Patent application title: Structural Insulated Header for Architectural Features
Ricky G. Buckholt (Hancock, WI, US)
IPC8 Class: AE04C304FI
Class name: Static structures (e.g., buildings) with synthetic resinous component foam
Publication date: 2012-06-07
Patent application number: 20120137612
The present invention relates to the construction arts, in particular a
modular implementation for a structural support member or header for
bearing the load of large spans of a floor, wall section above a window,
door or entry way. The header is modular and can be easily implemented
into a variety of architectural structures. A facade can be formed which
easily allows complex arches to be created such as round, horseshoe,
lancet, ogee, trefoil and so on. The support member can also include an
insulation which, when used with a steel beam, serves to increase the
1. A preformed modularized structural header for creating an
architectural fa.English Pound.ade during framing said header comprising:
(i) an elongated steel beam comprising a web portion and at least one
flange portion being substantially encased in an enclosure; (ii) said
enclosure comprising; a first vertical member having an architecturally
pleasing form; a second vertical member spaced from and substantially
parallel to said first vertical member and the second vertical member
having a substantially matching form to the first vertical member; said
vertical members having an elongated edge being oriented with respect to
said flange portion of said beam and being in connection with a first
horizontal member; the first horizontal member and a second horizontal
member spaced from and substantially parallel to said first horizontal
member; at least one of said horizontal members being oriented with
respect to the flange portion of said beam; said vertical members and
said horizontal members arranged such that said vertical members and said
horizontal members are rigidly connected in a predetermined way along the
elongated edges so as to form an enclosure for encasing the beam with the
vertical members forming an architectural facade.
2. A preformed modularized structural header in accordance with claim 1 wherein the architectural design of said vertical members comprise at least one of; curved, polygon, round, horseshoe, lancet, ogee, trefoil, basket handle and Tudor.
3. A preformed modularized structural header in accordance with claim 2 wherein a void is formed between the web portion of the beam and the vertical members, said void being filled with an insulating material at least one of: rock wool, fiberglass, Styrofoam, or polyurethane foam.
4. A preformed modularized structural header in accordance with claim 3 wherein said insulating material comprises: open cell, low density, non-ozone depleting polyurethane foam.
5. A preformed modularized structural header in accordance with claim 3 wherein said beam has an insulating value of approximately R20.
6. A preformed modularized structural header in accordance with claim 3 wherein said beam comprises two flange portions being arranged on substantially opposite sides of the web portion.
7. A preformed modularized structural header in accordance with claim 8 wherein the flange portion is connected with said horizontal members such that said flange portion substantially deflects forces created by expanding the insulating material.
8. A preformed modularized structural header in accordance with claim 8 wherein said vertical members interact with said flange portion to provide support to the vertical member.
9. A preformed modularized structural header in accordance with claim 10 wherein said vertical members further comprises at least one of; a cleat, a shelf, a projection, a ledge, a sill, a step, or a ridge.
10. A preformed modularized structural header in accordance with claim 9 wherein said rigid connection comprises at least one of: dado's, rabbets, lock joints, spline joints, tongue and groove, or mortise and tenon joinery.
11. A method for making a preformed modular header having an architectural facade comprising the steps of; (i) providing an elongated metal beam comprising a web portion rigidly connected with a plurality of flange portions; (ii) encasing the metal beam with an enclosure comprising; a plurality of matching vertical members having an architecturally pleasing form; a first and a second elongated horizontal members; said vertical members having an elongated edge, said first and second elongated horizontal members each having a plurality of elongated edges; said elongated edge of the vertical members being securely connected with said elongated edges of the elongated horizontal members in a predetermined fashion to substantially form a tight fit with the elongated metal beam such that a void is formed between the web portion of the beam and the vertical members; (iii) filling the void with insulation.
12. The method for making a preformed modular header in accordance with claim 13 wherein the wherein the elongated orthogonal enclosure further comprises a modular arch.
13. The method for making a preformed modular header in accordance with claim 13 wherein the connection between the vertical edges and the horizontal edges comprises at least one of: fasteners, nails, screws, staples, dados, rabbets, lock joints, spline joints, tongue and groove or mortise and tenon.
14. The method for making a preformed modular header in accordance with claim 13 wherein the insulation comprises open cell polyurethane foam.
15. The method for making a preformed modular header in accordance with claim 13 wherein vertical member comprises the at least one of; a cleat, a shelf, a projection, a ledge, a sill, a step, or a ridge for engaging with the flange portion of the beam.
