Title:
Hybrid gutter guard
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The gutter guard, having regions of expanded and solid metal, is substantially planar without bends or angular inclinations between regions. When installed, the inner edge can lie underneath the last row of shingles on a roof. The outer portion will engage the uppermost outer flange of the gutter. Furthermore, the guard can include a downwardly depending dam. Additionally, a coarse coating can be applied to the gutter guard. This new gutter guard minimizes the debris that enters a gutter while maximizing the water inflow into the gutter.



Inventors:
Smith, Jeffrey E. (Alpharetta, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/829748
Publication Date:
10/27/2005
Filing Date:
04/22/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04D13/00; E04D13/076; (IPC1-7): E04D13/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
A, PHI DIEU TRAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MORRIS, MANNING & MARTIN, LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
1. A gutter guard adapted for mounting on a sloping roof having shingles arranged horizontally with extending overlapping rows, comprising: an inner edge portion that is positionable under a lowest row of shingles; solid metal regions and expanded metal regions extending from the inner edge portion; a final solid metal region, extending from the solid metal regions and expanded metal regions, that includes a downwardly depending dam; an outer edge portion extending from the final solid metal region for engagement with an uppermost outer edge of a gutter; and the gutter guard forming a substantially planar structure both before and after installation.

2. The gutter guard in claim 1, further including a coarse paint material covering at least a portion of an exterior surface of the gutter guard.

3. The gutter guard in claim 1, wherein the outer edge portion is attached to the upper outermost edge of the gutter with a fastener.

4. The gutter guard of claim 3, wherein the fastener includes at least one screw.

5. The gutter guard of claim 3, wherein the fastener includes at least one nail or rivet.

6. The gutter guard of claim 1, wherein the outer edge portion includes an expanded metal, integral S-shaped, engagement member.

7. The gutter guard of claim 1, wherein the regions of solid metal and expanded metal are each of a uniform width.

8. The gutter guard of claim 1, wherein the inner edge portion is a first expanded metal region.

9. A gutter guard adapted for mounting on a sloping roof having shingles arranged horizontally with extending overlapping rows, comprising: an inner edge portion that is positionable under a lowest row of shingles; solid metal regions and expanded metal regions extending from the inner edge portion; a final solid metal region extending from the solid metal regions and expanded metal regions that includes a downwardly depending dam; an outer edge portion extending from the final solid metal region for engagement with an uppermost outer edge of a gutter; the gutter guard forming a substantially planar structure both before and after installation; and a coarse paint material covering at least a portion of an exterior surface of the gutter guard.

10. The gutter guard in claim 9, wherein the outer edge portion is attached to the upper outermost edge of the gutter with a fastener.

11. The gutter guard of claim 9, wherein the fastener includes at least one screw.

12. The gutter guard of claim 9, wherein the fastener includes at least one nail or rivet.

13. The gutter guard of claim 9, wherein the outer edge portion includes an expanded metal, integral S-shaped, engagement member.

14. The gutter guard of claim 9, wherein the regions of solid metal and expanded metal are each of a uniform width.

15. The gutter guard of claim 9, wherein the inner edge portion is a first expanded metal region.

16. A gutter guard adapted for mounting on a sloping roof having shingles arranged horizontally with extending overlapping rows, comprising: an inner edge portion of a first expanded metal region that is positionable under a lowest row of shingles; alternating regions of solid metal regions and additional expanded metal regions extending from the first expanded metal region; a final solid metal region extending from the alternating regions that includes a downwardly depending dam; an outer edge portion extending from the final solid metal region for engagement with an uppermost outer edge of a gutter; the outer edge portion comprising an expanded metal, integral S-shaped, engagement member; and the gutter guard forming a substantially planar structure both before and after installation.

17. The gutter guard in claim 16, further comprising a coarse paint material covering at least a portion of an exterior surface of the gutter guard.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates generally to the field of gutter protectors and, more particularly, to a gutter guard having regions of expanded metal and regions of solid metal to direct rain water into a gutter while preventing leaves and other debris from entering the gutter.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Clogged gutters can cause rain water to over-flow a gutter system and result in damage to the building and foundation. Thus, a clogged gutter can defeat the very purpose of the gutter system. Additionally, clogged gutters can trap water creating an ideal mosquito nesting ground. Accordingly, there have been numerous attempts to prevent debris form entering and clogging a gutter system.

