Title:
Door stabilizer for a building
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
According to the invention, an apparatus for stabilizing a door is disclosed. The apparatus may be a U-shaped member in which the edge of a door is disposed. The member may have press-fit features to resist removal of the member from the edge of the door. The member may also consist of a gap cover to at least nominally seal the interface of the door and surrounding objects when closed. The member may further define water path features to guide fluids down the length of the member. In another embodiment of the invention, a stabilized door is provided that may consist of such a U-shaped member. In another embodiment of the invention, a building with a stabilized door is provided. The adjacent objects around a stabilized door, such as a door jam, may be fitted with a second U-shaped member that may have some features of the first U-shaped member.



Inventors:
Bunker II, Owen W. (Aurora, CO, US)
Application Number:
11/366352
Publication Date:
09/06/2007
Filing Date:
03/01/2006
Assignee:
Tuff Shed, Inc. (Denver, CO, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C2/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOLLOWAY, JASON R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KILPATRICK TOWNSEND & STOCKTON LLP (Mailstop: IP Docketing - 22 1100 Peachtree Street Suite 2800, Atlanta, GA, 30309, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for stabilizing a door, the apparatus comprising: a U-shaped member constructed of a rigid material, wherein the U-shaped member has a pair of ends, a central section, a first side and a second side, and wherein for at least a portion of the length of the member, the member defines: a channel that is configured to receive an edge of a door; at least one press-fit feature that is configured to engage the door when the edge of the door is received into the channel so as to resist removal of the channel from the edge of the door once received; a gap cover extending laterally away from the channel, wherein the gap cover is configured to cover the width of a gap between the door edge and an adjacent object, on one side of the door, when the door is closed; and at least one water path feature on the central section, wherein the at least one water path feature defines a path for fluid to flow along the length of the member.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the rigid material comprises at least one of: aluminum; steel; aluminum alloy; steel alloy; polymer; plastic; and composite.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one press-fit feature comprises at least one of: a barb; a knurled surface; a ridge; a fin; and a rib.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one water path feature comprises at least one of: a U-shaped groove; a V-shaped groove; a groove between two fins; and an elongated bead.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first and second sides are perpendicular to the central section and the gap cover is parallel to the first or second side.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein for at least a portion of the length of the member, the member further defines a second gap cover extending laterally away from the channel, wherein the second gap cover is configured to cover the width of the gap between the door edge and the adjacent object, on the second side of the door, when the door is closed.

7. A stabilized door, the door comprising: a door, wherein the door has two sides and at least one edge; and a U-shaped member constructed of a rigid material, wherein the U-shaped member has a pair of ends, a central section, a first side and a second side, and wherein for at least a portion of the length of the member, the member defines: a channel, wherein at least one edge of the door is disposed in the channel; at least one press-fit feature engaging the door so as to resist removal of the channel from the edge of the door; a gap cover extending laterally away from the channel, wherein the gap cover is configured to cover the width of a gap between the door edge and an adjacent object when the door is closed; and at least one water path feature on the central section, wherein the at least one water path feature defines a path for fluid to flow along the length of the member.

8. The stabilized door of claim 7, wherein the door comprises at least one of: a sliding door; a sliding door in a set of sliding doors a hinged door; and a single hinged door in a set of hinged doors.

9. The stabilized door of claim 7, wherein the rigid material comprises at least one of: aluminum; steel; aluminum alloy; steel alloy; polymer; plastic; and composite.

10. The stabilized door of claim 7, wherein the at least one press-fit feature comprises at least one of: a barb; a knurled surface; a ridge; a fin; and a rib.

11. The stabilized door of claim 7, wherein the at least one water path feature comprises at least one of: a U-shaped groove; a V-shaped groove; a groove between two fins; and an elongated bead.

12. The stabilized door of claim 7, wherein for at least a portion of the length of the member, the member further defines a second gap cover extending laterally away from the channel, wherein the second gap cover is configured to cover the width of the gap between the door edge and the adjacent object, on the second side of the door, when the door is closed.

