Patent application title: PAVING STONE DEVICE AND METHOD
Donald Constable (Aurora, CA)
IPC8 Class: AE04C204FI
Class name: Static structures (e.g., buildings) opaque stonelike module discrete clip-gripping facing sheet
Publication date: 2011-03-17
Patent application number: 20110061331
Patent application title: PAVING STONE DEVICE AND METHOD
IPC8 Class: AE04C204FI
Publication date: 03/17/2011
Patent application number: 20110061331
A paving assembly comprises a set of artificial paving stones held in
position relative to each other by a membrane. The membrane has a set of
connecting members extending from one stone to an adjacent stone. The
membrane also has a set of protruding members that extend from the
connecting members into the stones. The membrane may be a unitary
structure with the protruding and connecting members cast of molded
together. The connecting members may be located generally within a plane
below the stones. To make the assembly, the set of stones may be cast
inverted into a mold, the membrane laid across the bottom surface of the
stones, and the protruding members pressed into the stones before they
1. A membrane for connecting pavers, the membrane comprising:a) a
plurality of connecting members, each connecting member being attached to
at least one other connecting member, the plurality of connecting members
being generally co-planar; and,b) a plurality of projections attached to
the connecting members and extending out of the plane.
2. The membrane of claim 1 wherein each end of each of the connecting members connects to at least one other of the connecting members and each of the projections is located generally at the ends of the connecting members.
3. The membrane of claim 1 wherein the connecting members are arranged to form a set of three or four sided shapes.
4. The membrane of claim 3 wherein the shapes are non-rectangular.
5. The membrane of claim 1 wherein the ends of the connecting members are connecting through a joining plate and the projection is attached to the joining plate.
6. The membrane of claim 1 wherein the projections are centered over the intersection of at least two connecting members.
7. The membrane of claim 1 wherein the projection further comprises a movable wing.
8. A paving assembly comprising:a plurality of pavers arranged in a pattern; and,a membrane according to claim 1,wherein each of the pavers is attached to at least on of the projections of the membrane.
9. The paving assembly of claim 8 wherein the connecting members are located below the bottoms of the pavers and the projections protrude into the pavers.
10. The paving assembly of claim 8 wherein each of a set of the pavers is connected to the membrane by only one projection.
11. The paving assembly of claim 8 wherein,a) the pavers are initially arranged into a first configuration;b) the assembly may be changed into a second configuration by severing the connecting members necessary to remove one or more pavers for the paving assembly;c) multiple assemblies of the first configuration may be positioned directly adjacent each other to form a paving surface; and,d) multiple assemblies of the second configuration may be positioned directly adjacent each other to form a paving surface.
12. The paving assembly of claim 8 wherein the pavers are arranged into a generally rectangular shape, a set of the pavers are arranged at generally equal centre to centre spacing in a first line, another set of the pavers are arranged generally the same spacing in a second line, the first line is generally parallel to the second line, and the pavers of the second line are offset from the pavers of the first line by about one half of the spacing.
13. The paving assembly of claim 12 wherein the pavers in the first line are all generally of a first size and the pavers in the second line comprise pavers of the first size in an amount that is one less than the number of pavers in the first line and two pavers of a second size that is about one half of the first size.
14. A method of forming a paving assembly comprising the steps of:providing a mould having a plurality of cavities;filling the cavities of the mould with a settable material;overlying the mould with a membrane according to claim 1 such that the projections of the membrane are aligned with the cavities;before the settable material sets, pressing the projections into the settable material;setting the settable material so that the projections are fixed within settable material; and,removing the pavers from the mould.
This application claims the benefit under 35 USC 119(e) of U.S.
Provisional Application No. 61/169,821 filed Apr. 16, 2009, which is
incorporated herein in its entirety by this reference to it.
This specification relates to building products, particularly cast or molded products such as artificial paving stones.
The following paragraphs are not an admission that anything discussed therein is citable as prior art or part of the general knowledge of people skilled in the art.