Necessarily, gutter shields must allow rainwater to enter the gutter while preventing the entry of debris. Mesh covers are effective for enabling significant water penetration into the gutter system, but such covers also allow a large amount of debris such as pine needles to enter the gutter system. Depending on the installation, solid plates can minimize entry of debris, but generally cannot handle more than moderate amounts of rainwater. Additionally, solid plate covers typically require special brackets and may require remounting of the gutter. Consequently, combinations of mesh regions and solid plate regions have been developed.

An apparatus and method of manufacturing sheet having regions of expanded metal and regions of solid (non-expanded) metal are described in the U.S. Pat. No. 6,629,016 for “Apparatus and Method of Manufacturing Expanded Sheet Metal” issued on Sep. 30, 2003, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety. The methods and processes described therein can be utilized to create a hybrid gutter guard that has expanded metal regions and non-expanded metal regions.

Despite advances, improvements to gutter protectors are constantly being sought. An improved gutter protector needs regions of expanded metal to allow significant amount of water to enter the gutter and regions of solid metal to minimize the entry of leaves and other debris from entering the gutter. In order to facilitate water collection, an installed gutter guard needs to have a downward slope that is sufficient to let water in, but not too steep to cause significant water run-off. In addition, an installed gutter guard should be substantially planar, without major bends or protrusions, to allow debris to easily slide off and not be trapped. Furthermore, a gutter guard needs to be sturdy and not bend under the weight of any accumulated debris. Finally, an effective commercially viable guard needs to be inexpensive and easily installed. A need exists for an improved gutter protector that encompasses these features.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is an improved gutter guard with regions of expanded metal and regions of solid metal that allow significant amount of water to enter the gutter while preventing leaves and other debris from entering the gutter.

The improved gutter guard is a substantially planar structure that can mount at one side under the lowest row of shingles on a sloping roof having shingles arranged horizontally with a plurality of extending overlapping rows. On the other side, the gutter guard engages with an uppermost outer edge of a gutter. This substantially planar structure has a slight downward slope that facilitates water collection into the gutter, while still allowing debris to easily slide off of the gutter guard system.

In a preferred embodiment, the gutter guard has an inner edge portion made of expanded metal that is placed under a lowest row of shingles. Extending from the first expanded metal region are regions of solid metal and expanded metal. A downwardly depending dam protrudes down from a final solid metal region. The dam prevents water from adhering to the bottom of the gutter guard and cascading over the gutter without falling into the gutter. An outer edge portion attaches the gutter guard to an upper outermost edge of the gutter. The gutter can attach to the gutter with fasteners such as screws, nails, or the like. Alternatively, the gutter guard can be manufactured with a final expanded metal region that is bent into an integral S-shaped engagement member that can sit over or snap onto the uppermost outer flange of a gutter. Additionally, the entire gutter guard can be coated with a coarse paint material to maximize the surface tension of the gutter guard system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Benefits and further features of the present invention will be apparent from a detailed description of preferred embodiment thereof taken in conjunction with the following drawings, wherein like elements are referred to with like reference numbers:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an installed gutter guard system showing one embodiment of a gutter guard.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an installed gutter guard system showing another gutter guard embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a top and front view of the gutter guard embodiment illustrated in reference to FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a top and front view of the gutter guard embodiment illustrated in reference to FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a top and front view of a coated gutter guard.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The new and improved gutter guard designs can be manufactured from sheet metal having regions of expanded and non-expanded (solid) metal. The expanded metal regions enable water to freely flow into the gutter, while the solid metal regions prevent debris from entering the gutter from the solid regions. The guards are substantially planar (flat) before and after installation, without having any bends or angular inclinations between the regions of expanded and non-expanded metal. Angular regions or bends can snag debris. Furthermore, trapped debris can, in turn, snag even more debris. Trapped debris can prevent water penetration into the gutter and increases the opportunity for more debris to enter and clog the gutter.