13. A building with a stabilized door, the building comprising: a structure comprising a roof, at least two walls and a door frame; a door coupled with the door frame, wherein the door is configured to provide entrance to the building, and wherein the door has two sides and at least one edge; and a U-shaped member constructed of a rigid material, wherein the U-shaped member has a pair of ends, a central section, a first side and a second side, and wherein for at least a portion of the length of the member, the member defines: a channel, wherein at least one edge of the door is disposed in the channel; at least one press-fit feature engaging the door so as to resist removal of the channel from the edge of the door; a gap cover extending laterally away from the channel, wherein the gap cover is configured to cover the width of a gap between the door edge and an adjacent object when the door is closed; and at least one water path feature on the central section, wherein the at least one water path feature defines a path for fluid to flow along the length of the member.

14. The building with a stabilized door of claim 13, wherein the structure comprises at least one of: a residential building; a commercial building; an industrial building; a storage building; a temporary building; a permanent building; a site-built building; a prefabricated building; and a kit building.

15. The building with a stabilized door of claim 13, wherein the door comprises at least one of: a sliding door; a sliding door in a set of sliding doors a hinged door; and a single hinged door in a set of hinged doors.

16. The building with a stabilized door of claim 13, wherein the rigid material comprises at least one of: aluminum; steel; aluminum alloy; steel alloy; polymer; plastic; and composite.

17. The building with a stabilized door of claim 13, wherein the at least one press-fit feature comprises at least one of: a barb; a knurled surface; a ridge; a fin; and a rib.

18. The building with a stabilized door of claim 13, wherein the at least one water path feature comprises at least one of: a U-shaped groove; a V-shaped groove; a groove between two fins; and an elongated bead.

19. The building with a stabilized door of claim 13, wherein for at least a portion of the length of the member, the member further defines a second gap cover extending laterally away from the channel, wherein the second gap cover is configured to cover the width of the gap between the door edge and the adjacent object, on the second side of the door, when the door is closed.

20. The building with a stabilized door of claim 13, wherein the building further comprises a second U-shaped member constructed of a rigid material, wherein the second U-shaped member has a pair of ends, a central section, a first side and a second side, and wherein for at least a portion of the length of the second U-shaped member, the second U-shaped member defines: a channel, wherein the adjacent object is disposed in the channel; at least one press-fit feature engaging the adjacent object so as to resist removal of the channel from the adjacent object; and at least one water path feature on the central section, wherein the at least one water path feature defines a path for fluid to flow along the length of the member.

21. The building with a stabilized door of claim 20, wherein for at least a portion of the length of the second U-shaped member, the second U-shaped member further defines a gap cover extending laterally away from the channel, wherein the gap cover is configured to cover the width of a gap between the door edge and the adjacent object when the door is closed.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to construction of buildings and, more specifically, to construction of doors for buildings.

Doors are common on all types of buildings. Doors provide convenient access to the interior of buildings from the outside or vice-versa. Additionally, doors provide at least a nominal seal between the weather outside a building and the interior of a building. On some buildings they may be constructed of inexpensive materials due to budget constraints. However, these inexpensive materials may warp over time even in moderate environmental conditions. Once these materials warp, the shape of the door may deform such that it does not effectively seal the interior building from the outside.

Furthermore, even if warping does not occur, the characteristics of inexpensive materials mean that the height of doors may be limited due to the lack of rigidity of inexpensive materials. The taller a door is constructed, the more easily the door will temporarily deform in a torsional manner when opened and closed. Inexpensive materials often lack the rigidity of higher cost alternatives, thereby imposing design restraints on the maximum height of a door made with such materials. The systems of the present invention provide solutions to these and other issues.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, the invention provides an apparatus for stabilizing a door. The apparatus may consist of a U-shaped member constructed of a rigid material. The rigid material may made from aluminum, steel, aluminum alloy, steel alloy, polymer, plastic, composite and/or other materials known in the art to be rigid. The member may have a pair of ends and a central section. The member may also have a first side and a second side which define the two sides of the U-shape. The two sides may be perpendicular to the central section.