A surface, such as a driveways or walkway, may be paved with a plurality of individual pavers, alternately called paving stones, cobble stones, bricks, or by other names. In one construction method, the pavers are natural stones of varying shapes and sizes selected and placed one by one to cover a surface. This method is extremely labour intensive and produces an arguably attractive but uneven paved surface. In another construction method, bricks are used in place of the natural stones. While still labour intensive, the generally uniform height of the bricks makes it easier to produce a more nearly uniform paved surface. Similarly, artificial stones may be used in place of natural stones. In these various examples, there are problems associated with handling, transporting and positioning large numbers of pavers.
This summary is intended to introduce the reader to the more detailed description that follows and not to limit or define any claimed or as yet unclaimed invention. One or more inventions may reside in any combination or sub-combination of the elements or process steps disclosed in any part of this document including its claims and figures.
A paving assembly comprises a plurality of pavers arranged in a pattern. The pavers in the assembly are attached to each other and held in position relative to each other by a membrane, alternately called a mesh. The membrane comprises a plurality of connecting members connected end to end and generally co-planar with each other. Projections extend from the connecting members into the pavers. The membrane may be made, for example, of molded plastic, preferably a recycled plastic.
To make the assembly, the pavers are formed from a settable material that is poured into a mould having a plurality of cavities arranged in a desired configuration. Before the pavers have completely set, the membrane is positioned over the mould and at least one projection from the membrane is inserted into the settable material in each cavity. After the pavers set, the projections are retained within the pavers.
The membrane allows a plurality of pavers to be arranged in position relative to each other in a factory, and then transported and placed on the surface to be paved as a group while retaining the arrangement. A membrane with connecting members located below the bottom of the pavers also serves to separate one assembly from another when they are stacked for shipping. In particular, a membrane made of a relatively soft material such as plastic does not scratch the smooth upper surface of a lower assembly and prevents contact between the upper surface of a lower assembly and the rough lower surface of an upper assembly. Further, with the connecting members located below the bottoms of the pavers, the pavers may be thin since they do not need to encapsulate the connecting members and the connecting members can support the pavers when carried.
The pavers assemblies may be part of a system in which multiple assemblies, or parts of assemblies, are used to pave a larger area.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
Reference will now be made, by way of example, to the devices and methods shown in the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1a is a top view of a paving system;
FIG. 1b is a top view of the paving system of FIG. 1a in an interlocking arrangement;
FIG. 2a is a top view of a mesh;
FIG. 2b is a side view of the mesh of FIG. 2a;
FIG. 3a is a side view of portion of a mesh and a projection;
FIG. 3b is a top view the portion of a mesh and projection shown in FIG. 3a;
FIG. 4a is a partial side view of a projection on a mesh;
FIG. 4b is a perspective view of the projection of FIG. 3a;
FIG. 5a is a side view of a portion of a mesh and a deployable projection;
FIG. 5b is a top view of the portion of mesh and deployable projection of FIG. 5a;
FIG. 5c is a side view of the portion of mesh and deployable projection of FIG. 5a with the deployable projection in a deployed position;
FIG. 6 is a top view of a mould containing pavers;
FIG. 7 is a top view of the mould containing pavers of FIG. 6 overlaid with a mesh.
For simplicity and clarity of illustration, elements shown in the figures have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements may be exaggerated relative to other elements for clarity. Further, reference numerals may be repeated among the figures to indicate corresponding or analogous elements.
The following description is not to be considered as limiting the scope of any claimed invention, but rather as providing an example within each claimed invention. However, each example may not be an embodiment of each claimed invention, for example a particular claim might relate to only one exemplary device. The claims should not be interpreted as necessarily including all of the features of any example, or all of the examples or requiring features common to all of the examples.
As explained herein with reference to FIGS. 1a-5, there is disclosed a paving system comprising a plurality of pavers connected together, and held in position relative to each other, by a membrane or mesh. The plurality of pavers in the paving system may be described as "artificial", or man made, articles as opposed to "natural" stones or rocks. That is, the pavers used in the current paving system are manufactured by filling a mould with settable material and allowing the material to set (or harden or cure or solidify) into a solid material.
Before the pavers have completely set, the mould may be overlaid by a mesh having at least one projection, extending from a node of the mesh, that is embedded into each paver. After the projections have been pressed into the pavers, the settable material is allowed to fully set, thereby fixing the projections within the pavers and affixing each paver to the mesh.
