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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
TILE SPACER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/164658
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A tile spacer includes a head and a base having a top surface and a beveled edge that bevels from the top surface. The head is provided on the base and projects in a projection direction perpendicular to the top surface of the base. The tile space may also include at least one opening formed on the top surface of the base. The opening of the base may partially or fully extend through the base in a direction parallel to the projection direction of the head.

Inventors:
BYER, Ronald Lee (2423 Jenkins Rd, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37421, US)
Application Number:
US2019/016377
Publication Date:
August 29, 2019
Filing Date:
February 01, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BYER, Ronald Lee (2423 Jenkins Rd, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37421, US)
International Classes:
E04F21/22; E01C5/00; E04F13/02; E04F13/08; E04F13/14; E04F21/00; E04F21/18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MUNCY, Joe McKinney (MUNCY, GEISSLER OLDS & LOWE, P.C.,4000 Legato Rd., Suite 31, Fairfax Virginia, 22033, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A tile spacer, comprising:

a head; and

a base having a top surface and a beveled edge that bevels from the top surface, wherein the head is provided on the base and projects in a projection direction perpendicular to the top surface of the base.

2. The tile spacer according to claim 1, wherein

the base includes at least one opening formed on the top surface, and

the at least one opening of the base partially or fully extends through the base in a direction parallel to the projection direction of the head.

3. The tile spacer according to claim 1, wherein

the head is a cylindrical projection or a rectangular pillar projection.

4. The tile spacer according to claim 3, wherein

the head has a width that defines a distance between two tiles installed on the tile spacer. 5. The tile spacer according to claim 4, wherein

the width of the head is in a range greater than zero (0) to one (1) inch.

6. The tile spacer according to claim 1, wherein

the top surface of the base is configured to contact a bottom of a tile when the tile spacer is installed under the tile.

7. The tile spacer according to claim 1, wherein

the base is in an elongated plate having a first end and a second end,

each of the first end and the second end is provided with the beveled edge.

8. The tile spacer according to claim 7, wherein a length of the base is in a range of 3/4 and three (3) inches.

9. The tile spacer according to claim 7, wherein

a width of the base is in a range of 3/4 and three (3) inches.

10. The tile spacer according to claim 1, wherein

an angle of the beveled edge is sixty (60) degrees or less.

11. The tile spacer according to claim 1, wherein

a height of the head is in a range greater than zero (0) and equal to or less than one (1) inch.

12. The tile spacer according to claim 1, wherein

the base has a circular or rectangular shape, and

an edge of the circular or rectangular shape base is made entirely with the beveled edge.

13. The tile spacer according to claim 12, wherein

the head has an X, T or Y shape.

14. The tile spacer according to claim 13, wherein

each arm of the X, T or Y shaped head has a width that defines a distance between two tiles installed on the tile spacer.

15. The tile spacer according to claim 14, wherein

the width of the arm is in a range of 1/32 to three (3) inches.

16. The tile spacer according to claim 12, wherein

the head is a cylindrical projection or a rectangular pillar projection.

17. The tile spacer according to claim 16, wherein

the head has a width that defines a distance between two tiles installed on the tile spacer.

18. The tile spacer according to claim 17, wherein the width of the head is in a range of 1/32 to one (1) inch.

19. A tile spacer to be placed under at least two adjacent tiles, comprising:

a base having a top surface configured to contact a bottom of the at least two adjacent tiles, at least one opening formed on the top surface and a beveled edge that bevels from the top surface, wherein

the top surface of the base is entirely flat with no object projecting from the top surface, and

the at least one opening of the base partially or fully extends through the base in a direction normal to the bottom of the at least two adjacent tiles.

AMENDED CLAIMS

received by the International Bureau on 21 June 2019 (21.06.19)

1. A tile spacer, comprising:

a head; and

a base having a top surface, a first side, a second side, a third side and a fourth side, the first side and the second side being opposite from each other and each having a beveled edge that bevels from the top surface, and the third side and the fourth side being opposite from each other and each having a non-beveled edge in a trapezoidal shape in a side view, wherein

the head is provided on the base and projects in a projection direction perpendicular to the top surface of the base.

2. The tile spacer according to claim 1 , wherein

the base includes at least one first opening formed on the top surface between the head and the first side and at least one second opening formed on the top surface between the head and the second side,

the at least one first opening of the base partially or fully extends through the base in a direction parallel to the projection direction of the head, and

the at least one second opening of the base partially or fully extends through the base in a direction parallel to the projection direction of the head.