For at least a portion of the length of the member, the member may have a channel that is configured to receive an edge of a door and at least one press-fit feature that is configured to engage the door when the edge of the door is received into the channel so as to resist removal of the channel from the edge of the door once received. The press-fit feature may be a barb, a knurled surface, a ridge, a fin, a rib and/or other press-fit features known in the art. In some embodiments, glue, or some other adhesive substance, may be applied to the channel in lieu of press-fit features so as to engage the door when the edge of the door is received into the channel so as to resist removal of the channel from the edge of the door once received. In yet other embodiments, both press-fit features and glue, or some other adhesive substance, may be used to engage the door.

For at least a portion of the length of the member, the member may have a gap cover extending laterally away from the channel. The gap cover may be configured to cover the width of a gap between the door edge and an adjacent object, on one side of the door, when the door is closed. The gap cover may be parallel to one of the sides of the member. In some embodiments the member may, for at least a portion of its length, further define a second gap cover extending laterally away from the channel. The second gap cover may be configured to cover the width of the gap between the door edge and the adjacent object, on the second side of the door, when the door is closed.

For at least a portion of the length of the member, the member may also have at least one water path feature on the central section. The water path features may define a path for fluid to flow along the length of the member. The water path feature or features may be a U-shaped groove, a V-shaped groove, a groove between two fins, an elongated bead and/or any other water path feature known in the art to be useful for carrying water away from an area.

In another embodiment, the invention provides a stabilized door. The stabilized door may consist of a door and a U-shaped member. The door may have two sides and at least one edge and may, for example, be: a sliding door; a sliding door in a set of sliding doors; a hinged door; or a single hinged door in a set of hinged doors. The U-shaped member may be constructed of a rigid material and have a pair of ends and a central section. The member may also have a first side and a second side which may define the two sides of the U-shape.

For at least a portion of the length of the member, the member may have a channel, and at least one edge of the door may be disposed in the channel. The member may also have at least one press-fit feature and/or glue, or some other adhesive substance, engaging the door so as to resist removal of the channel from the edge of the door.

In another embodiment, the invention provides a building with a stabilized door. The building may consist of a structure having a roof, at least two walls and a door frame. The building may, merely by way of example, be a residential building, a commercial building, an industrial building, a storage building, a temporary building, a permanent building, a site-built building, a prefabricated building, and/or a kit building. A door may be coupled with the door frame, and the door may be configured to provide entrance to the building and have two sides and at least one edge.

The building may also consist of a U-shaped member constructed of a rigid material. The U-shaped member may have a pair of ends and a central section. The member may also have a first side and a second side which may define the two sides of the U-shape. For at least some length of the member, the member may have a channel. At least one edge of the door may be disposed in the channel and the U-shaped member may have at least one press-fit feature and/or glue, or some other adhesive substance, engaging the door so as to resist removal of channel from the edge of the door.

The U-shaped member may have a gap cover extending laterally away from the channel. The gap cover may be configured to cover the width of a gap between the door edge and an adjacent object when the door is closed. In some embodiments the member may, for at least a portion of its length, further define a second gap cover extending laterally away from the channel. The second gap cover may be configured to cover the width of the gap between the door edge and the adjacent object, on the second side of the door, when the door is closed.

The building may also consist of a second U-shaped member constructed of a rigid material. The second U-shaped member may have a pair of ends and a central section. The member may also have a first side and a second side which may define the two sides of the U-shape. For at least a portion of the length of the second U-shaped member, the second U-shaped member may define a channel, wherein the adjacent object is disposed in the channel. The U-shaped member may have at least one press-fit feature and/or glue, or some other adhesive substance, engaging the adjacent object so as to resist removal of the channel from the adjacent object.

The first U-shaped member and/or the second U-shaped member may further have at least one water path feature on the central section. The water path features may define a path for fluid to flow along the length of the member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is described in conjunction with the appended figures:

FIG. 1A is an isometric partial view of a first U-shaped member.

FIG. 1B is an isometric partial view of an alternative first U-shaped member.