16. A preformed modularized structural header for forming header structures for framing said beam comprising: (i) a steel beam comprising a web portion and a plurality of flange portions; (ii) a substantially wooden box like structure substantially enclosing the steel beam comprising; a first vertical member; a second vertical member spaced from and substantially parallel to said first vertical member; said vertical members comprising a plurality of injection points at predetermined intervals along the members for receiving an insulating material, each said first and said second vertical member comprising a cleat; each said first and said second vertical members further comprising a first and second elongated edges and; a first horizontal member; a second horizontal member spaced from and substantially parallel to said first horizontal member; said first and second horizontal members further comprising a first and a second elongated edges and; said vertical members and said horizontal members arranged such that said vertical members and said horizontal members are rigidly connected in a predetermined way along the elongated edges so as to form an elongated orthogonal enclosure having a void, (iii) the elongated orthogonal structure substantially fitting with the steel beam such that the flange portions interact with the vertical members to provide support to the vertical members, a foam insulating material being added through said injection points in such a way as to substantially fill said void with the insulating material.
 The present application is a continuation-in-part application of U.S. Utility patent application Ser. No. 12/122,822; filed 17 May 2007, now abandoned which claims priority form provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/938,512; filed 17 May 2007, included by reference herein and for which benefit of the priority date is hereby claimed.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to static structures used in the construction arts. In particular a header partition support for use with joists, trusses, windows and doors which is; modularized, insulated and allows ease of construction and attachment surfaces.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 In construction, it is important to bear high structural loads in order to support a building or other similar structure. Typically this has been done by providing a structure framed with 2×4 inch or 2×6 inch etc. cross-sectional studs provided with a regular spacing to support the weight. When a window or door is desired in the structure, that spacing is disrupted and the stresses can become concentrated to the point where the integrity of the larger structure is compromised. In an attempt to address this issue, a lateral support member, commonly called a header, is placed above the opening to bear the weight otherwise carried by the studs, and transfer the load to the outer perimeter of the opening allowing the opening to bear the load.
 Further when a mid-span support is required for a floor intersection, a beam or header structure can be used to support the trusses or joists. Many times this is support structure is realized by resting the joists or trusses on the beam creating a separate level of structure, which can be unsightly as seen from the floor below.
 Prior art for constructing window and door headers can be as simple as two lateral beams, typically 233 8 to 2×12 inches in cross-section, nailed together with a piece of plywood sandwiched in between, to set the proper spacing, and placed laterally above the opening to transfer the load to a pair of king studs located vertically at the perimeter of the opening. This solution typically does not have good insulation value and the beam and plywood members can twist and warp and deflect due to load.
 In additional alternative a glued laminated timber, or glulam can be used to replace the solid beam. This provides a nailing surface for hanging sheetrock, or other facing, and some structural support but has been plagued by structural fatigue due to delamination over time, and the structural limits of wood's load bearing capacity.
 Recently, steel "I" beams have been used, which are superior to wood for load bearing capability, but one problem being no sufficient structure for nailing or otherwise attaching other items to the beam. Due to the incompatibility of steel beams for attaching, the structure to be supported is rested on top of the beam, which creates architectural challenges as mentioned above. Another issue being the very poor insulation quality of steel without other means for mitigation.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The current invention, comprises an enclosed structure to provide a pre-formed modularized insulated beam for forming lintel or header structures. This apparatus and methodology, when combined with a structural metal beam such as an "I" beam, complements and even strengthens the load bearing capacity of the beam. Those skilled in the art can appreciate that an "I" beam can comprise an S beam (standard beam) and a W beam (wide flanged beam). The apparatus can further provide a suitable attachment surface during subsequent construction operations such as nailing, screwing, gluing and the like. In addition to provide adequate insulation value for the metal beam, which is normally a poor thermal insulator, which is extremely important in colder climates.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 A complete understanding of the present invention may be obtained by reference to the accompanying drawings, when considered in conjunction with the subsequent, detailed description, in which:
 FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of a structural header;
 FIG. 2 depicts a side plan view of a structural header;
 FIG. 3 an exploded view of a structural header;
 FIGS. 4A through 4F depict partial side plan views detailing structural considerations for alternate embodiments of a structural header;
 FIG. 5 depicts a perspective view of a structural framing for a window using a header of the present invention;
 FIG. 6 depicts a top perspective view of a header in construction with joists and nailers;
 FIG. 7 depicts a perspective view of a header in construction with trusses forming a floor above an opening for large panel doors and the like;
 FIG. 8A depicts a perspective view of a curved arch structure with load bearing capabilities which incorporates the header;
 FIG. 8B depicts a perspective view of a polygon arch structure with load bearing capabilities which incorporates the header;
 FIG. 8c depicts a perspective view of an ogee arch structure with load bearing capabilities which incorporates the header;
 FIG. 9A depicts a side plan view of an alternate embodiment of a structural header;
 FIG. 9B depicts an exploded view of an alternate embodiment of a structural header.
