US20070251173A1 - Flat strip with one or more slight bends with one or more guides and two or more terminal fasteners for interlocking three or more floor planks and a method of creating a floor of hardwood, laminate or artificial floor planks using a flat strip - Google Patents

Flat strip with one or more slight bends with one or more guides and two or more terminal fasteners for interlocking three or more floor planks and a method of creating a floor of hardwood, laminate or artificial floor planks using a flat strip Download PDF

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US20070251173A1
US20070251173A1 US11/414,111 US41411106A US2007251173A1 US 20070251173 A1 US20070251173 A1 US 20070251173A1 US 41411106 A US41411106 A US 41411106A US 2007251173 A1 US2007251173 A1 US 2007251173A1
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Prior art keywords
strip
boards
building
building boards
central guide
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Abandoned
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US11/414,111
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Stokes Stokes
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Stokes Stokes
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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
    • 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
    • E04F15/048Flooring 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 with a top surface of assembled elongated wooden strip type
    • 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
    • E04F2201/04Other details of tongues or grooves
    • E04F2201/042Other details of tongues or grooves with grooves positioned on the rear-side of the panel
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/05Separate connectors or inserts, e.g. pegs, pins, keys or strips
    • E04F2201/0517U- or C-shaped brackets and clamps

Abstract

This invention directs the joining together three or more building board of even widths to create a solid panel, such as a floor, side panel, decorative room divider or ceiling panel. The individual pieces of wood which are mechanically joined together without the need for glue, nails, screws or other means of permanent attachment by a flat strip with at least one central guide and two terminal fasteners which fit into complementary grooves cut into the bottom of each building board to serve as an anchor point for the strip. The strip is slightly bent between the central guide and the terminal fasteners, such that when the user presses the building boards into the central guide and terminal fasteners, the entire building unit snaps into place. By cross linking and bridging various sections of building boards, the user of the invention can build and entire “floating” floor or panel.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • None.
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
  • This invention was not federally sponsored.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the Invention
  • This invention relates to the field of joining together pieces of precut wood, laminate, plastic or composite material of even widths using grooves in the back of each piece to create a solid panel, such as a floor, side panel, decorative room divider or ceiling panel, of the individual pieces of wood. A preferred embodiment of this invention relates to the general field of hardwood flooring, and a means by which the individual flooring planks can be mechanically joined together to create a floating floor.
  • More specifically, the invention comprises a strip of metal, plastic, or other suitable material used on the underside of three or more contiguous pieces of hardwood flooring to hold the piece together, where the hardwood flooring has a complementary groove cut into each piece to serve as an anchor point for the strip. In the preferred embodiment, the strip functions as a physical means of removable attachment, without the use of glue, nails, screws or other, more or less permanent means of attachment. The strip has a central guide and terminal fasteners at either end of the strip which can be removable snapped into the grooves on the hardwood, and is slightly bent in between the central guide and the terminal fasteners, such that when the user steps down upon a series of hardwood planks into which the guide and terminal grips have been attached, the entire flooring unit snaps into place. The strip can be made to fit into as few as three contiguous pieces of hardwood planks, or can be made in a number of different iterations, including lengthy strips with numerous central guides and two terminal grips, or a central guide and two terminal grips located two or more board lengths from the central guide, thereby allowing one strip to secure more than three boards together. By cross linking and bridging various sections of flooring, the user of the invention can build and entire “floating” floor, which does not require any glue, nails, screws or other, more permanent means of attachment to hold to individual hardwood planks together or to hold the hardwood floor to the base slab upon which it sits.
  • The preferred embodiment of this invention is a flat strip which rests of a subfloor and three or more floorboards, with each floorboard being held by the flat strip having a complementary groove cut in its bottom which will hold the fastening portions of the flooring strip. There are, however, several other possible uses for the invention, including wall panels, decorative room dividers, and roof slabs, so all references to the flat strip and board upon which the flat strip is used are intended to apply to the general field of building boards used to create large areas where individual boards are combined together.
