Title:
Gutter structure and method of making
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gutter enhancing device having a slot for a decorative insert. A gutter without a slot for a decorative insert onto which a decorative strip can be attached with an adhesive, or by another method, such as, for example, ultrasonic welding. A gutter endcap that can cover a gutter end and provide esthetic continuity with gutter façade.

A process for manufacture of gutters with decorative inserts by extruding a gutter with a slot for receiving and holding a decorative member; and injection moulding, blow forming, or thermoforming a decorative member configured and invented to slide into said slot. Further, a process for roll-forming of gutters, or other devices, such as, for example, an indoor moulding, from rolled metal sheets.




Inventors:
Sullivan, Brian (Torrington, CT, US)
Application Number:
09/815505
Publication Date:
07/26/2001
Filing Date:
03/23/2001
Assignee:
SULLIVAN BRIAN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/12
International Classes:
E04D13/064; E04D13/076; E04D13/158; (IPC1-7): E04D13/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HANSEN, JAMES ORVILLE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
K&L Gates LLP - New York (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A gutter, comprising: a) an elongated channel defining member; b) an elongated slot dispose on said channel defining member; and c) a decorative insert dimensioned and configured to slide into said elongated slot.

2. A gutter cover, comprising: a) gutter cover body which snaps over an existing gutter; b) slot dispose on said over body for receiving and holding a decorative insert; and c) a decorative insert.

3. A gutter façade, comprising: a) a gutter cover body mountable on an existing gutter; b) a slot on said cover body for receiving and holding a decorative insert; and c) a façade lip that forms a façade channel for receiving an holding a leaf screen.

4. A decorative insert, for a façade according to claim 9, 10, or 12, comprising: a) a decorative front; b) an upper slide-in margin a top portion of which is bent away from decorative front; and c) a lower slide-in margin a bottom portion of which is bent away from decorative front.

5. A decorative insert, for a façade according to claim 9, 10, or 12, comprising: a) a decorative front; b) an upper slide-in edge; and c) a lower slide-in edge.

6. A gutter endcap, comprising: a) a gripper lip for fitting over and securely gripping an end of decorative façade; and b) a cap body for covering gutter end.

7. A method of improving the appearance and or performance of an existing gutter system comprising the step of: a) applying a gutter enhancement device having ornamental features.

8. A process for manufacture of gutters with decorative inserts, comprising the steps of: a) extruding a gutter with a slot for receiving a decorative member; b) injection moulding, blow forming, or thermoforming a decorative member configured and invention to slide into said slot; and c) an indoor moulding manufactured according to steps a) and b) and comprising an elongated decorative moulding dimensioned and configured to fit into a corner of a room, formed by ceiling and wall.

9. A process for roll-forming of gutters from rolled metal sheets, comprising the steps of: a) rolling a metal sheet to give said metal sheet a pre-stamped design along their length; and b) rolling said metal sheet to form said metal sheet into the form of a gutter.

10. The method as in claim 13 to wherein said method is carried but after transporting a roll forming device on-site, and said process is carried out by roll-forming on-site in accordance with the particular dimension needed for a particular job.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to methods for making rain gutters and products resulting from said methods. The inventive rain gutters have decorative features.

BACKGROUND

[0002] The present invention relates to a gutter cover and/or shield which is applied to an existing gutter system. The present invention improves the performance and aesthetic quality of the existing gutter. In addition, the present invention also provides a method for extruding polymer gutters and gutter decorative systems. Furthermore, the present invention provides a method for roll-forming of metal gutters and gutter decorative systems.

[0003] Typically, a gutter system comprises a gutter trough constructed out of a single or multiple sections and appropriately placed down spouts.

[0004] Gutters are generally secured to the fascia board of a building. The materials which comprise the roof of the building are positioned to overhang the fascia board, whereby rain and/or melting snow runs off of the roof and into the gutter.

[0005] The gutter trough generally comprises an elongated channel section which is positioned just below the overhang of the first course of roofing material. The gutter is positioned to receive the water runoff and channel it away from the building.

