Paper Laminated Stair Tread and Methods of Making and Using Same

Abstract

A laminate stair tread cover includes a core fiberboard member, a paper element fixedly disposed on the top of the core fiberboard layer, a metallic oxide coating fixedly disposed on the paper layer and an adhesive layer fixedly disposed on the rear bottom of the core fiberboard layer. Elements of the core fiberboard layer can define a substantially squared-off void capable of receiving a base stair tread. The present invention can be applied to existing staircases in one aspect of the present invention as a retrofitting method.

Claims

1 . A device, comprising: a core fiberboard member; a paper layer fixedly disposed on the top of the core fiberboard member; a metallic oxide coating fixedly disposed on the paper layer; and an adhesive fixedly disposed on the rear bottom of the core fiberboard element. 2 . The device of claim 1 wherein the core fiberboard element includes a top surface, a rear bottom surface, a nook edge surface and a front bottom surface, wherein the nook edge surface has a height, and wherein the rear and front bottom surfaces lie in substantially parallel planes that are separated by a distance substantially equal to the nook edge height. 3 . The device of claim 2 wherein the nook edge surface and the rear bottom surface define a void that is capable of receiving a stair structure. 4 . The device of claim 2 wherein the nook edge surface and the rear bottom surface can directly engage a stair structure. 5 . The device of claim 1 wherein the core fiberboard element has a rear bottom surface of sufficient size to entirely cover a stair tread top surface. 6 . The device of claim 1 wherein the core fiberboard element has a top surface that includes two side edges, and wherein each of the two side edges is beveled. 7 . The device of claim 1 wherein the paper layer comprises a décor paper layer fixed atop a Kraft paper layer. 8 . The device of claim 1 wherein the core fiberboard element comprises medium-density fiberboard secured atop high-density fiberboard. 9 . A method of applying a stair tread cover, comprising: providing a core fiberboard member; fixedly securing a paper layer atop the core fiberboard member; fixedly securing a metallic oxide coating on the paper layer; placing an adhesive on the rear bottom of the core fiberboard element; and securing the core fiberboard member to a stair tread by the adhesive. 10 . The method of claim 9 wherein the step of providing the core fiberboard element includes providing a top surface, a rear bottom surface, a nook edge surface and a front bottom surface, wherein the nook edge surface has a height, and wherein the rear and front bottom surfaces lie in substantially parallel planes that are separated by a distance substantially equal to the nook edge height. 11 . The method of claim 10 wherein the nook edge surface and the rear bottom surface define a void for receiving a stair tread. 12 . The method of claim 10 wherein the nook edge surface and the rear bottom surface directly engage a stair tread. 13 . The method of claim 9 wherein the step of providing the core fiberboard element includes providing a rear bottom surface of sufficient size so as to entirely cover a stair tread top surface. 14 . The method of claim 9 wherein the step of providing the core fiberboard element includes providing a top surface on the core fiberboard element that includes two side edges, wherein each of the two side edges is beveled. 15 . The method of claim 9 wherein the paper layer comprises a décor paper layer fixed atop a Kraft paper layer. 16 . The method of claim 9 wherein the core fiberboard element comprises medium-density fiberboard secured atop high-density fiberboard. 17 . A method for forming a laminate stair tread covering, comprising: providing a high density fiberboard member with a top surface, a rear bottom surface, a front bottom surface and a nook surface; adhering an adhesive layer to the bottom surface of the fiberboard member; thermofusing a bottom surface of a paper element onto the top surface of the high density fiberboard member; and thermofusing a metallic oxide coating onto a top surface of a paper element. 18 . The method of claim 17 wherein the step of adhering an adhesive layer includes securing an underlayment element to the fiberboard member and securing an adhesive to the underlayment element.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION [0001] The present invention relates to stair systems, and more particularly to a paper laminated stair tread and methods for making the same and retrofitting a stair using the same. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION [0002] Stairs are constructed with a horizontal portion, called a tread, and a vertical portion, called a riser. Oftentimes, it is desirable to match the surface of stairs with the surface of flooring at the bottom or top of the stairs. However, none of the currently available commercial offerings are known to permit this with the ease, efficiency and beneficial results of the present invention. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION [0003] The present invention includes an article of manufacture comprising a stair tread, with or without a bull-nose, capable of matching a laminate floor using, e.g., the same paper technology and high-density fiber board. The present invention can be installed directly onto an existing stair tread, and can be used in improved methods of upgrading and/or retrofitting stairs on a staircase. [0004] In one embodiment of the present invention, the device comprises a high density core fiberboard element, which can be substantially rectangular in shape, having a front wall, a back wall, a top surface, a rear bottom surface, a nook edge surface and a front bottom surface. The nook edge surface separates the rear and front bottom surfaces and forms a substantially squared-off void with the rear bottom surface that is capable of receiving and mating with a stair tread. A paper layer is fixedly disposed on the top of the core fiberboard element by gluing or thermosetting, for example. Further, a metallic oxide coating, such as aluminum oxide, for example, is fixedly disposed on the paper layer such as by thermosetting. An adhesive layer is also disposed on the rear bottom surface of the core fiberboard element and optionally the nook edge surface to facilitate securing of the stair tread device of the present invention to the existing stair tread. [0005] In a method for making a stair tread in accordance with one aspect of the present invention, paper with a metallic oxide layer is applied by gluing or thermosetting the paper onto a core fiberboard sheet. The resulting composite product is formed into the shape of a stair tread covering having a substantially squared-off void capable of receiving a stair tread. An adhesive layer is applied to the rear bottom of the core fiberboard layer. A protective layer is optionally added to the adhesive layer in order for it to avoid adhering undesirably to objects. An underlayment is optionally added to the rear bottom before application of the adhesive layer, which can then be applied to the underlayment. [0006] In a method for installing a stair tread, according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the stair tread product described above is used to cover an existing stair tread. The protective layer is peeled from the adhesive layer and the stair tread of the invention is then glued directly onto the existing stair tread. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0007] FIG. 1 is a vertical section view through a step of a staircase illustrating one embodiment of the present invention. [0008] FIG. 2 is a vertical section view through a step of a staircase illustrating an alternative embodiment of the present invention. [0009] FIG. 3 is a top plan view of one embodiment of the device of the present invention. [0010] FIG. 4 is a left side view of the embodiment of the present invention as shown in FIG. 3 . DISCLOSURE OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION [0011] As shown in the embodiments of the invention in FIGS. 1 and 2 , a portion of an existing stair structure is illustrated at 12 . It will be appreciated that element 12 can be a stair tread and riser combination as well as simply a stair tread, but regardless, it is part of an existing stair structure. The device 10 of the present invention includes a high density fiberboard (HDF) element 20 that provides a core material for the article of the present invention. HDF element 20 can be a high-density, moisture resistant panel made, for example, from combining a ground wood residue product with a chemical resin, wherein the combination is dried and compressed in order to form the panel. HDF element extends over the horizontal tread portion 12 a of the stair element as well as in front of the front wall 12 b of the stair structure 12 in what is referred to as the nose 25 . [0012] In one embodiment of the present invention, the HDF element 20 is formed by hot pressing a medium-density fiberboard (MDF) onto adhesive paper to form a raw plank, and then gluing the adhesive paper side of the raw plank onto high density fiberboard. In one embodiment of this element of the present invention, the medium-density fiberboard is approximately 15 mm in height, and the high-density fiberboard is approximately 10 mm in height. In forming the HDF element 20 , the MDF paper and the adhesive-backed paper are hot pressed, and after conditioning, the resulting planks can be cut to approximately 1220 mm by approximately 300 mm in length and depth, respectively. Then, the HDF board can also be cut to the same or approximately the same size and glued to the MDF side edge. The glued side edge can be profiled with machining to have a bull nose shape. At this point, the HDF element 20 (i.e., core layer plank) is formed. [0013] The device 10 of the present invention further includes paper element 22 which is applied to a top surface 21 of HDF element 20 , such as by thermofusing (also known as thermosetting) the paper element and HDF element together under high pressure and temperature. Alternatively, environmental PVAC glue can be placed on HDF element 20 , and the paper element 22 can be glued and pressed using cold pressing. In one embodiment of the present invention, cold pressing can be applied for twenty-four hours or more to ensure a proper seal. The paper element 22 is typically a decorative paper that can display the appearance of various types of tiles and wood grains as selected by the