US20060026908A1 - Simulated wood shingles with multiple alignment features - Google Patents

Simulated wood shingles with multiple alignment features Download PDF

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Publication number
US20060026908A1
US20060026908A1 US10/911,636 US91163604A US2006026908A1 US 20060026908 A1 US20060026908 A1 US 20060026908A1 US 91163604 A US91163604 A US 91163604A US 2006026908 A1 US2006026908 A1 US 2006026908A1
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Prior art keywords
shingle
shingles
alignment features
cladding system
installed
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US10/911,636
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Werner Gregori
Arunas Pabedinskas
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Gregori Werner K H
Pabedinskas Arunas A
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Priority to US10/911,636 priority Critical patent/US20060026908A1/en
Publication of US20060026908A1 publication Critical patent/US20060026908A1/en
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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04DROOF COVERINGS; SKY-LIGHTS; GUTTERS; ROOF-WORKING TOOLS
    • E04D1/00Roof covering by making use of tiles, slates, shingles, or other small roofing elements
    • E04D1/26Strip-shaped roofing elements appearing as a row of shingles
    • E04D1/265Strip-shaped roofing elements appearing as a row of shingles the roofing elements being rigid, e.g. made of metal, wood or concrete
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04DROOF COVERINGS; SKY-LIGHTS; GUTTERS; ROOF-WORKING TOOLS
    • E04D1/00Roof covering by making use of tiles, slates, shingles, or other small roofing elements
    • E04D1/12Roofing elements shaped as plain tiles or shingles, i.e. with flat outer surface
    • E04D1/20Roofing elements shaped as plain tiles or shingles, i.e. with flat outer surface of plastics; of asphalt; of fibrous materials

Abstract

The present invention relates to shingles which are designed to simulate the look of wood shingles while providing for a comparative ease of installation. Each shingle has a plurality of alignment features located on its inner and outer surfaces, which are a combination of corresponding male and female features. The alignment features are positioned on each shingle to allow for the shingles to be easily installed with a predetermined gap between adjacent shingles, while providing for multiple possible exposures for each course of shingles and multiple possible alignments between shingles in successive courses. Also disclosed are various preferred embodiments for shingles having alternate arrangements for the alignment features and various additional desirable configurations. The present invention also relates to a cladding system comprised of separate molded shingles that are installed in successive courses. The cladding system allows for installation of the shingles with multiple possible patterns and configurations.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention is directed to shingles which are adapted to be installed in successive courses and are adapted to simulate the look of wood shingles while providing for a comparative ease of installation in regard to setting the spacing of adjacent shingles, the desired exposure and the desired alignment of shingles in subsequent courses. This invention is also directed to a cladding system comprised of separate molded shingles which are adapted to be installed in successive courses and which allow for the installation of the shingles with multiple possible patterns and configurations.
  • BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION
  • Wood shingles, and specifically cedar shingles and shakes, have been used as a cladding material in home construction for a very long time. They provide a very appealing and rustic looking finish for a home, particularly because of the varying surface texture of the individual shingles due to the natural variations in the grain of the wood. In addition, the typically random widths of wood shingles result in a random pattern of gaps between shingles in adjacent courses, which is an aesthetically desirable feature. Finally, because of their inherently higher material and installation costs, wooden shingles are taken to be a higher end siding or roofing material than vinyl siding or asphalt shingles for instance, and can impart a certain status to the home and the homeowner.
  • In order to achieve a weatherproof surface, wood shingles are installed with overlapping courses, with the butt end or exposed portion of the subsequent course of shingles covering the head end of the previous course. When wood shingles are installed on a wall as siding, they are typically installed with a maximum exposure equal to the length of the shingle minus two inches divided by two, but when they are installed as roofing, the maximum exposure is typically equal to the length of the shingle minus one inch divided by three. In other words, 16 inch long shingles can be installed as siding with a maximum exposure of 7 inches, while the same shingles can only be installed with a maximum exposure of 5 inches when used as roofing. These installation guidelines ensure that the resulting overlap of subsequent courses of shingles achieves a weatherproof surface for the desired application. In order to achieve the desired exposure during the installation of the shingles, a guide or straightedge, is typically nailed to the wall or the roof, such that when the bottom of the next course of shingles is placed on the top of the guide, the desired exposure is achieved. When one course is completed the guide is moved up, and the procedure is repeated. In order to achieve a weatherproof surface when installing wood shingles, the horizontal, or side to side placement of the shingles is of equal importance to controlling the vertical exposure. Recommended installation practices dictate that wood shingles be installed such that the gap between any two shingles on the current course is offset by at least an inch and a half from any gap between two shingles on the previous course. Recommended practice also includes installing shingles in courses separated by one other course such that the gaps on the first and third course do not line up. The importance of the positioning of the gaps on successive courses of shingles is to ensure a weatherproof surface in addition to preventing the shingles from breaking or splitting when they are fastened in place.
  • Wood shingles are typically produced with a given length, typically 16, 18 or 24 inches, but as mentioned above, with random widths. Given the fixed lengths, achieving the desired exposure is a matter of choosing a shingle of sufficient length to ensure the recommended overlap of courses (as discussed above) and proper positioning of the guide. However, due to the random widths of the shingles, the proper alignment of the horizontal gaps between adjacent shingles on adjacent courses is much more difficult and time consuming. Specifically, a large percentage of the installer's time is spent searching through bundles of shingles to find a shingle of the appropriate width so that all of the gaps are properly spaced. There is also a fair amount of waste that is due to shingles which are too narrow or shingles which are cut to achieve the required gapping. One way of avoiding the difficulties associated with using random width shingles Is to use shingles that have all been cut to a fixed width. While these shingles can significantly reduce the installation time, there is a substantial premium in material cost, which can substantially exceed the savings in the cost of installation.
