US20070068110A1 - Floor panel with coupling means and methods of making the same - Google Patents

Floor panel with coupling means and methods of making the same Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070068110A1
US20070068110A1 US11/238,650 US23865005A US2007068110A1 US 20070068110 A1 US20070068110 A1 US 20070068110A1 US 23865005 A US23865005 A US 23865005A US 2007068110 A1 US2007068110 A1 US 2007068110A1
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Prior art keywords
coupling portion
floor panel
portion
edge
end
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Abandoned
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US11/238,650
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Bing-Hong Liu
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Bing-Hong Liu
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Priority to US11/238,650 priority Critical patent/US20070068110A1/en
Publication of US20070068110A1 publication Critical patent/US20070068110A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F15/00Flooring
    • E04F15/02Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements
    • E04F15/04Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements only of wood or with a top layer of wood, e.g. with wooden or metal connecting members
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B27WORKING OR PRESERVING WOOD OR SIMILAR MATERIAL; NAILING OR STAPLING MACHINES IN GENERAL
    • B27FDOVETAILED WORK; TENONS; SLOTTING MACHINES FOR WOOD OR SIMILAR MATERIAL; NAILING OR STAPLING MACHINES
    • B27F1/00Dovetailed work; Tenons; Making tongues or grooves; Groove- and- tongue jointed work; Finger- joints
    • B27F1/02Making tongues or grooves, of indefinite length
    • B27F1/06Making tongues or grooves, of indefinite length simultaneously along opposite edges of a board
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F15/00Flooring
    • E04F15/02Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements
    • E04F15/02177Floor elements for use at a specific location
    • E04F15/02188Floor elements for use at a specific location for use in wet rooms
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/01Joining sheets, plates or panels with edges in abutting relationship
    • E04F2201/0153Joining sheets, plates or panels with edges in abutting relationship by rotating the sheets, plates or panels around an axis which is parallel to the abutting edges, possibly combined with a sliding movement
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/02Non-undercut connections, e.g. tongue and groove connections
    • E04F2201/023Non-undercut connections, e.g. tongue and groove connections with a continuous tongue or groove
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/07Joining sheets or plates or panels with connections using a special adhesive material

Abstract

A floor panel for forming a floor. In one embodiment, the floor panel includes a body portion having a first end, an opposite, second end, a male coupling portion protruding from the first end and having a convex surface portion and a concave groove formed on the convex surface portion, and a female coupling portion protruding from the second end and having a concave surface portion complementary to the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion such that, as assembled, the male coupling portion of a floor panel is received in and engaged with the female coupling portion of an adjacent floor panel, whereby an adhesive channel corresponding to the concave groove is formed by the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion and the corresponding concave surface portion.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to a floor panel, and in particular to a floor panel having a male coupling portion, a female coupling portion and an adhesive channel.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Floor is an important part of residential and office buildings. Hard wood floor creates a warm and welcome feeling and brings beauty to the houses or offices. Traditionally, the hard wood floor is made with tongue and groove hard wood floor strips nailed to a sub-floor. After an installation of the hard wood floor, several sanding and staining processes have to take place before the floor is finished. This is a very time-consuming and labor-intensive process. The staining process also puts people into a hazardous environment. Additionally, the installation of the hard wood floor requires skilled workers and special tools.
  • Over the years, engineers have developed various products to overcome the above-mentioned drawbacks of the conventional hard wood floor. For example, floorboards with each having a core made of materials such as medium/high density fiberboard, and/or plywood and a pre-finished floor surface laminated on the core to create a hard wood-like floorboard are available on the market. For a floor using the floorboards, no sanding and staining processes are needed after the floor installation, hence eliminating the dusty and unhealthy environment of sanding and staining as a conventional hard wood floor installation creates.
  • Different types of floorboards have been developed to ease floor installations. However, many obstacles remain to be overcome. For example, some floorboards require the use of a separately manufactured aluminum strip fixed to the floorboard at the factory for floor installations. Such additional metal parts require considerable amount of investment and extensive reconstruction of the manufacture facility. Certain floorboards include a notch mechanism/structure to prevent the adjoined floor boards to drift apart. The notch structure requires a material of the floorboards be resilient. Such techniques are not suitable for certain rigid materials such as marbles, granite and some of hard wood. Some other floorboards have an adhesive coating disposed on the interlocking portion of the floorboard. The adhesive coating is adapted for cohesively bonding the adjoined floorboards upon contact with itself under ambient conditions and without external activation. Such process requires additional procedures to disposing the adhesive coating onto the surface of the interlocking portion of the floorboards, and additional care have to be taken to protect the adhesive coating during the transportation.