  • The inherent beauty of wood as a flooring material has been well known and respected for centuries. Many of the early historic buildings had wooden floors made from oak or other hardwood planks often several inches thick. These floors held up very well to heavy use and, indeed, the floors in many historic buildings throughout the world are the original ones put in sometimes 1,000 years ago. As humans multiplied and forests shrunk, eventually it became necessary and desirable to use thinner and thinner pieces of wood. Within the last hundred years, the idea of constructing hardwood, laminate, and imitation materials in preconstructed units with fixed widths and a variety of lengths, such that a user could put together a floor.
  • Traditionally, such floors are attached directly to the underlying slab or wood subfloor, usually through use of glue, nails, or screws. Such a means of attachment, while adequately adhering the individual floor planks to the underlying surface creates the real danger of cosmetic defects in the construction as it is very difficult to maintain the necessary pressure in both a width sense and a length sense to keep each board butted up against the boards surrounding it on all three sides. As a result, cracks often appeared after the user had already affixed boards in place, thereby creating an unsightly crack which is extremely difficult to cosmetically cover and nearly impossible to fix.
  • The use of individual boards cut with a set width and of varying lengths to create a large area of wood, for example a hardwood board joined to either the subfloor or other boards is well known in the art. The prior art also shows a number of individual floorboards or “building boards” with “tongues” and “grooves” or other complementary surface configurations which mate together in a relatively seamless fashion. The use of glue, nails or screws to attach individual floorboards to the subfloor has been practiced for several hundred years. There are also a number of commercially established brands, such as Pergo®, which provide laminate, composite, or imitation wood surfaced planks which snap together to form a floor which can be either attached to the subfloor through glue or other means, or left “floating” above the subfloor, through means of an advanced design of the tongue and groove elements such that they snap together in a more or less permanent manner.
  • Because wood tends to expand and contract with changes in temperature and relative humidity, the current trend in flooring is to create floating floors which expand and contract as a unit, as opposed to the method of attaching individual planks of the floor to the subfloor, which can more easily lead to cracks appearing as the wood expands and contracts over the seasons. Thus, it is advantageous to provide a device by which individual planks can be attached to like pieces without requiring the individual planks to be adhered to the subfloor.
  • The prior art also discloses the use of flooring strips to lock floorboards together. For example, WO 94/26999 discusses the use of a flooring strip mechanical join floorboards. In this patent, a mechanical connection between the “tongue” of one floorboard and the “groove” of another allows for a mutual vertical locking of the joint edges, and between the leading edge, shaped like a tongue, and the trailer edge of another board, shaped like a groove, allows for both “horizontal” and “vertical” adhesion and stability. This patent, along with its predecessors in this particular line of inventions, has a strip with a locking element which is basically a dovetailed gripping stub that adheres to one plank with end which wrap around a cut roughly trapezoidal shape on the bottom, and have a gripping or locking element which is extended to a locking groove on an adjacent board. Because the tolerances are small but not zero, the strip allows the boards to be adjusted and attached to one another easily.
  • The prior art does not, however, disclose a device by which more than two contiguous planks can be joined together, not does it present a mechanism by which an entire floor (or wall section, decorative panel, or ceiling) can be laid using a series of single elements capable of mechanical joining of like planks. These advances in the art would be useful as they would save time and resources, as well as creating a floating floor which truly expands and contract as a unit, thereby further reducing the likelihood of cracks appearing in between the individual flooring planks. Thus there has existed a long-felt need for a means to join three or more floorboards, which is simple, easy to use, inexpensive to create, and takes less time than currently available methods.
  • The current invention provides just such a solution by providing a piece of flooring (or panel building block, ceiling plank, or wall pieces) that is manufactured with a groove cut in the bottom where the groove is located in a suitable location for a flat strip with, at a minimum, a central guide and two terminal fasteners which fit into the complementary grooves and hold, at a minimum, three pieces of the flooring together. The strip can be made of a metal such as aluminum, stainless steel, a strong plastic, or other suitable material which can either be bent or crimped to create the central guide(s) and the terminal fasteners, or allow for the riveting, gluing or attachment by other means of the central guide(s) and terminal fasteners to the flat strip. In is simplest iteration, the flat strip is wide enough to connect three contiguous planks of flooring, and by cross-linking and bridging over to other pieces of flooring, and entire floating floor can be created without the need for any complicated tongue and groove locking elements.