  • While freshly installed cedar shingles and shakes result in a very appealing look, it is typically short lived in comparison to other siding or roofing choices. As cedar shingles or shakes are cut randomly from different trees, the natural variation between shingles which gives them their visual appeal, also causes individual shingles to react to exposure to the elements in different ways. Shingles will expand and contract (primarily in width) when exposed to moisture, with some shingles expanding more than others. This can result in shingles which become cupped, especially if the shingles are installed with too narrow a spacing. Shingles can also bow, curl and split due to variations in the grain of the tree from which the shingle was cut. Wood shingles are also prone to damage from rot, attack by insects and the growth of mildew, moss, fungus, etc., especially in damp environments. Finally wood shingles are prone to damage caused by impacts, as they tend to split along the grain which typically runs the length of the shingle. This is of particular concern for cedar shingle or shake roofs during hail storms.
  • In order to overcome the inherent faults of wooden shingles, building product manufacturers have developed cladding systems for roofing and siding applications, that try to reproduce the look of wooden shingles, but are designed to overcome their deficiencies. Products designed to simulate individual shingles have been produced from a variety of materials, often in molds made from actual wooden shingles. These shingles often incorporate features, such as overlapping sections designed to increase resistance to water penetration, alignment features designed to speed installation, and materials chosen to improve the performance of the shingles (i.e. better impact resistance, weatherability, etc.). These individual shingles are typically designed to be installed with a given exposure and a given pattern, and there is little or no flexibility with regard to the exposure or positioning of shingles relative to each other in subsequent courses.
  • Recently, manufacturers have turned to producing large panels simulating complete sections of a wall or roof covered with wooden shingles, as opposed to individual shingles, in order to speed installation. These panels typically have features such as tongues and grooves or interlocking tabs along their edges designed to form watertight seals between adjacent panels, rather than relying on overlapping courses, as with wood shingles, to achieve a weatherproof surface. However, due to the fact that these panels are typically molded from thermoplastic resins which exhibit a significant amount of expansion and contraction in the temperature ranges to which the exterior surfaces of most homes are exposed, the panels can buckle due to expansion during hot weather or openings can develop between panels due to contraction during cold weather. Also, the expansion and contraction of the panels can result in an increase or decrease in the size of the gaps between panels, highlighting the gaps between the panel in comparison to the simulated gaps between the individual shingles comprising the panel. The problems associated with expansion and contraction become more significant as the panels increase in size. In addition, while the panels try to capture the random appearance of wood shingles, the randomness usually applies only within a given panel as typically all of the panels are produced with one mold, due to the high cost of the large molds required to produce the panels. The use of a single mold also fixes the exposure between courses of the shingles. Similarly, the panel products do not reproduce the look of individual shingles in that the gaps are merely indentations in the surface of the panel and not separations between adjacent shingles. Due to the intricate nature of the interlocking features on the edges of the panels, they can be difficult to install properly, and if only a small section of any edge of the panel is damaged, the whole panel might be unusable. Finally, large sections of a given panel may be wasted if only a small portion of a panel is required to finish a course.
  • Therefore it would be desirable to provide a shingle which reproduces the look of wood shingles and incorporates the desirable characteristics of wood shingles, such as their individual appearance and the flexibility in regard to different possible exposures and horizontal alignment, while eliminating the poor weatherability of wood, which causes curling, splitting, rotting, etc. of the shingles, and the time consuming installation which is required, particularly for random width wood shingles. It would also be desirable to provide a shingle with the advantages of currently available manufactured shingles, particularly in regard to the weatherability and impact resistance of the material from which the shingles are produced and the ease of installation, without including their disadvantages, such as the ability to achieve a weatherproof surface without the need for overlapping or interlocking features and the concerns regarding expansion and contraction due to temperature changes of the shingle panel products. It would also be desirable to provide a cladding system which would allow for the simple installation of shingles in various patterns with different exposures and alignment of overlapping shingles in adjacent courses. It would also be desirable to have a cladding system which would allow for the easy installation of shingles of various widths in a variety of patterns
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention overcomes the disadvantages in the prior art by providing shingles designed to simulate the look of wood shingles while providing for a comparative ease of installation in regard to setting the desired exposure, the spacing of adjacent shingles and the desired alignment of gaps in subsequent courses of shingles. The present invention also provides a cladding system comprised of separate shingles which can be used to achieve a variety of installation patterns.
  • The shingle of the present invention is intended to be installed in successive vertically overlapping courses in combination with a plurality of similarly configured shingles. The shingle is generally a slab having a head end, a butt end and an exposure which is defined as the amount of the butt end of a given shingle in a given course that is not covered by overlapping shingles in a subsequent course. The shingle also has an inner and outer surfaces on which are found a plurality of alignment features. The alignment features are arranged such that a number of male alignment features are formed on either the inner or the outer surface and a number of female alignment features are formed in the other surface and the female alignment features are adapted to receive the male alignment features. Further, the alignment features are arranged such that when two shingles are placed horizontally adjacent to each other in a given course with a gap having a predetermined width between them, the male alignment features of the shingles in one course are receivable by the female alignment features in a vertically adjacent course of shingles such that there are at least two different possible exposures and at least two different possible horizontal alignments between overlapping shingles in adjacent courses.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the shingle of the present invention, the alignment features are positioned to yield a horizontal spacing interval such that if vertical slices equal in width to the horizontal spacing interval are successively removed from the shingle starting at the leading edge, then one set of alignment features will be positioned on each slice. In additional preferred embodiments, the male alignment features are formed on the inner surface and the female alignment features are formed in the outer surface, while in other embodiments the female alignment features are formed on the inner surface and the male alignment features are formed in the outer surface. In both of these embodiments the alignment features can be arranged such that there is at least one more row of female than male alignment features and preferably one row of male alignment features and multiple rows of female alignment features. In some embodiments, the alignment features will be a combination of tapered projections and indentations which includes cone shaped alignment features.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the head end of the shingle can have a constant thickness, while the upper surface of the butt end of each shingle is tapered over its full length, with the butt end increasing in thickness from the head end to the bottom edge of the shingle, and the bottom surface of the butt end of each shingle is sloped parallel to the top surface from the bottom edge for a distance equal to the maximum minus the minimum exposure. In additional preferred embodiments, the shingle can have at least one recessed area on the inner surface of the shingle. Furthermore, the shingle can have ribs running the length of the shingle and dividing the recessed area such that when vertical slices are successively removed from a shingle starting at the leading edge, with the width of each slice equal to the horizontal spacing interval, the ribs form the leading edge of the remainder of the shingle as each slice Is removed. In an additional preferred embodiment of the present invention, the shingle has transverse ribs running across the width of the shingle, such that when the shingle is cut along the bottom edge of one of those ribs prior to installation, shingles with different desirable shapes can be produced.