3. The tile spacer according to claim 1 , wherein

the head is a cylindrical projection or a rectangular pillar projection.

4. The tile spacer according to claim 3, wherein

the head has a width that defines a distance between two tiles installed on the tile spacer.

5. The tile spacer according to claim 4, wherein

the width of the head is in a range greater than zero (0) to one (1) inch.

6. The tile spacer according to claim 1 , wherein

the top surface of the base is configured to contact a bottom of a tile when the tile spacer is installed under the tile.

7. The tile spacer according to claim 1, wherein

a distance between the first side and the second side of the base is in a range of 3/4 and three (3) inches.

8. The tile spacer according to claim 1, wherein

a distance between the third side and the fourth side of the base is in a range of 3/4 and three (3) inches.

9. The tile spacer according to claim 1 , wherein

an angle of the beveled edge is sixty (60) degrees or less.

10. The tile spacer according to claim 1, wherein

a height of the head is in a range greater than zero (0) and equal to or less than one (1) inch.

11. A tile spacer to be placed under at least two adjacent tiles, comprising:

a base having a top surface configured to contact a bottom of the at least two adjacent tiles, a bottom surface, at least one opening formed on the top surface, and a beveled edge that bevels from an outer edge of the top surface to an outer edge of the bottom surface, wherein

the top surface of the base is entirely flat with no object projecting from the top surface, and

the at least one opening of the base partially or fully extends through the base in a direction normal to the bottom of the at least two adjacent tiles.

Description:
Tile Spacer

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

The present application is directed to a tile spacer for positioning tiles.

Description of Background Art

When installing tiles in a bathroom or a kitchen in a residence, or on a floor in a commercial facility, for example, tile spacers are placed between the pieces of tile to ensure that the tiles are aligned correctly. To do so, tile spacers are placed between tiles to create grout space for grout to be applied so that when the grout dries, the tiles are fixed to the correct positions.

Conventional tile spacers are generally made of plastic and rubber and have a shape of cylinder, square or rectangle. The conventional tile spacers may consist of multiple pieces and has a height of 1/32 to two or three inches. When using the conventional spacers to place the tiles on the surface (wall, floor, countertop, etc.) using base grout, a predetermined number (e.g. two) of spacers are placed between sides of two adjacent tiles. After placing all of the tiles on a floor and after the base grout dries, the tile spacers are removed. Then, the filling grout is applied in the grout spaces between the tiles formed by the conventional spacers.

However, a great deal of time and effort is expended in this process. Specifically, this process requires great skill for a trained professional to level the tiles proficiently without lippage, i.e., variation in the height of adjacent tiles. To ensure that the tiles are sufficiently leveled, leveling devices must be used while placing tiles on the base grout. Then, all of the tile spacers must be removed before applying the filling grout. Multiple days may be spent waiting on the base grout to dry and to remove the conventional spacers before applying the filling grout.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present application, a tile spacer includes a head and a base having a top surface and a beveled edge that bevels from the top surface. The head is provided on the base and projects in a projection direction perpendicular to the top surface of the base. According to another aspect of the present application, a tile spacer includes a base having a top surface configured to contact a bottom of the at least two adjacent tiles, at least one opening formed on the top surface and a beveled edge that bevels from the top surface. The top surface of the base is entirely flat with no obj ect proj ecting from the top surface, and the at least one opening of the base partially or fully extends through the base in a direction normal to the bottom of the at least two adjacent tiles.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present application will become more fully understood from the detailed description given hereinbelow and the accompanying drawings which are given by way of illustration only, and thus, are not limitive of the present application, and wherein:

Fig. 1 shows a tile spacer according to a first embodiment of the present application.

Fig. 2 shows an alternative form of the tile spacer of the first embodiment according to the present application.

Fig. 3 shows the tile spacers according to the first embodiment as partially placed under a tile.

Fig. 4 shows the tile spacers according to the first embodiment as fully placed under two tiles. Fig. 5 shows the tile spacer according to a second embodiment of the present application.

Fig. 6 shows the tile spacer according to a third embodiment of the present application.

Fig. 7 shows the tile spacer according to a fourth embodiment of the present application.

Fig. 8 shows the tile spacer according to a fifth embodiment of the present application.

Fig. 9 shows the tile spacer according to the third embodiment as partially placed under three tiles.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The aforementioned and further advantages and features of the present application will be understood by reference to the description of the preferred embodiment in conjunction with the accompanying drawings where the components are illustrated based on a proportion for explanation but not subject to the actual component proportion.

