BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to paver systems for decks, patios, walk paths, and other open on grade surfaces and, more particularly, to a composite paver system for with interlocking feature to simplify assembly, ensure a more uniform deck appearance, and to prevent shift and/or roll over time.
2. Description of the Background
To improve their aesthetics, decks and patios are often surfaced by tiles and/or pavers. Such pavers provide durability, protection and performance despite harsh weather conditions. Currently, there are a variety of pavers available to give a variety of textured finishes and appearances. Moreover, pavers can be cut and intermixed to yield striping, banding and paving patterns having unique colors, sizes and finishes. The typical steps for laying a paver surface are as follows:
1. Demarcate perimeter
2. Drive stakes in around perimeter.
3. Excavate down to assure that there is room for base layers upon which the pavers will lie, and create a level but sloping surface (for drainage).
4. Lay gravel about 4 inches thick and tamp it down.
5. Fill the bed with about 1˝ inches of stone dust and level it.
6. Lay the pavers over the stone dust, tamping each paver.
7. Spread another layer of stone dust over the paver and sweep into cracks between the pavers and along the edge.
8. Spray water over the pavers to secure them in the stone dust. The stone dust will harden.
Unfortunately, existing pavers are relatively thick (3-4″) and require a great deal of excavation down about eight inches to assure that there is room for base layers upon which the pavers lie. Moreover, existing pavers are made from cement or stone and are very heavy. This not only presents problems and undue expense in shipping and distribution, but it also creates functional problems. The installation of a large paver job becomes a physically challenging affair. Moreover, the weight of the pavers can cause them to settle over time. It would be greatly advantageous to provide a light-weight alternative without sacrificing functionality or aesthetics.
There are a number of lighter-weight composite materials used in fabricating decking. One of the first composites introduced was Trex®, a combination of furniture sawdust mixed with polymers. Trex® requires virtually no maintenance, comes with a ten year warranty and does not need to be sealed. Newer composite lumbers include: TimberTech®, SmartDeck™ and Dreamworks™. The low maintenance aspects of these composite wood panels has helped them to gain widespread acceptance in recent years for above-ground applications such as decks.
However, they have not been adapted for use as pavers because they are one-fourth the weight of cement, lack vertical stability, and are much more prone to wind and weather.
It would be greatly advantageous to design an economical composite paver system with interlocking feature that provides stability, and which automatically spaces the pavers to give an aesthetically pleasing deck structure, at one fourth the weight of conventional cement pavers, without compromising integrity.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a light weight composite paver system with interlocking feature that provides vertical stability, and automatically spaces the pavers to give an aesthetically pleasing deck structure.
It is another object to provide a composite paver of 1-1.5″ thickness that eases installation by reducing excavation, and by lightening the carrying load.
It is another object to provide a composite paver which allows the use of a wood mitre saw rater than a diamond cut saw for trimming.
It is another object to provide a scalable composite paver design with interlocking feature that gives the ability to fasten the edges, and which prevents shifting or roll over time, thereby increasing the structural integrity of the finished surface.
It is still another object to provide a scalable composite paver design which facilitates easy replacement of damaged pavers.
According to the present invention, the above-described and other objects are accomplished by providing a composite paver system comprised of two distinct types of interlocking pavers, both being formed from a mixture of sawdust and plastic.
One type of paver has a groove around the entire periphery, and a plurality of interlocking members are provided to fit into the grooves between adjoining pavers.
The other type of paver comprises a plurality of tiles all of which are notched at each corner, and at least one interlocking member that fit into the notches at the corners of adjoining tiles. The interlocking members are screwed to the corners to secure the tiles together as one unitary paver.
Using both formats an economical composite patio or deck surface can be built at one fourth the weight of conventional cement pavers, without compromising integrity.