FIG. 1C is an isometric partial view of another alternative first U-shaped member.

FIG. 2 is an isometric partial view of a second U-shaped member.

FIG. 3A is a cross-sectional view of the first U-shaped member of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional view of the alternative first U-shaped member of FIG. 1B.

FIG. 3C is a cross-sectional view of the other alternative first U-shaped member of FIG. 1C.

FIG. 3D is a cross-sectional view of the second U-shaped member of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4A shows a facial view of a barb press-fit feature.

FIG. 4AA shows a side view of a barb press-fit feature.

FIG. 4AAA shows a front view of a barb press-fit feature.

FIG. 4B shows a facial view of a knurled press-fit feature.

FIG. 4BB shows a side view of a knurled press-fit feature.

FIG. 4BBB shows a front view of a knurled press-fit feature.

FIG. 4C shows a facial view of a ridge press-fit feature.

FIG. 4CC shows a side view of a ridge press-fit feature.

FIG. 4CCC shows a front view of a ridge press-fit feature.

FIG. 4D shows a facial view of a blunt fin press-fit feature.

FIG. 4DD shows a side view of a blunt fin press-fit feature.

FIG. 4DDD shows a front view of a blunt fin press-fit feature.

FIG. 4E shows a facial view of a sharp fin press-fit feature.

FIG. 4EE shows a side view of a sharp fin press-fit feature.

FIG. 4EEE shows a front view of a sharp fin press-fit feature.

FIG. 4F shows a facial view of a rib press-fit feature.

FIG. 4FF shows a side view of a rib press-fit feature.

FIG. 4FFF shows a front view of a rib press-fit feature.

FIG. 5A shows a cross-sectional view of regular V-shaped groove water-path features.

FIG. 5B shows a cross-sectional view of irregular V-shaped groove water-path features.

FIG. 5C shows a cross-sectional view of regular U-shaped groove water-path features.

FIG. 5D shows a cross-sectional view of irregular U-shaped groove water-path features.

FIG. 5E shows a cross-sectional view of a water path feature defined by grooves between regularly spaced fins.

FIG. 5F shows a cross-sectional view of a water path feature defined by grooves between irregularly spaced fins.

FIG. 5G shows a cross-sectional view of an elongated bead water path feature.

FIG. 6 is an isometric partial view of a building with a door and a door jam equipped with embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 7 is an isometric view of a building having a hinged door equipped with a door stabilizing apparatus and a second U-shaped member according to the invention.

FIG. 8 is an isometric view of a building having a set of hinged doors equipped with the door stabilizing apparatus and second U-shaped member according to the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, the invention provides an apparatus for stabilizing a door. The apparatus may consist of a U-shaped member constructed of at least one rigid material. The rigid material may be aluminum, steel, aluminum alloy, steel alloy, polymer, plastic, composite and/or other materials known in the art to be rigid. The member may have a pair of ends and a central section. The pair of ends may be perpendicular to the central section. The member may also have a first side and a second side which may define the two sides of the U-shape. In some embodiments the cross-section of the member may be consistent across the length of the member, while in others the cross-section may not be consistent across the length of the member. The member may, merely by way of example, be formed through the use of extrusion, form-cast, machining methods, fabrication techniques and/or some combination thereof.

For at least a portion of the length of the member, the member may have a channel that is configured to receive an edge of a door. The channel may be numerous possible shapes and sizes which are especially configured to receive different shaped door edges. In some embodiments the width of the channel walls, including the first and second sides of the member, may be between about 32/1000 inch (0.0008 meters) and about 125/1000 inch (0.0032 meters), and more preferably from about 40/1000 inch (0.001 meters) to about 70/1000 inch (0.0018 meters). In some embodiments, the depth and/or width of the channel which receives the door edge may be between about ½ inch (0.013 meters) to about 3 inches (0.08 meters), and more preferably from about ⅝ inch (0.0159 meters) to about 1¼ inch (0.0318 meters).

