WO2007129211A2 - Cladding product - Google Patents

Cladding product Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2007129211A2
WO2007129211A2 PCT/IB2007/001206 IB2007001206W WO2007129211A2 WO 2007129211 A2 WO2007129211 A2 WO 2007129211A2 IB 2007001206 W IB2007001206 W IB 2007001206W WO 2007129211 A2 WO2007129211 A2 WO 2007129211A2
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
cladding
characterised
product
products
sheet
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IB2007/001206
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2007129211A3 (en
Inventor
Hermanus Petrus Alheit
Original Assignee
Hermanus Petrus Alheit
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to ZA200603700 priority Critical
Priority to ZA2006/03700 priority
Priority to ZA2006/05283 priority
Priority to ZA200605283 priority
Priority to ZA2006/08901 priority
Priority to ZA200608901 priority
Priority to ZA2007/01460 priority
Priority to ZA200701460 priority
Application filed by Hermanus Petrus Alheit filed Critical Hermanus Petrus Alheit
Publication of WO2007129211A2 publication Critical patent/WO2007129211A2/en
Publication of WO2007129211A3 publication Critical patent/WO2007129211A3/en

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Classifications

    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F13/00Coverings or linings, e.g. for walls or ceilings
    • E04F13/07Coverings or linings, e.g. for walls or ceilings composed of covering or lining elements; Sub-structures therefor; Fastening means therefor
    • E04F13/08Coverings or linings, e.g. for walls or ceilings composed of covering or lining elements; Sub-structures therefor; Fastening means therefor composed of a plurality of similar covering or lining elements
    • E04F13/088Coverings or linings, e.g. for walls or ceilings composed of covering or lining elements; Sub-structures therefor; Fastening means therefor composed of a plurality of similar covering or lining elements fixed directly to the wall by means of magnets, hook and loop-type or similar fasteners, not necessarily involving the side faces of the covering element
    • 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
    • E04F15/02194Flooring consisting of a number of elements carried by a non-rollable common support plate or grid
    • 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
    • E04F15/041Flooring 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 layer of wood in combination with a lower layer of other material
    • 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
    • E04F15/041Flooring 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 layer of wood in combination with a lower layer of other material
    • E04F15/043Flooring 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 layer of wood in combination with a lower layer of other material the lower layer being of organic plastic with or without reinforcements or filling materials
    • 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
    • E04F15/06Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements of metal, whether or not in combination with other material
    • 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
    • E04F15/08Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements only of stone or stone-like material, e.g. ceramics, concrete; of glass or with a top layer of stone or stone-like material, e.g. ceramics, concrete or glass
    • E04F15/082Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements only of stone or stone-like material, e.g. ceramics, concrete; of glass or with a top layer of stone or stone-like material, e.g. ceramics, concrete or glass with a top layer of stone or stone-like material, e.g. ceramics, concrete or glass in combination with a lower layer of other material
    • 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
    • E04F15/08Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements only of stone or stone-like material, e.g. ceramics, concrete; of glass or with a top layer of stone or stone-like material, e.g. ceramics, concrete or glass
    • E04F15/082Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements only of stone or stone-like material, e.g. ceramics, concrete; of glass or with a top layer of stone or stone-like material, e.g. ceramics, concrete or glass with a top layer of stone or stone-like material, e.g. ceramics, concrete or glass in combination with a lower layer of other material
    • E04F15/087The lower layer being of organic plastic with or without reinforcements or filling materials
    • 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
    • E04F15/10Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements of other materials, e.g. fibrous or chipped materials, organic plastics, magnesite tiles, hardboard, or with a top layer of other materials
    • E04F15/105Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements of other materials, e.g. fibrous or chipped materials, organic plastics, magnesite tiles, hardboard, or with a top layer of other materials of organic plastics with or without reinforcements or filling materials
    • 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
    • E04F15/10Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements of other materials, e.g. fibrous or chipped materials, organic plastics, magnesite tiles, hardboard, or with a top layer of other materials
    • E04F15/107Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements of other materials, e.g. fibrous or chipped materials, organic plastics, magnesite tiles, hardboard, or with a top layer of other materials composed of several layers, e.g. sandwich panels
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F19/00Other details of constructional parts for finishing work on buildings
    • E04F19/02Borders; Finishing strips, e.g. beadings; Light coves
    • E04F19/022Borders; Finishing strips, e.g. beadings; Light coves for use at vertical intersections of walls
    • 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
    • E04F15/02044Separate elements for fastening to an underlayer
    • E04F2015/02105Separate elements for fastening to an underlayer without load-supporting elongated furring elements between the flooring elements and the underlayer
    • E04F2015/02111Separate elements for fastening to an underlayer without load-supporting elongated furring elements between the flooring elements and the underlayer not adjustable
    • E04F2015/02116Separate elements for fastening to an underlayer without load-supporting elongated furring elements between the flooring elements and the underlayer not adjustable with fastening elements extending into the back side of the flooring elements
    • 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
    • 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
    • E04F2201/0523Separate tongues; Interlocking keys, e.g. joining mouldings of circular, square or rectangular shape
    • E04F2201/0529Separate tongues; Interlocking keys, e.g. joining mouldings of circular, square or rectangular shape the interlocking key acting as a dovetail-type key