As shown in Fig. 1, a tile spacer 1 according to the present application includes a head 2 and a base 3. The head 2 has a predetermined height A from the base 3, a predetermined width B and a predetermined length C. The height A should be less than a thickness of the tile and short enough so that the spacer can be sufficiently buried in the filling grout when it is applied between tiles. For example, the height A of the head 2 may be in a range greater than zero (0) to one (1) inch. According to an embodiment of the present application, the tile spacer 1 may not include the head 2 when the purpose of the tile spacer is to level the tiles, for example, without need to provide or maintain a grout line space as discussed later. The width B corresponds to a desired distance between adjacent tiles when the tiles are placed on the base grout. The width B may be in a range greater than zero (0) to one inch. The length C may be as wide as or less than the width m of the base 3 (discussed later). The head 2 may be circular, but it could be oval, square, rectangular, crescent or any other shape. In the embodiment shown in Fig. 1, the width B and the length C would be the same.

The top and sides of the head 2 may be smooth or have roughness or patterns. In addition, the top of the head 2 may be formed with an opening extending entirely or partially through the head 2 and the base 3 to allow the base grout and the filling grout to seep in and fill the opening. Moreover, the top of the head 2 may be flat, semispherical, conical or the like. Again, the head 2 may have any shape, such as a cylindrical pillar as shown in Fig. 1 or a square pillar as shown in Fig. 2.

The base 3 is formed in a thin plate shape for being placed between the tile and the base grout when the tile is placed thereon. Top and bottom surfaces of the base 3 may be smooth or have roughness or patterns thereon. According to the embodiment shown in Fig. 1, the base 3 has an elongated plate shape, and the head 2 may be provided at a center of the base 3. However, the base 3 may be in any other shape such as a circular shape, a square shape or a polygonal shape. The position of the head 2 on the base 3 may be varied as desired. For example, the head

2 can be centered or provided towards one end of the base 3. The base 3 includes a predetermined number of openings 4 and beveled edges 5. The length L and the width M of each side of the base 3 may be determined depending on the desired stability of the tile spacer 1 when placed under the tiles. For example, the length L of the base 3 may be in a range of 3/4 to three (3) inches, and the width M of the base 3 may be in a range of 1/32 to three (3) inches. The height N of the base 3 should be equal to or less than a desired thickness of the base grout under the tiles and may be in a range of 1/32 to one (1) inch. It is not preferable to use a tile spacer with a base having a thickness that is thicker than the desired thickness of the base grout since it would result in unwanted air at the contact between the tile and the base grout. The openings 4 are formed to allow the base grout to enter when placed between the tile and the base grout so that the position of the tile spacer 1 when the base grout dries. The openings 4 may extend entirely or partially through the base 3, to allow the base grout to seep in and fill the openings 4. The shape of the openings 4 may be circular, square, rectangular or the like. The number of the openings 4 on each side of the base 3 may be two but can be more than two or less than two. The openings may not be needed depending on application.

The beveled edges 5 are formed on the base 3 to allow easy insertion of the tile spacer 1 in case one of the tiles has been placed on the base grout before placing the tile spacer 1 The beveled edge 5 may be provided at only one side of the base 3. The angle of the beveled edge 5 may be less than sixty (60) degrees but more preferably less than forty-five (45) degrees. The surface of the beveled edge 5 may be smooth or have roughness, patterns or steps. The surface 6 of the beveled edge 5 may be flat or curved laterally and/or longitudinally. The end 7 of the beveled edge 5 may be square to or diagonal relative to the extension direction of the base 3. Alternatively, the end may be a pointed end or have a zig-zag edge. In addition, the surface of the beveled edge 5 may face up or down. Depending on use, the beveled edge 5 may not be required.

The tile spacer 1 may be made of a hard material, such as stainless steel or aluminum, or a flexible material, such as plastic and rubber. The head 2 and the base 3 of the tile spacer 1 may be integrally formed by molding when the tile spacer 1 is made of plastic or casted when it is made of stainless steel or aluminum, for example. Alternatively, the head 2 and the base 3 may be formed separately and attached to each other by adhesive or welding or fastened to each other by a screw or the like. The tile spacer 1 according to the present application can be used on generally level or flat, smooth surfaces, such as floors, walls and countertops, but can be used on uneven surfaces. However, if a floor or other surface is uneven or is not level, multiple tile spacers with different base heights may be used to adjust evenness of the floor or other surface. Alternatively, when the adjacent tiles have different thicknesses, each side of the tile spacer may have a base height that is different from the base height of the other side of the tile spacer to compensate the difference in thicknesses.

