Groin vault ceiling kit — Arch-Rite, Inc.

Groin vault ceiling kit - Arch-Rite, Inc.

STETINA BRUNDA GARRED & BRUCKER (75 ENTERPRISE, SUITE 250, ALISO VIEJO, CA, 92656, US)

Claims:

What is claimed is:

1. A groin vault ceiling kit, comprising: a set of four wedge-shaped ceiling segments each having a pair of converging diagonal edges oriented at a 45 degree angle relative to a back edge, the ceiling segments each having an arch-shaped cross section.

2. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein each of the ceiling segments is comprised of a tip portion and a main portion.

3. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein the ceiling segments are configured to intersect in orthogonal relation to one another such that the diagonal edges of adjacent ones of the ceiling segments are disposed in abutting contact with one another.

4. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 further including: a connecting member wherein: each of the arch-shaped ceiling segments has opposing convex and concave surfaces; the connecting member being disposed along the convex surfaces of the tip and main portions.

5. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein the connecting member is fabricated of wood and is mechanically securable to the concave surface.

6. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein the main portion of the arch segments has a semi-circular cross-sectional shape.

7. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein each of the tip and main portions is fabricated from a plurality of laminated members.

8. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 adapted for installation in a building structure having wall studs and ceiling joists wherein the ceiling segment is configured to be secured thereto.

9. A method of fabricating a ceiling segment for a groin vault ceiling kit, the method comprising the steps of: (a) providing an arch segment having forward and back edges; (b) trimming the arch segment to form a pair of intersecting diagonal edges diverging at a 90 degree angle relative to one another toward a back edge such that the arch segment assumes a wedge shape.

10. The method of claim 8 wherein the method further comprises the step of forming the arch segment from a plurality of laminated members.

11. The method of claim 8 wherein the arch segment has a semi-circular cross-sectional shape.

12. The method of claim 8 wherein step (a) comprises disposing a pair of arch segments in axial alignment with one another such that the back edge of one of the arch segments is disposed in abutting contact with a front edge of the remaining one of the arch segments.

13. A method of fabricating a groin vault ceiling kit, the method comprising the steps of: (a) providing an arch segment having a semi-circular cross-sectional shape; (b) trimming the arch segment to form two diagonal edges diverging at a 90 degree angle relative to one another toward a back edge such that arch segment assumes a wedge shape; and repeating steps (a) and (b) to form four of the wedge-shaped arch segments.

14. The method of claim 11 wherein the method further comprises the step of forming the arch segment from a plurality of laminated members.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

(Not Applicable)

STATEMENT RE: FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT

(Not Applicable)

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates generally to building construction and, more particularly, to a uniquely configured groin vault ceiling kit that is constructed of a set of arch-shaped ceiling segments that are pre-manufactured off-site and which may then be shipped to a job site and interconnected to a building structure such as a home.

In building construction and, more particularly, in home construction, the installation of an arched ceiling such as a vaulted ceiling adds to the aesthetic appeal of the interior. More particularly, for certain homes, builders realize that a vaulted ceiling is generally a good investment in that vaulted ceilings add character to the interior design of the home. For example, vaulted ceilings expand the space of the home interior to create volume in the rooms and hallways within which the vaulted ceiling is installed. Vaulted ceilings also add to the sophistication of the interior design and thereby increase the home’s resale value compared to homes having conventional, planar or flat ceilings.

Unfortunately, the costs associated with constructing a vaulted ceiling are generally greater than the costs associated with constructing a simpler flat ceiling. The increased expense is due in large part to the increase in time required to forming the curved portions of the vaulted ceiling. In addition, the installation of a vaulted ceiling generally requires a higher degree of skill that that which is required for installing conventional ceilings. In this regard, the level of skill required for installing a vaulted ceiling may be compared to the high level of skill required in cabinet making.

The increased costs associated with vaulted ceilings is also due in part to the time-consuming manner in which such vaulted ceilings are traditionally constructed. For example, traditional methods of vaulted ceiling construction include trial-and-error cutting and fitting of ceiling framing that tie the vaulted ceiling into the surrounding building structure such as wall studs and ceiling joists. Furthermore, prior art methods for construction of vaulted ceilings typically require construction of the entire vaulted ceiling at the job site wherein the vaulted ceiling is built into the structure piece by piece.

Traditional construction methods may entail cutting and fitting of specially-formed ribs or frame members which are interconnected to existing structural members of the building. Flexible panels may then be mounted to the curved frame members to form the arch-shaped surface that defines the vaulted ceiling. Typically, such flexible panels are generally thin and are therefore lacking in strength which presents problems in securing other fixtures such as lighting fixtures to the vaulted ceiling. Furthermore, the curved flexible panels must be carefully fit to size on a trial-and-error basis to prevent the formation of gaps in the vaulted ceiling and to prevent gaps at locations where the vaulted ceiling ties into other frames of the building.

As may be appreciated, conventional methods for constructing vaulted ceilings are extremely time-consuming and are highly dependent upon the availability of skilled labor and specialized tooling to produce a finished ceiling that has the desired aesthetic appeal. Local and national building codes further impact the degree of skill and amount of time required to construct a vaulted ceiling with the necessary structural integrity.

In addition, the installation of vaulted ceilings such as in a hallway presents even more complex problems at locations where hallways intersect with a room or an adjacent hallway having vaulted ceilings. The intersection of a pair of barrel vaults or vaulted ceilings at right angles is typically referred to as a groin vault due to the formation of four diagonal edges along which the barrel vaults intersect one another. However, like vaulted ceilings, the construction of a groin vault is extremely time consuming and costly due to the complexity of the structure created by the intersection of multiple compound-curved surfaces. In addition, the construction of a groin vault requires a relatively high degree of precision to interconnect the groin vault to the existing frame members of the building structure.

As can be seen, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault ceiling that can be manufactured to precise tolerances such as by using specialized tooling in climate-controlled conditions such as at a pre-manufacturing facility. Additionally, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault ceiling that may be pre-manufactured in modular form at a pre-manufacture facility and shipped as individual components to a job site.

Also, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault ceiling that can be initially designed to be compatible with the known layout of a building structure using computer-aided-design (CAD) techniques so as to avoid costly errors during final installation of the groin vault ceiling. Furthermore, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault that can be constructed to conform with various building codes. Finally, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault ceiling that can be constructed at low cost and which can be easily installed in a drastically reduced amount of time compared to the time involved using conventional construction techniques.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The present invention specifically addresses the above referenced needs associated with groin vaults of the prior art. More specifically, the present invention is a uniquely configured groin vault ceiling kit that may be pre-manufactured or pre-fabricated at an off-site location such as a climate-controlled factory and which may be later assembled and installed at a job site into a building structure. The groin vault may be required in buildings such as homes having halls and/or rooms with vaulted ceilings (e.g. barrel vaults) that intersect at right angles. Advantageously, the groin vault ceiling kit of the present invention may be pre-fabricated using unskilled labor in order to reduce construction costs.