[0006] The majority of gutter systems currently in use are modular systems constructed out of a lightweight aluminum, copper, steel and in some cases plastic. As these systems begin to age through exposure to various environmental conditions such as, excessive heat, excessive cold, and various precipitations they become unsightly, inefficient and ultimately inoperative. In addition, and as the system ages, it becomes susceptible to molds and other intrusions which adhere themselves to the gutter system.

[0007] Also, older aluminum gutter systems become pitted and rusted from exposure to the elements. The pitting and rusting of an existing gutter system, especially at the seam or joint between two gutter troughs, may cause leaks and seriously affect the efficiency of the system.

[0008] Moreover, such pitting and rusting makes it practically impossible to paint the gutter in order to improve its appearance.

[0009] Accordingly, and as a gutter system ages the performance and overall appearance of the system is adversely affected. Moreover, most gutter systems are painted white which further enhances the problem of unsightly blemishes on the gutter facade.

[0010] Present gutters are usually manufactured according to standardized formats. As a result, transportation of such premanufactured gutters is usually cumbersome. In addition, premanufactured rain gutters do not fit onto many custom built homes and therefore have to be adjusted accordingly.

[0011] Furthermore, it is often the case that the customer may change his or her mind right before installation making it more difficult to transport the gutter back and forth to accommodate the exchange. Moreover, sometimes the transaction is unnecessarily delayed because the installer has to measure the building, manufacture, and come back to install the gutter.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] An object of present invention is to provide a unitary gutter enhancement device which improves the appearance and performance of an existing gutter.

[0013] Another object of present invention is to provide an economical means for repairing an existing gutter system.

[0014] Another object of present invention is to provide an economical means for changing the overall appearance of an existing gutter system.

[0015] Another object of present invention is to provide a modular system for use with an existing gutter which improves the efficiency and appearance of the same.

[0016] Still another object of present invention is to provide a rain gutter and indoor moulding structures which are easier and less expensive to manufacture than injection molded rain gutters.

[0017] Yet another object of present invention is to provide a process for extruding rain gutters and gutter decorative systems.

[0018] Still yet another object of present invention is to provide a process for roll-forming of rain gutters and gutter decorative systems, which can be transported to the site and performed on-site.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a rain gutter constructed in accordance with the present invention and consisting of a main gutter body and a decorative insert;

[0020] FIG. 2 is a schematic cross-sectional representation of the rain gutter of FIG. 1 positioned on a house;

[0021] FIG. 3 is a form plate with a form hole for extruding a part useful in making the inventive rain gutter;

[0022] FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of an extrusion apparatus with the form plate in its functional position and extruding a length of rain gutter constructed in accordance with the present invention;

[0023] FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of an inventive rain gutter constructed in accordance with the second embodiment of the present invention, illustrating the main gutter body and a decorative strip;

[0024] FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the inventive rain gutter with a gutter façade constructed in accordance with the third embodiment of the present invention and the decorative insert; and a perspective view of a decorative insert;

[0025] FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing the insertion of the decorative insert into its final position in a slot on the gutter assembly illustrated in FIGS. 6a and 6b;

[0026] FIG. 8 is a schematic representation of a rolled metal sheet being roll-formed into a rain gutter constructed in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the present invention;

[0027] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a rain gutter roll-formed from the rolled metal sheet using the process illustrated in FIG. 8;

[0028] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an indoor moulding constructed in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0029] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment a gutter façade constructed in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0030] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a decorative insert adapted to be used in the gutter façade illustrated in FIG. 11;

[0031] FIG. 13 is a perspective view showing the insertion of the decorative insert illustrated in FIG. 12 into position in a slot on the gutter façade illustrated in FIG. 11;

[0032] FIG. 14 is a plan view of a right gutter endcap in accordance with the present invention;

[0033] FIG. 15 is a right hand end elevation view of the gutter endcap illustrated in FIG. 14; and

[0034] FIG. 16 is a perspective view of another embodiment of decorative insert in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0035] A rain gutter assembly 1 constructed in accordance with the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1. Gutter assembly 1 comprises a gutter 10. Gutter 10 defines a slot 12 for receiving and holding a decorative insert 14.