  • Therefore, a heretofore unaddressed need exists in the art to address the aforementioned deficiencies and inadequacies.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention, in one aspect, relates to a floor panel for forming a floor. In one embodiment, the floor panel comprises a body portion. The body portion has a first end and an opposite, second end, and is defined therebetween an upper edge and a lower edge, where a thickness d is defined between the upper edge and the lower edge. The floor panel further comprises a male coupling portion protruding from the first end. The male coupling portion has an edge in parallel with the upper edge of the body portion, an edge in parallel with the lower edge of the body portion, and a convex surface portion connecting the two edges in parallel with the upper and lower edges of the body portion, where a concave groove is formed on the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion. The floor panel also comprises a female coupling portion protruding from the second end. The female coupling portion has an edge in parallel with the upper edge of the body portion, an edge in parallel with the lower edge of the body portion, and a concave surface portion connecting the two edges in parallel with the upper and lower edges of the body portion.
  • The male coupling portion and the female coupling portion are formed such that the male coupling portion of a first floor panel is receivable in and engageable with the female coupling portion of a second floor panel, and an adhesive channel corresponding to the concave groove can be formed by the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion and the corresponding concave surface portion of the female coupling portion. In one embodiment, the male coupling portion of a first floor panel and the female coupling portion of a second floor panel are cross-sectionally complementary such that, as assembled, the male coupling portion of the first floor panel is received in and engaged with the female coupling portion of the second floor panel. In one embodiment, the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion cross-sectionally is a part of circle characterized by a radius R, and the concave surface portion of the female coupling portion cross-sectionally is a part of circle characterized by the radius R.
  • In one embodiment, the body portion of the floor panel further compreses a third end and an opposite, fourth end, where one of the third end and the fourth end is formed with a male coupling portion, and the other of the third end and the fourth end is formed with a female coupling portion, respectively.
  • In one embodiment, the body portion of the floor panel includes a laminated panel, a solid wood panel, a plywood panel, a medium/high density fiberboard (MDF/HDF), a marble/granite panel, or a plastic panel.
  • In another aspect, the present invention relates to a floor. In one embodiment, the floor comprises a first floor panel and a second floor panel. The first floor includes a body portion having a first end and an opposite, second end and defined therebetween an upper edge and a lower edge, where a thickness d is defined between the upper edge and the lower edge, and a male coupling portion protruding from the first end. The male coupling portion has an edge in parallel with the upper edge of the body portion, an edge in parallel with the lower edge of the body portion, and a convex surface portion connecting the two edges in parallel with the upper and lower edges of the body portion, where a concave groove is formed on the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion. The second floor panel includes a body portion having a first end and an opposite, second end and defined therebetween an upper edge and a lower edge, and a female coupling portion protruding from the second end. The female coupling portion has an edge in parallel with the upper edge of the body portion, an edge in parallel with the lower edge of the body portion, and a concave surface portion connecting the two edges in parallel with the upper and lower edges of the body portion. The male coupling portion of the first floor panel and the female coupling portion of the second floor panel are formed such that the male coupling portion of the floor panel is receivable in and engageable with the female coupling portion of the floor panel, and an adhesive channel corresponding to the concave groove can be formed by the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion and the corresponding concave surface portion. In one embodiment, the male coupling portion of the first floor panel and the female coupling portion of the second floor panel are cross-sectionally complementary such that, as assembled, the male coupling portion of the first floor panel is received in and engaged with the female coupling portion of the second floor panel.