Abstract

A cladding product (10) and cladding system are provided, as well as methods of making and installing the cladding products. Each cladding product includes a sheet of cladding material (12) imbedded in a polymer substrate (14). The sheet of cladding material (12) has a front surface (16), a rear surface (18) and peripheral edges (20), and the polymeric substrate (14) is in bonded abutment with the rear surface (18) and the peripheral edges (20) of the sheet (12). The cladding products (10) are releasably attachable together by engagement of attachment formations (24) and protuberances (64) and in preferred embodiments of the invention, the cladding material (12) can be leather.

Description

CLADDING PRODUCT

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

THIS INVENTION relates to cladding of surfaces, especially indoor surfaces such as floors, walls, working surfaces, ceilings, furniture, built-in cupboards, cornices, skirting boards and the like.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

Tiles are available for flooring or the like, that comprise rectangular pieces of leather and that can be installed by attaching them to an undersurface with adhesive. These tiies have a number of appealing qualities, such as the appearance and smell of leather, but have a number of disadvantages.

Leather is a natural product and the thickness of a leather hide cannot be pre-determined, but in order to allow the tiles to be laid without undesirable protruding edges, they need to have consistent thicknesses. Treatments are available to alter the thickness of leather, e.g. by sanding it to remove material, compressing it, etc, but in order to make tiles with a consistent thickness, the hides from which they are made and each position on a hide from where the leather for a tile is to be cut, have to be carefully selected, resulting in large quantities of off-cuts, unsuitable hides, etc. The result is that the prices of the tiles have to be high enough to compensate for the large quantities of leather that go to waste in the manufacturing. Further, when the tiles have been installed, the adhesive has typically only been applied to their undersides, with the result that there are narrow gaps between the edges of adjacent tiles where moisture, dirt, etc. is trapped. This dirt and moisture penetrates the tiles over time and causes them to swell near their edges and cause degradation of the leather, e.g. by discolouring, structural disintegration, rot, etc. Further, the swollen edges protrude slightly above the adjacent tile surfaces, exposing them to more wear than the rest of the tile surfaces. In the event that there is an imperfect adhesive bond between the underside of the tiles and the uπdersurface (as is almost Invariably the case), moisture can flow from the gaps between tiles, underneath them, where it will similarly be trapped and cause degradation of the tiles.

Those skilled in the art of leather will appreciate that a typical sheet of leather has a relatively smooth front surface with little or no open fibres, that is relatively easy to seal due to its relatively high density and low porosity. The leather sheet typically has a rear surface with relatively loose, open fibres, lower density and higher porosity, that is more difficult to seal. Similarly, if a sheet of leather is cut, the cut edges also include loose, exposed fibres and are difficult to seal.

In order to aliow the tiles to be laid in an aesthetically pleasing manner and with the least possible gaps between them where moisture and dirt can get trapped, the tiles must have dimensions that are as near identical as possible. However, since leather is a natural product with mechanical properties that vary, it often happens that the dimensions of some tiles change with moisture content, temperature and even age. If these changes occur before the tiles are installed, deformed tiles can be discarded, causing wastage. However, if the changes occur after installation, the results can vary between unsightly tiled surfaces, shortened life of tiled surfaces, severe wastage in repairs of tiled surfaces, etc.

The installation of leather tiles requires considerably skill, in preparing the undersurface, in ensuring that the surfaces of the tiles are flush despite possible variations in tile thicknesses and uneven undersurfaces, in ensuring good adhesion to the undersurface, etc. The cost of installing these tiles is consequently high and the number of undersurfaces that are suitable for being covered with these tiles, is limited.

These existing leather tiles are entirely unsuitable for undeMtoor heating, since no provision is made for heating elements underneath them, but even jf such provision were devised, the tiles are not suited to temperature variations, since changes in temperature, together with the resultant changes in moisture content, causes dimensional changes in the tiles which result in larger gaps between them, moisture trapping and ingress, swelling, bulging and a number of undesirable effects. The adverse effects that temperature and moisture variations can have on the tiles are so severe that prudent suppliers of such tiles recommend that the tiles are kept at the location where they will be installed in an open condition to expose them to the ambient humidity and temperature, before installation. In the event that an installed leather tile is damaged or needs to be removed for any other reason, it is very difficult to remove the tile and such removal almost invariably results in damage to adjacent tiles.