Once the pavers are affixed to the mesh, the pavers can be released from their moulds to form a paving assembly comprising a plurality of pavers attached to a single mesh. The completed paver assembly can then be installed where desired by a user. In addition, multiple paver assemblies can be used in combination (in either interlocking or non-interlocking configurations) to cover an area that is larger than the area of a single paving assembly.
By way of example, reference is made to the paving system 100 shown in FIGS. 1a and 1b. The paving system 100 shown in FIG. 1a includes two paving assemblies 110. Each paving assembly 110 includes a plurality of pavers 120 connected to each other, and held in a fixed position relative to each other by an underlying mesh 140. The paving system 100 may be used in place of individual cobble stones, patio stones, paving stones, tiles or other articles that may be arranged to form a desired surface, such as a driveway, floor, patio or walkway. The paving system 100 may be used to provide a desired surface in a shorter time, at lower cost or having a more uniform paver placement compared to a comparable surface formed from individual, non-attached pavers.
As shown, each paving assembly 110 includes a plurality of pavers 120 arranged in a desired, pre-configured pattern. In the example of FIGS. 1a and 1b the pattern is staggered grid or brick-like pattern consisting of a multiple, offset rows of pavers 120. This type of grid pattern may be desired if the paving system 100, or a single paving assembly 110, is to be used to make a generally square or rectangular surface or object, such as a driveway, pathway, parking lot, patio or sidewalk. Other patterns of pavers 120 may also be used.
In FIGS. 1a-5, the pavers 120 are schematically represented as being generally square or rectangular shaped. This is merely one example of paver shapes, but the pavers may be formed in other suitable, desired shapes. The pavers 120 may be of a specific geometric shape such as squares, circles or hexagons. In other instances, the pavers 120 may be of a generally square or rectangular shape to facilitate their arrangement in a pattern, but the edges and surfaces of each individual paver 120 may be curved, bumpy, jagged or otherwise non-linear so that each paver 120 may more closely resemble a natural stone. In some paving systems 100, each paver 120 may be of the same, or generally similar shape. In other paving systems 100, each paver 120, or a sub-grouping of pavers 120, in the system may be of different shapes.
In instances when the paving system 100 is used to provide a traveling surface, the pavers may be shaped such that both the upper and lower surfaces of the pavers are generally flat or planar to provide a level, even paved surface. However, the upper surface need not be completely flat. In some examples, the upper surface of the pavers may be a non-uniform surface modeled after the appearance of a natural paving stone or cobble stone.
If the desired finished surface to be formed using the paving system 100 has an area that is substantially equal to the size of a single paving assembly 110, the entire surface may be covered using a single paving assembly 110. If, however, the desired finished surface has an area that is larger than a single paving assembly 110, multiple paving assemblies 110 or parts thereof may be used in combination. As shown in FIG. 1a, each paving assembly 110 may be configured to have an identical pattern (or configuration), and the two paving assemblies 110 shown in FIG. 1a may be combined by abutting the edges of the paving assemblies 110 (for example, the two adjacent edges of the paving assemblies 110 as shown in FIG. 1a). Such a configuration may be described as a non-interlocked configuration. In a non-interlocked configuration, the paving system 100 could provide a functional surface, for example a driveway, having the combined area of both paving assemblies 110, but a user may be able to visually identify the boarders (or edges or outline or perimeter) of each paving assembly 110.
In another example, the pavers 120 in each paving assembly 110 include removable pavers 122 and fixed pavers 124. In FIG. 1b, the paving assemblies 110 of FIG. 1a are shown with the removable pavers 122 removed and having been moved into an interlocking configuration. The boundary between the individual paving assemblies 110 is illustrated on FIG. 1b using the dashed line extending between the paving assemblies 110.
To install the paving system 100 in the interlocked configuration, a number of removable pavers 122 are removed from each paving assembly 110. The spaces in each paving assembly 110 left by the removal of the removable pavers 122 can serve as interlocking locations, indicated by arrows 123 on the right side of FIG. 1b. As illustrated in FIG. 1b, the paving system 100 is formed from two paving assemblies 110 and is configured to interlock with an additional paving assembly 110 (not shown) added to the right side of paving system 110.