  • Preferably, the shingles comprising the cladding system of the present invention are molded by injection or compression molding or by thermoforming and the shingles are molded with a pattern on the upper surface of the butt end of each shingle, with the pattern designed to simulate either a wood grain, a sawn wood shingle, a machine grooved wood shingle, a sanded sawn wood shingle, a tapered split wood shake or a slate tile. In addition, the shingles are preferably comprised of a compound comprised of either thermoplastic or thermosetting resins and the compound may also contain processing aids, lubricants, stabilizers, mold release agents, fillers, compatibilizers, coupling agents, colorants, UV stabilizers, flame retardants, impact modifiers, or combinations thereof.
  • The cladding system of the present invention has a base width as well as a minimum and a maximum exposure for each embodiment. The shingles comprising the cladding system are installed so that the leading edge of the next shingle to be installed is separated by a gap from the trailing edge of the previous shingle in a given course. The nominal width of each shingle is an integer multiple of the base width and is also equal to the actual width of the shingle plus the desired width of the gap between adjacent shingles. Each shingle has a head end, which comprises the portion of the shingle covered by the subsequent course of shingles at the maximum exposure, and a butt end, which comprises the remaining portion of the shingle when the shingles are installed as intended. Each shingle has a plurality of alignment features located on its inner and outer surfaces, with the alignment features on the outer surface of each shingle positioned within the head end of the shingle. The alignment features are positioned to create a horizontal spacing interval and an exposure interval equal to the maximum exposure minus the minimum exposure divided by an integer n. Each shingle comprising the cladding system is installed with one of the group of the minimum exposure, the maximum exposure, and n−1 different fixed exposures between the minimum and maximum exposures separated by the exposure interval. Finally, the shingles are installed such that the gaps between adjacent shingles in successive courses are offset.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the cladding system of the present invention, n is equal to 1 and each shingle can be installed with only one of the minimum exposure and the maximum exposure. In additional preferred embodiments, the shingles are installed with the same exposure or with at least two different exposures. Furthermore, the shingles comprising the cladding system can all have the same nominal width or in a further preferred embodiment, the cladding system is comprised of shingles having a nominal width of 4, 6, 8 or 10 inches and alignment features that have a horizontal spacing interval of 2 inches, with the shingles being installed such that the gaps between adjacent shingles in successive courses are offset by an integer multiple of 2 inches.
  • Other features and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein are set forth, by way of illustration and example, certain embodiments of this invention. The drawings constitute a part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments and illustrate various features and designs thereof.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The invention will now be described by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
  • FIGS. 1 a and 1 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a preferred embodiment of a shingle of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 shows how the alignment features on the shingle shown in FIGS. 1 a and 1 b can yield different exposures and different horizontal alignments when similar shingles are installed in vertically overlapping courses;
  • FIGS. 3 a and 3 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a second preferred embodiment of a shingle featuring an alternate alignment feature configuration;
  • FIGS. 4 a and 4 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a third preferred embodiment of a shingle featuring an alternate alignment feature configuration;
  • FIGS. 5 a and 5 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a fourth preferred embodiment of a shingle featuring an alternate alignment feature configuration;
  • FIGS. 6 a and 6 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a fifth preferred embodiment of a shingle featuring an alternate alignment feature configuration;
  • FIGS. 7 a and 7 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a sixth preferred embodiment of a shingle featuring an alternate alignment feature configuration;
  • FIGS. 8 a and 8 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a seventh preferred embodiment of a shingle featuring a tapered butt end;
  • FIGS. 9 a and 9 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of an eighth preferred embodiment of a shingle featuring a recessed area on the inner surface of the shingle;
  • FIGS. 10 a and 10 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a ninth preferred embodiment of a shingle featuring a recessed area on the Inner surface of the shingle and vertical ribs;
  • FIG. 11 a shows a bottom view of a tenth preferred embodiment of a shingle featuring two sets of transverse ribs;
  • FIG. 11 b shows a top view of the shingle shown in FIG. 11 a after it has been cut along the first set of transverse ribs;
  • FIG. 11 c shows a top view of the shingle shown in FIG. 11 a after the shingle has been cut along the second set of transverse ribs.
  • FIG. 12 a shows a bottom view of an eleventh preferred embodiment of a shingle featuring secondary vertical ribs;
  • FIG. 12 b shows a top view of a shingle which appears as three separate shingles when installed as intended after the shingle shown in FIG. 12 a has been selectively cut to produce the shown shingle;
  • FIG. 13 shows a top view of a twelfth preferred embodiment of a shingle featuring a surface pattern resembling a machine grooved cedar shingle;
  • FIG. 14 shows how the alignment features on the shingle shown in FIGS. 4 a and 4 b can yield different exposures and different horizontal alignment for the cladding system of the present invention;
  • FIG. 15 shows an installation pattern for the installation of the cladding system of the present invention comprising the shingle shown in FIGS. 4 a and 4 b;
  • FIG. 16 shows a second Installation pattern for the installation of the cladding system of the present invention comprising the shingle shown in FIGS. 4 a and 4 b;
  • FIG. 17 shows an embodiment of a random looking pattern for the installation of the cladding system of the present invention comprising shingles with 4, 6, 8 and 10 inch widths; and
  • FIG. 18 shows an alternative embodiment of a random looking pattern for the installation of the cladding system of the present invention comprising 14 inch wide shingles that have been cut to appear as two or three separate 4, 6, 8 or 10 inch wide shingles when installed.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Although the invention will be described in terms of specific embodiments, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications, rearrangements and substitutions can be made without parting from the spirit of this invention.