The member may also have at least one press-fit feature that is configured to engage the door when the edge of the door is received into the channel so as to resist removal the channel from the edge of door once received. The press-fit feature may be a barb, a knurled surface, a ridge, a fin, a rib and/or other press-fit features known in the art. Merely by way of example, a door may be pressed into a channel on a member having press-fit fins within the channel pointing away from the entrance to the channel. After the door edge is inserted into such a member, the fins may engage the door, such that any effort or circumstance that acts to remove the channel from the door will cause the fins to “bite” into the edge of the door, and hold the channel to the door. In some embodiments, glue, or some other adhesive substance, may be applied to the channel in lieu of press-fit features so as to engage the door when the edge of the door is received into the channel so as to resist removal of the channel from the edge of the door once received. In yet other embodiments, both press-fit features and glue, or some other adhesive substance, may be used to engage the door.

When the door is pressed into the channel of the member, the rigidity of the member may stiffen the overall structural integrity of the door. This may reduce the tendency of the door to warp in response to environmental factors and therefore maintain dimensions closer to its originally manufactured dimensions for a longer period of time. As will be discussed below, many doors are manufactured from lightweight and inexpensive materials. The materials tend to warp easily due to environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity. The members described provide rigidity to at least one side of such doors, preventing warping from occurring, or minimizing the effect that warping may have on the shape of the door. Additionally, the rigidity of the member, once attached to the door may reduce the amount of torsional deformation that occurs when opening or closing the door, allowing for taller doors to be employed in various building designs.

For at least a portion of the length of the member, the member may have a gap cover extending laterally away from the channel. The gap cover may be configured to cover the width of a gap between the door edge and an adjacent object, such as a door jam or other door, when the door is closed. The gap cover may be parallel to the first or second side of the member. In some embodiments the member may, for at least a portion of its length, further define a second gap cover extending laterally away from the channel. The second gap cover may be configured to cover the width of the gap between the door edge and the adjacent object, such as the door jam, on the second side of the door, when the door is closed. As discussed above, these gap covers may possibly be made using extrusion, form-casting, machining methods, fabrication techniques and/or some combination thereof. In some embodiments the width of the gap covers may be between about ¼ inch (0.006 meters) to about 1¼ inch (0.032 meters), and more preferably from about ½ inch (0.013 meters) to about 1 inch (0.025 meters).

Embodiments that employ one or two gap covers may create at least a nominal seal at the meeting of door and the adjacent object. Additionally, gap covers may serve to provide a “stop” to limit the travel arc of a hinged door. For instance, in an embodiment where a gap cover is employed on a hinged door in a set of hinged doors, the gap cover may “stop” the door from swinging inward past the closed position when the gap cover contacts the other hinged door, which is secured in a closed position by other means. In embodiments with only a single hinged door, the gap cover may “stop” the door from swinging inward past the door jam when the gap cover contacts the door jam.

For at least a portion of the length of the member, the member may also have at least one water path feature on the central section. The water path features may define a path for fluid to flow along the length of the member. In this way water may collect along the length of the water path feature and be encouraged to flow down the length of the water path feature due to gravity and the effects of the water's surface tension. The water path features may be a U-shaped groove, a V-shaped groove, a groove between two fins, an elongated bead and/or any other water path feature useful for carrying water away from an area. As discussed above, these water path features may possibly be made using extrusion, form-casting, machining methods, fabrication techniques and/or some combination thereof.

Water path features may possibly have a depth in the range from about 1/100 inch (0.0003 meters) to about ¼ inch (0.006 meters), and more preferably from about 15/1000 inch (0.0005 meters) to about 63/1000 inch (0.002 meters). Water path features may have a width in the range from about 15/1000 inch (0.0004 meters) to about ¼ inch (0.006 meters), and more preferably from about 30/1000 inch (0.0010 meters) to about ⅛ inch (0.003 meters). Furthermore, water path features may possibly have a cross-sectional area of about 7/100000 square inches (0.00045 square centimeters) to about 1/100 square inches (0.0645 square centimeters). Such dimensions may be critical to ensuring that water will drain down the member while still being small enough so as to not interfere with closing of the door on which the channel is coupled.