To remove a removable paver 122 from a paving assembly 110, the portion of the mesh 140 connecting the removable paver 122 to the adjacent fixed pavers 140 may be broken, cut or otherwise severed to detach the removable paver 122 from the mesh. In other instances, the paving assembly 110 may be initially cast (or formed or moulded) using a modified mesh without removable pavers 122 in place. If desired, fixed pavers 140 may also be removed if desired to modify the shape or size of the paving assembly 110.
In the examples shown, each paving assembly 110 is shown having an identical number of removable pavers 122, and the removable pavers 122 are shown on two edges of each paving assembly 110. However, each paving assembly 110 need not have an identical number of removable pavers 122, and that removable pavers 122 may be formed along greater or fewer than two edges of the paving assembly 110. A paving assembly 110 might also not include any removable pavers 122.
In FIGS. 1a and 1b the removable pavers 122 are illustrated as being approximately half the size of the fixed pavers 124, but the removable pavers 122 may be of other suitable sizes and shapes that enables the interlocking arrangement or configuration of paving assemblies 110.
In the described examples, the term pavers has been used to describe the individual articles or elements that are arranged to form the paving assembly. This term is appropriate for the example described herein, that is the use of the paving system in place of traditional coble stones, or other types of natural stone paving. However, the paving system may be used for other applications involving moulded (or cast or formed) articles that can be connected by the mesh in a pre-arranged pattern, including tiles, slabs, stones and bricks.
Similarly, the pavers have been described as being moulded from a settable material. In the context of an outdoor paving system for use on a driveway, pathway, patio or the like, the settable material used may be chosen from any suitable building material, including concrete, elastomer, thermoplastic, cement, asphalt, rubber or any combination thereof. In other applications, such as an arrangement of indoor tiles, the pavers (or tiles) may be made from any suitable settable material, including ceramic, plastic, cement, composite materials, glass and metal. In each example described above, the plurality of pavers 120 in each paving assembly 110 are held in a desired location by the mesh 140, as shown in FIGS. 2a and 2b.
FIGS. 2a and 2b show schematic representations of an example of a mesh 140 that can be used to underlie the pavers 120 of each paving assembly 110.
As shown, the mesh 140 includes a plurality of connecting members 142. The connecting members 142 are elongate members (i.e. having a length that is at least 10 times greater than their width/diameter) or segments or a larger structure. The connecting members 142 are connected to each other to form a network structure that is generally planar with large open spaces between the connecting members 142. The connecting members 142, or projections of them, intersect with each other to define a plurality of nodes 146. In the example of FIGS. 2a and 2b, each node includes a plate 147 and a projection 148. In the example of FIGS. 4a and 4b, the ends of the connecting members 142 do not touch each other, but instead terminate at the circumference of the bottom edge of another projection 148.
Another example of a mesh 140 is shown in FIG. 3a, which a portion of a mesh 140 and illustrates the positioning of a joining plate 147 attached to the node 146 (or intersection or junction) between two connecting members 142. FIG. 3b is a top view of the portion of mesh 140 of FIG. 3a showing the intersection of the connecting members 142 that defines a node 146 which is overlaid by joining plate 147. The positions of the connecting members 142 beneath the joining plate 147 are shown by the dashed lines. Also, while the joining plates 147 are shown as being of a circular or disk-like configuration, it is understood that the joining plates 147 may be of any suitable shape, including square, triangular, rectangular or polygonal.
In some instances, particularly when the pavers 120 of the paving system 100 are relatively thin (such as tiles), the joining plates 147 may serve as the projections 148 that are inserted into the pavers 120. When the pavers 120 of a paving assembly 110 are relatively thin, the projections 148 illustrated in FIGS. 2a and 2b may extend from the mesh 140 by a distance that is greater than the thickness of the pavers 120. In such a situation, the projections 148 may protrude through the upper surface of the pavers 120, reduce the structural integrity of the pavers 120 or cause other undesirable mechanical and aesthetic concerns. Therefore, in these situations, the use relatively thin projections 148 (in the form of joining disks 147 or any other type of member extending from the node 146) received within thin pavers 120 enables the pavers 120 to be connected to the mesh 140 while reducing the structural and aesthetic disturbances to the pavers 120 described above.
