Title:
Decorative/protective trim cap
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A trim cap providing aesthetically pleasing protection and reinforcement to structural members such as decking and railing corners of structures such as porches, decks and gazebos is discloses. Deck top corner, deck side corner, rail corner and butt joint caps have aesthetically pleasing non-linear lines and/or embossed graphic or textural designs which set them apart from the purely structural applications of prior art brackets and caps.



Inventors:
Pinto, Michael (Reno, NV, US)
Application Number:
10/082312
Publication Date:
08/28/2003
Filing Date:
02/26/2002
Assignee:
PINTO MICHAEL
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/287.1, 52/716.1, 248/345.1
International Classes:
E04F11/18; E04F15/02; (IPC1-7): E04B2/00; E04C2/38; E04H12/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCDERMOTT, KEVIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Sonya C. Harris (PO Box 2607, Fairfax, VA, 22031, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A decorative/protective trim cap comprising: a plurality of connected plates, wherein: each of said plurality of plates has a thickness, a length and a width, said length and width forming a shape having at least three sides, and at least one of said sides of said plate is substantially linear, and each remaining side of said plate is one of the group: substantially linear, substantially non-linear, and a combination of linear and non-linear, thereby allowing each of said plates to have an irregular shape; each of said plurality of plates is disposed in a different plane, at least one of said at least one linear side of each of said plates is contiguous with at least one of said at least one of said linear sides of at least one adjacent of said plates; said decorative/protective trim cap being adapted to reinforce a structural element and protect wooden structural members against warping, splintering, and cracking due to exposure to weather, while aesthetically enhancing the appearance of an overall structure.

2. A decorative/protective trim cap, as defined in claim 1, wherein each of said planes is substantially normal to each adjacent of said planes.

3. A decorative/protective trim cap, as defined in claim 2, wherein an outer surface of at least one of said plurality of plates is embossed with one of the group: a graphic design and a textured design.

4. A decorative/protective trim cap, as defined in claim 2, wherein: said plurality of plates comprises three plates; and said at least one linear side of each of said plates comprises at least two adjacent sides of said plate and each of said at least two of said linear sides is contiguous with and normal to one of said at least two linear sides of an adjacent of said plates.

5. A decorative/protective trim cap, as defined in claim 1, wherein: said plurality of plates comprises two plates; and one of said at least one linear side of each of said plates is substantially contiguous with one of said at least one substantially linear side of a second of said plates.

6. A decorative/protective trim cap, as defined in claim 5, wherein said planes of said two plates are one of the group: substantially normal to one another and oblique to one another.

7. A decorative/protective trim cap, as defined in claim 2, wherein said trim cap is formed from one of the group: a metal and a polymeric material.

8. A decorative/protective trim cap, as defined in claim 7, wherein said trim cap is formed by die cutting and brake forming of a roll formed metal.

9. A decorative/protective trim cap, as defined in claim 7, wherein said trim cap is formed by injection molding of a polymeric material.

10. A decorative/protective trim cap, as defined in claim 7, wherein said trim cap is formed by vacuum forming of a polymer.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to decorative trim for various construction projects. More particularly, the invention comprises a decorative trim cap for structural elements such as decks, posts and railings which provide protective cover against warping, splintering and cracking, in addition to providing an aesthetically pleasing trim to what are often rather course structures.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] In the building of outdoor structures such as porches, decks and gazebos, structures which are often of a rather course construction, it is desirable provide an aesthetically pleasing trim to enhance the appearance of certain structural elements, as well as to protect the end grain of exposed elements such as vertical posts and railings from warping, splintering and cracking. To this end, others have presented a variety of solutions.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 5,326,187, issued to St. Marie, et al., on Jul. 5, 1994, presents a cover for covering the upper rail of a railing. The upper cover has a top, bottom and side to encase the exposed surfaces of the rail. The cover has a curved top with a concave inner surface to be positioned adjacent the top of the rail. Longitudinal ribs on the inner surface spaces the cover away from the top surface of the railing. In contrast to the present invention, St. Marie, et al., is adapted to encase expanses of lateral surfaces, while providing no decorative features other than the arch upper surface of the cover.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 5,794,390, issued to Oliveri, et al., on Aug. 18, 1998, presents a structural covering that is attachable to a rail of a railing that has a top, a pair of sides, ends, and a bottom, and that is attachable to a floorboard of a deck that has a top, a pair of sides, ends, and a bottom, while covering most of the rail of the railing and any exposed ends thereof and covering most of the floorboard of the deck and any exposed ends thereof so as to prevent splinters, hide knots, splintered wood, discolored wood and cracks in the wood. The patent to Oliveri, et al., is in distinct contrast to the present invention in that it is adapted to cover large expanses of lateral surfaces while providing no decorative features other than the arch of the upper surface.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 6,062,519, issued to Baldassarre on Aug. 18, 1998, presents a a rail covering system for covering the railing of an outdoor deck to protect the railing from damage from weathering. The system includes an elongate strip having top and bottom faces, a pair of opposite ends, and a pair of sides extending between the ends of the strip. The bottom face of the strip is designed for resting on a top of a railing. Each of the sides of the strip has an elongate edge flange extending outwardly therefrom. In contrast to the present invention, the patent to Baldassare is adapted for covering an expanse of lateral surface and does not provide decorative scroll work to enhance the appearance.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 6,286,884, issued to Speece on Sep. 11, 2001, presents a cap for the top surfaces of a truck bed sidewall providing a horizontally oriented top bed wall portion and an integral downwardly extending inner and outer portion. In contrast to the present invention, Speece is adapted to cover an expanse of lateral surface and offers no appreciable aesthetic appeal.