When installed, the inner edge portion of each gutter guard can lie underneath the last row of shingles on a roof having shingles arranged in horizontally extending overlapping rows. When installed, the outer portion of each gutter guard engages the uppermost and outer flange of the gutter itself. The positioning of the gutter guard provides a sufficient downwardly slope to wash away debris, but not too steep to cascade the water off the roof without collecting into the gutter.

The new improved design can include a downwardly depending lip or dam formed by folding the metal in a boustrophedonic or “pressed together U” shape. The dam helps prevent water that adheres to the bottom of the gutter guard from cascading over the gutter without falling into the gutter.

In addition, the gutter guard can be coated with a coarse paint material that impedes water flow, increases the friction coefficient of the metal, increases the surface area of the water that contacts the gutter guard, and creates turbulence in the flow. The net result is a lower water flow rate over the top of the gutter guard, which in turn, increases the amount of water that falls into the gutter system without the drawback of retaining more debris.

As can be appreciated, the new gutter designs of the present invention minimize debris entering the gutter, while maximizing the water inflow into the gutter.

Turning to FIG. 1, designated generally by the reference numeral 100 is an embodiment of a gutter guard system 100. The gutter guard system 100 includes an embodiment of a new and improved gutter guard 110. When installed, the gutter guard 110 is designed to be substantially planar with an inner edge portion 116 positioned underneath the last row of shingles 108 on a roof 106 and an outer edge portion 118 connected to or engaged with an outer flange 104 of a gutter 102.

As illustrated, the gutter guard 110 can be formed from sheet metal having expanded metal regions 114 and solid metal (non-expanded metal regions) 112. The inner edge portion 116 is typically formed from an expanded metal region 114 of the gutter guard 110. The inner edge portion 116 of each gutter guard 110 lies underneath the last row of shingles 108 on a roof 106 having shingles arranged in horizontally extending overlapping rows (not shown).

When installed, the outer edge portion 118 of each gutter guard 110 engages the uppermost and outer flange 104 of the gutter 102 itself. The guard 110 can be optionally affixed to the uppermost outer flange 104 with fasteners 122 such as screws, nails or other fastening devices. As shown, the positioning of the gutter guard 110 provides a sufficient downwardly slope to wash away debris, but the slope is not too steep to cascade the water off the roof 106 before collecting into the gutter 102.

The new and improved design can include a downwardly depending lip or dam 120 that can be formed by folding the metal in a boustrophedonic or “pressed together U” shape. The dam 120 prevents water that adheres to the bottom of the gutter guard 110 from cascading over the gutter 102 without falling into the gutter 102.

Turning to FIG. 2, illustrated is another embodiment of a gutter system 100′. The gutter system 100′ includes another embodiment of an improved gutter guard 110′. When installed, the gutter guard 110′ is designed to be substantially planar with an inner edge portion 116 positioned underneath the last row of shingles 108 on a roof 106 and an outer portion 118′ connected to or engage an outer flange 104 of a gutter 102.

As illustrated, the gutter guard 110′ again can be formed from sheet metal having alternating expanded metal regions 114 and solid metal (non-expanded metal) regions 112. The inner edge portion 116 is typically formed from an expanded metal region 114 of the gutter guard 110′. The inner edge portion 116 of each gutter guard 110′ is designed to lie underneath the last row of shingles 108 on a roof 130. When installed, the outer edge portion 118′ of each gutter guard 110′ will engage the uppermost outer flange 104 of the gutter 102.

In this embodiment, the outer edge region 118′ is formed from an expanded metal region 114. The outer edge portion 118′ is formed into an integral S-shaped engagement member 124 that can readily snap-lock onto the uppermost outer gutter flange 104. The S-shaped engagement member 124 can be manufactured by bending an expanded metal region 114. The engagement member 124 includes a front section 126, a middle section 128 and a tail section 130 bent to form an S-shape. This design allows for easy installation of the gutter guard 110′ without the use of tools.