The objects of the present invention include providing for cladding of surfaces with leather, in a manner that overcomes the disadvantages of leather tiles as described herein above. Further, the present invention seeks to provide for leather cladding that can include heating elements, that is more cost effective and easy to manufacture and install and uninstall if required, and that has improved qualities of versatility , durability, appeal, and the like.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a cladding product comprising a sheet of cladding material having a front surface, a rear surface and peripheral edges, and a polymeric substrate, wherein said cladding material is embedded in said polymeric substrate and said substrate is in bonded abutment with the rear surface and the peripheral edges of the. sheet.

The cladding material may be leather, but may instead be any other suitably durable cladding material.

The parts of the substrate that are in bonded abutment with the peripheral edges of the cladding material may be generally flush with the front surface of the cladding material. The substrate of each cladding product may define attachment formations that are attachable to adjacent attachment formations of adjacent cladding products.

The attachment formations may be in the form of recesses in which complementary protuberances may be receivable that may be attachable to the corresponding attachment formations of the adjacent cladding products,

The protuberances may be provided on at least one attachment strip and the attachment strip may include a plurality of said protuberances, configured to be receivable in the attachment formations of adjacent substrates. The attachment strip may also include a plurality of spaced formations, e.g, apertures or markings, at which the strip can be attached to an uπdersurface by way of fasteners.

The protuberances may be receivable in the recesses in releasable, clipping fashion. The recesses may be in the form of elongate grooves that extend parallel to edges of the cladding product and the protuberances may be in the form of complementary, elongate ridges.

At least one recess may be defined in the substrate in which an elongate heating element is receivable and the recess may have a cross sectional profile that defines a narrow groove in a rear surface of the cladding product and a passage that is spaced further from the rear surface than the groove, that is broader than the groove and in which a heating element of a predetermined size can be received in abutting relationship with the walls of the recess. At least one electrical heating element may be embedded in the substrate, e.g, it may be received in the recess or may extend otherwise through the substrate.

The substrate may define a plurality of recesses in a rear surface of the cladding product and at least some of the recesses may be generally hexagonal in shape, with ridges extending between them, to form a honeycomb structure.

According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a cladding system which comprises a plurality of cladding products according to the present invention as described herein above.

The cladding system may also include a plurality of border elements, each defining attachment formations, complementary to corresponding attachment formations on the cladding products, allowing the border elements to be attached to edges of the cladding products. At least some of said border elements may define recesses in which the protuberances of the attachment strips are receivable.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of manufacturing a cladding product as described herein above, said method comprising placing a sheet of cladding material in a mould with the front

surface of the cladding material sheet abutting a bounding wall of the mould cavity and the rear surface and peripheral edges of the cladding material sheet facing the remainder of the mould cavity, filling the remainder of the mould cavity with molten polymer, allowing the molten polymer to contact the rear surface and peripheral edges of the cladding material sheet and allowing the molten polymer to solidify and bond to the rear surface and peripheral edges of the cladding material sheet.

The remainder of the mould cavity may be filled with the molten polymer in an injection moulding process and the sheet of cladding material may be a tanned sheet of leather, preferably treated to improve its durability, The method may include treating said leather sheet prior to placing it in the mould, in at least one of the processes of: compression; rolling; dying; treatment with ultraviolet (UV) resistant substance; filling, e,g. with China clay or other ceramics, resins, waxes, hardeners; the like.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of cladding an undersurface with cladding products as described hereinabove, said method comprising: placing a plurality of said cladding products in a side-by-side arrangement, with abutting edges; attaching the abutting edges of the cladding products together by engagement of the attachment formations with the protuberances; and placing the cladding products on the undersurface, with the underside of the products facing the undersurface.

Instead, the method of cladding may comprise; placing a plurality of said attachment strips on the undersurface in a spaced, generally parallel arrangement; and installing the cladding products by engagement of the attachment formations with the protuberances of the attachment strips, such that the undersides of the cladding products face the undersurface.

The method may include attaching the attachment strips to the undersurface, e.g. with fasteners, before installing the cladding products,

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the present invention and to show how the same may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of non- limiting example, to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a bottom view of a cladding product in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 is a sectional profile view of an attachment strip resembling a railway line, in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 3 is a sectional view of the edges of two of the cladding products of Figure 1 , attached together with the attachment strip of Figure 2;

Figure 4 is a sectional view of the cladding product of Figure 1; Figure 5 is a sectional view of an edge of the cladding product of Figure 1 , with a border element in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention; Figures 6 and 7 are sectional views of adjacent edges of cladding products of Figure 1, with border elements forming an outside corner and an inside corner, respectively;

Figure 8 is a detail sectional view of a recess of the cladding product of Figure 1 , containing a heating element;

Figure 9 is a three dimensional view of the underside of a substrate for a cladding product in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention; and

Figure 10 is a plan view of a clip of the cladding product of Figure 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring to Figures 1 to 7, a cladding product in the form of a tile in accordance with the present invention is generally indicated by reference numeral 10.