  • FIGS. 1 a and 1 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a preferred embodiment of a shingle 2 of the present invention. As can be seen, the shingle 2 shown in FIGS. 1 a and 1 b is generally rectangular in shape and is longer than it is wide. In this embodiment, the shingle is a solid constant thickness slab 4. The slab 4 has a head end 6, a butt end 8, an inner surface 10, an outer surface 12 and a plurality of alignment features positioned on the inner 10 and outer 12 surfaces, respectively. In this embodiment of the shingle of the present invention, the alignment features on the inner surface 10 consist of a single horizontal row of male features 14, while the alignment features on the outer surface 12 consist of female features 16 which are adapted to receive the male features 14.
  • FIG. 2 shows how the male 14 and female 16 alignment features on shingle 2 shown in FIGS. 1 a and 1 b can yield two possible exposures and two possible horizontal alignments between overlapping shingles in successive courses. In this embodiment, the butt end 18 of each shingle comprises the maximum possible portion of the slab not covered by the overlapping shingles in the successive course when the male alignment features of one course of shingles is received by the female alignment features of the previous row of shingles, while the head end 20 of each shingle comprises the remaining portion of the shingle. In this embodiment, the alignment features allow the shingles to be easily installed with two different exposures (indicated by line 22 and 24) and two possible horizontal alignments between shingles in successive courses. For instance, the positioning of shingle 26 results in the exposure indicated by line 22 (the maximum exposure in this embodiment) for shingles 28 and 30, while the positioning of shingle 32 results in the exposure indicated by line 24 (the minimum exposure for this embodiment) for shingles 30 and 34. As for the two possible horizontal alignments, shingle 26 is aligned to the right of shingle 28 and to the left of shingle 30. Alternatively, the alignment features of this embodiment will allow a subsequent course of shingles to be installed in line with or shifted by half a shingle from the shingles in the previous course. Additionally, when the shingles in the first course 28, 30, 34 are positioned horizontally with the gaps 36 between adjacent shingles having the desired width, the alignment features will ensure that the gap 38 between the shingles in the subsequent course 26, 32 will also be of the desired width.
  • FIGS. 3 a and 4 a show top views of second and third preferred embodiments of shingles of the present invention, while FIGS. 3 b and 4 b show bottom views of the same embodiments, respectively. In comparison to the shingle shown in FIGS. 1 a and 1 b, the shingle 40 shown in FIGS. 3 a and 3 b has three possible exposures and three possible horizontal alignments between overlapping shingles in successive courses, while the shingle 42 shown in FIGS. 4 a and 4 b has five possible exposures and four possible horizontal alignments. Additionally, in FIGS. 4 a and 4 b, the alignment features of shingle 42 are positioned such that if vertical slices equal in width to the horizontal spacing between the alignment features are successively removed from the shingle 42 starting at its leading edge 44 (indicated by lines 46, 48 and 50), then one set of alignment features will be positioned on each slice and the last slice 52 will have a width equal to horizontal spacing between the alignment features minus the desired width of the gap between adjacent shingles in a given course.
  • FIGS. 5 a and 5 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a fourth preferred embodiment of a shingle 54 of the present invention. While the shingles shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, had multiple rows of female alignment features on the outer surfaces and only one row of male alignment features on the inner surfaces of the shingles, the shingle 54 shown in FIGS. 5 a and 5 b has male alignment features 56 positioned in two rows. As a result, the shingle 54 shown in FIGS. 5 a and 5 b will allow only two possible exposures for the three rows of female alignment features 58 in comparison to the shingle 40 shown in FIGS. 3 a and 3 b which has three possible exposures. Having more than one row of the male alignment features might be desirable to ensure a more precise positioning of the shingles in the subsequent course relative to the previous course. In this case, the number of possible exposures will be reduced by one for each additional row of male alignment features in comparison to a shingle having one row of male alignment features and the same number of rows of female alignment features.
  • For the embodiments discussed above, the alignment features have consisted of a combination of male features on the inner surfaces and female features in the outer surfaces of the shingles configured to receive the male features of shingles from the subsequent course of shingles. As such, in certain preferred embodiments of the shingle of the present invention, the alignment features will be a combination of female features in the outer surface of each shingle and male features on the inner surface of the shingle. FIGS. 6 a and 6 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a fifth preferred embodiment of a shingle 60 of the present invention with another possible configuration of the alignment features. In this case, the male alignment features 62 are positioned on the outer surface 64 of the shingle 60, while the female alignment features 66, which are configured to receive the male alignment features 62, are positioned on the inner surface 68 of the shingle. Therefore, in additional preferred embodiments of the shingle of the present invention, the alignment features will be a combination of male alignment features on the outer surface of the shingle and corresponding female alignment features in the inner surface of each shingle, with at least one more row of female alignment features than male alignment features.
  • As the shingles of the present invention being contemplated are relatively small in size in comparison to the shingle simulating panel products currently being manufactured, the effects of thermal expansion and contraction should be minimized. However, there still may be concerns regarding expansion and contraction in some circumstances, for instance in roofing applications, where the shingles will be subjected to heating by the sun during the day and rapid cooling at night. FIGS. 7 a and 7 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a sixth preferred embodiment of a shingle 70 of the present invention, wherein the alignment features are a combination of male 72 and female 74 alignment features designed to compensate for any horizontal expansion and contraction the shingles may be subjected to. In comparison to the alignment features seen in the previous embodiments, which had sides that were generally perpendicular to the surfaces on which they were positioned, the female alignment features in this embodiment are indentations 74 which are tapered from their leading 76 and trailing 78 edges towards the center 80, where the indentations reach their maximum depth. Similarly, the male alignment features are projections 72 which are tapered away from the center 82 towards their leading 84 and trailing edges 86, with the maximum height being at the center 82 of the projections 72. With the alignment features configured as shown in FIGS. 7 a and 7 b, overlapping shingles will be able to move horizontally with respect to each other if there is any expansion and contraction across the width of the shingles. In the case where both the horizontal and vertical expansion and contraction are of concern, alignment features consisting of cone shaped projections and cone shaped indentations would allow overlapping shingles to move both vertically and horizontally relative to each other.