In its broadest sense, the groin vault ceiling kit comprises a set of four arch-shaped ceiling segments. Each of the ceiling segments has a pair of diagonal edges which diverge from an apex outwardly at a 45 degree angle and extend to a back edge of the ceiling segment. In this regard, each of the ceiling segments is formed in a wedge shape such that the ceiling segments may be configured to intersect one another in orthogonal relation. When joined, the diagonal edges of adjacent ones of the ceiling segments are disposed in abutting contact with one another. The set of four ceiling segments are thus comprised of two pairs of opposing ceiling segments which contact one another at the respected apexes and along the diagonal edges thereof

Alternatively, each of the ceiling segments may be fabricated of a combination of an arch-shaped tip portion and an arch-shaped main portion. The tip portion is axially alignable with and is disposable in abutment against the arch-shaped main portion. Each of the tip and main portions may initially be fabricated from an arch segment formed as a semi-circular element from a plurality of laminated members. The tip and main portions may be interconnected to one another using a connecting member or other suitable means.

For example, each of the tip and main portions have outer concave surfaces along which the connecting member is preferably disposed to connect the tip and main portions. The connecting member may be fabricated of wood or any other suitable material or combination of materials. Mechanical fasteners and/or adhesive or any other suitable connection means may be utilized to connect the tip and main portions.

The ceiling segments may be fabricated by initially providing at least one semi-circularly shaped arch segment having forward and back edges. The arch segment may be trimmed along the diverging diagonal edges which are disposed at a 90 degree angle relative to one another and which extend from the front edge toward the back edge of the ceiling segment such that the ceiling segment assumes the wedge shape.

In forming the ceiling segments from separate tip and main portions, the method of the present invention further includes providing a pair of the arch segments which preferably have generally matching radii of curvature. The arch segments are disposed in axial alignment with one another such that the back edge of one of the arch segments is disposed in abutting contact with a front edge of the remaining arch segment.

The arch segments are then trimmed to form the diagonal edges which diverge from the apex toward the back edge. Once the diagonal edges are trimmed to create the tip portion and main portion, a connecting member may be used to interconnect the tip and main portions such as with the aid of mechanical fasteners, adhesive or any combination thereof.

Following prefabrication of the ceiling segment, a set of four similarly-configured ceiling segments may then be shipped to a job site such as a home construction site for installation. Each of the ceiling segments may be interconnected to appropriate structural members such as to wall studs and/or ceiling joists of the building. The ceiling segments are preferably sized and configured during pre-manufacturing to match the existing dimensions of the building.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the various embodiments disclosed herein will be better understood with respect to the following description and drawings in which like numbers refer to like parts throughout and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a groin vault comprised of a set of four ceiling segments;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the groin vault illustrating the ceiling segments oriented at right angles relative to one another;

FIG. 3 is a partial perspective view of the groin vault taken along line 3 of FIG. 1 and illustrating the inner section of the groin vault at respective apexes thereof;

FIG. 4 is a partial exploded perspective view of the groin vault illustrating the interconnection the ceiling segments;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a set of four of the ceiling segments in a disassembled state such as may be provided prior to shipment;

FIG. 6 is a perspective side view of one of the ceiling segments comprised of a tip portion connected to a main portion;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the tip portion joined to the main portion and illustrating a diagonal edge formed along one side thereof; and

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the ceiling segment constructed as a unitary structure and illustrating one of the diagonal edges along which the ceiling segment is trimmed in its final configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings wherein the showings are for purposes of illustrating the present invention and not for purposes of limiting the same, shown in the figures is a groin vault ceiling kit 10 which is constructed of pre-manufactured ceiling segments 12. The ceiling segments 12 may be fabricated using specialized tooling and precise tolerances in a climate-controlled environment such as in a pre-manufacturing facility. The ceiling segments 12 are preferably arch-shaped such that a set of four of the ceiling segments 12 may be constructed at the pre-manufacturing facility and shipped to a job site wherein the ceiling segments 12 may be joined to one another and ultimately interconnected to the building structure such as the wall studs and ceiling joists.

As can be seen in the figures, the groin vault ceiling kit 10 may comprise a set of four arch-shaped ceiling segments 12. Each of the ceiling segments 12 may have a pair of diagonal edges 20 converging from an apex 24 outwardly at a 45 degree angle relative to a back edge 16 of the ceiling segment 12. Each of the ceiling segments 12 may be formed from an arch segment 22 comprised of a plurality of laminated members formed in a circular shape in a manner similar to that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,955,168 issued to Barry (the “Barry reference”), the entire contents of which is expressly incorporated by reference herein.

Advantageously, by prefabricating the ceiling segments 12 from pre-manufactured arch segments 22. the shape and, more particularly, the radius of curvature of the ceiling segment 12 may be precisely controlled. Furthermore, the ceiling segment 12 fabricated from pre-manufactured arch segments 22 may provide enhanced structural load bearing capability to the vaulted ceiling due to the ability to tailor the thickness of the ceiling segment 12 by selecting the quantity of laminated members.

As can be seen in the figures, the ceiling segments 12 are configured to intersect in orthogonal relationship to one another (i.e. at right angles) such that diagonal edges 20 of adjacent ones of the ceiling segments 12 are disposed in abutting relationship with one another. In such an arrangement, the four orthogonally arranged ceiling segments 12 are comprised of two pairs of opposing ceiling segments 12. The ceiling segments 12 of each of the pairs are preferably coaxially aligned with one another. The back edge 16 of each of the ceiling segments 12 is preferably oriented perpendicular to an axis of the ceiling segment 12. However, the back edge 16 of each of the ceiling segments 12 may be formed in any shape and at any angle relative to the axis of the ceiling segment 12 .

Each of the ceiling segments 12 further has opposing convex and concave surfaces 32. 30. As may be appreciated, the concave surface 30 is exposed to an interior of the building structure when the groin vault ceiling kit 10 is installed. Preferably, the radius of curvature of the concave surface 30 is complimentary to the building structure into which the groin vault ceiling kit 10 is installed. Advantageously, the ability to pre-design the shape of the groin vault ceiling kit 10 using computerized design (e.g. CAD) techniques avoids mismatches between the ceiling segments 12 and the building structure to which the ceiling segment 12 is interconnected.