The gap cover or covers and the water path features may reduce the amount of moisture that may enter a building at the interface of the door and the adjacent objects around the door when closed. The gap cover or covers may reduce the amount of moisture entering the interface, and the water path feature may encourage moisture that does enter the interface to gather and flow away from the interface. Additionally, the gap covers may prevent other undesirable elements from entering the building through the interface. Solid precipitation, such as snow and hail, dirt, dust, leaves, insects and animals are just a few of the undesirable elements which may be precluded from entering the building because of the presence of gap covers.

In another embodiment, the invention provides a stabilized door. The stabilized door may consist of a door and a U-shaped member having at least some of the characteristics described above. The door may have two sides and at least one edge and may, for example, be: a sliding door; a sliding door in a set of sliding doors; a hinged door; or a single hinged door in a set of hinged doors. The door may be made out of any number of possible building materials, including but not limited to, wood, composites, metals and/or some combination thereof. Additionally, the door may also be constructed by employing numerous methods. Merely by way of example, the door may be framed from multiple pieces of different materials; framed from multiple pieces of similar materials; and/or constructed from one piece of a single material. In such an embodiment the door may be disposed in a channel on the member. The member may also have at least one press-fit feature and/or glue, or some other adhesive substance, engaging the door so as to resist removal channel from the edge of the door.

In some embodiments, the door may be made from very light siding materials. Light trim materials might then be used to add limited structural rigidity to the siding materials. In other embodiments, the door may be made from structurally insulated panels which may be foam sheets that have laminates applied to both sides of the sheets. Both of these types of doors may be structurally unsound in some respects, especially around their edges. The edges of these doors may be disposed in U-shaped members of the invention to provide reinforcement and stabilization of the door's structure.

In another embodiment, the invention provides a building with a stabilized door. The building may consist of a structure having a roof, at least two walls and a door frame. The building may, merely by way of example, be a residential building, a commercial building, an industrial building, a storage building, a temporary building, a permanent building, a site-built building, a prefabricated building, and/or a kit building. A door may be coupled with the door frame of the building, where the door is configured to provide entrance to the building, and have two sides and at least one edge.

The building may also consist of a U-shaped member having at least some of the characteristics described above. At least one edge of the door may be disposed in the channel and the member may have at least one press-fit feature and/or glue, or some other adhesive substance, engaging the door so as to resist removal of the channel from the edge of the door.

The member may have a gap cover extending laterally away from the channel, configured to cover the width of a gap between the door edge and an adjacent object, such as a door jam or other door, when the door is closed. In some embodiments the member may, for at least a portion of its length, further define a second gap cover extending laterally away from the channel. The second gap cover may be configured to cover the width of the gap between the door edge and the adjacent object on the second side of the door when the door is closed.

The building may also consist of a second U-shaped member constructed of a rigid material. The second member may have a pair of ends and a central section. The member may also have a first side and a second side which may define the two sides of the U-shape. For at least a portion of the length of the second member, the member may define a channel, and the adjacent object, such a door jam or other door, may be disposed in the channel. The second member may have at least one press-fit feature and/or glue, or some other adhesive substance, that is configured to engage the adjacent object, such as another door or a door jam, so as to resist removal of the channel from the adjacent object.

The second member may further have at least one water path feature on the central section. The water path features may define a path for fluid to flow along the length of the member.

Turning now to FIG. 1A, a partial view of one embodiment of a U-shaped member 100 is shown. FIG. 1A shows an end 110 and a central section 120 of the member 100. The other end of the member 100 is not shown so that the cross-sectional characteristics of the member 100 may be seen in greater detail. FIG. 1A also shows a first side 130 and a second side 140 of the member 100 that may define the sides of the U-shape of the member 100. The member 100 may define a channel 150 and press-fit features 160. The channel 150 in this embodiment is configured to receive the edge of a square cornered door, although other configurations are possible within the scope of the invention. Once a door is received into the channel 150, the press-fit features 160 may engage the door so as to resist removal of the channel 150 from the door. In this embodiment the press-fit features 160 are shown as sharp fins pointing in the opposite direction of the entrance to the channel 150. Other types of press-fit features 160 are possible within the scope of the invention. Some alternative types of press-fit features will be discussed below in regard to FIGS. 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F.