The tile 10, which can be manufactured from a variety of substances with varying thicknesses, comprises a square, rectangular, round, hexagonal, or any other shape sheet of cladding material 12, embedded in a polymeric substrate 14, with the front surface 16 of the sheet 12 being exposed to form the front surface of the tile and with the rear surface 18 of the sheet in bonded abutting contact with the substrate, The sheet 12 has peripheral edges 20 that are also embedded in the substrate 14 in bonded abutment, so that the substrate forms edges 22 that extend around the periphery of the sheet 12 and that are flush with the front surface 16. The sheet 12 can be of any desired cladding material, including, but not limited to; a) hide, e.g. bovine, buffalo, ostrich, crocodile, seal, etc, with hair-off; b) skins and/or hides with hair-on, e.g. zebra, bovine, seal, springbuck and/or other types of game skins; or c) marble, granite, wood (e.g. hardwood), aluminium, synthetic materia! imitating grass, felt, resin, etc.

In one of the preferred embodiments of the invention, the sheet of cladding material is prepared from a sheet (hide) of bovine or buffalo shoe soling leather, which is tanned, treated and finished to give it the natural look and smell of leather, yet making it resistant to domestic cleaning detergents, water, stains, slip resistance, etc., in a process including:

Filling the leather with China clay (or with any other suitable filler or hardener such as another suitable type of clay or ceramic). The clay increases the thermal conductivity of the leather and makes the leather harder and more wear resistant, but also less flexible, but since the tiles 10 need not be flexible, the concentration of clay in the leather can be up to 50 % more than in shoe soling.

Spraying a composition onto the leather to an extent to saturate its surface. The composition is based on acrylics, in particularly having a high content of an acrylic hardener and also including an ultra violet (UV) resistant component, as well as dyes.

Rolling the leather to compact it to a thickness of 15 to 100 % of its thickness, typically 50%. This causes the composition to penetrate the leather and can cause the thickness to become uneven.

Spraying the leather again with the composition. Leaving the sprayed leather overnight to cure. Pressing the upper face of the leather against a heat kiss plate with a temperature of about 550C, to bake the composition in the leather.

Cutting the finished leather sheet to form the sheet.

A number of spaced apart attachment formations in the form of elongate recesses or groves 24, are defined along the periphery of the substrate 14 and are open to the rear 26 of the substrate. The grooves 24 extending slightly inwardly of and parallel to the edges 22 of the substrate 14 and being defined in a border recess 28 that is set back slightly from the rear 26 and that extends around the periphery of the substrate.

A number of hexagonally shaped recesses 30 are defined in the rear 26 of the substrate, with ridges 32 extending between them, to form a honeycomb structure. The honeycomb structure has been omitted from large areas of the rear 26 of the substrate in Figure 1 , for the sake of illustration and has also been omitted in a region 36 that is intended to be occupied by a commercial logo. The recesses can instead be square and/or rectangular in shape. Further recesses in the undersides of the tiles are also provided in preferred embodiments, to accept electrical wires (for lights, appliances such as television sets, radios, etc), so that these electrical wires can be safely hidden below the tiie surfaces. (See for example discussion of recesses 50 below.) The tile 10 is manufactured by taking a sheet of the cladding material 12 and placing this inside a mould cavity of an injection moulding machine, with the front surface 16 close to or abutting a bounding wall of the mould cavity, the rear surface 18 facing the remainder of the mould cavity and the edges 20 spaced from peripheral bounding walls of the mould cavity. The substrate 14 is formed by injecting molten polymeric material into the remainder of the mould cavity in an injection moulding process, so that the molten polymeric material contacts the rear surface 18 and edges 20 of the sheet 12, before solidifying. In this process, mechanical bonding under high injection pressures takes place between the cladding material 12 and the substrate 14. In some cases adhesive may be used to enhance the bond between the cladding material 12 and the substrate 14.

The injection pressure is typically about 90 bar and the polymer is typically injected at a temperature of about 1650C. However, a wide range of injection pressures and temperatures can work, e.g. pressures up to 210 bar and temperatures up to 21O0C. The high pressure causes mechanical penetration of the polymer into the cladding material 12, if it is fibrous and/or porous as in the case of leather cladding. However, in order to minimise the risk that the high temperatures may damage the cladding material 12, the cycle time of the injection moulding is relatively short.

