]
  • The present invention relates to pilings such as can be used to support structures such as docks in marine environments, and in particular, to an apparatus and method of protecting the piling and creating a barrier-interface between the piling and its external environment. [0002]
  • B. Problems in the Art [0003]
  • Existing marine pilings or supports used for docks and other structures historically have been simply wooden posts with one end pile-driven or installed with a footing in the seabed and the other end extended above normal water level. While availability of the material for such pilings was generally not a problem, they were heavy and, because of the marine environment, degraded relatively quickly over time. Even the hardiest of wood degrades over time in water. Additionally, wood-boring organisms tend to damage and reduce the structural rigidity and durability of wood pilings. Still further, water organisms tend to attach to and can damage the wood. [0004]
  • Because needed resources to install marine pilings is substantial in terms of both labor and cost, it is desirable that they last for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, wood has the above-mentioned susceptibilities. However, they remain a popular choice because of their relatively low expense, availability, and strength. Additionally, wood is attractive because it allows for relatively easy modification (e.g. setting) and attachment of structures (e.g. screws, nuts). It also is sometimes selected because its appearance is consistent with historically popularly used wood pilings. [0005]
  • A number of treatments exist which are intended to improve the durability of wood in out-of-doors and even marine environments. Pressure treatment and chemical treatments are well known towards this end. However, such treatments still do not solve the problems mentioned above as, over time, water and organisms can degrade wood. But further, at least certain chemical-type treatments utilize substances that are not environmentally friendly. In fact, some substances are harmful to living organisms, and even toxic. [0006]
  • Another problem with wood pilings is that they are susceptible to damage over time due to impact with boats, ice, or other forces against their exterior. And conversely, most wood having the structural strength needed for the pilings is not very friendly to the exterior of boats. [0007]
  • Therefore, a need has existed for improvement relative to historically-used wood pilings. Attempts have been made to make such improvements. For example, metal, concrete, and even composite material pilings have been used. However, durability remains an issue with many of these. Also, many are substantially more expensive than wood. Room for improvement in the art remains. [0008]
  • II. BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • It is therefore a principle object, feature, advantage or aspect of the present invention to provide an apparatus and method which improves over or solves problems and deficiencies in the art. Further objects, features, aspects or advantages of the invention include an apparatus and method which: [0009]
  • a. is retrofittable to existing wood pilings or attachable to new pilings; [0010]
  • b. is environmentally friendly; [0011]
  • c. is user friendly, both to install and maintain; [0012]
  • d. is boat friendly in the sense that it has some impact-absorbing capabilities and is less likely to scrape or damage the exterior of a boat; [0013]
  • e. is economical; [0014]
  • f. is durable; [0015]
  • g. is easy to adapt to different sized wood pilings and install; and [0016]
  • h. is easy, efficient and economical to manufacture. [0017]
  • These and other objects, features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent with reference to the accompanying specification and claims. [0018]
  • In one aspect of the invention, an apparatus comprises a piling wrap that includes a sheet of plastic that is elongated between top and bottom edges and at least several feet long. Its width is designed such that it can wrap around a wood piling so that at least part of the sheet overlaps the opposite edge of the sheet. Fixing hardware, for example a screw or nail, can be installed through the overlapping sections and into the wood piling to fix the wrap around the piling. Preferably the wrap extends from at or near the top of the piling substantially down towards the bottom of the piling. Usually, the wrap extends beneath water level. It may extend down to or beneath the sea bed. By wrapping the sheet tightly to the piling, and securing it at points along its length, an economical, a water impervious, impact-absorbing, environmentally robust barrier/interface over the wood piling is created. [0019]
  • The apparatus can be manufactured economically and efficiently by designing the dimensions, the nature of the plastic sheet and other optional characteristics to mass produce it by molding or extrusion. Alternatively, the sheets can be cut to desired size from larger stock. Overlapping the edges completely envelopes the side of the piling for the entire length of the wrap. It also allows cinching, tightening and a good fit between wrap and piling, as well as relatively easy installation without having to do edge to edge fitting. This makes the invention attractive to do-it-yourselfers, which again lends to the economic advantage of the invention.[0020]
  • III. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of one exemplary embodiment of the invention relative to a wood piling. [0021]
  • FIG. 2 is a reduced perspective view of the piling wrap of FIG. 1 in its flat state. [0022]
  • FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the piling wrap of FIG. 1. [0023]
  • FIG. 4 is a sectional view through the cross section of a piling with a piling wrap according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention attached. [0024]
  • FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the piling wrap of FIG. 4 in its flat state. [0025]
  • FIG. 6 is an enlarged view taken along line [0026] 6-6 of FIG. 4.