[0009] None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The present invention comprises an aesthetically pleasing end cap for structural members such as decks, posts and railings for outdoor structures such as porches, decks and gazebos. While warping, splintering and cracking are common concerns in such exposed applications, and it is desirable to protect the primary areas of concern (cut end edges and end grains) without having to encase the entire member, the cosmetic enhancement of what are often somewhat raw structural elements is often of equal concern. It is especially desirable to be able to protect these elements while providing aesthetic highlights to the overall structure.

[0011] Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide a trim cap which will protect cut end edges and end grains from the elements.

[0012] It is another object of the invention to provide a trim cap which will provide an aesthetic appeal to the structural element which it is protecting.

[0013] It is a further object of the invention to provide an trim cap which is economical to manufacture, and therefore to purchase for use.

[0014] Still another object of the invention is to provide a trim cap which is easy to install.

[0015] An additional object of the invention is to provide a trim cap which is durable.

[0016] It is again an object of the invention to provide a trim cap which is easy to maintain.

[0017] It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof in an apparatus for the purposes described which is inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing its intended purposes.

[0018] These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] Various other objects, features, and attendant advantages of the present invention will become more fully appreciated as the same becomes better understood when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters designate the same or similar parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

[0020] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a deck top corner cap.

[0021] FIG. 2 is a plan view of the blank for the deck top corner cap of FIG. 1 prior to braking to shape.

[0022] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a deck side corner cap.

[0023] FIG. 4 is a plan view of the blank for the deck side corner cap of FIG. 3 prior to braking to shape.

[0024] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a rail corner cap.

[0025] FIG. 6 is a plan view of the blank for the rail corner cap of FIG. 5 prior to braking to shape.

[0026] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a 90° corner stringer plate.

[0027] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a 45° corner stringer plate.

[0028] FIG. 9 is a plan view of the blank for the corner stringer plates of FIGS. 7 and 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0029] The present invention presents a system of decorative caps for structures such as, but not limited to porches, decks and gazebos which provide protection for areas which are most susceptible to weathering, splintering and cracking, such as open end grains and end cut edges. These caps may be brake formed of flat rolled metals, such as, but not limited to, galvanized steel, brass or bronze, or aluminum, or molded of a high impact polymer or similar material. For the purposes of disclosure, brake formed elements will be disclosed, revealing flat blank and formed depictions. It would be evident to one skilled in the art that molded elements would be similar in appearance to the formed views of the brake formed elements disclosed.

[0030] FIGS. 1 and 2 depict a deck top corner cap 10. This element would typically be used on the top surface of the corner of a deck where a vertical post is not present, providing protection and aesthetic appeal primarily to the deck surface and protection to the edges of the decking planks at the corner.