  • In yet another aspect, the present invention relates to a method for forming a floor with a plurality of floor panels. Each floor panel comprises a body portion, a male coupling portion and a female coupling portion. The body portion has a first end and an opposite, second end and defined therebetween an upper edge and a lower edge, where a thickness d is defined between the upper edge and the lower edge. The male coupling portion protrudes from the first end of the body portion, and has an edge in parallel with the upper edge of the body portion, an edge in parallel with the lower edge of the body portion, and a convex surface portion connecting the two edges in parallel with the upper and lower edges of the body portion, where a concave groove is formed on the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion. The female coupling portion protrudes from the second end, and has an edge in parallel with the upper edge of the body portion, an edge in parallel with the lower edge of the body portion, and a concave surface portion connecting the two edges in parallel with the upper and lower edges of the body portion. The male coupling portion and the female coupling portion are formed such that, as assembled, the male coupling portion of one of the plurality of floor panels is receivable in and engageable with the female coupling portion of another one of the plurality of floor panels, and an adhesive channel corresponding to the concave groove can be formed on the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion. In one embodiment, the method comprises the steps of providing a first one of the plurality of floor panels, providing a second one of the plurality of floor panels, and coupling the first one floor panel and the second one floor panel such that the male coupling portion of the second one floor panel is received in and engaged with the female coupling portion of the first one floor panel to form the adhesive channel.
  • In one embodiment, the method further comprises the step of injecting an amount of adhesive into the adhesive channel. In another embodiment, the method further comprises the step of injecting the adhesive into the adhesive channel from both ends of the adhesive channel. In an alternative embodiment, the method further comprises the step of applying an amount of adhesive into the concave groove prior to the coupling step.
  • In a further aspect, the present invention relates to a floor panel for forming a floor. In one embodiment, the floor panel has a body portion with a first end and an opposite, second end. The floor panel further has a male coupling portion protruding from the first end, and a female coupling portion protruding from the second end. The male coupling portion has a protrusion with a groove formed therein, and the female coupling portion defines a complimentary groove for receiving a protrusion of the male portion of a floor panel therein.
  • These and other aspects of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiment taken in conjunction with the following drawings, although variations and modifications therein may be affected without departing from the spirit and scope of the novel concepts of the disclosure.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The accompanying drawings illustrate one or more embodiments of the invention and, together with the written description, serve to explain the principles of the invention. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers are used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like elements of an embodiment, and wherein:
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a partial cross-sectional view of a floor panel according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIGS. 2A and 2B illustrate a top view and a side view of the floor panel shown in FIG. 1, respectively.
  • FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate perspective partial views of a male coupling portion and a female coupling portion of the floor panel shown in FIG. 1, respectively.
  • FIGS. 4A and 4B show an assembly process of two floor panels to form a part of a floor according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIGS. 5A-5D illustrate an exemplary process of producing a floor panel according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates a partial cross-sectional view of two floor panels according to another embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is more particularly described in the following examples that are intended as illustrative only since numerous modifications and variations therein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Various embodiments of the invention are now described in detail. Referring to the drawings, like numbers indicate like parts throughout the views. As used in the description herein and throughout the claims that follow, the meaning of “a,” “an,” and “the” includes plural reference unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Also, as used in the description herein and throughout the claims that follow, the meaning of “in” includes “in” and “on” unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Moreover, titles or subtitles may be used in the specification for the convenience of a reader, which has no influence on the scope of the invention. Additionally, some terms used in this specification are more specifically defined below.
  • The description will be made as to the embodiments of the present invention in conjunction with the accompanying drawings of FIGS. 1-5. In accordance with the purposes of this invention, as embodied and broadly described herein, this invention, in one aspect, relates to a floor panel.
  • Referring in general to FIGS. 1-3, and in particular to FIGS. 1 and 3, a floor panel 100 is shown according to one embodiment of the present invention. In the embodiment, the floor panel 100 includes a body portion 101. The body portion 101 has a first end 102 and an opposite, second end 104, and is defined between an upper edge 106 and a lower edge 108. The body portion 101 also has a thickness d defined between the upper edge 106 and the lower edge 108. Furthermore, the floor panel 100 includes a male coupling portion 112 protruding from the first end 102 and a female coupling portion 122 protruding from the second end 104. Additionally, the floor panel 100 includes a third end 132, and an opposite, fourth end 142. Optionally, one of the third end 132 and the fourth end 142 can be formed with a male coupling portion, and the other of the third end 132 and the fourth end 142 can be formed with a female coupling portion, respectively (not shown).
  • As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the male coupling portion 112 has an edge 114 in parallel with the upper edge 106 of the body portion 101, an edge 115 substantially perpendicular to and connecting the edge 106 and the edge 114, a small groove 1 15A optionally formed on the edge 115 and proximate to an end of the edge 114, an edge 116 in parallel with the lower edge 108 of the body portion 101, an edge 117 substantially perpendicular to and connecting the edge 116 and the lower edge 108, an angular surface 11 7A adapted for providing additional surfaces and spaces for adhesives, a convex surface portion 118 connecting the edge 114 and the edge 116. The male coupling portion 112 also has a concave groove 120 formed on the convex surface portion 118. The concave groove 120 is adapted for providing an adhesive channel to have adhesive injected in between adjoined floor panels. The concave groove 120 is also adapted for providing additional bonding surfaces or coupling when two floor panels are coupled to form a part of a floor.