In embodiments in which the cladding material is leather, the contact between the molten polymer and the rear surface 18 and edges 20 allows the polymer to contact the relatively loose, open fibres of these surfaces and in some cases to penetrate the leather sheet 12, thus sealing the rear surface and edges, so that the only surface of the leather sheet that is exposed outside the substrate 14, is the front surface 16, which by nature has better resistance to the environments in which the tile 10 may be used.

The polymer from which the substrate 14 is moulded can include: thermoplastic rubber (TPR), polyvinylchloride (PVC), ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), low density polyethylene (LDPE) e.g. of grade WRM19, polypropylene (PP)1 micro cellular rubber, or other suitable polymers or combinations of these or similar polymers, provided that it has suitable qualities to be used in the injection moulding process, is compatible with the leather sheet 12, is sufficiently durable, etc. In particular, the polymer should be fire resistant, should have a suitable thermal conductivity (high enough to allow heat transfer if used with heating under the tiles and low enough not to cause discomfort), should have low or now emissions of unwanted substances such as formaldehydes, etc. The polymer or blend of polymers can also have suitable inclusions and/or additives to give it the desired properties for its intended use.

As can be seen in Figures 1 and 3 to 8, a number of elongate recesses or channels 50 are defined in the rear 26 of the tile 10 and are integrally moulded with the tile, in which insulated, elongate cylindrical heating elements 58 such as a core with a braided earth cover, can be received for under floor heating. As shown in Figure 8, each of the recesses 50 has a horseshoe-shaped internal profile that defines a narrow groove 36 in the rear 26 of the tile and a wider passage 38 into which the heating elements 58 to be clipped with ease. This configuration of the recesses 50 holds a number of advantages in that the shape and dimensions of the passage 38 can be selected such that the outside of the heating element 58 is in good thermal contact with the substrate 14, but is lifted from the undersurface 40 on which the tile 10 may be supported so that it is not in good thermal contact with the undersurface and is protected from possible damage such as abrasion if there is relative movement between the tile and the undersurface. The protection of the heating elements can be further enhanced if the sheets 62 of the strips 60 were to extend beneath the recesses 50, thus causing the' heating elements to be effectively embedded in the substrates 14.

The recesses 50 are generally parallel with the edges of the tile 10 and are spaced apart such that they would be aligned with the recesses 50 of adjacent tiles 10, even if the tiles are displaced by a portion of the width of a tile, e.g. by half a tile's width. Various sizes and lengths of suitable heating elements 58 can be used with the tiles 10 as well as heating elements with a variety of heating capacities. Further, the heating elements 58 can be supplied complete with thermostatic control units, power supply leads, and the like.

Referring to Figure 2, an attachment strip 60 is shown, including a thin sheet 62 from which two parallel, spaced protuberances in the form of rails or ridges 64 protrude. The strip 60 has practically the same profile for its entire length and can be extruded or can be moulded and/or can be cut to any desired length. The strip 60 could be made from the same material as the substrate 14 of the tile 10, but is preferably made of a firmer material. Each ridge 64 is complemental in shape to that of a groove 24 and includes lateral clipping ridges 66, by which it is attachable in a groove in a clipping manner with a small clearance allowance. The thickness of the sheet 62 is generally complemental to the depth of the border recesses 28, so that the sheet can be received flush with the rear 26 of the tile, when its ridges 64 are received inside the grooves 24. A number of formations in the form of recessed apertures 42 are defined in the sheet 62 and are spaced along the length of the strip 60 to allow the sheet 62 to be attached to an undersurface on when installing the strip. Instead, the sheet 62 may include other formations to indicate spaced positions where fasteners can pass through the strips.

Referring to Figure 3, in order to attach two adjacent tiles 10 together, their edges 22 are placed side-by-side and they are pressed down onto an attachment strip 60 extending longitudinally along their edges, so that the one ridge 64 is received in the groove 24 of one tile and the other ridge is received in the groove of the other tile, with the sheet 62 neatly recessed inside the border recesses 28.

Referring to Figure 5, a straight border element 34 is provided for using with the tile 10. In Figure 6, a similar 90° outside corner border element 54 is shown in use with two adjacent tiles and similarly, in Figure 7 a 90° inside corner border element 56 is shown in use with two tiles, in addition other embodiments of inside and outside corner border elements at any angle, e.g. at 45°, rounded and other shapes, can be used. A ridge 44 is defined on top of the sheet 46 of each border element 34,54,56, near its edge that is to be attached to a tile 10 and that is complemental to the groove 24 of the tile, including a small clearance, ft follows that the sheets 46 are similar in dimensions to the sheets 62 of the attachments strips 60, the ridges 44 are similarly dimensioned to the ridges 64 and that the border elements 34,54,56 are attachable to the edges of tiles 10 in same way that two adjacent tiles are attached together with an attachment strip.