To use the tile spacer 1 according to the present application, first, the base grout is applied to areas of floor or wall surfaces on which tiles are to be laid out in a predetermined pattern. Then, the tile spacer 1 is placed along a filling grout line space on the base grout, which is formed between areas of the base grout for placing each tile. Two or more tiles spacers 1 may be used along a side of a tile. At this time, the tile spacer 1 is placed so that the head 2 of each tile spacer 1 is located in the filling grout line space, and the beveled edges 5 extend to the area of the base grout for placing the tiles. During the tile setting process, a tile is pressed firmly on one side of the base 3 of the tile spacer 1 as shown in Fig. 3.

Instead of placing the tile spacer 1 on the base grout first, a tile may be placed and pressed firmly on the base grout, and one side of the base 3 of the tile spacers 1 may be inserted between the tile and the base grout.

Then, a contiguous tile is placed on the other side of the base 3 of the tile spacers 1, creating a level height, therefore preventing lippage. At this time, by pressing edges of the tiles against the side surface of the head 2 of the tile spacer 1, the grout line space is created as shown in Fig. 4. Fig. 4 shows two tile spacers 1 are in place between sides of two tiles. Because the base 3 of each tile spacer 1 has a predetermined thickness, the tile spacers 1 can create a level height, therefore preventing lippage of the tiles.

After the tiles are positioned and aligned, a sufficient amount of filling grout can be applied along the grout line space and over the head 2 of the tile spacer 1 to fill the grout line space and hide the tile spacer 1 because the height of the head 2 of the tile spacer 1 is less than the thickness of the tiles. Because the tile spacers 1 need not be removed, time for removing the tile spacers can be saved. Also, potential damages to the tiles may be avoided.

No tools are needed to use the tile spacer according to the present application thus requiring minimal manipulation of the tile after placing it. A highly skilled installer is therefore also not needed. A cylindrical shaped head of the tile spacer according to the present application provides an advantage to ensure that the grout space is the same size no matter which way your spacer is aligned under the tile. Therefore, if the tile spacer is placed somewhat twisted under the tile, the grout line will still be straight and even because a cylindrical pillar creates the same space regardless of the way it is turned as shown in Fig. 4. As discussed above, other shapes of the head 2 may be used. The tile spacer 1 is then grouted over without visibility of the grout space and without affecting the durability of the tile. Two tile spacers 1, for example, may be needed for each side of tile connecting to each adjacent tile. This one step system allows for same day walk on and can also be used when tiling walls. On walls (vertical areas) tiles are instantly held in place without sliding down the wall because the tile spacers are in place to prevent the grout space from being narrowed due to the weight of the tiles. The unique two-in-one leveling and spacing feature of this design speeds up the entire tiling process. Unlike the conventional tile spacers, the tile spacer 1 according to the present application may have a single piece and involve only one step to level and space tiles without removal or separate leveling process. The leave-in and one-piece feature eliminates the time spent going back and removing stems or other pieces that exist on top of tiles before the conventional grouting process. The filling grout is placed over the tile spacer, which is not removed but instead stays in place invisibly under the tile and grout. Tiles are leveled without having to manipulate them with multiple leveling pieces and tools. Therefore, less time, expense, and skill are required.

The second embodiment of the tile spacer according to the present application is shown in Fig. 5. Similar to the first embodiment, the tile spacer 10 according to the second embodiment includes a head 20 and a circular base 30. The third embodiment of the tile spacer according to the present application is shown in Fig. 6. The tile spacer 10’ according to the third embodiment includes a head 20’ and a square base 30’. Unlike the first embodiment, the tile spacer 10, 10’ according to the second and third embodiments may be used at corners of four tiles on straight or diagonal layout pattern.

In the embodiments shown in Figs. 5 and 6, the head 20, 20’ is positioned at the center of the base 30, 30’ and has a shape, such as“X”,“T”,“Y” and the like. The“X” shape may be used for a connection point for four tiles as shown in Fig. 7. The“T” shape may be used when tiles are staggered or have a brick pattern. The“Y” shape may be used when one tile is rotated by 45 degrees relative to two other tiles. Alternatively, the head 20, 20’ may have a shape of cylinder, rectangular pillar similar to the first embodiment. Like the first embodiment, the height A’ of the head 20, 20’ should be less than the thickness of tiles. The width B’ of each arm 21, 21’ of the head 20, 20’ corresponds to the desired distance between the adjacent tiles. The length C’ of each arm 21, 2 G should be sufficiently long enough to secure the corners of tiles. For example, the length C’ may be in a range of 3/4 to three (3) inches.