[0036] Gutter 10 comprises a gutter back 16. A gutter bottom 18 on gutter 10 is positioned at a ninety degree angle with respect to gutter back 16 of gutter 10. Gutter bottom 18 is integral with gutter back 16. A gutter front 20, which also forms part of gutter 10, is integral with gutter bottom 18 of gutter 10, and extends from gutter bottom 18 at an angle greater than ninety degrees. A leaf screen receiving channel 22 is defined by gutter front 20. Portions 21, 23, 25 and 27 extends from gutter front 20 at an angle of, for example, about ninety degrees to form channel 22.

[0037] Gutter front 20 of gutter 10 has slot 12 for receiving and holding the decorative insert 14. Slot 12 is defined by a lower slide-in rail 26 and an upper slide-in rail 28.

[0038] Rain gutter 10 and all its parts is made of extruded polymer. The polymer used can be polyvinyl chloride, high impact polystyrene, an acrylic polymer, or copolymer, or other suitable synthetic polymer material. Rain gutter 10 can have varying coloration by changing the color of the materials used to fabricate the polymerized polymer mixtures extruded by the extruder making gutter 10 and the injection moulding device used to mold decorative insert 14.

[0039] Decorative insert 14 is held in its functional position in slot 12 of gutter 10. Lower slide-in rail 26 of slot 12 receives and holds a lower slide-in edge 34 of decorative insert 14. Upper slide-in rail 28 receives and holds an upper slide-in edge 36 on the decorative insert 14. When the back 30 of decorative insert 14 is touching gutter front 20 of gutter 10, as illustrated FIG. 1, decorative insert 14 displays its decorative front 32.

[0040] Decorative insert 14 can be manufactured using the same polymer material, high impact polystyrene, or other material as used in the manufacture of gutter 10. The coloration of the decorative insert 14 can be changed by changing the color of the Polymer used to make the various component parts.

[0041] Even after the gutter has been installed, decorative insert 14 may be replaced by another decorative insert (not illustrated) with a different decoration, coloration, pattern, and/or a combination of these. The decorative insert 14 can be placed in position by sliding the decorative insert into the slot 12 of gutter 10 and replaced by sliding one decorative insert 14 out and sliding another decorative insert 14 into place of the previous decorative insert 14. In this matter, the appearance of the gutter can be made attractive and easily changed to suit the style or whim of the owner.

[0042] Decorative insert 14 can be replaced at any time as desired. The replacement of decorative insert 14 is a procedure designed to be performed by any person with average manual dexterity and with no special skills. Decorative insert 14 can be replaced while gutter 10 is positioned on the building. There is no need to remove or replace any other part when one wants to replace decorative insert 14.

[0043] Turning now to FIG. 2, which schematically shows how the rain gutter 10 is attached to a fascia board 38 of a house 40. Gutter 10 is held in its functional position by having gutter back 16 securely attached to fascia board 38 of house 40. In this position gutter front 10 faces outward and displays decorative insert 14, which is held in its functional position in and by slot 12.

[0044] Where gutter 10 is so positioned on fascia board 38 of building 40 as to receive runoff water from shingles 42, which make up a roof 44. A leaf screen 46 is positioned over the gutter volume 24. One edge of the leaf screen 46 rests on top of the fascia board 38 just below the last shingle 42. The other edge of the leaf screen 46 rests in the leaf screen receiving channel 22 of rain gutter 10.

[0045] Runoff water 47 in from rain or melting snow flows down shingles 42 and into gutter volume 24 of gutter 10, where it collects in a stream 49. Guided by gutter bottom 18, the stream 49 of runoff water is diverted to a leader and away from house 40. Leaf screen 46 protects gutter 10 from clogging. Leaf screen 46 prevents leaves and other debris from entering volume 24 and being entrained within runoff water stream 49. As is well-known, leaves and debris, if they enter rain gutter 10 will tend to clog debris filters and, possibly, also leaders and, ultimately, the gutter 10 itself. Thus, in accordance with the present invention, rain gutters, which are a functional and needed device for any homeowner, are made attractive. The present invention thus also fills the gap between functionality of rain gutters 10 and their presentability by having decorative insert 14 on rain gutter 10.