  • The female coupling portion 122 has an edge 124 in parallel with the upper edge 106 of the body portion 101, an edge 125 substantially perpendicular to and connecting the upper edge 106 and the edge 124 of the body portion 101, an edge 126 in parallel with the lower edge 108 of the body portion 101, an edge 127 substantially perpendicular to and connecting the lower edge 108 and the edge 126 of the body portion 101, and a concave surface portion 128 connecting the edges 124 and 126. Two angular surfaces 125A and 127A are optionally formed at the corner between the edges 125 and 124, and the corner between the edges 127 and 104, respectively. The surface 127A may provide additional space for adhesive. The surface 125A may allow easy coupling of two floor panels to form a part of a floor.
  • As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the convex surface portion 118 of the male coupling portion 112 cross-sectionally is a part of circle characterized by a radius R, and the concave surface portion 128 of the female coupling portion 122 cross-sectionally is a part of circle characterized by the radius R. The convex surface portion 118 of the male coupling portion 112 and the concave surface portion 128 of the female coupling portion 122 are complementary such that the male coupling portion 112 of one floor panel is receivable in and engageable with the female coupling portion 128 of another floor panel. As assembled, these complementary convex and concave surface portions 118 and 128 ensure the secure coupling between the male coupling portion 112 of one floor panel and the female coupling portion 122 of another floor panel and prevent them from drifting apart even without adhesives. Other types of profiles of the male coupling portion and the female coupling portion can also be employed to practice the present invention. For example, as shown in FIG. 6, male coupling portion 612A of floor panel 600A has a protrusion with a groove 620 formed therein, female coupling portion 622B of floor panel 600B defines a complimentary groove for receiving the protrusion of the male coupling portion 612A therein such that floor panel 600A and floor panel 600B form a part of a floor. An adhesive channel corresponding to the groove 620 is formed therebetween the floor panel 600A and floor panel 600B.
  • The body portion 101 of a floor panel 100 preferably contains a laminated panel, a solid wood panel, a plywood panel, a medium/high density fiberboard (MDF/HDF), a marble/granite panel, or a plastic panel. Many other rigid or resilient materials can also be used to manufacture such floor panels.
  • Referring now to FIG. 4, an exemplary coupling process is illustrated according to one embodiment of the present invention. When a floor panel 100A with a male coupling portion 112A at its first end 102 and a floor panel 100B with a female coupling portion 122B at its second end 104 are coupled, the male coupling portion 112A of the floor panel 100A is received in and engaged with the female coupling portion 122B of the floor panel 100B with a rotational motion relative to each other, as shown by the arrow 150 in FIG. 4A. Accordingly, an adhesive channel corresponding to the concave groove 120 is formed by the convex surface portion 118 of the male coupling portion 11 2A of floor panel 100A and the corresponding concave surface portion 128 of the female coupling portion 122B of floor panel 100B. An adhesive injector (not shown) can be used to inject an amount of adhesive into the adhesive channel 120 to further secure the floor panel 100A to the floor panel 100B. The adhesive can be injected from either end or both ends of the adhesive channel 120. Because the adhesive is fluid, it will spread to the interfaces between the male coupling portion 11 2A of floor panel 100A and the female coupling portion 122B of floor panel 100B for them to be adhered to each other. Alternatively, adhesive can be applied to the concave groove 120 prior to the coupling process. The adhesive channel 120 also provides additional surface for a better bonding of the male and female coupling portions of two adjoined floor panels. The adhesive can be glue, or other adhesive materials. In this embodiment, the utilization of the adhesive channel 120 to bond two adjoined floor panels together minimizes the chemical exposure to floor installers and avoid unnecessary spill over of the adhesive.
  • A floor can be formed with a plurality of floor panels of the present invention. In one embodiment, each floor panel has a male coupling portion at its first end and a female coupling portion at its second end. For example, in one embodiment, a first floor panel 100B is positioned at a location and the male coupling portion 112A of a second floor panel 100A is inserted into the female coupling portion 122B of the first floor panel 100B and the coupling is secured with rotational motion 150 relative to each other, as shown in FIG. 4. An adhesive injector is used to inject the adhesive into the adhesive channel to ensure the bonding between these two adjoined floor panels 100A and 100B. With the second floor panel 100A in place, its female coupling portion is ready for receiving a male coupling portion of another floor panel. This process can be repeated to form a floor with desired size.