  • While the basic concept of flat strip describes a central guide which fits into the groove in the middle plank and two terminal fasteners which fit into grooves on the adjacent planks, it is other iterations of this basic idea which produce the most effective savings in terms of time and money. Another version of the invention includes lengthy strips with numerous central guides and two terminal grips, or a central guide and two terminal grips located two or more board lengths from the central guide, thereby allowing one strip to secure more than three boards together. By utilizing longer flat strips, it is possible to create a floating floor using fewer flat strips as each flat strip can join (and cross-link and bridge) more individual planks. Indeed, it is possible to manufacture entire rolls of strips with central guides and terminal fasteners such that a user can lay out a series of strips from one wall to another several feet apart from each and quickly work from one corner of the room to another by laying down individual planks on the pre-laid strips of fastener devices. Another version of the invention calls for individual strips or rolls of strips which can be laid diagonally across a subfloor, thereby providing both “horizontal” and “vertical” means of attachment and adhesion to the individual planks. A final version of the invention describes the use of hook and loop fasteners, where a line of one element, say, hook, is laid either in strip form or sheet form across the subfloor, and each plank has loop elements attached to its bottom, such that each individual plank is attached to the hook at its proper position.
  • With respect to the material from which the strips are made, it is envisioned that metal would provide a strong and durable flooring strip. Plastic, however, is preferred because of its lighter weight and relatively inexpensive cost, both in terms of purchasing the raw materials and due to the fact that plastic can be poured into a mold to achieve the desired shape while metal must be bent, either by hand or mechanically through a crimping machine.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • It is a principal object of the invention to provide a superior means by which floorboards and other building boards can be connected to one another without the need for glue, nails or screws.
  • It is also a principal object of the invention to provide a superior building plank which requires only a simple groove cut in its bottom for each individual plank to be attached to other building planks.
  • A further principal object of the invention is to provide a superior flat strip to join individual building planks together.
  • Another principal object of the invention is provide a means by which a well connected floating floor can be constructed in a fast and inexpensive manner from individual building planks without the need for complex tongue and groove joining designs.
  • Additional objects of the invention include:
      • Providing both the pieces of building blocks and the flat strip which connects them in ready-to-use, manufactured form such that a user of the invention needs only to select a suitable building block and type(s) of flat strips, without the need to personally bend the flat strips or perform any additional work on the building blocks other than the trim the ends as needed to ensure a snug fit within the confines of the room dimensions.
      • Providing for individual planks and flat joining strips which are manufactured such as to not create tolerance issues to a user of the invention.
      • Provide a flat strip which is easy to manufacture from readily available materials and through simple mechanical processes, where the bends in the flat strip can be easily created through simple crimping and bending processes and the guide(s) and terminal fasteners can be created through simple crimping, riveting, or by the adhesion of perpendicular pieces of metal, plastic or similar suitable material to the flat strip.
      • Provide a flat strip made of plastic where a mold in the desired size and shape can be manufactured and plastic flooring strips can be produced in a relatively inexpensive price.
      • Provide a flat strip created such that the biasing force can be controlled by adjusting the characteristics of the flat strip, including but not limited to sheet thickness, width, tensile strength, composition, amount of bend, and shape, angle, length, and positions of terminal fasteners.
      • Provide a method of creating a floating floor which is free from tolerance problems and is easy to put together.
      • Provide a flooring plank and flat strip designed and manufactured such that a user of the invention can attach individual planks together into a floating floor by merely aligning the individual planks over the proper location on the flat strip and stepping on the plank or applying force via simple, conventional means in the flooring industry such as pounding with a rubber mallet. (Vicky and Michael, is this true?)