In order to achieve the desired radius of curvature of the ceiling segments 12. the arch segments 22 are preferably formed of a plurality of the laminated members which are layered over one another. As shown in the figures, the ceiling segment 12 may be comprised of anywhere from 2 to 6 or more laminated members which may each be formed of bonded particulate material. The particulate material itself may be fabricated of cellulose fiber, shredded paper, wooded particles, sawdust and various other materials and combinations thereof as disclosed in the Barry reference.

The particulate material is bonded together via a matrix resin to form the laminate material. Individual ones of the laminated members may consist of individual thin wooden members made of the particulate material which are formed around a curved jig. The laminated members may be bonded together in juxtaposition to one another so as to result in a unitary laminated structure having a pre-determined size, thickness and shape, or curvature.

Under sufficient temperature, pressure and other conditions, the desired arcuate or arch-shaped configuration may be compressed into the laminated members in order to result in an arch segment 22. A mold may be used to form the arch segment 22 into the desired radius of curvature. In this regard, the arch segment 22 may be formed at any radius of curvature and at any length other than that which is shown in the figures. Furthermore, the arch segment 22 may be formed in any suitable manner such as that which is disclosed in the Barry reference or using any other suitable means.

The arch segments 22 may comprise laminated members formed of material that is one quarter-inch thick in order to arrive at a total desired thickness of the arch segment 22. Any number of laminated members of any thickness may be layered together in order to form the arch segment 22 of a desired thickness. Each of the ceiling segments 12 thereby forms a partial arch-section that has sufficient strength and rigidity for interconnection to the building structure.

Optionally, as shown in FIGS. 1-7, each of the ceiling segments 12 may be formed of a triangularly-shaped tip portion 26 that is axially aligned with and disposable against a semi-cylindrically shaped main portion 28. The tip portion 26 and main portion 28 collectively the ceiling segment 12 when the tip portion 26 is connected to the main portion 28. Toward this end, the groin vault ceiling kit 10 may further include a connecting member 34 which may be disposed along the convex surfaces 32 of the tip and main portions 26. 28 .

The connecting member 34 is preferably mechanically and/or otherwise securable to the concave surface 30. In this regard, it is contemplated that once the tip portion 26 is aligned with the main portion 28 such that the diagonal edges 20 thereof are generally aligned, the connecting member 34 may be bonded to the tip and main portions 26. 28 via an appropriate adhesive in additional to or as an alternative to mechanically fastening the connecting member 34 to the tip and main portions 26. 28 .

Each of the tip portions 26 and main portions 28 is preferably fabricated from a plurality of laminated members (i.e. arch segments) similar to that which is described above for the unitarily-fabricated ceiling segment 12. In this regard, the tip portion 26 has an apex 24 at one end and a back edge 16 at an opposite end. The main portion 28 also has opposing front and back edges 18. 16. The back edge 16 of the tip portion 26 is preferably disposed in abutting contact with the front edge 18 of the main portion 28 such that substantially no gap exists between the front and back edges 18. 16 .

The combined tip and main portions 26. 28 preferably form the wedge-shape similar to the wedge-shape described above for the unitarily-formed ceiling segment 12. The connecting member 34 may be fabricated of wood or any other suitable material or combination thereof. Mechanical attachment of the connecting member 34 to the tip and main portions 26. 28 may be facilitated through the use of nails, screws and/or any other appropriate or suitable mechanical fastener 36 means.

Also disclosed herein is a method of fabricating a ceiling segment 12 such as may be used in the groin vault ceiling kit 10. The method comprises the steps of providing an arch segment 22 having forward and back edges 16 and which is fabricated from a plurality of laminated members similar to that described above. The method further comprises the step of trimming the arch segment 22 to form a pair of diagonal edges 20 extending outwardly at a 90 degree angle in divergence from an apex 24 of the ceiling segment 12 .

The diagonal edges 20 extend outwardly toward the back edge 16 such that the arch segment 22 assumes a general wedge shape. The step of providing the arch segment 22 may itself be comprised of providing a tip portion 26 and a main portion 28 and joining the tip and main portions 26. 28 at the respective ones of the back and forward edges 16. 18 such as via a connecting member 34 as was described above.

Each of the tip and main portions 26. 28 may initially be provided in a semi-circular shape. In this regard, the method of fabricating the groin vault ceiling kit 10 may further comprise the steps of trimming each of the arch segments 22 forming the tip and main portions 26. 28 in order to form the two diagonal edges 20 which diverge at a 90 degree angle from the apex 24 toward a back edge 16 such that the arch segment 22 assumes a wedge shape of the ceiling segment 12 .

A set of four ceiling segments 12 may be formed in this manner in order to construct a complete groin vault ceiling kit 10 as may be installed in a building structure. As was earlier mentioned, the ceiling segments 12 which comprise the tip and main portions 26. 28 may be fabricated off-site at a pre-manufacturing facility using specialized tooling in order to produce precisely-dimensioned ceiling segments 12 .

The above description is given by way of example, and not limitation. Given the above disclosure, one skilled in the art could devise variations that are within the scope and spirit of the invention disclosed herein, including various ways of interconnecting the tip portion 26 to the main portion 28. Further, the various features of the embodiments disclosed herein can be used alone, or in varying combinations with each other and are not intended to be limited to the specific combination described herein. Thus, the scope of the claims is not to be limited by the illustrated embodiments.

STETINA BRUNDA GARRED & BRUCKER (75 ENTERPRISE, SUITE 250, ALISO VIEJO, CA, 92656, US)

Claims:

What is claimed is:

1. A groin vault ceiling kit, comprising: a set of four ceiling segments configured to be oriented perpendicularly relative to one another, each one of the ceiling segments including: a plurality of arch-shaped rib members positionable in axially-spaced relation to one another and being sized and configured such that the ceiling segment defines a wedge shape.

2. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein each of the rib members of each of the ceiling segments is sized and configured to terminate adjacent a corresponding rib member of an adjacent ceiling segment.

3. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein the axially-spaced rib members of each ceiling segment are interconnectable to one another by at least one connecting member.

4. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein the axially-spaced rib members of each ceiling segment are interconnectable to one another by a plurality of radially-spaced connecting member.

5. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 3 wherein: each one of the ceiling segments includes an outermost rib member; at least one of the connecting members being sized and configured to extend between the outermost rib members of an opposing pair of ceiling segments.

6. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein each one of the ceiling segments is identically configured.

7. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein each one of the ceiling segments is comprised of two pairs of ceiling segments, the radius of curvature of one pair of ceiling segments being different than the radius of curvature of the remaining one of the pairs.

8. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein the rib members of each of the ceiling segments are of incrementally increasing arc length when positioned in axially-spaced relation to one another.

9. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein: each one of the rib members defines opposing rib ends; the rib members of each of the ceiling segments being equi-axially spaced such that the rib ends of adjacent ceiling segments terminate adjacent to one another.

10. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 9 wherein each one of the rib ends is beveled such that the rib members of adjacent ceiling segments are disposable in abutting contact with one another to form a plurality of mitre joints.

11. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 further including: at least one connecting member sized and configured to interconnect the axially-spaced rib members to one another; wherein: each of the rib members has opposing convex and concave surfaces; the connecting member being disposable along the convex surfaces.

12. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein: each of the ceiling segment defines a longitudinal axis; each one of the connecting members being configured to be aligned with the longitudinal axis.

13. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein each one of the ceiling segment is interconnectable by a plurality of radially-spaced connecting members.

14. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 wherein each one of the rib members is fabricated from a plurality of laminated members.

15. The groin vault ceiling kit of claim 1 adapted for installation in a building structure having structural members and wherein the rib members are configured to be secured to the structural members.

16. A method of fabricating a ceiling segment for a groin vault ceiling kit, the method comprising the steps of: providing a plurality of arch-shaped rib members each having an opposing pair of rib ends and defining an arc length; and trimming the rib members such that the arc lengths increase incrementally when the rib members are positioned in axially-spaced relationship with one another to form a wedge shaped ceiling segment.

17. The method of claim 16 further comprising the steps of: forming at least four of the wedge-shaped ceiling segments; and beveling each of the rib ends such that the rib members of adjacent ceiling segments are disposable in abutting contact with one another to form a plurality of mitre joints.

18. The method of claim 16 further comprising the step of forming each one of the rib members from a plurality of laminated members.

19. The method of claim 16 further comprising the step of forming the rib members in two different radii of curvature such that two pairs of ceiling segments of differing radii of curvature are formed.

20. The method of claim 16 wherein each one of the rib members has opposing convex and concave surfaces, the method further comprising the step of: providing a plurality of connecting members sized and configured to interconnect the rib members of at least one of the ceiling segments.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is related to pending U.S. application Ser. No. 11/519,690 entitled GROIN VAULT CEILING KIT filed on Sep. 11, 2006, the entire contents of which is expressly incorporated by reference herein.

STATEMENT RE: FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT

(Not Applicable)

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates generally to building construction and, more particularly, to a uniquely configured groin vault ceiling kit constructed of a set of arch-shaped ceiling segments that are pre-manufactured off-site and which may then be shipped to a job site and interconnected to a building structure such as a home. Each one of the arch-shaped ceiling segments may be fabricated as a single, contiguous arch-shaped member or as a plurality of arch-shaped rib members disposed in spaced relation to one another and interconnectable by a blocking member or connecting member.

In building construction and, more particularly, in home construction, the installation of an arched, ceiling such as a vaulted ceiling adds to the aesthetic appeal of the interior. More particularly, for certain homes, builders realize that a vaulted ceiling is generally a good investment in that vaulted ceilings add character to the interior design of the home. For example, vaulted ceilings expand the space of the home interior to create volume in the rooms and hallways within which the vaulted ceiling is installed. Vaulted ceilings also add to the sophistication of the interior design and thereby increase the home’s resale value compared to homes having conventional, planar or flat ceilings.

Unfortunately, the costs associated with constructing a vaulted ceiling are generally greater than the costs associated with constructing a simple flat ceiling. The increased expense is due in large part to the increase in time and materials required to form the curved portions of the vaulted ceiling. In addition, the installation of a vaulted ceiling generally requires a higher degree of skill than that which is required for installing conventional ceilings. In this regard, the level of skill required for installing a vaulted ceiling may be compared to the high level of skill required in cabinet making.

The increased costs associated with vaulted ceilings is due in part to the time-consuming manner in which such vaulted ceilings are traditionally constructed. For example, traditional methods of vaulted ceiling construction include trial-and-error cutting and fitting of ceiling framing that tie the vaulted ceiling into the surrounding building structure such as wall studs and ceiling joists. Furthermore, prior art methods for construction of vaulted ceilings typically require construction of the entire vaulted ceiling at the job site wherein the vaulted ceiling is built into the structure piece by piece.

Traditional construction methods may entail cutting and fitting of specially-formed ribs or frame members which are interconnected to existing structural members of the building. Flexible panels may then be mounted to the curved frame members to form the arch-shaped surface that defines the vaulted ceiling. Typically, such flexible panels are generally thin and are therefore lacking in strength which presents problems in securing other fixtures such as lighting fixtures to the vaulted ceiling. Furthermore, the curved flexible panels must be carefully fit to size on a trial-and-error basis to prevent the formation of gaps in the vaulted ceiling and to prevent gaps at locations where the vaulted ceiling ties into other frames of the building.

As may be appreciated, conventional methods for constructing vaulted ceilings are extremely time-consuming and are highly dependent upon the availability of skilled labor and specialized tooling to produce a finished ceiling that has the desired aesthetic appeal. Local and national building codes further impact the degree of skill and amount of time required to construct a vaulted ceiling with the necessary structural integrity.

In addition, the installation of vaulted ceilings such as in a hallway presents even more complex problems at locations where hallways intersect with a room or an adjacent hallway having vaulted ceilings. The intersection of a pair of barrel vaults or vaulted ceilings at right angles is typically referred to as a groin vault due to the formation of four diagonal edges along which the barrel vaults intersect one another. However, like vaulted ceilings, the construction of a groin vault is extremely time consuming and costly due to the complexity of the structure created by the intersection of multiple compound-curved surfaces. In addition, the construction of a groin vault requires a relatively high degree of precision to interconnect the groin vault to the existing frame members of the building structure.

As can be seen, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault ceiling that can be manufactured to precise tolerances such as by using specialized tooling in climate-controlled conditions such as at a pre-manufacturing facility. Additionally, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault ceiling that may be pre-manufactured in modular form at a pre-manufacture facility and shipped as individual components to a job site.