The connecting members 142 that define mesh 140 may be formed from any suitable material that has suitable mechanical properties. In one example, the mesh 140 may be made from a molded, recycled plastic material.
In the examples and Figures described herein, the mesh 140 is illustrated as having a plurality of connecting members 142 arranged in a generally diamond and triangular shapes to provide one node 146 per paver 120. Optionally, the mesh 140 may be reinforced by the addition of reinforcing members 143, shown as dashed lines in FIG. 2a to produce all triangular shapes. While the mesh 140 has been shown having a number of nodes that is equal to the number of pavers 120 to be secured, the mesh 140 might alternately include a number of nodes 146 that is greater than the number of pavers 120 attached to the mesh 140 although this is not preferred.
The entire mesh 140 may be molded as a unitary structure. Alternately, the connecting members may be connected to each other, and optionally to the joining plates 147, using an attachment method that is suitable for the material selected, such as sonic welding or chemical adhesives in the case of plastic. Another option is to mold the connecting members only into an integral structure and then attach the joining plates 147, or an assemblies of a joining plate 147 and a projection 148, as described above. In another example, the connecting members 142 and the joining plates 147 may be integrally formed and the projections 148 attached later.
The mesh 140 is made strong enough to support the pavers 120, but may be flexible or bendable to reduce the amount of material required and allow the mesh 140 to at least partially follow the contour of the underlying surface to which it is applied.
Also, because the connecting members 142 of the mesh 140 are proud of the surface of the attached pavers 120, the mesh 140 may act as a spacer or insulator when multiple paving assemblies 100 are stacked upon each other for storage or transport, for example on a palette or skid. This may be advantageous because the presence of the mesh 140 between stacked paving assemblies 110 may reduce the amount of rubbing, hitting or scrapping between pavers 120. The material used to form the pavers 120 may be hard and brittle when set (for example concrete or cement or ceramic). In these examples, direct contact between pavers 120 may result in damage, for example in the form of chipping or scratching, to one or both of the pavers 120. Also, in some examples the underside of the pavers 120 (the side facing down when installed) may be rougher and more abrasive than the exposed surface of the pavers 120. As a result, the exposed surfaces of the stacked pavers 120 might suffer damage if not separated by the mesh 140. The mesh 140 is preferably formed from a material that is softer than the material of the pavers 120. The softer mesh 140 may provide a buffer or cushion between pavers 120 that may reduce accidental chipping and scratching.
Positioning the connecting members 142 of the mesh 140 outside of the pavers 120 may also enable the mesh 140 to better flex and bend as compared to an encapsulated mesh which could only bend in the spaces between pavers 120. External connecting members also support the pavers 120 from their bottom surface rather than turning their edges. Because the pavers 120 are rigid, virtually all bending or flexing is accomplished by exposed portions of the mesh. If the mesh were to pass through each paver 120, the exposed portion of the connecting web would be limited to the area between the pavers 120. As the spacing between pavers is relatively small, the available length of web to bend and flex is also relatively small. Having a relatively small piece of web to flex and bend can exert relatively high stress on the web, and can restrict the flexibility of the paving assembly as a whole. In contrast, having the connecting members 142 outside the pavers 120 may allow the flexing and bending forces to be absorbed over more of the entire length of the connecting members 142. In response to external bending or flexing loads, the connecting members 142 may flex and bow toward or away from the surface of the pavers 120.
As mentioned above, in some examples each joining plate 147 serves as a base, or support for a projection 148. Each projection 148 extends away from its supporting joining plate 147 and out of the plane defined by the mesh 140. The height of each projection 148 is determined based on the thickness of the pavers 120 used in the paving assembly 110. During the forming of the paving assembly 110, each projection 148 of the mesh 140 is pressed into the bottom surface of corresponding paver 120 before the paver 120 material has fully set. The projections 148 are then left in the pavers 120 as the pavers 120 fully set, thereby retaining the projection 148 within the paver 120. In order to prevent the projection 148 from extending through the entire height of the paver 120 and becoming visible on the upper surface of the paver 120, the height of the projection 148 is limited to a height that is less than the thickness of the paver 120. In some examples, the projections 148 may be approximately 50% of the thickness of the pavers 120. In other examples, the projection 148 height may be a smaller, or larger proportion of the paver 120 thickness. In FIGS. 2a and 2b the projections 148 have been represented schematically as cylinders, but the projections 148 may be of other shapes that are suitable for insertion into, and retention in the pavers 120. The projection 148 may be solid or open and may have a roughened or contoured outer surface to be better retained in the pavers 120.