      • Provide a flooring plank and flat strip designed and manufactured such that a user of the invention can attach individual planks together into a floating floor without significant danger of splitting the individual planks due to the control over the fastening force which varying the width of the groove and the angle, thickness, and shape of the central guide and terminal fasteners can achieve.
      • Provide a flooring (or wall, ceiling or decorative partition) plank which can be manufactured thinner that can be currently accomplished in the industry due to the relatively low height of the central guide(s) and terminal fasteners.
      • Provide a flooring plank that can be made from hardwood, composite, plastic, laminate, or a variety of other materials, where the main determining factors in assessing whether a particular material will be suitable for use with this invention is, in addition to its cost and suitability for a floor, wall, decorative panel or ceiling, is whether it can hold up to having a groove cut in its bottom and having tongue and groove designs cut into its sides.
  • It is a final object of this invention to provide a building block and flat strip which can be used to connect individual building blocks into a floating floor which is inexpensive, easy to use, easy to remove, and creates an aesthetically pleasing finished product.
  • It should be understood the while the preferred embodiments of the invention are described in some detail herein, the present disclosure is made by way of example only and that variations and changes thereto are possible without departing from the subject matter coming within the scope of the following claims, and a reasonable equivalency thereof, which claims I regard as my invention.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
  • FIGS. 1A and 1B are perspective views of the basic iteration of the invention showing single flooring strip with two fastener ends and one central guide.
  • FIG. 2 is a side view of the basic iteration of the invention as it is laid over the grooves on three contiguous pieces of tongue and groove hardwood flooring.
  • FIG. 3 is a bottom perspective view of three flooring strips in the basic iteration of the invention being used to bridge together six pieces of tongue and groove hardwood flooring.
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of another iteration of the invention with which there is sufficient space in between the central guide and terminal fasteners for one or more additional boards to be laid such that the terminals fasteners pull the end planks inward, thereby locking the entire series of planks together.
  • FIG. 5 is a side view of another iteration of the invention showing how a roll of the invention could be laid out across an entire floor.
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of two workmen laying out rolls of the iteration of the invention illustrated in FIG. 5. The workman in the foreground is laying out strips of the invention which extend from one end of the room to the other, which the workman in the back is laying down hardwood floor planks on the rolled out strips laid down by the first workman. This method will allow the workmen to create a floating floor that can by laid down quickly and does not require a lot of planning or concentration when trying to successful bridge between plank sections using a shorter flooring strip.
  • FIG. 7 is a side view of the hardwood being snapped onto the rolled out strip of the iteration of the invention described in FIGS. 5 and 6.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
  • FIGS. 1A and 1B are perspective views of the basic iteration of the invention showing a single flooring strip with two fastener ends and one central guide. The invention in this basic iteration has a central guide (1) which is formed by crimping together the middle section of a flooring strip. At the ends of the flooring strip are terminal fasteners (2), which consist of an inward curvature (3) and a chisel point (4). In between the central guide and each terminal fastener is a bridging section (5) with a slight bend, where the bend is made by slightly bending a flooring strip away from the protrusion of the central guide and bending it down on the other side of the apex (6), or, should the strip be made from plastic or another moldable material, the mold shall be constructed such that a flooring strip of this shape is produced.
  • This bend is crucial to the effective binding of three pieces of hardwood flooring together by this iteration of the invention's flooring strip. As the user attaches the flooring strip to the back of three grooved planks (shown in other figures), he/she slides the central guide (1) and the terminal fasteners (2) into the respective grooves on the underside of the three planks. The flooring strips shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B are in their “resting position” with the bend appearing as it has been made in the factory for a flooring strip, or as produced from a mold if manufactured of plastic.