Also, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault ceiling that can be initially designed to be compatible with the known layout of a building structure using computer-aided-design (CAD) techniques so as to avoid costly errors during final installation of the groin vault ceiling. Furthermore, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault that can be constructed to conform to various building codes. Finally, there exists a need in the art for a groin vault ceiling that can be constructed at low cost and which can be easily installed in a drastically reduced amount of time compared to the time involved using conventional construction techniques.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The present invention specifically addresses the above-referenced needs associated with groin vaults of the prior art. More specifically, the present invention is a uniquely-configured groin vault ceiling kit that may be pre-manufactured or pre-fabricated at an off-site location such as in a climate-controlled factory and which may be later assembled and installed at a job site into a building structure. The groin vault may be required in buildings such as homes having halls and/or rooms with vaulted ceilings (e.g. barrel vaults) that intersect at right angles. Advantageously, the groin vault ceiling kit of the present invention may be pre-fabricated using unskilled labor in order to reduce construction costs.

In its broadest sense, the groin vault ceiling kit comprises a set of at least four arch-shaped ceiling segments although any number may be provided. Each of the ceiling segments may have a pair of diagonal edges which diverge from an apex outwardly and extend to a back edge of the ceiling segment. In this regard, each of the ceiling segments is formed in a wedge shape such that the ceiling segments may be configured to intersect one another in orthogonal relation. When joined, the diagonal edges of adjacent ones of the ceiling segments are preferably disposed in abutting contact with one another. In one embodiment, the set of four ceiling segments are thus comprised of two pairs of opposing ceiling segments which contact one another at the respected apexes and along the diagonal edges thereof.

The ceiling segments may be sized and configured to be substantially identical to one another for a “square” installation where the vaulted ceilings of the building structure are of substantially the same size (i.e. same width and radius of curvature). In such an arrangement, the diagonal edges of the ceiling segments may be formed at a 45 degree angle. However, the ceiling segments may be sized and configured for a “rectangular” installation where the vaulted ceilings of the building structure are of different widths and have different radii of curvature. As such, the ceiling segments may comprise two pairs of ceiling segment of different size and radius.

Each of the ceiling segments may be fabricated of a combination of an arch-shaped tip portion and an arch-shaped main portion. The tip portion is axially alignable with and is disposable in abutment against the arch-shaped main portion. Each of the tip and main portions may initially be fabricated from an arch segment formed as a semi-circular element from a plurality of laminated members. The tip and main portions may be interconnected to one another using a connecting member or other suitable means.

For example, each of the tip and main portions have outer concave surfaces along which the connecting member is preferably disposed to connect the tip and main portions. The connecting member may be fabricated of wood or any other suitable material or combination of materials. Mechanical fasteners and/or adhesive or any other suitable connection means may be utilized to connect the tip and main portions.

The ceiling segments may be fabricated by initially providing at least one semi-circularly shaped arch segment having forward and back edges. The arch segment may be trimmed along the diverging diagonal edges which are disposed at a 90 degree angle relative to one another and which extend from the front edge toward the back edge of the ceiling segment such that the ceiling segment assumes the wedge shape.

In forming the ceiling segments from separate tip and main portions, the method of the present invention further includes providing a pair of the arch segments which preferably, but optionally, have generally matching radii of curvature. The arch segments are disposed in axial alignment with one another such that the back edge of one of the arch segments is disposed in abutting contact with a front edge of the remaining arch segment.

The arch segments are then trimmed to form the diagonal edges which diverge from the apex toward the back edge. Once the diagonal edges are trimmed to create the tip portion and main portion, a connecting member may be used to interconnect the tip and main portions such as with the aid of mechanical fasteners, adhesive or any combination thereof.

Groin vault ceiling kit - Arch-Rite, Inc.

Following prefabrication of the ceiling segment, a set of four ceiling segments may then be shipped to a job site such as a home construction site for installation. Each of the ceiling segments may be interconnected to appropriate structural members such as to wall studs and/or ceiling joists of the building. The ceiling segments are preferably sized and configured during pre-manufacturing to match the existing dimensions of the building.

In a further embodiment, each one of the ceiling segments in the groin vault ceiling kit may be comprised of a plurality of arch-shaped rib members disposed in spaced relation to one another and interconnectable by a blocking member or connecting member. After the ceiling segments are installed in the building structure, panel members may be mounted to an underside of the rib members to form a completed groin vault.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the various embodiments disclosed herein will be better understood with respect to the following description and drawings in which like numbers refer to like parts throughout and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a groin vault comprised of a set of four or more ceiling segments;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the groin vault illustrating the ceiling segments oriented at right angles relative to one another;

FIG. 3 is a partial perspective view of the groin vault taken along line 3 of FIG. 1 and illustrating the inner section of the groin vault at respective apexes thereof;

FIG. 4 is a partial exploded perspective view of the groin vault illustrating the interconnection the ceiling segments;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a set of four of the ceiling segments in a disassembled state such as may be provided prior to shipment;

FIG. 6 is a perspective side view of one of the ceiling segments comprised of a tip portion connected to a main portion;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the tip portion joined to the main portion and illustrating a diagonal edge formed along one side thereof;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the ceiling segment constructed as a unitary structure and illustrating one of the diagonal edges along which the ceiling segment is trimmed in its final configuration;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a groin vault in an alternative embodiment wherein each of the ceiling segments is comprised of a plurality of arch-shaped rib members disposed in axially spaced relationship to one another;

FIG. 10 is a top view of the groin vault of FIG. 9 and further illustrating the spaced relationship of the arch-shaped rib members which are optionally interconnectable by a plurality of connecting members;

FIG. 11 is a side view of the groin vault taken along lines 11 -11 of FIG. 10 and illustrating one of the connecting members extending between the outermost rib members of an opposing pair of the ceiling segments;

FIG. 12 is a side view of the groin vault taken along lines 12 -12 of FIG. 10 and illustrating another one of the connecting members spanning a distance between the outermost rib members wherein the connecting member is oriented orthogonally relative to the connecting member illustrated in FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is an exploded perspective view of the groin vault illustrating the plurality of rib members and further illustrating a set of innermost rib members each of which has a triangular shape;

FIG. 14 is a partially exploded perspective view of the groin vault illustrating the interconnectivity of the rib members to form a plurality of mitre joints 50 ; and

FIG. 15 is a partially exploded perspective view of the groin vault illustrating a plurality of shorter length connecting members for interconnecting the rib members and further illustrating a plurality of panel members which may be mounted to an underside of each of the ceiling segments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings wherein the showings are for purposes of illustrating the present invention and not for purposes of limiting the same, shown in the figures is a groin vault ceiling kit 10 which, in one embodiment, is constructed of pre-manufactured ceiling segments 12 as shown in FIGS. 1-8 or, in an alternative embodiment, may be constructed as a set of pre-manufactured rib members 38 as shown in FIGS. 9-15. The ceiling segments 12 may be fabricated using specialized tooling in a climate-controlled environment such as in a pre-manufacturing facility in order to achieve precise tolerances.