[0046] Turning now to FIG. 3, an extrusion die 48 with a slot 50 for extruding a gutter profile is illustrated. Extrusion die 48 is typically made of metal to withstand the heat and forces of extrusion. Slot 50 can have varying shape to resemble a desired shape for gutter 10.

[0047] A back extrusion slot portion 52 is included in extrusion die 48 for extruding gutter back 16. A bottom front slot portion 54 is included in slot 50 for extruding the bottom portion of gutter front 20. A front channel slot portion 56 is provided for extruding portion 27 of channel 22. A back channel slot portion 58 serves the purpose of extruding portion 23 of channel 22.

[0048] An extrusion apparatus 60 is shown in FIG. 4. Extrusion apparatus 60 has an hopper 62 for receiving, holding, and feeding Polymer, during the extrusion of gutter 10. Extrusion die 48, illustrated in FIG. 3, is positioned at the end of hopper 62 and is held against die support 64.

[0049] Extrusion die 48 is held in its functional position as illustrated FIG. 4. Pressure is applied to the Polymer melt 67 causing it to feed through extrusion die 48. Under directed pressure Polymer melt 67 is pushed through extrusion slot 50. As the Polymer melt comes through extrusion slot 50 it takes on the form of extrusion hole 50. After the Polymer melt passes through extrusion slot 50, it takes and retains the form of rain gutter 10.

[0050] In connection with this, it is noted that the shape of rain gutter 10 is selected in such a way that it can be extruded. This is in contrast to the shape of decorative insert 14, which has a pattern 69 pressed into it. Accordingly, decorative insert 14 must be injection molded. However the cost of injection moulding decorative insert 14 and extruding gutter 10 is substantially below the cost of injection moulding a gutter with a decorative face.

[0051] When the Polymer melt passes through slot portion 52 it becomes gutter back 16. When the Polymer melt passes through slot portion 54, it becomes gutter front 20. When the Polymer melt passes through slot portion 56, it becomes portion 27 of channel 22. When the Polymer melt passes through slot portion 58, it becomes portion 23 of channel 22.

[0052] In accordance with an alternative embodiment, channel 22 can be eliminated at the gutter form by blow moulding the gutter to include decorative embossings.

[0053] In subsequent embodiments, parts performing the same or analogous functions are numbered with numbers which are a multiple of 100 greater than the corresponding or analogous parts in the FIG. 1 embodiment.

[0054] Another embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 5. Rain gutter 110 having all its parts as shown in FIG. 1, namely gutter back 116, gutter bottom 118, gutter front 120, and leaf screen receiving channel 122 with portions 121, 123, 125, and 127. However, there is no slot 112 for receiving and holding decorative insert 114. In this embodiment gutter front 120 is flat and without slot 112. Decorative strip 114 is permanently attached to gutter front 120, using glue or any other similar method, thus resulting in displaying strip front 102.

[0055] Decorative strip 114 can be attached to gutter 110 with an adhesive or by ultrasonic welding. The back 104 of the decorative strip attaches to gutter front 120 displaying strip front 102 which has a decorative design 106.

[0056] Gutter 110 can be manufactured using injection moulding techniques, which are well-known and form no part of this invention. In addition, decorative strip 104 can be attached to that existing rain gutter.

[0057] Yet another embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 6. Rain gutter 210 is decorated with a gutter façade member 200, which has a slot 202 for receiving and holding decorative insert 214. Rain gutter 210 may be a product specially manufactured to go with gutter façade 200, or make gutter 210 may be an existing rain gutter with better façade 200 being retrofitted as an aftermarket product.

[0058] In accordance with this embodiment of the present invention gutter front 220 and gutter bottom 218 of gutter 210 are completely covered by gutter façade member 200. Gutter back 216 is attached to fascia board 238 of building 240.

[0059] Gutter façade member 200 snaps onto gutter 210 and is held in its functional position when a top façade grip 206 is snapped onto the leaf screen receiving channel 222 and a bottom façade grip 208 is wedged between gutter back 216 and fascia board 238. When gutter façade member 200 is snapped onto gutter 210 a façade back 211 is facing and is touching gutter front 220 and the inside of a façade bottom 212 is facing and is touching gutter bottom 218.