Also, as discussed above, the projections 148 may be relatively thin disk-like structures, for example the joining plates 147 as shown in FIGS. 3a and 3b.
FIGS. 4a and 4b show an example of a projection 148 extending from a joining plate 147. The joining plate 147 overlies the node 146 (which may be notional or real) located at the intersection of connecting members 142 and supports the projection 148. In this example, the projection 148 includes a ring 149 spaced apart from the joining plate 147 and supported by a plurality of struts 150. The ring 149 may have a diameter that is smaller than the diameter of the joining plate 147 causing the projection to have a generally conical shape. The resulting structure is open in the sense that the non-set material of the paver 120 can flow through gaps between the struts 150 or through a hole in the ring 149 into the projection 148. The projection 148 may be formed and attached to the mesh 140 without a distinct joining plate 147, or may be integrally formed with the mesh 140.
FIGS. 5a-5c show another example of a projection 148 in the form of a deployable projection 150. One example of a deployable projection 150 is shown in FIGS. 5a-5c as a generally conical projection that extends from the node 146. In FIGS. 5a and 5b the deployable projection 150 is shown in its collapsed position. In FIG. 5c, the deployable projection 150 is shown in its deployed configuration.
In the example shown, the deployable projection 150 comprises a central frame 151 and two deployable leaves 152 movably connected to the deployable projection 150. When the deployable projection 150 is inserted into a corresponding paver 120 and the mould vibrated, the leaves 152 may move away from the central frame 151, as shown in FIG. 5c. As the leaves 152 move away from the frame, settable material may flow into the spaces formed between the leaves 152 and the central frame 151. In the deployed configuration, the deployable projection 148 may have more surface area exposed to, and engaged with, the settable material of the paver 120 which may increase the strength of the attachment between the two. Also, in the deployed configuration, the portion of the deployable projection 150 submerged in the paver 120 may be wider than the base of the projection 150 (the portion attached to the mesh 140) which may enable increase the strength of the connection between deployable projection 150 and paver 120 by allowing the settable material to fill in a region between the deployed portion of the projection and the mesh 140.
In the example shown, the deployable projection 150 is shown having two leaves 152 that are movably connected to the projection and meet at a central frame 151. Other examples of deployable projections 150 may include other components and may deploy in other manners. For example, the deployable projection may not have a central frame 151 between the leaves 152, and it may include a greater or fewer number of movable leaves. Also the leaves 152, or any movable component, may be attached at the base (i.e. proximate the mesh 140) of the deployable projection 150, or at some other location on the projection. The leaves may move outward from the projection (as shown) or they may be configured to collapse, or mover inward from the surface of the projection. The leaves (and the rest of the projections) may be solid, or they may have a roughened surface, a grooved or ribbed surface, a surface comprising a plurality of apertures or other surface treatments that may tend to increase the strength of the connection between the projection and the paver 120.
In other examples, a deployable projection 150 may include a biasing means that is used to control the deployment of the projection. The biasing means may include, for example, a spring, an elastic or a mechanical means. Also, the movable portion of a deployable projection 150 may be mechanically linked to the projection (as shown) or it may be of any another type of moveable structure such as bendable or deformable structure.
FIG. 6 shows a schematic top view of a mould 160 that is used to cast (or mould or form) the plurality of pavers 120 used in the paving system 100. As shown, a single mould 160 may be configured to form all of the pavers 120 of a complete paving assembly 110. In another example, the pavers 120 for a single paving assembly may be formed by a plurality of separate moulds arranged in the appropriate configuration. In another example, a single mould may form the pavers 120 for more than one complete paving assembly.