The ceiling segments 12 are preferably arch-shaped as shown in FIGS. 1-8 such that a set of four or more of the ceiling segments 12 may be constructed at the pre-manufacturing facility and shipped to a job site wherein the ceiling segments 12 may be joined to one another and, ultimately, may be interconnected to the building structure such as to wall studs and/or ceiling joists. Alternatively, as shown in FIGS. 9-15, each one of the ceiling segments 12 may be fabricated as a plurality of the axially-spaced rib members 38 that are installed at the building structure to form a complete groin vault, as will be described in greater detail below.

As can be seen in FIGS. 1-8, the groin vault ceiling kit 10 may comprise a set of at least four arch-shaped ceiling segments 12. Each of the ceiling segments 12 may have a pair of diagonal edges 20 converging from an apex 24 outwardly at a 45 degree angle relative to a back edge 16 of the ceiling segment 12. Each of the ceiling segments 12 may be formed from an arch segment 22 or rib member 38 comprised of a plurality of laminated members 40 formed in a circular shape in a manner similar to that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,955,168 issued to Barry (the “Barry reference”), the entire contents of which is expressly incorporated by reference herein.

Advantageously, by prefabricating the ceiling segments 12 from pre-manufactured arch segments 22 or rib members 38. the shape and, more particularly, the radius of curvature of the ceiling segment 12 may be precisely controlled. Furthermore, the ceiling segment 12 fabricated from pre-manufactured arch segments 22 or rib members 38 may provide enhanced structural load bearing capability to the vaulted ceiling due to the ability to tailor the thickness of the ceiling segment 12 by selecting the quantity of laminated members 40 .

Referring still to FIGS. 1-8, the ceiling segments 12 are configured to intersect in orthogonal relationship to one another (i.e. at right angles) such that diagonal edges 20 of adjacent ones of the ceiling segments 12 are disposed in abutting relationship with one another. In such an arrangement, the four orthogonally arranged ceiling segments 12 are comprised of two pairs of opposing ceiling segments 12. The ceiling segments 12 of each of the pairs are preferably coaxially aligned with one another. The back edge 16 of each of the ceiling segments 12 is preferably oriented perpendicular to an axis of the ceiling segment 12. However, the back edge 16 of each of the ceiling segments 12 may be formed in any shape and at any angle relative to the axis of the ceiling segment 12 .

Each of the ceiling segments 12 further has opposing convex and concave surfaces 32. 30. As may be appreciated, the concave surface 30 is exposed to an interior of the building structure when the groin vault ceiling kit 10 is installed. Preferably, the radius of curvature of the concave surface 30 is complimentary to the building structure into which the groin vault ceiling kit 10 is installed. Advantageously, the ability to pre-design the shape of the groin vault ceiling kit 10 using computerized design (e.g. CAD) techniques avoids mismatches between the ceiling segments 12 and the building structure to which the ceiling segment 12 is interconnected.

In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-8 as well as in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 9-15, the arch segments 22 and rib members 38 are preferably formed of a plurality of the laminated members 40 which are layered over one another in order to achieve a desired radius of curvature of the ceiling segments 12. As shown in the figures, the ceiling segment 12 and rib members 38 may be comprised of anywhere from 2 to 6 or more laminated members 40 which may each be formed of bonded particulate material or other suitable material. The particulate material may be fabricated of cellulose fiber, shredded paper, wooded particles, sawdust and various other materials and combinations thereof as disclosed in the Barry reference.

The particulate material is bonded together via a matrix resin to form the laminate material. Individual ones of the laminated members 40 may consist of individual thin wooden members made of the particulate material which are formed around a curved jig. The laminated members 40 may be bonded together in juxtaposition to one another so as to result in a unitary laminated structure having a pre-determined size, thickness and shape, or curvature.

Under sufficient temperature, pressure and other conditions, the desired arcuate or arch-shaped configuration may be compressed into the laminated members 40 in order to result in an arch segment 22 or a rib member 38. A mold may be used to form the arch segment 22 or rib member 38 into the desired radius of curvature. In this regard, the arch segment 22 or rib member 38 may be formed at any radius of curvature and at any length other than that which is shown in the figures. Furthermore, the arch segment 22 or rib member 38 may be formed in any suitable manner such as that which is disclosed in the above-mentioned Barry reference or using any other suitable means.

The arch segments 22 or rib members 38 may comprise laminated members 40 formed of material that is one quarter-inch thick in order to arrive at a total desired thickness of the arch segment 22 or rib member 38. However, any number of laminated members 40 of any thickness may be layered together in order to form the arch segment 22 or rib member 38 of a desired thickness. Each of the ceiling segments 12 thereby forms a partial arch-section that has sufficient strength and rigidity for interconnection to the building structure.

Referring more particularly to the embodiment of the groin vault ceiling kit 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1-8, each of the ceiling segments 12 may optionally be formed of a triangularly-shaped tip portion 26 that is axially aligned with and which is disposable against a semi-cylindrically shaped main portion 28. The tip portion 26 and main portion 28 collectively define the ceiling segment 12 when the tip portion 26 is connected to the main portion 28. Toward this end, the groin vault ceiling kit 10 may further include a connecting member 34 which may be disposed along the convex surfaces 32 of the tip and main portions 26. 28 .

The connecting member 34 is preferably mechanically and/or otherwise securable to the convex surface 32. In this regard, it is contemplated that once the tip portion 26 is aligned with the main portion 28 such that the diagonal edges 20 thereof are generally aligned, the connecting member 34 may be bonded to the tip and main portions 26. 28 via an appropriate adhesive in additional to or as an alternative to mechanically fastening the connecting member 34 to the tip and main portions 26. 28 .

Each of the tip portions 26 and main portions 28 is preferably fabricated from a plurality of laminated members 40 (i.e. arch segments) similar to that which is described above for the unitarily-fabricated ceiling segment 12. In this regard, the tip portion 26 has an apex 24 at one end and a back edge 16 at an opposite end. The main portion 28 also has opposing front and back edges 18. 16. The back edge 16 of the tip portion 26 is preferably disposed in abutting contact with the front edge 18 of the main portion 28 such that substantially no gap exists between the front and back edges 18. 16 .

The combined tip and main portions 26. 28 preferably form the wedge shape similar to the wedge shape described above for the unitarily-formed ceiling segment 12. The connecting member 34 may be fabricated of wood or any other suitable material or combination thereof. Mechanical attachment of the connecting member 34 to the tip and main portions 26. 28 may be facilitated through the use of nails, screws and/or any other appropriate or suitable mechanical fastener 36 means.