The top and sides of the head 20, 20’ may be smooth or have roughness or patterns. In addition, the top of the head 20, 20’ may be formed with one or more openings extending entirely or partially through the head 20, 20’ and the base 30, 30’, to allow the base grout and the filling grout to seep in and fill the opening. Alternatively, the top of the head 20, 20’ may be formed with a groove that partially extends through the head 20, 20’.

The base 30, 30’ is formed in a thin plate shape as being placed between the tile and the base grout when the tile is placed. As discussed above, the base 30, 30’ may have a circular shape, a square shape, and the like. A top and bottom surfaces of the base 3 may be smooth or have roughness or patterns. The position of the head 20, 20’ on the base 30, 30’ may be at the center of the base 30, 30’ or varied as desired. For example, the head 20, 20’ may be placed at one side or a corner if the base 30, 30’ is larger. The base 30, 30’ includes a predetermined number of openings 40, 40’ and beveled edges 50, 50’. The openings 40, 40’ may be formed between the arms 21, 2G. The length L’ and the width M’ of each side of the base 30, 30’ may be determined depending on the desired stability of the tile spacer 10, 10’ when placed under the tiles. For example, the length L’ of the base 30, 30’ may be in a range of 3/4 to three (3) inches, and the width M’ of the base 30, 30’ may be in a range of 3/4 to three (3) inches. The height N’ of the base 30, 30’ should be equal to or less than a desired thickness of the base grout under the tiles and may be in a range of 1/32 to one (1) inch. The openings 40, 40’ may extend entirely or partially through the base 30, 30’, to allow the base grout to dry to seep in and fill the openings 40, 40’ . The shape of the openings 40, 40’ may be circular, square, rectangular or the like. Like the first embodiment, the beveled edge 50, 50’ are formed on the base 30, 30’. The angle of the beveled edge 50, 50’ may be less than sixty (60 degrees but more preferably less than forty-five (45) degrees. The surface 6 of the beveled edge 5 may be flat or curved laterally and/or longitudinally. The end 70, 70’ of the beveled edge 50, 50’ may correspond to the contour of the shape of the base 30, 30’ or may have other shapes, such as a zig-zag pattern or a wavy pattern. Depending on use, the beveled edge 50, 50’ may not be required. The surface of the beveled edge 50, 50’ may be smooth or have roughness, patterns or steps.

The tile spacer according to the present application can be used with various shapes or sizes of different tiles or materials. The tile spacer can be made in different sizes as needed, such as for different heights or levels where more base grout is required for larger format tiles and/or brick, stone, flagstone, marble, and slab. In addition to that, the tile spacer according to the present application may have the head in different sizes for different grout spacing sizes. Each different size of the tile spacer according to the present application may optionally be distinctly color coded. Other sizes for grout spacing and base heights are available for advanced applications. The tile spacer according to the present application also comes with flat pieces without the head available in the same heights for corner/edge pieces of tile or tiles that do not utilize a grout line, such as marble and natural stones. For example, as shown in Figs. 7 and 8, the base of the tile spacer may be similar to those of the tile spacers shown in Figs. 5 and 6. However, the tile spacers shown in Figs. 7 and 8 do not include any head that projects from the top surface of the base. Therefore, the top surface of the base of these embodiments are configured to fully contact the bottom surface of the tiles. Additional openings similar to those found in other embodiments may be provided on the base. The tile spacer according to the present application include a base inserted under the two or more adjacent pieces of tile, with the head projecting upward from the base to provide spacing between tiles or other materials and to remain in place and be grouted over. As previously noted, the shape of the head could be an“X” that sits in the comer of four connecting tiles, a“T” for a staggered or brick pattern where it would be touching three, four, or more tiles, or a“Y” that sits between two tiles and one rotated tile, for example. The height of the head would always be below the top of pieces of tile or other materials, so that the tile spacer remains unseen in place and then covered with the filling grout.

In addition, any height, length and width of the head or the base may be changed as needed in various usages. For example, the height of the head can be increased when the tile spacer is made for use with thicker tiles or bricks.

Although particular embodiments of the invention have been described in detail for purposes of illustration, various modifications and enhancements may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be limited except as by the appended claims.