[0060] Gutter façade member 200 can be manufactured in the same fashion as the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 1, by extrusion method shown in FIG. 4. Form plate 48 shown in FIG. 3 can have varying extrusion slots 50 for extruding different gutters and gutter façades. Gutter façade member 200 can be manufactured using the polymer described above. Gutter façade member 200 can therefore have varying coloration as the color of the polymer melt can be changed.

[0061] Once gutter façade member 200 is attached to gutter 210 decorative insert 204 can be inserted into slot 202 for decoration.

[0062] FIG. 7 shows how decorative insert 204 is inserted into slot 202 of gutter façade 200 of rain gutter 10. Similar to the FIG. 1 embodiment, decorative insert 204 is held in its functional position in slot 202. Lower slide-in rail 214 of slot 202 receives and holds lower slide-in edge 216 of decorative insert 204. Upper slide-in rail 218 receives and holds upper slide-in edge 220 of decorative insert 202. With insert back 222 of decorative insert 202 up against a slot 224 of gutter façade 200, decorative insert 202 displays its decorative front 226.

[0063] Decorative insert 202 can be manufactured using the same polymer as used in the manufacture of gutter façade 200. The coloration of decorative insert 202 can be adjusted during its manufacture by changing the color of Polymer. Decorative inserts 202 for the third embodiment can be prefabricated off site, rolled up, and stored for compact packaging and transportation. The installer, whether a professional or a homeowner, can install decorative insert 202 onto gutter façade member 200 without any special skill or training.

[0064] Yet still another embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 8. A rolled metal sheet 300 is provided for being roll-formed into a rain gutter 10. As shown in FIG. 8, rolled metal sheet 300, after roll-forming, is formed into a rain gutter 310.

[0065] This embodiment of the present invention is an economical alternative to installation of pre-formed rain gutters. Rolled metal sheet 300 can be transported to the site in its rolled form eliminating the problems associated with transportation of bulky odd-sized objects, and because of the gutters are rolled formed on-site, there is almost 100 percent economy in the use of the sheet metal.

[0066] The forming of gutter 310 occurs on the site. Roll-forming on-site can be convenient for the homeowner and the installer. The homeowner has the freedom to choose the shape of the new rain gutter 310 on-site. The installer then roll-forms gutter 310 accommodating the homeowner's design wishes and in accordance with the particular dimensions of the present house.

[0067] In FIG. 9 rain gutter 310 is shown after it has been roll-formed from rolled metal sheet 300 shown in FIG. 8. At the same time a decorative embossing 314 is embossed into the gutter has it is being formed.

[0068] Turning now to FIG. 10. Yet another embodiment of the present invention is illustrated. In this case, an indoor moulding 400 constructed in accordance with the method of the present invention is illustrated. Indoor moulding 400 is held in its functional position in a corner 402 of a rolled, formed by ceiling 404 and wall 406. Moulding 400 is held in position by a screw 408 or any other similarly functioning device, or through the use of glue.

[0069] Indoor moulding 400 can be manufactured using polymer by being blow formed. The coloration of the indoor moulding 400 can be varied by changing the color of the Polymer. The shape of the indoor moulding 400 can be varied by changing the shape of blow mold used in the fabrication process.

[0070] Indoor moulding 400 can also be manufactured using rolled metal sheets in a process similar to that illustrated in FIG. 8 by roll forming on site. The shape of indoor moulding 400 can be adjusted on site in accordance with the particular dimensions of a room in the house.

[0071] Indoor moulding 400 is held in its functional position between ceiling 404 and wall 406, thus displaying moulding front 410, which features a decorative design.

[0072] Yet another embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 11. A gutter façade 500 has a bottom façade grip 502 and a façade bottom 504. Facade 500 has a slot 506 for receiving and holding decorative insert (not illustrated), which is defined by a lower slide-in rail 510 and an upper slide-in rail 512 and constitutes approximately one half of the height of a façade front 514. Gutter façade 500 has an upper façade grip 516 and a façade cap 518, which forms a façade channel 520 for receiving and holding a leaf screen. All façade 500 parts are identical and continuous through the length of façade 500.