In the example shown, the mould 160 contains a plurality of paver-forming cavities 162 arranged in a desired pattern. In this case, the pattern shown in FIG. 4 is suitable to produce the paving assemblies 110 shown in FIGS. 1a and 1b, but it may be another pattern as described above. Generally, each paver-forming cavity 162 is sized and shaped to form a single paver 120. The mould 160 contains paver-forming cavities 162 for forming both fixed pavers 124 and removable pavers 122 if necessary. The mould 160 may be formed from any suitable material known in the art, including metal, rubber, plastic, fiberglas, wood, sand or sand.
The inner surface features of the paver-forming cavities 162 serve to form the outer surface features of the pavers 120 cast from the mould 160. If a user desires pavers 120 having a smooth outer surface, a mould 160 may be created having smooth paver-forming cavities 162. If a user desires pavers 120 having an irregular, natural stone-like appearance then a mould 160 may be created having irregularly shaped paver-forming cavities 162. In either example, the pavers 120 are formed by pouring a generally liquid, or at least flowable, settable material into the paver-forming cavities 162. Prior to pouring the settable material into the paver-forming cavities 162, the paver-forming cavities may be treated with a lubricant, curing agent or any other suitable substance
After the paver-forming cavities 162 have been filled, the settable material will begin to set (or cure or harden). Before the settable material fully sets (or solidifies), the mesh 140 is positioned relative to the mould 160 so that each projection 148 of the mesh 140 is aligned with a corresponding paver 120. In the example shown, the ratio of nodes 146, joining plates 147 and projections 148 to pavers 120 is 1:1; in other examples this ratio may be different. When aligned with the mould 160, the mesh 140 is in an inverted orientation so that the projections 148 extend from the mesh 140 toward the mould 160. In this orientation, the plane defined by the mesh 140 is generally parallel to, and is offset from a plane defined by the top surface of the mould 160. The filled paver-forming cavities 162 may be scrapped (or otherwise leveled) so that the exposed surface of the pavers 120 in the mould 160 is generally flush with the surface of the mould 160 and the surfaces of the surrounding pavers 120.
After being positioned, the mesh 140 is moved toward the mould 160 until the projections 148 impinge on the exposed surface of the pavers 120 contained within the paver-forming cavities 162. Additional pressure can then be applied to each projection 148 to drive the projection 148 into the still-fluid pavers 120 until the projections 148 are substantially submerged within the pavers 120 and the joining plates 147 are adjacent to, with or abut the exposed surface of the pavers 120. However, the connecting members are preferably not immersed and no additional settable material is applied over the connecting members. The upward facing surface of the mesh 140 (which is the bottom surface of the mesh 140 when the paving assembly is installed) remains exposed and is not covered with settable material.
Once the projections 148 have been inserted in the pavers 120, the mould 160 may be vibrated to help release trapped air pockets and to alter the distribution of aggregate material in each paver-forming cavity 162. For example, vibrating the mould 160 may cause larger particles in the settable material to rise to the surface of the paver 120 being cast. As a result, the bottom surface of the paver 120 as cast, which is the top surface of the paver 120 when in use, may have a smoother and more uniform finished surface. Further, vibration assists the flow of the settable material into or around the surfaces of the projections 148.
With the projections 148 submerged within the pavers 120 the pavers are allowed to completely set, thereby trapping the projections 148 within the now-hardened pavers 120. When all the pavers 120 have fully set, the completed paving assembly 110 may be removed from the mould by pulling or ejecting each paver 120 from its corresponding paver-forming cavity 162. The result of this process is a paving assembly 110 comprising a plurality of pavers 120 each of which is fixedly cast around a projection 148 extending from the mesh 140. Accordingly, the position of each paver 120 relative to its adjacent pavers 120 is restrained by its attachment to the mesh 140. This relationship enables the paving assembly 110 to be moved and handled as a single article and eliminates the need for each paver 120 to be individually placed during installation.
To install the paving system 100 in its desired location, the installation location is prepared in a manner that is suitable for the placement of individual pavers, including grading, leveling and compacting. Having prepared the underlying surface (or alternatively forgoing the preparation step) each paving assembly 110 is placed in its desired location (in an interlocked or non-interlocked configuration with its neighbours) and the spaces between adjacent pavers 120 are filled a suitable filler such as sand, silicate, soil, gravel, or grout.
What has been described above has been intended to be illustrative of the invention and non-limiting. Other variants and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the claims.