  • By putting pressure on the top of the hardwood planks, for example by pounding with a rubber mallet or stepping upon the hardwood, the bend flattens out slightly, pushes the central guide to penetrate the groove in the bottom of the middle board, and causes the inward curvature (3) and chisel point (4) to align such that they penetrate the grooves on the outer two boards. When the pressure is removed, the bend attempts to “snap back”, thereby creating pulling actions in from both terminal fasteners. As the inward curvature and chisel point of the terminal fasteners has already penetrated the groove as deeply as the height of the terminal fastener will allow, the change in angle caused as the bend attempts to reform causing the chisel point (4) to dig into the side of the groove, thereby establishing a strong grip on the two outside planks. As the bend attempts to return to its “resting position” it pulls the two end boards in upon the middle board, thereby creating a tightly bound group of three planks. Bridging between groups of three boards is how the floating floor is created using this iteration of the invention. There are advantages and disadvantages to the use of metal or plastic flooring strips, in that a metal flooring strip can be thinner than a plastic strip that provides the same amount of pulling force, and yet plastic will be more economical to make and will not rust in the event that water seeps through the floor onto the flooring strip.
  • It should be noted that although the preferred embodiment of this invention is a flooring strip where the central guide and terminal fasteners are bent and crimped to align at a perpendicular angle to the rest of the flooring strip, an alternative iteration for this and the different variations of the invention listed below in which the upright protuberances—namely, the central guide (or central guides as described below) and terminal fasteners—extend upward in a direction approximately 45 degrees to the right or left from the direction of the flooring strip. This iteration creates a flooring strip which can be laid on a floor diagonally to the direction of the planks, thereby creating a floor with different forces of attachment.
  • FIG. 2 is a side view of the basic iteration of the invention as it is laid over the grooves on three contiguous pieces of tongue and groove hardwood flooring. The flooring strip has a central guide (26) and two terminal fasteners. Each terminal fastener has an inward curve (27) and a chisel point (24). In this figure the bridging section shows a slight bend at its apex (29) as the flooring strip in its resting position is slightly shorter than the distance between the three grooves (22) such that when the central guide (26) has been inserted into the groove on the middle plank, the flooring strip has to be extended through pressure being put on the backside of the bend to straighten out the bend, thereby not only allowing the terminal fastener to reach the grooves (22) on the outer hardwood planks, but also to align themselves in a more parallel manner to the direction of the grooves (22). In this Figure, the central guide (26) and terminal fasteners have been inserted into their respective grooves and the pressure on the bend has been relaxed, such that the chisel points (28) of the terminal fasteners grab onto the sides of their respective grooves and pull the outer planks toward the middle plank.
  • Each hardwood plank, generally referred to by 24) has a tongue end (20) and a groove end (21). Hardwood floors are created by laying hardwood planks such that the tongue end (20) of one piece is inserted into the groove end (21) of another piece. When the pressure is taken off the bend, the two outer planks are pulled in against the middle plank, thereby creating a very tight fit between the tongue and groove (23).
  • FIG. 3 is a bottom perspective view of three flooring strips in the basic iteration of the invention being used to bridge together six pieces of tongue and groove hardwood flooring. Each hardwood plank (30) has a groove (31) into which either a central guide or a terminal fastener can fit. The figure shows six planks, which go from left to right in the figure. In this figure, a first flooring strip (32) connects the three planks on the far left of the figure together. Further down the plank on the right end of the first flooring strip, a second flooring strip (33) connects the first three planks through a bridging action to two additional wooden planks, thereby illustrating how two flooring strips can connect five planks. A third flooring strip (34) connects the middle plank to the two planks on the far right. The bridging connections made by flooring strips 33 and 34 are stronger than the bridging connections made by strips 32 and 33, but do not connect as many planks; thus, the spacing of the flooring strips can be decided on a case-by-case basis depending on a tradeoff between solidity of connections versus cost and time in creating the floor.