 FIG. 9C depicts a side plan view of a structural header with a joist hanger and joist attached to the face.
 The structural header as shown in FIGS. 1, 2A, 2B, and 3; consisting primarily of a beam 10, one embodiment of which FIG. 2A is an example, comprising a pre-manufactured box beam 10a comprising a pair of horizontal members 16 connected with a pair of vertical members 18 with an insulation space 14 generally comprised of structural foam.
 In another embodiment shown in FIG. 2B an element known in the trade as an "I" beam is added to the system. The beam 12, which is typically made of a metal such as steel, and is comprised of a web portion 11 which is a vertical member for load bearing, being nominally 8 to 12 inched in height, and two flange portions 13 located on the top and bottom of the web portion 11, being nominally 4 inches in width, for lateral stability. While the beam 12 is typically quite strong compared with wooden framing for construction purposes, it does not provide good nailing or attaching surfaces typically required in conjunction with wooden framing. Additionally it is a poor insulator. To help utilize the "I" beam 12 for general construction purposes, a box is created around the beam 12 in such a way as to strengthen it from twisting and torquing, by adding a structural horizontal member 16 which is typically glued or otherwise affixed to the flange portions 13 of the beam. The horizontal member 16 is preferred to extend beyond the flange portions 13 sufficient to provide a fastening surface for the vertical members 18. The vertical members 18 can be affixed to the horizontal framing members through fasteners 22 which can be any combination of screws, nails, glue, tape, staples, or the like. With a preferred embodiment being screws, such as drywall screws generally of 11/2 to 2 inches in length. In addition the framing members can be wood, oriented strand board (osb), plywood, hardboard, or other suitable material of suitable thickness with 3/4 inch being most common.
 To further enhance the properties of the structural header 10, an insulation space 14 is provided for supplying insulation. This insulation space 14 can be filled with any combination of; rock wool, fiberglass, Styrofoam, or polyurethane foam, or their equivalents. With the preferred method being an open cell, low density, non-ozone depleting polyurethane foam which is not subject to deterioration from moisture. The foam can be added through injection points 15 provided along the vertical member 18 in the region of the insulation space 14 and further expands to fill the insulation space 14 with the advantage of further securing, by adhering to or gluing, the beam 12 and the frame 17. To keep a polyurethane foam from expanding out the lateral opening of the insulation space, a form or board can be temporarily affixed to the ends of the structural header 10 until the foam sets up.
 Lateral support for fastening to a structure is added by including a nailer 20, shown in FIGS. 1 and 3 to connect the end of the structural header and tie into the studs. The nailer 20 is typically a plate or joist nailer which may be folded back until needed in construction.
 Several functional alternate embodiments for construction of the structural header are shown in FIGS. 4A through 4F. These Figures show approximately the top half of a partial side plan view of a structural header similar to that shown in FIG. 2 as the structure will typically comprise a top to bottom symmetry. While those skilled in the art may be able to devise alternate structures for enclosing the beam 12, it is claimed that these are within the scope of this invention.
 As the insulation space 14 is filled with expanding foam insulation, forces are created inside the insulation space 14 which can be represented by a vertical vector component A and a horizontal vector component B. FIG. 4A shows a construction where the horizontal member 16 forms a butt joint with the vertical member 18. In this case the horizontal vector component B has only the fastener 22, which is fastened into the horizontal member 16 to act against the horizontal vector component B. This may result in the fastener 22 pulling out resulting in separation between the vertical member 18 and the beam resulting in insulation foam expanding out of the insulation space 14 and further structural weakening of the structural header 10. Therefore, while possible to implement, this mode is not preferred to one with a mode which secures the joint against expansion.
 FIGS. 4B through 4F show several alternate modes which overcome disadvantages seen in embodiment of 4A. These embodiments derive from the property of the flange portion 13 of the beam 12 to deflect the forces, particularly the vertical vector component A, created by the expansion of foam insulation. In particular the vertical vector component A. FIG. 4B shows an embodiment in which the vertical member 18 is butt jointed to the horizontal member 16 requiring the fastener 22 to be sheared before separation could occur through action by the horizontal vector component B. FIGS. 4C through 4E show alternate modes for providing enclosures for the structural header to include: dados, rabbets, lock joints, spline joints, tongue and groove, mortise and tenon and the like. FIG. 4F shows a preferred mode of providing a horizontal double nailer 16a being generally 11/2 inch thick having a rabbet for providing double nailing and attachment surfaces.