As shown, the positioning of the gutter guard 110′ provides a moderate downward slope that allows debris to wash off the gutter guard 110′, but is not too steep to cascade the water over the gutter 102 without collecting into the gutter 102.

The new improved design can include a downwardly depending lip or dam 120 that can be formed by folding the metal in a boustrophedonic or “pressed together U” shape. The dam 120 prevents water from adhering to the bottom of the gutter guard 110′ and cascading off the roof 106 without falling into the gutter 102.

Turning now to FIGS. 3A and 3B, respectively illustrated are a top view and front view of the gutter guard 110 shown in reference to FIG. 1. The gutter guard 110 is manufactured with alternating regions of solid metals regions 112 and expanded metal regions 114. The widths of either any solid metal region 112 or any expanded metal region 114 can be varied to allow greater water penetration or reduce the influx of debris. As an example, in places where pine needles are not as prevalent, wider expanded metal regions 114 may be utilized.

The manufacturing process described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,629,016 for “Apparatus and Method of Manufacturing Expanded Sheet Metal” can be used to create variable widths and lengths of the gutter guard 110 from sheet metal. In one embodiment, the gutter guard 110 can be manufactured with a width of 7.5 inches and a length of 36 inches. Those skilled in the art will realize that the gutter guard 110 dimensions can be manufactured to fit varying gutter systems or roof designs.

In addition, the improved design can include a downwardly depending lip or dam 120 that can be formed by folding solid metal in a boustrophedonic or “pressed together U” shape. The dam 120 can prevent water that adheres to the bottom of the gutter guard from cascading over the gutter 102 without falling into the gutter.

Turning now to FIGS. 4A and 4B, respectively illustrated are a top view and front view of another embodiment of a gutter guard 110′ as shown in reference to FIG. 2. Again, the gutter guard 110′ is manufactured with alternating regions of solid metal regions 112 and expanded metal regions 114. The manufacturing process can create from sheet metal variable widths of these alternating regions. For example, as previously stated, in places where pine needles are not as prevalent, wider expanded metal regions 114 can be utilized to allow for greater water penetration.

Additionally, in one embodiment, a gutter guard 110′ has a total width of 7.5 inches and a total length of 36 inches. Those skilled in the art will realize that both the total length and width can be varied.

In addition, the design can also include a downwardly depending lip or dam 120 that can be formed by folding solid metal in a boustrophedonic or “pressed together U” shape. The dam 120 prevents water that adheres to the bottom of the gutter guard from cascading off a roof without falling into the gutter.

In this embodiment, the outer edge region 118′ is formed from an expanded metal region 114. The outer edge portion 118′ is bent into an integral S-shaped engagement member 124 for snap-locking onto an uppermost gutter flange. The S-shaped engagement member 124 can be manufactured by bending expanded metal. The engagement member 124 includes a front edge 126, a middle section 128 and a tail section 130 bent to form an S-shape. This design allows for easy installation without the use of tools.

Turning now to FIGS. 5A and 5B, illustrated are a top view and front view of a gutter guard 110″ coated with a coarse paint material. The gutter guards 110, 110′, as described in reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, also can be coated with a coarse paint material. The coated expanded metal 114″ and coated solid metal regions 112″ decrease the water flow rate over the top of the gutter guard 110″ while not retaining debris. The coarse paint can be commercially purchased, such as the TCI TEXT BLACK Brand paint provided by TCI, Inc., a Georgia corporation. The coarse paint material impedes water flow, increases the friction coefficient of the metal, increases the surface area of the water that contacts the gutter guard 110″, and creates turbulence in the flow. The net result is a lower water flow rate over the top of the gutter guard 110′, which in turn, increases the amount of water that falls into the gutter. Additionally, the color of the coarse paint coating can be chosen to resemble the color of some shingles. Thus, the coating can also enhance the aesthetics of the gutter guard 110″.

In view of the foregoing, it will be appreciated that the invention provides for a new and improved gutter guard. It should be understood that the foregoing relates only to the exemplary embodiments of the present invention, and that numerous changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the following claims. Accordingly, it is the claims set forth below, and not merely the foregoing illustration, which are intended to define the exclusive rights of the invention.