[0073] Gutter façade 500 may be manufactured and sold as a component of or an accessory to a new rain gutter (not illustrated), or façade 500 may be retrofitted as an aftermarket product, for fitting to existing new or installed rain gutters.

[0074] In accordance with this embodiment of the present invention the gutter bottom, the gutter front and the leaf screen receiving channel of the rain gutter (not illustrated) can be completely covered by gutter façade 500. When façade 500 is held in its functional position, upper façade grip 516 covers the rain gutter leaf screen receiving channel making it inaccessible for receiving and holding the leaf screen. To solve this problem, gutter façade 500 is provided with an upper façade grip 516, which forms a façade channel 520 that can, in its turn, receive and hold the leaf screen.

[0075] Gutter façade 500 snaps onto the gutter and is held in its functional position (as illustrated in FIG. 6) when a top façade grip 516 is snapped onto the leaf screen receiving channel and a bottom façade grip 502 is wedged between the gutter back and the fascia board. When gutter façade 500 is snapped onto the rain gutter a façade back 522 is facing and is touching the gutter front and the inside of a façade bottom 524 is facing and is touching the gutter bottom. For additional grip a façade bottom 804 can have an adhesive strip 525. Adhesive strip 525 can be attached to a pre manufactured gutter façade 500 so that the installer can peel off an adhesive guard 527 thus exposing an adhesive surface 529. Adhesive surface 529, when exposed, attaches to gutter bottom (not shown).

[0076] Gutter façade 500 can be manufactured in a similar fashion to the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 1, by extrusion method shown in FIG. 4. Form plate 48 shown in FIG. 3 can have various extrusion slots 50 for extruding different gutters and gutter façades. Gutter façade 500 can be manufactured from a suitable polymer material as described above. Gutter façade 500 can have any desired color by suitably pigmenting the polymer melt, or coating the façade 500.

[0077] Gutter façade 500 can also be manufactured using rolled metal sheets in a process similar to that illustrated in FIG. 8 by roll forming on site. The shape or proportions of gutter façade 500 can be adjusted on site in accordance with the particular dimensions of the house.

[0078] Some exemplary, non-limiting dimensions for gutter façade 500 include a façade bottom 504 measuring in depth, for example, about 5 cm (about 2 in) from lower slide-in rail 510 to bottom façade grip 502. Facade front 514 can measure in height, for example, about 6 cm (about 3 in). Façade front 514 extends from façade bottom 504 at an angle, for example, of about 108°. Gutter façade 500 can have varying length if it will be manufactured on site. If façade 500 is pre manufactured off site, it can measure, for example, approximately 3 m.

[0079] Once gutter façade 500 is attached to the rain gutter the decorative insert can be inserted into and drawn along slot 506 for decoration.

[0080] Turning now to FIG. 12, yet another embodiment of the present invention comprises a decorative insert 600. Decorative insert 600 has an upper slide-in margin 602. A small portion 604, or lip, of upper slide-in margin 602 is bent away at angle from a decorative front 606. Similarly, a small portion 608 of a lower slide-in margin 610 of decorative insert 600, is bent away at angle from decorative front 606. A middle portion 612 of decorative insert 600 features decoration 614, which can take any desired esthetic or structural form and may be coated, overlaid, engraved or relief. Preferably, however, decoration 614 is molded into insert 600. For example, portions 616, 618, and 620 of the illustrated cross-section of insert 600 outline decorative design elements of decoration such as 614.

[0081] Decorative insert 600 can be manufactured using the similar polymer material to that used in the manufacture of the gutter façade, for example, by blow forming, injection molding, thermoforming, or other suitable technique. The color of decorative insert 600 can be determined during manufacture by selecting the color of the polymer. The length of insert 600 can, for example, be 5 m. Such decorative insert 600 designed and constructed in accordance with the present invention can be prefabricated off site, rolled up, and stored for compact packaging and transportation. The installer, whether a professional or a homeowner, can install decorative insert 600 onto the gutter façade without any special skill or training, for example, as described with reference to FIG. 13.