  • While the embodiments discussed above all describe shingles comprising a slab of constant thickness over its entire length, it may be desirable to have a shingle which is tapered like a wood shingle. However, because of the need to ensure that the alignment features are properly positioned relative to each other when the shingles are installed, a shingle which has a head end with a constant thickness and a tapered buff end is preferred. FIGS. 8 a and 8 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a seventh preferred embodiment of a shingle 90 of the present invention with such a configuration. As can be seen, the head end 92 of the shingles has a constant thickness, while the butt end 94 is tapered so that it generally decreases in thickness, starting at the bottom edge 96 of the shingle, from a maximum thickness to the thickness of the head end 92. In addition, in order to allow for the shingle to be installed properly with all the allowable exposures, the bottom surface 98 of each shingle is sloped from the bottom edge 96 for a distance equal to maximum minus the minimum exposure or the separation between the first and last row of female alignment features. When the shingle 90 shown in FIGS. 8 a and 8 b is installed with the minimum exposure, the sloped portion 100 of the bottom surface of the shingles in the next course sits flush with the upper surface of the shingles in the previous course, while there is a small wedge shaped gap between the sloped portion of the bottom surface of the upper shingles and the upper surface of the underlying shingles. The sloped portion 100 of the bottom surface and the constant thickness head end 92 allows the shingle 90 shown in FIGS. 8 a and 8 b to be installed such that the remainder of the bottom surface of the upper shingles sits flush on the upper surface of the underlying shingles.
  • As the shingles of the present invention are preferably molded, various additional features can be Incorporated into the shingle to provide additional functionality or other benefits. FIGS. 9 a and 9 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of an eighth preferred embodiment of a shingle 102 of the present invention which has been molded with a recessed area 104 on the inner surface 106 of the shingle. As can be seen, the shingle has a leading edge sidewall 108, a trailing edge sidewall 110 and a butt end sidewall 112, which define the sides of the recessed area 104 and yield a solid looking shingle when the shingle is installed as intended. The purpose of the recessed area is to reduce the weight of material required to mold the shingle in comparison to a similarly sized solid shingle, resulting in a more cost effective cladding system due to the material savings. In this embodiment of the shingle, the alignment features consist of male features 114 projecting beyond the inner surface of the shingle and the female features are a series of regularly spaced holes 116 in the head end of the shingle into which the male features 114 are inserted when the shingles are installed as intended.
  • FIGS. 10 a and 10 b show top and bottom views, respectively, of a ninth preferred embodiment of a shingle 120 featuring recessed areas 122 on the inner surface 124 of the shingle. In this case the shingle has a plurality of vertical ribs 126 running the length of the shingle from its top edge 128 to its bottom edge 130. The ribs serve two purposes. First, to provide additional support so that the depth of the recessed areas can be increased while maintaining the structural integrity of the shingle, once again saving material. The second purpose of the vertical ribs becomes apparent if vertical slices equal in width to the horizontal spacing interval are successively removed from a shingle starting at its leading edge 132. In this case, the leading edge 134 of each of the vertical ribs 126 forms the leading edge of the remainder of the shingle as each slice is removed. In this way shingles can be cut into narrower width shingles as might be required at the start of a course of shingles while still maintaining the look of a solid shingle. In addition to the vertical ribs 126, sections 136 beneath the female alignment features 138 are not as deeply recessed as in the remainder of the recessed areas 122. In comparison to the shingle 102 shown in FIGS. 9 a and 9 b, this results in an upper surface 140 with female alignment features which are indentations as opposed to holes through which water might penetrate behind the shingle.
  • FIG. 11 a shows a tenth preferred embodiment of a shingle 142 of the present invention which has been molded with two transverse ribs 144, 146 which run generally across the butt end 148 of the shingle 142. The purpose of the transverse ribs is to allow a shingle to be cut to produce shingles with different shapes while only having to mold shingles with one base shape. As can be seen in FIGS. 11 b and 11 c, when shingle 142 shown in FIG. 11 a is cut along the bottom edges 150, 152 of the transverse ribs 144, 146 shingles, 154 and 156, respectively, are produced. These shingles are designed to resemble round and arrow shaped fancy cut or fancy butt wood shingles.
  • FIG. 12 a shows an eleventh embodiment of a shingle 160 of the present invention in which additional ribs can be used to produce shingles with a different appearance when installed. Shingle 160 has four secondary vertical ribs 162 whose trailing edges 164 are separated from the leading edges 166 of the vertical ribs 168. These secondary vertical ribs 162 run parallel to the vertical ribs 168 and are separated from them by a distance equal to the desired width of the gap between adjacent shingles. The secondary vertical ribs 162 must be longer than the maximum exposure (as indicated by line 170), which means they will end somewhere in the head end 172 of the shingle 160. The reason for the secondary vertical ribs is that when the portion of the original shingle between one or more of the secondary vertical ribs and the adjoining vertical rib is removed, the resulting cut shingle appears to be two or more narrower shingles when the shingle is installed in successive courses with similar shingles. For example, when the portions of shingle 160 between the leftmost and rightmost secondary vertical ribs and the adjoining vertical ribs Is removed, yielding shingle 174 with gaps 176, 178 in the butt end 180 of the shingle, which is shown in FIG. 12 b. As can be easily imagined, when shingle 174 is installed, it will appear as three separate narrower shingles.
  • The shingles of the present invention are preferably produced by molding in order to form the desired alignment features. Molding the shingles also allows the various features which have been discussed above to be easily incorporated in a variety of different combinations and configurations. The shingles are molded preferably by either injection molding, compression molding or thermoforming. One additional feature which can be incorporated in the shingles during molding, is a pattern on the upper surface of the butt end of each shingle. Possible patterns include those designed to give the appearance of a wood grain, a sawn wood shingle, a machine grooved wood shingle, a sanded sawn wood shingle, or a tapered split wood shake. While the above discussion has focused on producing molded shingles which simulate wood shingles, it is also possible to produce shingles which simulate the look of slate tiles that incorporate the various features discussed above, particularly the use of the alignment features to ease installation. FIG. 13 shows a shingle 182 comprising the cladding system of the present invention which has a grooved surface designed to simulate the appearance of a machine grooved wood shingle. The pattern is molded on the butt end 184 of the shingle and on the head end 186 of the shingle in areas 188 which may be visible through the gaps between adjacent shingles in the next course. In addition to molding a pattern, various indicating marks can be molded into the surface of the shingle which would aid in the installation of the cladding system. For instance, the shingle 182 shown in FIG. 13 has marks 190 to help indicate the possible exposures, marks 192 which indicate preferential nailing positions, and marks 194 which Indicate the proper direction for installation.
