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United States Patent Application 20050246983
Kind Code A1
Loyd, Stephen N. November 10, 2005

Curtain wall system and method

Abstract

A curtain wall system and method facilitates the installation of exterior and interior curtain walls. Brackets are mounted at equally spaced vertical intervals receive and secure curtain wall members installed from the top of the wall down. A kerf formed in the lower end of each wall member is received on a receiving and retaining member located at the distal end of the supporting member of each bracket. A kerf formed in the upper end of the wall member receives a locating and retaining member having a latch secured thereto. The wall member and the latch are then rotated towards the bracket until the latch engages with a locking member of the bracket, thereby securing the wall member in place.


Inventors: Loyd, Stephen N.; (Dallas, TX)
Correspondence Address:
    Michael A. O'Neil
    Michael A. O'Neil, P.C.
    Suite 820
    5949 Sherry Lane
    Dallas
    TX
    75225
    US
Serial No.: 074086
Series Code: 11
Filed: March 7, 2005

Current U.S. Class: 52/235
Class at Publication: 052/235
International Class: E04H 001/00


Claims



1. A curtain wall system for mounting wall members having kerfs formed in the lower and upper ends thereof to interior and exterior walls of buildings comprising: a bracket for receiving and securing the lower end of an upper wall member; the bracket comprising a supporting member, a receiving and retaining member located at the distal end of the supporting member for receiving the kerf formed in the lower end of the upper wall member, and a locking member below the supporting member; a latching member for securing the upper end of a lower wall member into the locking member of the bracket; the latching member comprising a horizontally disposed portion which extends parallel to the supporting member, a latch on the distal end of the latching member for latching engagement with the locking member of the bracket, a locating and retaining member at the proximal end of the latching member which is received by the kerf formed in the upper end of the lower wall member, and knobs formed on the horizontally disposed portion for maintaining proper alignment between the horizontally disposed portion and the supporting member.

2. The curtain wall system according to claim 1 wherein the bracket further comprises a stop located below the support member for preventing further inward movement of the lower wall member by engaging the distal end of the latch.

3. The curtain wall system according to claim 1 further comprising foam tape secured beneath the proximal end of the horizontally disposed member which compresses to allow the latching member to rotate into the locking member and then decompresses to secure the latching member against the support member.

4. The curtain wall system according to claim 1 further comprising joint sealant applied between the upper and lower wall members.

5. The curtain wall system according to claim 1 further comprising a top bracket for receiving the uppermost wall member, the top bracket comprising a supporting member, a locking member below the supporting member, and a stop.

6. The curtain wall system according to claim 1 further comprising a bottom bracket for receiving the lowermost wall member, the bottom bracket comprising a supporting member and a receiving and retaining member located at the distal end of the supporting member.

7. A method for installing curtain wall members to interior and exterior walls of buildings comprising the steps of: providing a plurality of brackets each comprising a supporting member, a receiving and retaining member located at the distal end of the supporting member, a locking member below the supporting member, and a stop; mounting the brackets on the wall at equally spaced vertical intervals which are substantially equal in height to the height of the wall members; cutting kerfs into both the upper and lower ends of wall members; receiving the kerfs in the lower end of an upper wall member on the receiving and retaining member of the supporting member; providing a plurality of latching members comprising a horizontally disposed portion which extends parallel to the supporting member, a latch on the distal end of the latching member, a locating and retaining member at the proximal end of the latching member, and knobs formed on the horizontally disposed portion; providing foam tape; securing the foam tape beneath the proximal end of the horizontally disposed member; inserting the locating and retaining member at the proximal end of the latching member receiving into the kerf in the upper end of a lower wall member; and rotating the latching member into the bracket by moving the latch past the locking member until it engages with the stop.

8. The method of installing curtain wall members of claim 7 further comprising the steps of: providing joint sealant; applying the joint sealant in the kerf in the lower end of the upper wall member before the kerf is received into the receiving and retaining member of the supporting member; applying the joint sealant into the kerf in upper end of the lower wall member before the kerf receives the locating and retaining member at the proximal end of the latching member; and applying joint sealant between the upper and lower wall member.

9. The method of installing curtain wall members of claim 7 further comprising the steps of: providing a top bracket comprising a supporting member, a locking member below the supporting member, and a stop; receiving the uppermost wall member and latching member into the locking member of the top bracket.