 Examples of the structural header 10 for use in the construction arts are shown in FIGS. 5, 6, 7 and 8. The structural header 10 can be used in framing above windows, doors, garage door openings and the like. It is used to deflect the load in a bearing wall, generally through a top plate 32 which comes from a roof, other floors of the structure, and the like; and to transfer the load to the foundation through the sill plate 30. These loads would typically be borne by studs 34 in a continuous wall. This load transfer is typically done by deflecting the load along the structural header 10 to a structural support such as a king stud 36 which directly bears the load.
 In some instances, a simple header of "two by" construction may be sufficient to deflect the load. But increasingly with architectural demands, the structural header, or lentil, of prior art is inadequate to support the span. Large spans, such as garage door openings, plate windows or large door frames, decks, arched entries, extra floors, all having large expansive openings require additional reinforcement. One example of the utility of the current invention can be seen by considering the structure exemplified in FIG. 6. In the prior art (not shown), a structure similar to that shown in FIG. 6 would have been accomplished by running a steel beam under the joists 42 as a steel beam cannot be nailed into to secure wooden structures. A steel beam under the joists causes unsightly seams and depressions as seen from the floor below. Further carpenters expend considerable work to try and blend in a beam for architectural reasons. The structural header 10 of the current invention provides both the structural support of a beam 12 with the ability to attach joists 42 at the floor level with a standard joist hanger 40, while providing insulation space 14. In another example shown in FIG. 7, a structural header 10 is used to tie into and support that load from truss members 44 above a large opening where the load is deflected to king studs 36 for the area below the opening. The king stud 36 for the purposes of this disclosure may be made of wood, metal, or other suitable load bearing material. The ability to provide structural support having an architecturally pleasing structure, with surfaces for nailing, insulation and other advantages is provided.
 In FIGS. 8A, 8B and 8C, a modular arch unit 46 is created having a horizontal double member 16a with a beam 12 wherein vertical members 18a, 18b, 18c respectively in the form of a facade replaces the vertical member 18 such that an architecturally pleasing arch is created. The vertical members 18a, 18b, and 18c extend beyond the second horizontal member shown as 52 in dashed lines in the drawings. The modular architectural facade requiring little skill on the part of construction workers to add it to an existing framing structure, as those with skill in the art can appreciate. Types of architectural arches that can be created; include curved, polygon, round, horseshoe, lancet, ogee, trefoil, basket handle, Tudor and the like. Curved 8A, polygon 8B, and ogee 8C have been chosen for illustration purposes. An ogee is characterized by a compound curve having one or more points of inflection. Another common description being an "S" curve particularly pointed arch having a reversed curve on either side of the apex. A Tudor arch being defined generally as a 4 centered pointed arch. A lancet arch can be defined as a relatively narrow arch with an acutely pointed apex. Trefoil can be defines as stylized interpretation of a clover leaf. It can be seen by those skilled in the art that many pleasing designs including these and others can be easily achieved while forming a structural header module.
 FIGS. 9A and 9B represent an embodiment to the structural header 10 comprising a cleat 19, thus forming an alternate vertical member 18a. The cleat 19 can be any, cleat, shelf, projection, ledge, sill, step, ridge or other solid structural rigid overhang or member designed to reinforce a vertical member 18 (not shown) providing strength or hold in position. The cleat 19 can also be integrally formed along the entire elongated edge as part of the vertical member 18 as shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B. The cleat 19 can be advantageous in cases where a joist hanger is nailed to the side of the alternate vertical member 18a, as shown in FIG. 9C. The cleat 19 utilizes the flanges 13 of the beam 12 to further support the alternate vertical member 18a.
CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATIONS, AND SCOPE
 Although the present invention has been described in detail, those skilled in the art will understand that various changes, substitutions, and alterations herein may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention in its broadest form. The invention is not considered limited to the example chosen for purposes of disclosure, and covers all changes and modifications which do not constitute departures from the true spirit and scope of this invention.
 Having thus described the invention, what is desired to be protected by Letters Patent is presented in the subsequent appended claims.
Patent applications by Ricky G. Buckholt, Hancock, WI US
Patent applications in class Foam
Patent applications in all subclasses Foam