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of another iteration of the invention, called an extended flooring strip, with which there is sufficient space in between the central guide and terminal fasteners for one or more additional boards to be laid such that the terminals fasteners pull the end planks inward, thereby locking the entire series of planks together. Each plank (40) has a tongue end, a groove end, a top and a bottom, with a groove on the bottom. In this iteration of the invention, the flooring strip has the same central guide (46) and two terminal fasteners (45) as seen in the basic iteration illustrated by FIGS. 1-3, but there is more space between the central guide and terminal fasteners. This allows one flooring strip to join more than three hardwood planks. In this illustration, the flooring strip effectively joins seven planks together, but this illustration is in no way intended to be limiting; this iteration of the invention can effectively join more (or fewer) planks together. All of the wooden planks have grooves on their bottom sides, and the central guide (46) fits into the groove on the center plank (47), while the terminal fasteners (45) fit into grooves on the outside planks (40 and 41). The mechanism of attaching planks to one another with this extended flooring strip operates very similarly to that mechanism illustrated in FIGS. 1-3. The central guide (46) is inserted into the groove (47) on the central plank (43). A suitable number of other planks are laid down, tongue in groove on either side of the central plank (43). Pressure is applied to the outwardly bending portion (42) of the extended flooring strip, which extends the terminal fastener (45) so that it reaches the groove (44) on the end pieces (40 and 41) of the block of planks which are to be joined by the extended flooring strip. The pressure also causes the terminal fastener to “straighten out” a bit, such that its irregular shape more easily slips into the groove. Upon release from the pressure, the extended flooring strip contracts back, trying to retain its resting position, thereby pulling on from both terminal fasteners back toward the central guide, which, in turn, pulls the planks together creating a tight nesting of the tongues and grooves, which allows for an attractive and strong floor. It should be noted that this is accomplished without any nails, screws, glue, or anything else that would require the floor to be attached to the subfloor in any way, thereby creating a floating floor that can be more easily disassembled if need be.
  • FIG. 5 is a side view of another iteration of the invention showing how a roll (51) of the invention could be laid out across an entire floor. The flooring strip here comes in a roll which is unrolled across an entire room, and cut at the end to create a tight fit within the confines of the walls of the room. The hardwood planks are laid down, bottom side down, on top of the result flooring strip that extends from one side of the room to another. In this figure, alternating central guides (53) and terminal fasteners (52) are shown, such that a series of boards (not shown in this figure) could be laid across the top of the strip, then when pressure is applied down upon the series of boards, the bend (54) in that portion of the strip between each central guide (53) and terminal fastener (52) will expand slightly to allow the central guides and terminal fasteners to enter the grooves on the bottom of the hardwood planks. When the pressure is released, the bend (54) will attempt to return to its resting position, thereby pulling the nearby boards on either side of the bend toward each other.
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of two workmen laying out rolls of the iteration of the invention illustrated in FIG. 5. The workman in the foreground (61) is laying out strips (62) of the invention which extend from one end of the room to the other, while the workman in the back (63) is laying down hardwood floor planks (64) on the rolled out strips laid down by the first workman. This method will allow the workmen to create a floating floor that can by laid down quickly and does not require a lot of planning or concentration when trying to successful bridge between plank sections using a shorter flooring strip.
  • FIG. 7 is a side view of the hardwood being snapped onto the rolled out strip of the iteration of the invention described in FIGS. 5 and 6. After the flooring strip is laid down upon the subfloor (82), a first plank (71) is laid over the flooring strip such that it abuts the wall (72). A piece of molding (73) can later be laid over the tongue part of the plank (71) to cover up the lack of a clean seam with the wall (72). Alternatively, the tongue end of the plank can be cut off to assure a clean and snug fit with the wall. Each plank has a groove (75) on its underside, into which a terminal fastener (74), a central guide (77) or a central fastener (83) can fit. In this particular figure, the central guides alternate with central fasteners, but it is envisioned that any combination of these upright protuberances from the nearly flat portion of the flooring strip would be feasible and functional. In this figure three planks have been laid down and a fourth (78) is about to be slid into the groove (79) of the preceding plank. The slot (80) is lined up with a central guide (81) (in this figure, although it could just as easily be lined up with a central fastener), such that when an installer pushes down on the plank (78), the bend (76) in the flooring strip will slightly expand the distance between the central fastener (83) of the preceding plank and the central guide (81) which is intended for the fourth plank (78). Once the fourth plank (78) is in place, pressure will be taken off the bend (76) and it will spring back toward its resting position, thereby pulling the fourth plank (78) and the third plank closer together to create a tight fit and strong connection between the two planks.