  • FIG. 7 is a top plan view of a wood piling with still further alternative exemplary embodiment of a piling wrap according to the present invention installed on it. [0027]
  • FIG. 8 is an enlarged isolated view taken roughly around line [0028] 8-8 of FIG. 7.
  • IV. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS
  • A. Overview [0029]
  • In order to gain a better understanding of the invention, several examples of forms the invention can take will now be described in detail. The examples are for illustration purposes, not by limitation. Variations obvious to those skilled in the art will be included within the invention. [0030]
  • Frequent reference will be taken to the accompanying drawings. Reference numbers will be used to indicate certain parts and locations in the drawings. The same reference numbers will be used to indicate the same parts and locations throughout the drawings, unless otherwise indicated. [0031]
  • B. General Environment of Invention [0032]
  • For purposes of these detailed examples, the description will be in the context of wood pilings used to support such things as docks or other structures where the lower portion of the piling is under water. Some problems involving salt water applications will be discussed. It is to be understood, however, that the invention can be applicable to other uses where a wood core is used as a structural support and a barrier/interface according to the invention would be advantageous. There are also other marine uses, apart from docks supports, where the invention could be advantageous. [0033]
  • Generally wood pilings for marine docks have a diameter under a foot. Many are in the 8-12 inch diameter range. Additionally the length of the piling is usually several feet long, and in particular many times at a minimum is 10 or more feet long. Some pilings can extend tens of feet long. [0034]
  • C. General Structure of Piling Wrap [0035]
  • With particular reference to FIGS. 1-3, a piling wrap (indicated generally at reference numeral [0036] 10) is illustrated designed for wrapping the top two to eight feet of a solid wood piling 20 such as is used to support a dock. Piling 20 has a top end 23 with an eight to twelve inch diameter and extends above the normal water line. The lower end of piling 20 (not shown) extends down to the sea floor and below.
  • In a flattened state (see FIG. 2), wrap [0037] 10 is rectangular; bounded by top edge 13, side edge 15, bottom edge 14, and opposite side edge 16. Wrap 10 has an outer facing surface 11 and an inner facing surface 12 (see FIG. 1). In this example, length (L) is two to eight feet, width (w) is between approximately 30 and 40 inches. Thickness (t) is approximately ½ inch.
  • Wrap [0038] 10 is made of high density polyethylene (HDPE). Its characteristics preferably include some flexibility so that it can be bent into the generally cylindrical shape indicated at FIGS. 1 and 3, but has enough rigidity and impact resistance to take and absorb substantial forces such as can be encountered with boats. It also, however, preferably has some impact absorbing characteristics such that relatively slight bumps or scrapes of boats will not damage wrap 10, piling 20, or the boat.
  • Preferably, wrap [0039] 10 is completely impervious to water and is resistant to degradation by ultraviolet (UV) radiation or other normal environmental conditions or forces.
  • The precise configuration of the HDPE plastic can vary according to need or choice. The balancing of factors, along with the cost of the material, will result in selection of the desired characteristics. As is well known, such plastics can be altered, at least somewhat, according to their chemistry and production. [0040]
  • Vinyl is an alternative to HDPE plastic. The vinyl tends to have many preferable characteristics for this application. However, it also tends to be more expensive than HDPE. [0041]
  • One possible advantage of HDPE is that is can be made out of recyclable plastics, thereby usually reducing cost. Use of recycled materials is also an environmentally preferable choice of material. [0042]
  • D. Installation [0043]
  • FIGS. 1 and 3 provide illustration of how sleeve [0044] 10 would be installed onto piling 20.
  • Opposite edges [0045] 15 and 16 of flat member 10 of FIG. 2 would be gently moved towards one another to create a generally cylindrical shape with a longitudinal axis between top and bottom edges 13 and 14. Wrap 10 could be brought parallel to, and then around, piling 20 with edges 15 and 16 then overlapped and pulled snug to get a close conforming fit of wrap 10 to piling 20 along the length of wrap 10. Alternatively, a cylindrical shape can be formed with the edges overlapping and that shape slid axially down from the top of piling 20 until top edge 13 of wrap 10 is at a desired position relative to the top 23 of piling 20. Wrap 10 can then be snugged up by pulling the outer exposed edge tight.