[0031] Referring first to FIG. 2, deck top corner cap 10 consists of a generally rectangular (typically square) corner top plate 12 having two adjacent edges 14 which are substantially linear, normal to one another and, typically, of equal length. A corner side plate 16 is formed along each of the two adjacent edges 14, each corner side plate 16 being substantially rectangular, having a length equal to that of the edge 14 of corner top plate 12 with which it is contiguous and a width equal to that of the other corner side plate 16. A notch is formed in the blank for deck top corner cap 10 in the quadrant formed between the widths of the two corner side plates 16. The two edges 18 of corner top plate 12 opposite the two edges 14 are of a freeform shape, thereby creating a decorative design to the overall corner top plate 12. Typically, corner top plate 12 is symmetrical along a diagonal line from the juncture of the two edges 14 to the juncture of the two edges 16. It would be evident to one skilled in the art, however, that corner top plate 12 could be totally asymmetrical, thereby providing a different aesthetic effect. A plurality of mounting holes 20 in corner top plate 12 and corner side plates 16 allow for attachment of deck top corner 10 over a corner of a deck structure. The blank of FIG. 2 is brake formed along each of the edges 14 to form the deck top corner cap 10 of FIG. 1.

[0032] Turning now to FIG. 4, a blank for a deck side corner cap 30 consists of a pair of substantially rectangular corner plates 32 abutting one another along corner line 34. Each corner plate 32 additionally abuts a substantially triangular bottom plate 36 along a bottom line 38, corner line 34 being substantially centered upon and normal to bottom line 38. A notch of approximately 90° is formed in the blank for deck side corner cap 30 between the two bottom plates 36 at their juncture with corner line 34, such that an edge 40 or each bottom plate 36 forms an angle of approximate 45° with respect to bottom line 38. Outer edges 42 of corner plates 32 may be of a totally freeform shape or a combination of linear and freeform to provide an aesthetic appearance, as may outer edge of bottom plate 36. However, the two corner plates 32 and two bottom plates 36 are typically symmetrical with one another, although, again, they may be totally asymmetrical. A plurality of mounting holes 46 in corner plates 32 and bottom plates 36 allow mounting over the side edges of a deck corner. The blank for the deck side corner cap 30 of FIG. 4 is brake formed along corner line and bottom line 38 to form the finished deck side corner 30 of FIG. 3, with the bottom edges 40 of the two bottom plates 36 abutting in the finished deck side corner cap 30. Deck side corner cap 30 is typically used to cover the ends of the stringers surrounding a deck at a corner.

[0033] Turning our attention now to FIG. 6, a rail corner cap 50 consists of a substantially square rail top plate 52, and two substantially square rail side plates 54, each rail side plate 54 contiguous with rail top plate 52 along one of two substantially straight, adjacent edges 56. A straight edge 58 of each rail side plate 54 is formed as a continuation of edges 56, with an open notch formed in the blank in the quadrant between the edges 58. The two edges of rail top plate 52 opposite edges 56 and the two edges of rail side plates 54 opposite edges 56 and 58 may be of either a totally freeform shape or a combination of freeform and linear, to thereby provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance. Typically the two rail side plates 54 would be symmetrical to one another, and rail top plate 52 would be symmetrical along a diagonal from the intersections of the two edges 56 to the intersection of the two opposite sides. A plurality of mounting holes 60 in rail top plate 52 and rail side plates 54 allow connection of rail corner cap 50 to a deck railing at a corner joint. The blank for the rail corner cap 50 of FIG. 6 is brake formed along each of the edges 56 to form the rail corner 50 of FIG. 5.

[0034] Now referring to FIG. 9, corner plate 70 consists of two substantially rectangular plate ends 72 joined along a joint 74. The top 76 and bottom 78 edges of corner plate 70 are substantially linear, adapted to follow the lines of the edges of stringers running around the perimeter of a deck, although portions may be of a freeform shape, particularly at their junctures with the ends 80 of plate ends 72 opposite joint 74. The ends 80 may be of either a totally freeform shape or a combination of freeform and linear, in order to provide a pleasing aesthetic appearance. A plurality of mounting holes 82 in corner plate 70 facilitate mounting of corner plate 70 along a stringer around the perimeter of a deck. The blank for the corner plate 70 of FIG. 9 is brake formed along joint 74 to form the corner plates 70 of FIGS. 7 (substantially a 90° angle), and 8 (substantially a 45° angle). The angles depicted in FIGS. 7 and 8 could, of course, be manually adjusted during installation, especially in sheet metal embodiments.

[0035] In each embodiment herein presented, the shape is strictly illustrative, as each embodiment may be produced in a myriad of different aesthetic variations. It would be evident to one skilled in the art that, in addition to the aesthetically pleasing lines of each embodiment, surfaces could be embossed with various textures or graphic designs to further enhance their appearance. Likewise, the suggested use of each embodiment is strictly illustrative, as installational applications for any one embodiment are limited only by the imagination of the user.

[0036] It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.