10. The method of installing curtain wall members of claim 7 further comprising the steps of: providing a bottom bracket comprising a supporting member and a receiving and retaining member located at the distal end of the supporting member; and receiving the kerf in the lower end of the lowermost wall member on the receiving and retaining member of the supporting member.
Description



CLAIM OF PRIORITY

[0001] This application claims priority of prior provisional Application Ser. No. 60/565,445 filed Apr. 26, 2004.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] This invention relates generally to curtain walls and methods of installing the same, and more particularly to an improved system for facilitating the installation of curtain walls formed from limestone and similar materials.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0003] U.S. Pat. No. 5,473,851 discloses a method of installing curtain walls formed from limestone and similar materials on exterior and interior building walls. The present invention comprises a curtain wall installation system and method which improves upon the curtain wall system of the '851 patent and other prior art curtain wall systems and methods.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] A more complete understanding of the present invention may be had by reference to the following Detailed Description when taken in connection with the accompanying Drawings, wherein:

[0005] FIG. 1 is an environmental view illustrating a curtain wall system installed in accordance with the method of the present invention;

[0006] FIG. 2 is an illustration of a curtain wall constructed in accordance with the present invention; and

[0007] FIG. 3 is an illustration of the curtain wall installation method of the present invention.

[0008] FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating an initial step in the utilization of the curtain wall installation method of the present invention;

[0009] FIG. 5 is a perspective view illustrating a later step in the utilization of the curtain wall installation method of the present invention;

[0010] FIG. 6 is a perspective view illustrating a somewhat later step in the utilization of the curtain wall installation method of the present invention;

[0011] FIG. 7 is a perspective view illustrating a still later step in the utilization of the curtain wall installation method of the present invention; and

[0012] FIG. 8 is a perspective view illustrating an even later step in the utilization of the curtain wall installation method of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0013] Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a curtain wall 10 constructed in accordance with the present invention. The curtain wall 10 is supported on a wall 12 which may be comprised of one or more layers of plywood 14. Other construction techniques may be utilized in the fabrication of the wall 12 depending upon the requirements of particular applications of the invention. The wall 12 may comprise an exterior wall of a building or other structure. In such instances the wall 12 is preferably provided with a weather proof exterior layer 16 which is fabricated in accordance with conventional techniques.

[0014] In accordance with the present invention a plurality of brackets 18 are secured to the wall 12 by suitable fasteners 20. The brackets 18 may be fabricated from aluminum, however, other materials may be utilized in the fabrication of the brackets 18 depending upon the requirements of particular applications of the invention. A plurality of brackets 18 may be positioned adjacent to one another to define a curtain wall support structure which extends substantially the entire width of the wall 12. Alternatively, brackets 18 may be positioned at spaced apart locations along the width of the wall 12.

[0015] Each bracket 18 includes a curtain wall supporting member 22 which extends perpendicularly outwardly from the wall 12. A curtain wall receiving and retaining member 24 is located at the distal end of the curtain wall support member 22 and extends perpendicularly upwardly therefrom. The bracket 18 is further provided with a locking member 26 and a stop 28.

[0016] A plurality of curtain wall members 30 are formed from limestone or similar materials. For example, the curtain wall members may be formed from granite, marble, terrazzo, etc. Each curtain wall member 30 has a kerf 32 formed in the lower end thereof and a kerf 34 formed in the upper end thereof.

[0017] Following installation, each curtain wall member 30 is supported by the supporting member 22 of the associated bracket 18 which is in turn secured to the wall 12 by the fasteners 20. The receiving and retaining member 24 of the bracket 18 is received in the kerf 32 of the curtain wall member 30 which is supported on the bracket 18. In this manner the wall member 30 is located and positioned relative to the wall 12 by the bracket 18.

[0018] In accordance with the present invention a latching member 36 is utilized in conjunction with the bracket 18. The latching member 36 includes a horizontally disposed portion 38 which extends parallel to the supporting member 22 of the bracket 18. Knobs 40 formed on the horizontally disposed portion 38 maintain proper alignment between the horizontally disposed portion 38 and the supporting member 22.