Claims (20)

1. A device for creating a mechanically attached, interlocking floating surface suitable for a floor, ceiling, wall or decorative panel over a substructure such as a subfloor, comprising:
a flat connecting strip comprised of metal, plastic or another suitable material, with a main horizontal body and at least three upward projections, comprising at least one central guide and at least two terminal fasteners where the central guide(s) and terminal fasteners project from the main horizontal body at approximately 90 degrees from the direction of the main horizontal body, and,
where, the flat connecting strip has a bend between each upward projection, and
where the central guide(s) and terminal fasteners are roughly the same width;
three or more building boards with means of lateral connection such as tongue and groove, where each building board has at least one groove cut in the bottom of a width adequate to accept a central guide or terminal fastener and located in a suitable location for accepting a central guide or terminal fastener;
where, the central guide has base section which is flat and extends from the main horizontal body, and a top gripping element with a central flat section which is continuation of the base section and two gripping elements at the ends of the central flat section which are bent to provide a wider top gripping element than the groove in the bottom of the building board, and,
where, each terminal fastener has base section which is flat and extends from the main horizontal body, and a top gripping element with a central flat section which is continuation of the base section and two gripping elements at the ends of the central flat section which are bent to provide a wider top gripping element than the groove in the bottom of the building board, and,
where when a user of the invention lines up a building board over an upward projection, the user can attach the strip to the building board by applying pressure, as by, for example, stepping on the building board or hitting it by a rubber mallet, and by putting his/her weight on the building board to “snap” it into place, and,
where the strip is capable of joining 3 or more boards.
2. The device of claim 1, where, the strip is constructed to run perpendicular to direction of boards, whereby the upward projections are attached at a angle which is roughly perpendicular to the direction of the main horizontal body.
3. The device of claim 2, where, the strip is manufactured and sold in a precut length, such that a user of the invention may place the strip upon the subsurface without further work.
4. The device of claim 2, where, strip is manufactured as a roll of strip material which can be cut by a user to a desired length as the user unrolls the roll of strip material.
5. The device of claim 2, where the upward projections of the strip consist of one central guide and two terminal fasteners.
6. The device of claim 5, where, the strip is used to attach a set of building boards, where the building boards into which the upward projections of the strip are attached are contiguous, with 3 building boards attached laterally to each other by tongue and groove or another mechanical means of attachment, and on their bottom surfaces through the strip and its upward projections.
7. The device of claim 5, the strip is used to attach a set of building boards, where the building boards into which the upward projections of the strip are attached are not contiguous, with five or more building boards attached laterally to each other by tongue and groove or another mechanical means of attachment, and where the bottom surfaces of three of the boards, namely, the center board and the two boards on the end of the set are attached to the strip and its upward projections such that there is one or more boards without a guide or terminal fastener inserted into its groove located in between the central guide and each terminal fastener.
8. The device of claim 2, where there are more than one central guides, with one central guide for each board in a contiguous set of building boards other than the two building boards on the ends of the set, where the central guides fit into complementary grooves on the bottom of each building board in the set other than the two building boards on the ends of the set, and two terminal fasteners which fit into complementary grooves in the bottom of each building board on the end of the set.
9. The device of claim 8, where, the number of building boards in the contiguous set is greater than three boards but less than the number of building boards which would stretch from one side of a room to the other and the strip is of a length to attach that particular number of building boards.
10. The device of claim 8, where, the number of building boards in the contiguous set is of sufficient width to stretch from one side of a room to the other and the strip is of a length to attach that particular number of building boards.
11. The device of claim 2, where the strip has more than one central guides, but there are fewer central guides than there are boards in between the two end boards, such that at least one of the boards in between the two end boards are not attached by central guides.
12. The device of claim 11, where, the number of building boards in the contiguous set is greater than three boards but less than the number of building boards which would stretch from one side of a room to the other and the strip is of a length to attach that particular number of building boards.