The border elements 34,54,56 are preferably made from the same polymeric or material as the substrate 14 of the tile 10, although it is preferably higher in shore surface hardness, and may be colour coordinated with the cladding substrate 14.

In use, if an undersurface 40 such as a floor, wall, counter top, ceiling, cupboard, table, or the like is to be clad, a cladding system is used, comprising a number of the tiles 10, border elements 34,54,56 and strips 60. To assemble the cladding system, tiles 10 can be placed in a side-by-side abutting arrangement and can be clipped onto attachment strips (railway lines) 60 by receiving the ridges 64 into their grooves 24, as described above. The tiles can then be placed in position with the rears 26 of the substrates 14 facing the undersurface 40. The tiles 10 can be adhesively attached to the undersurface 40, but since the cladding system is generally held together by the strips 60, this may not be necessary in most applications. One of the preferred methods of cladding an undersurface 40 includes first attaching the strips 60 to the undersurface in a spaced arrangement, e.g. in parallel. The strips 60 can be attached to the undersurface by passing fasteners such as screws or nails through the apertures 42, by adhesive attachment, e.g. with double sided adhesive tape, or the like. The tiles 10 can then be installed very easily by receiving the ridges 64 into the grooves 24. If the cladding is to be heated, the heating elements 58 can be inserted into the grooves 36 before the tiles 10 are installed on the strips 60, As can be seen in Figure 1 , a number of semi-circular recesses 52 are defined in the underside of the tile 10, at its edges and these recesses can accommodate the heads of the fasteners in the event that they protrude slightly above the sheets 62 of the attachment strips 60,

The attachment of the tiles 10 to the ridges 64 of the attachment strips (or railway lines) 60 allows them to be removed and replaced, rearranged, added to, etc. at any stage, making the cladding system very versatile.

If desired, e,g. if the sides of the tiles 10 are undesirably visible, a border can be attached around the tiles by way of strips 34,54 as described above.

Only one example of a square tile 10 is shown in Figures 1 to 7. However, within reasonable limits, such as the available sizes of the cladding material for the sheets 12, there are practically no restrictions on the size and shape of the tiles and border elements. However, for practical purposes and versatility of the cladding system, the tiles 10 are preferably rectangular or square and the tiles and border elements have lengths that correspond and/or are divisible by one another.

The releasable clipping of the ridges 64 into the grooves 24 to attach the tiles 10 to the strips 60, allows for easy assembly, dismantling and re-assembly of the cladding system, thus making it very versatile and easy to use, even to a generally untrained person, thus making it ideal for do-it-yourself (DlY) applications.

Similarly, referring to Figures 9 and 10, in a second embodiment of the invention, a number of spaced apart attachment formations in the form of clip recesses 48, each with a truncated arrow shape, are defined along the periphery of the substrate 14 and are open to the rear 26 and to the sides 28 of the substrate. The tiles of the second embodiment of the invention can be attached together in a side-by-εide arrangement, similar to the first embodiment, by releasably receiving clips 68 such as that shown in Figure 10, in the clip recesses 48 of adjacent tiles. Each clip 68 is generally flat with a shank 70 extending between two mirrored heads 72, each with the outline of a truncated arrow head that is complemental to the shape of the ciip recesses 48. A ridge 74 extends around the periphery of each clip 68 to allow it to clip releasably into a groove defined in the periphery of a clip recess 48.

The same advantages also result from a third embodiment of the invention that is not illustrated, but that includes attachment strips similar to those illustrated in Figures 2 and 3, but which include upstanding protuberances in the form of spaced studs that are receivable in recesses in the substrates of the tiles.

In embodiments where the cladding material 12 is leather sheets, the invention illustrated holds advantages of overcoming the fact that it is normally very difficult and/or costly to provide leather sheets of a precise, predetermined thickness and/or dimensions, for reasons provided above. However, in the tile 10, the injection moulding process compensates for any reasonable imperfections or variations in the dimensions of the leather sheet 12. Further, the substrate 14 is made of materials that are dimensionally much more stable than leather, even when exposed to moisture and temperature fluctuations and that can be moulded with remarkably accurate dimensions. The result is that the tile 10 can consistently be manufactured with precise dimensions and substantially retains these dimensions even in a changing environment.

The tile 10 and the cladding system, of which it forms part, hold a number of advantages, many of which have been mentioned above. In addition, the structural integrity of the polymeric substrate 14 allows the tiles 10 to be used on undersurfaces 40 even if they have some imperfections, which may be much more severe than in the case of conventional leather tiles. Air trapped in the recesses 30 between the undersurface 40 and the tile 10, allows for thermal insulation and improves the performance of under floor heating systems, when used with the tiles.