Also disclosed herein is a method of fabricating the ceiling segment 12 illustrated in FIGS. 1-8 and which may be used in the groin vault ceiling kit 10. The method comprises the steps of providing an arch segment 22 having forward edges 18 and back edges 16 and which is fabricated from a plurality of laminated members 40 similar to that described above. The method further comprises the step of trimming the arch segment 22 to form a pair of diagonal edges 20 extending outwardly at a 90 degree angle in divergence from an apex 24 of the ceiling segment 12 .

The diagonal edges 20 extend outwardly toward the back edge 16 such that the arch segment 22 assumes a general wedge shape. The step of providing the arch segment 22 may itself be comprised of providing a tip portion 26 and a main portion 28 and joining the tip and main portions 26. 28 at the respective ones of the back and forward edges 16. 18 such as via a connecting member 34 as was described above.

Each of the tip and main portions 26. 28 may initially be provided in a semi-circular shape. In this regard, the method of fabricating the groin vault ceiling kit 10 may further comprise the steps of trimming each of the arch segments 22 forming the tip and main portions 26. 28 in order to form the two diagonal edges 20. Depending upon the size and shape of the vaulted ceilings to be joined by the groin vault ceiling kit 10. the diagonal edges of each of the ceiling segments 12 may be formed at a 45 degree angle such that the diagonal edges 20 diverge at a 90 degree angle from the apex 24 toward a back edge 16 .

However, the ceiling segments 12 may be sized and configured for a “rectangular” installation (not shown) where the vaulted ceilings to be joined are of different widths and/or different radii of curvature. As such, the groin vault ceiling kit 10 may comprise two pairs of ceiling segments 12 each of different size and radii of curvature to match the configuration of the vaulted ceilings of the building structure. In this regard, one of the pairs of ceiling segments 12 will be of one size (i.e. width) and radius of curvature while the remaining pair of ceiling segments 12 will be of a different size and radius of curvature. In the “rectangular” arrangement, the diagonal edges 20 of each of the ceiling segments 12 defining the intersections thereof will form an angle other than 45 degrees.

In one embodiment of the present invention, a set of four ceiling segments 12 may be formed in this manner in order to construct a complete groin vault ceiling kit 10 as may be installed in a building structure. However, it is contemplated that the groin vault ceiling kit 10 may be formed of more than four ceiling segments 12. As was earlier mentioned, the ceiling segments 12 which comprise the tip and main portions 26. 28 may be fabricated off-site at a pre-manufacturing facility using specialized tooling in order to produce precisely-dimensioned ceiling segments 12 .

Referring now to FIGS. 9-15, shown is the groin vault ceiling kit 10 in an alternative embodiment which is constructed of a plurality of arch-shaped rib members 38. More specifically, the groin vault ceiling kit 10 of the alternative embodiment may be comprised of a set of the ceiling segments 12 which are configured to be oriented generally perpendicularly relative to one another when installed and wherein each one of the ceiling segments 12 is fabricated of a plurality of the arch-shaped rib members 38. As can be seen, the arch-shaped rib members 38 are positionable in axially spaced relation to one another wherein each of the rib members 38 is sized and configured such that each one of the ceiling segments 12 defines a generally wedge shape similar to that which is described above for the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-8.

Referring particularly now to FIGS. 13 and 14, it can be seen that the arch-shaped rib members 38 are of generally incrementally increasing arc length when positioned in axial spaced relation to one another. The incrementally increasing arc length of adjacent rib members 38 provides the wedge shape for each of the ceiling segments 12 such that when installed in a building structure, the ceiling segments 12 are disposed in generally orthogonal and abutting relation to one another.

It should also be noted that although the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 9-15 includes four of the arch-shaped rib members 38 in each ceiling segment, any number can be provided and at any spacing. It should also be noted that an innermost rib member 44 of each ceiling segment 12 may be configured in a triangular shape such that when ceiling segments 12 are joined to one another, a square shape is defined by the four innermost rib members 44 as best seen in FIG. 14 at the center of the groin vault. However, it should also be noted that the innermost rib members 44 may be formed such that when the ceiling segments 12 are joined, a frame is defined adjacent the center of the groin vault instead of the generally solid square-shaped configuration shown in FIG. 14.

Referring to FIGS. 9-10 and 14 -15. each one of the rib members 38 of each one of the ceiling segments 12 is preferably sized, configured and spaced to terminate adjacent to and/or in abutting contact with a corresponding rib member 38 of an adjacent ceiling segment 12. Furthermore, each of the rib members 38 of each one of the ceiling segments 12 is preferably equi-axially spaced such that rib ends 42 of adjacent ceiling segments 12 terminate adjacent to one another.

Furthermore, as best seen in FIG. 13, each one of the rib ends 42 is preferably beveled such that the rib members 38 of adjacent ceiling segments 12 are disposable in abutting contact with one another to form a plurality of mitre joints 50 as seen in the ceiling assembly 14 illustrated in FIGS. 14-15. Advantageously, because each one of the arch-shaped rib members 38 is preferably pre-manufactured in a controlled environment using specialized tooling, precise tolerances may be achieved such as in forming the beveled edges of the rib ends 42. The ability to trim the rib ends 42 with precision such that the rib members 38 are of the desired arc length facilitates an installation where the rib members 38 are disposable in abutting contact at their respective mitre joints 50 without the occurrence of gapping between the rib ends 42 .

In addition, because of the ability to tightly control the dimensional characteristics of each of the rib members 38. each of the ceiling segments 12 is preferably identically configured. However, it should be noted that installation in certain building structures may require a groin vault ceiling kit 10 where the ceiling segments 12 are not necessarily identically configured. As such, it is recognized that the groin vault ceiling kit 10 as illustrated in FIGS. 9-15 may be more readily adaptable for installation in building structures having intersecting arched ceilings which are not necessarily perpendicular to or aligned with one another. More specifically, because each one of the ceiling segments 12 is comprised of a plurality of separately positionable rib members 38 as opposed to the unitary construction illustrated in FIGS. 1-8, the groin vault ceiling kit 10 illustrated in FIGS. 9-15 may be installed wherein the arch ceilings intersect one another at an angle larger or smaller than ninety degrees.