13. The strip of claim 11, where, the number of building boards in the contiguous set is of sufficient width to stretch from one side of a room to the other and the strip is of a length to attach that particular number of building boards.
14. The strip of claim 1, where, strip is constructed to run diagonally to the direction of the boards, whereby the upward projections are attached at an angle which is diagonal to the direction of the main horizontal body.
15. A method of making a floating floor, ceiling, wall, or decorative panel without the use of glue, nails, or screws, comprising the steps of: a) obtaining a flat connecting strip, comprised of metal, plastic or another suitable material, capable of joining 3 or more building boards, with a main horizontal body and at least three upward projections, comprising at least one central guide and at least two terminal fasteners where the central guide(s) and terminal fasteners project from the main horizontal body at approximately 90 degrees from the direction of the main horizontal body, and, where, the flat connecting strip has a bend between each upward projection, and, where the central guide(s) and terminal fasteners are roughly the same width; b) obtaining a plurality of building boards constructed of a suitable material for building the desired floating floor, ceiling, wall, or decorative panel, such as hardwood planks, imitation wood building boards, or building boards of plastic, laminate, composite or another suitable substance, where the building boards have a means of lateral connection such as tongue and groove, and at least one groove cut in the bottom of each building board with a width adequate to accept a central guide or terminal fastener, c) laying the strips on a substructure over which the creation of the floating floor, panel or ceiling is desired, such that the strips will, through bridging and cross-linking, attach, directly or indirectly, all building boards that make up the floating floor, ceiling, wall or decorative panel to all the other building boards, d) lay the individual building boards over the strips, e) apply pressure to the individual building boards to force the groove in each building board to slide over the various central guides and terminal fasteners that are aligned in line with that particular groove, thereby securing that particular building board to nearby boards.
16. The method of claim 16, where, the at least one central guide and at least two terminal fasteners are perpendicular to the direction of the strip.
17. The strip of claim 16, where, the at least one central guide and at least two terminal fasteners are diagonal to the direction of the strip.
18. A method of making a floating floor, ceiling, wall, or decorative panel without the use of glue, nails, or screws, comprising the steps of: a) obtaining a plurality of hook and loop fastener material and laying a strip of one side of the hook and loop material on the subfloor, b) obtaining a plurality of building boards constructed of a suitable material for building the desired end product, such as hardwood planks, imitation wood building boards, or building boards of plastic, laminate, composite or another suitable substance, where the building boards with means of lateral connection such as tongue and groove, and a strip of one side of the hook and loop material, c) laying strips of the mating side of the hook and loop material on a subfloor where the creation of the floating floor, panel or ceiling is desired, such that the strips will, through bridging and cross-linking, attach, directly or indirectly, all building boards that make up the floating floor, ceiling, wall or decorative panel to all the other building boards, d) lay the individual building boards over the strips, e) apply pressure to the individual building boards to force the hook and loop sides together, thereby securing each particular building board to the strip.
19. The method of claim 18, where the strip is less than 6″ wide.
20. The method of claim 18, where the strip is the same width and length as the subsurface to be covered.
US11/414,111 2006-05-01 2006-05-01 Flat strip with one or more slight bends with one or more guides and two or more terminal fasteners for interlocking three or more floor planks and a method of creating a floor of hardwood, laminate or artificial floor planks using a flat strip Abandoned US20070251173A1 (en)

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EP2369094A1 (en) * 2010-03-10 2011-09-28 Architecture Du Bois Device for snap-fitting terrace planks
US20120171446A1 (en) * 2009-09-24 2012-07-05 Jong Sung Park Wood plastic composite panel with contractility
ES2425116A1 (en) * 2012-04-11 2013-10-11 Greenset Worldwide, S.L. Support for flooring especially applicable for sports facilities
WO2015054759A1 (en) * 2013-10-18 2015-04-23 Ectx S/A Laminated floor board for composing a floating floor
US9340984B2 (en) * 2013-07-28 2016-05-17 Alan Lun Chou Micro lock mortise riveted joint frame two ply solid wood hybrid engineered flooring

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