  • In either case, screws or nails (preferably marine-grade corrosion resistant screws) can be relatively easily installed at spaced apart locations along the overlapping region of the edges of wrap [0046] 10 from top to bottom to secure it in place on piling 20. The leading edge of the screws would bore through wrap 10 and bite into and hold in the wood of piling 20. Washers could be utilized with screws 22, if desired, or large headed screws could be used.
  • The result would be both a barrier against water or organisms attacking or attaching to wood piling [0047] 20 along the length of wrap 10, and an impact absorbing, non-scraping interface between piling 20 and other objects such as boats. Additionally, wrap 10 is environmentally friendly. Configured properly, the plastic would not degrade and release any environmentally harmful substances.
  • It can easily be retrofitted to existing pilings. Any needed customization of shape or cutouts or dimensional changes, can be relatively easily accomplished by simply cutting the plastic wrap [0048] 10. It is lightweight and easy to handle, store or remove. It is therefore easy to install, maintain or replace.
  • Additionally, the materials, tools, and skill needed to install wrap [0049] 10 are relatively economical and common, particularly in relationship to potential extension of effective life of the piling by years.
  • Wrap [0050] 10, in one sense, can economically increase the durability of piling 20 with the dual function of being the equivalent of a rub rail, much less likely to adversely affect a boat that comes against it.
  • E. Options and Alternatives The above-described exemplary embodiment is but one form the invention can take. Variations obvious to those skilled in the art are included within the invention. The invention is described solely by the claims. [0051]
  • Examples of options and alternatives are set forth below. These are not exhaustive but also simply illustrative. [0052]
  • It is possible wrap [0053] 10 could be attached to a core of material other than wood. Self tapping screws could be used to attach it to tubular metal pilings or concrete screws for concrete.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates that optionally a cap [0054] 24 (available at many commercial marine supply stores) made of metal or plastic could be attached over the top of piling 20 to protect against water, sunlight, or other environmental conditions from reaching the top of piling 20. It could be secured in place by screws, nails, adhesives or other methods or hardware.
  • The amount of overlap of edges [0055] 15 and 16 can vary. Substantial overlap could occur without effect on the function of wrap 10. If there is substantial overlap, however, part of the overlap could be cut away simply with a knife or other cutting mechanism. It is preferable that there be at least several inches of overlap.
  • One advantage of plastic is that it could be manufactured relatively economically to include decorative or functional features. For example wrap [0056] 10 could be made available in different colors. Consumers could select a color that is aesthetically or environmentally pleasing (green, blue, etc.). Texturing could be made of the exterior of wrap 10 to simulate wood or to simply add an aesthetically pleasing or functionally advantageous texture. Indicia, such as recognizable shapes (e.g. wildlife or plants) or even numbers or letters, could be molded, stamped or otherwise formed on the exterior 11 of wrap 10.
  • Also, there could be coordinated kit of a wrap [0057] 10 packaged with mounting hardware. Likewise a plurality of coordinated wraps 10 and mounting hardware could be available in a kit.
  • As stated previously, dimensions and specific configurations of wrap [0058] 10 can take on different forms. One example is shown in FIGS. 4-6. Wrap 10 (this example designated generally by reference numeral 10B) is essentially like wrap 10 of FIG. 1-3 except it is manufactured to have a plurality of longitudinal ribs 32 extending from top edge 13 to bottom edge 14 on its external surface 11. One example of spacing and width of ribs 32 is indicated at FIG. 5. The geometry of each rib 32 is indicated at FIG. 6.
  • This configuration would present economy of plastic material while retaining the barrier and interface advantages previously described. This could reduce cost. It also provides a rather pleasing aesthetic appearance. As with wrap [0059] 10, fasteners (here button head, stainless steel screws 22) could be used to fix wrap to piling 20. Ribs 32, with alternating slots or grooves 34, can have a radius (see FIG. 6) to present a rounded exterior of each rib 32 if desired.
  • Using conventional molding or extrusion techniques, such a profile for wrap [0060] 10 can be easily and economically created.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates that, with this embodiment, several inches (here [0061] 3 inches) inwardly from both edges 15 and 16 of wrap 10B will not include any ribs 32. This would allow the overlap the edges of wrap 10B and connection to piling 20 with screws 22 without having to force the screws through the thicker cross-section of ribs 32.