Claims

CLAIMS:
1. A cladding product (10) comprising a sheet of cladding material (12) having a front surface (16), a rear surface (18) and peripheral edges (20), and a polymeric substrate (14), characterised in that said cladding material (12) is embedded in said polymeric substrate (14) and said substrate is in bonded abutment with the rear surface (18) and the peripheral edges (20) of the sheet (12).
2. A cladding product (10) as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the cladding material (12) is leather.
3. A cladding product (10) as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2, characterised in that parts (22) of the substrate (14) that are in bonded abutment with the peripheral edges (20) of the cladding material (12) are generally flush with the front surface (16) of the cladding material.
4. A cladding product (10) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that the substrate (14) defines attachment formations (24) that are attachable to adjacent attachment formations (24) of adjacent cladding products.
5. A cladding product (10) as claimed in claim 4, characterised in that the attachment formations (24) are in the form of recesses in which complementary protuberances (64) are receivable that are attachable to the corresponding attachment formations (24) of the adjacent cladding products (10).
6. A cladding product (10) as claimed in claim 5, characterised in that the protuberances (64) are provided on at least one attachment strip (60).
7. A cladding product (10) as claimed in claim 6, characterised in that the attachment strip (60) includes a plurality of said protuberances (64), configured to be receivable in the attachment formations (24) of adjacent substrates (14).
8. A cladding product (10) as claimed in claim 6 or 7, characterised in that said attachment strip (60) includes a plurality of spaced formations (42) at which the strip (60) can be attached to an undersurface (40) byway of fasteners.
9. A cladding product (10) as claimed in any one of claims 5 to 8, characterised in that the protuberances (64) are receivable in the recesses (24) in releasable, clipping fashion,
10. A cladding product (10) as claimed in any one of claims 5 to 9, characterised in that the recesses are in the form of elongate grooves (24) that extend parallel to edges (22) of the cladding product (10) and the protuberances are in the form of complementary, elongate ridges (64).
11. A cladding product (10) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that at least one recess (50) is defined in the substrate (14) in which an elongate heating element (58) is receivable.
12. A cladding product (10) as claimed in claim 11, characterised in that said recess (50) has a cross sectional profile that defines a narrow groove (36) in a rear surface (26) of the cladding product (10) and a passage (38) that is spaced further from the rear surface (26) than the groove (36), that is broader than the groove (36) and in which a heating element (58) of a predetermined size can be received in abutting relationship with the walls of the recess (50).
13. A cladding product (10) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 10, characterised in that at least one electrical heating element (58) is embedded in said substrate (14).
14. A cladding product (10) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that the substrate (14) defines a plurality of recesses (30) in a rear surface (26) of the cladding product.
15. A cladding product (10) as claimed in claim 14, characterised in that at least some of the recesses (30) have ridges (32) extending between them.
16. A cladding system, said system being characterised in that it comprises a plurality of cladding products (10) as claimed in any one of claims 4 to 15.
17. A cladding system as claimed in claim 16, characterised in that said cladding system includes a plurality of border elements (34,54,56), each defining attachment formations (44), complementary to corresponding attachment formations (24) on the cladding products (10), allowing the border elements to be attached to edges of the cladding products.
18. A cladding system as claimed in claim 17, characterised in that at least some of said border elements (34,54,56) define recesses in which the protuberances (64) of the attachment strips according to any one of claims 6 to 10, are receivable.
19. A method of manufacturing a cladding product (10) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 15, characterised by placing a sheet of cladding material (12) in a mould with the front surface (16) of the cladding material sheet (12) abutting a bounding wall of the mould cavity and the rear surface (18) and peripheral edges (20) of the cladding material sheet (12) facing the remainder of the mould cavity, filling the remainder of the mould cavity with molten polymer, allowing the molten polymer to contact the rear surface (18) and peripheral edges (20) of the cladding material sheet (12) and allowing the molten polymer to solidify and bond to the rear surface (18) and peripheral edges (20) of the cladding material sheet (12).
20. A method as claimed in claim 19, characterised in that the remainder of the mould cavity is filled with the molten polymer an injection moulding process.
21. A method as claimed in claim 19 or claim 20, characterised in that the sheet of cladding material (12) is a tanned sheet of leather.
22. A method as claimed in claim 21 , characterised by treating said leather sheet (12) prior to placing it in the mould, in at least one of the processes of: compression; rolling; treatment with ultraviolet (UV) resistant substance; filling with ceramic, resin, wax, hardener.
23. A method of cladding an undersurface (40) with cladding products (10) as claimed in any one of claims 5 to 10, characterised by: placing a plurality of said cladding products (10) in a side-by-side arrangement, with abutting edges (22); attaching the abutting edges (22) of the cladding products (10) together by engagement of the attachment formations (24) with the protuberances (64); and placing the cladding products (10) on the undersurface (40), with the underside (26) of the products (10) facing the undersurface (40).
24. A method of cladding an undersurface (40) with cladding products (10) as claimed in any one of claims 6 to 8, characterised by: placing a plurality of said attachment strips (60) on the undersurface (40) in a spaced, arrangement; and installing the cladding products (10) by engagement of the attachment formations (24) with the protuberances (64) of the attachment strips (60), such that the undersides (26) of the cladding products (10) face the undersurface.
26. A method as claimed in claim 24, characterised by attaching the attachment strips (60) to the undersurface (40) before installing the cladding products (10).
26. A method as claimed in claim 25, characterised in that the attachment strips (60) are attached to the undersurface (40) with fasteners.
PCT/IB2007/001206 2006-05-10 2007-05-10 Cladding product WO2007129211A2 (en)