  • A floor built from the floor panels of the present invention can be a floor without being fastened to the underlay. The floor can also be fastened with nails, staples, adhesives or any other means for attaching the floor panels to the underlay such as subfloor.
  • FIG. 4B shows a partial sectional view of the male coupling portion 112A of the floor panel 100A and the female coupling portion 122B of the floor panel 100B, as assembled, of one embodiment of the present invention. The space 140 between the male coupling portion 112A of the floor panels 100A and the female coupling portion 122B of the floor panel 100B is provided for spillover adhesive. An adhesive channel 120 is shown and is adapted for adhesive injection.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary process of manufacturing floor panels according to one embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, an edge profiling machine is used to produce the floor panels. The edge profiling machine preferably comprises a platform, a first set of edge profiling tools and a second set of edge profiling tools positioned on the platform. The first set of edge profiling tools has four male profiling blades 512, 522, 532 and 542, and the second set of edge profiling tools has four female profiling blades 514, 524, 534 and 544. Other types or additional male profiling blades and female profiling blades can also be employed to practice the present invention. Before the manufacturing process, the floor panels are cut into a pre-determined size such that each floor panel 100 has a first end 102 and an opposite, second end 104 defining a body portion 101 therebetween, the body portion 101 having a first surface 106 and an opposite, second surface 108, as shown in FIG. 2.
  • In one embodiment, the floor panel manufacturing process includes the following steps: at first, the first set of edge profiling tools and the second set of edge profiling tools of the edge profiling machine are configured to form a profiling path on the platform such that the edge profiling machine is capable of forming desired edge profiles of the floor panel. The profiling path has a first lateral side and an opposite, second lateral side, and the number of male profiling blades 512, 522, 532 and 542 are spaced-apart positioned in the first lateral side of the profiling path, and the number of female profiling blades 514, 524, 534 and 544 are spaced-apart positioned in the second lateral side of the profiling path. The desired edge profiles of the floor panel, as described above, include a male coupling portion and a female coupling portion. Next, a floor panel to be formed with the desired edge profiles is placed in the profiling path on the platform of the edge profiling machine. Then, the placed floor panel is moved horizontally along the profiling path on the platform of the edge profiling machine so as to form the desired edge profile of the floor panel. In operation, the male profiling blades 512, 522, 532 and 542, and the corresponding female profiling blades 514, 524, 534 and 544 rotate in opposite directions, as shown in FIG. 5. The male profiling blades 512, 522 and 532 rotate in direction 502, and the male profiling blade 542 rotates in direction 504. While the female profiling blades 514, 524 and 534 rotate in direction 504, opposite to the direction 502, and the female profiling blade 544 rotates in direction 505, opposite to the direction 503. The process can be performed with a controller such as a computer.
  • Specifically, as shown in FIG. 5A, as the floor panel 100 is being moved along the profiling path on the platform to meet the pair of the male blade 512 and the female blade 514, the counter-rotated male blade 512 and female blade 514 cut the floor panel 100 to form an indent with edges 114 and 115 in the first end and an indent with edges 125 and 126 in the second end of the floor panel, respectively. The formed edges 114, 115, 125 and 126 are clearly shown in FIG. 1. Both the male blade 512 and the female blade 514 are a straight edged blade in the embodiment shown in FIG. 5A.
  • As shown in FIG. 5B, as the moving floor panel 100 meets the pair of the male blade 522 and the female blade 524 in the profiling path, the counter-rotated male blade 522 and female blade 524 cut the floor panel 100 to form an indent of edges 114 and 115 a, a partial curve of a convex surface portion 118, and a concave groove 120 in the first end of the floor panel 100, and side edges 127, 126 and 127 a, and a partial curve of concave surface portion 128, edge of 124 and corner edge 125 a in the second end of the floor panel, respectively, where these formed profiles are illustrated in FIG. 1. These formed profiles, such as the edges 114, 115 a and 115, and the side edge 125, are then refined by a curved blade 532 and 534, respectively, as illustrated in FIG. 5C.