The member 100 may also consist of a gap cover 170 that may be parallel to the first side 130 or the second side 140 of the member 100. The gap cover 170 may serve as described above to provide at least a nominal seal at the interface of the door and an adjacent object when the door is closed. Additionally, the member 100 may also define a primary water path feature 180 and secondary water path features 185. These water path features 180, 185 serve to guide water that accumulates at the interface of the door and adjacent objects down the length of the member. Though FIG. 1A shows the member 100 having a constant cross-section, it will now be recognizable to those skilled in art that the member 100 may not have a constant cross-section and still be within the scope of the invention.

FIG. 1B shows a partial view of another embodiment 101 of the U-shaped member 100 shown in FIG. 1A that has a second gap cover 190. Besides the second gap cover 190, this embodiment 101 is substantially similar to the U-shaped member 100 in FIG. 1A.

FIG. 1C shows a partial view of another embodiment 102 of the U-shaped member 100 shown in FIG. 1A that has a reinforcement cross-section 195 running for at least a portion of the length of the U-shaped member 102. The reinforcement cross-section 195 adds rigidity to the U-shaped member 102. Those skilled in the art will now recognize that the reinforcement cross-section 195, shown as triangular in FIG. 1C, could be a variety of shapes to achieve substantially the same result of adding rigidity to the U-shaped member 102.

In FIG. 2 a partial view of a second U-shaped member 200 is shown. FIG. 2 shows an end 210 and a central section 220 of the second member 200. The other end of the second member 200 is not shown so that the cross-sectional characteristics of the second member 200 may be seen in greater detail. FIG. 2 also shows a first side 230 and a second side 240 of the second member 200 that may define the sides of the U-shape of the second member 200. Such a second member 200 may be used on objects adjacent to a door employing the first U-shaped-member 100. The adjacent objects may be, merely by way of example, a door jam or another door. The second member 200 defines a channel 250 and press-fit features 260.

The channel 250 in this embodiment is configured to receive the edge of a square cornered adjacent object, although other configurations are possible within the scope of the invention. Once an object is received into the channel 250, the press-fit features 260 may engage the object so as to resist removal of the channel 250 from the object. In this embodiment the press-fit features 260 are shown as sharp fins pointing in the opposite direction of the entrance to the channel. Other types of press-fit features 260 are possible within the scope of the invention and alternatives will be discussed below in regard to FIGS. 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F.

Additionally, the second member 200 may also define at least one water path feature 270. A water path feature 270 may serve to guide water that accumulates at the interface of the door and adjacent objects down the length of the second member 200. Furthermore, a reinforcement cross-section similar to the reinforcement cross-section 195 shown and described above in reference to FIG. 1C may also be added to the second member 200 to provide additional rigidity to the second member 200. This may be especially advantageous in embodiments where the second member 200 is used on a second door in a set of doors to increase the rigidity of the second member 200 and therefore the second door.

FIGS. 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D are cross-sectional views of the U-shaped members 100, 101, 102 and the second U-shaped member 200, respectively. FIGS. 3A, 3B, 3C, and 3D show substantially the same features as described above. Additionally, FIGS. 3A, 3B and 3C show in better detail the primary water path feature 180 and secondary water path features 185. In FIGS. 3A, 3B and 3C the primary water path feature 180 is shown as an elongated bead, and the secondary water path features 185 are shown as V-shaped grooves. In FIG. 3D the water path features 270 are shown as V-shaped grooves. Other types of water path features are possible within the scope of the invention. Some alternative types of water path features will be discussed below in regard to FIGS. 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D, 5E, 5F and 5G.