  • As it is desired to reproduce the appearance of wood shingles without the disadvantages associated with the poor weatherability of wood, preferably the shingles of the present invention would be molded from a compound comprising a thermoplastic or a thermosetting resin. Shingles molded from either thermoplastic or thermosetting resins would result in lightweight shingles with substantially improved weatherability in comparison to wood. Various additives could be used in order to achieve other desirable characteristics. For instance, various processing aids, lubricants, stabilizer or mold release agents could be incorporated into the compound to aid in the production of the shingles. Additives such as fillers, compatibilizers, and coupling agents could be used to improve the strength of the shingles or to potentially reduce material costs by replacing higher cost resins with lower cost fillers. Finally, additives which might affect the appearance (colorant, UV stabilizers, etc.) or the performance (flame retardants, impact modifiers, etc.) of the shingles can also be incorporated into the compounds.
  • When the shingles of the present invention are used together to cover roofs or exterior walls of buildings or structures, the shingles taken together can comprise a cladding system. The cladding system of the present invention consists of shingles which are installed in successive vertically overlapping courses with the leading edge of the next shingle to be installed in a given course separated by a gap of a desired width (i.e. the gap width) from the trailing edge of the shingle previously installed. Additionally, the shingles are installed such that the gaps between adjacent shingles in successive courses are offset. The cladding system has a base width, wherein each of the shingles comprising the cladding system has a nominal width that is an integer multiple of the base width, while the nominal width of each shingle is equal to its actual width plus the gap width. As with the shingles of the present invention, the shingles comprising the cladding system of the present invention have a plurality of alignment features formed on their inner and outer surfaces. The alignment features are positioned to create a horizontal spacing interval and an exposure interval equal to the maximum minus the minimum exposure divided by an integer n. Each shingle comprising the cladding system can be installed with one of the group of the minimum exposure, the maximum exposure, and n−1 different fixed exposures between the minimum and maximum exposures, wherein all of the possible exposures are separated by the exposure interval. For a given embodiment of the cladding system, the shingles may all be installed with the same exposure or several different exposures to from a pattern. Similarly the shingles comprising the cladding system might all have the same nominal width or have a number of different nominal widths. As a result of the multiple possible exposures, the possible variation in the horizontal alignment between overlapping shingles in successive courses and the variation in the width of the shingles, a wide variety of installation patterns can be achieved with the cladding system of the present invention.
  • FIG. 14 shows how the alignment features on the shingle shown in FIGS. 4 a and 4 b can yield the various possible exposures and horizontal spacing intervals which will yield the different installation patterns for the cladding system of the present invention. The first course consists of shingles 200 installed with 0.25 inch gaps 202 separating the leading edges 204 and trailing edges 206 of adjacent shingles. All of the shingles in this example have the same nominal width (6 inches) which is four times the base width of the cladding system (1.5 inches). Each shingle has a butt end 208 which comprises the portion of each shingle not covered by the subsequent course of shingles at the maximum exposure (indicated by line 210) and a head end 212 which comprises the remaining portion of the shingle. As can be seen in FIG. 14, the alignment features 214 on the outer surface of each shingle in the lower course of shingles are positioned within the head end 212 and will consequently be covered by the butt ends 208 of the next course of shingles. As mentioned above, the alignment features allow the shingles to be easily installed with the minimum exposure (indicated by line 216), the maximum exposure 210, and n−1 (which in this embodiment is 3) different fixed exposures between the minimum and maximum exposures (indicated by lines 218, 220 and 222). FIG. 14 also shows how the alignment features can be used to set the horizontal alignment between shingles in successive courses. If all the shingles in the second course were positioned similarly to the leftmost shingle 224, then the gaps to the left of each shingle in the first course would be offset one horizontal spacing interval from the gaps to the left of each shingle in the second course. For the center 226 and rightmost 228 shingles in the second course, the gaps to the left of each shingle in the first course would be offset two and three horizontal spacing intervals from the gaps to the left of each shingle in the second course, respectively. The horizontal positioning of the shingles in the second course in FIG. 14 is shown with an exaggerated gap to illustrate the different possible alignments between overlapping shingles in successive courses and does not show how the cladding system would be installed for actual use.
  • FIG. 15 shows one possible pattern for the installation of the cladding system of the present invention comprised of shingles such as the one shown in FIGS. 4 a, 4 b and 14. As can be seen, all of the shingles have been installed with the same exposure. However, the shingles in the second 230 and fifth courses 232 have been installed such that the gaps 234 and 236, respectively, between the shingles in those courses are offset by one horizontal spacing interval from the gaps 238 and 240 in the first 242 and fourth 244 courses, respectively. Similarly, the shingles in the third 246 and sixth 248 courses have been installed such that the gaps 250 and 252, respectively, between the shingles in those courses are offset by two horizontal spacing intervals from the gaps 234 and 236 in the second 230 and fifth 232 courses, respectively. Finally, the shingles in the fourth course 244 have been installed such that the gaps 240 between the shingles in that course are offset by three horizontal spacing intervals from the gaps 250 in the third course 246.
  • FIG. 16 shows a second possible pattern for the installation of the cladding system of the present Invention comprised of shingles such as the one shown in FIGS FIGS. 4 a, 4 b and 14. As can be seen, all of the shingles In this pattern have been installed with the same offset between gaps for each pair of adjacent courses, while the shingles in a given course have been installed with three different exposures in an alternating pattern which is shifted to the left by half a shingle with each course. FIGS. 15 and 16 serve to illustrate how easily the alignment features allow the cladding system of the present invention to be installed with different exposures and different horizontal alignment between shingles in subsequent courses, while maintaining the desired gap between adjacent shingles.