  • Then, a curved blade 542 operating at an angle relative to the floor panel is used to form the remaining partial curved surface 118 and straight edges 116 and 117 in the first end of the floor panel 100. A curved blade 544 operating at an angle relative to the floor panel is used to form the remaining partial curved surface 128, as illustrated in FIG. 5D.
  • Optionally, edge profiling machine can also be used to produce a male coupling portion at one of a third end and a fourth end of the floor panel and a female coupling portion at the other one of a third end and a fourth end of the floor panel.
  • The floor panels of the present invention can find many applications. Among them, some of the applications are given as examples as follows:
  • Floors for office or residential buildings: Floor panels can be laid or attached onto the surface of any floor. Under normal circumstances, a plurality of the floor panels is used to create a coverage area large enough to cover the floor surface. Such floor panels can be made of solid wood, plywood, composite materials with laminated surface. For solid wood, the floor panel surface can be pre-finished to eliminate the needs to sand and stain the finished floor. For the plywood, or composite materials, such as MDF/HDF, a laminated surface is preferably formed to create a real wood feeling.
  • Wall Panels: Floor panels can also be used as wall panels to cover the walls of either residential or office buildings. A plurality of the floor panels is used to create multiple sections of wall to create an elegant real wood feeling even if the panels are not made of real wood. The panels is preferably made larger based on the location of uses and not necessarily in the floor strip shape. The materials can be solid wood, plywood, composite materials with laminated surface. For solid wood, the floor panel surface can be pre-finished to eliminate the needs to sand and stain the finished wall. For the plywood, or composite materials, such as MDF/HDF, a laminated surface is preferred.
  • Floor or walls for bathroom, kitchen or laundry: Floor panels with the design of the present invention can also be used as floor of bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room or any where water is nearby. Such floor panels or tiles with male and female coupling portions are preferably made of water-resistance material such as marble, granite, other type of stones, corian, ceramic, or plastic. They can be used to cover floors, walls, and shower stalls, bathtub surroundings, etc.
  • Floor or walls for bathroom, kitchen or laundry: Floor panels with the design of the present invention can also be used as floor of bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room or any where water is nearby. Such floor panels or tiles with male and female coupling portions are preferably made of water-resistance material such as marble, granite, other type of stones, ceramic, or plastic. They can be used to cover floors, walls, and shower stalls, bathtub surroundings, etc.
  • The foregoing description of the exemplary embodiments of the invention has been presented only for the purposes of illustration and description and is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching.
  • The embodiments were chosen and described in order to explain the principles of the invention and their practical application so as to enable others skilled in the art to utilize the invention and various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. Alternative embodiments will become apparent to those skilled in the art to which the present invention pertains without departing from its spirit and scope. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims rather than the foregoing description and the exemplary embodiments described therein.

Claims (15)

1. A floor panel for forming a floor, comprising:
a. a body portion having a first end, an opposite, second end and defined therebetween an upper edge and a lower edge, where a thickness d is defined between the upper edge and the lower edge;
b. a male coupling portion protruding from the first end, wherein the male coupling portion has an edge in parallel with the upper edge of the body portion, an edge in parallel with the lower edge of the body portion, and a convex surface portion connecting the two edges in parallel with the upper and lower edges of the body portion, and wherein a concave groove is formed on the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion; and
c. a female coupling portion protruding from the second end, wherein the female coupling portion has an edge in parallel with the upper edge of the body portion, an edge in parallel with the lower edge of the body portion, and a concave surface portion connecting the two edges in parallel with the upper and lower edges of the body portion.
2. The floor panel according to claim 1, wherein the male coupling portion and the female coupling portion are formed such that the male coupling portion of a first floor panel is receivable in and engageable with the female coupling portion of a second floor panel, and an adhesive channel corresponding to the concave groove can be formed by the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion and the corresponding concave surface portion.
3. The floor panel according to claim 2, wherein the male coupling portion and the female coupling portion are cross-sectionally complementary such that, as assembled, the male coupling portion of the first floor panel is received in and engaged with the female coupling portion of the second floor panel.
4. The floor panel according to claim 3, wherein the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion cross-sectionally is a part of circle characterized by a radius R, and the concave surface portion of the female coupling portion cross-sectionally is a part of circle characterized by the radius R.
5. The floor panel according to claim 1, wherein the body portion of the floor panel further has a third end and an opposite, fourth end.