[0082] FIG. 13 shows how decorative insert 600 can be inserted into a slot 622 of a gutter façade 624 mounded on a rain gutter. Similar to the FIG. 6 embodiment, decorative insert 600 is held in its functional position in slot 622. A lower slide-in rail 626 of slot 622 receives and holds lower slide-in margin 610 of decorative insert 600. An upper slide-in rail 628 receives and holds upper slide-in margin 602 of decorative insert 600. With insert back 630 of decorative insert 600 up against slot 622 of gutter façade 624, decorative insert 600 displays its decorative front 632.

[0083] Decorative insert 600 can be inserted into a slot 622 and pulled along the entire length of gutter façade 624. Such positioning ensures that the decorative front 632 of insert 600 is displayed along the entire length of gutter façade 624 that extends along the dimensions of a house. Decorative insert 600 can be manufactured on site and its length then will be determined by the length of gutter façade 624. Decorative insert 600 can also be pre manufactured off site and inserted into slot 622 of gutter façade 624 on site, in this case the length of decorative insert 600 can be adjusted by manually cutting the strip (not shown) of decorative insert 600 to match the length of slot 622 of gutter façade 624. Small portion 604 of upper slide-in margin 602 and small portion 608 of lower slide-in margin 610 are bent to ensure a tighter fit along the entire length of decorative insert 600 in slot 622 for improved resilience.

[0084] Yet still another embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 14 and 15. A gutter endcap 700 has a cap body 702 and a gripper lip 704. Gripper lip 704 of endcap 700 is integral with cap body 702. Gripper lip 704 preferably extends from cap body 702 at an angle of about ninety degrees. Endcap 700 is designed for gripper lip 704 to fit over and securely grip an end of decorative façade. Right gutter endcap 700 (shown) is a mirror image of left gutter endcap (not shown).

[0085] In one preferred embodiment, an end side 706 of endcap 700 can measure approximately 9 cm. A top end 708 of endcap 700 can measure approximately 10 cm. A bottom end 710 of endcap 700 can measure approximately 10 cm.

[0086] Gutter endcap 700 is held in its functional position by snapping onto the end of rain gutter. Gutter endcap 700 fits over an existing or original equipment gutter end, to mask it and provide esthetic continuity with decorative façade.

[0087] Gutter endcap 700 can be manufactured using the same polymer material as used in the manufacture of the gutter façade. Gutter endcap 700 can be manufactured using a suitable polymer by being blow formed, injection molded, or thermoformed. The coloration of endcap 700 can be adjusted during its manufacture by changing the color of polymer. Such gutter endcap 700 designed and constructed in accordance with the present invention can be prefabricated off site and stored for compact packaging and transportation. The installer, whether a professional or a homeowner, can install gutter endcap 700 onto the gutter without any special skill or training.

[0088] FIG. 16 shows another embodiment of the present invention. A decorative insert 800 has an upper slide-in edge 802, a back side 804, a lower slide-in edge 806, and an insert front 808 featuring various decorative designs illustrated by portions 810, 812, and 814.

[0089] Decorative insert 800 is held in its functional position in the slot for receiving and holding decorative inserts as shown in FIG. 36.

[0090] Decorative insert 800 can be manufactured using the same polymer material as used in the manufacture of the gutter façade. Decorative insert 800 can be manufactured using polymer by being blow formed, injection molded, or thermoformed. The coloration of decorative insert 800 can be adjusted during its manufacture by changing the color of the polymer. Such decorative insert 800 designed and constructed in accordance with the present invention can be prefabricated off site, rolled up, and stored for compact packaging and transportation. The installer, whether a professional or a homeowner, can install decorative insert 800 onto the gutter façade member or, for example, a gutter with preformed slot, without any special skill or training.

[0091] As previously contemplated, one embodiment of decorative insert 800, can have a total length of about 150 cm (about 5 ft). The height of insert back 804, from upper slide-in margin 802 to lower slide-in margin 806, can be about 58 cm (1.9 ft). The depth of upper slide-in margin 802 and lower slide-in margin 806 can be about 12.5 cm (about 5 in) from an edge of insert 800 to insert front 808.

[0092] While an illustrative embodiment of the invention has been disclosed, it is understood that various modifications will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. Such modifications are within the spirit and scope of the invention, which is limited and defined only by the appended claims.