  • While FIGS. 15 and 16, showed possible installation patterns for shingles all of the same width, the cladding system of the present invention can be comprised of shingles having more than one different width. In that case, the nominal width of any shingle comprising the cladding system will be an integer multiple of a base width. FIG. 17 shows a pattern for shingles with nominal widths of 4, 6, 8 and 10 inches having alignment features which are positioned to yield a horizontal spacing interval of 2 inches. As a result, the gaps between adjacent shingles in successive courses are offset by an integer multiple of 2 inches. The pattern shown in FIG. 17 appears to be quite random, both in regard to the different widths of shingles and the alignment, or more specifically, the lack of alignment of the gaps between adjacent shingles in successive courses. As such, the pattern shown in FIG. 17 closely approximates the look of random width shingles, but which can be installed without the problems associated with installing random width wood shingles discussed above. The shingles whose widths are indicated by a number, are part of group of shingles in which the 4, 6, 8 and 10 inch wide shingles are found in proportions of 7, 5, 4, and 3, respectively. As such, if the 4, 6, 8 and 10 inch shingles were packaged in bundles in the above proportions, it would be easy to produce a cladding system capable of giving the random appearance seen in FIG. 17.
  • FIG. 18 shows an alternative embodiment of the cladding system of the present invention with a random appearing pattern. In this case the shingles comprising the cladding system are similar to the shingle shown in FIGS. 12 a and 12 b, in that the shingles have additional vertical ribs which allow the original shingle to be cut to produce various combinations of narrower looking shingles. In this case the original shingle is 14 inches wide and has a 2 inch horizontal spacing interval. The original shingle has been cut to yield shingles which appear as two shingles 10 and 4 inches wide, 4 and 10 inches wide, 8 and 6 inches wide or 6 and 8 inches wide or three shingles 4, 4 and 6 inches wide, 4, 6 and 4 inches wide or 6, 4 and 4 inches wide. The shaded shingles shown in FIG. 18 are part of a group in which each portion of a given course includes one of each of the cut shingles listed above that appear as two or three separate shingles when installed. As can be seen, by positioning each different cut shingle at different positions along a course, a random appearing pattern can be achieved with even less effort than the pattern shown in FIG. 17, as fewer individual shingles would need to be installed as part of the cladding system to achieve the desired random appearing pattern.
  • As used herein, the terms “comprises” and “comprising” are to be construed as being inclusive and opened rather than exclusive. Specifically, when used in this specification including the claims, the terms “comprises” and “comprising” and variations thereof mean that the specified features, steps or components are included. The terms are not to be interpreted to exclude the presence of other features, steps or components.
  • It is to be understood that while certain embodiments of this invention have been described above, the invention is not to be limited to the specific embodiments shown and described. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes may be made without departing from the scope of the invention and the invention is not to be considered limited to what is shown in the drawings and described in the specification.

Claims (37)

1. A shingle for use in combination with a plurality of said shingles in adjacent vertically overlapping courses for covering a roof or one or more sides of a structure, wherein:
the shingle is a slab having a head end, a butt end, an exposure, an inner surface, an outer surface, and a plurality of alignment features;
the exposure is defined as the amount of the butt end of a given shingle in a given course that is not covered by overlapping shingles in a subsequent course;
the plurality of alignment features are arranged such that a plurality of spaced apart male alignment features are formed on one of the outer surface and the inner surface and a plurality of spaced apart female alignment features are formed in the other of the inner surface and the outer surface and wherein the female alignment features are adapted to receive the male alignment features; and
the alignment features are further arranged such that when two shingles are placed horizontally adjacent to each other in a given course with a gap having a predetermined width therebetween, the male alignment features of the shingles in one course are receivable by the female alignment features in a vertically adjacent course of shingles such that there are at least two different possible exposures and at least two different possible horizontal alignments between the overlapping shingles in adjacent courses.
2. A shingle as claimed in claim 1 having a leading edge, wherein the alignment features are positioned to yield a horizontal spacing interval such that if vertical slices equal in width to the horizontal spacing interval are successively removed from the shingle starting at the leading edge, then one set of alignment features will be positioned on each slice.
3. A shingle as claimed in claim 1, wherein the male alignment features are formed on the inner surface and the female alignment features are formed on the outer surface.
4. A shingle as claimed in claim 3, wherein the male and female alignment features are arranged in a plurality of horizontal rows and there is one row of male alignment features and a plurality of rows of female alignment features.
5. A shingle as claimed in claim 3, wherein the male and female alignment features are arranged in a plurality of horizontal rows and there is at least one more row of female alignment features than there are rows of male alignment features.
6. A shingle as claimed in claim 1, wherein the female alignment features are formed on the inner surface and the male alignment features are formed on the outer surface.
7. A shingle as claimed in claim 6, wherein the male and female alignment features are arranged in a plurality of horizontal rows and there is one row of male alignment features and a plurality of rows of female alignment features.
8. A shingle as claimed in claim 6, wherein the male and female alignment features are arranged in a plurality of horizontal rows and there is at least one more row of female alignment features than there are rows of male alignment features.
9. A shingle as claimed in claim 1, wherein the male alignment features are a series of projections having a leading edge, a trailing edge and a center and the female alignment features are a series indentations having a leading edge, a trailing edge and a center, wherein the projections are tapered away from the center towards the leading and trailing edges from a maximum height and the indentations are tapered from the leading and trailing edges towards the center to a maximum depth.
10. A shingle as claimed in claim 9, wherein the male and female alignment features are a combination of cone shaped projections and cone shaped indentations, respectively.
11. A shingle as claimed in claim 1, wherein the head end of the slab has a constant thickness, the outer surface of the butt end of the slab is tapered over its full length with the butt end generally increasing in thickness from the head end to a bottom edge of the slab, and the inner surface of the butt end of the slab is sloped parallel to the outer surface from the bottom edge of the slab for a distance equal to a maximum exposure minus a minimum exposure, wherein the minimum and maximum exposures are the minimum and maximum amount, respectively, of the butt end of a given shingle in a given course that is not covered by the overlapping shingles in a subsequent course when the male alignment features are received by the female alignment features.