6. The floor panel according to claim 5, wherein one of the third end and the fourth end is formed with a male coupling portion, and the other of the third end and the fourth end is formed with a female coupling portion, respectively.
7. The floor panel according to claim 1, wherein body portion comprises a laminated panel, a solid wood panel, a plywood panel, a medium/high density fiberboard (MDF/HDF), a marble/granite panel, or a plastic panel.
8. A floor comprising:
a. a first floor panel comprising:
i. a body portion having a first end and an opposite, second end and defined therebetween an upper edge and a lower edge, where a thickness d is defined between the upper edge and the lower edge; and
ii. a male coupling portion protruding from the first end, wherein the male coupling portion has an edge in parallel with the upper edge of the body portion, an edge in parallel with the lower edge of the body portion, and a convex surface portion connecting the two edges in parallel with the upper and lower edges of the body portion, and wherein a concave groove is formed on the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion; and
b. a second floor panel comprising:
i. a body portion having a first end and an opposite, second end and defined therebetween an upper edge and a lower edge, where a thickness d is defined between the upper edge and the lower edge; and
ii. a female coupling portion protruding from the second end, wherein the female coupling portion has an edge in parallel with the upper edge of the body portion, an edge in parallel with the lower edge of the body portion, and a concave surface portion connecting the two edges in parallel with the upper and lower edges of the body portion,
wherein the male coupling portion of the first floor panel and the female coupling portion of the second floor panel are formed such that the male coupling portion of the floor panel is receivable in and engageable with the female coupling portion of the floor panel, and an adhesive channel corresponding to the concave groove can be formed by the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion and the corresponding concave surface portion.
9. The floor according to claim 8, wherein the male coupling portion of the first floor panel and the female coupling portion of the second floor panel are cross-sectionally complementary such that, as assembled, the male coupling portion of the first floor panel is received in and engaged with the female coupling portion of the second floor panel.
10. The floor according to claim 8, wherein each of the body portion of the first floor panel and the body portion of the second floor panel comprises a laminated panel, a solid wood panel, a plywood panel, a medium/high density fiberboard (MDF/HDF), a marble/granite panel, or a plastic panel.
11. A method for forming a floor with a plurality of floor panels, wherein each floor panel comprises:
a. a body portion having a first end and an opposite, second end and defined therebetween an upper edge and a lower edge, where a thickness d is defined between the upper edge and the lower edge;
b. a male coupling portion protruding from the first end, wherein the male coupling portion has an edge in parallel with the upper edge of the body portion, an edge in parallel with the lower edge of the body portion, and a convex surface portion connecting the two edges in parallel with the upper and lower edges of the body portion, and wherein a concave groove is formed on the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion; and
c. a female coupling portion protruding from the second end, wherein the female coupling portion has an edge in parallel with the upper edge of the body portion, an edge in parallel with the lower edge of the body portion, and a concave surface portion connecting the two edges in parallel with the upper and lower edges of the body portion,
wherein the male coupling portion and the female coupling portion are formed such that, as assembled, the male coupling portion of one of the plurality of floor panels is receivable in and engageable with the female coupling portion of another one of the plurality of floor panels, and an adhesive channel corresponding to the concave groove can be formed on the convex surface portion of the male coupling portion, comprising the steps of:
(i). providing a first one of the plurality of floor panels;
(ii). providing a second one of the plurality of floor panels; and
(iii). coupling the first one floor panel and the second one floor panel such that the male coupling portion of the second one floor panel is received in and engaged with the female coupling portion of the first one floor panel to form the adhesive channel.
12. The method according to claim 11, further comprising the step of injecting an amount of adhesive into the adhesive channel.
13. The method according to claim 11, further comprising the step of injecting the adhesive into the adhesive channel from both ends of the adhesive channel.
14. The method according to claim 11, further comprising the step of applying an amount of adhesive into the concave groove prior to the coupling step.
15. A floor panel for forming a floor, comprising:
a. a body portion having a first end, and an opposite, second end;
b. a male coupling portion protruding from the first end, wherein the male coupling portion has a protrusion with a groove formed therein; and
c. a female coupling portion protruding from the second end, wherein the female coupling portion defines a complimentary groove for receiving a protrusion of the male coupling portion of a floor panel therein to form an adhesive channel corresponding to the groove formed in the protrusion of the male coupling portion.
US11/238,650 2005-09-28 2005-09-28 Floor panel with coupling means and methods of making the same Abandoned US20070068110A1 (en)

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