Priority Applications (8)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
ZA200603700 2006-05-10
ZA2006/03700 2006-05-10
ZA2006/05283 2006-06-27
ZA200605283 2006-06-27
ZA200608901 2006-10-26
ZA2006/08901 2006-10-26
ZA2007/01460 2007-02-20
ZA200701460 2007-02-20

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WO2007129211A2 true WO2007129211A2 (en) 2007-11-15
WO2007129211A3 WO2007129211A3 (en) 2008-01-24

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* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2008114124A1 (en) * 2007-03-22 2008-09-25 Valeria Santolin Modular structure for covering surfaces, such as floors, pavements, walls and ceilings
WO2010140180A3 (en) * 2009-06-04 2011-02-10 Gruppo Concorde S.P.A. Modular covering system for surfaces
EP2307633A1 (en) * 2008-05-20 2011-04-13 Easytech Inc. Plate product using natural stone for floor and wall finishing
ES2357124A1 (en) * 2009-04-24 2011-04-19 Butech Building Techonology S.A. Removable coating for soils.
WO2011115559A1 (en) * 2010-03-16 2011-09-22 Fligo Ab Modular flooring substrate and a method for removing the same
JP2018035575A (en) * 2016-08-31 2018-03-08 株式会社山仙 Tool for preventing tatami mat from sliding

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DE20309317U1 (en) * 2003-06-13 2003-10-02 Schwab Peter Modular system for building display units comprises shelves with of studs on underside which can be mounted side-by-side using connectors with recesses, into which studs are inserted
EP1418290A1 (en) * 2002-11-08 2004-05-12 Ivano Vagnoli Method for making leather tiles and tiles thus obtained
WO2006027029A1 (en) * 2004-09-09 2006-03-16 Ivano Vagnoli Flat decorative element and method for making it
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FR2461073A1 (en) * 1979-02-14 1981-01-30 Thionvilloise Immobiliere Waterproof facing slabs with ventilated backing - allows dressed wall or ground to resist condensation and humidity by continuous circulation of air
US4864790A (en) * 1988-05-26 1989-09-12 Andre Liardet Leather floor
DE19634928A1 (en) * 1996-08-29 1998-03-12 Wll Leather Systems Gmbh Tiling interior floor or wall surfaces using leather tiles
DE19704292A1 (en) * 1997-02-05 1998-08-06 Kornherr Thomas Cladding element for floors, walls, ceilings, etc.
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DE20309317U1 (en) * 2003-06-13 2003-10-02 Schwab Peter Modular system for building display units comprises shelves with of studs on underside which can be mounted side-by-side using connectors with recesses, into which studs are inserted
WO2006042883A2 (en) * 2004-08-20 2006-04-27 Azulindus Y Marti, S.A. Removable surface covering
WO2006027029A1 (en) * 2004-09-09 2006-03-16 Ivano Vagnoli Flat decorative element and method for making it

Cited By (9)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2008114124A1 (en) * 2007-03-22 2008-09-25 Valeria Santolin Modular structure for covering surfaces, such as floors, pavements, walls and ceilings
EP2307633A1 (en) * 2008-05-20 2011-04-13 Easytech Inc. Plate product using natural stone for floor and wall finishing
EP2307633A4 (en) * 2008-05-20 2012-02-29 Easytech Inc Plate product using natural stone for floor and wall finishing
EP2243895A3 (en) * 2009-04-24 2012-07-25 Butech Building Technology, S.A. Demountable floor covering
ES2357124A1 (en) * 2009-04-24 2011-04-19 Butech Building Techonology S.A. Removable coating for soils.
WO2010140180A3 (en) * 2009-06-04 2011-02-10 Gruppo Concorde S.P.A. Modular covering system for surfaces
WO2011115559A1 (en) * 2010-03-16 2011-09-22 Fligo Ab Modular flooring substrate and a method for removing the same
EP2369090A1 (en) * 2010-03-16 2011-09-28 Fligo AB Modular flooring substrate
JP2018035575A (en) * 2016-08-31 2018-03-08 株式会社山仙 Tool for preventing tatami mat from sliding

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