12. A shingle as claimed in claim 1, wherein the slab has a leading edge sidewall, a trailing edge sidewall and a bottom edge sidewall each extending between the inner surface and the outer surface of the slab and defining at least one recessed area on the inner surface of the slab.
13. A shingle as claimed in claim 12, wherein the slab has a plurality of vertical ribs, with each rib having a leading edge and running from a top to a bottom edge of the shingle and dividing the recessed area, such that when vertical slices equal in width to the horizontal spacing interval are successively removed from the slab starting at its leading edge, the leading edge of one of the vertical ribs forms the leading edge of the remainder of the slab.
14. A shingle as claimed in claim 12, wherein the slab has at least one transverse rib having a bottom edge and running generally across the butt end of the slab, such that when the slab is cut along the bottom edge of one or more of the transverse ribs prior to installation, a shingle with a new bottom edge and a different shape is produced.
15. A shingle as claimed in claim 13, wherein the slab has at least one secondary vertical rib having a trailing edge separated from the leading edge of one of the vertical ribs by a distance equal to the predetermined gap between adjacent shingles and running parallel to the vertical ribs from the bottom edge to a point in the head end of the slab, such that when a portion of the butt end of the slab between the trailing edge of one or more of the secondary vertical ribs and the leading edge of the adjacent vertical ribs is removed and the shingle is installed, the shingle appears to be two or more separate narrower shingles.
16. A shingle as claimed in claim 1, wherein the shingle is produced by one of injection molding, compression molding and thermoforming.
17. A shingle as claimed in claim 16, wherein the shingle is produced with a pattern on the upper surface of the butt end of the slab.
18. A shingle as claimed in claim 17, wherein the pattern is designed to simulate one of a wood grain, a sawn wood shingle, a machine grooved wood shingle, a sanded sawn wood shingle, a tapered split wood shake and a slate tile.
19. A shingle as claimed in claim 1, wherein the shingle is comprised of a compound which comprises one of a thermoplastic resin and a thermosetting resin.
20. A shingle as claimed in claim 19, wherein the compound also comprises one of a processing aid, a lubricant, a stabilizer, a mold release agent, a compatibilizer, a coupling agent, a filler, a colorant, a UV stabilizer, a flame retardant, an impact modifier and combinations thereof.
21. A cladding system having a base width, a gap width, a minimum exposure and a maximum exposure comprising:
a plurality of separate shingles installed in successive vertically overlapping courses, wherein:
each shingle has an inner surface, an outer surface, a head end, a butt end, a top edge, a bottom edge, a leading edge, a trailing edge, a nominal width, an actual width, and a length;
the shingles being installed with the leading edge of the next shingle to be installed in a given course separated by a gap from the trailing edge of the shingle previously installed;
the nominal width of each shingle is an integer multiple of the base width and is equal to the actual width of the shingle plus the gap width;
the head end of each shingle comprises the portion of the shingle covered by the subsequent course of shingles at the maximum exposure and the butt end comprises the remaining portion of the shingle;
each shingle has a plurality of alignment features formed on the inner and outer surfaces;
the alignment features are positioned to create a horizontal spacing interval and an exposure interval equal to the maximum exposure minus the minimum exposure divided by an integer n;
each shingle is installed with one of the group of the minimum exposure, the maximum exposure, and n−1 different fixed exposures between the minimum and maximum exposures separated by the exposure interval; and
the shingles are installed such that the gaps between adjacent shingles in successive courses are offset.
22. A cladding system as claimed in claim 21, wherein n is equal to 1 and each shingle can be installed with only one of the minimum exposure and the maximum exposure.
23. A cladding system as claimed in claim 21, wherein all of the shingles are installed with the same exposure.
24. A cladding system as claimed in claim 21, wherein the shingles are installed with at least two different exposures.
25. A cladding system as claimed in claim 21, wherein all of the shingles comprising the cladding system have the same nominal width.
26. A cladding system as claimed in claim 25, wherein the nominal width is one of 5 and 6 inches.
27. A cladding system as claimed In claim 21, wherein the nominal width of the shingles is one of 4, 6, 8 and 10 inches, the alignment features have a horizontal spacing interval of 2 inches and the shingles are installed such that the gaps between adjacent shingles in successive courses are offset by an integer multiple of 2 inches.
28. A cladding system as claimed in claim 21, wherein the cladding system is installed on an exterior wall and the length of the shingles is at least 2 times the maximum desired exposure plus 2 inches.
29. A cladding system as claimed in claim 21, wherein the cladding system is installed on a roof and the length of the shingles is at least 3 times the maximum desired exposure plus 1 inch.
30. A cladding system as claimed in claim 21, wherein the shingles are installed such that the gaps between adjacent shingles in successive courses of shingles are offset by at least 1.5 inches.
31. A cladding system as claimed in claim 21, wherein the maximum exposure is about 7 inches and the minimum exposure is about 5 inches.
32. A cladding system as claimed in claim 21, wherein the exposure interval between the alignment features is one of 0.25, 0.5 and 1 inch.
33. A cladding system as claimed in claim 21, wherein the horizontal spacing interval between the alignment features is one of 1, 1.5 and 2 inches.
34. A cladding system as claimed in claim 21, wherein the base width is one of 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3 and 4 inches and the minimum width of any shingle comprising the cladding system is 3 inches.
35. A cladding system as claimed in claim 21, wherein the shingle is produced by one of injection molding, compression molding and thermoforming.
36. A cladding system as claimed in claim 35, wherein the shingle is comprised of a compound which comprises one of a thermoplastic resin and a thermosetting resin.
37. A cladding system as claimed in claim 36, wherein the compound also comprises one of a processing aid, a lubricant, a stabilizer, a mold release agent, a compatibilizer, a coupling agent, a filler, a colorant, a UV stabilizer, a flame retardant, an impact modifier and combinations thereof.
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