Referring to FIGS. 9-12, shown is the groin vault ceiling kit 10 in an installed state wherein the axially spaced rib members 38 of each of the ceiling segments 12 may be interconnectable to one another by at least one and, more preferably, a plurality of blocking or connecting members 34. The blocking or connecting members 34 are not necessarily part of the groin vault ceiling kit 10 but may be employed at the installation site in order to maintain the relative position of the rib members 38 during attachment thereof to the building structure. More specifically, the connecting members 34 may be mechanically fastened to the rib members 38 in order to maintain the desired axial spacing between adjacent rib members 38. Furthermore, the connecting members 34 provide some structural rigidity to the groin vault ceiling kit 10 during installation and, in this manner, assist in holding the rib members 38 level and rigid during installation.

The connecting members 34 may be fabricated of any generally elongate and straight members which may be cut to the desired length prior to attachment to the rib members 38. For example, the connecting members 34 illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10 may comprise commonly-available two-by-four material widely used in framing building structures. However, any suitable material may be used for the connecting members 34 .

Referring to FIG. 10, it can be seen that the axially spaced rib members 38 of each one of the ceiling segments 12 is interconnectable to one another by at least one connecting member 34 and, more preferably, by a plurality of radially spaced connecting members 34. As can be seen in FIGS. 9-12, the connecting members 34 are preferably disposable (i.e. mechanically fastened) to convex surfaces 32 (i.e. upper side) of the rib members 38 such that a concave surface 30 (i.e. lower side) of each of the rib members 38 is left unobstructed to facilitate installation of paneling (e.g. drywall).

It should also be noted that although the connecting members 34 are illustrated in FIG. 10 as being symmetrically positioned on the groin vault ceiling kit 10 in the installed state, other arrangements for installing the connecting members 34 may be employed. For example, the connecting members 34 may be asymmetrically installed or may be omitted in certain locations due to inference with structural elements of the building structure or due to interference with certain utilities (i.e. electric wiring, plumbing, etc.) of the building structure. It should also be noted that the connecting members 34 may be positioned in non-perpendicular relationship to rib members 38. For example, connecting members 34 may be oriented diagonally relative to the rib members 38 .

As shown in FIGS. 9-10 and 14 -15. at least one of the connecting members 34 extends between the outermost rib members 46 on an opposing pair of ceiling segments 12 in order to provide overall structural rigidity to the groin vault ceiling kit 10 during installation. In this regard, as shown in FIG. 9, one of the connecting members 34 may comprise a pair of back-to-back connecting members 34 which, in an exemplary arrangement, may be comprised of two-by-six (i.e. two inch by six inch) or two-by-ten wooden connecting members 34 or other suitable material.

An additional connecting member 34 may be oriented perpendicularly relative to the two-by-ten connecting members 34 to provide stiffness in two directions for the groin vault ceiling kit 10. In this regard, a notch may be formed in the two-by-tens as is illustrated in FIG. 14 to allow passage of the perpendicularly-oriented connecting member. As shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, each of the ceiling segments 12 defines a longitudinal axis A. Each of the connecting members 34 may be preferably configured to be aligned with the longitudinal axis A although, as mentioned above, such orientation is not necessary as one of the main functions of the connecting members 34 is to maintain relative position of the rib members 38 .

The method of fabricating and installing the ceiling segment 12 will now be described with reference to FIGS. 9-15. As was mentioned above, the arch-shaped rib members 38 are preferably pre-manufactured such as using a plurality of laminated members 40 in order to form a semi-circular or arch-shape at a radius matching the installation at the building structure. The rib members 38 are preferably trimmed or cut to length at the pre-manufacturing facility such that each one of the ceiling segments 12 includes a plurality of rib members 38 having arc lengths which increase incrementally when the rib members 38 are positioned in axially spaced relationship with one another. In this regard, a set of rib members 38 preferably forms one of the wedge-shaped ceiling segments 12. Four of the ceiling segments 12 may be then installed at the building structure to form the groin vault.

As was earlier mentioned, although FIGS. 9-15 illustrate each ceiling segment 12 having four rib members 38. any number may be provided depending upon the width and size of the intersection of the arched ceilings to which the groin vault interconnects. In an exemplary arrangement wherein the intersecting arched ceilings have a width of six feet, the groin vault may be configured such that each ceiling segment 12 includes four of the rib members 38. However, for larger installations such as for arched ceilings having a width of twelve feet, each of the ceiling segments 12 preferably includes at least seven and preferably eight of the rib members 38 .

As may be apparent, the quantity of rib members 38 is dependent upon the axial spacing therebetween which is preferably about nine inches between most of the rib members 38. However, for certain rib members 38 such as the outermost rib members 46 having the greatest arc length, the axial spacing thereof, and therefore the arc length of the rib member, may preferably be custom fit for installation in, for example, a foyer or an alcove.

Regarding the specific cross section of the rib members 38. any size may be provided although a three-and-a-half inch width and one-and-a-half inch thickness is preferable. For the innermost rib member 44 illustrated in the arrangement shown in FIG. 13, the rib member 38 may have an overall length of fourteen inches with a depth of seven inches such that four of the innermost rib members 44 joined in abutting contact with one another form a square shape illustrated in FIG. 14.

During installing of the groin vault ceiling kit 10. connecting members 34 of appropriate size may be cut to length and attached to the convex (i.e. upper) surfaces 32 of the rib members 38. For example, the connecting members 34 may be attached using mechanical fasteners 36 such as with nails using a nail gun or screws. However, in order to provide the necessary structural rigidity to the overall groin vault ceiling kit 10 prior to installation, the longest connecting members 34 (i.e. the connecting members 34 extending between the outermost rib members 38 ) are preferably mounted to the building structure and the innermost rib members 44 are attached to the pre-installed connecting members 34 prior to successively attaching the remaining rib members 38 to the longest connecting members 34 .

Upon interconnection of the groin vault ceiling kit 10 to the building structure, panel members 48 may be fastened to an underside (i.e. concave surface 30 ) of each of the ceiling segments 12 similar to that which is illustrated in FIG. 15. Each one of the panel members 48 may define a wedge-shaped and may be formed of drywall that may be pre-curved such as by wetting prior to mounting the ceiling segments 12. Ideally, the panel members 48 are trimmed such that a diagonal edge 20 is formed with the occurrence of little or no gapping between adjacent panel members 48 .

The above description is given by way of example, and not limitation. Given the above disclosure, one skilled in the art could devise variations that are within the scope and spirit of the invention disclosed herein, including various ways of interconnecting the tip portion 26 to the main portion 28. Further, the various features of the embodiments disclosed herein can be used alone, or in varying combinations with each other and are not intended to be limited to the specific combination described herein. Thus, the scope of the claims is not to be limited by the illustrated embodiments.


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