In FIGS. 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F, facial views of various possible types of press-fit features are shown. Possible press-fit features include, but are not limited to: barbs 410, knurling 420, ridges 430, blunt fins 440, sharp fins 450 and/or ribs 460. Each of these press-fit features are of the type that may be used on either the first U-shaped members 100, 101, 102 or the second U-shaped member 200 to resist removal of the members 100, 101, 102, 200 from a door or an adjacent object once disposed within the channels 150, 250. FIGS. 4AA, 4BB, 4CC, 4DD, 4EE and 4FF show side views of the above press-fit features. FIGS. 4AAA, 4BBB, 4CCC, 4DDD, 4EEE and 4FFF show front views of the above press-fit features.

In FIGS. 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D, 5E, 5F and 5G, cross-sections of various types of water path features are shown. Possible types of water features include, but are not limited to: regular V-shaped grooves 510; irregular V-shaped grooves 520; regular U-shaped grooves 530; irregular U-shaped grooves 540; grooves between regularly spaced fins 550; grooves between irregularly spaced fins 560; and an elongated bead 570. Each of these water path features are of the type that may be used the encourage water to flow down the length of the member on which they are used.

FIG. 6 shows part of a building 600 equipped with an embodiment of the invention. A door 610 and a part of the building that abuts the edge of the door 620 are shown. The part of the building that abuts the edge of the door 620 could be, merely by way of example, a door jam, a sliding door, or swinging door. The door 610 is shown disposed within U-shaped member 100. Details of the U-shaped member 100 have been omitted in FIG. 6 for the sake of clarity, and are described more fully with reference to FIG. 1A. The part of the building that abuts the edge of the door 620 is shown disposed within a second U-shaped member 200. Details of the second U-shaped member 200 have been omitted in FIG. 6 for the sake of clarity, and are shown in FIG. 2. Observing FIG. 6, it may be seen how using the rigid members 100 and 200 may reinforce the door 610 and abutting edge of the building 620 so as to make each resistant to operational and warping stresses. Also, the gap cover on U-shaped member 100 covers the gap between the two doors, thereby hindering any fluids from passing through the doors, thereby prolonging the life of the doors and the building and protecting the contents thereof. Further, if any fluids do manage to seep in, the fluids may be directed downward through the water path features as described herein. In this way, fluids are hindered from coming inside a building or reaching the back side of the door. The gap cover may prevent other undesirable elements from entering the building. As discussed above, solid precipitation, such as snow and hail, dirt, dust, leaves, insects and animals are just a few undesirable elements which may be precluded from entering the building because of the gap cover.

In FIG. 7 an embodiment of the invention is shown containing a building 700 and an entryway 710 into the building. The building may consist of at least a side wall 720, a front wall 730 and a roof 740. The entryway 710 may be equipped with a door 750. The door 750 may further be disposed within U-shaped member 100. Details of the U-shaped member 100 have been omitted in FIG. 7 for the sake of clarity and are described with reference to FIG. 1A. A portion of the door jam of the building 700 is shown disposed within second U-shaped member 200. Details of the second U-shaped member 200 have been omitted in FIG. 7 for the sake of clarity, and are described in connection with FIG. 2. As shown in FIG. 7, U-shaped members 100 and 200 serve to reinforce the door 750 and door jam of the building 700 so as to allow for taller doors to be employed than constructions without such reinforcing members. The rigid U-shaped member 100 reinforces the door 750, making it more rigid and allowing for less deformation, due to operational and warping stresses, of the original shape of the door 750. Furthermore, the gap cover may prevent fluids from coming inside the building, while the water path features serve to direct any fluid downward and away from the door. Additionally, the gap cover may prevent other undesirable elements from entering the building. As discussed above, solid precipitation, such as snow and hail, dirt, dust, leaves, insects and animals are just a few undesirable elements which may be precluded from entering the building because of the gap cover. FIG. 8 is an embodiment of the invention, similar to that shown in FIG. 7, except having a building 800 with a set of double doors 750, 810. In this embodiment, the U-shaped member 200 is used to reinforce the second door 810 in the set of double doors.

The invention has now been described in detail for purposes of clarity and understanding. However, it will be appreciated that certain changes and modifications may be practiced within the scope of the appended claims.





 
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