[0019] The horizontally disposed portion 38 of the latching member 36 extends to an arrow-shaped latch 42 positioned for latching engagement with the locking member 26 of the bracket 18. The distal end of the latch 42 is positioned closely adjacent to and in alignment with the stop 28 of the bracket 18. A locating and retaining member 44 is located at the opposite end of the horizontally disposed portion 38 of the latching member 36 and extends perpendicularly with respect thereto. The locating and retaining member 44 is received in the kerf 34 situated at the upper end of the corresponding curtain wall member 30. Once two adjoining wall members 30 are secured in place, joint sealant 46 is applied between the wall members 30 to provide additional strength and stability to the wall members and to provide a cushion allowing some movement by the wall members 30 due to foundation settlement, earthquakes, hurricanes and the like.

[0020] The method of curtain wall installation of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 3. An upper curtain wall member 30 is first supported on a bracket 18 constructed in accordance with the present invention with the receiving and retaining member 24 received in the kerf 32 thereof and with the upper curtain wall member supported on the curtain wall supporting member 22. The latching member 36 is engaged with a lower curtain wall member 30 by positioning the locating and retaining member 44 thereof in the kerf 34 of the lower curtain wall member 30. The lower wall member 30 is then pivoted inwardly toward the bracket 18 in the direction of the arrow. As the lower curtain wall member 30 moves into position, the arrow-shaped latch 42 of the latching member 36 moves past the locking member 26 of the bracket 18 thereby securing the lower curtain wall member 30 in place. Further inward movement of the lower curtain wall member 30 is prevented by engagement of the distal end of the latch 32 with the stop 28 of the bracket 18.

[0021] Foam tape 48 secured beneath the proximal end of the horizontally disposed member 38 compresses to allow the latching member 36 and the arrow-shaped latch 42 to rotate into the locking member 26 of the bracket 18. Once the latching member 36 is locked in place in the locking member 26, the foam tape 48 decompresses thereby holding the latching member 36 snugly against the support member 22 until the joint sealant 48 sets to permanently hold the latching member 36 in place.

[0022] FIG. 4 illustrates the preliminary step of the curtain wall installation method of the present invention. Brackets 18 are secured to the wall 12 by suitable fasteners at spaced intervals substantially equal to the height of each wall member 30. At the base of the wall, a bottom bracket 50 is mounted to receive the a lower-most wall member 30 to be mounted on the wall 12. The bottom bracket 50 is substantially similar in construction to the bracket 18 but comprises only a support member 22 and a receiving and retaining member 24 on the distal end thereof. A top bracket 52 is mounted to receive the uppermost wall member 30 to be mounted on the wall 12. The top bracket is similar in construction to the bracket 18 but comprises only a support member 22, a stop 28, and a locking member 26.

[0023] Referring now to FIGS. 5 through 7, there is shown the next steps in the curtain wall installation method of the present invention preparing the wall member 30 for mounting. As best shown in FIG. 5, the kerfs 32 are 34 are formed in the lower and upper ends of the wall member 30. A silicon sealant 54 is applied into the kerfs 32 and 34 as shown in FIG. 6. As best shown in FIG. 7, once the sealant 54 is applied, foam tape 48 is secured below the distal end of the horizontally disposed portion 38 of the latching member 36 after which the locating and retaining member 44 is inserted into the kerf 32 in the upper end of the wall member 30.

[0024] Referring now to FIG. 8, the wall members 30 are installed beginning at the top of the wall 12 and proceeding downward therefrom. Once the wall member 30 is prepared, the kerf 34 in the lower end of a wall member 30 is received in the receiving and retaining member 24 of the support member 22 located near the lower end of the wall member 30. The wall member 30 is then pivoted inwardly toward the bracket 18 in the direction of the arrow. As the lower curtain wall member 30 moves into position, the arrow-shaped latch 42 of the latching member 36 moves past the locking member 26 of the bracket 18 thereby securing the lower curtain wall member 30 in place. Once the curtain wall members 30 are in place the silicon sealant 46 is placed between the wall members 30.

[0025] The present invention is illustrated in conjunction with the construction of curtain walls wherein the wall members 30 are formed of limestone, stone, and other like materials. However, the present invention is equally applicable to constructing walls comprising tile, porcelain, wood and various other materials used for wall curtains both on interior and exterior walls.

[0026] Although preferred embodiments of the invention have been illustrated in the accompanying Drawings and described in the foregoing Detailed Description, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiments disclosed, but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications, and substitutions of parts and elements without departing from the spirit of the invention.

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