installer. The paper element can be “impregnated” with a suitable polymer such as melamine as will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art of laminate flooring, but other laminate materials can be used. In one embodiment of the present invention, the paper element 22 is a high pressure laminate (HPL) paper element that comprises multiple layers of papers that are pressed under high pressure and temperature to approximately 0.6 mm thickness. In one embodiment, a décor paper layer is pressed atop a Kraft paper layer. In a further embodiment, a wear paper layer is pressed atop the décor paper layer. [0014] As further shown in FIG. 1 , the device 10 of the present invention can include a wear paper layer 24 of metallic oxide that is applied atop the paper element 22 through a thermofusing process at high pressure and temperature. Layer 24 improves the damage- and wear-resistance properties of the present invention. The paper element 22 with metallic oxide layer 24 is provided on the top horizontal surface 12 a as well as the front substantially vertical surface of the stair 12 , as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 . The embodiment of the present invention in FIG. 2 shows a bull-nose element 26 extending from the device 10 on the stair's front edge 12 . Thus, even though the paper element 22 and layer 24 are not linearly vertical in FIG. 2 , they are vertically oriented for purposes of the present disclosure. The bull-nose element 26 can be covered by the paper element 22 using glue, for example. Edges can be trimmed straight according to the required dimensions of a particular installation. Further, PVC decors can be hot-pressed on the side finish of the tread. [0015] As further shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 , the bottom surface of the HDF element 20 is represented by two portions. The rear bottom surface 16 mates with the top surface 12 a of the existing stair tread 12 via adhesive element 14 , and the front bottom surface 18 is adjacent the front wall 12 b of the stair structure 12 . The HDF element 20 further includes a substantially vertical nook edge 30 having a surface that mates with front wall surface 12 b via adhesive material element 14 . Adhesive element 14 can be a known adhesive for securing flooring in place, including the type that has a peelable non-stick surface applied thereto to ensure that the adhesive does not stick to other articles prior to application to the stair structure 12 . In one embodiment of the present invention, an underlayment element (not shown) is optionally added to the rear bottom 16 before application of the adhesive layer 14 , which is then applied to the underlayment. [0016] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 , the nook edge surface 30 and the rear bottom surface 16 define a void that is capable of receiving the stair structure 12 . The nook edge surface 30 and the rear bottom surface 16 also directly engage the stair structure by means of the adhesive layer 14 . In one embodiment of the present invention, the HDF element 20 rear bottom surface 16 is of sufficient size to entirely cover a stair tread top surface. [0017] As shown in FIG. 4 , the nook edge surface 30 has a height H, and the rear 16 and front 18 bottom surfaces lie in substantially parallel planes that are separated by a distance substantially equal to the nook edge height H. In one embodiment of the present invention, height H is approximately 12 mm. As further shown in FIG. 4 , the nose portion 26 of the device 10 can have a height A and depth B, while the back wall 34 of the device 10 has a height C. In one embodiment of the present invention, height A and depth B are approximately 30 mm, and height C is approximately 18 mm. In another embodiment of the present invention, height A is approximately 25 mm and height C is approximately 15 mm. The depth D of the device 10 can range from approximately 275 to approximately 325 mm, in one embodiment of the present invention. [0018] In one embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 , the top surface 40 of the device 10 is provided with side edges 35 that are beveled at an angle. [0019] The device of the present invention can be installed directly onto an existing stair structure. In a method for installing a stair tread, according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the stair tread product adhesive layer 14 is exposed and the stair tread of the invention is then adhered directly onto the existing stair structure, with the nook edge and the rear bottom surface of the device adhering to the front wall 12 b and horizontal tread portion 12 a of the stair structure 12 , respectively. [0020] It should be understood that the foregoing description and examples are only illustrative of the present invention; the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, including variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and the manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention. Thus, various alternatives and modifications can be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the present invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, and variances that fall within the scope of the appended claims.

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