  • Of course, other profiles could be used. For example, FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate a different configuration (wrap [0062] 10C) with ribs and grooves 32 and 34 like FIGS. 4-6, but having more of a square or rectangular prism shape. One possible option would be to mold in fairly narrow slots 34 to assist in the ease of bending a flat plastic sheet into a cylinder. Slots 34 could either be formed during manufacturing or even could be made by controlled depth cuts longitudinally of wrap 10C while it is laid flat on a surface.
  • Other forms and configurations of the invention are possible. [0063]

Claims (19)

1. A piling wrap comprising:
a. a sheet of high density polyethylene plastic having a thickness of at least around one-half inch, an outer surface, an inner surface, a top edge, a bottom edge, and opposite side edges, the outer surface including at least one of ornamentation, raised portions, or texture;
b. the sheet being elongated between top and bottom edges at least several feet;
c. the sheet being flexible enough to form essentially a cylinder with overlapping opposite side edges;
d. attachment hardware adapted to pass through the overlapping side edges and extend from the outer surface and through the inner surface of the sheet for attachment to a piling, the attachment hardware comprising marine grade screws or nails but without sealing top and bottom edges of the plastic:
2. The piling wrap of claim 1 wherein the plastic is water impermeable, marine environment resistant, and UV resistant and has some impact-absorbing characteristics.
3. (Cancelled)
4. The piling wrap of claim 2 wherein the plastic is vinyl.
5. The piling wrap of claim 1 wherein the sheet is rectangular in shape having a width of several feet, a length of several feet, and a thickness of on the order of an inch or less.
6. The piling wrap of claim 5 wherein the length is approximately 2-8 feet.
7. The piling wrap of claim 5 wherein the width is approximately 20-50 inches.
8-9. (Cancelled)
10. The piling wrap of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of alternating slots and ribs extending longitudinally of the wrap.
11. The piling wrap of claim 1 further comprising a texture on the outer surface of the sheet.
12. The piling wrap of claim 1 further comprising a cross-sectional profile created during manufacturing of the sheet.
13. The piling wrap of claim 1 wherein the overlapping opposite side edges overlap for at least approximately several inches when installed on a piling.
14. The piling wrap of claim 1 in combination with a piling wherein the wrap surrounds a portion of the longitudinal length of the piling.
15. The combination of claim 14 wherein the piling is wood.
16. A method of protecting a piling comprising:
a. wrapping a high density polyethylene plastic sheet of at least one-half inch thickness around the piling, the outer surface including at least one or more ornamentation, raised portions, or texture;
b. overlapping the edges of plastic sheet;
c. screwing or nailing the sheet in place to the piling at a plurality of positions along the overlapping edges but without sealing the edges of the plastic sheet relative the piling.
17. The method of claim 16 wherein the plastic sheet is dimensionally predesigned for wrapping a piling of eight to twelve inches in diameter.
18. The method of claim 16 wherein the plastic sheet is formed by molding or extrusion.
19. The method of claim 16 wherein the plastic sheet is made from high density polyethylene or vinyl.
20. A kit comprising:
a. one or more sheets of high density polyethylene plastic having a thickness of at least around one-half inch, a length of at least several feet, and a width of at least several feet, made of a material that allows flexible bending around the exterior of a piling, the outer surface including at least one or more ornamentation, raised portions, or texture;
b. attachment hardware for fixing each sheet at a plurality of locations to a piling, the attachment hardware comprising marine grade screws or nails but without any sealing members for sealing edges of the sheet relative the piling.
US10/449,381 2003-05-30 2003-05-30 Piling Wrap Abandoned US20040240943A1 (en)

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Cited By (6)

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US20040240945A1 (en) * 2002-06-04 2004-12-02 Frantz Anthony F. Piling decontamination and marine life enhancement system
US20100107953A1 (en) * 2008-11-05 2010-05-06 Selway Lorraine T PoleSox
US20150132067A1 (en) * 2013-11-14 2015-05-14 MedVasis, LLC Multilayer marine wraps
US20160237632A1 (en) * 2015-02-18 2016-08-18 Can-Traffic Services Ltd. Films and methods for protecting roadside poles
US9540839B1 (en) * 2015-09-04 2017-01-10 William Powers Gross Adjustable universal post cap
US10899116B2 (en) * 2017-07-04 2021-01-26 1824930 Alberta Ltd. Protective cover with preservative agent

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